Tuesday, March 31, 2009

another quick SJ quiz

Eerily true...

You Are Chirping Birds
You are a very caring person. You especially feel for innocent beings, like animals and children.
You are keyed in to the world and very peaceful. You believe that everyone is connected.

You remain focused and in the moment. You are not easily distracted.
You have a good memory, especially for things that you hear. You listen carefully.

Friday, March 27, 2009

after a day about literacy

How about a top ten list of influential books? In no particular order...

1. A Wrinkle in Time/A Wind in the Door/A Swiftly Tilting Planet - Madeleine L'Engle
I loved this series. I don't remember when I first got turned onto these books, or how many times I read them, but read them I did. I wanted a Charles Wallace for a brother and to date a Calvin. Now that I think about it, I might have married a bulkier version of him.
2. Ramona Quimby, Age 8- Beverly Cleary
The Ramona books were the first books I remember wanting to get the next one to read.
3. The Diary of Anne Frank- Anne Frank
I must have been in sixth grade or so when I read it. I think it was the first time I came face to face with life being unfair, for no reason other than sometimes it is. Harsh lesson to learn, but an important one.
4. Otherwise Known as Shelia the Great- Judy Blume
I read all the Judy Blume books, and got all the messages she was sending. Reading that even bullies are vulnerable was a nice bit of information to have in my hip pocket as I headed to junior high.
5. The View From Saturday- E. L. Konigsburg
I didn't stumble upon Konigsburg until I was a mom, but if I had as a kid, I'd have loved her in the same way I did L'Engle. This has become my standard gift to all my sixth grade kids.
6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy- J.R.R. Tolkien
I resisted reading this, out of pure stubbornness, until I was in college. I only read it cover to cover that one time, but I am so glad I gave up the battle and just read this brilliant book.
7. The Fionavar Tapestry- Guy Gavriel Kay
This was another adult find, and one that I can't wait for the kids to be old enough to read. I think Boy especially will love it. Even if there is a dwarf named Matt...
8. A Song of Ice and Fire- George R.R. Martin
This could be the only author whose webpage I check daily for updates on the release of the next book in the series. Tackling this is a serious commitment, but oh, what a story...
9. The Harry Potter series- J.K. Rowling
I'm late to this party, but not because I didn't believe in the series. Girly is now reading the fourth book, and she's almost ready to pass it onto me. I didn't want to have read them before reading them to her, but her reading skills surpassed my ability to keep my eyes open for bedtime reading. And to have American children waiting in line at midnight to get the next book, well, how can any teacher not love that, even if they don't love fantasy?
10. The Cat in the Hat- Dr. Seuss
My earliest book memory is of my sister and I squished into the living room chair together, and I would read to her. I would start off with the title-- "The Cat in the Hat, by Dr. Seuss"-- and she would reply without hesitation "on the loose". I still can't read any of his books without hearing the litany echoing in my mind.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

strong genes aren't always a good thing

So I've had this random joint pain in my left ring finger. It'll render me useless when it happens-- this horrid, sudden, jolting pain that usually causes a naughty girl word to leave my mouth. I went through about a week last fall where I couldn't get through making dinner or doing dishes without having to stop a couple of times... and then it just stopped. Poof. Gone. I'd sort of forgotten about it. And then this week I was reminded of how annoying it is. Yesterday as I was attempting to find the acupressure point to relieve the pain (and the point I found made it MUCH worse, which is not typical for me) it occurred to me that my mom might have some insight. She has osteoarthritis. Her hands are covered in swollen joints, and it's probably gotten bad in the last 5ish years. She confirmed today that she started getting pain like this in her joints about 15-20 years ago.

My very limited understanding of genetics tells me osteoarthritis is a dominant trait. My great grandmother was afflicted, as well as my grandmother and my mom. At least one of my uncles. It does not surprise me that I carry the gene-- this many family members afflicted must mean it's dominant. Which means pretty good odds that at least one of us will have it, if not a majority. (If you're lucky, hoyden, you're able to dodge this bullet.)

I imagine I'll make an appointment with my dear friend whose Magic Hands have helped me through back pain and infertility (another family trait I inherited-- this one from my dad's mom. It's a miracle he exists, and a weird bit of genetics that such a trait would be passed on, but I digress) and I value his insight onto this chapter of my medical history. I'll ask my doc about it the next time I go in. I'll have to read up on this, and what I can do now to make things better in 20 years. It could certainly be worse. But as long as I'm able to hold my grandchildren someday I think I'll be ok. I'll certainly be reminded that this is how Grandmas in my family look :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

end of an era?

Normally, when anyone asks (see Facebook) "What's your favorite sport to watch?", my answer is "NCAA Mens College March Madness". For reasons unknown to me, that has not been true this year.

I've thought about this all weekend, and there may be a few things going on. First, I was busy all afternoon Thursday. Not home until 7 PM... meaning I'd missed a lot of the early games. And I am tired-- bone tired-- daily, meaning I was not about to stay up until midnight watching Cinderella. Friday turned into another late afternoon-- home at about 7 after Friday DT and then a spontaneous dinner date with WB. The kids were with bestfriends, so I could watch some L Word without them seeing things they shouldn't. By the time they went to bed, I just wanted to finish that disk... so no games Friday. By then I was out of the pattern of games all weekend. Hmmm...

