December 2007

Monthly Archive

Under Construction (again)

Posted by on 31 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: blogposts, Uncategorized

I will be messing with the look and arrangement of this website for a few days — hopefully not breaking anything important. If something doesn’t look right, please DO contact me so I can check things out! If you really like a change and then come back to find it something you don’t like, please let me know.

But I do intend to keep things pink… this is the one place in my life that is really ALL mine, no boys involved! So, Pink is In!

Here is the way the original code (Abstrakt3c) looked:

The green-based Abstrakt3c by Kausal Seth

This is my first attempt, the lattice-style background was not satisfactory, and the font colors had not changed.

Pink-themed, but not yet

Here is the intermediate, with a solid masthead and striped background on the sides (if your monitor is 800 px wide you won’t see the stuff on the sides).

This is a more simple look, solid background on the masthead and menus

And you can see the most recent incarnation in front of you!  I like the pink!  I may play with the masthead (that’s the title space) some more, I am not completely happy with it.  Also, there is a strange “flicker” that appears when you place your cursor between the choices on the top menu…

Always something new to learn and improve!

Happy New Year!

New Page for Heros Only!

Posted by on 29 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: caring, good things, Making a Difference, musings, Politics and War, poverty, social justice, Uncategorized

I decided that I needed a page to inspire me, to let others know the sorts of people I admire. So the beginnings of the page are at My Hero Page today.

I hope to add more images, some thoughts and quotes, etc. as I have time and energy. But for now, here are a few of the people I have looked up to through the years: Princess Diana, Mother Theresa, Benazir Bhutto, Mohandas and Indira Gandhi, St. Teresa of Avila.

A Letter Never Written

Posted by on 27 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: citizenship, editorial, passages, Peace Making, politics, Politics and War, social justice, Uncategorized

Sometimes, when a person dies, you think how sad and go on about your business… not today. Today a Very Brave Woman died, and I can’t help wishing I had known more about her. Here, in a letter, is what I wish I had said to her, what I wish I could have asked her.

Continue Reading »

Recovering slowly…

Posted by on 21 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: art, caring, celebrations, children, education, friends, fun, good things, holidays, Kid Activities, Making a Difference, music, parenting, Peace Making, school, Uncategorized

Initially, I didn’t have time or energy yet to write a full report on the last two three weeks, but I revised this the next day to cover the high (and low) lights. Suffice it to say, busy had been the operative word non-stop until December 20. And the next day I spent trying to get caught up on chores and such, and playing with the kids a bit, and doing a few online tasks I had been letting go. Except for this one. I have so many things to share! More tomorrow later, on this same post page… post begun 21 December 2007


continued on 22 December 2007And here I am again…Let me see… we started this month with a concert for one child on a Thursday. It was lovely, and I tried to post some audio files, but that didn’t work. Still trying to find a way to convert them from the format my little camera takes them in to MP3 so folks can hear snippets.That day was St. Nicholas day, the day our family has always given the children “gifts from Santa.” Because they are so grown up now, we decided to get only a few small items this year — books mostly; and a Wii. What a commotion we had that morning… but of course no time in the evening to do much with it. No matter, the weekend was close at hand…The following weekend was filled with a rehearsal Saturday morning, and a concert Sunday evening (both boys). I didn’t get to attend the concert, sitting on the gym bleachers on the Thursday threw my back out and I was laid up a couple days. Not to worry, it gave me a chance to rest before the coming week. And of course, in between the rehearsal and the concert, the children (and we — of course!) checked out this video game system.

Here is the trombone at the Sunday concert — the trumpeter was on the other side of the group so Tom didn’t get a chance to get a pic of him:

trombone player in his element

A bit of background: for over 15 years, I have resisted getting any sort of gaming system in our home. I didn’t want the controllers that are notorious for repetitive stress injuries. I didn’t want the distraction of something so mind- and time-consuming. I didn’t want the hassles of telling children to put the game down and go outside. I did finally bend a when the kids were little, and allowed first educational (but fun) games on the computer; then as they were older, just fun computer games. But I held firm to the no-gaming-system line because I wanted limited time for the games.

And then, about a year ago, I began to hear good things about the Wii. I saw pictures of people getting up and moving with this new system. I heard that there were many fun, non-violent games to play on it. And I decided to check it out. I wrote more about it on the stidmama LiveJournal page. Let’s abbreviate: I liked what I learned, and I knew the kids would enjoy it. So about three months before St. Nicholas day, we plotted and started looking at websites and ads for sales. Two months before, we ordered a system online (figuring that gave us some extra time in case it arrived damaged).

And then, for a few weeks, I sat on the biggest secret I had kept since I hid the fact from Tom that my parents were getting him a TiVo for Christmas a couple years ago… If you know me, you know what an effort that was!!!!

And sure enough, the kids were delighted. And so are we. After all these years, they are mature enough — and enjoy enough non-tech things — that they don’t overdo the games. An hour here or there, and they are happy and go off to read books, practice music or play with their animals.

