December 31, 2008
1. Knitting a Hat, a DS Cozy , a scarf
2. Painting Our Basement Blue
3. Starting a Blog
4. Watching the Olympics
5. Reading Land of Lincoln and Confederates in the Attic at the same time.
6. Having Hannah stay at my house repeatedly
7. Creating my desk/craft sanctuary
8. Spending time with our nephews
9. Visiting Steamboat and going to the Estes Park Wool Market and going to the Renaissance Festival
10. Finding out I was pregnant!
December 24, 2008
A Christmas Story: One Christmas, I think Papa Cool and I watched this for a majority of the 24 hours TNT (or is it TBS?) played it. Non-stop classic lines: "A major award!" "Fra-gil-e." "You'll shoot your eye out!" "Drink more ovaltine?"
Borrowed Hearts: Papa Cool and I have watched many Christmas movies. Typically, we watch so many because our gifts are already neatly wrapped beneath the tree, while Mama and Sista Cool frantically try to create and wrap their presents. One of our major coups involved watching the original (and best) Miracle on 34th St. followed by the 90s remake. This movie, however, is our classic. A total 90s cheese-fest starring Eric McCormack (of Will and Grace) and Roma Downey, it involves a highly improbable tale, a Mexican millionaire angel, an annoying kid, and a golf hustler. It doesn't get any better than this. We still call each other every Christmas season when we spot the airtimes for this movie. Papa Cool has since branched out into the wide world of Hallmark movies and Fa-la-la-la-Lifetime, but this is just about the only modern TV Christmas movie I watch.
A Charlie Brown Christmas: The all-time classic. My HS students still enjoy watching it, and I must admit to still tearing up a bit whenever Linus delivers his big "true meaning of Christmas" speech.
A Christmas Carol (the one with George C. Scott: This is the first version I remember watching, as it originally aired on TV. Mama Cool taped it off the TV, and we watched it every year. George C. Scott is absolutely perfect as Scrooge, able to portray both his evil-capitalist-who-hates-holidays side and his giddy-as-a-schoolboy side. Roger Rees, one of my favorite actors, is his nephew Fred, and every portrayal is just right. Fezziwig's is delightful, the poorhouse (sometimes left out of other versions) is absolutely depressing. The goose at the end is pretty large as well.
December 22, 2008
Brad Paisley Christmas: I grew up listening to country music, and while I stick pretty much to bluegrass any more, I still enjoy listening to Brad, the country guitar god with a sense of humour. Sure, the country Christmas classics like "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy" are here, but Paisley creates new classics like "Penguin, James Penguin." Probably my favorite song, it details the adventures of Santa's helper penguin, a dashing, tuxedo-wearing spy. I can't wait to play and sing it with my kiddo.
Andrew Peterson Behold the Lamb of God: This is Mr. Cool's favorite Christmas album, and the one that doesn't go into storage after the Christmas season. We listen to it all year. The rare, and beautiful, Christmas concept album, it covers the full story of "the true tall tale of the coming of Christ." In addition, Peterson conquers the most boring of all parts of the Bible: a long list of begats in the song, "Matthew's Begats."
Barenaked Ladies Barenaked for the Holidays: I love all of the previous albums (and the one to come), but this is the album I love to put on the most. They do a version of "Do They Know It's Christmas?:! They sing "Deck the Halls," only the only words they use are Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young! They sing a song about oppressed elves with Michael Buble! Seriously, this album is great, and includes the most beautiful Hanukkah song I've ever heard--"Hanukkah Blessings."
Mindy Smith My Holiday: Mindy Smith is one of the new folk/pop/country chanteuses out there, and I discovered her through her blistering cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," one of the best songs ever, in my opinion. Her albums are great, and her Christmas album not only covers the classics well, as in her smokin' take of "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve," but offers great new songs, including "Follow the Shepherd Home," a beautiful and true Christmas song.
