email: okaybyme at gmail dot com

View My Complete Profile

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.

Subscribe in a reader

  • The Garden Central
  • Your Garden Show Interactive Online Community
  • Hometown Seeds
  • Live to Garden
  • WormsEtc; composting, vermiculture, and more
  • Rion Greenhouses - modular kits
  • Rose Gardening A great source for pictures and information on roses!

    website metrics

    My Stats

  • Thursday, January 31, 2008

    Because "Hootycreek" is so fun to say

    I received a collection of cookie recipes for Christmas, and this one looked good. It had some of my favorite ingredients (dried cranberries, oatmeal, chocolate) and had a cute name.

    Cranberry Hootycreek Cookies
    from the 2007 we energies cookie book

    1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
    1 egg (or 1/4 cup egg substitute)
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/2 cup uncooked quick oats (or old-fashioned)
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 cup dried cranberries
    1/2 cup white chocolate chips (see below)
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter; beat in egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda, salt and sugars; gradually blend into butter mixture. Stir in cranberries, chips and pecans. Drop heaping teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges start to brown. Cool on wire racks. Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

    I didn't have the white chocolate chips called for, so I substituted semi-sweet morsels and topped the cookies with the last of the chocolate brown jimmies from the annual family cookie-decorating experience. They turned out absolutely delicious. I'll put white chocolate chips on my next shopping list; I can't wait to try the original version!
    But what is a hootycreek, anyway?

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, January 29, 2008

    But will it grow?

    Winter, lovely winter. The snow softly drifting across the yard, the sounds of power snowblowers muffled by the television news announcing school closings (in my dreams, at least), and the crashing of icicles falling from the eaves.
    Or the dripping of icicles from the eaves followed by the vision of puddles frozen solid on the steps and front porch, making getting to the school bus a dangerous escapade.
    After Amigo survived the adventure mentioned above, I made my way back to the garage to look for rock salt or other ice-melting compounds. I was fairly certain we had run out after the last storm, so when I dug into a big bucket of sand and lo and behold, found a familiar looking white bag with red lettering. I dug in my mittened hands, grabbed a fistful, and scattered it all over the front porch and steps.
    Later that day, I emailed Husband at work and asked him if we had a bucket we could keep on the front porch with a little rock salt in it. He said sure, but we were out of the stuff, so he'd stop on the way home and stock up. Until then, I should use the biodegradable kitty litter that would absorb excess moisture and provide some texture to the ice, giving us a little traction in the process.
    Out of it? I replied. Then what's in the bag that's on top of the gray sand bucket?
    He didn't know. Neither did I.
    After school, I checked on the front porch so that Amigo could get in the house without slipping. What was this stuff? It looked like -- birdseed? Curiosity got the best of me, and I went looking in the garage. With the benefit of wakefulness and a full day's worth of caffeine, I took a good look at the white bag with red print. Then I laughed out loud.
    It was lawn fertilizer -- an old bag of a product we don't even use any more.
    That's what happens when I try to be efficient pre-caffeine on an early Monday morning.

    Labels: , , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Monday, January 28, 2008

    I'll take care of me, in one way or another

    Standard advice on grocery shopping tells us not to go to the store hungry.
    I would add to that the following: don't go to the store when you're hungry for pleasure reading material.

    A few days ago I went to the local discount store pharmacy for a prescription refill. While the pharmacists were filling it, I wandered the store and picked up a few things we needed. Shampoo, conditioner, bandaids, and the rest of my short list took only a few minutes of the allotted quarter hour. That's when the danger began.

    The snack and junk food department (okay, they call it "groceries") was right next to Health and Beauty Aids. I dropped a Hershey's bar with almonds (on sale!) into my basket, followed by a small bag of Hershey's Kissables in Special Dark (also on special, of course). I did not buy coffee, and they didn't have the kind of tea I was craving, so I left the area.
    For the book section.
    Pleasure reading for me can include anything from Time magazine to paperback romantic novels. I usually buy my books used, but sometimes I just have to have something new. Call it guilt (writers have to make a living!), impulse (oh, this looks good!), or just laziness (The second hand bookstore means yet another trip out of the house) and you'd be right on all counts.
    I bought three books. Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter, Dear John by Nicholas Sparks, and Jennifer Weiner's The Guy not Taken.
    I really don't have much time for pleasure reading right now. I'm finishing progress reports, planning a new geography unit for Social Studies, and pulling myself out of the near-depressive deep blue funk that comes with a major Green Bay Packer loss. Who has time to curl up and read?
    When I start thinking along those lines, it means I really need to take a mental health break. It's time to set up the heating pad in the rocking chair, brew a pot of my favorite coffee, gather a small dish full of chocolate and a good book and settle down for a long winter's, well, rest.
    This ought to hold me for a while.

