Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm Calling for Twenty Ten

A lot buzz about what to call the new decade.  I'm chalking up my mark on the Twenty Ten side of the tally.  Why?  Easy. Direct. Room for growth.  Next we can say Twenty Eleven, Twenty Twelve, and so on through the entire century if it works out that the Earth is still spinning in Twenty Fifty and further.

Having just experienced my 58th birthday, the spinning of the Earth has various degrees of meaning for me but mostly ... it's spinning too damn fast, isn't it?  Whoa!  How did I get to be 58?  But what's more important... how the heck did my kid get to be 35? Talk about "whoa, baby!"

The past year has been one wild ride -- politically, socially, and all the other -ally words.  New president, old issues, debts, debates, obstacles, and crazies.  Teabagging, eh?  Just too funny for words.  I need a bumper sticker that whispers, rather than screams: Yeah, he's black. Get over it.  The old, white, mostly southern and mostly fat people sure are mean and hateful... and AFRAID right now, aren't they? Don't they know that pointing the finger at anybody is all about PROJECTION (meaning all about their own issues).  Pure entertainment -- as they get co-opted into some fine messes.  Ignorance -- that's the enemy, as usual.  I know I'm on the right side of that fight -- down with ignorance - kiss a teacher!  (or just shake hands and smile)

Meanwhile, the snow is falling and I have 1000 words to write.  As usual, I'm turning over yet another leaf in the long and anxious tradition that is WRITING.  Yes, I'll be back in the saddle in the new year -- writing daily and hoping my writing group gets a bit more solid on the support system.  I'm not a great promoter, but I would like to add some new faces and voices to our mix.  If you think of any woman who wants support while she writes, let me know!  The writing forum is:  We Write Stuff.  We require registration and the process is explained at the site.

When I sit down to the keyboard lately, I'm torn between several stories, but I'm going to finish one soon.  I will.  I promise.  Right here in public, I am promising to FINISH this story:  The Cheesy Christmas Story.  The title is going to be changed some day, but for now, it's Cheesy, and it needs to be done already.  Like two years ago done.  That's my goal this winter.  Finish Cheesy and move on to The Drag Queen's Sister.  And I will not be divulging herein the plots or the characters (although you must have figured something out on that second story title) of these fine stories.

If I haven't said it yet, let me be clear:  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  And may you find health, wealth, and happiness in 2010.

Gotta LOVE Stephen Colbert!

What's the deal when the BEST news is on the Comedy Channel?  Between Colbert and Jon Stewart, the truth is being held in safety for us.

This clip would be hilarious, if it wasn't also too true -- for both parties.  Sad sad sad.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve dawns, a bit chilly with about four inches of snow on the ground here and more up on the mountain.  I still find amazement in the variety of animal tracks over the fresh snow.  When do these creatures prance about the yard?  I miss most of their adventures, but love the idea of them frolicking in our snow.

Meanwhile, Santa has been working in the studio... mmm... North Pole Workshop.  Here are a few goodies that might just make it under the tree, if not onto the new website.  More to come, with some Tim Holtz Christmas Tags added for merry measure.

We're off to Boston to enjoy the season with family.  Then we will mosey on over to the Four Seasons and partake of our own little holiday tradition by staying in a delightful room overlooking the Boston Commons -- watching the ice skaters and laughing at children's snowmen and leisurely poking around all sorts of shops, the day after Christmas.


Monday, December 21, 2009

New Website - Up and Running

I've had a website account at FatCow for a long time and have only used the forum feature.  Every time I even thought about starting up ZeeStuff, Vt again, a little movie flashed across my mental screen featuring the hours of work to create a website.  But this past Sunday I received an email from FatCow explaining their new "drag and drop" website builder.  Ah, ha! Said I.   Or something like that, since I was still in my jammies with coffee in hand.  A couple hours later I had the bare bones of a site ready to be published.

I'm certainly not done with the site by any means -- I have to take pictures of all my pins and creatures.  I have to sort through all the bags I have stashed away for sale, and probably take pictures.  This will be relatively easy, since I'm now off until January 19th.

I hope the website works.  Anyone who uses PayPal will be able to buy right on the site.  Otherwise, I'm hoping to set up a feature where a customer might email me and work out a design or a payment or both.  This is all new to me and I'm hoping few kinks will emerge as the days pass.

Pretty exciting, huh?  My brother, John, says he's expecting ZeeMarts to pop up all over the USA.  Noooo.... don't think so, but isn't that a cute idea?  He's the entrepreneur.  I'm just an elf working in my studio, churning out all sorts of ZeeStuff.

p.s.  You can click on that ZeeStuff, Vermont header and go see the website... right now!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

One Last Tag Post

Okay... here are all 12 Tags of Christmas from Tim Holtz:

If you want to see them as a larger picture, click on this and you should get a larger view.

These tags are seriously beautiful and will be FUN to make! Can't wait!!  I'm off to my studio and I'll post my pictures later.

p.s. If you want to learn the steps for making these tags, scamper on over to Tim Holtz's blog and scroll through the archives.  Oh, and the tags from the last two years are also in the archives.  What fun!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Oh... the Last Tag of Christmas...

First of all..  NEWS FLASH!!!

I won a prize from Tim Holtz (my tag and craft guru)!  Every day Tim picks several "winners" from the many, many commenters on his blog.  I've been commenting and reading his entire blog, not just the Christmas Tag posts, for 'lo these many years.  BUT... (you knew a "but" was coming)  I never win anything, ever.  I don't whine about that.  I don't scrawl the famous  "I never win anything" post.  But let's face it... I could count on less than five fingers any drawing or lottery I've ever entered and won even a lowly consolation prize.  Oh, boo f-ing hoo, huh?

Sooooo... it was with Great Surprise that I groggily opened Tim's blog to sneak a peek at the latest tag, scrolled down a bit cynically, and FOUND MY NAME on the Winner's List. Wow!  Just between you and me... and the wreath on the door... I don't even need a prize -- I'm just so excited to "win" something.   I guess I'll be getting craft goodies from Tim Holtz.  Wow!  Can't wait.  I wonder what I will get?  Doesn't matter.  If free goodies don't lure me to the studio... I don't know what would.  But, I know in my heart that I will soon (SOON!) be happily crafting away, carols on the iPod, and glue gun aglow with the warmth of imagination and creativity.  Because....

