Monday, March 31, 2008


Word of the Day for Saturday, March 29, 2008

excrescence \ik-SKRESS-uhn(t)s\, noun:

1. Something (especially something abnormal) growing out from something else. 2. A disfiguring or unwanted mark, part, or addition.

LOL!!! I am signed up for's word of the day, I know, I'm a dork. This was a funny one.

My son is an OCD kinda guy sometimes....he gets stuck on something and that's the topic of conversation until he decides to move on. When he was little it was "If I drop this will it break?" and now it is "Is this healthy food?" Off the top of my head I can't think of any others we have entertained over the years, but during our ice storm break and Christmas break, he was on this word kick, so we came up with a "Word for the Day." The first one was persnickety from the Sargento commercial "Persnickety people, great cheese" or something like that. Here's out list:

What great words/sentences can you come up with?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

My Saturdays

My son loves to skateboard. We spend many Saturdays at the skate park.
Fortunately we have yet to have any major injuries requiring emergency room visits. Only broken boards.
He's just covered with scrapes and bruises and bumps. I'm glad he has something he enjoys so much!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kidnapping, Part 1

Hello all! Something that started as a simple prank is turning into more fun than I've had at work in a long time.
<--These are the culprits. Me and my friend. Our supervisor has this Jack O'Lantern. His wife came up around Thanksgiving last year and gave him a hard time for still having it on his desk. So then it shows up in the conference room with Christmas trees taped to it. Then out came the hearts....then the shamrocks. So I told my friend that we should take it...kidnap it. So, we did. We cut out letters from the newspaper for the Ransom Note stating we had Jack O'Lantern and that proof of life would follow. We sent the ransom note through the US Mail so he wouldn't know it was from us. Well, this morning this was his email to all the PTs, OTs, SLPs, and Psychs (and two teachers from my school):

Alas!! My dearest friends, I have received a letter informing me that O'lantern has been kidnapped. By not too bright kidnappers though, they refer to O'lantern as Jack but it's Jacqueline (a.k.a. Jackie O O'lantern) if they had looked closely they would have noticed. I am counting on my friends to help identify those individuals who would have done such a dastardly deed. I have enlisted the help of Linus (he has had much experience looking for the Great Pumpkin). Please be on the look out. I hope Peter Pumpkin Eater is not around. And Jackie O we are going to do everything we can to get you back stay strong.

He knows it's us, but it's fun (and hilarious!) that he's playing along. We put a picture in the mail today...I'll have to take my camera to school to get a picture. Stay tuned!!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I got some of these 'green' bags a couple of months ago. Of course, the inevitable followed. I put them in the car so I would have them to take in the store when I was there, but didn't. Forgot the next time, too. Yeah, you get the idea. We tried this whole green bag thing before about 15-20 years ago. Man, I am getting old....40 in a couple of weeks.

So, I am happy to report that I have actually remembered to use them three times now! :) They are very roomy and hold a lot more than I expected. I do need a few more, though, as I always buy more than I intend. Yesterday as I was leaving the store, a fellow shopper was on her way in, her hands filled with her green bags. Maybe it will catch on this time!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Haiku for You

One of my favorite bloggers, OMSH, gave homework, so I thought I would give you all a sample of my haiku abilities. (No laughing, please.)

This blog thing is neat.
Never thought I'd be hooked.
I found a new love.

New friends near and far.
Though I've never met them,
They brighten my day.

Long days and short days,
Some days there are blank pages,
But I'm still happy.

My first attempt at Haiku (well, maybe when I was a sophomore in high school! LOL)!

Monday, March 24, 2008


Our nightly routine is whichever adult didn't cook helps with the dishes. We also have decaf. So, this evening, Hubby says "I'm going to let you make the coffee. I don't mind making mine, but I don't want to mess yours up." I said, "Oh, well, I'm just picky." He says "I know. How about this....I don't make your coffee and you don't fold my clothes." Um...Done!! You don't have to ask me twice! LOL
Hubby is a military man, and he folds his clothes in a very precise manner. I have no time for that nonsense. But my clothes are wrinkled and his aren't!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

My Car

This is my car. I love my car. I got my car completely by myself
while Dear Hubby was in the desert. I researched and found three I liked. the Scion tC, the Camry, and the Yaris (Yep, die hard Toyota gal here). Weird three huh? Well, the Camry is just cool looking, but a little out of my price range, the Yaris was the go-to for gas mileage, and the Scion is just cool. So, I went with the Scion. It's the first time I haven't had to buy the cheapest car on the lot, so I'm loving it. But you know why no one buys these reasonably priced cool-looking cars? The insurance. I washed it every week in my driveway while it was warm enough, and tried to go through the car wash.

