Monday, April 21, 2008

New Home

Not sure how the old posting on this topic got lost but it did somehow. Please join me at my new home . . . It's Just Me.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Pop Culture Revue

I forgot to get a Mega Millions ticket yesterday. I hear that two people won the $370 million. We bought one when it was $256 million. I think a dollar for a dream is a bargain. Greg and I talked a little bit about what we would do. We've played this game so often that we don't even need to talk about what we'd do for US -- we found ourselves talking about what we'd do for others. Getting our sisters established in their own homes. Making sure that our parents were retired in comfort. Setting up a foundation for public education for the schools in our community. Funding the pipe dream real estate project for a friend that we believe in and have helped with his project for 3 years. Heck, that would barely put a dent in it. Fun to dream about what we'd do if money truly were no object! (Which is not to say that I don't have deep, dark fears about what that sort of money would do to me and my offspring as well.)

I forgot to watch American Idol last night. AHHHHH! Greg is out of town and my whole schedule is out-of-whack. I don't sleep well when he's away. Both kids are sick anyway so I wouldn't have wanted them staying up late. I avoid the mainstream media for the most part so it was news to me that Antonella Barba has some trashy pictures circulating the internet. I have to say in all the hype that I read last night, I kept thinking about her parents and how sad they must be to see their daughter selling herself so cheaply by allowing pictures like that to exist. I don't think the girl can sing well enough and I don't think she should still be on the show but I feel really badly for her parents. Also, in the course of my late night surfing, I stumbled onto the existence of a website called Vote for the Worst. They pick the one or two singers they think are the worst on AI and encourage people to vote for them to up the drama on the show. Antonella is their pick right now. All that aside, I didn't care for her attitude. It seems very clear -- from the way she interacts with the judges -- that she thinks she's doing just great and doesn't need to do anything different. Now, maybe that's a brave front and I'm misjudging her (remember that I haven't seen last night's show -- yay for TiVO) but add all this together and she is not someone that I care to watch much more of this season.

Blogger vs. WordPress. In my avoidance of work, surfing the internet to avoid missing my husband, blur last night, I decided to play with WordPress and see what I thought of it. I kind of like it. There are a few features that I like a lot better than Blogger. The most important to me is the ability to see your recent comments -- I'm forever stumbling back through posts to see if I missed any comments -- but I didn't like getting emailed everytime I got a comment either. So, that's a big one for me that would be useful. I'm impressed with how easy it was to set up and import all my old blogger posts. I think I could even import my really old posts from back when I used TypePad with no difficulty which would include my really, really old Blogger posts and give a complete history back for several years. That would be nice -- just for me, not for anyone else, probably. Anyway, my question is this . . . what do you like about the platform you are using? What do you like or dislike about reading blogs on the other platform?
Oh, and you can see what I've done so far -- should you have nothing better to do:

Egret's Nest

Chickadee Chatter

Quick child update . . . Gage is responding well to the antibiotics -- yay! Ruthie's cough is getting worse -- boo! And, I woke up with one eye gummed shut this morning -- boo! I hope we can hang on to some semblance of health well enough to get through this week. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Ruby Tuesday: Happy Birthday To Me!

Ruby Tuesday

Quick Birthday Report and then it's "all Ruby; all the time."

It's a good thing my day on Sunday was wonderful because Monday wasn't that great a birthday. The kids woke up in foul moods (okay, okay, they are both sick but still . . . ). Gage has an ear infection and was one miserable kid. Ruth just didn't want to go to school and I was gonna pay for it. Sigh. My scale was not kind to me (subject for another post). No one wished my happy birthday until I was already wracked with Mommy-Guilt about Gage's ear and how much trouble it was going to be for him to stay home go to the doctor. Sigh. But things got better once I was at work. They know how to party at a school. Half-the-staff (only a slight exaggeration) are Pisces and so we had a lot of birthdays smashed together to celebrate but they picked Monday to celebrate so I got to feel a little extra special. Singing. Cake. Lots of well-wishing. Being told I was too young to complain about my age. That's all it takes! :) Even my 4th grade math class sang to me -- so sweet! Met Greg and Gage at the doctor's office. We're treating the ear with OTC but I have a prescription if I need it. Greg had to go run his errands after school so off he went. He suggested chinese food so I didn't have to cook which was FINE with me. We had a nice chinese dinner in front of TV. And then I got Greg packed for his trip (he leaves today for Boston) and then I got very indulgent and played computer games (we're setting up an older Mac for the kids with a bunch of fun, older games that they are finally old enough to play). At around midnight, Gage came in with a sore ear again -- bad enough to wake him up. Meds, meds, meds and a round of sitting on Mom's lap before he could get to sleep again. I'm going to fill the prescription today. Poor kidlet.

Now, on to Ruby.

Ruthie took this photo -- cute, huh?