Now, of course, I still love the classics, like Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Mannheim Steamroller, and Russell Newport, but in addition to these newbies, my all-time favorite Christmas Album is:
Handel The Messiah: When I was growing up, my mom had a two-record version of The Messiah, and I loved to put on those records and listen. The soaring "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted," the classic and stirring "For Unto Us a Child is Born,"and, of course, everyone's favorite "Hallelujah! For the Lord God Omnipotent Reigneth." When I was in college, I went down to Arizona before Christmas with my grandparents, and I was able to see a performance of The Messiah with my grandma. It was amazing to see and hear it sung live. I probably listen to this more than any other Christmas album.
What do you like to listen to this most wonderful time of the year?
December 20, 2008
Things I've Done (In Bold)
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band Clarinet counts, right?
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world And I loved it!
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo As Mrs. Claus in the school Christmas pageant
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightning at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch I do believe knitting counts.
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables Only once though, and deer ate most of 'em
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset I see pretty much every sunrise.
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted My sister is an artist, after all.
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching In Alaska--and we saw orcas!
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma And then I fainted. Seriously.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London Sort've--there was a crowd!
77. Broken a bone My wrist, in 6th grade basketball.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle Well, I thought it was speeding.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House West Wing, baby!
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby Well, I'm working on this one!
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant
December 18, 2008
The cold has been more severe than I can ever before recollect. It has frozen the ink in my pen, and chilled the blood in my veins, but not the warmth of my affection for him for whom my heart beats with unabated ardor through all the changes and vicissitudes of life, in the still calm of Peacefield, and the
turbulent scenes in which he is about to engage.
The serpent you cherished and warmed, bit the hand that nourished him, and gave you sufficient specimens of his talents, his gratitude, his justice, and his truth. When such vipers are let loose upon society, all distinction between virtue and vice are leveled, all respect for character is lost.
I begin to think grandparents not so well qualified to educate grandchildren as parents. They are apt to relax in their spirit of government, and be too indulgent.
December 17, 2008
"If Jefferson carried on with slave women, Adams, according to one story in circulation, had ordered Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to London to procure four pretty mistresses to divide between them. When the story reached Adams, he
was highly amused. 'I do declare upon my honor,' he wrote
William Tudor, 'if this is true General Pinckney has kept them all for himself and cheated me out of my two.'"
The painting I chose was painted by Gilbert Stuart when Adams was nearly 89. His son, John Quincy, asked him to pose for it. Adams enjoyed posing for Stuart, saying, "He lets me do as I please and keeps me constantly amused with conversation." This is the last painting of Adams.
December 16, 2008
Student A: What's for lunch?
Student B: Speedo or ham sandwich.
Teacher: What?! (Hysterical Laughter)
Student B: Crispito (a taquito hybrid)--what's funny about that, Miss?
Teacher: Nothing--I thought you said speedo.
Followed by an explanation of what speedos are to clueless student.
December 15, 2008
Just so you're clear, Alaska is also not down by Hawaii. Just making sure you know. (Not all of the kids are that clueless, not all of the kids are that clueless . . .)
Me: What's the temperature reading now?
Driver: It's reading -18.
Shotgun Passenger: It has warmed up. It was reading -22.
Me: This is ridiculous. I should be sitting by a fire.
Shotgun Passenger: Heck, we should be IN a fire!
Group Laughter and Shivering
Edited to Add: Happy Birthday, Mama Cool! I hope you can stay nice and warm and cozy today! Much love!
December 11, 2008
Currently, four of them are failing again. Two have a chance--their Fs are very high, and they are turning in all their work. When all the grades are in, they should pass. Two have very, very low grades. I have given them multiple copies of every assignment. I check in with them constantly. I push and push to try to get them to do work. I give them extra help, extra time, every little advantage I can think of.
This is the most frustrating part of my job. They could pass. They should pass. They would pass, if they would just do some work.
