Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy??? Halloween

Happy Halloween! It's been quite a day.

There was a terrible event here in Philadelphia today- a police officer was shot in the head. It happened near the school where I teach and the police put our school, and 54 other schools in the area, on lockdown. No one was allowed in or out all day. The kids were fabulous!!! There was some nervousness, and a few kids called parents, but mostly the kids just followed the rules and we had an almost normal day at school. It was a bit stressful for the faculty- we had to remain totally calm while police cars could be seen regularly outside the building, and the non-stop noise of helicopters directly overhead started as a background annoyance that became ever more insinuating as the day went on.

Later in the day I learned that the officer was a classmate and teammate of John's and the liason for the school with the local police district. The members of the staff who worked with him, and especially those who also went to school with him, are all very upset and saddened.

I am not "doing" Halloween this evening. I am simply not up to being nice and cheerful with a bunch of little kids banging on my door. So, I have retreated upstairs and the lights downstairs are off. I know it's not "nice" but I just do not feel able to deal with it tonight. To show how nervous I am, someone just turned on a lawn mower down the street. My first thought was that it was a helicopter nearby and that the still-on-the-loose gunman was now in my neighborhood.

I am anxiously awaiting John getting home- I think I need a little TLC tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just another usual Sunday evening

I'm taking a break from the ordeal of sorting out summer and winter clothes, getting things out of Rubbermaid tubs, into Rubbermaid tubs, hanging so many things up- you know the drill.
I have to finish pre-grading rough drafts of about a dozen term papers, finish the laundry, get clothes ready for the morning for school, make sure my school bag is properly packed- all the usual for this time of week.
It was a nice but not restful weekend. I worked on cleaning and organizing the computer/book room Saturday morning (got nowhere near done, but did make a dent!) and went out with girlfriends Saturday afternoon. Saturday night is "date night" with DH, so we went out and had a nice time at the casino. He won and I lost but I am a CHEAP gambler- losing a lot for me means $20. It was a lot of fun.
Today I got on the WildEarth drive and that was great. Here is a picture from the drive. They really do get this close up sometimes to even lions and other such predators. Although it is on screen and not "live and in person", this is way better than the zoo.

Well, I'm on another, much later,break. I had a long talk with Aunt Ellie today and that was really nice. Other than that, there are plenty of clean towels, more than enough clean laundry for the week, the dishwasher is running, and once I get my school bag organized, I only have to read those dozen papers and I am done for the day.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 26, 2007

It's so dreary today- cold, raining, just miserable.

Just the kind of day that needs comfort food, so there is rice pudding in the oven- the really old-fashioned kind, made from my Grandmother's recipe. It takes several hours to bake, but the aroma wafting through the house while you wait is almost as good as eating it.

To forget the miserable weather outside, I've been working on my pictures from our cruise to Bermuda. Here's a classic Bermuda picture of John, passing under a moon gate. We really had a marvelous time and now I am looking forward to making a scrapbook of my favorite pictures from the trip. From the 350 I took, I have it narrowed down to about 90. I soooo love digital cameras- take a lot of pictures, then just print and use the best. Technology is wonderful!

The end of the first quarter at school is approaching and that means quarterly tests and lots of papers for me to read. I should probably spend most of the weekend grading tests and such, and plan to do some, but I also want to start working on Christmas cards and do some other crafting.

Tonight I plan to try to stay up late and go "on the drive" at the WildEarth webcam site. Twice a day a LandRover equipped with a camera feed (and operator) and driven by a safari guide goes out into the Djuma game reserve in South Africa, and does a wild-life drive. While sitting at home in front of my computer, I am, in real-time, travelling through a safari park looking for animals. The guides at WE are marvelous and the sights are incredible. I have always, literally since I was about 8 years old, wanted to go to Africa. I still hope to get there someday, but for now, this is an amazing substitute.

The rice-pudding is starting to smell "done". Time to enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's been a L-O-N-G week!

When I started this, only 5 days ago, I intended to post every day. Sort of an online diary, you know? Well, *that* didn't happen.

School is so depressing. I work at a school that used to be wonderful. Now it is a grim place where the faculty are demoralized and the kids are not happy anymore. It is so very sad. I saw the doctor today. He recommended that I either get a new job or see a shrink in order to deal with my current one. Neither is a happy alternative.

On the weather front here, it is good news/bad news. The good news is that the bizarre warm weather, or rather HOT weather, has finally broken. The bad news is that it has been replaced with cold, nasty rain and a general damp that makes everyone a little more tired and definitely more grouchy.

There is very happy news on my plants front. A small thing, for sure, but something to relish. I have been trying, with great lack of success and through many, many plants, to grow plumeria here in Philadelphia for many years. Plumeria is a tropical plant, also known as frangipani, and famous in Hawaii as the plant whose flowers are most often used for leis. They are not particularly attractive as plants/trees, but blossom with a very pretty flower that has an incredible scent. About 2-3 weeks ago all the leaves fell off my oldest (about 4 years) surviving and largest plumeria plant. "Another one bites the dust" was my thought. Well I just left it where it was on the radiator, and within the last few days, a whole raft of new leaves are popping out. The thing has even started some new branches! This is not really the time of year that this should be happening, but I will take good plumeria news any way I can get it. Once the leaves are obvious enough for the camera to catch, I'll post a picture of it.

This is enough for tonight. Time for bed, to sleep, perchance to dream, and then another day in the salt mines.

Here is a picture of a now long gone plumeria that once flowered for me:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Just another Sunday

It's getting late on Sunday afternoon and things around here are pretty normal for that time of the week. The grocery shopping is done and the laundry is in the process. I've been poking around in the craft room, trying to get some organizing done in there but not a whole lot of results are occurring. John (DH) has packed up some of his books to make room here at home and fill up the empty bookcases in his classroom.

No Sunday dinner this week- John is going out to dinner with the guys. This group likes to visit a BYOB restaurant once a month. They usually go on a weeknight, but for some (unknown to me) reason, this month's choice is only BYOB on Sundays. Go figure! So I'll make something simple and easy for me, and spend the evening pottering around here, working on laundry, watching some TV, maybe doing a little crochet, and getting ready for the week.

I had a very good day with the African webcams. A while back, I stumbled into a group that watches live webcams from various sites at waterholes in South Africa and Botswana. One of the sites- WildEarth- does a live safari drive twice a day. Today on the drive we saw a lioness, an African wildcat, a cape buffalo, and some beauiful scenery. The timing of the drives means I only get to watch live on weekends, so it was a good day.

Last week we went to a wedding for which I made the card. Since part of the reason for this blog is to display- i.e. showoff!- various crafty things I do, here's a picture of the card:

Enough babbling. I have tons to do to get ready for tomorrow and the week; I want to work on some stamping and card making; I need to eat; and there is so much to do around here, as always.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Tilting at Windmills has been the story of my life. When I was graduating from high school, some friends gave me a copy of Picasso's Don Quixote because they said it reminded them of me. I wasn't sure then, and I am still not sure, whether that is a compliment. I do know that I care a lot about whether things are right, just and fair, and I also see great beauty in the world. I can find joy in the many small things in my life- my plants, my pictures, my music. I fight daily battles with my health. I fight with, and for, my students every day. I fight losing, seemingly meaningless, battles with those I work for too often. I am surrounded by chaos I seem unable to control. I love, and am loved by, a wonderful spouse, and I have marvelous, loyal friends who enrich my life and my work. All in all, whether a compliment or not, the comparison to Quixote is an accurate and happy one.