Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Random Rants

Okay, I normally try to post "funny" random things, because really....Do you want to read about all the crummy stuff in my life? I think a safe answer would be no, because it's obvious that you're blog reading because you are trying to avoid your own troubles. However, for assorted reasons I won't get into, my posting "topic tank" is empty. So I going to settle for random complaints. If you have any interesting topics that you'd like me to complain about, please post a response!

1) The evil Wal-Mart and its cashiers....I know people gotta work, but I really hate it when the cashier doesn't interact with me and then doesn't make sure that I leave with all my bags! I usually remember to do this myself, but occasionally I'll have Raelynn with me and I'm distracted. How awful it is to come home with hot dog buns but no actual hot dogs!

2) The parking lot near Lowe's and Kroger. Ever since Kroger put up their gas station, there's no rhyme or reason about how traffic is supposed to flow. My friend Ashley has an interesting name for this mess but I shouldn't repeat it 'cause I'm sure it's offensive to some folks. I hate that parking lot.

3) My daughter's pediatrician and my bank both moved locations this week. Apparently, I'm one of the last people to know. I hate driving up to a place and then having to get out of the car and walk up to the door to decipher the little handwritten note on the door.

4) Another evil Wal-Mart rant...I had to wait for Raelynn's prescriptions for an hour and forty minutes and they still didn't have one of them. Raelynn has bronchitis and has a horrible cough. Guess which medicine we don't have???? You betcha....cough medicine. We gotta go back tomorrow because they say it'll be in then. Yeah, right.

5) Commercials on TV for medication. Really people, I don't want to have to explain what Male Erectile Dysfunction is or explain what birth control is to Raelynn. Also for the record, I hate when medicine commercials start listing all the side effects...I think that if "death" is a possible side effect, you shouldn't take the medication.

6) DVD's that don't have the "English for the Hearing Impaired" subtitles. I'm going to post about this topic at a later time. FYI-I'm hearing impaired.

7) I'm in work denial. I refuse to think about or believe that I'll have to go back to work next week. Perhaps if I don't think about it, work will go away.

8) My STUPID DIAL-UP at home. That's all I'm going to say about that.

9) Art supplies that find their way into the wrong places at my house: Play-Doh in the carpet, markers in the bedroom with no caps, scissors used to cut doll hair....one guess as to who the culprit is (and no this isn't me.)

10) There is only one place to eat in this town that carries Diet 7-Up. I can't have sugar or caffeine. And I can only go to Sonic so much. Water isn't even an option.

11) The water in this town tastes horrible.

12) Losing my ring tones on my phone. I broke my phone a couple of weeks ago and all the cool ring tones were saved to the phone. I don't have the art of the "bluetooth" transfer mastered yet, so I'm looking for people that can hook me up.

13) Paper cuts.

14) I need a sink in my classroom. Stuff is never dusted there and every time I work in the room, I feel like my hands get really dirty. My progress is hindered when I have to go to the restroom to wash my hands.

15) In general, going to public restrooms that have no soap, paper towels, or toilet paper. There is no excuse for this.

16) The evil Wal-Mart shopping bags. They are everywhere. When I'm trying to tell David where something is, I usually say, "It's in the Wal-Mart bag." Sitting at my computer right now, I can count 7 bags that are holding various things. And yes, I already checked them to see if they had the missing items from my shopping trip today--They don't.

17) Mud--all this rain has caused everything to be muddy. When you live in the country like I do, mud gets tracked in the house and gets on everything.

18) Driving in my car without my sunglasses. I have to drive to work in the sun and it's in my windshield again on the way home. There's a point when the sun is in the sky and it's right in your line of vision. I hate that.

19) Weather that can't make up its mind--come on...either be hot or cold..not both within the same week. I can't keep pulling out both wardrobes.

20) Sensitive teeth. Apparently if you brush too hard, you wear away the gums right at the tooth level. This makes for difficultly when getting your teeth cleaned.

21) Getting my teeth cleaned.

22) Raelynn getting her teeth cleaned.

24) Those small paper clips and paper clips that get rusty. I use these all the time and I hate the small ones. The rusted ones make my hands dirty and I already talked about that issue.

25) Missing the coming attractions when I go to the movies. To me, that's missing part of the movie. However, I fast forward through them when I'm viewing a DVD.

26) I just saw a commercial for the movie, "Jumanji." I hate this movie. I like Bonnie Hunt, Robin Williams, and Kirsten Dunst. I just don't like this movie.

Okay....I'm starting to feel better. I think sometimes you just have to let all the crud out. Thanks for taking the time to listen. Reading about what people are thankful for is nice (it's always friends, family, health) but I really like reading what ticks people off (as long as it isn't me.)

