Thursday, December 24, 2009

ALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHT

I sit here in utter amazement at this time of year again.

Amazed that it is here once more, when it seems like just yesterday that I was celebrating Christmas in a snowy Michigan.

Amazed that there is such a thing as a warm, sunny Christmas season!

Amazed at the crowds and the traffic once again.

But even more, amazed that such a small baby would grow up to be my Saviour that loves me deeply, fairly, and eternally.

I look around my neighborhood, and all is calm. All is bright. And I can't help but think about that night ... two thousand years ago. What sort of sounds were hovering in the air? What sort of smells? Was there an unexplained electric feel in the air? Or was it just like any other night in Bethlehem?

I suppose it all doesn't matter in the end. He came ... He died ... He rose again. They rest is my gracious legacy ... it's anyone's legacy, really. And that is the gift of this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NOTHING BETTER THAN MAKING A GOOD IMPRESSION

There is nothing BETTER, I tell you, then to walk the streets of downtown Frankfort, carrying a bottle of wine by its neck in a non-descript brown paper bag. Nothing better!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

THE EARTH HAS STOPPED SPINNING

The planets must be out of alignment.

The Earth has stopped spinning on its axis.

The sun must no longer be the center of our universe.

That is the only way I can explain away the statement I am about to make:

I am sick of sweets.

Ladies and gentlemen, take my temperature. Check my pulse. I think I'm dead!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

CHRISTMAS CARNAGE 2009 -- REVENGE OF THE KITTEN

Emmy has been a scourge on Christmas.

She has broken or maimed no less than 5 Christmas ornaments and has managed to strip the tree, at various times the last three weeks, of a total of 15 ornaments.

For five seconds after I hung the last bauble, the tree looked fantastic.

Now however?? Well, now, it looks like someone really tall decorated the tree as all of the ornaments are now on the top half of the tree, the bottom half being suspiciously bare.

I've tried all the stuff you are suppose to try with her ... spraying her face with water ... spraying her butt ... spraying her down so she's soaking wet ... smacking her butt with a paper ... smacking her butt with a magazine ... just plain smacking her butt. I've stuffed everything but the kitchen sink underneath the tree, and she still manages to dig everything out from underneath, and wreck havoc!

The other thing that is truly funny -- if it weren't so maddening -- is that she tells on herself just before she plucks an ornament off the tree and sends it sailing. How does she do this, you might ask? Why she meows ... LOUDLY. Then, pretty as you please, she takes her big, furry paw, and smacks the offending bauble off the tree ... and the chase is on ... Emmy chasing the bauble ... me chasing the cat ... the cat running madly around the house, ornament in tow, quite literally.

I'm exhausted, and if the tree ends up looking like it went through World War III .... well, so what. It was a homespun Christmas this year, courtesy of the cat.

Again, I ask myself, how DO I end up with these animals?

GETTING MY ARTSY ON

Today, I pulled a red wool jacket out of my closet that I've haven't worn in years. If my sister reads this, she'll know the one I'm talking about because she had a black one and had the good sense to "Goodwill" hers. I, however, couldn't part with mine. It is a classic style, and ... well, sometimes I tend to be like my grandmother, if you want to know the honest truth. The woman saved EVERYTHING!

So, I pulled it out today to add a splash color to my outfit which was a drab gray and black ensemble.

I had to admit, having looked at my reflection in the mirror, I thought the jacket and black Elizabeth Gillett scarf gave me the appearance of some one who has their Artsy Fartsy on. In otherwords, a real artist type, if I did say so myself.

Of course, this look has been off-set and horribly sidetracked by the addition of the candy cane earrings I'm currently wearing.

I teach 4th grade ... I have to do SOMETHING holiday-like ... otherwise, I would just be another Ms. Adolf (a Hank Zipzer reference for those that read children's chapter books).

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

MY FAVORITE ANSWERS!

We're in the throes of Quarterly Assessments here in fourth grade. So far, we've completed Reading, Writing, Social Studies, and Science.

