Friday, November 30, 2012

from my window

Every fall I have a wonderful slow motion movie seen out my bathroom window throughout the month of November. I have tried to share it this year with a Photo-A-Day, made into a movie.

I wanted to join in the Fall Color Project, but barely made it. The leaves here turn very late and this tree is just finishing up its display.  For a look at other fall gardens around the country, check out the other participants.

These are my favorite photos from the window which didn't make it into the slide show:

 We have just bought a new SLR camera, so perhaps my pictures here will improve. So far I've been leaning out the window into the cold with my simple point-and-shoot camera, with no tripod.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

bucket listing

So how many things on this list have you done? Mine are in bold -  I made it just past halfway, to 50 51!. Amazing how many of them were done during my year in Luxembourg, my junior year of college.  There might be more from my childhood, but if I don't remember it, it probably shouldn't count.

1. Started your own blog (hi)
2. Slept under the stars (dang cold too)
3. Played in a band (I'll leave that one to friends and family)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world (as a kid)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped (not gonna happen)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (I've seen one from an airplane though)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (taking a class in something new doesn't count?)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (and even went back to the restaurant another time, safely)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
("slept" is usually an exaggeration for this)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (hasn't everyone?)
24. Built a snow fort (happy to be in the South now)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (didn't have the money)
29. Seen a total eclipse (still remember the pinhole viewer my dad made)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (watched Pook make one, last game of the season!)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (And yes, the boats are cheesy. And yes, you should take one.)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (school taught)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (tough one, but I think I'll claim it)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (Yes, but my friend didn't have enough money to buy herself dinner, so I sacrificed a climb up the Tower so she could eat. I'm just that good.)
39. Gone rock climbing (indoor climbing walls only)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (I stand corrected and add this in. I was in Morocco that same college year.)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (I accompanied a student, it wasn't for me)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
(although my favorite photo is from under it)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (both)
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 (but wasn't good at it)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

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 (perhaps this summer)
71. Eaten Caviar (didn't like it)
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
77. Broken a bone (see #11)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (I'd like to do this one again with the kids)
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican (and even saw the pope from a distance)
82. Bought a brand new car (still driving it, nine years later)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (circa 1970?)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I'll aim for only a lobster)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (what qualifies as "famous"?)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake (maybe as a kid)
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone (huh?)
99. Been stung by a bee

Don't ask me why there are just 99, I don't know. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

door to door

Now I've done it. I have dived into the pool called politics.  Me, who can't even remember what election was my first election to vote, when my kids ask.  Me, who takes notes to the polls so I won't forget who someone said was best, but then ends up skipping half the ballot anyway.

Elections, for the rest of you, are on a back burner for several more years. Maybe two, maybe four, but at least the yard signs are down and the robocalls are over. Not here. Our little newborn city is in runoffs. The mayor and three of the four city council positions are to be voted upon Dec. 4. 

I considered burying my head, but the more I've learned about the top contender for mayor, the more I want to help defeat him.  When I started asking about the possible mayors this summer many people would lower their voice as if they didn't want to be heard saying something bad. Then they'd say, "He's sort of a bully."  "He's a bulldozer."  Or, the hesitant, "Well, he does get things done.... But I wouldn't want to get in his way."  They didn't even follow it with "Bless his heart" like a proper Southerner does when insulting someone.  I met the other choices, found someone I felt represented everything he wasn't, and voted for her.  And she came in 2nd of four.

All this brought me to this day, mid November, walking door to door with Pook, canvassing for a mayoral candidate.  Phoning my neighbors. "Can Sandy count on your vote for mayor?" Noting on a spreadsheet the strong yes, leaning yes, undecided, leaning no, and strong no votes.

What I'm learning is interesting. First, I am not as isolated in my political values in this neighborhood as I thought. Second, most people are like I've always been- not wanting to do the research or get involved. Third, they are happy that they now know someone who has done it for them and they will probably vote for her just because of me.

Or, as Pook pointed out, they could be being nice just to get me off their doorstep.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Poor Bug is quite sure that Everyone Else in the third grade knows their times tables but him. And, to be honest, they've changed the curriculum this year and now the second graders are learning multiplication and third graders will be expected to know them. He's in an advanced math class and his teacher really would like for the kids to know them Soon.

To help our intense child deal with this frustration, our house has turned into the House of Math. We're quizzing him constantly, including a bombardment from all three of us over dinner.

He WILL learn these. I'm covering all bases here. He wrote the flashcards himself (active), different numbers in different colors (visual), and is instructed to say them aloud (oral).

Plus, they are now posted all around our kitchen. The 4's are in the half bathroom off the kitchen. Perhaps he will remember 4x8...bathroom mirror...purple...32!
 The 3's are in orange, by his seat at the breakfast table.
 Turquoise 6's are by Pook's seat and window.
The 7's are supplied in blue on his way into the garage. 8's are outside the bathroom, 9's and 12's are on the doorway to the den.

Just to stay as geeky as possible, at dinner last night we quizzed both boys on the same multiplication problems, but in Roman numerals.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

who are you?

As Pook ambled his slow self to the dinner table last night, he asked what we were having. Nevermind that he could have simply looked. He'd been in the kitchen helping pour milk and had set the table earlier.  I tried to answer, but ended up simply listing the ingredients: "happy pig" sausage, rice, chick peas and kale cooked together with a little Cajun seasoning.

"What should we name it?" I asked.  CD, ever willing to entertain the boys, piped up with the suggestion of "Gerald."  Bug decided he preferred "Felix" and somewhere in the conversation Pook came up with "White on Rice". 

Tonight I invented again, browning fat slices of sweet potato and apple with leftover cubes of pork chop and a glaze of Hoisin sauce.  (Onions would have been a good addition.) "Felix" was suggested again. And no, I have no idea where the name came from. "Fred" is Bug's usual pseudonym.

Both meals were good. I've always figured ingredients which happily share a plate can happily share a pan. Well, maybe not always. But these did.

So, names anyone? Or must I refer to tonight's dinner as "Felix"?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

group vote

The boys voted today. I've heard of people being told they couldn't bring their young children in the polling room with them, that no one under 18 was allowed in, but the poll workers here were happy to see my boys helping me. And help they did.

Our new city is in need of a mayor and city council-folk. I may have not wanted the city to be formed, but now that I've got it I care who runs it. Or maybe mostly I care who doesn't run it. But we put in our two cents. Pook touched the screen for mayor, Bug voted for the councilperson.

I got to vote for President, which in the grand national scheme probably counts the least. (Should have heard me trying to explain the Electoral College earlier....) But here in our little city? You bet every vote will count. I want to see real numbers tonight. Real 1,234 numbers. So that I can tell that each person was counted. All three of us!

Our local election resulted in runoffs all around. The folks the boys voted for both made it into runoffs however, one by only 100 votes. This means that for the rest of you, the political signs will come down and the calls will stop. For us, I expect it will increase for the next three weeks. Help!