Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

I was tagged.

Or called out, however you want to look at it. Do people really learn stuff from these? *sigh*

Here goes:

ABCs of Me(me)

A- Available or taken? Available for what?

B- Best Friend? Izzy, I suppose. Sometimes my daughter. Myself. I often feel alone.

C- Cake or Pie? Pie. Pumpkin. That I made.

D- Drink of Choice? Coffee or water.

E- Essential Item? My lappy.

F- Favorite Color? Purple and green.

G- Gummi Bears or Worms? Bears.

H- Hometown? Currently? Denver, Colorado Recently? Denver, Colorado Originally? Amana, Iowa.

I- Indulgence? Time by myself at Lake Steam Baths. It's not expensive--the time away is my indulgence.

J- January or February? February--my birthday, my daughter's birthday (same day), my dad's birthday, Eric's birthday, Debbie's birthday.

K- Kids and names? Kira!

L- Life is incomplete without? My girl. My husband.

M- Marriage Date? October, 1996

N- Number of Siblings? 2--one sister and one brother

O- Oranges or apples? Clementine oranges

P- Phobias/Fears? Insects. Financial insolvency.

Q- Favorite Quote? "Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." -- Goethe

R- Reason to Smile? My daughter's.

S- Season? Fall.

T- Tag three people! Must I? Fine--SueEllen, Esri, and some random blogger to be reavealed later, upon participation.

U- Unknown Fact About Me? I'm actually quite intelligent.

V- Vegetable you hate? Raw tomatoes.

W- Worst habit? Too much talk, not enough action.

X- X-Rays you've had? Teeth, lungs, ankle bones.

Y- Your favorite food? Roast chicken.

Z- Zodiac? Aquarius/Capricorn/Leo

Thursday, December 28, 2006

End-of-Year Post

I am tired.

"The Year That Was" makes me want to barf. I am tired of the Top Ten Most Awesomest Stuff That Happened in 2006 articles in the paper/magazines/blogs. Sick of it!

I'm also sick of the snow. Perhaps I'm a bit touchy from the cabin fever. Strap yourselves in, folks.

Instead of recapping this past year, let's make my annual wish list, shall we? We shall. In the spirit of manifesting the life we want, we shall now proclaim the End-of-Year Post to be:

How My Life Is Now: A List of Affirmations

Those who practice affirmations should know that, to do them correctly, one must say them as if they are already true. Example:

I am a publishing magnate.

Okay. Here we go:

This is too much fun. I'll add to the list more, later.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The funniest of the Internets.

Viewer discretion advised. And also prepare yourself to laugh. Go pee first, then read it. Hilarious!

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it. I hope Santa brought you what you wanted.

I got:

  • two extra days of vacation (no word yet on whether or not we'll have to "make them up"--probably will, but for now, I'll take two extra days when the kids were insanse)
  • over 2 feet of snow
  • my daughter, opening presents and saying "present" and "help me, mama" and "it's a toy!"
  • nice dinners with my immediate family
  • nice Christmas Eve with husband's family, including cousin J, who ran around like a maniac with my daughter, which is hilarious to watch
  • time to myself to take a bath and read Entrepreneur magazine
  • coffee every morning
  • time playing in the snow with my kiddo--she's never had the opportunity to do so, so that was a hoot--we built a snowman, making the eyes, nose, and arms out of carrots for the neighborhood squirrels. Oh, and the snow "man" had boobs.
  • time in the evenings watching "family" movies: Ice Age, Madagascar, March of the Penguins
Too, too many benefits to list. Got a couple of lovely gifts from my hubby, as well. But please note how many times the word "time" is listed above.

Bless you all.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006



You think kids get excited about a day off? They've got nothing on the excitement that teachers feel.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Whiny and petulant

Do you know what it's like to hate your job, and not be able to quit? I suppose Drew Carey would tell me that I belong to an exclusive support network called "Everybody" and they meet at "The Bar."

But man, I tell you, it's tough. It's tough when, ever since I had a kid, I've wanted to stay home more than anything. I knew, somehow, that I was supposed to be home with her, supposed to be there for her every single minute.

But I can't. I have to go away to work every day.

And now? Now she has autism. And nobody knows why, of course. They say it isn't our fault. They say it's not environmental, not because of a lack of vitamins, not because of trauma. They say it's genetic. But if it's something she was born with, then who the hell else do you blame? She came out of my body. I birthed her. Therefore, I am to blame.

But it isn't that simple, is it? Disabilities aren't that simple. Placing blame isn't often helpful. Even "pinpointing a cause" isn't helpful, because it's in the past, and she is here, now, and I have to help her. But I have to go away to work every day. It's torn me up ever since the day I had to return to work, and it still tears me up. Tears me up worse, now, since her disability sounds so stinking severe.

It's put me in a bit of a tailspin.

It's also affected my holiday spirit, to be very frank. I'm not as excited about the holidays as I normally would be. I'm not depressed, just stressed out. The whole thing makes my stomach hurt if I think too much about it.

Her face is here, right in front of me, taped to my computer. At home, her face is my desktop picture.

I suppose she was born to me for a reason. But I've got to be done with the blaming pretty soon. It's tiresome.

And I've got to be self-employed, soon. Every day feels very, very desperate.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Three trees!

This weekend holiday has gone by far too fast. However, it was full of family and friends, and for that I am grateful. I didn't do much of anything for business, which is rare.

It felt good.

Thursday we had a nice group at our house for the feasting. The next day I went shopping, which I don't normally do. I got a few great deals--800 thread count sheets, a new pre-lit tree, and a bunch of fleece fabric on sale. Friend Ann came over around 10am (yes, all that shopping was very early), and I helped her sew some blankets for her boys.

She then joined me for some afternoon shopping, during which time I purchased gifts for my DH. It was so nice to be out shopping with a friend--this is something I very rarely do. I am most often shopping alone, or with my 3-year-old.

Saturday was spent filling a soap order, shipping it, and then dropping off my sewing machine because it was injured. It didn't die, but it did curl up in a ball and refuse to move. So I took it in to be serviced, and can you imagine? They gave me a loaner sewing machine, so I could get my holiday projects done. I love that place.

I then went antique shopping with friends Esri and Joe, and we had lunch. Went home in the afternoon and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Friend Steve was on his way up to Denver, and did we want to get together with him and some friends? Of course! So I hosted the party, and Ann came over yet again, as did Carla and her brother, Jeff. We sat around and played games and had drinks, and went to bed far too late.

Then today it was time for holiday decorations. I dragged out all the boxes and went on my yearly treasure hunt. You see, each year on the day after Christmas, I go to the sales to buy ornaments and accoutrements for half price. Of course, I forget what I've purchased, so every time I decorate, it's a surprise. I love it. I opened up the new tree I purchased on Friday and of course, one-half of one string of lights didn't work on the pre-lit tree. I had to augment the lights--no big deal, as long as they all continue to work.

I Freecycled my old tree. It was claimed within 9 minutes and gone within one hour. I love Freecycle, and encourage everyone to try it. You'll be hooked.

So I decorated and decorated, and now our house is very festive. We have a few more lighted goodies out front, and lots of lights inside. I also cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes, did a load of laundry, put away 3 baskets of laundry, and cleaned the catbox.

Hmm. A relaxing vacation? Somewhat.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Getting ready

We weren't going to have a huge Thanksgiving at our house. It was just going to be us and Friend Jerry.

Well, Jerry can't come, and neither can his wife Maxine, because they both have to work. So Izzy invited Friend Pete, who can come.

Then CB decided to make up a story about how they made a scheduling mistake at work, and scheduled him when he's not supposed to be scheduled, and therefore can't have the Thanksgiving at his house that he was going to have for his RF and his F, which he had decided upon AFTER being invited to our party, and is now bringing his kids to our party. Along with a family friend, who is not C like CB is.

So! Instead of 4 people, we are having 8 adults and 3 kids.

Gotta get more cleanin' done.

CB = Crazy Brother

RF= Random Friend

F= Family


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday, blessed Sunday

So THIS is what Sunday is supposed to be like. Shopping at Target at a leisurely pace, eating when I feel like it, instead of on a schedule, really enjoying my coffee, reading the paper, doing research, buying books on the internet....

Yeah. All that's missing is a nap. Maybe next weekend.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

you've really got to read it.

Anybody who wants to help publicize my new blog is welcome to do so:

Caught In Class

I find it funny. However, people who think all schoolchildren should be strung up by their toes might not want to read it. Or maybe it will change your mind. I don't know. Go there and find out.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Gifts for Yule

I'm participating in my first-ever craft fair, today and tomorrow. Come on down if you are in the neighborhood.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What it's like.

