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Compost Happens is a personal blog: part family, part garden, part crunchy green eco-writer. I'm Daisy, and I'm the groundskeeper here. I take care of family, garden, and coffee, when I'm not teaching and doing laundry.

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  • Sunday, September 30, 2007

    As seasons change...

    That's sports seasons, of course. What did you think? You might be sports fan in Wisconsin if even as you mourn the Brewers' failure to make the play-offs, you get out your Green Bay Packer paraphernalia.
    From left to right: Racing Polish sausage, rabbit with cheesehead, Racing Bratwurst, chalkboard mug, and Bret Favre bobblehead. Yes, I expect him to break Marino's record today. Go! Pack! Go!

    Oh, and in case you were wondering, I didn't forget the Badgers. Go Big Red!!! 37-34; Wow!!
    Update: YYYYYYYEEEESSSSSS!!!!! 421!! 421!!! Go Favre!!!
    And the latest update: 422!! and the team is 4-0!! Go man go!!!!

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    Saturday, September 29, 2007

    Delurk, I say, de-lurk already!!

    The Great Mofo Delurk 2007

    Sponsored by Schmutzie at Milkmoney or Not, it's time to encourage blog readers to post comments. For those new to the blogosphere, a "lurker" is one who reads and never comments. A comment is simple: click on comments, type your thoughts in the little box, and click post. some blogs (mine included) require a quick word-recognition task to prove that you're really a person, not an mass producing comment robot. So say a few words, folks, and let us know that there is life out there! It'll save us writers the time and trouble of checking our stats obsessively.


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    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Road Trip!!

    Parent Bloggers Network asked folks to think about vacations, past and future. I don't get out much, but I must say our family enjoys road trips. So...should I chronicle the business trip when Amigo rode along with his dad in a brand new live truck for the television station? Recent trips to Chicago to see Wicked and later to cheer on the White Sox? The stop on the way there at the Converse outlet store? (Breathe, daughter, breathe) How about the journeys of Flat Stanley?

    One of the fun parts of traveling with older teens is (gasp) sharing the driving. I'm a morning person, and La Petite is a night owl. On a long trip, my coffee and I will get us going, and she'll get us to the destination courtesy of her Mt. Dew. In a big city or an unfamiliar area, one can drive while the other navigates.

    Amigo really enjoys the radio on long trips. He will tune in a local station and enjoy the accents. He has it in his head that we need to take a trip to Canton, Ohio, and Cooperstown, New York to visit their respective halls of fame. I could be talked into it...well, it's a strong possible maybe.

    If part of the adventure is finding a place to stay, I could look into, a place that helps find quality lodgings in a variety of locales. And maybe, just maybe, we'll be singing "On the road again" or "Movin' right along" as we hit the highway.

    Pick the Place, Pack Your Bags, and Let's Go!

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    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    I still believe!

    I have to believe. I bought playoff tickets. Go Brew Crew!!

    On the left: Amigo's trophy from his summer Challenger League team
    Right, on top of box: yes, Husband is wearing the cheesehead.

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    Monday, September 24, 2007

    Do Nice Bloggers finish last?

    I hope not. I'm a little late in responding, but I must send my thanks to Mom-nos and to Sheila from 4 My Memories. Both of them named me a Nice Blogger.

    It's not that I don't vent now and then (I know I do), but I'm glad I've resisted the temptation to whine and complain too often. I've also resisted (oh, it's been tough at times) venting in a nasty way about real people.

    So -- Thanks so much to both of you!

    And in the same category, I'd like to nominate these wonderful bloggers.

    Shannon from Believer in Balance
    Mary from MomWrites
    Michelle from Scribbit
    Susan from Farmgirl
    ...and I know there are more Nice Bloggers out there.