School ended yesterday.  And not on a totally lovely note either.  I was in my office, reading through a stack of what should have been very easy papers -- the answers to basic questions about Pride and Prejudice.  Yes, I'm one of those readers who often list P&P on my top 10 books ever read -- for many reasons.  This is the last novel students read in my Touchstones of Western Literature course.  I have used it because I think it IS a widely-read novel.  It's accessible, fun, and a perhaps even window on modern romance and human nature.  After slogging through the Old Testament, Greek mythology, Greek Tragedy, Knights of the Round Table, and Shakespearean tragedy, I certainly wanted to lighten up and always hope the students will gladly follow.  After a semester of "men, men, and more men," it's time for a story about women!!

All that aside, I was seriously saddened by more than a few of my students' work.  PLAGIARISM!  In today's world, plagiarism is rampant.  And oh so easy to accomplish: Go to any "cliff notes" site.  Copy. Paste into your paper.  Et vi-ola.... you're done with the assignment, without having to read friggin' Jane Austen, thank-you-very-much. 

Well, plagiarism is also easy to catch:  find a sentence that is not remotely one the student could have written; type it into Google; hit "send"; wait for all the lovely exact words to show up on the Google list. Yes, I can find most situations of direct cut/past plagiarism, and many cases of "just changed a few words" plagiarism.  

The dilemma is always what to do.  Overlook? Overangst? Overdo?  Somewhere in the middle might be the compromise.  The college says I have control here.  I can fail the paper, fail the student in the class.... depends on me.  I can even turn a blind eye and act like it never happened.  I'll tell you, this has been a rather bitter moment for me in every instance where I had to confront the student.  Since it has happened before, I always start the semester with a lecture/plea:  do not plagiarize.  I don't ask a lot, but I do ask them not to plagiarize.  And that makes this incident so disturbing.  Many students did this -- not just one or two.

What did I do yesterday?   I wrote a note to my class.   I asked those who plagiarized to step forward and withdraw their work from my consideration -- in essence, to voluntarily take a zero on the assignment.  I told them I had stopped reading after six papers and was prepared to start again in 24 hours and would like those who plagiarized to fess up before the deadline.  

The replies were fascinating, but most of all revealed the extent to which (a) nobody understands the definition of plagiarism, and (2) nobody wants to take responsibility for his or her work ethic.   Many very good students wrote that they were unsure.  "Did I do it?"  My answer mostly was, "Did you?"  Remember, I had not read all the papers yet.  The motive behind my offer was to rid myself of having to angst over every suspected case.  I figured the ones who blatantly cut and pasted would step forward, heads bowed, and say "yes, I did it."  Au contraire.  Even the two very obvious cases that I caught before I wrote my letter -- even those two! -- said "it was an honest mistake."  Honest? Mistake?  When a person goes to a website, highlights the words, copies these words, clicks over to his or her paper-in-progress, points the cursor, and pastes in the words just copied from that website into that paper --- I kinda BELIEVE that was a deliberate act.  A mistake is when you don't carry the one and your checkbook is off by ninety dollars (usually "off" in the wrong direction).  A mistake is using the wrong fork at a formal dinner.  A mistake is marrying a man because he's... well, you get the idea.

The 24 hours is "up" at noon.  I have plenty of other work to do in the meantime.  I just hope the freshmen didn't go into that plagiarism chasm on their research papers.  I kept telling them to quote and cite the source and that was the way to be sure... but I'm so skeptical now that nobody's listening and everybody, or maybe just "many," are taking shortcuts and to hell with honesty.  Hope not. Hope not. Hope not.  But I've never been accused of not being an optimist -- always with the silver lining, always.

Meanwhile, back at the tag-fest... The last tag?!!!  Darn!!  But look at it!  I've been dying to know how Tim Holtz makes those roses.  He kept saying he was going to post a tutorial.  I guess he was saving that for his Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.  I gotta say -- I can make those roses for any occasion, now that I know how to do 'em!!!  Very very cool!!!

Again, if you want to see All 12 Tags of Christmas, go to Tim Holtz's blog and check the archives.  Since each tag demo file is long -- all the steps are shown for every tag -- he's separated them into easily-loaded sections for those with slow connections.  

When I get done with all the papers -- plagiarized and not (cross your fingers for "and not!") -- I'm taking my laptop to the studio and I'm making several of the tags.   I might not put them on presents 'cuz I hate to think somebody would just throw away all that work.  BUT... I'm thinking I will use them as ornaments.   I have mine from last year. They are so beautiful. And I'll  have some from this year -- equally as beautiful, I'm sure.  Should be fun to see them on the tree.

Off to the races.  Me?  Maybe a winner yet!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

On the 10th Tag of Christmas.....

This one is superb!  I love the bright colors and words.  Can't wait to try making it, but I am going to wait.  I'm dangling a the carrot of FINISHING MY GRADES... before I work on the tags.

If you want to know how to make this one, or any of the others, Tim Holtz has two days left.  Wow!  I have to get up at 5:15 a.m.  each morning (but not after Monday) and my first "check in" after showering, dressing, make-up, and ready, is to click on Tim's blog for the new tag.  I can truly say I've been surprised every day!  I'll miss the tags!

Yesterday we had a bit of a blizzard.  I was MORE THAN surprised that the administration of CSC didn't close the college.  I was, as usual, a weenie -- and Steve volunteered to drive, so I said HECK YES! to his valiant offer and we jingled and jangled all the way to school, and eventually back.  It was miserable weather.  Biting snow and wicked wind.  When we finally returned we were treated to a humdinger of a wind storm -- trees down, branches all over the lawn/snow, AND... a few sheets of vinyl siding zipped right off the house!  Steve was not happy -- he tends to always leap right out to the worst case scenario.  I'm sure he was envisioning a tornado taking the house to Oz, or mostly, a big ol' tree falling on the house or flying through the window and killing me, or Casou.  Really... that's how his mind works.   I think we are going to get him some meditation tapes.  Ya think?

Okay... ONE MORE DAY of school!!!  I love my classes (well, 2 out of 3) and will miss them.  But after a month off, we get to put on the show one more time!  Soooo.... cue the music, I've gotta run. Finals Monday and then.... I'm done!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Half Way to 12 Christmas Tags!

I admit that I'm hoarding these Tim Holtz 12 Tags (see below for website) and boxes of materials for the moment school is OUT and I can settle into my studio and CREATE!