I just can't make them drink.
December 09, 2008
I love so many Christmas traditional yummies Mama Cool has whipped up over the years--English toffee, peppermint bark, gingerbread cookies, drommar, Honey Twists, snowballs . . .the list could go on for miles. What are your favorite treats this time of year?
In the spirit of the season, though, I thought I'd share my favorite goodie to make and share. If only the internet was magical enough that you could reach into the computer and grab some.
This recipe is from the back of a bag of Jolly Time popcorn. I think it makes the best caramel corn ever. It makes a bunch too, so feel free to share!
Baked Caramel Corn
Nonstick cooking Spray
6 quarts popped Jolly Time Pop Corn (air popped is the absolute best)
1 cup butter or margarine
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light or dark corn syrup (I prefer dark for a more caramelly color)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 250 F. Coat bottom and sides of large roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place popped pop corn in roasting pan.
In heavy saucepan, slowly melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in baking soda and vanilla.
Gradually pour over popped pop corn, mixing well. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool completely. Break apart and store in tightly covered container.
Makes about 6 quarts
December 08, 2008
This year, I was determined to finally get him something big, exciting, and off his list. On Saturday, when I sneakily consulted the list, I saw that a reasonably affordable tool had made it on the list: hand router. Excellent, I thought. I can totally find one of those. So, off I merrily tripped to Harbor Freight, Home Depot, and Lowe's, finally finding the perfect Dremel with a plunge router attachment. I scurried home, wrapped them up, and placed them under the tree.
Upon returning, home, Mr. Cool spotted the presents. "See if you can guess!" I chirped merrily, dripping with Christmas spirit.
"I don't know," he said, carefully eying the wrapped presents. "Maybe a couple books? Unless, it's a hand router."
I began to try to brazen it out, but my unstable emotional state led to me start tearing up. "It is," I said.
"I bought myself one last week," he replied, "I was meaning to tell you."
"A hand router? You bought yourself one?!" I was incredulous and began to cry. And cry.
To Mr. Cool's credit, he felt pretty terrible. I then made him unwrap the gifts, to make sure they were exactly like what he had bought, and that he couldn't use them. He admitted that they were nicer, but that he wouldn't really need or use them. He started to get a little teary.
I took the tools back to the store yesterday. I was really disappointed that the clerk didn't ask me why I was returning them. I wanted to regale her with the story of my lame husband, who buys items less than a month before Christmas that are on his list. "It was a preliminary list!" he said, trying to justify himself. Hmmm. Yeah, right. But what do I get him now? Perhaps I should just give him a duster, so he can keep his old gifts clean.
December 06, 2008
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay 100% Wool, in a beautiful colorway.
I have "pinned" my scarflet with a Scrabble bobby pin that works perfectly.
December 05, 2008
Sorry to report, I have no photo of the knitwear in action. Perhaps next time!
December 02, 2008
November 28, 2008
So, this post is a day late and a dollar short. I couldn't come up with a way to make this post clever and informative, so I'm just going to come out and say it: a new Cool will be arriving in June. A very small Cool, and we don't yet know if it will be Miss Cool or Master Cool. As of this week, though, the future Cool had a strong heartbeat and a proclivity for waving her hands around. Probably preparing for a political debate!
Anyway, we are pretty excited at the Cool household, and we have been ever since we learned that pirates are wild*. So, that's what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season--heartbeats!
*In an episode of the Simpsons, the pregnancy test Apu and his bride take operates on the slot machine principle--three seperate slots. Babies, obviously mean baby, and pirates are wild. So, baby, baby, pirate equals a pregnancy!
November 26, 2008
November 22, 2008
You start with this--some nice sheepswool, cleaned, processed, and drafted into a chunk of fleece.
You then try to put it on a spinning wheel. This is the wheel I had the best luck with, an Ashford Traditional. Hopefully, you're thinking of Sleeping Beauty now, although it is a bit different. What you can't see is my right foot, trying to smoothly pump the treadle to maintain a continuous speed, without any speed-ups or slow-downs.