Since Friday, I have made:

  • 168 bars of soap
  • 40 tubes of solid lotion, filled, labeled, and shrink-wrapped
  • 50 lip balms, filled
  • 50 lip balms, labeled and shrink wrapped (this is a low estimate)
  • 41 sugar scrubs, made, filled, labeled, and wrapped


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ghetto Halloween Rules.

1. Have decorations up. Carve a pumpkin. Leave your light on. Then, leave the house and don't leave out any candy.

2. Send your children out for trick-or-treating with no coat.

3. Send your children out alone. In a city.

4. Send your children trick-or-treating with no costume. None. What is that?

Okay, I'm done.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New blog! Please tell your friends!

I have created a new blog! It will rival all the others for hilarious content! To wit:

Caught in Class

Enjoy. But tell your blog friends first.

NaBloWriMo is over!

Today is the last day of October, and thus ends NaBloWriMo. Thanks to those who participated. I learned a lot, and read a lot, and mostly, I blogged a lot. And that's what it was all about. *sniff*

For those who didn't participate, consider it for next year! Perhaps we'll have a ton of folks doing it. I'll keep the blog, and post there every once in a while, to keep it active.

'Twas fun! Now it's over. *sighs* At least I made it through. I think I only missed two days, and blogged extra to make up for it.

I can't believe I did another project. It just goes to show you: if you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.

But don't ask me.

Tuesday, Bloody Tuesday

*teacher walks in with a bloody finger*

Teacher 1: damn it! I cut my finger on a box.

Other teacher,who borrows first teacher's room: Eew! You're all bloody. You're Bloody McGee.

Teacher 1: It fits for Halloween, anyway.

Student writing a scary story: Miss! I need your finger to put blood on my paper!

Teacher 1: No!

Other teacher: Stop that!

Student: Well then, can I have the stapler?

Both teachers: NO!!


I sat down to blog yesterday, and it didn't happen. Why? I don't even remember. That's how busy I've been.

Oh, and you want scary? Today at school is the Halloween Social. 360 11 to 14-year-old kids, slithering around with each other on the dance floor.


My duty is in the other gym, face painting. Much more palatable.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Call for Change is awesome. Grassroots politics is my kind of thing. I love that we can use the internet to reach so many freakin' people, and get the word out about important issues as quickly as one can blog.

Toward that end, I'm doing my part to blog for the Call for Change. Click the link and read more:

Call For Change

My work here is done.


I missed the best day of the year. I've done this before. You would think, as a sleep-loving person, I would have remembered it. And I did! Last week, I remember saying, "Oh! Next Sunday will be so sweet! We get to sleep an extra hour!" I am up.

As compensation, my husband said he would put our daughter to bed tonight, so that I can get the extra sleep I missed. Wanna take bets on whether or not I get it?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Parent-teacher conferences

You'd think that after those student conversations, and that headline right up there, that this post would be witty, thrilling, and altogether entertaining.

Well, you would be wrong if you thought those things, because parent-teacher conferences are rarely fun. I enjoy meeting parents and talking to them. I rarely have a parent who is "angry" or "upset" or "criminally insane." But we sometimes do. One learns to live with it.

So last night I stayed after school, ate some pizza provided by the principal, took off and went to my own parent conference at the elementary school, came back, and stayed until 8pm. This morning, we were there from 8am-12pm, and then we had a 1/2 day off. So here I am, dull and listless. Barely blogging.

One learns to live with it.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Beginning of class:

***student spins around and around***

Student: I'm spinning.

Me: (blank stare)

Student: *stops* I'm dizzy.

First interaction this morning

Me: Good morning!

Girl : Miss, what have you had?

Me: **hold up Starbucks cup**

Girl: Miss, you need that to go away from you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More conversations from the trenches

Me: Okay, we're writing our definition for "handbag." "A handbag is a fashion accessory that is a container that holds stuff. It is..." (pauses for students to continue the definition)

Student: ...flammable.


Regarding a student who was using some lotion:

Student: Why does he use lotion?

Me: He has dry skin, like anybody else who uses lotion.

Same Student: Touch my skin; it feels so silky smooth.

Me: No.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

More adolescent conversation

Student 1: Ms. B calls Patty "Peggy" all the time.

Patty: Yeah! She says, "Hey, Peggy, Peggy, Peggy!"

Me: And what do you say?

Patty: I don't answer her.

Me: Good call.

Student 1: She should call you Krabby Patty.

Patty: Shut up!

Monday, October 23, 2006

My conversation

Period 5, my classroom:

Student 1: *stares at the smudges on my t-shirt*

Me: I know, I know. I'm a mess today.

Student 1: Why?

Me: Because school is a dirty place.

Normally Potty-Mouthed Student 2: You're telling me!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sooooo cooooold

It was so cold this morning! I wore my heavy coat for the entire market. The sun was out, but my tent is in the shade of two large trees, so to get any warmth, I had to stand in the thoroughfare. When I started packing up, I could take my coat off. And it took my fingers about another hour before they were functioning normally.

Despite the cold, I had an average day at the market. It wasn't busy at all, but people were buying from me. I love it! I think the other soaper was gone today, so that might have helped.

I'm now preparing for the craft fair in earnest. I'll be making soap most every day this week. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Day off

I had to earn my day off this week. We didn't get home from our "stuff" until around 7pm. I just ran home from work, picked everybody up, and took off, so I wasn't really "home," just chauffeuring people.

We saw that it was snowing last night, and also checked the weather forecast--ugly and crappy. My words, of course. So we called the farmer's market manager and said we weren't coming. I have to go tomorrow because of the street events, but it isn't supposed to snow, at least. It'll be super-cold, though. For a market.

Next week is the last market! Three weeks until my craft fair!

Shanghai Travelogue

My friend Esri is traveling in Shanghai with her husband (on business). You can read about her trip here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Today, let's think.

Today, let's think about our health. Let's think about what we can do to give ourselves a little more balance. Take some down time. Breathe in and out. Don't make lists. Don't plan meetings. Don't prepare for anything. Just sit and enjoy.

What's that like?

Are you able to do it? Are you able to just sit and enjoy something? Anything? I find myself, more and more unable to do so. It is unhealthy and ultimately damaging, so I'm going to do something about it. I'm going to enjoy something hysterical. Something wild.

Something like this. Because that's just hilarious.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

sleep, finally.

I got 9 hours of sleep last night. Today, then, was amazing simply because I felt better. And man! I never knew exactly how productive I am when I get some sleep. It was amazing!

gotta run. the pumpkin bread is coming out of the oven soon.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Celebrity "Exhaustion"

Okay. I am quite tired. Last night, the cutie didn't fall asleep for a long time. Then, at about 2am, she woke up, crying. Why? She kept grabbing her legs/knees and saying 'owie.' Leg cramp?

Or maybe she had a nightmare, we decided. After talking to our school psychologist, he mentioned that night terrors start when kids begin having "stranger danger" or a fear of new people. She did start going to school just a couple of weeks ago, so maybe she's processing all that stress.

In any case, I'm tired as hell. Made the soap last night, but can't tonight because my oil order isn't in. I am literally out of the necessary materials. So, I am taking the night off from soap making. I did cut the soap from last night, and it smells great, and whoopity doo I don't give a shit anymore would someone just please let me sleep?

Alright, then.

p.s. why "celebrity exhaustion?" Because I don't believe them. I don't think they know what exhaustion is.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


First snow of "this" fall/winter! It's sticky and thick and wonderful! No more allergies!

Of course, the children were wacko at school. Why does that happen? Why does a change in the weather make them crazy? Probably the same reason the full moon does. Also, they are hormonal and wacky on any given day, and many of them are also just plain terrible.

Yeah, I said it.

So I came home from a VERY productive day at work (how did that happen?), and became very productive at home. DH had been doing his usual Tuesday basement remodeling with Friend J., so I made dinner: fresh-baked scones (yeah, I can bake), scrambled eggs with cheese, and sausages. And coffee.

After the past few days, I needed some early-evening coffee. DD has been staying up very late at night. Of course, today she won't fall asleep right away because she didn't go outside--bad weather. However, when grandma comes over on Tuesdays, she's often worn out because grandma plays with her a lot.

We'll see.

I have to make a half-batch of soap tonight because I'm almost out of palm oil, and don't have enough for my standard batch. I do have enough to make a half-batch I think, which will be good because I have to make felted soaps for my holiday craft fair.

One more day almost down.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Add to that... daughter's last private speech therapy session for the year on Friday, making soap every night (did I say that?), and lots and lots of coughing.