Okay..now it's your turn.....what's on YOUR mind?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Swear They Multiply When I'm Not Looking

So tonight I spent some time doing something that I've been putting off for a couple of years. I took the time to sort out all of the Tupperware and other plastic storage containers. I made tacos for dinner tonight and was looking for some containers to put the rest of the leftovers in, when I became frustrated because I couldn't find a lid and bowl to match. So I sat on the floor in the kitchen with all the lids and bowls spread out around me and tried to match them. I ended up bagging some of the extra bowls and trashing them. It seems that the "Glad-ware" and "Ziploc-ware" containers are the ones that I have the most of. I managed to keep some of those too and got rid of the rest.

I really long to be organized like this in all areas. I've taken many personality and learning styles tests and they have all shown me that I'm in the structured/organized category. I do agree with that to a point. I like things to be orderly and neat, I just don't always succeed at putting stuff back. My mother fussed at me a lot growing up about that same thing. However, knowing my personality like I do and my tendency to go overboard with stuff, I'm afraid that if I try to get too organized, I'll take it too far and become unpleasant to be around. You know those sort of people, right? They're too busy straightening things up to have a good time. Scientists have said that it takes 21 times or about 3 weeks to make something a habit. I'm hoping that's true and I can spend the next few weeks getting everything around me to make more sense.

And when I get depressed that my progress isn't as speedy as it should be, I'll just look at my neatly organized storage bowls and tell myself "I think I can, I think I can."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

My New Profession-Couch Potato

I don't think I can even describe how much I am loving the richness of my vacation. My family was here (they've left now) and I spend quality and quantity time with them. I don't think that in the last week I've cleaned house, graded a paper, or even thought about school a little bit. When I haven't been with my family, I've been enjoying my Netflix movies. I've watched Deja Vu twice, The House of Wax (the 1953 Vincent Price version), The Wedding Date, It's a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, Elf, Mamma Mia twice, and I currently have Victor/Victoria and We Are Marshall waiting for me. I could sit on my couch with potato chips and the remote all day. The only thing that would make this coming week better is if I could go and see Twilight again. If you're in the area and interested in seeing it, holla back!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Relishing The Decedence Of Nothingness

I am a self-diagnosed work-a-holic. I jokingly say that I'm looking for a good 12 step recovery program for that. Some people think that all teachers only work from 8-3 five days a week and get lots of time off. I would like to state here that I work 365 days a year. I only get paid for 198 days. Each vacation, you can find me hold up in the corner grading papers or planning lessons. Not so this year.

I've decided that this vacation, I'm out to perfect the fine art of doing nothing. That's right people, I'm quitting my work addiction cold turkey. So far, I'm doing well with no withdrawal symptoms.

During Christmas, my two main jobs are to eat and to be with family. My mother is the best cook in the world. Eating is something I don't have a problem doing. Family...well, that's another story. My family tree is intertwined. My brother is married to my husband's sister. A brother/sister married a brother/sister. Other families have to split their Christmas celebrations up, but in our family, we just have one big get together that lasts several days. I sometimes get anxious in large groups of people, so I have to pace myself to get through the holiday. So far, I'm doing well. No one has thrown anything at me, so we'll consider that a good thing.

Here are some of the people that I have encountered over the holiday so far...

1) My husband David--I encounter him all the time so this isn't a surprise
2) My daughter Raelynn--see explanation for number 1
3) My mother Beverly--she keeps us fed, overfed, and then nauseated from eating too much good food.
4) My dad Omis--he never sits still. He just had knee surgery, so he's been sitting more still than normal. He watches the Fox News Channel 24 hours a day.
5)My older brother Hugh--he lives in Denver and is married to my husband's sister Melissa. He hurt his back again so he's been to the doctor twice and spends time icing down his back. He thinks he has now burned his back from the ice and is on his way to frostbite.
6) My sister-in-law Melissa--she is married to Hugh (see #5) and is missing her grandson, Jayden. He's six months old and very cute. They've been married for over 22 years. She's as close to a sister as I've ever had.
7) My nephew Christian--he is Hugh and Melissa's son and is moving here to live with my parents for awhile. He's 20.
8) My father-in-law Leland--he is David's best friend. We see him at least once a week. He lives over an hour away.
9) My father-in-law's wife Mary Ellen: David's mother died right before we got married. Mary Ellen loves Christmas and gets along with Raelynn real well.
10) My sister-in-law Beth: David and Melissa's youngest sister. She lives an hour away. We've seen her at a family dinner and we met her family for bowling the other day.
11) My sister-in-law's husband Roy: I don't know if I would call him my brother-in-law yet. You'd have to meet him to understand what I mean. He works on an oil rig on the coast.
12) My niece Allison: Beth's oldest daughter. Allison's father is John. I haven't seen him yet this trip. Allison is in the ninth grade.
13) My niece Caitlyn: Beth's middle daughter. She is in the seventh grade.
14) My nephew Conner: Beth's youngest child. He is in the fifth grade. I got to be in the delivery room when he was born. That was an amazing experience.
15) Jason: Jason is my niece Allison's boyfriend. I don't know much about him. I only shook his hand when I met him.
16) Miranda: She is my nephew Christian's girlfriend that lives in Oklahoma. She came to visit and spent the night at my parents' house.
17) My sister-in-law Jo: She is the oldest child in David's family. She lives in Texas.
18) My brother-in-law Jack: He is married to Jo. My brother introduced him to Jo.
19) My nephew Richie: He's Jo and Jack's only child. He works at a rubber making plant and lives in Texas.
20) Nikki: She is Richie's wife. I've only met her twice and haven't spoken to her much so it feels funny calling her my niece.
21) Kennedi and Dylan: These are Richie and Nikki's kids. They are 5 and 4.
22)Lacey: She is a friend of Richie and Nikki's and lives with them. I didn't get a chance to speak to her.
23) My uncle Robert: He lives next door to my parents. He is my dad's older brother. He likes to come over and play cards.
24) My aunt Mary: She's married to my Uncle Robert. I can't describe her. You'd have to meet her to get the full experience.
25) My uncle Tommy: He is the brother closest in age to my dad. He dropped by for just a few minutes. He lives outside of town but I don't see him very much.
26) My aunt Dicie: She's married to my Uncle Tommy. I see her even less than Uncle Tommy.
27) Shirley: She lives next door to my parents too. She comes to all of our family functions.
28) Michelle: Some random renter of a house my parents' own. She asked to talk to my dad outside so I didn't get a chance to wish her a Merry Christmas.
29) Assorted family members: We had a catfish dinner the other night for family from David's mother's side of the family. There were assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins there. A lot of the people I've already mentioned were there too.