I wasn't great at spinning. What you see above is my best tiny little ball of yarn--and it isn't great. My yarn is uneven, either just barely spun or overspun. I'm not a natural, and I don't know if our instructor knew quite what to do with me. My biggest struggle involved getting the yarn to feed in and wrap around the bobbin, which apparently means my problem was tension. No one ever showed my how to adjust the tension on my wheel, so that made it hard.
Still, it was fun to try. I need to figure out some way to display my "beautiful" balls of yarn. Mr. Cool is relieved that he doesn't have to drop a chunk of change on a new wheel. Maybe I'll have to try with a spindle . . .
November 19, 2008
November 11, 2008
Tibor Rubin, a Hungarian immigrant, was placed in a Nazi concentration camp at the age of 13, until liberated by American troops. He wanted to go to the U.S. to become a G.I. Joe, and although he struggled with the language test, eventually made it. He served in Korea, under an anti-Semitic commander who tried to kill him. Unfortunately, he was just too darn good at soldiering. He was later taken captive and held as a prisoner of war, where he stole food for his fellow captives and worked hard to domitzvahs (good deeds) as his late mother had taught him.
The other story that shocked and surprised me involved Admiral Stockdale. Yes, the same Admiral James Stockdale who served as Ross Perot's running mate in the 1992 election and famously said, "Who am I? Why am I here?" at the VP debate. He has been the butt of many jokes ever since, when in reality his Medal of Honor citation is incredible. I find I must quote it, rather than trying to re-tell the story:
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners' of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale's valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.I hope today you will take a chance to learn about the many Medal of Honor recipients, including Vernon Baker, originally from Cheyenne, WY, "Hershey" Miyamura, raised in New Mexico, and the four heroes from Pueblo, CO. And, if you really are a Civil War nerd like me, reading the various citations from the Civil War is a great way to kill some time. Of course, thanks to any and all veterans who read this blog, and a special thanks to my family who has served in the military: my Grandpa Bill, my father-in-law George, and my brother-in-law Matthew.
I'll close this rather long post with a quote:
"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." ~Winston Churchill (Mr. Cool's oft-quoted quote)
November 10, 2008
The books we love, love us back. In gratitude, we should promise not to cheat on them -- not to pretend we're better than they are; not to use them as target practice, agit-prop, trampolines, photo ops or stalking horses; not to sell out
scruple to that scratch-and-sniff info-tainment racket in which we posture in front of experience instead of engaging it, and fidget in our cynical opportunism for an angle, a spin, or a take, instead of consulting compass points of principle, and strike attitudes like matches, to admire our wiseguy profiles in the mirrors of the slicks. We are reading for our lives, not performing like seals for some fresh fish.
November 05, 2008
"No matter how they cast their ballots, all Americans can be proud
of the history that was made yesterday," he said. "Across the country, citizens
voted in large numbers. They showed a watching world the vitality of America's
democracy and the strides we have made towards a more perfect union. They chose
a president whose journey represents a triumph of the American story, a
testament to hard work, optimism, and faith in the enduring promise of our
nation," said President Bush.
November 04, 2008
Many other elections have happened on November 4th, so check out today in history.
Edited to Add: Perhaps the coolest place on earth to vote today--if only I wasn't afraid of heights!
October 31, 2008
October 30, 2008
October 29, 2008
Please post any remembrances of TV shows you loved that were cancelled way too soon.
October 28, 2008
October 24, 2008
Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.
Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.
Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
1) I cleaned a gun while watching the definitive liberal political drama series (West Wing).
2) I saw a celebrity: Tony Scheffler (TE for the Denver Football Broncos), then I saw an even bigger celebrity – Tony the Tiger of Frosted Flakes Fame. One is obviously better than the other, but they’re both GRRREAT!!!