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    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Funday Sunday

    Oh, so the Brewers lost. Well, I "won" the ticket lottery (along with many, many other fans, I'm sure), but I still need to go online and hope I can get through the crush to buy tickets. That is, if there is still a game. I have a plan, though. I have a plan.
    Meanwhile, Husband works the pre-game and post-game show today, so you won't see him on the sidelines. Amigo and I will hang out and rest and relax and cheer on the green and gold. La Petite bought brats to cook at her apartment. She's in the spirit.

    Let's all hope for blue skies and good football weather!

    Post-Game Update: Yeah, way to go Favre!!! Tied the record for touchdown passes! Hey, Donald Driver, how many receptions was that?! Wow!! All right!! Yay!! Hey, Internet, you heard me cheering, didn't you?!!

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    Saturday, September 22, 2007

    Welcome, Wabbit

    Meet the new member of the family. "Buddy" belonged to a neighbor who had two male rabbits. Then Buddy had babies. Oops. Now they have one baby rabbit, and we have the lovely Buddy. She has cow-like coloring, so La Petite has suggested renaming her Betsy. Buddy/Betsy is a Rex, so she's very soft. It feels like petting a thick blanket when we hold her. She needs her claws clipped, so we'll take her in to get to know the vet soon, very soon. In the meantime, Buddy/Betsy is our new furry friend.
    Darwin, we still miss you. You'll always be our special honey bunny.

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    Thursday, September 20, 2007

    Aargh, ya must wash after ya use da head, me lads

    I missed it. Well, I knew it was Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I also knew if I mentioned it to my fourth grade class they'd be lost for the day. No math. No reading. No Social Studies. Well, Creative Writing might have included some interesting dialogue. But in the category of better late than never, I went to a place where the grog, er, coffee is strong, and took the quiz to find my inner pirate. Here's my result.

    You are The Cap'n!

    Some men and women are born great, some achieve greatness and some slit the throats of any scalawag who stands between them and unlimited power. You never met a man - or woman - you couldn't eviscerate. You are the definitive Man of Action, the CEO of the Seven Seas, Lee Iacocca in a blousy shirt and drawstring-fly pants. You’re mission-oriented, and if anyone gets in the way, that’s his problem, now isn’t? Your buckle was swashed long ago and you have never been so sure of anything as your ability to bend everyone to your will. You will call anyone out and cut off his head if he shows any sign of taking you on or backing down. If one of your lieutenants shows an overly developed sense of ambition he may find more suitable accommodations in Davy Jones' locker. That is, of course, IF you notice him. You tend to be self absorbed - a weakness that may keep you from seeing enemies where they are and imagining them where they are not.

    What's Yer Inner Pirate?

    brought to you by
    The Official Talk Like A Pirate Web Site. Arrrrr!

    (Phew! At least they didn't say I was the ship's cook.)

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    Wednesday, September 19, 2007

    The light at the end of the tunnel

    (Photos courtesy of Husband's cell phone camera)

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    Tuesday, September 18, 2007

    Shoulds are bogus and hindsight is 20-20.

    It was definitely one of those days.

    Should (not): The secretary on the phone at 7:20 telling me that Amigo had fallen and bumped his nose shouldn't have used the phrase "I don't know if it's broken".
    Reality: She wasn't a nurse, and didn't describe the injury very well, despite my Red Cross training and my detailed questions.
    End result: I worried all day. I even emailed husband.

    Should: The historic house down the road should have been clear in their phone call.
    Reality: Both the secretary and the principal thought it was a "deal with this within an hour or lose the trip!" situation.
    End result: We were cranky when we made the return call because we hadn't arranged a field trip there, and we eventually found out the call had just been outreach to recruit more schools to visit.

    Should: Teachers should communicate all special needs, even gifted and talented, to the next teacher.
    Reality: A student today told me he was supposed to be in the next grade's math program, accelerated by a year.
    End result: The jury's still out. I sent out a quick email to the relevant teachers, and I'll check the child's file tomorrow. I couldn't today; I was dealing with a field trip phone call (see above).