I'm sure there are some folks that I've forgotten. I've sat around and done a whole lot of nothing so my mind has turned to mush. I think another week of this and I may have the nasty work-a-holic addiction broken.

Let's hope so....cause breaking it is the only thing that I'm working hard at.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Peppermint: A Good Way To Mess Up Perfectly Good Food

Ahhhh....mint. Tis the season for candy canes. I like candy canes. The traditional ones. These new fangled candy canes in assorted colors and flavors just do not bode well with me. I'll take the traditional J-shaped red and white peppermint candy cane, thank you. Given this devout feeling for this holiday staple, you might be surprised to know that I only eat about one candy cane a year. I'll have my obligatory cane, and then that will be that. I don't need to have anymore to make me get into the Christmas spirit. I have a jingle bells on my shoes, people. In case you haven't noticed, I'm clothed in holiday cheer. In my book, this is the only time peppermint should make an appearance outside of gum, toothpaste, and breath mints. There's a reason why it's the most popular breath freshening flavor. It's just too nasty to eat, otherwise.

Some of you out there are cheering with me and are glad someone else said it. I've gotten lots of amens on the Frosty issue..of which if you did not know...I detest him. But that was an earlier post. Mint is used in lots of things that I just consider wrong. Like mint chocolate chip. To me, that kind of ice cream tastes like someone just couldn't decide what flavor they wanted so they randomly started putting things together. And no, I do not like York Peppermint Patties. Again, why go and ruin perfectly good chocolate by adding mint? I don't like mint in my ice tea and I've never had a mint julep, but I'm positive I wouldn't like it if I did. Another annoying place I see peppermint is in the ever popular round peppermint candies that they give you each time you go to Sonic. You know the ones...they are basically cylinder shaped candy canes. I can't stand these. If I need a breath freshener, I'll pop in a Tic Tac. It has fewer calories, doesn't leave that nasty sugary aftertaste, and takes less time to consume. Also, if you carry a pack of Tic Tacs in your purse, they won't melt and leave a mess. And they sound so cool when you shake the box. Try shaking a candy cane or a round peppermint. They make no sound at all. That's no fun.

People know that I'm right, yet they keep coming up with new and random peppermint pairings. Hershey Kisses has a version called Candy Cane Kisses. Basically, it's white chocolate with little bits of candy cane mixed in. This isn't the best candy they make by a long run. Another ridiculous pairing is with Oreo cookies. Come on, people! What's the matter with the regular Oreo cookies? Why are you messing with perfection? I just don't understand it. There is a reason that peppermint is seasonal....it's just not good enough to have around all the time.

Another mint that I'm not fond of is wintergreen. Luckily, they haven't tried to pair this with anything food related. You'll see this mostly in gum and mints. Where it belongs. A similar issue I have is these toothpastes that are flavored with things like vanilla. But that's a different post for a different time. I just had some wonderful dinner at my mom's and since I don't want to offend...I'm off to get a Tic Tac from my purse. Notice I didn't say a York Peppermint Patty or mint chocolate chip ice cream. They'd just melt and make a big ole mess. Power to the Tic Tac!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Festive-ness Drips From My Fingers

So today I took part in another Christmas tradition--I gave Raelynn "Christmas nails." I can't pinpoint the time this tradition started, but I know that it's been going strong for at least as long as Raelynn has been around.