3) I ate a hot dog for lunch. A Nathan’s dog as big as a small child’s leg (Sam’s Club is the cheapest lunch ever - $1.50 for a dog and a soda; and since I have no shame as an American, I stopped my wandering of bulk packaging twice more to partake of the free refills (96oz. of pure bladder bulging bliss)).
4) I wore cowboy boots all day, and yes, that cow poop is authentic.
5) I purchased 700 rounds of pistol ammunition before the sun rose, and will shoot them all by the week’s end.
6) I exercised my 2nd Amendment right of awesomeness (as mentioned above), but also explored my 1st Amendment right by reading a book about concepts I don’t necessarily agree with, by a guy who’s morally opposed to moral absolutes – all without issuing a Fatwah, declaring a jihad, or calling Limbaugh or Franken to complain.
7) I listened to National Public Radio, during a pledge drive no less. I could listen to dulcet tones of Nina Totenberg and Kai Ryssdal read the phonebook.
8) I, like any good American, made purchases on credit, using a flag motif card.
9) I watched PBS. I still don’t know why “America’s Test Kitchen” hasn’t won a day time Emmy – the ricotta cheese from today’s lasagna has more character than Days, Passions, and General Hospital’s combined.
10) I voted early. I voted for my guy, then using Tony the Tiger’s ID, I got back in line and voted again – thanks ACORN!
11) Seriously though, as is my custom, I confused the nice lady trying to record my vote. Only after my successful casting did I learned they were out of “I Voted Today” stickers. Upon hear this disastrous news, I asked the patriotic volunteer straight faced “how will I know not to vote again without my sticker?” She stared back at me blankly, either scared that I was serious or too afraid of my obvious mental instability to flag down the driver of my short yellow bus.
Yes, definitely more American then apple pie, but Captain American stands tall among our fallen Patriots. May he rest in peace…
October 23, 2008
October 20, 2008
October 18, 2008
October 17, 2008
October 14, 2008
I'm Macbeth, and I supporteth this message, and I desperately wanteth to be King! Even tho', tis but a sound and fury, signifying nothing, this ad wast paid for by my dear Lady Macbeth, who almost more desperately wanteth me to thine King!
I was tired.
This week, the first quarter ends. Four more days of dealing with students sudden realization that turning work in would help their grade, and their frantic pleas to accept late work. Which, being a softy, I always do. Four more days of grading late work, entering grades, answering frequent pestering to "tell me what my grade is now!"
If I can just make it to next Monday, maybe I can climb out of the depths, and back into the heights of teaching.
October 09, 2008
October 04, 2008
of jeans--too wild and wacky?
Does Ironman care?
My blast from the past
Looked back to my senior year
Is ten years the past?
tons of teenage guys in pink--
maybe we can change.
Spray can hair color--
Blondes turn green, purple, orange--
I should have bought stock.
Be true to your school--
paint your face blue, red, white--
I can hear pores cry.
October 03, 2008
Although, to be fair, I sort've zoned out and started surfing the internet after a half hour, as I can only take so many talking points before I get grumpy. I relish the fact that we are only about a month away from the end of the campaign, as it truly feels like it has been going on since I was a wee voter.
I think I have only about one political, election-related blog post left in me. Then we will return to our normal teaching, reading, knitting schedule. So, today I leave you with an interesting commentary on the debate from Peggy Noonan. It was nice to read a moderate, conservative, positive spin.
October 01, 2008
My video wasn't working, so I've replaced it with a plain and simple link to the interview.
This is a deep, life-long love affair, although according to pictures, my childhood in the 1980s led to some pretty bad pairs of jeans. I've also never quite recovered from Levi's decision to stop making ladies' 565s, which were my favorite style.
So, this week is my favorite week of school. Why? It's Spirit Week, which means as long as we are dressing up/participating in the fun days, I can wear jeans. It's fabulous--as a comfortable person, I'm a better teacher, I have more fun with the kids, and I'm quicker to the right discipline move.
