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Showing posts from January, 2008

a chance meeting, some thrifting, some puttering goodness

Alice's Restaurant. My favorite hole-in-the wall strip mall greasy spoon, separated from St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store by a neighborhood Ace Hardware and Lutz Swiss Bakery. At Alice's the decor is Pepsi vs. Coke peppered with mid 80s country geese. We sat at the counter, Jack and Dave coloring a page in the construction truck coloring book while I sipped bad black coffee from a Victor mug, when an acquaintance walks in and sits at the counter beside us. OK, more than an acquaintance. My friend's ex-husband. They are freshly divorced just this year, and hear much from her side but little from his. I hope I treated him with dignity and respect. I think I did. We talked about work (how he can't get any because he works in the housing market and we all know how depressed that is), about his kids, about the dog. But I could tell he was nervous. He cleared his throat often, shifted in his chair, even started whistling a little tune when the conversation lulled. I excused …

another knit stuffie finished!

photographed in the bathroom in front of the goldfish tank

Yes, the nose is wonky. But I didn't overstuff it like I did the pig, and I learn a little something new each time I make a different one.

And Evan loved it anyway. I suggested that the nose looked a bit like a goblin shark's, and he agreed. But goblin sharks are pink, right? He said, "I don't mind. I like it!"

I felt fine.

golden years

Heath Ledger: 4 April 1979 - 22 January 2008.

Goodbye, Heath. Godspeed. Say hey to River when you see him.

here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well

Arizona resisted observing Martin Luther King Jr. Day until the year 2000. Even now, the holiday is known as Martin Luther King Jr. Civil Rights Day. I don't remember this holiday from my childhood, which makes sense because the bill wasn't passed by the government until 1983, even then with presidential resistance. Former president Ronald Reagan opposed the holiday, but was forced to sign the bill when Congress passed it with a veto-proof majority (338 to 90 in the House of Representatives and 78 to 22 in the Senate). The holiday was first observed in 1986.

No wonder I don't recall anything about it. That was my sophomore year in high school, the year I moved with my family from Tucson to a small town (pop. 1200) in Central Illinois. I was too busy trying to reassemble my shattered adolescent life to keep up on those kinds of current events. As an adult, though, I admit I'm grateful for a three-day weekend. I admit I know little about Dr. King and his beliefs, his figh…

critter Sunday

here's what you don't want your kid to bring home in his bug box:

And you don't want to find your husband in this position in the bathroom, facing off with that critter in the lower left corner of the photo.

Can't see it?

How 'bout a close-up?

Just part and parcel of living in southern Arizona. So, too, is this:

Yup, 66 degrees today in Tucson. Hot enough to doff your shirt if you're working (or playing) outside.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday!

of course it starts in a Dumpster, or Why Can't I Start with a Simple Scarf?

Over the summer I found this bag in my favorite recycling center Dumpster.

Inside: seven or eight skeins of yarn, a crochet hook, and an abandoned swatch of decent crochet work.

Of course I brought it home and tried to teach myself to crochet from The Complete Book of Handicrafts. I managed to crochet a chain or two before utter frustration took over.

Then I found a book of crafts for kids at the library. It contained instructions for knitting a simple stuffed toy called "Fast Freddie." I thought, "If a kid can learn to knit, then so can I!"

So I did. This is Finfrock, who is nothing but a set of 5 simple garter stitched rectangles folded, stitched, stuffed, and sewn together. After finishing Finfrock and his scarf, I started an interminable garter stitch tote I've mentioned before. Cast on 130 stitches or so, and garter stitch until you've got a rectangle 26 inches in length. I'm maybe a third of the way there, but I've lost interest. So my mom taught …

two loaves

The American Piz and Moxie

the aftermath

can you tell?