As I have posted before, I really like Christmas...and tacky. And I really love anything that is Christmas and tacky together. On top of the annoying (to everyone else but not me) jingle bells that I have tied to my sneakers, I also decorate my nails for the holiday. Over the years, I've been in and out of "nail rehab." Before I had a child, I considered my bi-monthly appointments a part of my therapy. Now when I have to choose between getting my nails done or buying groceries, I tend to lean towards the groceries, so I guess I found the rehab that works. But I digress.

In the picture above the nail polish on the left looks exactly like my "Jingle Belle" polish by Sally Hansen. You know Sally...she's "hard as nails." I think I found this polish at a Walgreens, because Walgreens is the place where I find great stuff and then when I return to find it again, it's gone. I always keep my eyes open for this polish, but I haven't lucky enough to locate another bottle. This polish encapsulates everything I love about Christmas...it has all the Christmas colors: red, green, silver, and gold and it's GLITTER!!!! Yay for sparkle!!!

Before finding Sally Hansen's Jingle Belle polish, I would paint my finger and toenails a bright red and then cover that with either a red glitter or green glitter topcoat. On top of that, I would add a silver glitter topcoat. At this point my nails were pretty thick with many layers of lacquer. And let me just tell you, it was ugly. I lied to myself that it looked "festive." I noticed that no one else commented on it. I'm guessing since they couldn't find anything nice to say, they chose to say nothing at all.

Before I became "clean" of my nail habit, I took my Jingle Belle polish to my nail tech and asked her to incorporate it into the Christmas nails she was about to give me. She really thought that the polish was tacky and added as little of it to my nails as possible. She didn't want people asking who did her nails if they looked bad. I guess what's important here is that I liked it and I didn't buckle to the opinions of others. I'm getting better at this all the time.

So tonight Raelynn asked for her yearly Christmas nails. I got out my Jingle Belle polish and painted one of my fingernails so she could see it. She immediately told me that she didn't like it. I was afraid at this point that she was going to ask for some Christmas nail art....which I can't do. Imagine my surprise when she asked for red nail polish with a red and green glitter topcoat. She couldn't decide which one she wanted to she asked for both: one finger red, one finger green.
She also wanted this same pattern repeated on her toenails. When I was doing painting, she asked me if I liked the way they looked. And I of course told her, "They are just beautiful, sweetie!" Which I swear is totally true...and thus the tradition is carried on to the next generation.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Ceramic Christmas Tree Makes For A Great Nightlight

I must start this post with a disclaimer. I am not old enough to remember when these ceramic Christmas trees were hip. All I know is that my grandmother had one and as she got older, it became the Christmas tree under which my family placed their gifts. Mana (Mah Nah) has been gone for many years now and I have no idea what happened to her tree. I'm guessing that my Aunt Artimease (yes, that's her real name) has it since I think she's the one that made it for Mana.
I love Christmas. I have a Christmas tree in each room of my house. Even the bathrooms. I think that this addiction (see the post right before this one) has trickled down to my daughter. An old friend of the family recently had to move away from home to live with distant relatives and she gave Raelynn her ceramic Christmas tree. (I think anyone over the age of 60 has one or their parents did.) We set it up in her bedroom during the Christmas season and it was a very festive thing for her. After the holidays, she really wanted to keep it in her room. So we traded it for the night light. She has a healthy fear of the dark and this tree has scared away many of her worries.
It looks so pretty.....I wonder if there is a way to get one and attach it to my dashboard so I can enjoy it as I drive. I've tried decorating the car by putting up a tree, but found that David wasn't as up for it as I was. So whenever I feel a little nostalgic, I go sit in the dark in my daughter's room and remember simplier times at my grandmother's house. Merry Christmas Mana.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hi, My Name Is Tassie And I Have A Christmas Light Addiction

I found this picture on the Internet. Immediately I wished that this is what I had in my bathroom. For those of you that know me or have been following my blog, I love Christmas and Christmas lights. I've already said that I have a Christmas tree in every room in my house. I'm thinking that if I could deck out the rest of the bathroom, it would be an interesting experience using the facilities.
I only have one bathroom confession. I have been known to go into the bathroom, close the door, turn out the lights, and turn on whatever lights I happen to be wearing. (Mind you, I am not using the toilet, sink, or shower while in there. I'm simply taking advantage of the dark.) I've tested out the cool red lights in my sneakers, even going so far as to do a little soft shoe routine. I've enjoyed looking at my lighted Christmas necklace and earrings (thanks Carrie!)in the dark too. I have some assorted pins that light up and they have all had a turn at the bathroom which is the darkest room in my house. It sounds weird, I know. It's just another facet of my already complex nature.
Anyway, don't knock it till you try it. Have you ever seen a set of Christmas lights in the complete darkness? It truly is a sight to behold. Jeez....I'm easily entertained. I need new hobbies.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It Tastes So Good, I Want To Cry

This post is going to be a combination of several updates and some of witty observations on life. No, there is no outright Christmas theme to today's post, however the subject of my post is visiting for Christmas.