So, the other day when I left my mom's house in San Antonio, my
car looked like I had been four wheeling! It was because of 'mud rain'.
It was bad. My step-dad didn't know of a car wash, so I thought I would just do it when I stopped to get gas. But no one seemed to have one, and I was anxious to get home.

The next morning, I washed the car (twice! good grief) and vacuumed it out, and did the whole Armor All thing while my son was mowing the grass. I mean weeds. Here's a message for you all. It says hi in case you're having difficulty. I was trying to make something out of the not mowed parts, but the message is actually in the mowed part! lol

Yesterday I went to get my hair done. My gal is awesome. She can really make my thick locks look great. Anyway, she says, I'll walk you to your car.....and THIS is what I see.

What is with you Oklahoma people!? :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Heart San Antonio

I grew up in San Antonio. I love it. It's such a cool place. Diversity. Mexican Food. The River Walk. Night In Old San Antonio. Cascarones. Cinco de Mayo. Hearing Spanish being spoken all the time. (Did I take Spanish in high school like my mom suggested? Nope. French.) River Parades. Bridge Tournaments. The Majestic Theatre. The San Antonio Zoo.

The Tower of Americas. (I'm terrified of heights now, I don't know how I used to love going up there as a kid. I do remember not liking the elevator much, though. These days, I wouldn't go at all. ) H-E-B. Field trips to the Alamo. El Mercado. Arneson River Theater. Rock Concerts. Texas History in Seventh grade with Mrs. Naranjo. (She made us all say her name 165 times until we could say it properly with little accent. Second syllable accented with a trilled r, and the j has an h sound in case you didn't know. She was great!)

And of course, pinatas at birthday parties. When I arrived at my nephews party, however, I saw this:

What are the strings for I innocently ask? Well, I was *not* happy to find out we do not hit pinatas anymore....each child goes up there and pulls a string. One of the strings is attached to the trapdoor that opens and makes all the goods fall out. How lame is that!? I was so disappointed that one of my fond childhood memories has gone P.C. I'm sad.

That's all right. We hit it anyway! I mean, I'll be forty this year if I blow out my candles, and I've never once got hit about the head with a pinata stick. I also never wore a helmet, and my first car only had a lap seat belt. I'm *not* saying you shouldn't wear a helmet or seat belt, I'm just saying, there are some things we didn't know/do....

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Adorable Nephews

Hello all! I'm back! I went to Texas for my nephew's birthday and for part of Spring Break.
Before you meet my nephews, let me preface the introductions with this. I am a kid magnet. I'm serious. Kids love me, they come to me, I love time I took my daughter to an outdoor concert one time. I was sitting out by myself when this little girl and her mom walked by. I kid you not, the little girl walked by, looked at me, did a double take, then tugged on her mom's shirt and said, Let's go sit over there.....kid. magnet.

So here is nephew Number One!
Isn't he handsome?....don't you love the classic "man" stance!?
When he blew out his candle, he announced "I'm FIVE now!!" Like when you blow out the candles, you magically turn the next age. Well, if that's the case, I'm not blowing out *any* more candles!
Here is Nephew Number Two. He's 18 months old, and I've seen him about 3-4 times in his life, not that the mattered with Nephew Number One, he loves me anyway.
But it's a different story with Nephew Number Two....he's one of the three kids on the planet that didn't take to me within the first ten minutes.
See that scared look in his eyes? The death lock he has on my sister's leg? Yeah...he's not having anything to do with me.
The picture at the top is later in the afternoon on the second day...he was at the end of the couch where I was sitting, that's how close he got. Doesn't he look like the neighbor guy on Tool Time? LOL

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cussing Involved

%@*! Warning! This post contains language intended for mature audiences only!*~#!$

Totally unrelated aside: I'm off to Austin in the morning to visit my sister, my nephews, and my mom and step-dad, and whoever else along the way~Yay!!