So — that was the first week of the month. And yes — that was the week I wrote about the rain

The second week of the month, I spent Monday morning in First Grade (now up to 28 children, happy, busy, good children — but too many for this level and age) and in the afternoon I went to a physical therapy appointment; Tuesday mostly at home — what a treat. Wednesday morning First Grade and in the afternoon Helping with a 6th grade social studies class — testing on geography knowledge; Thursday morning binding cookbooks for the one kid’s Heritage Night — and the evening I went to Heritage Night while Tom took the other kid to his school concert. Friday was First Grade in the morning, shopping in the afternoon and home to recover…

Saturday and Sunday, I can’t recall too much — was I sleeping for much of it? perhaps… except for the Birthday Boy’s celebration on Sunday. Well, celebration might be too great a word. Observance, perhaps. Another year older, another year cooler. Here he is, enjoying some of the loot, a new T-shirt and the much-desired “Star Wars Vault”:

opening a gift from aunt and grandparents

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I helped in the First Grade again. Monday and Tuesday were “Sneaker Science” again, with a different set of first graders. Another big class, but not too bad. Perhaps the newness of the teachers helped. So did having FIVE adults in the room Monday and FOUR Tuesday…

Wednesday was the boys’ first day off of school. Instead of sleeping in, they managed to get up and come in with me to help their grandmother (insert very proud mama look here). The children were so proud and happy to have them come in again. The boys helped with projects, snacks, projects, snacks, getting to and from places (it was the day of the winter program, of course), snacks and projects. They carried supplies and materials to their grandmother’s car in the intervals, so she wouldn’t have to lug them herself. I took one of them home just after lunch (he wasn’t feeling well) and the other stayed the full day (insert another proud mama look).

Here is Stidgmere, enjoying a quiet moment with one of the children in her class. Toward the bottom of the picture you can see how many things the children were working on!

stidgmere talks to one of the children in her class

Thursday, early enough that we really didn’t get to sleep in, I took the older boy to the orthodontist for a check-up. He was seen a half an hour after his appointment was supposed to be. It threw the rest of the day into hyperdrive. BECAUSE we also had to get some groceries (three stores), deposit gift money (two banks) and we needed his father there for one banking transaction so the kid could open a new account and have both of us as signatories on it, get gasoline and the mail… about the time I dropped the kid off at home it was time for me to turn around and head back to the doctor for myself (minor thing). Between the appointment and picking up various medicines for various people in the family at the pharmacy… it was five o’clock before I started for home. Yes. I got caught in the traffic. I fell asleep at 8:30 that night.

So yesterday (are you still with me?) I slept in. All the way to 7, just in time to bid Tom goodbye for the day. And I stayed INSIDE all day. Except to step on the back porch to throw the strawberry (dog’s new toy) every 60 minutes or so. By the end of the day, the dishes were done, the bathroom was clean(er), the laundry was done and folded and away, my office was less cluttered (thanks to the kid who spent two hours working on sorting out what was mine and what was other peoples’), the kids had spent some time reviewing math, dinner was ready and I had played a prodigious amount of video games with the kids.

Today — aside from letting the dogs out at 7 and feeding them, I slept until 9! it felt wonderful… A quick trip into town to buy a few new shirts and pants for the kid who grows about an inch a month (now wearing a man’s size “small”) and get the mail, and I am home again… catching up on my writing!

Hoping for a repeat tomorrow.

Meantime, to make this a truly long post, here is a picture of me, wearing a scarf made by “jesdraggon” — a fellow babbler and needle-worker. Isn’t it lovely!

my new scarf, wrapped twice around my neck it still reaches my hips!

You can see how long it is — I wrapped it twice around my neck and it still is well past my waist!

A fun activity for wintertime

Posted by on 13 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: fun, Uncategorized

I told you about this site last year also — you can make a virtual snowflake here, with a message, and send it on to people via email…

Snowdays Snowflakes.

It’s fun, it’s pretty — it’s relaxing. Grab a cup of warm cocoa (or cool lemonade if you’re down under) and enjoy.

Surreal Week (and did I mention the rain?)

Posted by on 09 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: climate, rain, Uncategorized, weather

Last Sunday, we watched the tail end of the snow from the previous day melt.

Monday, heavy rain had water rushing over the highway that runs parallel to the road I usually take to get into town…  and then over the road itself.  When I passed by, it wasn’t too alarming, but apparently later in the day it was.  By afternoon, the main intersection for people to get to the west side of Olympia was flooded so much that only the very tops of the roofs of stranded cars could be seen.  Our power was out most of the day…  but came back on by the next morning.

This was a huge storm — wetter and more violent than we normally get.  It triggered problems in places that usually don’t have any.   Overall, our local climate is still within “normal limits” historically, but things are getting strange.  Read on!

Tuesday, the flood waters were subsiding for us (our home was unaffected), but further south the rivers were rising.  To the west of us, an entire county was isolated by the fallen trees, power lines and mudslides the storm had wrought.