So here's the background. I've been dealing with significant hearing loss since July. I've now gotten the diagnosis: Meniere's Disease. Sounds scary, eh? Basically, it's like how glacoma in the eyes work...I have an excess of fluid built up in my inner ear, which causes pressure on my nerve endings and causes hearing loss and a continual sense of dizziness. Hence, the hearing loss and accompanying ringing associated with it. What fun. There is no known cause and no cure. However, I'm taking medication to help. Another thing I have to do is cut out caffeine and salt. Doesn't sound bad but....no caffeine means no coffee, no diet Coke, no iced tea, no chocolate. And did you know that salt is added to just about everything? So basically I'm down to eating dirt and drinking air. I guess I was looking for a weight loss program and now I have it.

Now here's the other part of this story. As you may or may not know, I have an older brother. He's over 5 years older than me and by the time I got cool enough to carry on a conversation, he was grown and moved out. My brother ended up marrying my husband's sister (brother/sister married a brother/sister) and they are here visiting for Christmas. They live in Denver. They also brought their son, my nephew Christian with them. He'll be living with my parents as he goes to school.

My brother and I share a love for coffee. In Denver, Starbucks are on every corner. Here, not so much. But I must say that Strangebrew Coffeehouse does a pretty good job. This is a habit that can be quite expensive. When I was growing up in Key West, we didn't have any Starbucks. There were coffee shops, but there was nothing but window service. You walk up to the window, the old Cuban men hanging around outside would move out of your way, and you order the most wonderful drink ever: cafe con leche. Basically, this is Cuban expresso with steamed milk. If you ever get a chance to try it, you should. It's great.

My brother figured out pretty quick that if he bought his own Expresso maker, he'd save lots of money making con leche instead of frequenting the local Starbucks for a $5 cup of coffee. So he ended up buying a $300 expresso machine and now he brings it with him when he comes to visit. When we visit him, I certainly get my fill. He'll make it every day. Needless to say, I'm totally wired out of my system. This trip is no different. As I walked up to my parents' house for dinner, I noticed that my brother's shiny red, expresso maker was sitting on the table on the porch. Will I be enjoying any coffee this holiday? The answer sadly, is no. This was a part of Christmas that I looked forward to....drinking cafe con leche, staying up late, and waking up late. Guess that won't be happening to me this year.

So--I'm hoping that Ben and Jerry create some ice cream that is cafe con lech flavored, because I think that'll be the only way I'll get to experience the taste again. Maybe if I had my brother make me a teacup sized cafe con leche with more milk than coffee, I'd be okay. If you see my bug-eyed and deaf during the Christmas break, you'll know the coffee is what did me in.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It Hasn't Gotten Old Yet

Okay, I can't help myself. I went to see Twilight. Again. For the fourth time. This is huge because I've never gone to the theater to watch the same movie four times. The movie is good, but if you analyze it in a purely cinematic mind frame, it's average. I think I like it so much because I love the books so much.
I will readily admit that I'm a total sucker for love stories. This is one love story that is so different. Not just the fact that Edward is a vampire, but because of the excitement and intensity of first love. And who doesn't remember that and how it felt, right?

It's really a good movie. I have a couple of weeks coming up with no work. Perhaps I'll reread the series. The depression of having nothing to read hasn't sunk in because I keep rereading the books. I can't say that I've ever done that before. Everytime I reread it, I notice something new. I've been told that the next book will be made into a movie and will released next November. That would be so great. Because by then, I'll have the first movie memorized and totally engrained in my head.

If you want to see the movie, give me shout out. There's nothing more satisfying than bringing someone over the dark side.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Frosty Is Not Your Friend