    Should: I should have stopped worrying about Amigo's nose.
    Reality: Since I didn't see it or talk to a qualified medical person, I had no idea how serious it was -- or not.
    End result: He talks like he has a cold (which he still does), had a small headache, and strongly resembles a football player with a bandage instead of a breathing strip across his nose.

    Ah, well, as my coworker so wisely said, "If you bang your head on the wall, all you'll get is a sore head." So instead of pounding out my frustration, I think I should have a cappuccino and some cinnamon toast. Comfort food is called for after a day like this.

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    Monday, September 17, 2007

    Should I? Oh, yeah, "shoulds" are bogus.

    I did it. I entered the lottery for playoff tickets should the Milwaukee Brewers actually get there. Their chances seem to fluctuate every day.

    If (and I know, it's a big if) they reach the playoffs, and if (this is an even bigger if) I get lucky in the ticket lottery, I'll have the chance to buy four tickets.

    Then comes the question: Who will go?

    The first two are obvious: me and Amigo. I'll take a personal day, and I'll sign him out of school for this life-altering experience. But now... La Petite has been to Miller Park once, and she doesn't really follow baseball closely. She would enjoy the game if she went, but she might choose not to goor she might have too many classes. Husband would go, but it's hard to tell if he'd be able to get a day or two off from work in the middle of Packer football season. So...I guess we'll wait and see. It could be La Petite and boyfriend. La Petite and roommate. Husband and brother in law. Maybe even my sister-in-law, in Madison working on her masters. Oh, I'm sure we'll have no trouble using the tickets.

    Now the real issue rears its ugly head. Whatever will we wear? We can't go to Miller Park without being clothed in the proper colors. I might have to go shopping. Darn. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

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    Sunday, September 16, 2007

    Funday Sunday and online shopping

    I did some shopping at a familiar online store yesterday. I need pants (my new principal is a stickler for professional dress), so I bought a brand I know will fit. Then I went to the checkout and found out I was just shy of the amount for free shipping, so I bought socks. Then I found out that my 15% discount took me below the threshold for free shipping, and shipping was going to be $12. I said to myself, "Self, if you're going to spend an additional $12, get something for it." So I went to the kitchen department and found the soup bowls that we need. Four soup bowls added the exact amount I needed. Now I had to pay for the soup bowls, but the shipping was free.
    Does this make sense? I hope so.

    And I found this... perfect for the highchair quarterback. Fortunately (or not), my "children" are too old to use it. But they still cheer for the green and the gold as we have our own at-home tailgate style parties.
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    Saturday, September 15, 2007

    comfort foods for a fall cold

    Comfort foods served or consumed today as Amigo and I suffer through our annual fall colds and mourn the little bunny:

    cinnamon toast on homemade bread
    half-caff coffee
    large cup of juice
    leftover homemade chicken noodle soup
    canned fruit (strawberries and peaches)
    mint ice cream (small scoop) with whipped cream
    two cans of caffeine free diet coke
    water bottle (constantly at side)
    mutant homemade cookies (they look bad, but taste great)

    I feel good that our fridge doesn't look like Old Mother Hubbard's cupboard. We had a lot of leftovers of quality foods that we could just grab and heat. Maybe that tomato soup from the freezer will thaw by suppertime. I am grateful for the bread machine and the crockpot. Without them, we'd eat a lot more junk.

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    Friday, September 14, 2007

    Friday Haiku

    Sweet bunny still young
    Died under anesthesia
    Earlier today.
    La Petite brought home a new little one a little while after Tiny died. She named him Darwin, and introduced him to Sadie and Peanut. They got along famously. She brought him in to be neutered today, and his heart stopped during the surgery. I'll share some happy Darwin pictures later on. He was a sweetie, a very loving little furry friend.
    Here's a link to one of La Petite's photo albums. There are several pix of Darwin.

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    Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Have you ever seen Lambeau Field -- empty?

    You still haven't. See preparations for game time, below.

    Photos courtesy of Husband's cell phone camera

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    Tuesday, September 11, 2007

    Coffee and Blogging

    Coffee and blogging.