    This post was written for Jordan's latest Group Writing Project. You can acess the entry page at MamaBlogga or read her regular blog, including an updated list of entries.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, January 27, 2008

    Trash vs. Treasure, or the Great White Elephant Chase

    In my workplace, a public school, we work hard. We throw ourselves wholeheartedly into teaching and planning, assessing and managing, disciplining and rewarding. We work hard, and we play hard, too.
    Happy Hour after report card writing day.
    Ordering in a simple lunch on Fridays.
    And -- the annual holiday party, complete with White Elephant gift exchange.
    The party was last night. Husband and I attended, carrying our BYOB (New Glarus Spotted Cow, Wild Berry wine cooler, Diet Coke for the driver) and our two gag gifts: the ugliest ceramic piggy bank ever and a pair of media passes to a defunct Milwaukee Brewers playoff game.
    Giftees were allowed to either choose a new gift or "steal" a coveted item from some who had opened it earlier. As the night went on, two or three gifts got passed around so much that at times no one knew who had them! A bird made of a broken golf club, with a golf ball head and a golf tee beak, traveled through at least six people, some of them several times. A poorly made ceramic Buddha was also in demand. They were, in fact, moving too quickly for me to take pictures! When all was said and done, no beer was spilled, no tears were spilled, and Husband and I managed to come home with something useful!
    We are now the proud (okay, laughing) owners of a small squishy lumbar pillow in bright orange and a sachet/ herbal heating pad created from an old pillowcase. I actually heated it in the microwave this morning and tried it out, and it works!
    I can't wait until next year.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Shoulds are bogus or What a Week it Was

    The Packers should be headed to the Super Bowl.
    Reality: They lost.
    End result: They're heading on home to watch the Bowl on TV like the rest of us.

    Bitter cold weather should result in a day off from school.
    Reality: Our new superintendent is a tough guy and thinks everyone else should tough it out, too.
    End result: No day off, or even a two hour delay, despite the double digit below zero wind chills.

    Students should behave when reminded, if not sooner.
    Reality: Sometimes they argue with the teacher instead of shaping up.
    End result: Certain individuals in my class are wondering why I contacted their parents regarding their inappropriate behavior.

    I should be finished with my progress reports and feeling refreshed upon starting a new semester.
    Reality: Dealing with the large numbers of students with unmedicated ADHD and the undiagnosed who-knows- what that permeates my classroom is, frankly, exhausting.
    End result: I'm going to be working on my progress reports this weekend, since I had no energy to finish them earlier this week.

    I should be mad at Buttercup for scratching me this morning.
    Reality: Well, really, I shouldn't have picked her up when she wasn't eager to snuggle.
    End result: She's still my sweet bunny, and the scratch is fine now. In fact, you can find a Buttercup Portrait here. Yes, she's a character.

    I should rest this weekend.
    Reality: It's Trivia Weekend!
    End result: I'll spend too much time listening to the webcast and helping Amigo answer questions during the contest, and I'll thoroughly enjoy the 50 hours. Well, I'll thoroughly enjoy as much of the 50 hours as I experience, since I'm much too wise (or old) to stay up the whole time.

    Labels: , , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, January 24, 2008

    What's a locavore?