I have so many ideas for jewelry, dragons, hearts and other pins; tote bags and purses; aprons; and hats. OY! I could hibernate in that room for the whole winter.

Once school is OUT and my grades are IN, I'll have vacation time until January 20th when the spring semester begins. At that time I'll be teaching two classes: Effective Speaking and Touchstones of Western Literature. I do so love a light spring semester. Speech is undoubtedly the most rewarding class I teach. The students arrive in trembling fear of public speaking and leave with a great deal of self-confidence! I love the process!!! And what can I say about Western Literature, except... that I really do need to find another approach. This whole read/quiz/write cycle is so boooorrrrrring. I'm thinking to shake it up a bit... but then... shaking the delivery would require me to spend some of my precious vacation time pouring over books and rethinking my syllabus. Hmmmm.... it's tempting. But so is the studio! And travel! And photography! And... I've been thinking about cooking lessons or French lessons or even piano lessons! AND... to top it all off... I've applied to be a guardian ad litem for the Vermont courts (but that won't be worked out until next year some time if all the gears mesh).

What I'm thinking is... the second half of life... if this is where I am... is propelling me to be embrace the different quadrants of life: being/doing/introvert/extrovert. Other pieces seem to fall in line -- from writing (which most definitely MUST be part of every equation in my life), to art, to politics, to first and foremost, my relationship with Steve. Here we are in the belly of nature (I'm still in awe of the four seasons, woodland creatures, and my garden) in Vermont. I am blessed with an abundance of inspiration. Muse? Muses!

Back to grading papers, dreaming not so much of sugar plums, but of Christmas Tags! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Tim Holtz Starts 12 Tags of Christmas Today!!!!

If you are the least bit "crafty," you might want to check out the action on Tim's blog. Here is the first tag:

If you would like to learn the steps, here is his blog: TIM HOLTZ

As soon as I am free from the current madness that comes with the end of the semester, I fully intend to immerse myself in this year's tag festival! Can't wait.

'Til then, I'm humming along to the latest "Glee" album and working through the papers that became stacks when I got so sick. Thank goodness for hot tea, Casou, and Steve (who just cleaned the oven -- what a treasure!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving and the Undefeated Spirit of Creativity

Just about every leaf has drifted down from the highest branches and floated to the lawn. We finally dumped the last of our hanging baskets. The garden has been put to bed for the winter. Our neighbors on both sides finished their Christmas decorating last week. Because the weather is beautiful and relatively warm, I understand their sense of urgency. Being able to put up the festive banners and wreaths and garlands without wearing five layers, a hat, a scarf, and ski gloves is a miracle. I think we will take advantage of this lull in the advance of arctic freeze to jump in with our holiday designs.

Creativity seems to be the one unstoppable devotion of the human heart. I say that because when all else fails, relying on creativity redeems any flagging spirit. Having "suffered" (and that is such a silly word to use -- no real suffering here) with a lingering cold that zapped all my energy for the last month, I am here to say that creativity saved me.

First of all, I've been participating in NaNoWriMo -- the whacky game of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. For a short version of how this started -- two guys in a bar challenging themselves to finally "write the novel" they always said they would, and do it in One Month. Putting their money (well, no money is involved really) where their mouths whined. And the movement has spread from those two to thousands of people writing furiously for one month.

I've had various levels of success at this endeavor, but haven't ever finished a novel. November is not an easy month. In the past, Geoff and Carrie were coming for dinner and the end of the semester is less than 10 school days away. I'm usually more than unfocused on writing. But this year none of that seemed to matter. Geoff and Carrie visited back in October and I've tried (valiantly at times -- patting myself on the back -- ha ha) to keep up with my courses so that I'm not frantic at the end. This year, I swore that I would finish!

Ah... the best laid plans. The flu -- or was it just the Worst. Cold. Ever??? I missed two school days, which is a record for me. I usually show up even when I'm coughing like a vintage jalopy. I don't like reorganizing my syllabus. Ugh. And... to make matters worse.... it was during Hamlet. I love Hamlet. It could be such fun! Oh well.

Even with the flu, I continued to write. I kept pace with the prescribed number of daily words that would get me to my goal. That would be 1,667 per day. And I was chugging along. But then.... I had The Relapse. I began to fade. Still, the novel won't die. I dream about it, scribble notes on napkins, and think about those silly characters when I'm doing the dishes or driving to work or soaping up my armpits for a shave. Ha!

Creativity really does save the soul. My plan this year was a daily four-pronged attack: doing The Artist's Way Morning Pages, following my Weight Watchers Points, exercising, and writing my 1,667 words. I've succeeded in continuing the morning pages and I fluctuate with the number of words -- sometimes less, sometimes more. But I've flagged on the eating and exercising. Still, I haven't lost heart.

I'm chugging toward my goal and looking forward to even more venues of creativity. Starting with holiday decorating, continuing with holiday baking, holiday crafts, and even more writing. My studio whispers to me, "Come back! Come back!" And I know I'll have a month off to sew and create Christmas Tags and play with all my ideas, including More Writing.

For what am I thankful this Thanksgiving? For creativity. For writing every day. For creating a warm and welcoming home. For creating dreams and goals that open my soul to more and more possibilities. For creativity -- which is the life force that sustains me and renders me whole and fulfilled.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Apple Picking, Leaf Peeping, and Turkey Dinner

October blends natural textures, colors, tastes, and smells into a tapestry of sensory delight. This past week we've spent with our kids, Geoff and Carrie. Usually they visit for Thanksgiving, but we all know what a rat-race the whole travel-during-the-holidays can become, so they made a conscious effort to switch gears and come during my week off at Columbus Day (don't know why CSC offers a week off, but hurray). During the week we picked apples, plucked pumpkins, munched maple products, and walked the mountain golf course -- all in view of the glorious golden leaves in the Vermont fall foliage.

Carrie wanted Thanksgiving Dinner. So, before they arrived, I gathered all the ingredients. Surprisingly, turkey was not available in my usual market, but I found a nice 14 pounder at the "other" market in town. I roamed the aisles, scouting the rest of the traditional eats: stuffing and gravy makings, fresh cranberries, and pie basics. Armed with everything, we proceeded to start the fun visit.

The first day, we picked a bushel of apples. Believe me when I tell you that we'll be eating apples, drying apples, and pressure cooking applesauce until Christmas. Anyway... Carrie made a GREAT apple pie with the crumbly topping!! I think it was her first pie. Pictures below.