More importantly, I think was not being involved in a live pool. I'm in Don's FB pool, but I can't find the link half the time and I didn't write my picks down, thinking it'd be easy to find online. Silly me. I did not talk to anyone about it all month-- no students interested, no one in my building to chat it up and get excited. I like watching college ball for sure, but I think I really like the trash talking with my friends. Having a group to rehash the upsets with-- and to see who was damaged by the upset and who is back in the running for bragging rights. No hype this year is definitely a factor.

I could just take the sisterly way out and blame hoyden for letting me know about Dickie V's true personality. That knowledge is a factor-- I used to love watching his excitement, and learning he's a jerk takes the fun out of it for me. While that is a tempting solution, it's realistically a combination of it all. We'll see what happens next year... I may just need to start a pool to bring the fun back into March.

Friday, March 20, 2009


I understand the teen years, and I even sort of get being a disgruntled teen boy who does not like school and accepts getting detention as part of their right of passage... but man, sometimes, I just want to get their attention and get them to understand that they're really only hurting themselves. No, it's not fun for me to be here, and I don't like being sworn about, but I'm getting paid to monitor them. I signed up for this, so I'll get by. But man... come on guys, catch the clue. Just suck it up and move on.

4:45. Finally.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patty's Day

guess I never thought of it like that....

Monday, March 16, 2009


Everyone plays their part, but honestly, I don't know how she plays hers.

I get to see kids whole, and growing, and learning, and leaving me for better things. I don't know if I could have endured all of that studying myself to still not have the answers.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

eating through the holidays

It is well documented that I enjoy eating. I also enjoy preparing food, classic as well as new recipes. As a result, we often celebrate major and minor holidays with our own low key versions of Festive Meals. So far this year we've had hoppin' john for New Years and long life noodles for Chinese New Year. Jambalya for Mardi Gras. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out we have corned beef for St. Patty's Day. Because of crazy work commitments, we had it today.

I love honoring different cultures through food. I think it has to do with tradition combined with ingenuity. Someone had to figure out how to make this incredibly tough piece of meat enjoyable. Or how to take the scraps from the Main House and feed your entire family well enough that they can go back out and work in the fields without collapsing. What do you do when okra is the only vegetable that grows in your area-- and it is slimy and unpalatable? People figured it out, and became known for those dishes. And it seems right to celebrate their talent by attempting to recreate it ourselves.

Friday, March 13, 2009

more random acts of geeky

Today is the second Friday the 13th in a row. I asked my class (thanks to SJ's recommended site) why it happened. They all freaked out about having to think. I wanted to cry. I mean really, aren't questions like this more fun than bisecting angles?

When I was delivering mail to my fellow East Campusites this afternoon I noticed a bulletin board showing we've had 8 left handed presidents. I made a comment about saying it would be interesting to compare that percentage (18.6) to the general population (7-10). She looked at me knowingly and said "... blog post?"

It's a good thing I'm comfortable with my geekyness, because there is no hiding it.

Of course, I now feel I need to compare other world leaders handedness and add it to my stats...

I asked Boy and Girly the same question on the drive home today. It took some work, but Boy got to "because it is divisible by 7"! I lead him into why the 7 was magic, and what the pattern was, but I was very pleased that my biologicals didn't give up when it got hard. Having a math geek for a mom pays off eventually.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Geek 101

One of the resonating memories of my childhood is sitting at the dinner table figuring out the Punnett Squares on the likelyhood any of us received any given trait and the percentage breakdown of our heritage. Tonight, the darlings asked what percentage German they are. Finally! Some fun family math to pass our evening. Unfortunately, the WB side is not as simple as mine, so we're dealing in approximations, but our best guess is about 25% German, 25% Italian, 33% British Isles (with the details a bit hazy) and 17% random. As WB noted, "... a bunch of these guys were sailors, so who really knows..." They're glad they have enough Irish in them to claim a real part in St. Patty's day (which we celebrate, as we do all cultural holidays, with food), and I'm just so excited to play math games.

You just don't get any geekier. I know.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

happy blogiversary!

For the past year, I've been putting my thoughts and observations out here for the world to see, and a bunch of you have actually read them. This has been the most consistent writing I've done since required high school journaling, and I think I now understand why McCann wanted us to write daily. So thanks for being my audience. And see you tomorrow.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

generation gap

If I survive the next 10 years of parenting it will be a miracle.

"These pants are uncomfortable under my snowpants!" (stomp, stomp)

Her goal was to be allowed to wear the definitely-not-school-appropriate sweatpants with the too-small-shirt that shows her belly. Um... no. She changed her pants and put a sweatshirt on, but made sure we all knew just how unimpressed she was.

This could get ugly.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


Upon being asked how the hot chocolate at skating was:

Girly: "It was good!"
Boy: "It wasn't awful, like I thought it would be."

What can you do? I guess it's just a part of who he is.

Monday, March 02, 2009

SAT prep

The BoDeans are to The Medium as The Hold Steady are to Saving Grace

m&ms are to coke as corn chips are to whiskey

REM continuing without Bill Berry is as BNL continuing without Steve*
*I hope

Sunday, March 01, 2009

yankee ingenuity

In our continuing quest to keep the home fires burning, we need more wood-- turns out 10 cord cut and split is not enough to feed the furnace. So, a few dead trees around need to come down. Getting them down is the easy part... getting them to the furnace takes a bit of effort. I don't mind putting them on the kids sled and dragging them back a piece or two at a time, but WB got the idea to build a better sled. So he did. We had some old cross country skiis around, sans bindings, and he created a base from left over pieces of 2x4s. All he had to buy was screws. I love that kind of project: it works, it's recycled, and costs less than $5.