As much as I love all things Christmas, there are a few things I don't like. Of course the busy crowds and slow, ignorant salespeople...that's a given. I think I could even argue that the commercialism of Christmas has gotten out of hand. But there is one Christmas tradition that I absolutely detest: Frosty the Snowman.
I refuse to watch the yearly showing on television, and the song makes me feel like I'm hearing fingernails on a blackboard. Why do I feel this way? I have absolutely no idea why I hate it so much, but I do. It's really sad, but when I see the commercial for this on TV, I quickly turn it so Raelynn won't ask me if she can see it. She doesn't share my distaste for all things Frosty.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against snow. I'm not against snowmen. I've even made a few in my day. The most recent one was about 2 years ago when it snowed just enough on the hood of my car to scrape together a small snowman. Raelynn enjoyed this experience, and in her little mind, what she experienced IS making a snowman. She honestly thinks thats how you make them: scrape the snow from the hood and pack it to make a snowman that lives on your car. It snowed in Mississippi last night and, of course, it totally skipped Starkville. We did get a little sleet, and that was quite the teaser. Raelynn was ready to wake up this morning to snow to play in and was sorely disappointed. Her exact words...."This is the worst Christmas ever. There's no snow." Of course, I reminded her that a good Christmas involves exactly two things: time with family and no school. Everything else is gravy.
But back to the Frosty hate. When I think about it, the only thing that I can figure about Frosty that may have started this aversion is the voice of Frosty on the show. I'm not sure who that actor is, but it just doesn't fit. Another thing that I dislike is the fact that it's so unbelievable. I mean, the girl that creates Frosty is wearing earmuffs but is not wearing pants. What's up with that? What parent would let their kid go out in the snow in that getup? Also, Frosty exclaims, "Happy Birthday!" each time he comes to life. I mean come on....if I was sitting in the cold waiting to come to life, I don't think I would say Happy Birthday. I think I'd be wearing out the slow kids that just figured out that the hat was what did the trick. Frosty makes the Miser brothers, Heat Miser and Snow Miser, seem so much more realistic. And they sing better. I don't know, it sounds like I've analyzed this too much. All I know is, I hate Frosty during Christmas as much as I hate clowns the rest of the year. And that's quite a bit. This is the one issue that I have that I'm not looking to resolve. Now, Christmas lights.....that's a different story.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cell Phones Will Break If You Drop Them....Trust Me, This I Know.

Today is a day of mourning. First, let me say that I'm straying from my Christmas themed posts because I had a small emergency today. Basically, I broke my cell phone. This is major for me. I've never lost it, never had a reason to get a new one. But I guess today was my lucky day...I dropped it on the ground just right and it came apart at the hinge. I felt as if I was missing part of my body--not having a phone hurt that bad.

I went after school and got a shiny new purple phone. It's purty. BUT......I had saved a lot of numbers to the phone instead of the SIM card because I had assigned them a special ring tone or had attached a picture to their entry. All those numbers are gone. And those are the ones that I call.

So....if I talk to you on the phone and/or you want to talk to me....send me your numbers. Until then, I'll just be waiting for you to call me sometime...and of course then, I won't know who you are. I'm not looking forward to that. Send your numbers!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Can Never Have Too Many Cookies Or Too Many Christmas Lights

As I have mentioned before, I love Christmas lights. Given my affinity for Christmas trees, this should come as no surprise. I'm not sure how it started but I've found that just putting lights on my tree at Christmas just wasn't enough. This must have been a grown-up thought because as a kid we never put lights on our house or trees in the yard at Christmas. The only lights you could find would be one little strand on the Christmas tree. At some point when I was grown and making my own money, I realized that I could buy as many lights as I wanted and put them wherever I wanted. This must have been a liberating moment. I only wish I could remember it.

In college, I used blue Christmas lights as a night light. I'm not afraid of the dark or anything (not that I like it too much) but I found that the glow of the lights was very soothing. This is an important thing when you're pretending to be a grown-up and you think you have such a hard life. My stresses then were nothing compared to the ones I have now. After I graduated college, I moved into an apartment. Since I rented, I couldn't put holes in the walls to hang my lights, so I settled for stringing them around the balcony railing. The condo association had a Christmas balcony lighting contest. It would be safe to say that they didn't even stop as they went by my balcony. One puny strand wouldn't win it.

Since that time, I have used Christmas lights in my classroom. Year round. I think it started by stringing one innocent strand around the board with the intent of "drawing attention to the board." Yeah, right. I liked the look so much that I expanded my light collection and looped them from my drop tile ceiling frame. I found other things in the room that also looked good wrapped in lights. I think that I had a total of seven strands, all connected end-to-end. One easy plug turned my room from standard to tacky in just a second. I put them up at Christmas and liked them so much, I kept them up year round. It was very calming to my students during our read alouds. I'm sorry to say that my twinkle fairyland was shut down because I was breaking something they called "fire codes." I think this was a conspiracy by The Man to squelch my festiveness. I mean really....me? Burn down a building with Christmas lights? Not possible!

And then I moved to Mississippi. I'm sure we have things like "fire codes" here but so far, I've not been told to take my lights down. I currently have 5 multicolored strands looped from my classroom ceiling, one purple strand around my homework board, and multicolored lights around my front and back white boards. This is offset by white lights around the door so that I can place different plastic holiday covers on them. I have plastic light covers for just about every holiday. My room definitely looks interesting. There are parts of me that is screaming, "It just looks so tacky!" but honestly, the kids totally love it. And I do too. I'm keeping them up until The Man tells me to take them down.

I've also found that battery powered Christmas lights can be used for more than a wreath. As you may know, I often dress in costume at school. During the last week before our Christmas break, I give each day a theme. On Christmas Tree day, I dress in a green dress with little ornaments pinned to my dress. There are pockets on this dress where I store the battery pack for my lights, which are also pinned to my dress. The outfit is completed with gold garland as a boa and a headband with an angel perched on my head. I get lots of stares when I wear this to school. I wonder why. I don't keep the joy to myself though, I also let the kids in on the fun...they're welcome to dress up too.

