Thursday, December 31, 2009

This is the final blog of 2009. It's been a great blogging year, with many good, if not always fascinating, stories to share. The blogging challenge has been good for me. In the past, I've frequently felt conflicted between a strong desire to blog and a nagging sensation that I have nothing of particular interest to write, on any given day. But with the blogging challenge, we blogged on regardless and it's felt surprisingly good to check in with the blogosphere each day, even if just for a minute, even if I was a bit nervous about low quality posting. But here's the thing. We've put our hearts into this challenge, readers and writers alike and we all deserve to win. Sadly, I'm the only one who actually can win. But that's how things are sometimes.
I'm feeling pretty hopeful about this coming year. Happy New Year Good Friends! We're off to a very good start.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The 3D

I slept in late today, did the crossword puzzle with Husbandman and then rolled over to see Avatar 3D, all by myself. It's a dumb story but a beautiful movie with lots of cool things to look at. I liked it a lot. I'm planning to head out to buy a few Avatar action figures this weekend. I want some N'avi people figures. I also wish I could be a N'avi.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Farewell

It was hard to say goodbye to my good parents and their dynamic dog Lupe this evening. I've enjoyed hanging out with them this week. The trip ended almost as it began. A few blocks from the house, Dad started reaching into jacket pockets anxiously. This was fairly unsettling for Lupe who likes to lay down between his neck and the seatback on car rides.
"What's wrong?" I asked him.
"I left my glasses!" he told me.
I swerved the car into return mode while calling Husbandman so he could meet us in the driveway with the glasses. I was feeling like a superheroine when Dad yelled out, "Dagnabit! I'm wearing them!"
So that was cleared up and we headed back the other way to the airport. Bye Parents and Lupe. We miss you already.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Snuggies, Part 3

Here I am in my snuggie, watching District 9. It seems like a pretty creepy movie, so far. I'm actually not watching it carefully. Probably because I keep trying to think of blog topics. I wish I had seen this on a big screen.

Today we played 2 fast paced card games: Ruckus and Scrabble.
I've also crocheted quite a bit, but my challenge right now is adding a new skein of yarn. This is tough stuff and could wreck my entire project, a scarf for Husbandman.

BTW, I'm fully aware that this entry has no real content, but that's how it goes some days when you're in a blogging challenge. The point is...I've blogged, and you've received recreational recommendations. Win win?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Reviews

It's time for more movie reviews on alittleleeway. First I'll write about Up In the Air. It's a good movie, with George Clooney. Sad ending, but don't let that keep you from seeing it. Next I'll write about It's Complicated. It's a dumb movie, but I laughed many times, especially at Alex Baldwin. If you want to see these movies, you should.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Snuggies, Part 2

#1 Son plays Call of Duty and wears his snuggie almost nonstop. He says he's always happy when he's wearing his snuggie. When he got up off the couch for dinner, he took off his snuggie and announced, "After a few hours in the snuggie, you experience something similar to a rebirth."

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Snuggies

Remember a few months ago when I wrote on the blog that I wish I knew more about turtles? Maybe that was on facebook. Or twitter. I can't remember. Anyway, I got a beautiful package of books and items about turtles today. From JC. I'm now on course for becoming one of the great turtle experts of the next decade.
I'll probably present some turtle facts each week.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Abominable

TokBox - Free Video Chat and Video Messaging

I'm inspired by KC and I'm putting a tokbox on here, this very Christmas Eve. Abominable is doing a cameo, on my tokbox.
Happy Holidays, good friends!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Luggage

It was fun picking up Mom and Dad and their dynamic dog Lupe from the airport today. I got there a bit early, snagged a latte and sat on a comfy couch watching reunions of happy hugging people. Mom and Dad arrived with Lupe and we happily hugged before heading down to baggage claim. We snagged the bag quickly and headed to the car. About 10 miles away from the airport we decided to find a spot to let Lupe out for a bit. She had been in her little box for several hours. Mom and I opened the trunk, unzipped the bag and began rummaging for the leash. While I squeezed my hand through the clothes, Mom kept making comments like, "What's this towel doing here?" and "Whose coat is this?" I picked up some purple suede boots and said, "Mom, where'd you get these?"
"I don't know," replied Mom, still searching in earnest for the leash. It was at this point that I realized something was probably amiss. Sure enough, the bag tag revealed that we had someone else's bag. Someone named Christine. I called Christine's # and she was as nice as could be. I explained that we had her bag and she timidly asked, "Do you think it would be possible to bring my bag back to the airport?"
"Absolutely, Christine!" I reassured her. "I'll be there in 20 minutes."
If it weren't for Lupe, we would have been hours away before we realized our snafu. Hooray for LUPE!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Book