    Coffee and blogging.

    Go together like....(insert your own analogy here, but keep it appropriate and clean. My children read this blog, and so does my mother).

    When I first contemplated starting a blog, I thought I should name it something to do with that delicious and aromatic beverage I enjoy every morning. Then, as I surfed the blogosphere, I realized that most of the best coffee names were already taken. Compost Happens is just right for me, and the term "groundskeeper" can mean so many things, including taking care of coffee, so I feel good. Just in case you're curious, here are a few of those with "coffee" style titles. Ah, yes, my kindred spirits.

    Mommy Needs Coffee would have been me, but Jenn chose the name first. Busymom uses the tag line "better parenting through coffee." Mocha Momma is not just a coffee lover, but a teacher, too. Then there's the Caffeinated Librarian, with a cute T.S. Eliot quote in her header. Measuring your life in coffee spoons is not unusual, at least in the blogosphere. Merritt, unwilling resident of Iowa, claims that her blog is Just the Coffee Talking.

    And this one is not a coffee blog, but she's talking about ways to freeze zucchini, so I think I'll memorize Farmgirl's suggestions before I go out to the garden. I never know how many of these lovely squash I might find!

    All this coffee talk is making me thirsty. Feels like a good day for a Cafe Vienna in a Vince Lombardi mug.

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    Sunday, September 09, 2007

    Funday Sunday at work

    Husband has to work all weekend. He's working here. Need proof?
    That's his finger in the bottom of the picture.

    Ever wonder how the cameras get set up to televise a game? How many there are? Where they might be?

    Here's part of the answer.

    Yes, they're on the roof of Lambeau Field, boldly going where no fan has gone before. Well, at least where no one has worn a cheesehead.

    All photos courtesy of Husband's cell phone camera. And just a note: the guy in the red t-shirt? His wife was my maid of honor, 20-some years ago when I married Husband. :) It's a small world!

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    Saturday, September 08, 2007

    Flat Stanley's on the road again!

    My fifth grade colleague (okay, he teaches 5th grade, he's not in it) is starting a Flat Stanley project. His class is reading and experiencing the Flat Stanley story, where they send this cute little paper dude to as many different states as they can. The students are asking if Stanley's "hosts" will keep a journal for a few days of Stanley's exploits in their homeland, and then send him back, journal and all, hopefully with some information about the locale as well.

    If you're interested in inviting Stanley to your home for a short visit, I'd love to send a Flat Stanley from here in Wisconsin to anywhere there's a willing host. We've had 90+ degree weather for our entire first week of school, so heat would be no problem, in case you're worried. He won't eat you out of house and home, and we've made him promise to behave.

    Please leave your email in the comments or send me an email (including your snail mail address) at okaybyme at gmail dot com, and you might see one of these little guys in the mail in a few weeks!
    Many thanks to those who have already replied! If you're willing, there can never be too many places to visit for Stanley. We'd love to hear from you.


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    Friday, September 07, 2007

    Any questions?

    Learning. I'm a teacher. You'd think, wouldn't you, that I would have a lot to say about learning. Teachers, at least the best of us, are always learning. Always. Here's the story of a day I learned an important lesson.

    I was substitute teaching in a wonderful K-8 school during the last week of August. Ragweed was blooming, and pollen was flying. The livin' was easy, unless you were a kid with hay fever.
    It was eighth grade social studies, third hour, American History. The boy in the front row three was sniffling so often and so hard he was almost snorting.
    That's when I made my mistake.
    "Ryan, do you need a tissue?" asked the naive substitute teacher (me).
    "No, thanks, I just swallow it." replied Ryan.

    The moral of the story: Never ask a question unless you really, really want the answer.

    This post is entered in Scribbit's Write-Away contest for September. Check her out; the submissions are always, always, fun to read.

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    Thursday, September 06, 2007

    Actual conversation with co-worker

    "How are you doing?"

    "So far, so good."