I'm back to work... and I see I don't post as frequently when school is in session. I guess that's natural, when you have a job and a kid, that you post more regularly when you're on vacation. I've had a million things to talk about:

Jack's First Progress Report, or Why I Don't Believe in Standardized Testing
Return to Work Leaves Me Feeling Slightly Deflated (like the Mylar balloon we still have from our neighbor's third birthday exactly a month ago, a balloon which retains enough helium to float dejectedly around the family room more or less at eye level)
The Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire Primary, both of which I could discuss with a semblance of intelligence thanks to my developing habit of listening to NPR whenever I get a chance
The difficulty in developing a habit of listening to NPR whenever I get a chance
The radiant faces of my preschoolers fresh from winter break, brimming with stories to tell me about Santa and hot air balloons, mermaids and Princ…

I don't think we're in Kansas anymore

While looking at the newspaper this morning we saw that The Fox Theater was showing The Wizard of Oz at 4:00 this afternoon. The Fox is one of the few remaining movie palaces, enjoying its heyday from 1930 to 1945. For the past three years - soon after New Year's - they've screened The Wizard of Oz. It's the first time we've been to a screening, the first time I've seen it on a big screen, and the first time I've set foot inside The Fox.

We sat in the first row of the upper balcony.

Some folk take this very seriously. Jack whispered to me, "Look! There's the actors of the Scarecrow and Dorothy!" He failed to notice that Dorothy was a man, wearing a hospital gown under his pinafore, with his front teeth blacked out and a pack of Camels and a 40-ouncer in his basket.

The movie's great on the big screen. I noticed things I hadn't noticed when watching it on TV, broadcast or VHS or DVD. I barely know the second half of the movie... maybe becaus…

thrifting find

Found this box of cloth(es)pins at St. Vinnie's for $1.00. What could be inside? Clothespins? Wooden, straight? Wooden, sprung? Imagine my delight when I found these inside:

This is what we use at my house to close opened bags of everything: chips, pretzels, Trader Joe's Unsugared and Unsulfured Dried Pineapple Rings, frozen peas, frozen corn, pizza bites, chicken nuggets. You name it, if it's opened it's got one of these babies holding it shut. Now I can have even more opened bags of goodies in my kitchen!

an example

of the kinds of moments I hope to notice, to document, to keep alive by sharing:

Jack often asks me questions such as, "Mommy, do car and start rhyme?" (but imagine him saying "wime" because he hasn't mastered that initial r sound yet) and I'll say, "No. They have the same middle sound but not the same ending sound." His cousin, Evan, recently had his seventh birthday, and the invitations read "Evan is seven!" So Jack's been asking if any numbers rhyme with his name. He's searching for rhymes everywhere. He knows the rhymes he's learned at school but that's mainly due to his good memory, not an understanding of the concept. Here's what happened today at lunch.

"Mommy, do Jack and Brock rhyme?"

"No. They have the same ending sound, but not exactly the same."

And Jack said, "Is it because of the a?"


"Oh," he said, chewing thoughtfully on a chicken nugget. Then a huge sm…

I want to know (2)

How do you get your news? Not from these bozos, I hope.

I admit, I'm woefully uninformed about happenings in the world, the nation, the state, even my city. I know what's going on at my workplace, but I could have an even broader understanding if I would take the time to learn about state and federal educational policy (even though I work at a private, priveleged preschool, and even though I'm scared to learn about educational policy because I think I might become outraged).

As part of my "awareness" resolution this year, I'm trying to find ways to know more about the world. I'm starting to watch the news, which I've never done before, because one of the evening news anchors is a mom in my class and it's kind of a kick to see her on TV. But I find the local network news to be really superficial and somewhat sensationalist.

So what do you do? Read Time? US News & World Report? The newspaper?

These past few mornings, the first of 2008, I've b…

I want to know (1)

Do you stay up until midnight on New Year's Eve? Do you make New Year's resolutions? Do you stick to them? What are your resolutions this year?

I used to stay up until midnight every New Year's Eve. DH worked at a fancy restaurant that held a big dinner with several courses and balloons falling from the ceiling when the ball dropped. I'd drag my tired self to the restaurant for the Midnight Kiss, then go home and go to bed. He'd come home a lot later.

Now that DH works in real estate and not restaurants, we spend New Year's Eve together but usually we're asleep. This New Year's Eve we got home from our Christmas Vacation at 6:45 pm, by 7:00 we were at our neighbor's enjoying some wine and bruschetta, then an incredible grilled NY strip and shrimp sauteed with lots of garlic butter, risotto, and fresh corn with asparagus, finished off with Special Dark s'mores and a glass of bubbly. I was in bed by 10:30 and sound asleep when the New Year crept in.