Sigh. If only I could be draped in denim every day. (I love you, Mama Cool, and I do wear dresses and skirts sometimes, really!)
September 29, 2008
As I may have mentioned before, my job is a little odd, and full of interesting sights and smells. This week I’ve been working in Booking, where I kindly usher Weld’s fugitives of justice from the warm embrace of their arresting officer to the crushing reality of life with a criminal record, a frightening booking photo, and a bad night in a room cell 1. Cell 1 regularly houses 15 inmates and when my mad human Tetris skills are at work has been known to house 21-28. Stacking alleged offenders like cordwood has its disadvantages, most notably the smell – as one can only imagine – but this is not the smell that struck me the most this week.
As I was taking one of my breaks in the staff lounge this week, I was hit with a familiar and not unpleasant smell that one doesn’t normally associate with the men’s room at work. In my umpteenth trip, my brain had finally cataloged the smell and alerted my consciousness to what it was – the scent of fresh baked French bread. In some sort of Star Trekian vortex or Stargate-like worm hole, the men’s restroom in the officer’s lounge at the county lock-up smells like a Parisian patisserie (bakery for you simpletons out there).
In the past week I’ve booked in a grandmother, an active deputy sheriff (from another county), and almost got to book in a few nuns, which is a story for another day, but nothing I saw, read, observed, or experienced had the gross juxtaposition of a latrine mixed with the odor of a crusty and delicious conveyance of meat and cheese. Well, with that work done, I think I’ll go the bathroom and make myself a sandwich.
September 26, 2008
September 25, 2008
Yesterday afternoon, I had sometime to throw up a few mild ideas that were moderately well received. Reading it this afternoon (I had over five hundred posts to catch up on), I realized that only one conservative woman was posting her ideas, and she was being debated by about twelve more liberal women. It was interesting to read--I lurked, but chickened out of really getting involved. I was a bit shocked to read this vitriol from women who love to knit, but apparently I've picked up a habit not quite in keeping with my more conservative self.
Should I have spoken up? Shouldn't we all just agree to disagree? Is the election invading any of your "comfort" spots?
September 23, 2008
I have to admit to some election fatigue myself, but as November 4th creeps up on us, I realized I hadn't checked out the candidates' education policies. If you care about education as well, please check out each candidate's ideas before you make your choice. Keep in mind, though, that the total American mindset toward education may need a change. The Quite Cool educational policy would involve changing our entire way of schooling, and perhaps moving away from a liberal arts education for every student. Harry Potter didn't take English I-IV. Maybe we should only give students a liberal arts education through grade six, and then allow them to make a choice about their future education.
Anyway, I have many more thoughts, but I also have some grading to do, so without further ado:
Barack Obama's Education Policy
John McCain's Education Platform
September 22, 2008
September 20, 2008
A phrase one hears a lot in the blogosphere is "guilty pleasures." People regularly list various things they like under the heading of guilty pleasures. Why the guilt, I wonder? I suspect it's because of one's self image. People develop an attitude and perspective, and when they like something outside of that image, they feel shame and guilt.
Life's too short for guilty pleasures. I think if you like something, you should enjoy liking it. Any guilt or shame is built on what other people think of you, and that shouldn't be a concern. If a person really likes the new New Kids On the Block singles, they should just enjoy the music. No shame or guilt at all.
September 19, 2008
September 18, 2008
So, it was with great excitement that I found some humor in the election today: some wonderful person has created the Sarah Palin baby name generator. You see, Sarah's kids are named Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper, and Trig. Not your normal, everyday names. Wonder what your name might have been had your parents had Sarah's creative gift? Head over, and check out your name.