Lots of coughing.

Our money is running a little short this month. It's driving me crazy. I have to pay business bills (small ones), and our yearly wastewater bill. I also have to arrange my daughter's papers so she can be evaluated at a hospital to "rule out" autism spectrum. (read: maybe)

I still feel like I'm going a mile a minute.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

How fast...?

How fast does your week fly by? I've already got my whole week ahead planned out. In my mind, my week is already over, and it hasn't even started:

  • write IEPs on Monday, and send them "Downtown"
  • prepare for Wednesday's meeting on Tuesday
  • Wednesday meeting after school
  • Thursday meeting at 10am to fix someone's wagon
  • Friday--two IEP meetings and bring food for breakfast club
There. See? It's all done already.

So...can I sleep in tomorrow, because it's Saturday?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bronchial Death Walking

I caught the crud. I guess it was about 4 days ago. It started with a bit of a sore throat, and just a little mucus. Barely anything, since I have asthma anyway. Then, just like that, it hit me like a frieght train--lungs full of mucus that STUCK. Coughing incessantly wouldn't budge this stuff. I woke up a couple of days ago, and coughed, and it felt like my sternum was being ripped out of my chest by a giant with sadistic tendencies--he never really ripped it out, he just tortured me by pulling at it each time I coughed.


So I got some meds, and I've been taking them for three days. They help, but I'm still fighting this. Every morning is really rough. And, of course, I can't afford to be ill. I'm just going to keep moving, and hang on until I have a day when I can sleep.

Which will be......

Friday, October 13, 2006


Why do I feel so poor? Why am I obsessed with money? I've got everything under control, but it feels like I'm out of control with obsession. I have to know where every penny goes. I have to know exactly how much money is in our account, every day.

It's so frustrating, because we do have enough money. We do.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Blew it already.

Well, I made it 9 days before blowing it altogether.

Oh, well.

I'm not going to stop blogging this month. I wanted to start NaBloWriMo to help myself write every day. And I do think about blogging every day, even if I don't do it.

But I didn't. I missed two days.

I have no excuse! I am lame!

Except that I've been very ill with horrible bronchial crud, and last night was our anniversary and we went out to dinner.

But still.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Stressing out

Why do I stress out over other people's stuff?

We are scrambling during October, because we have to have all of our special ed paperwork done by November 1, even if the paperwork isn't due until Nov. 30th. Everyone around the district is doing this, so our situation is not unique.

Still, I get overwhelming stress when I'm going through the list that Downtown sent us, and finding mistakes. I found no less than three items that were current (not overdue as they had on their list), and they hadn't processed paperwork that we had sent down over a week ago.

Furthermore, I get upset when I come across paperwork that is overdue that was on Slacker's caseload. Slacker is the dude who didn't do his paperwork last year, and now since we are all scrambling, I have to do it. Or the new folks at the school have to do it. Or people at other schools who are finding his 8th graders from last year.

I sent him an email, telling him what his slacking had done to me. I didn't ask for anything--I simply told him the effect of his actions. Of course, he hasn't emailed me back, and I don't expect him to. Ass.

So my question is this: I only have a few meetings this month (5 total, I think). It's more than usual, but I can handle it. Why do I get all stressed out over other people's stuff?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Gotta see the sky

My daughter has become proficient in bedtime stalling techniques.



"Read this?"

The most effective one of all, though, is, "Sky?"

We go out front, sit on the steps, and look at the sky, and we talk. We talk about our day, and what she's going to do tomorrow. We talk about the moon, and how bright it is, or if it's hiding, we wonder where it might be. We talk about the color of the sky, and the weather.

She's got me pegged.

Saturday, October 07, 2006


I grew up in a humd climate. Out in the boonies, essentially. I wasn't a farmer, but it was a farming community. And heavily wooded.

I am so grateful for having that opportunity as a child. What a luxury, to have the freedom as a child to run where I wanted, explore what I wanted, and not have to be within sight of my parents. We lived in fear of everyone's parents--it was a small town. Any breaches of conduct would make their way to my parents' ears before I made it home.

The fall leaves in my hometown are spectactular.

I'm not fond of insects, but I do have fond memories of finding caterpillars. Crawling around in bushes, climbing fences, running through the fields, were all prime opportunities to find one. They were the big, fat, orange and black ones. Does that mean they turned into monarchs? I have no recollection.

Can you feel those tiny little feet, rippling, rippling over your finger? Watching the furry thing contract with a big back hump, and straighten out? They weren't as soft as they looked.

How long could I sit there with one of those? On a cool fall day, with the trees' leaves changing, a breeze blowing by? It must have been hours at a time.

Friday, October 06, 2006


This morning, in my very small class of 8 students, 4 were wearing red t-shirts. I took note of this, because the students wearing them were not the stars of the class--in fact, had histories of getting in trouble.

So I made note of who they were, on a slip of paper, and put it in my pocket without telling them. I did, however, ask, "What's up with the red?" so they knew I had noticed.

You see, they think teachers are stupid. At least, they act like it.

So a few minutes into first period, our "security" guard comes to my door, and tells me that they have a tip that some girls are going to fight, so I should keep my ears open for that. Also, she told me that a lot of kids were wearing red, and to be aware of that. Okay. Thanks. I'll be aware.

First period ends, and I walk into the hall. I always have a recess whistle on my school keys, and apparently for good reason. I found myself in a sea of red, which was clumping right by my door. I was practically included in this bizarre huddle of adolescent humanity. It smelled faintly like pot and incense and unwashed bodies. I heard one of them say, "Someone snitched on us!"

I blew my whistle. "Get to class, people! Let's go!" I said in my usual, hustle-it-along manner. Right then, another clump, this time of girls, congregated right in front of me. "Get in that classroom!" I barked, and they jumped and skittered away.

It became very apparent that the hallway I was in was to be their staging area. I pulled out my ace in the hole:

"I will personally give every one of you lunch detention if you don't get in a classroom. NOW!"

Empty hallway. Bell rings.

All kids wearing red were systematically called to the auditorium.

When third period ended, I had some time off. I wandered down to the auditorium to see what was going on. It was a sea of red and black--apparently, two factions had decided to show themselves that day. At the back of the auditorium were no fewer than 7 police officers and school security personnel. I estimated that there were 80-100 students sitting there.

It was one helluva day, but we as a faculty did it: there were no fights at our school today.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Memo to Manager Dude

To: Manager Dude
From: Me
Re: Your absolutely bizarre requests

Dude, seriously, you have GOT to be kidding.

Last year, at our school, we had a teacher who did not do his work. He did not finish all of his special education paperwork before he left. As you know, being a sped professional yourself, this causes frustration and anger for those left behind, as that paperwork, by law, must be finished on time. Of course, this now falls to us.

And, according to the edict handed down from on high a week ago, we must all now have ALL paperwork that is either overdue, or due in October and November FINISHED by November 1. We have to get all our paperwork done a month early. This is causing more anger and frustration, as we are all now stretched to the limit, barely functioning as teachers, unable to plan for lessons because we are having about a quadruple amount of meetings than we are used to. This is happening all over the district.

So you email me, and say that, because some dude at my school didn't do his paperwork, I have to go to the high school where the student is, and do it?

Dude, are you high?

Let me know,


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

First day of school, take two.

I have had two first days this year. One in August, and one today.

Today, my teeny, tiny little girl went to school. You see, she has a speech delay, and has been receiving private speech therapy all summer. I recommended her for a public school evaluation in June, but of course they couldn't do it, as it was summer.

Right at the beginning of the school year, then, the ball got rolling for her evaluation. It happened pretty quickly, and was handled well. Of course, I teach special ed myself, so I was rather critical of the process.

Did they move faster because they knew I was a special ed teacher? I will never know.

In any case, her evaluation was finished in September, and since then we've been waiting for her paperwork to "go through." Much like digestion, yes. It went through last week, and I talked to the teacher on Friday. On Monday the girlie went to school just for a few minutes to visit, and then today she went to school for real.

I was an emotional wreck on the inside. On the outside, I was "too busy to worry." Ha. That is a lie, for future reference.

Papa picked me up, and we drove to her school in the afternoon. We got there a little early, and her class was outside on the playground. It was so precious to see her running around with other kiddos in her class. We didn't want to take away her play time, so we sat on a bench across the street and watched her. It was amazing, how independent she seemed. I was sad to think that she could be at school and not need me or papa. It's the strangest feeling, to be both sad and happy and proud at the same time.

She is so worn out tonight, which we expected. I think one more episode of Spongebob, then a bath, and then bed.

Sweet cutie.