We psyched ourselves and laughed into calling our festivities "Thanksgiving" -- even to the point of making sure we ate on Thursday, treating the day exactly as we would if it was "the real" Thanksgiving. Lots of jokes about football and parades being cancelled due to the flu, and shoppers ready to invade the stores on Friday. Yeah, we were silly. But it sort of worked. We began to feel like it was Thanksgiving. Carrie even started to consider Christmas carols on her iPod. By Friday we were surprised, on a trip to Burlington, that more shoppers weren't in the stores, however, the restaurants were doing a brisk business. Nice to know somebody's recovering during this economical downturn, recession, whatever. Stimulus, ahoy!

Early this morning we drove to Dartmouth Hospital for our flu shots (a huge line where usually we had none). This was Carrie's first flu shot. We celebrated with hot soup after standing in the cold for that half hour. Brr... it was 30 degrees. Later we will drive to the Albany, NY airport, as Carrie and Geoff return to California. Boo hoo. We had such a marvelous time and we'll miss them with all our hearts. But we'll figure a way to see them soon.

Now I'm wondering what we'll do for the next Thanksgiving. You know... the one coming up in November.

Site seeing, apple picking, turkey and pie:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My youth slips away. I wonder if this is the feeling of every generation? Or is this welling of emotion purely the result of our connection via media? Did the revolutionary generation feel the rip of their hearts with the deaths of Washington, Jefferson, and Adams?

This summer has been devastating for life -- death seems to have taken quite the opposite of a holiday. More like working overtime. And that's not news; it's the way the cycle works. We're under a microscope. First we live the music and the movies and the art and the marches and the dream. Then we live the moments of our own lives. Celebrate. Endure. Breathe. Finally, we mourn, release, and are mourned.

[on edit: I haven't been able to get my head around losing Ted Kennedy. I don't consider him part of "pop" culture. I consider him an amazing, human, humane, compassionate, tireless worker on behalf of all Americans. His loss requires more than a few passing thought. I'm considering a vast array of emotions and reactions. In time, I'll spill here where nobody really pays much attention, thank goodness.]

Somewhere in the many moves and changes, I lost my guitar. But I never lost my inner folk singer -- I still have my Joan Baez Songbook.

Namaste, Mary Travers. Namaste.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Brainstorming. Ideas for a story pop into my head most often when I am not near paper, pen, voice recorder, or even another person. My best ideas zap into my head while I'm in the shower. I suppose right now I should be water-logged -- I seem to be stuck on the way to the middle of the book. What happens next? You don't know? Well, don't ask me either. Talk about the well going dry -- if I take any more showers to prime the mental pump, our well could protest. Here's where the metaphor reaches into reality and yanks the chain, huh?

Hasn't done any good at all. I'm stumped. For awhile wonderful moments were flowing from my fingers like hot fudge over coffee ice cream. And then -- SNAG! So what did I do? Begin to see all the problems that needed fixing. And that was a good thing -- I supported some earlier moments and worked on deeper characterization (and realize I have much more to do on that score). Still didn't help -- the battle cry is ... WHAT THE FRACK IS NEXT?

I'm about to discover. I've decided to soldier on. And I'll tell you why. Why? Because I have started a new writing forum. My former writing group disbanded. And after a week of feeling adrift, I sat down and googled "forum" set up/hosting. I found what appears to be a very simple and yet nice organized forum template and a decent host. At $5.95 per month, it certainly isn't going to break the bank.

I'd compare a writing group to Weight Watchers. Sure, you can do WW by yourself. The points are easy to figure and follow. No sweat, right? But it's a lot easier and more committed to enter into the contract with a group for support. Something about publically affirming that you are gong to do something -- that makes the endeavor real and sets in motion even the smallest connection of commitment. I need that push. I admit it. I need public witness to my work -- which will spur my work in the direction of finishing! I would love to finish Cheesy Christmas Story. Yes, indeed, I would.

So, without hopping in the shower tomorrow morning, I'm sitting down at my desk and writing a minimum of 5 pages. Yes. I will write and do a bit of editing and then... post on the new writing group forum. What I know for sure -- if I've made a blunder, my group with help me work out the kinks. Nice to have support that doesn't wait for the right moment or a weekly meeting or a chance encounter to kick into high gear.

New group's name: We Write Stuff.

Hang onto your hats! I think this group is going to make a mark on publishing! Or ... be sent to the showers...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Eight more school days.
Can't believe it?
Believe it.

My usual frenzy has been set into motion. I'm a mess. I'm behind with everything, yet may appear cool and collected. Except for this dastardly fiend of a cold -- my ubiquitous airplane cold. Darm. At least I do not have stacks of unread freshmen essays. Yippee. I only have one test to read by Tuesday. My planning must be working? Can't say. The usual suspects still haunt me.

I am not going to rant about students who do not listen or read the syllabus. No. This seems to be the norm. When I said (and wrote) "I do not take work via email," did they think I was kidding? I was not. When I said (and wrote) "I do not take late work," did they think that was a joke? Nope. I don't take late work. What is a deadline? Obviously, I have a very firm view of personal responsibility. I don't think we're doing any favors by lowering or moving the goalposts we've set.

Recently several people (well, Joanne and Geoff) have attempted to move me past an obsession with "approval" -- be it my mother's or anyone's. I understand. I need to approve of myself. I don't need to concern myself with whether my students "like" me or not. On the surface, I don't care. But maybe I do? I don't move the deadlines or become lenient -- nope. I don't take late work. But do I cringe inside because I don't? Do I realize this is not rocket science or the fate of the world? Somewhere deep inside I actually do KNOW that an essay for Touchstones of Western Literature is NOT going to "matter" in a hundred years -- or in twenty -- or in one. Ha. So...why not let it all go? An interesting proposition. I'll just have to ramble on as I have for years -- off to the end of the semester. And back in the fall!

At the moment, I would love to feel 100% again. No cold. No snot. No cough. Get back my appetite.

And watch the rest of Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Well, it's St. Patrick's Day, and while I'm not Irish, that's no excuse!
I was married to an Irish Catholic from Boston.
My son has half that man's genes.
I suppose that makes me Irish by injection?