    Husband, Mr. Word Person and crossword puzzle addict, was listening to a show on NPR about new words coined in 2007. We laughed at "w00t" and talked about a few others, and he mentioned "locavore." He thought I'd like the word.
    I do like the word and the concept. It makes me think, and that's a good thing in today's world. A locavore, according to Oxford, follows "...a trend in using locally grown ingredients, taking advantage of seasonally available foodstuffs that can be bought and prepared without the need for extra preservatives." If you're worried about your carbon footprint, eating local also minimizes the need for transportation that ships the food over miles and miles of roads or rails, spewing carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.
    That sounds rather radical, and my inflammatory choice of words makes it more so. I like the philosophy of eating local. The reality is harder. If I choose to increase consuming locally, it'll be tough in the winter. Summer, it'll be easy.
    Here are a few steps we're already taking along the locavore route. We shop at a farmers' market, I have a decent vegetable garden, we can buy local produce easily. I freeze what I can; there is plenty of diced rhubarb and little grated zucchini in my (now functional) freezer.
    Meat and bread are harder. When we buy from local bakers, is that enough? Or do we need to be sure they're getting their raw materials locally? When I bake my own bread (in my lovely bread machine), do my raw materials need to be locally milled as well?
    And what about produce that doesn't grow locally, but has nutritional value? I'm thinking of the cases of oranges and grapefruit that I buy from the local music department's fundraiser every year. This becomes a staple of my winter diet, and I hope the extra vitamin C helps keep the all-too-common colds away.
    As with all green philosophies, I'll use this one when I can. I'm sure I won't be a perfect locavore, but I'll work it into my family's life little by little. We'll make an impact. We'll think globally and act, or at least eat, locally when it's possible.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, January 23, 2008

    The Minimalist or a Talk in the Teacher's Lounge

    "We'll just red-flag him in case he needs interventions later."

    "When 'just' and 'red flag' are both in the same sentence, I know I must be at (insert name of school here). Nowhere else would a red flag be a relief."
    "Teachers in my former school didn't have a clue as to what needy and poor students are like."
    "Not at all?"
    "No, they kept saying that their school should have all the programs for the poor and the lower class sizes that go with it. And in the next breath they'd mention that they had no free or reduced lunch families in their classes, and there was a stay-at-home mom volunteering all the time while her husband was 'taking depositions'."
    Snort in response. "No clue."
    "And do you know what? I wouldn't have it any other way. This is a great school with great kids and really neat families."

    Unwrapping of lunches, tea bags dropped into mugs of water and placed in microwaves

    "Which students go to the Talented and Gifted class with you today?"
    "Susan, Ron, Jorge, and Jerome."
    "I thought there were five. Um...Hans! Isn't Hans in the program?"
    "He chose not to participate."
    "Oh, that's too bad. He's so bright. He learns so quickly, and seems to pick up new concepts out of thin air."
    "I remember his brothers. They were the same way -- minimalists. Nothing but the bare minimum effort to get by."
    "Oh, that's so sad. So much ability, and so little motivation."

    Beeping of microwave, setting up of plastic forks and spoons, as teachers inhale a little lunch

    "None of us are minimalists."
    "None of us put a bare minimum of effort into our teaching. If we only wanted that, we wouldn't teach here."
    General laughter and nods.
    "Hey, all. Isn't this an awesome school?"
    General chorus of "Yeah, all right, you bet!"
    And off we went into the wild blue yonder of trying to tame and teach our young unpredictable charges in a diverse, largely low-income school, while the weather outside was frightful and there was a full moon on the way.

    And no, I wouldn't want it any other way.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, January 22, 2008

    Are you smarter than a fourth grader?

    Actual answers on a recent Social Studies activity:

    What part of Michigan borders Wisconsin and separates Lake Superior and Lake Michigan?

    What state has more Great Lakes coastline than any other?

    Fortunately, most of the class got these questions right. But this kid? I'm more than a little bit worried about him. I think it's time to make sure he learns how to read a map and can tell the word Peninsula (as in Da U.P der hey) from Pennsylvania.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    SMART goals -- or, something to take my mind off of the playoffs

    I read the BlogHer Good Health-a-thon post about New Year's Resolution vs. SMART goals. It reminded me a lot of writing Individual Education Plans for special needs students, where we write their goals for the academic year. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. With those thoughts in mind, here I go.

    Back pain was a major issue in 2007. The problems have been developing gradually for a few years, but the doctor finally said "No more muscle relaxants. We need to deal with the root cause of this," in 2007. So I started physical therapy.

    The short version: it worked. Or more accurately, it's working. PT loosened up muscles I hadn't used properly in years, revealed some bad habits that were causing more pain, and started me on a long-term stretching and strengthening regimen that can only help. Now, instead of being stiff most of the time and in excruciating pain now and then, I'm feeling sore all the time. But it is much less severe pain than I had pre-PT.