    "Making progress?"

    "I'm getting there. That's my new mantra: I'm getting there. I'm getting there."

    "Of course, when you get there, you'll find out you're supposed to be somewhere else."

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    Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    School starts today!

    Yes, I found the coffeepot.

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    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Merchants now fear us

    Husband and I had quite an experience shopping recently. We went to three stores, and we had to call for a manager in all three.

    In the first store, let's call it Office Heaven, I couldn't find the notebooks I wanted. The store has recently remodeled and rearranged and makes no sense whatsoever. I walked through the computer section three times vefore I gave in and asked a clerk to point me toward the multi-packs of steno notebooks. There was only one option, it was pricey, and the steno books were ugly (plain white cover extolling the virtues of Office Heaven itself), so I decided to try another store. Meanwhile, Husband had picked out a small technology item for Amigo. The price on the package and the product name/code matched one price on the shelf, but a different price rang up at the register: $20 higher than the price we saw. The manager muttered and grumbled indecisively, but finally gave us the lower price.

    Store two, Extreme Office Supplies, didn't have my steno books either. They were out of stock for the second time this month. The folks in charge couldn't give me an answer, either, when I asked when such an item might come in. "Oh, we never know how many we'll sell. It'll automatically reorder if we sell a lot." I reminded them that they'd been out of these notebooks two weeks ago as well. No answer. None.

    Store three, the Greatest Party Show on Earth, had also rearranged and remodeled to a point where I didn't know where anything was any more. The clerk led us to the table skirt I need to cover the computer cords hanging from my classroom pod, and I wandered around looking for odd and random and inexpensive pencils for my students. We found them, finally, at the checkout. Three boxes of random designs, marked down to ten cents a pencil! Hey, honey, start counting. I want fifty. The clerk scanned one, hit the buttons to multiply by 50, and came up with -- 24 cents a pencil. Oops! She called a manager, who verified that the right price was one thin dime per writing implement and unlocked the register so she could fix my total.

    We came away with good deals and most of what we wanted. However, we imagined the neighboring stores setting up lookouts. "Here they come, that innocent looking couple we told you about! Check all your prices and shelf tags. Quick! Before they come in the door! Find the 'Closed' sign! OMG, it's only Back to School. I hope they don't shop here for Christmas."

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    Saturday, September 01, 2007

    Friday Fun

    Summer Fridays are special for me and Amigo. We go out to lunch. We call it Funday Friday, and we really enjoy it. We choose a different restaurant each time unless something calls for an old favorite. If Dad has the day off or La Petite is coming along, we might pick a favorite that we think they'd like and share it with them. Few of our choices are chains, unless they are a statewide or regional type of place. We prefer locally owned eateries, whether diners, family style restaurants, or even pubs/bars with a good menu.
    Amigo has learned a lot of social skills from these Funday Fridays. He knows how to ask for a table for two, nonsmoking (outside the city limits, that is: our city has a smoking ban in public places), and then he asks if they have a Braille menu.
    This is often a challenge. We've been pleasantly surprised at the number of places that actually have a Braille menu, even though sometimes the host or hostess has to ask a manager to help find it. When they have a Braille menu, Amigo can figure out his own order, and he sometimes even recommends something to me.
    He has also learned a lot of basic skills like putting a straw in a glass, eating shrimp with the tail still on, handling a big sandwich or burger, and asking for a take-home box if the portions are large. It's rare that he needs the last one; he is fifteen, after all. Leftovers don't happen very often on his plate.
    But even though he learns a lot while we're out, that's not the real purpose of Funday Friday. We do it because we enjoy doing something special together. It's quality time at its best, from the choice of restaurant to the choice of dessert. We chat about random things, radio, books, current events, weather, anything that's on our minds. Sometimes he makes friends with the waitstaff, and then a return trip is almost required.
    Funday Fridays are now over for the summer. When school starts we'll leave this special routine behind -- until next summer. Who knows? There might be a few new places in town we need to try.


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