In addition, it is my sister's birthday. Here's to you, Miz Mary Patricia! She didn't have a chance, did she? The only name they could pin on her would be Mary Pat. And when we said, "But mom," in our whiny pre-teen voices, "Mary is such a plain name and there's so many Marys," my mother countered with, "We'll call her Patricia or Patty or Pat." Yeah, right. That never happened. She was and is Mary. We shouldn't have thought it would be any different. My dear maternal grandmother's name was Mary. My mother was 40 when she brought my sister into the world -- my sister, the last of six siblings, with me as the oldest. I was 14 years old when she was born -- well on my way to teenage angst, and I didn't need a newborn baby in the house to take the spotlight, idaresay. But funny thing about that -- we all loved her (and love her still) so very much. She was (and is) a JOY! So, Happy Birthday, Mary! Happy Birthday #43. EEEEK! (my only saving grace is that Mom's 83 now)

In my search for St. Patrick's Day Graphics, I came across this:

... a Disney movie that came out in 1959 -- hyped on "Disneyland" (the tv show) by none other than Walt himself. I remember vividly even though was eight years old. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING... taking me to the theatre to watch that movie??? It scared the living s**t out of me! That damned banshee! I couldn't pass a dark room, worried about my closet, and basically freaked out for weeks. And death? Geez, that banshee took me over to sheer terror about death, and I don't think I've ever come out of its grips. Here we were, minding our own business, singin' and dancin' with the little Leprechauns (and wondering, "how'd they do that?" about the small people actors in the same frame with the regular people actors), when BAM! The banshee! Sooooo... here she is.... (always a woman, huh? geez)

Happy St. Patrick's Day all you Baby Boomers!
I know you're out there -- still freaked out about the banshee...not to mention... The Wagon of Death (that's another frightening graphic, headless coachmenand all... and I couldn't bring it here... shiver, shiver, shiver!)

Faith and begorrah!

Monday, March 09, 2009


I lied. Well, I didn't lie. But I woke up to SNOW. Lots and lots of SNOW. Big, fluffy flakes of snow.

I guess that whole melting thing will just have to wait.

Thank goodness I'm heading for California on March 26th. I need sunlight and warmth!

Of course, I should not complain. It was a balmy 34 degrees most of the day, even with all the snow.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

We're Melting, Melting, Melting!
Oh, What a World!

Spring hasn't exactly sprung, but I do have hope. Heard birds. Saw chipmunks. And the snow has melted on the edges of the two acres. Slowly, slowly. Deep breath. Cross your fingers. Hold on!

I'm not an expert (duh) but I'd say Vermont is having a good maple sugar year. From what I've read, the syrup people need very cold nights and warming up days. The sap will run. They'll tap and boil. The valley will smell delicious -- seriously, like maple syrup. I'm not kidding. The first time I walked outside and breathed that burnt brown sugar smell with the hint of maple, I thought I was making it up. But I wasn't. A sugaring venture was going full steam ahead, right at the bottom of our hill. Since then, we've moved, but we are in the vicinity and I can still smell the liquid gold. BTW... YIKES... do you know what they're getting for maple syrup these days? I thought about tapping our sugar maples. Operative word: thought. Nah, I have plenty of other projects to finish.

Right now, I'm trying to stay on top of three serious goals: 1) lose weight; 2) finish the quilt for Geoff and Carrie; and 3) finish my novel/novella. All three goals connect to Geoff and Carrie getting married in June. What could be better than to look nice and feel energetic for pictures and general fun? What could be better than to present them with a handmade quilt? (although they do know about it because... it's been languishing at the bottom of my pile o'projects for about five years. (digging toe into ground and biting index finger in shame) (oh well). And finally, what could be better than being able to tell my darling son that his mother finally finished a book. Finished a book. Which would mean... I can do it! He's always saying so. He says he never wants to tell his children that I was a great writer, but never finished a book. When you put it that way... OY YOI YOI.

Daylight savings time started today and so many people are pissed off about it. I'm not. What the heck? Yes, it takes a few days or a week to get used to the idea, but then it's like summer is already here. I remember the feeling -- when daylight savings time started every year, we were excited to our toes! We could play outside longer and longer every evening. In fact, that scene in Field of Dreams, at the end, where they "have a catch." That's my backyard all summer long -- the "pop" of the baseball into the glove -- from my dad to my brother and back again. The smell of leather and neet's foot oil. Ah... well, that movie never fails to make me cry. Too many memories these days? Yes, probably.

Back to the studio. I need to clear a space for the quilt, rev up the tread mill, and brainstorm more of my book. I can do all that right here and at the same time -- I love my life! Here's what I'm expecting come Vermont spring:

(my very own homegrown daffodil)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Running Away from Home

I packed my bag. I packed the dog's bag. I made two sandwiches and brought the dog food. I grabbed an apple and the GPS. I was running away from home.

You might ask, "Why?"

Here goes.

I live in Vermont where it's very cold and snowy. We've had about two feet of snow on the ground since Christmas. I look out my bedroom window on a beautiful white rolling lawn dotted with trees covered in white cotton candy. One foot down below my bedroom window is the roof of the porch -- the maghogany porch that runs the length of the house. That roof has been layered with snow since December.

Between Wednesday and Tuesday the weather pattern broke. We finally received our "thaw." We usually get at least one thaw -- a warm spell of a few days (and by warm I mean 40-50 degrees) in January, and one in February. I guess we must not have paid our January dues. Anyway... the snow began to melt. This is a little tricky because at night it gets cold again, which means ice forms. And then it rained and we had an skating rink on that porch roof.

I said to my husband, Steve, "Please do not go on the roof. It's two inches thick. Abso-f'ing-lutely do not go out on that roof when I'm not home."

This is not the first time I've asked him to quit the dangerous behavior of going on the roof when nobody's home. Does that make any sense? He's in good shape, but he's soon to be 69 years old and he has had one heart attack. I don't think anybody should be on a roof or even a tall ladder when nobody's around to get help should that person fall. To me, that's common sense.

I have had to deal with Steve practicing a lot of unhealthy behavior and it doesn't make me happy. He fails to wash dishes with hot water. He doesn't want to turn on the heat when it's freezing (and I mean below zero). He turns down the flame on the hot water heater when I'm not looking. And he'll eat stuff that has mold or fuzz. He drives on his tires 'til his son calls them "baloney flaps." I know. I know. He's frugal. But at what cost? Where frugal stop and unhealthy begin? He worries that the ice on the roof will damage the porch. I get that. But we can hire somebody or he can wait until I'm home.