Wednesday,  a bit of clear sky, then clouds rolled in again.  No real precipitation, but the news was full of photos of the still-closed interstate freeway, ten feet deep in water, the flooded homes and businesses, the people still being rescued by boat and helicopter.

Thursday, I was enjoying my quiet day “off”, getting ready to leave for a book sale (the only kind I ever make plans to attend)…  and the power clicked off, with the water from the well the first casualty.  With my hair full of shampoo I trudged out to reconnect the generator, feeling lucky that I knew where the cable to connect it was, and managed to still get out on time…  and the evening was warm — getting from the cars into the school for the concert was pleasant.

Friday morning, the interstate freeway re-opened, the weather was normal (cloudy and drizzly) and the pictures continued to come in…  the farms we buy produce from, the major stores along the freeway flooded.  People cleaning things out everywhere.

Saturday, a lovely, crisp autumn day — clear skies, bright sun.  More pictures of the damage, the news that the president declared an emergency for the area so extra help and funds will be available.  People from all over who hadn’t been hurt by the storm pitching in to help those who had.

Today, I wake to snow.  In the air since I woke, it looks like nearly an inch has accumulated on the cars.  I think I will stop being amazed now…

Music from the Concert

Posted by on 06 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: children, education, music, Uncategorized

The video quality is not great, but here are two pieces from this evening’s concert: the first is a piece the 6th grade band played, the second is the combined middle-school Jazz ensemble. You can probably understand how proud I am of these kids!

I hope this works…  a note of caution, this are very large files.  Don’t click on them unless you really want to hear them!
concert -- bad image, nice music

this time jazz, still bad image but good sound

A friend is gone

Posted by on 05 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: passages, Uncategorized

A friend — acquaintance, really — has passed on.  She was a retired school teacher, a skilled woman with many talents and a zest for life that seemed unbounded.  And that was just the briefest surface impression…

It’s tough when a new acquaintance leaves, and all the things you could have talked about, enjoyed, shared —  it’s never going to happen.

How do you effectively mourn someone you only just started to know and appreciate?

It’s more than just the mourning of a friend, it’s mourning all the things you never had a chance to learn and do.

My friend, I will miss you.  We will miss you.

Joan

Another Youssif Update

Posted by on 05 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: caring, children, hope, Peace Making, Politics and War, social justice, Uncategorized

He came out of surgery — pretty well, now that they found a couple of bleeders and stopped them.

Here is the CNN article.

And just in case you missed the earlier posts…

Have I ever mentioned the RAIN?

Posted by on 03 Dec 2007 | Tagged as: climate, rain, Uncategorized, weather

Over the weekend, we had snow, wind, rain, rain, rain, wind, rain.

Did I mention the rain?

I did not get outside with my camera today, but there were several roads near our home and on the way into town that were flooded — or covered by mud.

Our region is hilly (to a person from the East Coast, our hills are almost as big as mountains, but that’s another story), and so when there is a LOT of rain in a short period, the hills tend to slough off a bit.

And they did, taking out roads and parts of roads in many places. One of our favorite restaurants, The Ranch House on Highway 8, was taken out by a mud slide. There are numerous pictures at The Olympian, the main Thurston County newspaper. Also pictures of several intersections where people forgot the rule: don’t drive through standing water!

Our home, of course, stayed high and dry, but the end of our driveway was covered in a couple inches of water this morning as I drove out to help at Mother’s school — the pipe and ditch were just not big enough for the amount of water coming down.

By the time the children and I got home in the late afternoon, however, the water was back to a normal amount in the ditch, and a couple more or less permanent puddles in the driveway itself.

BUT the rain had taken its toll a few houses further up our road, where a tree had lifted its roots right out of the ground and brought the power line down (again). So we are without power (the miracles of laptop batteries and generators), and the sky is darker than normal.

Will there be power by morning? I hope so. I am scheduled to help at one of the boys’ schools again in the morning. And looking forward to it greatly. If the power is out for us, I may still be able to help at the school, it would certainly be warmer… If not, it will be a good excuse to sit covered in blankets by the big picture window and read books.

Meantime, there are many families not so fortunate, whose cars, land and homes are underwater. Back East, many people are dead in a separate storm that brought snow and cold.

If you haven’t already prepared for winter weather, this is the time!

  • Carry chains in your car at all times if you live in a snow-prone area.
  • Have some extra water and blankets and flares in the car, in case you have an emergency and get stuck for a time.
  • Make sure you have extra water and food that is easy to cook/eat in case the power goes out where you live.
  • Check your flashlights, fire/smoke alarms and alarm clocks — have a supply of extra batteries on hand.
  • If you don’t have a battery-powered lantern, know where your candles are and be cautious when they are lit.
  • Know where you will go if you can’t get home — as has happened to some of us after earthquakes and mudslides.

I hope this helps.

To my friends in the Southern Hemisphere… remember your sunscreen, your hats, and drink lots of water.