I'm almost done with the Hedgehog book. About 40 pages left. It's not really my kind of book so I'm not too thrilled that this ended up being the book that I made a solemn vow to finishing in order to restore my readerly identity. Because my word is my bond, I've dutifully read each day. It's not a horrible book, but one of the 2 main characters gets on my nerves with her ruminations on phenomenology and commas and summer rain. The other main character ruminates on these same events, but she's 12 years old and I find her amusing. So the book is 50 percent amusing. Which is not passing. I feel a little badly that KC agreed to join me with this book and even worse that I bought it for some good friends for their holiday giftie. I guess it's really true that misery loves company.
Last night I spent a great couple of hours getting the rundown on some great titles on Good Pal Menosky's KINDLE. GPM says I must read Whistling Season next and she also recommends Hunger Games. And Ten Cents a Dance too. And she gave me Stones Into Schools for a lovely gift, so that book is calling my name. My fave Anne Tyler has a new one coming out next month.
I can tell already that 2010 is going to be The Year of the READER. If I can just make it through these past 40 pages. Dear God in heaven, please give me strength and guidance as I struggle through.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Movie

We saw A Serious Man today. It was pretty good. Funny, odd, a bit unsettling. Other than that, I didn't do much. Put ornaments on the tree. Wrapped some gifties. Read the NY Times. There are some GREAT stories in the times today. I'm trying to get back into the Hedgehog book. I lost it for a few days, but now it's found again. I'm on p.138. It's not pulling me in to reading reverie but maybe I'm expecting too much.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Tree

This day was filled with anxiety. We realized early on that it's not good to wait to buy your tree. It's a whole supply demand marketing kind of thing. Usually we get a Frasier fir, but of course, those are all gone. We're darned lucky to have any tree at all. We went to 3 places and finally the third place had trees. But the selection was POOR because of aforementioned supply/demand/marketing etc. So we got this white pine that has a bare spot, but we turned it to the wall. I am starting to love it. We got 3 new boxes of lights but even Husbandman admitted that we should get more lights which is almost a MIRACLE and he's out buying them right now. I think we had so much anxiety this afternoon about the lack of trees and we both feel so darned fortunate to have this tree that we both want it to be the BEST TREE EVER! Plus my mom and dad and their dynamic dog LUPE are all coming up for a visit and we want them to have the BEST HOLIDAY EVER!!! Phew. Do not ever wait this long to get your tree. That's the bottom line. Don't do it people. DO NOT DO IT!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Birthday

Today GPM's gift of the Dylan Christmas CD arrived. I love it because it's an almost surreal experience listening to Bob singing the carols. I have felt celebratory all day long. What with Bob's Christmas music. And KC's wonderful podcasts. And JW's small birthday gathering. And 2 weeks of vacation. It's all fun in the heartland.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Craft

I saw a great craft idea completed at school site today. You take a clear plastic cup shaped like a frustum. And you invert it. You take a hot pin and make two teeny holes in the base of the frustum. You can string a little string through the holes for hanging. Then you trace the wide part of the frustum on a paper plate, making a base. Then you cut quilt batting in a circle as well, about the same size. So first you have the paper circle. On top of that, you have the quilt batting circle, which simulates snow. Then you place little plastic deer, snow men, and maybe a little plastic tree in the batting and glue them down. Then you glue the frustum onto the little wintry scene. You can glue clear glitter along the top. Do you understand these directions? Can you imagine the sweet wintry scene inside the plastic frustum? Do you think it sounds neat? I was quite taken with this craft project.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Family

Yay, the gang's all here. We've got #1 son and Teendaughter IN THE HOUSE!
This is a short, but I think extremely relevant, post.
Here's an idea I had. Wouldn't it be cool to have a mixed CD of every cover of Santa Claus is Coming to Town?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Secrets

We're doing the secret pal gig at work. So far I've gotten a little holiday tin of chocolate, a santa cookie, and a CD of holiday songs sung by old crooners like Bing and Dean and Frank. And it's only Tuesday. Obviously I have a kickass secret pal. I like getting gifts from my secret pal and I hope to get more gifts from secret pal and others as the week rolls on toward C Day. I'm in the mood to get things so I've been buying stuff for myself as I shop. A couple of shirts, some earrings, a book, and some jammies ARE what I've bought for myself so far.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Package