By far, my favorite answer so far on these common assessments is to the following:

Using the map, what region(s) of Kentucky have the most coal?
Illinois

Runner up? Virginia

Second runner up? West Virginia

Apparently, I slip into Russian while I'm teaching. Something is getting lost in translation.

DISGUSTED!

I am disgusted for a number of reasons today ...
  1. I got very little sleep last night because Emmy wouldn't leave the Christmas tree alone! I was down at 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. and, at 4:30 a.m., I finally went downstairs for the last time because I was relatively sure she was playing with another glass ornament. Yep! Sure enough, there she was, tossing one of my Albion College glass baubles across the kitchen floor. I STILL haven't found the piece she broke out of it.
  2. I've got heart burn ... well, not really heart burn ... just a weird stomach. I think it's the post-nasal drip that's been dripping away for the past week and a half, but it's annoying nonetheless. I'm sipping Coke as I type this.
  3. I have a lovely scratchy throat. It doesn't matter that I've been very, very careful ... didn't leave my house at all on Sunday ... have hand sanitzed and washed my hands with soap whenever I could ... Nope! Still have this darn scratchy throat.
  4. Today is Day 2 of Quarterly assessments, and I'm just as sick of them as my kids are!

I'm clinging to the spirit of Christmas by the skin of my teeth... which equates to just barely. Time to breathe deeply and enjoy ...

Monday, December 14, 2009

THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG

My teammates and I planned a trip to the local movie theatre for our 4th grade quarterly reward party. The viewing for today?

Disney's THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG.

Great movie! Lived up to Disney's standards and then some. Of course, I was thrilled with the fact that there was a lot of jazz and blues in the movie as well as the "fashion" influence of the 30s, which is my new obsession!

I gotta say, though, that my boys, who sorta half-way poo-poo'ed the idea of going to a Disney movie, were some of the loudest in the cheering section at the end. I think it got their stamp of a approval too.

If you've got children/nieces and nephews, I'd say this is a great holiday break "I'm bored, Mom, what can I do, besides drive you and my siblings crazy?" movie!

ONE MORE WEEK

Today marks that last week of school before Christmas Break! Ask me how excited I am!?!?!?

YAY for Christmas break!!

The only downer to the break will be the fact that I will be having surgery on Ned the Nodule on December 28th. So, exactly 14 days from today, I will be getting ready for a long, medically-induced winter's nap.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

MY NEW OBSESSION

I have a new obsession ...

It makes me happy .... it puts a smile on my face .... a a bounce to my step .... it makes me want to get up and dance and sing .... it makes me want to run out and join a show choir right now!!

It's GLEE! If you've not seen it yet ... well, you're going to have to wait until April 13th ... according to something I read recently, as they are on a hiatus.

Sniff, sniff ...

At any rate, if you're able to download the episodes online, then by all means, do so! It's great tv, and it's not the insipid train wrecks that are the reality tv on these days.

It's my own little piece of heaven on Earth .... ahhhhhh .....

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

Today is my mom's birthday!!!
Yay for my mom! And yay for birthdays!!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

BLUE CHRISTMASES

I forget how blessed I am ...

When I get discouraged about my status in life ....

When I get frustrated with my job ....

When I get annoyed -- no, darn right angry with my body ...

I forget how truly blessed I am.

There are people surrounding me ... more than I probably realize ... that are hurting ... broken ... utterly bled dry.

The holidays are so hard when you've been broken ...

I forget just how blessed am I.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

HIGH WIND ADVISORY

The wild winds of winter are pounding their way through Central Kentucky today ... at speeds up to and possibly exceeding 55 MPH.

Here's the deal, folks. Beware of flying inflatable snow globes and Snoopies with Christmas wreathes around their necks. Those puppies have the potential to really get some good air, and Lord only knows where they might end up.

Don't be surprised if there's an influx of slightly deflated, and probably very beat-up inflatables floating along the shorelines of the Atlantic Ocean ....