If you do go, please comment with your name--I want to see what other people get! Thanks much, Crutch Camp Palin
September 17, 2008
So, I have a test coming up. We've just finished The Most Dangerous Game, a thrilling short story by Richard Connell, and we're finally ready to test. Just a short test--it was a short story--so I'm cheating. I'm not carefully writing my own perfect test. I'm heading down to the copy room to run off the book test.
Most teachers don't have any qualms about this, but I do. Sometimes the materials we get that go with our textbooks are loads of help, but about 89% of the time, they are rubbish. The exact sort of rubbish, I imagine, that the testing folks want our kids to write. I like to create my own materials, not just blindly copy what the good textbook folks want me to.
But this time, I'm copying. I've been so stressed and overwhelmed that all I want to do is run off a few copies and relax. I don't have the time amidst all my other duties to write a focused and challenging test. (You might be noting that I have found time to blog.) So, here I go, off to the copier. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
Do you have any fond test memories? I miss blue books, and wish I could use that with my Honors kids. Do they still use blue books in college? Sigh. Probably not. It's probably all digital.
September 16, 2008
September 15, 2008
When I first moved to Greeley, there were no Starbucks places. There was a delightful bagel shop that served great coffee. Now, there are (pause while I add them up) at least eight Starbucks locations in Greeley, CO.
I can't lie, I've had a Starbucks on occasion. My favorite coffee place in town, though, was Dazbog, where I could enjoy a delicious sugar-free peanut butter latte. Mama Cool loved to get a cinnamon-coconut latte when she visited. I had a long-running Bible study that always met there. Dazbog closed this summer.
My knitting group has been meeting at Red Roasters, a locally owned coffee shop, that seemed to have a good crowd and a lot of buzz. I just heard from a fellow knitter that it closed down. Where do we meet now, we wonder? We've considered a lot of local places, but not a Starbucks.
Most mornings, my car pool stops for coffee at the Human Bean, a great, friendly drive-thru shop, with no place to stop in and gab while sipping an addictive Cafe Mocha.
So, today, I ask for a moment of Silence for all the Coolest coffee shops in Greeley, slowly consumed by a monster of, dare I say it, Moby Dick proportions.
September 12, 2008
To be honest, I've voted the bottom of the ticket twice in my limited presidential voting career--I was more excited about having a VP from Wyoming (Dick Cheney) than I was about George W. Bush. When you're the smallest state (population-wise), it's pretty cool to have the VP hail from your state. I imagine some Alaskans will understand where I 'm coming from at this point. Thinking about this led me to an interesting observation--Republicans, in the last few elections, have chosen VP candidates from states with very few electoral votes to offer, states that typically don't figure in D.C. political power polls.
So, I'm offering a few Alaska/Wyoming parallels this morning:
Population: WY 515,004 (#50)
AK 670,053 (#47)
Size: WY 97,809 square miles (#10)
AK 591,004 square miles (#1)
Electoral Votes: WY 3
Citizens w/College Degrees: WY 22%
Registered Democrats: WY 59,000
AK 53,000 These are rough numbers, data difficult to find.
Top Google News Story: WY Fallen Wyoming serviceman honored in Iraq
AK Palin and Gibson re-enact 'High Noon' in Alaska
I could have added a lot more, but I think we begin to see a pattern--small states in population, large in size, with similar numbers across the board--and I have to admit, I think it's pretty cool that the Republicans will choose candidates from our "not nationally important" states.
September 11, 2008
Life is good. Has anything simple filled you with joy and accomplishment recently? I hope so.
September 09, 2008
September 08, 2008
"We'll buy more yarn," he said. When I protested that this was special, he suggested I just wait until next year's Wool Market. I stared blankly. Plainly, he does not know the inherent stubbornness of the women in my family. So, nine hours of carefully picking out knots, threading the growing balls of yarn through loops, and wailing at the sheer mangled tangles, I have two nicely wound balls and a scarf started. Four of those hours involved me staying up past midnight on a Friday, picking trance like through the knots.