I drove off to school in a drizzle at 6:30 a.m. on Thursday morning. Steve would be leaving for his job at 7:30 a.m. I would be home around noon -- with the next week off for Winter Break (I love being a college professor). I looked forward to a mellow "time off."

Every day I get home, the first thing I do is take Casou, our dog, out to relieve his bladder. He'll jump up and down, kiss me a lot, and head for the door -- all 15 fluffy white pounds of him.

Thursday, I followed him across the porch to the side steps, right below our bedroom window. And what do you think I saw all over the ground?


I knew. And I was furious. My very first thought was -- I want to run away from home. I want to drive as far as I can go. Right now. Really. I could see myself in the car, just going.

I grabbed my phone and tried to call his cell. Then I called him at work. And I couldn't have been more angry. Ever.

That's when I packed the car and left.

But I had no idea where to go. I've lived in Vermont for eight years and I don't think I have any friends. Not the kind you drop in on with an overnight bag and cry and vent anger. And who would "get" this, anyway? Everyone thinks Steve is a pussycat. No, I saw myself in a hotel for a couple of days, eating from room service, reading books, walking the dog, and not sleeping.

I drove to my favorite places: Michael's, JoAnn's, and the public library. I might have driven to Burlington but that's north and the roads are always a surprise this time of year. I would have driven south, but I wasn't in the mood to shop, and Manchester is about all that's south, unless I was truly serious about going to Disneyland... DisneyWorld.

I dithered and wandered. One good thing: I didn't eat my way through this problem. That's a plus. I just moped and mumbled and kissed Casou a lot.

I returned home about six o'clock. I didn't talk to Steve. I told him to just keep away from me. I slept in the guest room -- and that's not my style. I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. and woke at 11:47 a.m. -- 12 hours of sleep -- Casou right along with me. Sign of depression? I yawned all day, yearning to go back to sleep. I don't know why I'm so upset and why I have inaction written all over me. My heart is just weary. I still won't give Steve even a hug. I've talked to him about mundane things, but I haven't moved past my anger.

And he knows he "screwed up." But he acts like a little boy digging his toe in the dirt and not looking at me, and making excuses. But how does that lead to change? I want to hear an admission of realization. A mature admission and a sincere request for forgiveness. He broke my trust. He can't go on the roof and he needs to rethink other unhealthy practices -- for my sake if not for his. I feel as if I always lose out to material things. To money. I can't see that as viable for two people who love each other. We need to trust that we'll both do the right thing for each other -- even on the smallest stuff, or what the heck can we trust with the larger issues?

Goes to show. No matter how old you are, how long you've been together, or how secure you feel, relationships are hard. It's Saturday and I'm still trying to figure out how to get past this heavy feeling. I'm sure I'll be able to deal with it eventually. I love Steve.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Holy Stimulus, Barackman!

Is that a bit irreverent? I mean, he is now Mr. President. I realize more than a few of us think of Barack Obama as our candidate, our go-to guy, that regular dude with the cool style. Maybe we have to step back and collect ourselves a bit? The mantra needs to go something like: He's the President, President Obama, Mr. President. We'll have to all cut the "Yo! B.O.!" stuff.

Meanwhile the Stimulus Bill rolled out of the Senate, a little light and skewed. And I soooo don't get it. Okay, I get the whole "we don't have enough votes" to pass it. But... I swear, if you're a Democratic Senator or Congress-person, and you can't understand how popular the President is, how unpopular the Republicans are, and how MUCH you need to get in line... well, I hope I can send some money to your next primary competitor.

Get On Board!

I just listened to a complete dipshit, Senator Ben Nelson (D) of Nebraska. This guy must have 24/7 nurse care, because surely he cannot find his butt with two hands. I hope he is the one who gets the car and driver -- no way this guy should operate even a Cuisinart. Rachel Maddow interviewed him and you should have seen her face -- a blend of incredulity and freaking out. The guy was so proud of himself for cutting the spending in a bill designed to SPEND MONEY.

If you do not understand the problem, here's how it goes. No money is flowing anywhere right now. And the spiral is... no buying widgets, widget company closes, jobs are lost -- not just the widgetmakers, but the little donut shop on the corner next to the widget company headquarters (and the dry cleaner, deli, shoe repair...all local business that go under because one larger employer folds or cuts back employees). Then the former employees have no income and their pensions are shot because the Big Bad Banks lost it all in the crash. So, the former employees CAN'T: buy food, pay their mortgage, make their car payment (afford their car insurance -- doing without seems wise) get that loan for junior to finish college. Forget going to the movies, subscribing to netflix, or going out to dinner. Restaurants cut staff and maybe (like the Weathervane) close. Pretty soon the grocery store has to layoff 1/3 of their crew and colleges have to layoff adjunct professors (eeeek! like me). The former widget-guy husband, wife and four children lose their health insurance and quit getting check-ups. Dental? That's been cut long ago. The family dog? Left at the shelter.

You can see how this keeps building? Or not? Want more? Okay, you asked for it.

Widget guy and his family now have no income. When it comes time to pay taxes -- they make too little to pay. Oops... the state's coffers are drying up! What does the state cut? Road work. Extra cops and fire personnel. Teachers (hey! kids love being one of 35 in a class). And with every job cut, the state loses money in the long run. The more people who aren't working, the less money will be paid in taxes. If a family has to leave a home through foreclosure -- where do they go? And, again, tax revenue -- this time for local government -- decreases.

If you learn about what makes stimulus stimulating, it's rather common sensible. We can go back to Ronald Reagan and see that infrastructure has been neglected since the onset of the philosophy/guise of "government is the problem." Yeah, those pesky bridges, and roads, and power lines, and electrical grids, and transit systems!! Trash, water, sewer -- the basics. Sidewalks, parks, buildings, museums, libraries. NEGLECTED. Come on! It's the 21st Century for goodness sake. Aren't we supposed to be modern?? Why are we still driving cars that use fossil fuels, heating homes with fossil fuels, and producing energy with fossil fuels??? You can blame the oil companies and the car manufacturers -- but somehow, somewhere, we are all going to have to CHANGE.

Here's a really simple one. Why does the electricity go out in large areas of the country when we have a storm? A frigging storm. A storm we know is coming every winter.