Ruby is such a delight. Here's what I like about her and her breed.
  • She's mellow around the house. Her favorite thing to do is curl up in a ball on your lap. Woe be unto those who disturb her princess-ness, baleful glances will come your way.
  • She's playful. She's feeling comfy at our house now and with the kids and she is playful and silly. She LOVES balls. We got her a teeny-tiny tennis ball and she loves to chase it around the house. Ruth played with her for a good 1/2 hour last night and they both had a blast.
  • She's naughty! She can. not. stop. getting. tissues. out. of. the. trash. But when caught, she immediately rolls over submissively and shows her belly, all but whimpering how wrong she is -- but five minutes later, back in the trash again. Naughty thing!
  • She's finally chillin' about the kids. Kids scared her but she's gotten used to mine now. Hey, they scare me sometimes too! :) She'll still chose Greg or me to sit with first but if we tell her no thanks, she'll go jump up with Ruthie as a distant third -- two weeks ago, that would have been impossible.
  • She's hell on squirrels. I have four of the fattest, sassiest squirrels you've ever seen. They plant themselves on my feeders and chow down. They eat SO much and then cart even more off and bury it. They keep the birds away. They'll rip feeders down and destroy them. Rotten little hoodlums. But no more. Ruby is on the job. It's amazing. She watches for them. She's absolutely silent on the hunt. Thankfully, they always have a 5 or more foot head start on her because she gets so close to catching them. She is absolutely serious about these squirrels. Instincts are amazing and powerful.
  • Oh, yea, and she's really cute and she loves to give kisses!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Moving along the project

Originally uploaded by egret's nest.
This morning, Greg asked me what I wanted to do about my birthday. His gift to me is still my camera! :) But he wanted to help the kids get something for me. My mind was still on the painting I did yesterday and I suggested getting the wine barrels set up. So, we did.

Of course, the kids had to tell me that they were going to give me some stinky, old, used socks for my birthday first. Aren't I raising little angels?

We went off together -- all of us, including Ruby. In one of the nearby towns, there is a nursery that sells wine barrels -- 2 for $40. I have been coveting them for years. Well, today was my day. We got two barrels, three big bags of soil, and some geraniums.

The barrels are real wine barrels -- the ones we got had red wine in them. They are fresh from the winery and just cut in half. That's it. So, there is still a strong red wine smell to them and they are full of mold and mildew that's been growing on them. But they are huge and beautiful. When we got home, Greg moved them to the backyard and I hosed them out and then bleached them and hosed them out again. They looked great but I must say the aroma of red wine and bleach is an interesting one.


The next step was drilling holes in the bottom of the barrels for drainage. Needless to say, I called on my big, strong, burly, manly men and told them to bring power tools. They came running!

Next, I filled them with the soil and called the kids to help me plant. We dug and planted the beautiful little geraniums (really pelargoniums rather than scented geraniums) and watered them in.

Finished for now!

geraniums in a wine barrel

Throughout the day, I kept getting distracted by the birds. They could care less that I was out in the yard -- or even standing within arms reach of the feeders. The feeders are outside my kitchen window and therefore are very close to our deck and back door. These brave little birds were coming and visiting and chirping at me despite my proximity.

Nuthatch and Chickadee

Pygmy Nuthatch

Ruby also stayed with me for the entire project -- Ruthie took this picture of her. She's wonderful company!

Saturday, March 3, 2007

I love the Internet

Chickadee by Paula
Originally uploaded by momma_pajama_art.
So, I'm checking the responses to my latest poems on Chickadee Chatter and a woman writes that she thinks I'll like her latest painting . . . it's of a chickadee. And, I do like it, don't you? Her blog -- Momma Pajama -- is in my Bird Blog roll now. Her other bird paintings were just as charming!

I had a good day today. We did a lot of nothing much and I got a few projects done. The first one was to paint the ugly shed in the backyard.



Thankfully, this was only phase one of beautifying this ugly shed. Phase two will be to get some wine barrels and some climbing guides and plant something pretty and climbing to hide most of it. The green is just to be a better backdrop than the ugly faded beige was. I hate spray painting though. It gets everywhere. Blech.

Still, it feels good to get a project done! The other one was somewhat less satisfying . . . we went shopping for some new pants for Greg. He's going on a business trip on Tuesday and I realized that he really doesn't have what he needs clothing-wise. We had fun though -- it's so nice doing trips like this with the kids now that they are older. When they were little we always had to plan around naps and moods and take strollers and diaper bags and . . . ahhhhh! I'm so over that now!