    My objective: deal with the back problem to strengthen the area and lessen the pain.

    Specific: Continue exercise regimen. Practice good posture, replace bending with sitting or squatting. Use lumbar pillow when at the computer or at my desk.
    Measurable: Exercise daily (as possible), evaluate pain level on 1-10 scale at least once a week.
    Realistic: Take anti-inflammatories when pain is worse. Ask for help with heavy or awkward details at school (this will be difficult for me). Bring small lumbar pillow to school for desk chair.
    Timely: Start now. Continue at least five days a week with a goal of 7 whenever possible, and contact doctor if progress is slow.

    There are a few items I need to put in place to make success more likely. I need a new, better quality heating pad. Mine is about to give up. A smaller, more usable lumbar pillow will be good, too. Maybe even a new pillow for the bed; if it helps my spinal alignment, it'll help minimize the back pain. Pillow shopping, here I go!

    Since Husband doesn't have to travel to Phoenix after all (Sniff, Sob), at least I won't have to shovel or run the snowblower. Darn it.

    Labels: , , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, January 19, 2008

    These pretzels are making me thirsty.

    According to my wonderful younger brother, everything in life can be explained in the context of an episode of either Seinfeld or Friends. I don't think he knew that his philosophy would hold true for the NFL playoffs.
    The New York Giants come to town this weekend to play the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game to determine who will play in this season's Super Bowl. According to the grapevine, quarterback Eli Manning's favorite show is Seinfeld. A local TV station airs reruns of Seinfeld on Saturday evening, and has decided not to air its scheduled show because that might be considered "providing comfort to the enemy" -- the enemy quarterback, that is. The news folks took a poll via their web site and decided to replace the rerun with a Vince Lombardi piece.
    Apparently, Jerry Seinfeld heard about this and decided to take matters into his own hands. He is providing Manning with a full set of Seinfeld DVDs, the portable DVD player, and yada, yada, yada.
    The visiting teams usually stay not in Green Bay, but in a decent hotel in my own little nearby town. Honestly, I hope dear Eli is happy and comfortable now, because he certainly won't be comfortable in the cold come Sunday evening. At the moment, my outdoor thermometer reads 2 degrees. Temps on Sunday will be about the same, and the wind chill has not been predicted -- not that there's anything wrong with that.
    This sure is a lot of something over a show about nothing. So put on your green and gold, fans, and serve up the pretzels.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, January 18, 2008

    Ah, it's all random

    I've been tagged with another meme, this time for six random facts about me. I've done seven, I've done eight, so six sounds accessible. Melissa of Green Girl, another Wisconsin blogger, tagged me for the (gulp) revealing post.
    Here are the rules:
    1. Link to the person that tagged you.
    2. Post the rules on your blog.
    3. Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
    4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
    5. Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
    Well, here goes. I've chosen a theme for this meme.

    • I've been watching the Weather Channel frequently to get the latest forecast for the playoff game on Sunday.
    • I've worn a little Packer attire each day this week. Today, I went all out and wore my loud and wild and snuggly warm football fleece, a Packer bandanna headband, and even fan-style socks.
    • Contrary to most fans, the outcome of a Packer playoff game actually affects our family directly.
    • I had a piece of Amigo's birthday cake with my supper; it had green and gold icing flowers and pretty sugar snowflakes. We already ate the part that was decorated like a Packer helmet.
    • Serious football fan and good Wisconsinite, I'd still rather drink Diet Coke than beer with my bratwurst.
    • I actually decorated my fireplace mantel using Packer pom-pons.
    If you're thinking that I have a one track mind, you're almost right. I'm also obsessing over first semester report cards.

    Tags? Here goes --
    Shash from Diary of a Crazed Mommy
    Dana from The Dana Files (another Wisconsin blogger!)
    MamaCheryl from Red Pens and Diapers (also from Northern Wisconsin!)
    Melanie from the Refrigerator Door
    Judy from Not Afraid of the F Word
    Margalit from What Was I Thinking?
    I am privileged to share blog space with Melanie, Judy, and Margalit at Mid-Century Modern Moms.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Snow Bowl or Ice Bowl, It's Lambeau Field