Every school, hospital, fire and police department, city/county/state admin building, and health clinic should have new technology. EVERY. (large/small/rural/urban and in between). Every community should have a library where citizens can access information. We own the airwaves -- the television companies and the cable companies and the Internet providers do not own the broadband. We, citizens of the United States of America, own and rent those rights.

Stimulus means spending money on those projects -- and other projects that will put people back to work. And get paid. And pay taxes. And buy food, clothing, goods and services. Money is circulated, local businesses return and/or see profits again, and can hire new employees -- who work, pay taxes, buy stuff, and.... the circle begins to widen. Save money, buy stocks and bonds, invest in the future.

Tax breaks for big honking corporations do NOT create jobs. Give Exxon more money? What do you think they will do with it? Trickle down economics is a FARCE. It has NEVER worked. NEVER. Give the billionaires tax breaks? What will they do with it? Do you think they will give more to charity or buy more widgets? No. They will go to Paris and buy escargot.

And we haven't even talked about POOR PEOPLE. They are so far off the radar at the moment so as to be INVISIBLE. We've been talking about guys on the line in Detriot and women working for Lehman Brothers or Sears. We've been talking about people who OWNED homes, now losing homes. What if you could never afford a home? What if you were always living in a little apartment with your two kids and your mom? What if you never finished high school and are a waitress at Denny's? And Denny's has to cut your hours because nobody is eating out during a Depression (don't kid yourself about "recession" because that's just a fancy word to stave off your fear) (and you should be afraid).

Food stamps and welfare are the most stimulating stimulus on the planet. Poor people spend the money. They don't go to Paris. They don't take care of their horses. They take care of their kids. If they get a rebate or a break, they take care of the long list of needs. They go to the doctor or dentist. They buy their kids new shoes. They buy food. They won't go out to dinner or buy a new car, but they will support local business; they will circulate the money. And that is what you want in a Depression.

Time and time again economists tell us that SPENDING money on real jobs and projects, on welfare and food stamps, on health care provisions for poor women and children will stimulate the economy 1.75 times more than a tax break. Tax breaks actually lose money for the government in the long run (we dole out and don't get any revenue in return for a tax break).

With stimulus spending, we not only create jobs, income, and self-esteem. We have the added value of the finished project: roads, bridges, grids, schools, sidewalks, museums, waste water systems, green technology, new fuels, and so much more. If we give Exxon a tax break, we only get more oil. You do the math.

Stimulus is SPENDING. I believe ignorance -- economic ignorance is afoot at the Circle K. And that means... our Republican brethren are either woefully ignorant (seriously, they act like it) or they are clinging to some mythological conservative ideal that does not exist. I hate to break it to them but Ronald Reagan raised taxes AND amassed the largest deficits and grew the government more than any other president, up to the Big Failure that is W. The great god Ronald Reagan was no more fiscally conservative than George W. Bush. Just because you distain abortion and gay marriage and love guns, doesn't mean you are fiscally conservative. And W. came into office with a Surplus. And who left him a smaller government with a Big Surplus? A Democratic president, Mr. Clinton. And if you do your research, you will find that Democratic leadership tends to post good numbers. And post good numbers while balancing the philosophy that we ARE responsible for each other, we ARE our brother's keeper, we ARE a community.

The bottom line? This Stimulus Bill will pass. And no thanks to a bunch of Republicans that haven't put on idea forward that would work and haven't supported the American worker on anything. Who do these people think actually MAKE the products that sustain the Billionaires? What do these Republicans think that last election was about? They squandered our resources, our army, our values, our good will around the world. They ruined the country. They cut protections for workers, stripped the environment of protections, and decimated the banking and investment systems in this country. And now they have the gall.... the unmitigated gall... to vote no and smile and think they've done something noble? What's so noble about dismissing the widgetmakers of the public so that you can hang out with your cronies and fund-raising fat cats, sipping martinis, smiling ruefully, and patting your own back for your "accomplishments"?

Pay attention to who is working for you, the little person. Pay attention to who cut the funds for education or who wanted to add a tax break for billionaires. And the next time that Senator or congress person is up for election, send money to his or her primary opponent or volunteer to help at the grassroots level. Or just talk civilly to everyone you know -- about changes that need to be made.

Write letters. Send email. Make phone calls. You're in the spiral, even if you can't feel it now. This is touching every heart. And if you aren't part of the problem, you truly need to be part of the solution.

And be PROUD of the new President of the United States. He speaks in complete sentences. He thinks on his feet. He doesn't pack his town meetings with all one kind of people (and we know who did that for 8 years). He is not afraid of opposing ideas. He has an intelligent, mature sense of humor. He exudes grace and calm and responsibility. He is real and his wife is real and his children are real. He is working for you and me and everybody in the USA -- no matter what political party, race, creed, or gender. He is Mr. President -- President Barack Obama.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Political Era:
We Can Actually LAUGH Again!

Yeah. What's up with the Republicans? All of a sudden, they don't want to spend money. Do they have a clue that they were in charge during the downfall -- from surplus and good times, downward to the Nearly Greastest (who knows yet) Depression? Besides..... do they GET that they LOST, big time? Red states = irrelevant (hellllooooo we got North Carolina and Indiana); Racism = irrelevant (helllloooo who's the president, no matter how many times you sing that "magic negro song"). So... I don't know about you, but ... I'm laughing in the face of the media trying to make this all soooo very contentious... HA! We won! Don't underestimate President Barack Obama!

Anyway... this is my latest FUN Political Video! Do Enjoy!


Every month I change my desktop wallpaper. I've been using a couple different digital scrapbook sites that offer freebies. Usually the wallpaper they offer has the calendar and some slots for pictures -- just like a scrapbook page. I download and add pictures of the birthday people -- you know...the relatives who will be celebrating birthdays in that month. It's been fun.

Well, I went looking for my usual freebie today and stumbled upon a very nice page with 70.. YES! 70 different jpg wallpaper calendars for Febrary 2009. Many choices. Wonderful ART. I'm going to use this one (I hope it can be crammed into this blog)....

The colors are bright and happy. The message is love. What more could a snowbound Vermont girl want?