In honor of Spring Break, I thought it was time for another teacher story! I worked with this little guy who I decided must have a demon. There were days as I was (*legally and with permission*) restraining him so he wouldn't hurt himself or others that I would pray over him....anyway, that's beside the point. He would go to the general education classroom, and probably 4 out of 5 days something would happen to set him off and I could tell by the loud cursing and ripping of artwork in the hallway noises he was on his way back to my room. His favorite was "f---ing bitch." We had of course tried all that we could think of to curb this cussing urge. I contacted the previous teacher to see if she had any ideas. So, she says, well....I tried to explain to him that we didn't say those things at school, etc, you know the drill....and I told him that whenever he felt like saying F. B. that he needed to say something else, like "pretty lady." She said that he continued to cuss when he was upset, but was seemingly making an effort. So, about a month later she had taken him to the nurse's office to get his meds and he said, "Smith, she a pretty lady (pointing to the nurse)." To which Mrs. Smith replied, "Yes, Johnny, she is a pretty lady." "No," said Johnny, "She a pretty lady!" Mrs. Smith, not getting it, again says "Yes, she's a pretty lady." So, as they are leaving the nurses office Johnny says "Me not say F. B!"
So for the rest of that school year, my assistant and I took to calling each other pretty ladies.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cookies! Again

I've a request for the cookie recipe. But first, a story. I like to give gifts to my childrens' teachers each year for Christmas. This usually ends up being something handmade. One year, I painted flower pots in themes relating to each teacher's subject, filled the pot with rice, and used floral tape to make flower pens. They were so cute. This year, I did cookies again. When I do cookies, I like to buy the plastic tubs or cute bags at Wal-Mart and give each teacher a variety of cookies. So, as I'm busily making all these different kinds of cookies with my awesome new Kitchen Aid, I think, I'm just going to crack the egg on the side of the mixer instead of stopping the mixer, lifting the whole thing up and doing it that way. Well, didn't quite work out the way I wanted it to. In my haste of cracking the egg and trying to avoid the giant twirling mixer thingy, half of the shell went into the batter. Yep.....too late to try to dig it out, which you can do if you've actually stopped the mixer like you are supposed to. The whole lot ended up here:

(Those egg shells obviously are from the previous batch...)

So, I figured after this frustration I better check with my now middle-school aged son to see if he would actually take the cookies to school or if he wanted me to deliver them. You see, way back when I made the cute flower pots, my daughter was in middle school. I was checking her backpack for something in like February, and I found a broken flower pot and rice all over the inside of the backpack. Sigh....all my hard work foiled by a middle-schooler too embarrassed to give her teacher a gift. I delivered the cookies.

Now for the recipe! The cookies are actually called: Chocolate Studded Dream Cookies. Isn't that catchy!?

2 cups all-purpose cake flour

3/4 cup Nestle Toll House Baking Cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs (no shells)

1 2/3 cup (10 oz. pkg) Nestle Toll House Swirled Morsels, divided

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup Swirled Morsels. Drop by well-rounded teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Top with remaining Swirled Morsels. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Enjoy while warm!! Yum-yum!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Let Them Eat Cookies!

These are my son's favorite cookies. He's a pretty good kid, so I made him some today for no good reason. Just felt like it....OK, and I kinda like 'em, too, so I figured it wouldn't hurt my diet if I had one. Or four. You know how sometimes if you eat enough of something and it makes you sick and then you don't want to eat that any more? I wonder if it would work with these. Especially right out of the oven all melty and!

And here is the most beautiful tool I have to date. Man.....I really did not know what I was missing before I had this little beauty. This was my gift after hubby's third trip to the desert. It wasn't even my birthday or anything! Kinda like today. Cookies for no reason! Gotta love 'just cuz I love you' gifts!
3/12/08 My friend got a Just Because present!

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

Blogger is not uploading my pictures and it is making me mad!

Server Error The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request. Please try again in 30 seconds.

Anyway, this is my daughter....(insert picture here), isn't she beautiful!?

This is the way we like her, though (insert a funny picture here)! J/K

Check this out.

I'll try again to upload the pictures later!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Present and Promise

I participated in a handmade card swap and got my lot in the mail last evening. So excited....they look great!

The crocus I planted last year are
blooming again.

The promise Spring is indeed on it's way,
though it may not feel like it.
I tried three times to post this yesterday. Either blogger was having an issue or I was having an issue, most likely me, I'm kinda impatient sometimes! :)

Friday, March 7, 2008

One Point Four

Here is my score on the interpreting test. Note that I received a 78.6%. Not as bad as I orginally thought! You will also note that I needed 80.0% to pass. So close, yet so far.