    The NFL playoffs had an impact on Amigo's birthday. Husband planned to get him a gift in Dallas, since he was expecting to be there this week preparing to work covering the preparations to the NFC Conference Championship Game. Well, the Giants (Thanks, Eli and company!) beat the Cowboys, handing home field advantage to our very own Packers, so Husband didn't have to travel! He could stay home! He could be here for Amigo's birthday! He -- didn't have a gift for his son's 16th birthday.
    Oh, it's all okay. He presented Amigo with an IOU for Packer Apparel in the form of whatever title they win this year, after the postseason is over.
    But meanwhile, if the storm moves in tomorrow as forecast, Lambeau will need locals to come in and shovel the seats for the second time this week. And game time forecast is for a c-c-c-cold evening. But it's still a beauty, that shrine to the League, isn't it? Rain, shine, or even snow-covered.

    Photo courtesy of Husband's cell phone

    And if you're not interested in following the saga of my family's obsession with the NFL Playoffs, I have an (almost) unrelated post up at Mid-Century Modern Moms.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, January 16, 2008

    Happy Birthday Amigo!

    For an "almost wordless" Wednesday, here's a birthday greeting to my now-16-year-old. He's the one in front, looking a little "green." I hope he shares his cake with the rest of us!
    (You thought I'd post something Green and Gold again today? Okay, take another look at Amigos' favorite Packer t-shirt.)

    Labels: , , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Monday, January 14, 2008

    Random thoughts on playoff implications

    It's almost a good, bad, ugly scenario. The Good: The Packers could go to the Super Bowl! The Bad: Husband would have to follow them in a satellite truck! For weeks on end! The Ugly: I'm soooo envious, even as I look at the schedule and call in the reserves (a.k.a. Grandma) to help.
    But luck was with us. Not only did the Packers win their Showdown in Snowtown, the NY Giants did their jobs, too, handily beating the Dallas Cowboys. I jumped out of my chair and shouted "YYYEESS!" so loudly that I think I scared the rabbits. I may have scared Husband, too. We were both relieved, though. He didn't have to pack his bags and hit the road for Dallas, Texas today as feared. Instead, he'll make sure his long underwear is clean. Game time temperature Sunday is expected to be in the single digits. Brrrr.
    So for the last week, with the potential for a sudden "business trip" hanging over our heads, we've been tense. We've stressed ourselves over preparations for the trip that might or might not happen.
    I checked and double checked Amigo's final exam schedule, arranged one of my rare personal days to cover the day that Grandma couldn't, and hoped that La Petite's sleep routine isn't totally messed up by her short vacation with her roommate and she can help out, too. I cooked a good meal every night, knowing that Husband would be eating too much fast food on the road. I made sure all of the laundry was done. I almost (I stopped myself, don't worry) counted his underwear and socks to see if he had enough to last the three weeks.
    Then I stopped and thought. For this I went through the feminist movement of the seventies? We'll all benefit from decent meals, and I'll take the leftovers to school in my lunches. But underwear? Forget it. The man is capable of washing his own if he runs out. In fact, he could cook the meals, too -- better than I can -- if only the TV station didn't run him so ragged with overtime hours.
    Oh, no, now he'll be embarrassed that I blogged about his underwear. I'd better get off the Internet and go cook a meatloaf or something.
    Meanwhile, I'll make sure all of my green and gold attire is clean. Shoes, socks, hair ribbons, or sweaters, I'm ready. I will display my team colors every day this week. (...but probably not on my long underwear)

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, January 12, 2008

    Favre can throw a snowball, too!

    You might live in Wisconsin if:
    it looks like this outside

    and it looks like this inside!

    Update: Husband, who worked at Lambeau Field yesterday, describes the weather as "...near white-out conditions." In his sideline job during the game, he had plenty of opportunities to look up and watch the sky. As he watched the huge flakes drift down to the so-called Frozen Tundra, he had a random thought: "If I were out in the woods right now, it would be downright peaceful!" Well, peaceful it wasn't, but exciting it was. Next on the list: Go Giants! Why? Home field advantage actually matters as much to our family as it does to the team.

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    The freezer just died.