The only blog I could do yesterday was on NaBloWriMo. It hardly counts. However, I did blog.

This only illustrates why I am doing this project. My life is so ridiculously busy, that I can't find the time to sit down and write one paragraph.


My daughter is going to preschool today, for her first official day! It is also school photo day! Yaaah! I'm excited, but also depressed, because I do not get to go with her today. Papa is taking her, which is fine, but I feel terrible that I can't be there.

I hope she's okay.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Almost over

The day is almost over--literally. Only 40 minutes until midnight. And I'm finally blogging for the day.

My job is going relatively well, I guess. I'm not stressed out, really. I just work continually, with barely any breaks. I also often work late, which annoys me. Tomorrow I'm going to go in early and see if I can get some work done that way.

After school, I came home and made soap. It's the best swirl I've ever done. See for yourself, above.

I have to make at least 5 batches of soap this week, to keep up. Well, not even to keep up. I've got to start making shitloads of soap for the holiday "rush." I'm doing the craft fair this year, as well, so that's going to mean more production. I am gambling that it will also mean more money. Maybe I'll be able to pay all of the sales taxes I've collected all year.

Maybe not.


DH is ill. It seems that he has been ill for several weeks. It's hard to say, because he hides illness and pain and things like that until they become severe. I believe he just has a bad cold, but things sometimes mutate. Ask my friend Ann--strep throat turned into a staph infection in her HEAD. This was the first week in August. She is still not healed. It's awful--she was in the hospital twice.

Of course, DH just whines and pouts, and talks about how uncomfortable he is. "Perhaps you should cancel your Day of Remodeling (Tuesdays) tomorrow, if you're that sick."

"Oh, no, we skipped last week. We can't skip another week."

"Yes, you can. You're sick."

"Naaaw....I'll be better tomorrow."


Sunday, October 01, 2006


The market was as I expected today: busy and spendy. Woo hoo! Let's see:

Payday weekend


Good weather


Good sales.

Coincidence sometimes shines on us.

Because of the good sales day, I am now swamped with soap making. I am out of Ancient Times, I sold out of Ladies' Lovely Complexion Soap today, and I have to make Bare Bones, Straight-Up, No-Nonsense Soap. I also have to start felting soaps, and making gift baskets.

That craft fair looms large! I am feeling The Fear of the Overworked Yet Underprepared.

Of course, I will be prepared when the time comes. No sleep until then, I guess.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Da Bomb!

I did it! I created a blog for NaBloWriMo! Sign up and blog every day in October! Click on the link to participate!

Pleeeeeeeeze? I'll be your BFF!


I am not the first.

No, I did a search for "NaBloWriMo" on Google, and came up with 57 results, I think. All of which are linked to only three sites, and many of them are repeater search results. Therefore, I will push forward with confidence.

You see, I am not a novelist. I don't have any aspriations to be "a novelist" as such. Do I have a novel in me? Of course! Good roughage.

Will I write the novel? Who knows? My best answer right now is "no," as I am not a fiction writer, do not write fiction very well, and do not have a rich uncle who will support my family while I dedicate my life to my novel. No, this will not happen. I have learned this about myself, and accept it. This is called, "wisdom."


What I can do is blog every day. How many words, you ask? If you are asking, you are a NaNoWriMo veteran. I answer to you: it matters not. In my NaBloWriMo world (National Blog Writing Month--again, I didn't make it up, just thought I did and then did the search--there are no new ideas), to participate, one simply agrees to blog every day. That's it! Every day, one blog post.

Oh, okay. Let's set up some rules:

1. The post must be at least one paragraph (or 5 sentences).

2. The post must give actual information, and be at the least interesting and well-written, and at best, witty.

3. The post may not simply be a link to something you like ( I do this all the time, and I know it's a cop-out.)

Other than that, post away! Every day!

Starting October 1. That's next Sunday, folks. Pass the word.

p.s. the Gene Simmons photo is just to keep things interesting. I was tired of having the run-of-the-mill photos. Suggestions are welcome for future random photos. Hair bands from the '80s, anyone?

A Tale of Two Feces

**Warning Warning Warning**
Parental Blog Forthcoming!

Our Advendtures in Potty Training are just getting started, it seems. Our baby girl has been peeing in the potty since the end of June, which was a thrill in itself. She now runs to the potty all on her own, takes care of business, and can pull her pants back up when she wants. When she wants to run naky, then that's what happens.

Until we catch her, and say, "Where are your panties?" Like we have to ask.

So Papa decided, a couple of weeks ago, that it was time to potty train In Earnest, i.e. go for the potty BM. Oh, yeah. We knew it would be a struggle. He tried for several days in a row, constantly mentioning Pooping in the Potty.

"Miffy?" our baby would ask. She wants to play Miffy on the computer.

"No, you have to poop on the potty, " The Behaviorist Parent would reply. On and on and on, until we would give in and give her a diaper. While diapering her, we would mention, "If you poop on the potty, you'll get ________." Fill in the blank with whatever reward would work for that day.

Last week, Papa was Adamant. (No, not Adam Ant, he was adamant about refusing diapers. Just stop that.) The diapers were gone, and he was serious. Of course, our precious babe decided, instead of actually moving her bowels on the toilet, she would withold the bm as long as possible.

"As long as possible" is "two days," for those who don't know.

So I'm sitting at the table, internetting, and in comes the girlie, on tiptoe, bare-butted, clenching, and making a peculiar noise. "Eeeeeerrrrrrnnnnnnhhhhhh," is an approximation of it. Make sure it's high-pitched and nasal.

"Run to the potty!" I urged, and she did. Trotted, mostly, but she made it. Lo and behold, she sat there and pooped on the potty! Hooray! Big reward time!

Here we come to the tales:

Tale 1:

Later on, Papa walks into the kitchen, and stops. He lifts his foot, and says to me, "What is that? Check that out," meaning the small, brown something on the floor. I reply, " I don't have to check it out, " and clean it up. So, Papa was the proud winner of the day. Don't you know? The day your daughter first poops in the potty, the first person to step in a butt nugget in the kitchen gets a year of good luck, and a wish!

What did he wish for? I think he wished he'd never stepped in it.

Tale 2:

Later than that, girlie's room still smelled. What the? Why? Whazzat? I went on a poop search, and came up with a LARGE NUGGET. So, when she had run to me, clenching, she had already had the experience, only on the floor of her room, under one of her toys. Or, she covered it up. In either case, you must understand my COMPLETE AND UTTER DISMAY when our smaller dog found the nugget right when I did, and proceeded TO EAT IT.

*still reeling*

*reels some more*

***practically faints***

Parenthood is NOT for the faint of heart.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

In a rut


I type this on a Saturday morning, from home. A day off. Sorely needed, and definitely earned. I am going to make eggs and sausage and English muffins for breakfast, when the time comes. I'm drinking strong coffee, and enjoying a peaceful morning.

I have missed this.

*breathes deeply*

So! I was talking to a friend at work the other morning, and was trying to put my finger on the feeling I've had for the past few days. This school year is different, definitely--the ambience in the school has changed. It's more scholarly, somehow. The administration tries to make things very clear, regarding what is their job, and what is our job. This helps tremendously.

But I've still been feeling something like unrest, or agitation, or...I couldn't quite put my finger on it. So I was talking to M. the other morning, and it suddenly became clear. She said:

"I just feel like I'm in a rut. I'm not passionate about this anymore. I enjoy the kids, I relatively enjoy that part of my job, which is the important part. But something is missing. It's not enough. I'm bored!"

At which point, I realized that was a good explanation of how I feel, too.

I'm not exactly "bored" with my job, but those who know me know that I'm not super-happy with it. I know this puts me in a group comprising of, oh, 99% of the population. Which is fine. I don't hate my job this year, which is an improvement, but after being at school with an administration that's supportive (relatively), and in an environment that is more school than thug life meeting house, I now realize that I still don't really like it all that much.

And I'm trying to allow myself to know that is okay.

I am learning the lesson about the greener side of the fence, I guess. It's like...It's like someone who loses a lot of weight, say 100 pounds. That person feels better, buys new clothes, and enjoys a lot of new attention from their old friends and possibly new friends. And then you ask that person, "So, is your life really different?" They think about it and say, "No. Losing weight didn't really change my life. It just changed my appearance. The daily crap is still there."

That's what I'm feeling. The situation has changed, and it's better. But the daily crap that I have to deal with is still there, and I still don't like it. I'm in a rut, and need to get out.

Toward that end, my blessed web guy has been working on a new project for me. I would like this new project to make enough money to support us. I would like to be self-employed. More and more, I'm moving in that direction. When will I get there?