There's a metaphor in all this--perhaps that I won't settle for a tangled life, perhaps that I am simply too stubborn. I could make a metaphor about Jesus gently picking through the knots in our lives to leave us clean and smooth. Maybe I could focus on the irony of untangling yarn only to carefully tangle it back up through the process of knitting.
An ancient form of meditation involved labyrinths, and this yarn became to me a maze, a way of breaking down all worries and struggles into following a single thread through each loop and knot.
Hmm--this might be a bit too philosophical, but I had to get something more than balls of yarn out of my weekend.
September 06, 2008
Why do I bring this up? One of the attacks on Sarah Palin has been that she hasn't travelled enough, that she first got her passport and left the U.S. in 2007, to visit the Alaskan National Guard in Kuwait and Germany. So what? Not many of us have the resources and time to travel the world. Besides, she lived in Alaska, a place most people have pretty high on their travel lists. I think the media needs to wake up a bit--for Americans, travel has always been a bit of an elite proposition. We live in a big, fantastic country, but it's all one country. A person could visit all fifty states, an impressive feat, and apparently not have travelled enough. Perhaps this criticism stings because I haven't travelled nearly enough in my life. My chances aren't very high to travel around the world any more, unless Mr. Cool finally wins the lottery, and I would hate to think that if my latent political ambitions spring forth, I could be derided for not travelling enough.
Well, enough Election 2008 ranting for today. Check out this nice piece in Newsweek from a liberal woman who still likes Sarah Palin.
September 04, 2008
I've just finished my Queen Bee hat, and my sense of accomplishment is pretty big. I first saw this pattern a year ago, when I was still teaching myself to knit, and I wanted to make it. I tried even, with cheaper wool, but I had no idea what I was doing, and it has since been frogged. This time, I got it right.
Pattern: The Buzz Hat for Queen Bees from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation
Yarn: Goldenrod Lamb's Pride Worsted, from the Brown Sheep Company in Mitchell, NE
Buttons: lovely wooden bees from My Sister Knits in Ft. Collins
Modifications: I shortened it up a bit, so the top isn't quite as bee-hivey. It's a bit tricky to photograph, but if you ever see it in person, it looks like a beehive!
A close-up of the bee buttons--I saw the buttons at My Sister Knits and instantly thought of this hat. I then rushed around the store looking for the perfect golden honey yarn, and found this. It was wonderful to work with, and I am very happy with this hat. It's a nice, loose, cover the curls hat. Where's that first freeze?
September 03, 2008
My school is desperately trying to improve, with new schedules, new teacher demands, new rules and regulations--and I am exhausted every day. I simply do not have the energy to do much more than come home and read or knit.
And I have been reading--Mama Cool also gifted me with Madeleine L'Engle's A Circle of Quiet, one of her Crosswicks journals, full of L'Engle insight; for my knitting anniversary I purchased a historical tale of Knitting in America, and I've been learning just what and how they knit in the past. The incredibly tiny gauge and needles and L'Engle's wisdom and honesty are blowing my mind.
And I have been knitting--I've finished my Queen Bee hat, so it's just waiting for buttons; I'm knitting in circles on my plain socks, and I tried to wind up my Plain & Fancy yarn for a lovely scarf last night, but tangles ensued.
So, I'll leave you with a Star Wars feminist thought: as I watched A New Hope last night (Han Shot First!), I realized that to Obi-Wan and Yoda, Leia was more important. Think about it--she was much more protected, having been adopted, sent to a completely foreign to Darth planet, and having no name connection to him. Meanwhile, Luke's last name was Skywalker, and he was hanging around Tatooine with Darth's step-brother. Maybe this is interesting, or maybe when watching a movie for the billionth time you lose all sense of reality. (This also happens to me when I read Romeo and Juliet.)
So, can America handle a regular gal as VP? Can you be a conservative and a feminist at the same time? Have you ever read and loved a L'Engle book? Is Leia more important to the rebellion?