    Let me explain. The new, small chest freezer with a big red bow on the top was a Christmas present. No, I'm not interested in anyone telling me that a freezer can't be a gift; I like it. It's small, it's energy efficient, it fits in an area convenient to the kitchen, it's perfect. I got my husband an ice cream maker, so we're even, okay?
    And since it was my "gift" a mere two weeks ago, this lovely appliance is still under warranty.'s a weekend. It's a playoff weekend. Husband is working sixteen hours minimum today, and will work close to that tomorrow. If the freezer needs to be moved and physically taken back to the store, my aching back and I are out of luck.
    Oh, yes, and the food. Luckily, the ice bottles in the bottom are still frozen, so I'm leaving it closed and hoping nothing thaws too completely. If it hasn't re-started by tomorrow morning, I'll move the most perishable items to the regular freezer and park the rest in a cooler outside on the deck. There must be some perks to living in the region of so-called frozen tundra.
    I'm reacting to this stress in a typical way; I did extra cleaning and housework. The rabbits are fed, their boxes are cleaned, the laundry is started, the recycling is out, and the dishwasher is ready to run. It's like "nesting instinct," but no one is expecting. At least, no one is expecting any guests or new family members.
    I think I'm pushing myself to exhaustion so I'll be tired enough to sleep despite the worry.
    It's almost working.

    Update: Freezer is online again -- literally! It turned out to be an outlet that was turned off at the switch, an outlet that I didn't know was dependent on a switch. Whew. I'm glad it was a simple solution. I'm also glad that Husband got it figured out before we lost any food. :) Now we can relax and watch the playoffs. Or is that an oxymoron?

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, January 10, 2008

    what a difference a year makes

    Last year I posted this, an open letter to Bear fans. I remember telling them (in true Cheesehead fashion) not to get used to winning.
    Well, sure enough, here we go into a Packer playoff weekend. but the implications in our household are, at the least, complicated.
    Husband works for a local television station.
    Let me put that another way. Husband works for a local television station in a major NFL market that happens to be the smallest city in the U.S. to support an NFL franchise. Did that make it sound like a big deal? It is.
    I could make a flow chart, but I'll try it in words first.
    A Packer win will mean at least one more game. Depending on where the game gets played, which will be determined by the winning NFC team on Sunday, he could spend the week driving a satellite truck to Dallas or stay at home, preparing to work at Lambeau Field again the following weekend. (Deep breath. Are you confused yet?)
    A second Packer win would see him heading to Arizona, and he would drive the satellite truck there to cover it for the folks back home.
    In the big picture, if he is asked to pack his bags, the end result could mean heading south and then turning right. I mean west. He could be gone for three weeks -- or more.
    It's not fair, really. Husband may be headed to the Super Bowl, and I'm the football fan in the family!!!

    ((P.S. Go NY Giants!))

    Labels: , ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    I left them outside for the winter. Sorry.

    But they sure look pretty with that little white cap on.
    (Kind of like these.)

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, January 08, 2008

    Politics? Already?

    I haven't made up my mind yet because I have six weeks before our primary, but I did, just out of curiousity, check out a presidential matching quiz site. I'm still looking into real information, but if you're interested, you can see your "best match" candidate by clicking on the link on the bottom.

    My results are as follows. I'm not surprised it's all blue on top. I didn't specify a party affiliation, but my priorities at this time line up better with the Democrats than with the Republicans. When asked to rate how much I cared about each issue, I usually clicked high on the scale. That's not surprising either; I tend to be passionate about issues that matter to me. Heck, I even blog about them sometimes!

    92% Barack Obama
    91% John Edwards
    90% Chris Dodd
    88% Hillary Clinton
    86% Joe Biden
    78% Bill Richardson
    77% Mike Gravel
    76% Dennis Kucinich
    50% Rudy Giuliani
    36% John McCain
    34% Tom Tancredo
    31% Mitt Romney
    28% Mike Huckabee
    19% Fred Thompson
    15% Ron Paul

    2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Sunday, January 06, 2008

    What's in my bag?

    No, it's not a commercial for what's in my wallet. Over on Work it, Mom, there's a contest with a great prize: a Veronica London Business Tote. I took a picture of my schoolbag with its contents, and patted myself on the back for not having to clean out a pile of junk.
    Just for fun, I thought I'd share.