One thing is for certain: like that car up there, if I don't get out of the rut, I won't be going anywhere fast.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Flickr and Sharing and Design, oh, my. *pukes*


This is what goes through my mind, after working the past 25 out of 26 days. (And the one day I didn't work, I stayed home because people were sick)

I sit and think to myself, "This is what causes road rage--people being short of temper because they have had no sleep, no time to relax, no quality time with family. This is the reason people freak out in the grocery store if a blue-haired old lady buts in line and checks out 16 items in the 15-item express lane. This is the reason people are so rude to each other. It must also be the reason for tabloid tv--people don't want to even expend the energy to watch a tv program that asks them to think at all."

That's what I thought, just today.

I have been working 7 days since August 16. The one day I took "off" was to care for my ill family. I have not sunk my butt in the bathtub since then. And I make soap! No, I barely have time for showers.

And because of the Judeo-Christian ethic instilled in me since birth, I sit and think, "You should count your blessings. You are smart enough to have a business that is moderately successful, and a job that has benefits. You should be grateful that things are going so well that you have to work 7 days." What kind of a twisted thought process is that?

I should be grateful that I have the privilege of working myself to death?

And in the next mental breath, I begin saying to myself, "When you were in undergrad, you worked 7 days. You worked for school or you worked for money, and you never had a day off. You can do this."

"Yeah," I reply to my quickly-becoming-demented self, "But I didn't have a kid, then. And I wasn't married. I could nap on any given afternoon, if I chose. I no longer have that choice."

So working 7 days will cause a person to rationalize with oneself. As if I had a choice in the matter.

And so I will continue to get up every day and work. I hope those of you who have two whole days off each weekend will forgive me if I forget to email or call you back. The markets will be over in about 8 weeks.

p.s. what's with the headline, you say? Yeah, I had a train of thought, but didn't get around to it. I was thinking that I don't have time to load my photos onto flickr, or change the design of my blog, or any other fun thing online, because that must be the realm of those who live in luxury. Which, of course, is anyone who works one minute less than me. Because today I am whiny.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

It didn't happen!

I worked the market! I've worked 7 days, again! This has got to stop!

DH told me tonight that he would work next Saturday. But something always comes up!

I'm so tired.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Let's try this again

It's been a week since the flu infected our house. We are all better now, thanks so much for your kind words and worries.

So, tomorrow DH will work the market, and, hopefully, I'll sleep in. I'm worried about him working the market by himself, but hey, he's got to do it sometime. Because otherwise, I'll be working outside of the house 7 days per week, and he'll be watching DC (Dear Cutie) for 7 days per week. It will be good for him to get out of the house.

I've been thinking about new soaps I want to develop, as well as some higher-end products for next year. I'm doing a craft fair in November, and have to prepare for that. Maybe I'll get up early and make soap, instead of sleeping in. Sometimes being productive can be more soothing than being languid, in bed, under the covers on a cool fall morning....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....*szsznuh?* Whoa. Maybe not.

I was surprised that this morning was Friday. On the one hand, the past 7 days seem to have taken forever. On the other, I've been so busy and working so hard, that Friday took me by surprise. It's strange.

I think it's still the flu talking.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

More flu.

Now DH has the flu. DD does, too, but hers wasn't as potent as the adults'. Go figure. Because of this, I had to stay home from the farmer's market today.

It's kind of nice to take a break.


When self-employed, as I am only in my secret life (ha), there are no paid sick days. I am giving up a helluva lot of money to stay home today. But there's nobody else to take care of these little sickos.

So here I am.

*stomach cramp*

Oooh. My flu is almost gone.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Martian Death Flu

I have the Martian Death Flu. I think it's on its way out right now. How do I know this? I can walk upright.

Yesterday, in the morning, while administering district-wide assessements to the students, my stomach felt queasy.

"How are you, Amy?" my friend Fred asked, in the hallway, as I walked to my class.

"My stomach feels queasy," I said.

Thankfully, I had time right that moment to find the bathroom, because if I hadn't, I might not be writing to you now. I might be under the covers, shivering with humiliation. And cold sweats.

I felt worse instead of better as the day progressed. I had to prop my head up on my hand while sitting at my desk. I got hot sweats, then cold sweats. I have no idea how I taught anyone anything.

My husband picked me up right at the end of school. I went home, changed into sweatpants and a t-shirt, and went to bed. I was supposed to go to Back-To-School night, but it was better that I didn't. I could barely move. I didn't walk--I trudged/shuffled. I drank a little bit of Emergen-C in some hot water. I ate 1/2 of one piece of toast. That came up this morning.

Our daughter climbed into bed with us at 5am. She had it, too. I put her in the tub and stripped her bed, putting everything into the laundry. This was another indication that I'm feeling a bit better--I could do this physical activity.

My husband informed me that he had it last night, as well. I hope this is the last of this we'll have to see, and I hope they don't get it as badly as I did. I have to attend an all-day training for student services teachers today---I hope I make it through.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

As god is my witness.

I hate sitting out in the rain.

But there I was again, this morning, sitting under my tent at the farmer's market, selling my soaps, and shivering. It was cold, it was windy, and it was raining. And there I was.

Since no customers were there, being in their right minds, I sat on my chair and thought. I have to tell you, I like working at the markets. I don't mind setting up and tearing down--my body is used to it now. I don't mind being out there when the weather is cool, warm, or hot. I don't mind if it snows!

But if it is raining, I am pissed off. I don't like it. It makes me miserable.

So I was sitting there, thinking, and hating all of it. This is what I thought:

I am going to pay off our credit cards and sell this business, and with god as my witness, I'll never sit out in the rain again.

It won't happen anytime soon, let me tell you. It rained for an hour, and then cleared out. However, because it was so cold, the people stayed home.

These markets have been so slow! Hopefully, when the weather starts to regulate itself, the people will come back.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bloggy Bloggerson

Jeezy creezy. See what happens when school starts?

I disappear.....

IF I have time, I'll write more later. I'll write about school staring, and my very first interaction with a student, and the incredible people who are running the school. They just might make me excited about teaching again. We'll see.

At any rate, this is all the time I have for now. Seriously.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

End-of-Vacation Log

Can you believe the end of vacation is here? Can you believe:

  • I have worked at the farmer's markets 24 times?
  • I have sold approximately 720 bars of soap over this summer?
  • I have sold close to 1,000 bars of soap since the end of April?
What kind of a vacation is that? Well, it's mine. I spent a lot of time with my daughter and my husband. We went swimming in the backyard paddling pool, and at the rec center pool. We went out for ice cream. We went to the park. We read a lot of books. We sang songs. We danced every day!

I'm going back to school, for just a few hours, tomorrow. Trying to set up my office, as they made me move it this year. If I can get some of that kind of stuff done, then the first few days won't be as hectic.

I am sure going to miss my cutie. This was a great summer break.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I love Bollywood even more.


Okay, this one I actually like for aesthetic reasons. The costumes and colors, the dance is it.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I love Bollywood.

Solla Solla Enna Perumai

This is, quite possibly, the best thing I have ever seen.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Book review: The Well-Fed Self-Publisher

I have read Dan Poynter's The Self Publishing Manual three times. I have written and published an ebook, just to get my feet wet in the whole, scary, ISBN process. I have planned all along to self-publish my teacher book.

So when Peter Bowerman released his long-awaited The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, I figured it would be a book to fill in the cracks of my knowledge. After all, Dan Poynter is, "THE grandfather of self-publishing." I didn't expect to learn too much more--after all, Dan Poynter's book is comprehensive. However, the book's subtitle, "How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living," is so seductive, I can't imagine a writer who wouldn't be at least intrigued.

There was no question, though, about whether or not I would buy Bowerman's book. Oh, I would buy it, that's for certain. I am one of thousands of loyal followers of his series:

(click on any book cover to buy them)

So I knew I would buy it, thinking that it would be a good additional reference to have in my self-publishing ventures. It's a tax-deductible expense, after all. I did not think that it would surpass the other self-publishing references that are out there.

I thought wrong.

Bowerman lays out the self-publishing process step-by-step, in a logical, thoughtful manner. I did know all of the good reasons to self-publish, and knew that publishing is not about art or writing, really, or grand higher purpose ('s about business). I didn't know exact marketing strategies that he has used to be successful. I didn't know how little money could actually be spent on fulfillment services, to free up my time. I didn't know that he would be so detailed with his examples, which is most helpful for a new publisher who may be frightened with the entire project.