Two officers of the law came to our door during dinner. They told Husbandman that a suspicious package had been found in the neighborhood and they were recommending we evacuate our home, "We can't force you to evacuate, but we're recommending that you do so."
"How far away is the package?"
"Your house is on the edge of the people we're notifying."
"I'll take my chances," replied Husbandman and the officers of the law departed.
So far, we're still alive. But if I don't blog tomorrow, it probably means that we should have evacuated.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Box

KC has introduced me to TokBox and I think I love it. I would know I love it if I could embed a video message into this blog. KC was able to do it, why can't I? Last night I thought I had taken all necessary steps, but when I logged in to see my video, there was KC's face, and it was moving and making sound. I felt exactly like Harry Potter felt the first time he saw the paintings move at Hogwarts. Or maybe like Darren (on Bewitched) when he first saw Sam work her magic. I would have started screaming, but I couldn't really breathe. It took me nearly a full minute to figure out that I had somehow embedded a live videochat and not my intended video message. I'll try again later. But right now I wish more people would sign up for tokbox, because these video messages can be pretty fun. Don't delay, Check out tokbox today.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Dish

I'm going to the holiday party but I just re-read the email to get the address, and I'm supposed to have a "dish" to share. I'm just bringing myself.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Trick

Our PTO President has been selling her cool jewelry all week at lunch time as a fundraiser for PTO. Today she wasn't around during lunch and a colleague decided he was going to prank her by hiding her jewelry rack, which held about 50 dangling necklaces.
I told him, "Probably a better idea would be to take almost all the jewelry off the rack and hang a sign up there that says FREE."
Colleague thought that was an excellent plan so he did it. Sadly, the PTO president freaked and kind of started crying a little when she got back to the lounge and saw the nearly empty rack and the sign. So I had to apologize of course. I was laughing a little while apologizing so she accused me of not being sincere. I probably wasn't totally sincere, to be honest, because while I was the mastermind of the plan, I really didn't do much otherwise. Colleague should be blamed, not me.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The K

I had a lot of interactions with the K's today. Had to sit in the bathroom with a crying K who wouldn't come out because someone broke down his block house. Then I had to take a rambunctious K to my office for awhile so others could learn. We ended up reading Cat in the Hat together and talking about crows. Turns out his dad ran over a crow with his car once.
At the end of the day, Loudboy K would not help clean up. He had stacked all the empty playdoh cups and he was not about to give them to me. I asked politely a few times before prying them out of his hands.
He clenched his little fists and screamed at me, "You are BAD, Dr. H.!"
"No, I'm not. I'm good," I retorted, jamming germy playdoh into canisters.
The kid stomped off for about 30 seconds and then came back to join me.
"I'm helping now," he said, matter of factly.
"Thanks, pal," I said with encouragement, but the job was pretty much done and I wasn't in the least bit impressed.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Leadership

Another annoying day. I had to go to a place to learn about teacher leadership. Learning about leadership involved making a poster with a visual representation of the key ideas in an extremely lame article about leadership. I have a wicked sore throat and made it pretty clear to everyone that I was going to be taking a back seat in the enterprise. I drew a few stick people, but that was about it. I mostly texted complaints to jw. I tried to imagine a group of lawyers or doctors or nurses or CEO's or dentists or professors or engineers or architects being asked to leave their jobs for the day to sit in a room to make silly posters and paper chains together. I could be totally wrong, but I just don't think this would happen. I think a lot of people should be severely punished for wasting my time today.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Voices

Remember that article about zines that Mitz and I wrote last spring? Well, come to find out, it arrived in my mailbox yesterday. It's in a journal for middle school teachers called Voices From the Middle. I asked #1 son if that would be an okay thing to blog about, or if the topic seemed too braggy. He hesitated and then shrugged, "Maybe you could put a sarcastic spin on it." I've been trying hard to figure out how to put a sarcastic spin on this, but it's not coming to me. So I'll leave well enough alone and head to bed. I don't think it's that bad a thing to blog about anyway. We've got to celebrate and sometimes brag about the small pleasures of life.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Annoyance

Today I got pretty annoyed and I couldn't get unannoyed. I got so annoyed that I wanted to take my own two hands and choke myself to death. I don't usually get this annoyed. So I don't know what's going on. Everyone's on my last nerve. Except for the K's. I really had a good time with them this afternoon, making playdoh turtles.
Don't get all concerned about me. I'm fine and any hint of concern will get me annoyed again. Just try to ignore me. But don't stop coming to the blog and don't stop commenting. That would get me annoyed as well. Even this post is annoying the heck out of me. But I'm not going to delete it because I'd just have to blog again (because I'm in a blogging contest), which would be annoying.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Reviews