    From the left, moving clockwise:
    • binder of overhead transparencies (for planning the week's writing workshop)
    • folder of above transparencies in need of copying first thing Monday morning
    • nice note from former student
    • assorted pens and pencils, highlighter advertising credit union
    • star stickers
    • tri-fold containing instructions for using automated substitute - finder system
    • jump drive (containing templates for substitute plans, among other files)
    • social studies papers awaiting correction
    • calendar (with bunny pictures on cover)
    • Winnie-the-Pooh folder containing phone tree, research articles, and coupons for school supplies
    • inhaler (rarely needed, but when I do need it, I can't wait)
    • wrist splint (darn district database is not teacher-friendly; I feel physical, not emotional, pain after entering my class' scores)
    • and the bag itself, a bargain I found in the luggage dept. two years ago
    As I looked over this picture and listed the contents, I felt good about the absence of "junk" in the bag. I've learned to be realistic with my workload on weekends and only bring home that which I can really accomplish. Any more, and I bring home a heavy bag that puts strain on my back and stretches my guilt reflex. I also feel good about both the green and the frugal elements shown here. The binder and both folders are re-used. The jump drive was a piece of swag Husband brought home from a work event. The stickers were donated to the school, and I picked up a good stack for classroom use. I paid (sale price) for the calendar, and then La Petite helped me personalize it with bunny photos. The messenger bag, after being marked down once and then on clearance at 70% off, ended up costing me $6. Yes, $6.
    And contrary to the evidence below, Buttercup does not go to school with me.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Saturday, January 05, 2008

    The Great Rabbit Escape

    The setting: a quiet home, early Friday morning, almost normal routine
    The backstory: La Petite was home from college for a holiday break, bringing her two dwarf rabbits with her. They lived in her bedroom while our regular house bunny (Buttercup) inhabited the rest of the main floor. While we planned to introduce them slowly and carefully, that needed to be handled carefully in a neutral territory and with human supervision. For the time being, the pets had to remain segregated.
    Early one Friday morning while La Petite was traveling with friends, I loaded my hands with the necessary delicacies (lettuces, parsley, carrots), and proceeded to feed the furry family members. My usual routine includes feeding Peanut and Sadie first, the two tiny visitors in La Petite's room, followed by feeding Buttercup and letting her out of her cage for the day. This particular Friday, I reversed that, inadvertently leading to The Great Rabbit Escape.
    Peanut, cute as can be and just as devious, slipped out the door and went searching for The Other Bunny. He found her behind the couch, and the fur started flying -- literally.
    Buttercup, his nemesis, is three times his size and weight. She was destined to win any fight, and I was feeling panicky because I couldn't reach either of them or move the couch without hurting myself. Peanut soon ran out, followed by Buttercup, and they rolled around again like a couple of tournament-bound wrestlers, emitting territorial 'gas' and grunting and growling in a way that only rabbit owners know and recognize. When they rolled their furry frenzy into a small table with enough force to knock it over, I jumped into the fray and grabbed Peanut -- all three pounds of him, most of it fur. Oh, and teeth. He sunk his sharp carrot-gnawing tools into the palm of my hand, I yelped, and then he realized the fight was over. Mom had him, and he was safe.
    I brought him back to the daughter's bedroom, let him limp under the bed for his sweet friend Sadie to lick his wounds, and then went out to do triage on the Big One. She was fine, but there was a pretty hefty pile of fur tufts on the rug under the overturned table.
    Peanut recovered quickly. I checked on him before school, Husband checked on him before he left for work, and both of us looked him over when we came home from work. He recovered too quickly, in fact. That evening when I took in his food, he tried to sneak out again.
    I should have named him Houdini.

    This post is my entry in Scribbit's Write-Away Contest for January. The theme is The Great Escape.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Friday, January 04, 2008

    To teach, or -- to teach?

    Kristina had a post that caught my eye early this week at Autism Vox. She quoted a recent article about careers that made me pause and think about my work and my role as teacher.
    The article broke down what they call an "overrated" career into three categories: the appeal, the reality, and alternatives.
    The paperwork for renewing my teaching license sits next to my computer. My five-year license cycle ends in June, and I need to take care of this little detail before then. Actually, I plan to do this tomorrow. I'll download and print the application for renewal from our state's Department of Public Instruction (DPI, to us folks who report to them regularly), fill it out, get it notarized, and then mail it with my check and my transcript documenting my continuing education requirement as soon as possible.
    On the surface, it looks like a classic MasterCard commercial.
    License application: $100
    Transcript documenting six credits of continuing education, within the last licensing cycle of five years: $5
    Tuition to earn 6 credits (see above): $2000, as part of a Masters Degree
    Postage: about $1
    Getting to keep my day job: well, you know the script.