Mostly, I didn't know how much marketing needs to be done. Oh, I knew in theory, but Bowerman presents the marketing options like a lovely banquet table full of new and exciting treats, begging to be consumed. He makes the marketing efforts seem far less daunting than they did before. Of course, this is easier to see once you go along for the ride with him, and realize that, as a self-publisher, " have one job and one job only: Build the Demand for Your Book." Accepting this premise, all of the marketing strategies outlined throughout the book fall into place.

Along the way, Bowerman pays tribute to many other fine authors who can help a publisher become a success. He always lists contact information, or at the very least, a website for these folks. What I found most helpful about the lists of people and information, though, were the personal examples that Bowerman illustrates. He always returns to his example of a successful book campaign, be it how to work with, how to give a great radio interview, or how to assemble a press kit using a copier, scissors, and glue stick. No, seriously. It's in there.

Everything in the book is presented from Bowerman's perspective; he presents himself as a "case study" for the rest of us. It's a type of , "This is what I did, now you do it," scenario, and it works. Not only does he let us know what he did, he lets us know who he worked with to get it done. He refers often to particular pages on his website, to illustrate his points. This is another way that he makes the point: his advice is meant to be practical. Use it.

Marketing isn't the only thing a self-publisher has to do, though. Having a good book in hand is always the best start. What about the self-publishing industry itself? What about creating the perfect book cover, editing and typesetting, having an index and appendix? Yes, yes, yes, all of this is discussed at length. No worries.

Possibly the best part of the book is Appendix A, in which he compiles the names and contact information of the actual people who helped him put his book together, all in one place. I wonder, knowing how popular his books are, whether or not these people are absolutely swamped with work. I imagine they are. I know I'm considering calling them.

In addition to the actual book, three bonus ebooks are offered:

The Well-Fed Self-Publisher's Biz-in-a-Box
  • contains every bit of marketing "paper" that Bowerman created/filled out/used during the promotion of his books
The Self-Publisher's Time Line - LIVE!
  • a time line for the bit-by-bit approach that helps us to conquer the mountain that is publishing, with live links (given the correct .pdf reader)
Self-Publishing Resources - LIVE!
  • essentially a repackaging of the indexes of the book, with live links. Very helpful.

The first one is available for separate purchase, and at a discount if you buy it along with the book. The other two are offered as free bonuses for purchasing the book off his web site (you get your choice, or pay a bit more and get both) and sold as standalones as well. This is an example of creating "spinoff" items for purchase, which is covered in its own chapter. Their value, compared with the enormous expense of printing one's own book, is incredible. They are worth far more than the asking price. Of course, I bought the whole schlamazel.

It's easy to beat the same drum as others when writing a review like this, and should be avoided, but I cannot: his writing style is what sets this book apart from the rest. This has been said about all of his books, and frankly, it's worth noting again and again. Bowerman writes like he talks, which is what he advises.

While it is refreshing to see someone practice what he preaches, I must say there is one aspect of his writing that grates on me: he often uses incomplete sentences. Bowerman has done this since his first book, and it is a remnant of his marketing writing skills. He asserts in his first book that a writer need not always use complete sentences, because sometimes a conversational tone would otherwise be compromised. Every time I read one of the sentence fragments, it raises my hackles. There are enough instances of this for me to take note of it.

Should that discourage someone from purchasing this book? I think that would be foolish--especially if that person wants to be a publishing success. Really, it's my problem, because Bowerman is right: writing like we speak makes a book easy to read. I should just get over it.

Someone who wants to pursue a conventional publishing route may benefit from this read: knowing all of the different components of a book publishing project may help writers to understand why it is so difficult to have someone else publish them. Those who think that self-publishing is for them will enjoy this book more than the others out there, because of Bowerman's easy-reading style, and personable nature that comes across in his writing.

Yes, I'm a groupie, and yes, I'll buy anything he writes. There's a reason for that. Buy the book and discover what all of the Well-Fed writers know.

Friday, August 04, 2006

What does it take?

You will note that I have added another blog link to the right. Her blog name is "Dooce," and no, I didn't misspell it. She's a wonderful writer, and she takes photographs, too. Fun stuff. Have a read.

After looking at her About page, I realized that she makes money off her blog. In fact, if her About page is to be believed, she supports her family FROM HER BLOG. Just from the advertising. That's how many people read her blog each day.

So now I wonder: how does one get so many people to read one's blog? Posting it on craigslist? Word-of-mouth? Not in her case: she became famous for being fired for blogging. And now, in this world, a person can get paid because of blog popularity. Blogging is not difficult, people.

And so, I admit, I am considering this. Considering how to make my blog more interesting, more exciting, more...more....advertisement-worthy. I suppose little vignettes about my life would help. Most of the popular bloggers do that. It's either that or do political rants, and frankly (Franken! Love him!), that's covered. I don't wanna.

I believe I'll continue to blog daily, and tell the stories, and see just how popular I become. I suppose I'll have to have a "real" website, to support "real" advertising. Maybe not. Maybe I should read Blogger's terms of service more carefully, so I know what is actually allowed.

But I don't see any big news stories in my future. So I guess I'll just stick with tellin' my tales to the three people who read this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

...where it will go....

So I was reading the paper this morning, and came to the movie advertisements. There is a new movie out, called The Night Listener, starring Toni Colette and Robin Williams. What struck me as interesting about this movie is not its actors nor its premise (indeed, I don't know its premise), but the review at the top of the ad.

Roger Ebert proclaims: "...An eerie Hitchcockian Thriller..."

Hitchcockian? I must not be in the Hollyweird loop, because this word struck me as funny. And not because of the word in the middle. Okay, maybe a bit.

I wondered how many other people use the word Hitchcockian. Turns out, it's quite a few. A Google search noted 966,000 results for it. I thought that Hitchcockian dot net would reveal to me the seedy underbelly of the world where people use this word. Alas, it was not to be so. It's one of those weird mini-sites full of links. Hitchcockian bastards.

Okay, so there we come back to my thought process. "Hitchcockian" sounds like other things to me. It also sounds very "made-up," which I'm sure it is/was. It works as a word, I suppose. I know what Ebert means when he says it. I suppose it's been used to describe M. Night Shyamalan's work. I would.

But it made me think of other things:

Mr. Tom Fooligan, Football Hooligan. He's

Or perhaps a rogue, attractive in a, "he's such a boor, but I could tame him, and I bet he's good in the sack," sort of way. He's so Madmartigan.

Of course, we can always go to the verb side of Hitchcockian: someone who's always grabbing his crotch.

Okay, I'm done.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

My mother's home.

I was stunned by a news story I read today. It was on the AP wire, a national news story that I have since learned is international news.

A photographer, living in my mother's small hometown of Oxford, Iowa, took photographs of most every resident of the town in 1984. In 2005, he took photos of the same people who remained. He was surprised at how many actually did remain living there. He teamed up with a writer and University instructor, and the result is The Oxford Project.

It shows small town America, unadorned, hopeful, tragic, and otherwise the same as all of us. It is a stunning portrait of humanity.

It also showcases some of my relatives. Iowa Honn is my great-aunt; she was married to my grandfather's brother. Her son, John Honn, is also featured in the project. He's my dad's cousin.

Please take some time looking at the gallery of the site. I'm hoping and hoping for this project to be made into a book, so that I may keep it close forever. My mother has already started an even more important process: she's contacted the photographer to get a copy of the photograph he took of her mother, my grandmother, in 1984. She died in 1997, and therefore was not included in the final project.

It's just so wonderful for me to know that my family, and part of my childhood as far as that town is concerned, has made some interational history (Guardian Weekend is running an article in September, and Shanghai Morning Post is running an article soon).

For some reason, I'm proud. And I didn't have anything to do with it.

Photo Copyright Peter Feldstein. All rights reserved to him. Used with permission.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Vacation Log: Gettin' closer to the end

I'm starting to feel anxious for the end of my vacation, and feel like doing vacation-y things. Like last night, for instance, when I was making sugar scrubs, I had a beer.

I know, I know. Big freaking whoopity-doo. But I am a teetotaler. Usually. So this was a "new" thing for me. It was okay.

Last weekend was a very good one at the markets, which made me a bit nervous, because I now have to keep up with production. My sugar scrub debut went far better than I could have imagined. I sold all but 3 of them. I spent Sunday night making two more batches (20 jars of scrub), and have to develop a third scent. Your ideas are appreciated. Right now I have:

Lavender Orange (it sold out!)


Mystical Mint (combination of pink grapefruit, peppermint, and spearmint).

I'm talking online with a friend, who suggested I make a "fruit salad" one: Lime, orange, grapefuriut--and I could do lemon, too.

Okay, forget the suggestions...I'm doin' the fruit salad.