I saw two movies this weekend, so I'll write rambling yet pertinent movie reviews. Movie #1: New Moon. I have not read the Twilight books, so I'm not tethered by preconceived notions about characters or plot. I have to say I've really enjoyed both of these fine films. The first one was better than this new one, but I still enjoyed it. Scenes of the Pacific northwest are beautiful and I personally have been to Forks so I do feel bonded with that place. I'm definitely a Team Edward kind of gal, tho Jacob is very adorable. Too beefed up tho. He looks like an Incredible Hulk and that's not a good look. He should keep his shirt on. I would have liked to have more scenes of Edward and Bella hopping around in the redwood canopy, but maybe they'll do that again in the next movie. I need to sit down with one of these Twilight fanatics and hear what's happening next. I'm v. curious at this point. Okay, on to movie #2. Men Who Stare At Goats. I basically knew nothing about this movie going in. It was hiliarous, but also made a few points about how stupid war is. So, good job, George and Ewan. Well done, both of you. And Jeff Bridges, too. So the bottom line is this: If you want to see these movies, you should.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Book

Over on facebook I'm surveying "friends" about how much they read in a year. 20 "friends" have responded with answers ranging from 2 to 200. (One "friend" ( yes, you know who you are) tried to subvert the survey with the always unhelpful "How the hell should I know" comment). But, all that aside, it's come to my attention, through my survey data, that there are some heavy duty readers out there and even in my hey day I don't think I matched their #'s. But I'm going to try to beef up my reading, even though another "friend" told me my idea to set a reading goal was "dumb." Taking that comment with a grain of salt, I'm going to be setting goals anyway (some time soon) and the reason I'll be having a goal setting conference with myself in the future is that I have been reading not very much this past year. I've read a couple of great novels because Good Pal Menosky told me to, but mostly I've been starting books and then tossing them aside. And this troubles me. I want to have a reader identity.
Right now I'm reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I'm on p. 44 and it's good so far. My goal is to actually finish it.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Head

Before #1 son's AMAZING jazz concert tonight, Husbandman and I went out for a light repast. Local eatery was packed so Husbandman and I sat at the crowded bar. Right in the midst of our pleasant dining, Teendaughter called and I hopped off the bar stool to take the call outside. In my awkward yet sincere attempt to not disturb others, I clunked this poor eater right upside the head with my hapless elbow. I could have kept walking toward the door, but that seemed really rude, so I patted the guy on the head several times and said, "Geez, I whacked you right on the head. Really sorry about that."
He didn't seem to like that I was apologizing and didn't really make any eye contact with me at all, so I decided to leave him to his meal and move on. I wish he could have seen the humor in the situation, but everybody has to be true to themselves.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

The Productivity

There was a lot going on today. I helped out at 2 grade level meetings. And I started a voice thread with some second graders. And I listened to a webinar on testing. And I gathered info for a helpful chart that I personally made. I sent out a zillion important emails. I played with playdoh while singing This Old Man a couple of times with a group of K's. I stopped a kid from running down the stairs by holding my arm out and asking him to slow down, thus causing him to fall on the ground, screaming and yelling and contorting and pulling his shoes off and throwing them around and banging his head against some concrete. He kept yelling, "You're making me miss my bus!!!!!" And I really did make him miss his bus. But I think he has to take some responsibility as well. I felt bad for the guy, but he really over reacted, imho.
Except for the crazy kid meltdown, I felt I was fairly productive.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Building

I joined a big group of teachers today to tour our new school. Stairs were put in recently so we got to walk up to classrooms. I have a little office on the 3rd floor. It doesn't have a window, but I instantly felt comfortable in that space. Even though it has no walls as yet, I know it's going to be a cozy inviting spot for literacy adventures.
The teachers were getting pretty intense about choosing classrooms and there was some talk of physical violence about room selection. I was glad to be a literacy partner with no choice whatsoever.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Transfer

Little peep has a dad in jail and she wrote him a letter during writer's workshop. She even grabbed an envelope from her teacher and wrote Dad's name on the front. On the back she wrote, "Be free at last!"
They're working on a webpage for the local MLK Jr web page contest. I loved how she transferred her learning to a new situation.
Heartbreaking, yet awesome. Well done, little peep!