    Overrated? Well, maybe. According to US News and World Report, an alternative would be working as a tutor or teaching in a private school. They forget that these positions have very low pay and rarely carry benefits of any kind. but also according to their article, teachers who stick with the career can end up earning six figure incomes. Um, no, not realistically. A few (emphasis: few) administrators such as school superintendents might make salaries in the low six figures, but not many. And in my state, our incomes (including benefits) are regulated and limited by law.
    I sincerely enjoy my work. The daily challenge, the interactions with children and their parents, collaborating with others who are passionate about teaching, and more, contribute to a fascinating career. I teach with some of the most caring and generous people in the world, and none of us would consider our work "overrated."
    But if a careerist wants to talk alternatives, why not think about other jobs that use teaching skills? I've trained other teachers to use computer technology effectively. I've written for professional journals. Colleagues often look to me for advice in mediating conflicts and dealing with emotionally charged issues. (They've asked me to run for office, too, but I declined.) Add that to the fact that I can speak in complete sentences and I'm not afraid to talk to a difficult crowd (I hear my fellow teachers laughing in sympathy already), current CPR (including AED), First Aid, and more. All of those skills would be useful in other work settings. Few if any teachers are limited to working in school buildings and only school settings.
    No, I'm not going to leave my job. But if I did, I wouldn't be as limited as US News and World Report might imply.

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Thursday, January 03, 2008

    Am I repeating myself?

    In the process of writing progress reports and reviving myself with a "smooth and nutty" from Starbucks (thanks, Secret Santa, for the gift card!), I'm finding myself writing some of the same phrases over and over. Yikes! It is the character of the class, though.
    So far, here's the score.
    Easily distracted -- 6
    Impulsive, acts before thinking -- 3
    Finds transitions difficult -- 4
    Social interferes with academic or needs to control excess talking -- 5
    Has a hard time working in groups -- 2
    Needs reminders to stay on task or follow directions --
    Inconsistent effort (translation: quits when things get tough) -- 5

    But on the other hand, I've already written "a pleasure to have in class" three times, and it could happen again.
    These are just the general comments. I can't wait to get to the "Social Skills/ Work Habits" section!

    (However tempting, I haven't reached for the mythical checkbox of "shallow gene pool" or "chaotic home life" yet.)

    Labels: ,

    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Wednesday, January 02, 2008

    If the windchime blows in a snowstorm...

    ...does it still make a sound?


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Tuesday, January 01, 2008

    Starting the Blogging year with a Retrospective

    I saw this meme in two places, Raspberry Latte and Not Afraid of the "F" Word (not what you think). It sounded like a perfect way to start the new blogging year. The rules are simple: search out the first post of each month and post the first line here. So, in honor of the first post of 2008, here it is: a recap of 2007. I've linked to the posts themselves in case you want to read what followed.

    January: Reindeer Pig shows off the new chalkboard mug and its greeting

    February: I am currently worrying about:

    March: I know it's a day early.

    April: You might be a teacher if:

    May: Disablism?

    June: Tradition!

    July: Summer fun includes baseball!

    August: My blog had its ten thousandth hit over the weekend!

    September: Summer Fridays are special for me and Amigo.

    October: The first book in a planned series, The Dark Dreamweaver takes a young boy into a fantasy world where he discovers that while magic isn’t as easy as he thought, he has a talent and ability to learn it and use it well.

    November: My school is one of the few that still allows kids to dress for Halloween.

    December: Yes.

    Searching through my archives made for an interesting journey. The shortest starting sentence was one word (December, May, June). The longest opener was the book review that started October, and somehow, it works without being a run-on. Two posts started with partial sentences followed by bulleted lists (February, April) Looking back on these posts reminds me of the rollercoaster ride that was 2007. Life's looking up, mostly, so I hope that trend continues.

    Here's hoping 2008 is a good one for you, too.


    Digg! Stumble It! add to kirtsy

    Search & Win

    About 1 in 5 child deaths is due to injury. CDC Vital Signs


Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

    Copyright, 2003-2008 by OkayByMe. All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval without written permission from Daisy, the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. In other words, stealing is bad, and if you take what doesn't belong to you, it's YOUR karma and my lawyers you might deal with.