What stumps me, though is that you can achieve Level I by passing with 50% of Transliterating and Interpreting, but how on earth do you get past the interview portion to even get 50%? I mean, if you can pass the interview section with 80%, you are most likely going to get more than 50% on the other sections, so why is there even a Level I if no one can get past the interview portion to see if they would get 50%? Does all that even make sense?

I wish they had gone ahead and given me all my scores just so I could see whether or not it was worth it to go back and try again (which I'm not).

And WHAT is with Level III you only need 85% and Level IV you only need 80%. Whatever....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I've Achieved a New Level of Motherhood!

Yep. I received the call today. You know the one, you've probably made it yourself at least once. I know I have..."Mom, how do you make (insert your child's favorite dish here)? I was so proud (sniff). Scared some of you who know our situation, huh? I did say Motherhood, not *Grandmotherhood*!! LOL
Though the fact that she is seventeen and shouldn't be living in a strange place with a strange guy bugs me, but what can you do when you've done all you could? And let's not go there, I tend to rant....
So, the recipe she wanted? Hamburger Pie. That's what we call it, anyway. Hamburger meat browned, a little tomato sauce, salt, pepper, a shake or three of Italian seasoning, layered with corn and mashed potatoes on the top....don't forget the cheese, that's the best part!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

I Have a Confession to Make

But first, can I tell you how sweet my Dear Hubby is? I got home today and he had gone to housing and gotten the florescent bulbs to fix the bathroom light, he had swept the porch and entryway, emptied the ice trays, and did all the laundry. Wow. Nice. Oh, and did I mention he's probably going to have to have back surgery? Yeah, makes it even better. Here's a pict of Dear Hubby and Big Dog...
So, DH has a degree in theatre. At our last duty station, he was helping our church with their annual Passion Play. He had found this new cool latex stuff that he wanted to try out before the big night, so he invited "Jesus" over so he could make some prosthetics to put on his back to make the beating look real (which they did....really good). So, Jesus was running a little late and showed up after our Dirty Little Secret had started. We had to explain before he came in the house that we had a Dirty Little Secret and he had to promise not to tell! :)
Yes, we know it's fake and stupid and infuriating. But like any other soap opera, it's addicting.

Monday, March 3, 2008

May I Introduce...

Carolyn Bahm!! We participated in The Great Interview Experiment. She is a writer, and my job was to interview her. After reading her other two blogs (, and, I was to come up with questions for her to answer. No pressure here as I'm just Joe-Bloe and she actually a writer-person!!
BTW~my "interviewer" never contacted me, so I guess I won't be posting that here.
But, on to Carol's answers!! (I particularly like the answer to #5-ROFL)

1. I've been reading your blog and have noticed some interesting things
about you! You aspire to be a writer, so therefore you probably love to
read. What book(s) are you reading right now?

Just finished "Runemarks," a marvelous YA novel by Joanne Harris. Next
up: "Mississippi Sissy" by Kevin Sessums, "Specials" by Scott
Westerfeld, and then probably something non-fiction. I'm also looking
for a more serious read to put in the lineup but don't have anything
literary that's grabbed my attention lately. You can probably tell that
I'm a *very* eclectic reader. :o)

2. What is your Great American Novel going to be called and do I get a
signed copy?

No title yet, and sure! You may have to remind me, though -- I have the
Great American swiss-cheese memory. I am wincing at almost every
paragraph I commit to computer memory, though, and am trusting in the
advice of other authors who say it's OK for the first draft to really,
really suck. (Excellent, then. I'm right on target.)

3. The parseltongue greeting on your Drops of Blood website is interesting. What is your favorite Harry Potter book and why?
The first one, actually. I love all of them, but I especially relished
that oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-BOY feeling of finding a new series that I knew I
was going to love. This one had everything -- a fun plot, sadness,
childhood persecution, humor, action, and silly magic. And if there's
anything I love more than a good book, it's a massively sized good book
in a long series.

4. I was very saddened to read that you miss the smell of your father's
shirt, which your mom confiscated after finding it in your closet
shortly after his death. As an adult, have you and your mom talked
about that incident and did you share your feelings about that with her?