I can't believe that I have to go back to school in...24 days. Gaaah! This frightens me. I feel like I need to be vacationing harder. More fun will be had! More alcohol will be drunk! More days will be spent in leisure! I swear it!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Good reviews

I got a good review on a blog comment, which lead to someone reading it, which led to a soap sale. So, thanks, Sudiegirl! I appreciate the recommendation. You made me some money, today.

Which just goes to show you, the internet is, indeed, a wonderful place.

On now, to Deadwood.


You know I love a show when the whole episode is prep for the NEXT episode, and I still want to watch it twice in one night. Which someone can do, if that someone has digital cable and has both HBO-East and HBO-West channels. *big grin* If you are into grisly, violent fight scenes, you can see last week's right here. I'm warning, you, though. It is both violent and grisly. You have been warned. Repeatedly.

One more thing: if you don't watch the show, then you are cheering for Dan, in the fight. He's the one with the long hair and no hat. Okay, then.

Although, tonight, I don't think I'll watch the show again, as I'm tired from this weekend. Two markets in over 100 degree heat. I'm wiped out. So now, I have to go make soap, and sugar scrubs, and more soap. It's a good problem to have.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Fence update.

Looks like the city inspector was called in by the neighbors, who gave the fency-folks what-for. I don't know if they got fined or what, but when I came back from my errands today, the fence was half as short as before, but still not finished, and still ugly. The gossip is, these folks were also given their last warning about having their washer and dryer* sitting out on their front porch.

I do so love living in the ghetto.

*NOT an actual photo. Believe me. These are too perfect.

We are go for breakfast.

Go here for your daily chuckle.

Good fences make good neighbors.

Last night, as I was just finishing with our na-night routine, and getting my daughter a drink of water, a voice startled me at my front door.

"Hellloooooo," it crooned, scaring the shit out of me.

"Gah! T! You scared the shit out of me!"

"I'm sorry, Amy, I didn't mean to scare you."

"Is everything okay?" I asked, worried. Our neighbors don't come calling at night.

"Oh, it's fine, everything is okay. You just need to come over here and look at my new fence."

"Um...okay. I'll be over in a minute." I knew something amusing was happening. T's face was a mixture of bewilderment and resigned laughter.

I put the kiddo to bed, and trotted across the street. It was immediately apparent what the problem was. The neighbors next to T. had erected a chain-link fence in their front yard. Not only was it unsightly, it was bizarre; it was about 15 feet long, and 6 feet high, and that's it. Just one fence wall. No corners. It didn't seem to have post holes dug, or anything. The chain-link itself was sagging. It was the strangest thing.

About 5 of us stood around, discussing this monstrosity. It was right along their property line, so they had the right to erect a fence there. But it is so desperately unsightly. It's 6 feet tall! It's like having a deathmatch cage in your front yard. Plus, it's right next to their neighbor's yard, T's yard, which is the nicest in the whole neighborhood.

So this morning, as I'm sitting at my computer, drinking coffee and taking things slow, I noticed one of the folks from the deathmatch-cage house taking down the fence. Relieved, I went back to my work.

Then my dog started barking at the front door. I told her to zip it, and looked to see who was out there. The fence is going back up. They just took it down to start properly installing it, with post holes, corners, etc. If concrete is involved, things are going to get ugly. I know that in T's house, they are going to call the city inspectors, knowing that the neighbors have no permit to erect the fence. If they don't, they will have to tear it down.

Why doesn't T just talk to them, you ask? Because they don't speak English, that's why. Also, it's their right to erect a fence (with a permit) in their front yard. We aren't in a covenant-controlled community. It's just Denver.

So, they are going to have a 6-foot-tall chain-link fence surrounding their front yard. Oh, I've left out the best part. The reason for this fence, we all speculate with confidence, is because of their toddler. He's about 18 months old, I guess, and regularly escapes the house, sprinting down the street or sidewalk. Sprinting, I tell you. He knows something the other folks in that house don't: escaping this neighborhood is imperative! Look, there's an opening! The door's open, and they aren't watching me! Now's the time! Hit it! And off he goes.

Every day, I see an adult from that house sprinting down the street to catch the baby. Yesterday, when M. was backing out of his garage, T. had to put a body-block on the baby, because he was in full sprint, right toward their driveway. My husband has warned the people there that they need to watch that baby, because some cars come down our street rather fast, and something could happen. Well, after yesterday's almost-run-over-by-the-neighbors incident, their response is not heightened awareness of where their kid is, but a fence. A huge, cage-fence in their front yard. about locking the front door and keeping the kid inside? How about hanging out in the already-fenced backyard? How about using a bit of discipline to teach the kid what you want? I mean, seriously. A huge front-yard fence, for your kid?

It's going to get more and more interesting.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Time to get moving

I may have my husband almost convinced about moving to the country. It won't happen anytime soon, as we can't afford it, and I am under contract, etc. However, I found a great house on 5 acres, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 car garage plus workshop, finished basement, office, etc. etc. Supremely affordable, too.

We might have to start packing up, getting rid of things, etc. We move slowly around here, so maybe this could happen within a year. Do I think that house will still be available? No, but I bet I can find something nearly as good.

Of course, don't put too much stock in this move. We haven't even finished our basement here yet. Or our backyard plans. Or our front yard plans. We may never be able to move.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

'Nuther vacation log

Last Friday, cutie girl woke up with a huge swollen upper lip. It didn't get worse, so we waited until Monday to take her to the doctor, because it was still there. She has a huge welt/thingy on her upper gum, protruding out quite far, and it was bleeding. Eeew! The doctor said it was not infected, and told me to administer Children's ibuprofen and come back in a week.

Well, just since we've been doing the ibuprofen, her mood has improved considerably, as have her sleeping habits. Imagine that: pain relief means better sleep and disposition. Who woulda known?

Also, today the swelling is down considerably. Maybe we won't have to go back on Monday, after all. It was traumatic for her last time--3 people holding her down while she screamed. Yeah, I don't want to revisit that.

I've been making soap. My fatigue has impacted my practice--I made a mistake measuring last night, so I have to re-batch that tonight. Grrr. I can't unleash lye-heavy soap onto the public, though. Lye-heavy=bad. Fatty=good.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer Vacation Log

Well, summer vacation is in full swing. Time for an update, I guess. I feel like summer is slipping through my fingers. I can't find time to actually relax. I crave time completely alone, and I have none, really. It's difficult to find. I suppose I should schedule it.

Which I did, yesterday. Yeah, it's only 20 minutes, but I'm scheduled for an appointment with a psychic, two Fridays from now. Hee. It ought to be enlightening, and, of course, frivolous, which is what I need.

I suppose scheduling to have lunch with friends would be a good idea. Take a little time and get my feet done. Etc. Etc.

I've been spending a lot of time making soap and lip balm. Hope it pays off. Gotta make that extra credit card payment soon.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Today I needed a break from everybody. I've finally been getting some sleep, but since doing that, my body only wants more. I'm tired all day, now. Depression? Recovery from the school year? Who knows?

In any case, I was on the internet, and papa was watching the cutie, and I was looking at crafty things. And then I thought, "You should just go to the craft store. It is summer, you know."

So I told papa and cutie that I was going out.

However, I didn't go to the craft store. I went to Cost Plus World Marketplace. I must say, I am disappointed in their soap selection. They aren't importing handmade soaps anymore. They are all "made exclusively for Cost Plus" by some company in California. They used to have French soaps and Scottish soaps--no more. Furthermore, many of the soaps they carry are glycerin-based, and not handmade. *sigh*

After that, I went to the Cherry Creek Mall, which is right next door. I bought myself a pair of new Crocs--the flip-flop style you see above, only with a white footbed and light blue, um...outer parts.

Anyway, before I bought the shoes, I had to visit the ladies' room. Now, this is where it gets interesting. Cherry Creek has always had the best toilet stalls ever. I went in there, and closed the door, and hung my purse on the very thoughtful hook. I locked the door. I then strode to the toilet, which was a full 3 feet from the door. There is a LOT of room in those toilet stalls. And with the door locked, nobody's going to bother you. I thought to myself, the person who needed some solitude, " I could stay in here all day and read a book, and nobody would know." It was a very comforting thought. Furthermore, the stall for people with disabilities is so large, a mother with a large stroller could fit in there, comfortably. They do have a family restroom that is spacious, as well, but in a pinch someone could use that stall. Or they could set it up as a small office.

With my new Crocs in hand, I walked on and found myself in front of the "handmade" soap store. I guess most of their soap is, indeed, handmade. I found some that wasn't, but whatever. They had good stuff, mostly. I bought a sugar scrub, thinking I can reproduce it for myself. I don't think I want to sell them, as there are preservative issues involved.