This week, my sweet friend Carrie gave me a Christmas necklace and matching earrings that have lights. Any yes, they not only are shaped like lights, they actually light up! They are so great!!!! They will go nicely with the rest of my extensive Christmas accessories. Some may view my lights as a little "too much" but I figure hey... most people are pretty easily distracted. Why not give them something interesting to look at? After all, a walking Christmas tree that teaches math may not be enough to capture the attention of 25 fourth graders.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Trees- Old School Style

Am I the only person who remembers this kind of Christmas tree? It saddens me that finding this kind of tree is difficult. I have so many memories of this kind of tree as a child.
For those of you that don't know, this is a silver tinsel tree that is anywhere from 3 to 4 feet tall. The branches are very sparse. I think it's because no one is trying to pretend that this tree is in any way real. My family's tree was covered in lots of handmade ornaments, courtesy of my brother and myself. I remember that Hugh had made some smiley face ornaments that he shaped and painted himself. There were three of them and they were graduated in size. I remember that I had a Raggedy Ann ornament. For the "fancy" ornaments, we had some fake orange candy canes that were encrusted with clear glitter and little gingerbread looking houses. I think that the humidity of the Keys eventually killed those ornaments. It's sad. You might be wondering why this is such a big deal for me. I'm not sure why, but I don't have lots of clear memories from my childhood. I can name all my teachers in elementary school but can't tell you one detail of any project, party, or mishap that happened to me. So when I describe the ornaments we had on my Christmas tree as a child, that means that it made a major impact on me.
I think the best part of this silver tinsel tree was the color wheel that went with it. There was a real powerful light behind the wheel that slowly turned and turned and changed the tree from just silver to red, green, blue, and yellow. This one device helps you go from one tree to five different trees. Is that not cool or what?
Another Christmas memory that I have is falling asleep under the Christmas tree. Not just sleeping at night, but at odd times during the day. And no, I don't have some sleeping disorder. There's something so serene about laying on the floor with the bottom branches over your face. Looking up through your tree will relax you way better than the vice you currently use. You don't feel hung over, smell like smoke, or gain any weight. I've continued to lay under my tree even after the silver tree disappeared. You should try it.
As I've mentioned before, I have a Christmas tree in every room in the house. Yes, this now includes the bathrooms. I think this is good in case I decide to take a nap somewhere...I'll know directly where to go. Find the nearest tree, pull up a blankie, and dream of the perfect Christmas.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A Tale of Two Santas

I'm not one for nostalgia. I do, however, cry at every ridiculous thing you can imagine. I cried tonight during "The Amazing Race" when all the teams got their clue from the Russian food cart. I also cry during all the loved ones episodes on "Survivor." Why do I cry, you might ask? It's because I'm sensitive, okay? I've been told that my face says exactly what I'm thinking and I'm a bad liar. If that's the case, I'm not really sure what clowns, team mascots, and Santa thinks when they see me coming. I love to dress up in costumes. I don't like it when others dress up in costumes that keep their face from being clearly seen. I'm sure that other people that also don't like clowns, team mascots, and Santa (the person in costume, not the idea) feel the way I do. The picture above is me visiting Santa when I was four. Christmas in Key West is not like any you see anywhere else. First, it's hard to get into the Christmas spirit when it's 9o degrees outside. I can't imagine how uncomfortable Santa was in long sleeves made of fake velvet. The warm weather always produces lots of Christmas cards of Santa on the beach or water surfing with the reindeer. I mean, don't you see that in your mind as you look at my picture, where my mother put me in a halter top and shorts to visit Santa? Just so ya know, my mother made that top and made a matching top for my Barbie doll.

Look at the picture closely. In the background is beautiful blue skies and palm trees. This particular Christmas, Santa decided to set up in the Sears Town Shopping Center parking lot. What I love most about this picture is that I'm more focused on the candy that he gave me instead of telling him what I wanted for Christmas. Trust me, I was shaking in my shoes. I only went because we all know that if you don't tell Santa what you want for Christmas, you won't get anything. Notice too, that I'm not sitting in Santa's lap. I really don't want to get that close to someone whose face I can't clearly see. It's something I've dealt with my whole life. Don't worry, I'm looking into finding a 12 step program to facilitate my recovery from this horrible phobia.