We only talked about it once. She was astonished that I remembered it,
actually. Her grieving was so intense at the time that she could not
bear to be so viscerally reminded of her suddenly dead husband by the
look, scent, and feel of his shirt, and she reacted on gut instincts
when she threw it away. It didn't occur to her what she was taking away
from me.
It still doesn't. I came to the above realization of why she discarded
the shirt after just knowing her long enough as an adult to see it
through her eyes.
Mom's a good-hearted person, hard-working and generous to a fault, and
well-loved by family and friends for good reason, but she's not chatty
in that way or introspective in the least. I remember that I started
crying one day a few months after Daddy died when she was driving me
home after picking me up at my grandparents' house. We pulled over and
talked, and she comforted me. Years later, she remembered the incident
while I did not. What struck me was her comment on that time. It was
something like, "It was like I realized for the first time you were a
real, separate, little person with feelings of your own."
As I get older, it gets easier to remind myself that she simply is who
she is -- a survivor in the only way she knows how. And I think about
some really harsh years she endured as a child. She and her three very
young sisters were sent to an orphanage for four years during the height
of the Depression because their widowed mother couldn't afford to feed
them. That experience warped or shaped them all in different ways. My
mom was the scrappy one, who came out of it with an elbow-swinging,
hell-with-you attitude that helped her survive. Her deep-rooted sense of
humor and close relationship with her sisters kept her personality's
edges from being too razor sharp.

5. Is there another funny or poignant childhood story you would be willing
to share with us?

We lived on a farm in rural Copiah County, Mississippi, and mom was a
housewife at the time, trying to do her chores with a very bored kid of
5 or 6 who was trying to demand her time. She finally decided to send me
outside to play so I wouldn't drive her nuts. She locked the doors when
I kept trotting in to get water, toys, snacks, or to show her an
interesting bug or two. I was outraged! This was my house! I lived there
too! I actually ran around to the front door but she beat me there and
locked it too. Her laughing sent me over the edge. So I spent the next
5-10 minutes running around the house, beating and kicking furiously at
the doors and yelling about the meanness of it all. (I did inherit my
mom's ... er ... "drive.") I think my heart stopped cold in my chest
when, on my last pounding tour of the back porch, she flung the door
open. It was like a Western when the sheriff enters the saloon. I was
opening my mouth to say something -- anything -- when she let me have it
in the face with a loooooong squirt of Red-Wip. At the time, I wasn't
sure whether I was more relieved, infuriated, or tickled to have my
favorite whipped topping piled in my face. Mom still laughs when she
talks about her little way of dealing with the afternoon and the
pole-axed expression on my face.

6. Could you share with us which genre of writing is the most difficult in
your opinion and why?

One of my old college professors would be smiling in anticipation of my
answer here, because I'm such a person of gray zones and mitigating
circumstances that it's hard for me to speak in absolutes. And on top of
that, my answer differs when you're talking about my point of view as a
writer or as a reader.
At the moment, writing a really subtle, intricate, twisting, surprising
mystery seems impossibly brainy to me. Most of my writing experience is
in journalism and in technical and business writing, where the emphasis
is on clarity. So I tend to telegraph my fictional plots WAY too
clearly, way too far in advance. Plotwise, I'm a lighthouse when you
need a penlight. Naturally, a mystery is what I'm trying to write at the
moment. :o)
As a reader, I feel very rewarded when I read fine literature but have a
time getting into it. Some of it is exhausting to read, frankly, and
it's rarely as funny or hopeful as I like my leisure reading to be. I
get the most out of this when it's part of a graduate-level English
class that forces me to read it, analyze it, and understand its
magnificence, and by then I'm usually the nerdy one waving my hand
frantically in the front row. I slog on through these books because I
think it's important to feed your brain as much as it is to amuse it. I
probably do less of the literary reading than I should, though.

7. Do you feel that teens, and possibly people in general these days have
a much more lackadaisical attitude? How do you feel this is affecting
or will affect our society in the future?