But I bet I can recreate it close enough that I'll be happy with it. I need to use it on my feet. They are currently hideous.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Online marketing easy strategy number 1 (one):

Always, always, ALWAYS put a link to your book/soap/whatever in your email signature line.

This week, my website link was posted to a writing newsletter, unbeknownst to me. I sent the editor an email, thanking her for a good idea she had, and that I pursued. It seems she included every single part of my email, including the website link and book link.

Of course, she's a publisher, so she knows how important these links are.

I HEART ANGELA HOY! If you are a writer, you should too. Go join the WritersWeekly newsletter and forum. It's great networking, great fun, and run by a great gal.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Nobody knows this.

Nobody knows how depressed I can get in the early days of summer.

I suspect I'm not the only teacher that feels this way, which is why I'm revealing it. It takes me a long while to shed the stress of the school year. Since it ends very suddenly, and summer begins very suddenly, the transition can be tough. I still feel the need to fill my days to the brim. I still feel the need to work 12 hours each day, at least. I still feel like I should fall into bed each night, so exhausted that I'm asleep before my head hits the pillow.

And so I schedule things--all the things that didn't get finished during the school year. Banking, cleaning, shredding junk mail, sorting laundry for the goodwill, gardening projects, etc. etc. It all gets very big and looms very large, and then I have something to stress out about.

At which point, I start to get very depressed.

I'm used to being under a tremendous amount of stress, and I'm used to working a tremendous amount each day, so that when I sit and think, "I should be relaxing," I can't relax, because my list is so long. I think, "No time for that--there's too much to finish."

I have no balance in my life during the school year, and I don't have much balance in the summer anymore, either. It's far better than last year, however, when I was working for the university--that was far worse.

So today, I haven't done much in the way of anything. I did unmold the soap I made last night, and cleaned my mold and prepared it for tonight's soap. Otherwise...I've put in a load of laundry, and played with my daughter, and had a lengthy, in-person conversation with a friend. Watered the tomatoes. Made some mac and cheese for the cutie.

I'm still depressed, though. I feel trapped.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Beast, Shmeast.

Oh, brother. Here we go.

I saw a HUGE write-up in the Rocky Mountain News today, about , of all things, tomorrow's date. June 6, 2006. If written numerically, 06.06.06.

May I be the first to say


This is the most ridiculous excuse for getting worked up that I can imgaine. Don't we remember Y2K? Don't we remember what happened? That's right: NOTHING!

Nothing happened. The calendar turned. No earthquakes. No fire and brimstone, for certain. No end-of-the-world. Not even an end of the internet!

And now, this. Now we have talk of women scheduling C-sections so that their babies won't be born on that date. I don't know if that's true, it's just something I've read, and I can't imagine if a news story actually can establish it as fact. However, I wouldn't put it past some people.

I hope my feelings are clear: this is LUDICROUS. We are all going to get up tomorrow, brush our teeth, shower or not, and go about our day. Nothing untoward is going to happen that is out of the ordinary. No spawn of "Satan" is going to spring out of the ground, and begin wreaking havoc on the masses.

Nope. Not gonna happen. Absolutely ridiculous.

Sunday, June 04, 2006


So I was at a baby shower today, and we began discussing different neighborhoods in Denver. Blah blah blah, my neighborhood is mentioned, and someone asked, "Is that the King Soopers with all the Jesus candles?"

"Um....I guess so?" I answered. And next was the moment when I showed my egocentrism:

"Don't all the grocery stores have the Jesus candles?"

"Um.....NOOO0OOOOOOOooooo, they don't!" was the ubiquitous answer. Well. I didn't know that. Because, apparently, if they sell Jesus candles in my grocery store, they sell them in all stores. Silly me, forgetting about "target markets" and such.

THEN the conversation changed to the Jesus candle, and whether or not they make Hindu candles that look like the Jesus candles, but have the Hindu gods on them. As you can see above, they do.

I'm gonna get me some tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Discounted Soap! Get yours now!

Okay, folks, this is the deal:

When making soap, it is important to keep track of the ingredients involved very carefully. Making soap is not like cooking--a mistake can mean the soap will be drastically altered. On the bad end, too much lye means the soap will be caustic to the skin, causing extreme irritation.

That's not what happened here.

I was making my Lavender Calendula Baby Soap--standard recipe (100% olive oil) that I've done many, many times. Well, I missed a tick mark when I was measuring out the pounds of oil and........I added an extra pound to the batch. The result: a very soft soap, that holds its bar shape, smells fabulous, and is GUARANTEED not to last very long. Or lather much.

However! You, as the reader of this blog, have the opportunity of a lifetime! Okay, the opportunity of a month when the soap maker was scatterbrained--these soaps are ultra-gentle, ultra-soothing, and ultra-discounted. Each bar of this particular soap is just $2.00. I've got 36 bars.

Let me know how many bars you would like to reserve. I'm not stamping them with my groovy stamp, either. We've just got to get these soaps out to the people.

Oh, and one more thing: the soaps were in the mold, near the window. Bad Dog jumped up on them to get to the window. BAD DOG! So, some of the soaps have paw/claw prints in them. No worries--the soap was covered with plastic at the time. *sigh* Welcome to my world.

Contact me through my website to order these bars.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Make that "Spring Vacation."

We made it through the first real heat wave of the year unscathed. And now I sit, sipping hot tea and wearing a sweater, in my kitchen. It is 61 degrees outside currently, and much cooler than that in the shade, of course. And it feels cooler than that in our house, the windows of which were open all night, because we've made that a habit, what with the heat.

But not tonight, I think.

No, today it is supposed to be a perfect 74 degrees. I plan on taking the cutie to the park to wear her out. We might go by a street festival I know of, as well. Get a funnel cake. (I don't like these, but I'm betting my cutie will.)

My snapdragons are up and blooming. The photo is from google--not mine. Mine are a firey orange-red with orange centers, and a darker red. I have a few in my window box as well, that are pink with yellow centers. I love snapdragons. We plan on doing a lot of gardening this summer. I think the day after tomorrow will be a good day for it, as it is supposed to rain tomorrow, and digging in this horrible clay dirt after a few dry, hot days is a nightmare. We're planting trees and creating flower beds, hauling bark chips and flagstone, and good dirt in bags. Coming from Iowa, there is still a bit of hilarity in my mind when I purchase a huge bag of something called "Supersoil." In Iowa, that's called simply, "dirt."

Friday, May 26, 2006

Summer vacation is here.

Today is the first day of this year's summer vacation. It usually takes me until Monday to register that I'm on vacation. However, my margarita and beer yesterday helped me to feel relaxed and vacation-y. I'm paying for it this morning (such a teetotaler). Took some ibuprofen and had some coffee with my eggs-and-toast breakfast. That is another indicator that I'm on vacation, too.

I must confess my sadness at this school year ending, mixed with overwhelming relief. The relief comes from this infernal year simply ending. I conferred with several colleagues who have been teaching a long time (one of them for 40 years), and they confirmed that this year was one of the most difficult. Our principal got sacked 2/3 of the way through, so our AP took over, and we got a new AP. But then we got a new principal for next year, who is bringing in her own AP (apparently they can do that), so our old AP is out, too. I don't know how I feel about our new principal--she's been working in a school where many of the children are hand-picked, and doesn't understand why two people run our discipline office. Ha. I think she's going to have what is known as a "rude awakening."

The sadness comes from losing another friend to the lure of adventure. Friend S. is attempting to secure a teaching job elsewhere. He does not want to stay in this school district, and since he is single, is searching for jobs in places he would like to live--Scotland, Montana...and somewhere else I can't remember. He's moved out of his apartment, because his roommate is getting married and has moved out. This spurred him to purge his belongings and move the stuff he wanted to keep down to his mom's place.

Yesterday, the last day of school, I kept running off to the lavatory or some other private place, to cry. I can't imagine not teaching with S. next year. We've been teaching together for the past four years, and during the first year became very close friends, and have been since. We team-teach every day, me being the special ed teacher. I feel like I'll never see him again, which is possible.

Just last week, some friends of mine moved out of state. I feel like people are running away from me, and I'm filled with sadness. It's a difficult time in my heart.

This pain is lessened, however, by my daughter, who climbed into bed with us in the middle of the night, and since she wasn't kicking either of us in the kidneys, we left here there. I woke up looking at my girl, blinking slowly, turning her head, looking at me, smiling, whispering, "Hi, Mama," in the sunshine. Was it coming from the window or from her face?

I suppose I'll make it.