Here's the site: Smashing Magazine Desktop Wallpaper Calendar February 2009

If you're looking for something rather cool for your desktop, I don't think you'll be disappointed. In fact, I might just download a couple pictures and change during the month. February is, after all, the shortest month. One of the calendars on this website says "9.5% Less Month" so I'd have to agree. Short. Sweet. LOTS of birthdays for us. How about you?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

We've Lost a Giant

The nuances, subtlety, and depth of Updike's writing takes my breath away - fluid word choices, perfect names, exquisite description, and spot-on characterization. Often overlooked, undervalued or taken for granted, Updike's works embody the attributes of great world literature in the vein of Hawthorne, Dickens, Voltaire, Hardy, Twain, Conrad, Marquez, Tolstoy and others. He captured the evolving life of the new American frontier: suburbia, family, love/marriage/divorce, society, sex, politics, consumerism, intellectualism, religion ... and did this with humor and pathos. Holding a fun house mirror to foibles and flaws, joys and achievements, setbacks and defeats, Updike fearlessly observed and carefully noted the passing of American trends, beliefs, life, and language.

In today's world of commercial fiction, his like may not come again -- or not for a long time. Few writers today study metaphor, history, language, and form with the intensity that Updike studied and wrote. I'm sure I could come up with names and books in today's literary fiction, but at the moment, I'm feeling hollow and pained, my heart beating a mournful taps.

I wrote my dissertation on his works -- more than twenty years ago. Immersed in his language and thoughts, I found myself striving to become a better observer and a better writer. He gracefully led me to a craft that became my life's work. I owe him. I can only hope I return the favor some day in leading my students to an appreciation of the written word and the joy of writing.

Sad day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Of all the "stuff" I've watched (bleary-eyed and happy)... this is by far the funniest video. It's a lot more funny if you're hip to all the political pundits and hacks and elected officials (and their hired guns). Still... the high five concept is SPECIAL! I feel soooooo high fivin'!!!

Friday, January 09, 2009

not just for playing and stacking any more...

For almost a year I've been immersed in the little canvas that is a domino. If you look at a one of these rectangular pieces of ivory (okay not exactly ivory, but epoxy of some kind) you'll see that the flat side is vacant -- just begging for embellishment!

I began this fetish when I saw some examples on a few websites while I ranged high and low for new ideas. Whoa! Just google "dominoes" and look for the sites that might have some reference to "altered art" and you'll find some very nice pieces of art work. Here are a few sites for your pleasure:

Altered Dominoes
How To Guide to Domino Art
Domino Art
The City Chicken

I have produced quite a few pins mostly using Tim Holtz (tm) Adirondak Alcohol Inks for the base color. Alcohol ink is perfect for non-porus surfaces and plays rather amazing games when mixed, especially if metallics are added. I sold some of my work this summer. are a few of my original pieces:
Click on the above picture, to see the individual dominoes up close and personal.

(Yes that that one with the tree includes "fractured lyrics" -- you know... when somebody thinks they know the words to a song, but they're wrong. Bring us some friggin' pudding! I sorta like those lyrics better some how... than the original...)

I'm working on a series for Valentine's Day, plus some retro pieces.

Next up on my horizon: MICROSCOPE SLIDES! yes.... faux soldering. Very cool stuff.
Here's a website for you... (your eyes are gonna pop!): Collage Slide Pendants

Monday, January 05, 2009

What I Have Done (so far) on My Winter Vacation...
(which officially ends January 20th)

First of all, I was caught in the vortex that is Tim Holtz's Twelve Tags of Christmas.
If you scroll down at his website (linked above) , you'll have the joy of getting sucked into the very same devastating vortex -- including detailed step-by-step instructions (and shopping ... rrr... material lists) for each tag.
Here are some of my creations:

I'll post the dominoes later.... dinner's cooking!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Party Like It's 2009?
By now that phrase has faded into the annals of pith and pun, tossed on the compost pile to be covered by snow in a couple days. I should hope nobody used it, but I'd be mistaken. I can't be that original.
Not. In. The. Cards.

Everybody's blogging the New Year, right?
I didn't think to be any different. Turning over a new page in my journal and STARTING. Starting what?
Well, I had the presumption to believe that I would be starting -- a new diet, a new book, a new course, a new way of looking at myself and life. After all, I just whizzed past #56 and am beginning #57.
I'm continually aware of having more time behind me than in front of me and less time for excuses and dead ends.
'Nother silly pun. But really -- REALLLLLLY! Tick tock.
All the stuff that yearns to be written flits around my brain like so much ethereal pink cotton candy swirling and spinning in that stubby-fingered old man's beat up metal tub. My brain churns and I must, must, must get it all down.

I've been sick.
I am a pretty good sick person. I'm easily amused and quite lazy, so being sick isn't even much of an excuse to lounge in pj's, drink tea with honey, and watch videos.
The Jane Austen Film Festival.
The Complete Harry Potter Movie Mania Day.
Guilty pleasures? Okay.... I had 6 free videos coming from iTunes (don't ask) and I could only spend that on t.v. shows, so I.... damn... do I have to admit this? I used them up yesterday in a fit of sheer stupidity and madness. I know, I know. I'm going to regret this. Maybe not today, but tomorrow and forever. I checked off the first six videos in Private Practice. I swear, I don't even like the show, but it's a train wreck. I cannot avert my eyes. YUCK! Well, I watched them all. I'm sooooo done with that -- especially since I can watch (with limited commercial interruptions) on the ABC website. Duh.
What else did I watch while sick??
One Fine Day. You've Got Mail. Adventures in Babysitting.
The Forsyte Saga (I am completely besotted with Damian Lewis -- even when he is a villain. Love knows no bounds)
Out of Africa. Best. Soundtrack/Score. Ever. (mmmmm)
Oh. And...(don't slap me).... I let Mamma Mia play in a loop, just for the upbeat music -- and I am so serious when I say that I was NEVER an Abba fan. Never. Cross my heart. I just love Mamma Mia though have no reason. Just makes me wanna dance. Dancing Queen. 17. Yep.

Now that I have hearing aides, life is a bit more mellow, although,... YIKES! I can hear paper crinkling at 50 paces. Christmas morning was almost HELL -- with the paper ripping and balling up and exploding in my ears. NO.... it's a myth... cannot turn sound down or off. More about hearing aides later, Promise.
Off to bed.
Grades finally done (well, that was a few weeks of major.... in fact PRO crastination... the last day is actually tomorrow). I love myself a little too much, don't I?

Again with the resolutions? Weight: off. Morning Pages: back ON. Writing: FULL on. Blogging: improving (visualize a turtle here)
and that's the beginning of 2009.

Happy Trails!