I think adults have always thought this in each generation, and it's
probably less serious or dire than most of us secretly fear. But with
that said ... GOD, yes! I have the hardest time trying to motivate -- or
teach self-motivation to -- my older daughter, who is bright, beautiful,
and oh-so-full of the "um, yeah, whatever" spirit. I'm just waiting for
her to get a bit hungry and greedy so she'll start scrapping to make her
own way in the world. My master plan is to keep in place all the family
support she truly needs and, over time, continue to withdraw the
not-necessary supports that just prop her up. I'm hoping she'll
jump-start her own engine and I can quit pushing her up the hill at some
point. She goes to college this fall (knock on wood) and we'll see what
happens from there.
In general, the apathy I commonly see in her generation annoys me. It's
like everyone's waiting for everyone else to do something. I don't know
the cure, except raising your own children the best you can, trying to
nudge their friends in the right direction too, and trying to be an
influential part of children's lives in your community. That, plus time,
will help. They're not bad kids -- just locked into their own little worlds.
How will it affect our society in the future? For kids who wake up to
opportunities in business and life, there will be feast days ahead as
they leap ahead of the competition. For others, I expect a lot of
pissing and moaning about things that are Just Not Fair, and they'll be
frustrated as they wait expectantly for the world to arrive on their
doorsteps with the anticipated silver platter. Parents are going to have
to show some tough love as they plant their boots on their kids' butts
and point them toward the door.
I think people are having to parent their kids for far longer today than
in years past on issues of maturity, responsibility, and long-range
planning. Maybe because the parenting isn't done with the commonsense
and expectations of years past, and maybe because today's parents are
gentler, meaning the kids have a longer learning curve. And discipline
is different, with kids being treated with rationality rather than
corporeal punishment, and, unfortunately, with a desire to make things
easier on the child rather than emphasizing firm limits; it's harder to
get and hold attention that way, although my generation's way seems
kinder than some of the harsher methods in my parents' generation. (My
parents regularly spanked me or whipped me with a leather belt. I can
count on one hand the number of times I spanked both my daughters -- and
always with my hand, except once with a ping-pong paddle that made me
heartily ashamed.)
And it's not just parents -- some teachers have a hand in things, too.
I'm disgusted with how my daughter's junior-high and high-school
teachers and counselor have repeatedly let her off the hook with low
expectations at school. Even when I called a conference with all of her
teachers one or two years ago because she was failing in so many
classes, they were way more warm and fuzzy than they should be. Were
these really the people who'd been answering my concerned emails with
agreement on specific things she was doing wrong or not doing at all,
and they were only making timid, weak little comments with her at the
table? It was exasperating, and my daughter came away with the
impression that I just needed to chill out and that her barely passing
grades were good enough. Their emphasis was on protecting and nurturing
her self-esteem; mine was on bolstering her self-esteem with REAL
ACCOMPLISHMENTS rather than feel-good statements.
Sorry, this looks like my stop. I'll get off the rant train now.

8. Where exactly did you find that awesome husband (re: 30 Reasons I Love
My Husband
), and what advice do you have for young women contemplating

He's a good man, isn't he? In college, Good Hubby lived down the hallway
from the boy who later became my first husband. About 14 years later,
Good Hubby's job moved him to the town where I was a newspaper reporter,
single mom, and divorcee, and he happened to read my column and see my
picture when he was up looking for an apartment. It was kind of a
coincidence, since I only wrote a column once a month and he happened to
be in town that weekend, reading the paper. He wrote to me, I called him
back, and we've been an item every since.
He's the oldest of three children, and I credit his even temperament,
humor, and intelligence to his family environment. I *adore* his
immediate and extended family, and his parents in particular are the
most wholesome, sweet mom and dad I could imagine having. He just rolls
his eyes when I tell him he was raised by June and Ward Cleaver. And his
paternal grandmother, who died several years ago -- I really miss her.
One time when he and I were dating and I attended church with his
family, she spotted me and came over to admire my red dress. She looked
me up and down and said in her droll way, "I'd roll you for that dress."
My advice to young women contemplating marriage is to find someone who
cherishes you and offers selfless love, because you're going to need it.
Someone who genuinely is willing to inconvenience himself to make your
life a little easier makes the rough parts of life bearable. And he
makes it so much easier to be a selfless spouse in return. I've learned
more about being a better person from being with him than I have with
any other adult in my life.
Also, as a practical matter, you should be able to talk easily and also
have easy silences, argue passionately without viciousness, enjoy each
other's company, and share compatible opinions on important things like
children, money, religion, lifestyle, and long-term goals. They matter.

9. I noticed that you would like to learn French. Have you ever been to

No, but it's one of my leisure goals in life to go there. It will
probably happen after our oldest gets in college. I'm hoping to be a
smaller size by then, or at least to know enough French to say something
subtle but stunningly rude if I'm snubbed as a fat American tourist. :o)
I'd actually like to have at least three France vacations -- one for
Paris, one for a long tour of wine country, and another for museums,
gardens, and historical sites throughout the country.