Maine residents beware!

Monday, December 07, 2009

MAGGIE AS SANTA

My friend, Tabby, has the cutest little dog -- her name is Maggie. Maggie is as spoiled as Emmy the Cat is, and I knew this when I posed the following question to Tabby.

"Does Maggie need a Santa suit?"

You see ... in my preparation for Emmy's Christmas Card Photo debut, I purchased the cutest little Santa jacket for her at the dollar store. The only problem is that she's too big and fluffy for the jacket -- really too BIG! What was I going to do with it?

Enter Maggie ...

Today, Tabby sent me some photos of Maggie sporting her newest winter garb, and dag-gone it! She's just too cute not to share with the rest of the world!
Ladies and gentlemen ... I present to you, Maggie ... the Santa Baby!





FRESH PEAR AND CRANBERRY PIE

For the handful of you that were interested in the recipe for that Pear and Cranberry Pie Ann made for my Thanksgiving feast, you can find that recipe below. She swears it is the easiest recipe in the world, and, folks, was it ever good!!!! I think we're partaking again at Christmas!




Fresh Pear and Cranberry Pie
* 1 recipe Single-Crust Pie
* 8 cups sliced red and/or green ripe pears (7 to 8 pears; 3 to 3-1/2 lb. total)
* 1 cup fresh cranberries
* 1/4 cup sugar (or Splenda)
* 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
* 2 Tbsp. apple cider or water
* 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
* 1 Tbsp. sugar (or Splenda)


1. Prepare and roll out Pastry for Single-Crust Pie. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Arrange half of pears in prepared pastry; sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cranberries. Arrange remaining pears atop cranberries. Repeat layers. In bowl stir together 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, cider, and nutmeg; drizzle evenly over pears. Cover pie with foil.

3. Bake 40 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake, uncovered, 30 to 35 minutes more or until pears are tender and juices are bubbly.

4. Remove from oven and place on wire rack.

5. Serve warm. Drizzle with additional caramel topping. Make 8 servings.

FIRST SNOW OF THE SEASON

First Snow + two weeks until Christmas Break + a field trip to a play this morning = Squirrely 4th graders and a teacher that might need a good, stiff drink this afternoon.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

AN OMG MOMENT

I used OMG once when I was texting Erin, and she called me right back and said, "You never OMG, so I knew it had to be good!"

Well, I'm OMGing today. So this is your cue that it's something good ... and not so much good as it is jaw-dropping.

I was running late (what else is new lately), and so I didn't get coffee made. To avert the inevitable caffeine withdrawal headache, I headed off to my local Circle K to get some Kona blend. That's where the productivity stopped because I stood in line for 5 minutes as Blue Collar Working Woman ahead of me spent ... are you ready for this??? $483.32 on lotto tickets!

Yes! That's what I said! $483.32!

That is quadruple my Christmas budget, folks!

For a split second, I almost asked her that if she planned on just throwing money away, would she mind throwing some in my direction .... but I thought better of it. Didn't seem very Christmasy ...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

42 YEARS TODAY

42 years today, my parents got hitched ... at a little, quaint, but breezy church in Ripley, New York.

The big family joke has been that the candles all burned sideways, and it's true. If you look at their wedding photos, the flames were all going sideways! Apparently, there was some need for weather-stripping on those old church windows, but then, that's sorta what you get for getting married in December in a town that always has some sort of wind because it's nestled on the banks of Lake Erie.

At any rate, my parents are celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary today, and you know what? That's pretty dag-gone good in my book!

So happy anniversary, Parental Units!!

23 MORE DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS

Okay, I've got to get my act together! Everyone I know has already knocked their Christmas shopping out.

What have I done? Hardly anything, that's what! I need to get it together.

I've got ideas ... lots of them. And I have picked up a few things, but I'm no where near "knocking it out."

Makes me wonder what I've been doing lately ...