So you might want to know how I handle the whole Santa phobia thing with having a daughter. Very carefully is my answer. I usually take her to see Santa at the local mall and pay way too much for a picture that isn't that great. I don't have to get too close to Santa because his helper elves take the picture and my money. Elves I can handle. This year, I didn't make it to the mall in time to see Santa. Raelynn did see Santa at our local "Festival of the Trees" celebration. There was no photographer there, so we didn't capture the moment. What I loved about that visit is that the "Santa" had a real beard and is a guy that lives here locally. Raelynn and I saw him in Wal-Mart one day this summer, shopping for cereal and wearing an MSU shirt. I pointed him out to Raelynn and she had no fear at all about approaching this man and asking him if he was Santa. His response was that he was and he gave her a business card he had in his wallet that had his picture on it. She carried that thing around for at least a month. And that was in July. She will proudly tell you that Santa has a pet cat because she saw he had cat food in his cart. Raelynn's a big fan of Christmas. So when she saw Santa at the "Festival of Trees" I was actually able to stand next to Santa and talk to him. He told us a funny anecdote about one of the gingerbread houses on display. Raelynn liked the fact that he had a sense of humor. She did get really upset a few days later when she changed her mind about what she wanted for Christmas. What were we going to do????

Fast forward to yesterday at the evil Wal-Mart. Raelynn and I were looking for a new stocking for her because as my faithful readers know, lots of our Christmas stuff got ruined this year. On a side note- I couldn't find anything cute and I refuse to let Raelynn get a Hannah Montana stocking. I have a feeling that in a few years she won't like her anymore and we'll have to do the whole stocking thing again. Long story short--my mother, Grammy, is sewing one for Raelynn from the fabric that she picked out. (The fabrics didn't match but that's another post for another time.)

So there we are...looking at cheap looking stockings and out of the corner of my eye I see a person walking towards us. I turned my head and was a little surprised to see "Santa" there and approaching us. He asked Raelynn if she'd like to take a picture, and of course her response was "Yes!!!!" So I hung back a little, because this wasn't the Festival of the Trees Santa. The only good thing I can say about Wal-Mart is that they didn't charge me for the picture. I went and picked it up today. Raelynn was happy because she was able to update Santa on her change of mind regarding her present. She was happy, polite, and very interested in talking to Santa. I was just glad that we didn't have to drive to the mall to see him and buy another not so great picture. Below you'll see Raelynn's Santa picture from this year. I wondered why she didn't mention any differences in the two Santas....Notice her posture, her direct smile into the camera. In this instance, she is NOT like me. I hope to conquer my fears and be like her someday.

I'm sure you'll notice some other differences too.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Cautionary Christmas Tale

Good day my friends, both known and unknown. Sorry I haven't blogged in awhile...I have no excuses. Well, I take that back. I have many excuses but none of them are great. Both David and I are winding up our graduate classes and with one computer at home with Internet connection, (and STUPID DIAL UP I might add) -I have to share. Which is okay, because David doesn't make me share his activities like chopping wood and feeding the horses. I'm going to try to type fast because of course, it's Saturday and I have tons of things to do. The most pressing is getting to the post office before noon so I can get some stamps. But you didn't log on to read my mundane ramblings...you wanted to good stuff...the good ramblings! Let them begin!

So I said earlier that I would try to blog this Christmas season about Christmas stuff. So I'm not going to disappoint. My house has a Christmas tree in every room in our house. Mind you, they are not all big, but you definitely get the festive spirit when you walk through my house...(and keep your eyes averted from all the clutter lying around.) It should come as no surprise to you all that at one time, I also had a Christmas tree in my car. Notice I said had--as in-past tense of currently having such tree. Let me 'splain.

One time I went shopping at Walgreens looking at their Christmas stuff. I like to give the evil Wal-Mart a run for their money and you can usually find some neat stuff at Walgreens. This occasion did not leave me wanting. On the decoration aisle, I found a Christmas tree that had suction cups so you could attach it to the window of your car (on the inside of course.) It also had Christmas lights that were attached to a cigarette lighter adapter. So of course I was real proud of myself for being so festive. On the down side, I was sad that I didn't do more night driving so everyone could see my cool car Christmas tree. As it was, I had to put the tree up on the window in the back seat so I could see out both windows for stupid stuff like on-coming traffic.

So I don't remember where we were going or why we were taking the car that I usually drive, but for some reason David and I were driving (at night) down the highway and I plugged in the Christmas tree. David is a good driver. Always has been. I've even posted about all the things he drives well. So you'll understand why he got very freaked out at the sudden bright lights that appeared out of his peripheral vision. Once I explained what it was, he asked me to remove the tree and not put it up anymore in the car. He said it could cause an accident. As if. Like I couldn't see out the windows and be festive. (Actually I think he was right but I'll never tell him that.)

It was a long time ago when this happened and for whatever reason, I no longer have the car Christmas tree. I keep hoping that I'll find another one so I can continue being festive everywhere I go. I often browse the local Walgreens in hope that they'll have it again. I'm sure you can buy one over the Internet, but after I was the victim of identity theft (now there's a long post in the making) I'm a little leery of buying anything from a "company" that sounds like it's run out of someone's basement. I'll just have to settle for looking at the trees in my house to keep my spirits up.

But please...if you find one of these trees for sale....let me know. I'd like to see if I can make that tree stick to something else--something that won't cause me to wreck.