10. Where would you go on vacation if money were no object?
There's no one place -- in the U.S., I'd hit Yellowstone National Park,
NYC, the Grand Canyon again, anywhere in California, Pennsylvania Dutch
country, Hawaii, and probably a dozen other spots I'll kick myself for
forgetting to mention right now. Abroad, I'd like to hit France,
Scotland, Ireland, rural China, Tokyo, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil,
England, and more. *sigh* Any place where the food is different, there's
something magnificent in nature or urban life, the culture is distinct,
and it's safe enough to travel. Bonus points if it's a location renowned
for wool production or textile arts. So many cool things to explore out
there in the big, bad world. Curiosity may be my defining trait.

11. What is the most interesting thing you have ever knitted?
*laughing* Oh, nothing as interesting as a willie warmer or anything
like that. Mostly it's been ponchos and scarves and hats and socks. The
only points of interest would be to another knitter, who might be mildly
impressed that my first sock was a toe-up lace pattern with a twisted-8
cast-on, on 5 DPNs. Overly ambitious for a relative beginner., but I'm
nothing if not pigheaded. I knitted the beginning so many times the yarn
was frayed and I had to cut it off and start with a fresh end. :o)

12. Is there something else that you would like your readers to know about you?
That I have fun with my children and have laughed even more with my
husband. It feels so good to have a playful family life. I'm allowed and
encouraged to be a goober at home, which is fortunate since that's me by
nature. My older girl and I were standing shoulder-to-shoulder at the
fridge one night, jockeying for position, and one of us started kicking
the other in the fanny. We locked arms and each began kicking
frantically behind our backs at each other until we tangled legs and
down we went. We still giggle about what idiots we were.

13. I have been teaching for 15 years. In those 15 years, I have noticed a
decrease in the quality of the children's books being written. I love
books like Miss Rumphius and Amazing Grace that have beautiful
illustrations as well as rich vocabulary and a lesson. Do you have an
opinion about the decline in quality of children's books?

You're in a far better position than I am to identify this trend. But my
perception differs. I think there are plenty of good new children's
books out there, like those by Louis Sachar, the American Girl books
(which have admittedly spotty writing but contain interesting history),
"The Dragons Are Singing Tonight" by Jack Prelutsky (poetry), and the
Wayside School books (for sheer silliness). The problem is finding them
among all the mediocrity that hides them. The good ones are essentially
drowning in a sea of crap.
I know when I pick out books for my kids, it's usually because I've read
good things about books online and found ones that seem to fit their
reading level and interests (vampires and other speculative fiction for
my oldest; and fairies, princesses, or something like the historical
"Girls of Many Lands" series for my youngest). I keep a running list of
cool books for them and me in my BlackBerry. If I show up at the
bookstore unarmed without a list, I'm totally lost. I just wish there
was a shelf that said, "Here are the really GOOD books." I'm not talking
just the Newbery and other award winners -- even the excellent genre
fiction for children takes time to identify. And people are sorely short
on patience and time.
I think it's hardest to find younger children's books that appeal to
their tastes and the tastes of the parents who help them with the
reading, and I think it's a crying shame that so many books starve the
minds of children by using dull, overly simplistic language, trite
characterization, and formulaic plotting. And when the books are boring,
the parents shy away from re-reading them with the kids, and an
opportunity to hook a young reader is missed.
But there's continuing hope as they get older: Do you find that there's
some really excellent young adult writing out there, like Melissa Marr's
"Wicked Lovely"? I've been thrilled at the quality of YA books I've seen
in recent years, and I thank Harry Potter's success for inspiring this

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Not An Interpreter

I didn't pass. I didn't pass the interview part. I didn't understand the question that was signed to me, so therefore I couldn't answer it. If you don't pass the interview part, you fail the whole thing. But they didn't tell me that I didn't pass, and went ahead and did the whole thing, got feedback and everything only to be handed this letter.
It was hard. Nothing like I'm used to. I'm used to transliterating lectures or sermons. This was completely interactive, so I didn't do well. Now I need to chose to try again, which I'm not feeling, or forget it. I certainly need to take some ASL classes, that's for sure if I'm going to try again. I doubt I will try again in this state. How horrifying!
In college I interpreted Genesis-Esther, Job-Malachi, The Gospels, Acts-Revelation, Business Math, Macroeconomics, Nutrition, Japanese, Art History, Biology, devotionals, church services, and countless daily chapel services. Since then I've taught Deaf Ed, interpreted who knows how many church services, and taught sign language class at three different churches.
Guess that doesn't count.