So, a quiet Saturday. I saw some great birds in the backyard -- nothing special just noisy, silly Chickadees, brave Juncos, California Towhees, and a Pygmy Nuthatch. So cute!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Meme: Book List

Look at the list of books below:

  • Bold the ones you’ve read
  • Italicize the ones you want to read
  • If you are reading this (and haven't participated yet), tag, you’re it! (But only if you want to be it!)
  • If there are any books on this list that I didn't italicize and you think I should read, let me know in comments.
    (FYI, I cleaned this list up a LOT -- alphabetized it and added the entire author's name for all the books)
  1. 1984 (George Orwell)
    I hated and despised this book. I was forced to read it in high school and other than a great ad for a new computer and some great anti-government catch phrases, I see little good that came out of it.
  2. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
  3. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
  4. A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
    Reading Literature (capital L intended to connote a fancy upper crust snobby accent) is one of my "before I die" goals
  5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
  6. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
    I'm fairly sure I read this one but I'm not positive
  7. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
    I may have already read it -- I know I've heard McCourt interviewed on NPR so I have heard alot about the book.
  8. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
  9. Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy)
    No, thank you. Depressing and too long. I'll pass.
  10. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
  11. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
    The Fountainhead was enough Rand for me.
  12. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
  13. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
  14. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Helen Fielding)
    Read it and the sequels.
  15. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
  16. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
    Read it about 400,000 times. Still cry at the end.
  17. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
  18. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
    (See note above on Anna Karenina)
  19. Dune (Frank Herbert)
    Read it, read the sequels, saw all the movies. Snore. I really didn't like these but read them because my husband did and loved them. I kept waiting for them to get better! :)
  20. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
  21. Emma (Jane Austen)
    Love all the Austen, Bronte Sisters stuff!
  22. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
  23. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
  24. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
  25. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
    Read it about 100,000 times. Great book. Loved it so much I tried to read the Mitchell Family approved sequel but quit in the middle (if I even made it that far) and decided that the Mitchell Family were greedy and needed a good slappping.
  26. Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
  27. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling)
    Love Harry Potty and all the other books in the series. I'm a series fan. I love reading series books. But, why is this series here in all its glory and other series authors only have one book listed. Strange list to be sure!
  28. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)
  29. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (J.K. Rowling)
  30. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (J.K. Rowling)
  31. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling)
  32. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
  33. In The Skin Of A Lion (Michael Ondaatje)
  34. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
    Read it because it was the thing to do. Anne Rice is interesting and quite honestly I prefer her erotica to her vampire/creepy things that go bump/ books.
  35. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
  36. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
  37. Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
  38. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
  39. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
    All time favorite book. I'm waiting anxiously for Ruthie to be old enough to read this book and share the glory and tissue box with me.
  40. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
    See note on 1984 and multiply by 1,000 to come close to my hatred for this book.
  41. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel García Márquez)
  42. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
  43. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
  44. Of Mice And Men (John Steinbeck)
  45. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
    I would like to read some Marquez and this one seems a good one to start with.
  46. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
    Now, see, this is what I'm talking about. All the Rowlings book but only one Gabaldon book. Her books are amazing -- everyone I've ever recommended them to loves them -- including my father-in-law who is notoriously difficult to please in terms of books and movies and couldn't be more different from my personal aesthetic in terms of reading material.
  47. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
  48. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
    I loved this book so much that I even read the ridiculous sequel that came out about 10 years ago.
  49. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
  50. Shogun (James Clavell)
    I may have read this one but I'm not sure.
  51. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
  52. The Bible
    Well, I've read parts of it.
  53. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
    Pretty sure I read this one prior to seeing the movie.
  54. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
    See early notes on The Lord of the Flies and reduce loathing by about 80%.
  55. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
  56. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
    Yes. Read it, loved it, read all the sequels. Own them in hard back.
  57. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
    Haven't read it, don't intend to, but must say, I love the sandwich!
  58. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
    Yes. Read it and loved it. Unashamed of my love for the ideas behind this book.
  59. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
  60. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
    Want to read it and see the movie.
  61. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
  62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
    My husband is an architect and therefore this book is required reading. It's good and I'm glad I read it but I was so done with it that I've never read another Rand book and don't intend to -- some authors can only be taken in small doses!
  63. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
  64. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
    Another small doses author. We live near Steinbeck country but I'm not a fan.
  65. The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
    Loved Gatsby.
  66. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
    Hated this book. Oh, don't get me wrong -- it was excellent but so dark and depressing that I found it hard to get through and it left a black cloud over me for a long time.
  67. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
    Loved it and all the series. Totally fun.
  68. The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    Fantastic book. Plan to read it to the kids this summer.
  69. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
  70. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
    Loved it and all the series. Have read most of the series to the kids.
  71. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
    Great book. Loved it. Have read it multiple times. Totally don't get it.
  72. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (J.R.R. Tolkien)
    Loved it and the entire series.
  73. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  74. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (J.R.R. Tolkien)
  75. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
  76. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
  77. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
    Haven't read this one but I did read Message in a Bottle. Thought it was predictable and boring and didn't bother to see the movie.
  78. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
    Required high school reading (not by the teachers, by classmates)
  79. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
    Loved this book. Read it because of Greg's career again but it was awesome.
  80. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
  81. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
  82. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
  83. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
    I've read everything I could by her. It's awesome. She's reputed to be an ancestress of mine. But, as my mother says, my grandmother (whose maiden name is Burnett) would like to think that every famous Burnett is a relative -- Hi Cousin Carol!
  84. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
  85. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
  86. The Stand (Stephen King)
    Why is this the book for King on this list? Why not Carrie or The Shining? I think I read this book because my sister liked it and told me too. But, I'm pretty sure I didn't like it.
  87. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
  88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
  89. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
  90. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
    It was good and I saw the entire mini-series but didn't like it enough to read anything else by McCullough.
  91. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
    Loved this book. Will re-read at some point.
  92. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
    Read it. Liked it. Saw the movie. Decided the whole thing was just too weird for me. :)
  93. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
    Loved it. Awesome.
  94. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
  95. Ulysses (James Joyce)
    My stepfather's favorite book. I don't get Joyce and don't really want to. Probably a held-over teenage rebellion of some sort.
  96. War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
  97. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
    Read it. Liked it.
  98. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
  99. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
    Read it. Loved it. Read most of the series. But I was also reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and they had so many similarities that I decided I didn't need to read both of them. Wheel of Time required such an investment of time and energy that I decided to stick with that one. To be honest though, Jordan really ought to offer someone a degree of some sort for reading the entire series and sticking it out. :)
  100. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
    See earlier note about Bronte sisters and my adoration for their works.
Now, books I think should be added to this list:

I think some genre books should be added to make the list more complete:
  1. what about anything by Agatha Christie? Or some other great mystery writers?
  2. what about some great romance works? Think that's an oxymoron well I disagree! I enjoy many romances -- some are truly drek but some are wonderful. If someone wants to read something that is well written as well as being romantic and sexy, then I'd start with Nora Roberts and LaVryle Spencer. The classic bodice ripper book that really took Romances to where they are now is Kathleen Woodiwiss' The Flame and the Flower. I also highly recommend J.D. Robb's crossover scifi/mystery/romance In Death series. (J.D. Robb is really Nora Roberts writing under a nom de plume).
  3. We've got fantasy in there but what about Science Fiction? There are some amazing Sci Fi authors out there. Heinlein, McCaffrey's Ship Series or Planet Pirates series are some of my favs but there are hardcore SciFi authors that I don't enjoy who are critically acclaimed.
  4. Heck, if you are going to do a comprehensive list of books, don't you think a western should be on the list? How about Louis L'Amour or Larry McMurtry?

Thursday, March 1, 2007

An exhausting day

I love my job. I am a teacher. I work part-time at the same school my children go to as the Math Coordinator. That is a fancy way of saying that I do math tutoring for students who are struggling in math. My job is complicated and satisfying. I don't get paid enough but I still love my job. Because I make no effort whatever to hide my identity, I can't talk about my job a lot. Talking about my job would truly be telling tales out of school in a most unprofessional way.

I came to teaching elementary school students later in life. I just finished my teaching credential in December. I am still a novice teacher. Becoming a teacher when I was already experienced at work and teaching (adults) as well as already being a mother to my own children has given me an interesting perspective, I think. And, I have learned a LOT from this process.

My respect for teachers has grown exponentially since I've been doing the job. Today was the day at my school that we hold meetings about students who are struggling. The parents come in and meet with a team from the school including our Resource Specialist, Literacy Specialist, a lower grade teacher, an upper grade teacher, the District's psychologist, the student's classroom teacher and any other professionals who may be valuable to the process. And, that's where I come into the meetings. When the classroom teacher requests it, I make myself available to attend the meeting for the students I work with. The process is a very healthy and respectful one but it is still painful. We definitely keep tissue on hand for the parents. Their anxiety is palpable during these meetings. It is never easy being told that something is wrong with your child or simply that something isn't working for your child. So, the parents are always very stressed about this process. As a professional who works with these children, we care about them deeply. This is a small school and we watch kids grow and change from year to year and we care about them.

Our hope is that these meetings result in positive changes for the children. I've been to a few of these meetings and I've been very pleased with the results. But, it's a hard, exhausting day. I came home today and put on comfy clothes and watched mindless tv for awhile. My brain needed a break!

On a birdy note, the ravens are so present at school right now. Spring is in the air and they are loving on each other. A 2nd grader was telling me that she noticed how a raven was kissing his wife raven! I loved it. We also saw a raven on the roof of one of the classrooms doing a public service for the school. The kids regularly kick balls on the roofs and this raven took a small football and dropped it off the roof. The kids were amazed!