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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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  • Friday, May 30, 2008

    Caution: Low Flying Planes

    I stopped to fill the minivan with gas before the prices rose to the mythical four point oh oh. No time to wash the windshield, not if I wanted to pick up a cinnamon hazelnut coffee at the convenience store. Hey, there are priorities, 'en so? (Sorry, slipped into Wisconsineze sprinkled with Yooper for a moment. Der hey. Yah.)
    Nourishment, er, coffee in hand, I headed off to an early morning staff meeting at school where we got the news that inspired today's title: we were to expect small aircraft flying over our school building and grounds that morning.
    They weren't really flying over us, exactly. The plane was spraying an organic pesticide (is that an oxymoron?) on the park next door to eradicate an alien pest we call the Gypsy Moth. Nowhere near as glamorous as the gypsy known as Esmeralda, the larvae to these moths will destroy a tree within two springs if given the chance. Our DNR doesn't want to give them the chance.
    The official memo and voice mail, sent out by recorded phone call the night before, had encouraging words like like, "we will keep our students in school, with windows shut..." "...formulation is generally not harmful to people, pets, or other wildlife species."
    "Homeowners in these areas are also encouraged to stay indoors during the treatment..."
    Our district attempted to get the spraying scheduled for a weekend or after school is out, but the Powers That Be said they couldn't wait.
    It was a little creepy for my class, sitting in the windowless computer lab hearing the plane swooping over our heads repeatedly. My students were only 3 years old when the World Trade Centers were attacked, but they've learned enough to make them feel a wee bit nervous about the situation. I explained it, including the fact that it wasn't supposed to be dangerous, and that the spraying would be done before recess. Again, priorities, 'ey? The DNR rep had fortunately scheduled the spraying intentionally for times when there would be no students outside.
    After recess, all students washed their hands in case they'd had contact with playground equipment coated with the pesticide. The DNR on-site dude said something to the principal that she felt she must pass on to us.
    "He did mention you might want to have your cars washed as it might leave a film on them."
    I knew there was a good reason I didn't wash the windshield this morning!

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    Thursday, May 29, 2008

    Oh, that I were a glove upon that hand...

    "See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
    O that I were a glove upon that hand,
    That I might touch that cheek!"
    Romeo and Juliet. ACT II Scene 2

    Being a glove upon my hand wouldn't be nearly as romantic. My gloves perform a very different drama: growing a garden. My gloves get dirty. If they rested upon my cheek, I'd have to wash my face every time I came in from playing in the dirt. They're not the soft white of a gentlewoman's wardrobe. They're made for work, not leisure, but I feel pleasure when I pick up a pair of gloves and go outside.

    The striped gloves, faded golden brown with leather palms, help me grip the handles of the shovel, the hoe, turning soil and digging holes and small trenches. The holes and trenches become home to seeds and seedlings, compost, eggshells, and other stray items that flit in on the wind.

    The pink and white gloves are cotton, great for summer weeding and watering. They dry quickly if I get them wet, and the worst of the dirt brushes off. They'll never be pristine white, and that's fine with me. I bought this pair in their pale color scheme with the ribbon on the back because part of the cost became a donation to breast cancer research. La Petite wears a pair just like this one in her summer job at the garden center.

    The third pair, green and white, is a little more snug than the others. I haven't worn these yet, a Mother's Day gift, and I predict they'll be great for weeding. They're solid enough that very little will poke through and nail my oh-so tender (not!) hands. They're warm, comfortable, and fit very well; I won't have to to take them off to handle small things.

    "But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."
    Romeo and Juliet. ACT II Scene 2.
    I hope the fair Juliet can spare some light to help my vegetables grow. After all, I already have the gloves. Do you suppose Shakespeare talked about compost?

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    Wednesday, May 28, 2008

    How to beat the high cost of gas

    Buy a motorcycle. Then fill it up here.

    I wonder if the rider gets a half priced drink, too?

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    Tuesday, May 27, 2008

    A Petite Recipe

    I've thought about posting a recipe each week, Scribbit style. When school is not in session I bake and cook a lot more, so I'll have more to share very soon. As the garden grows, I'll have recipes that deal in the fresh ingredients of my backyard, too.

    There. That decision's made. Every Tuesday, a recipe. Here goes:

    When we got married, my MIL gave me this book so we could record our favorite family recipes all in one place. Husband and I have done that. The cover has fallen off, but the pages still contain Husband's guacamole, Great-Grandma Frances' German potato salad, and much, much more. On my way to finding something else, I came across this.

    The young La Petite wrote this. She must have observed me or Husband writing in the family recipe collection and decided that she should do the same. It has all of her favorite letters from the early days (H, M, Q), and it's grouped (sort of) like words. I don't have a clear memory of watching her writing this little piece, but it is indeed priceless.

    What does it make? No one knows, not even La Petite herself, but it probably tastes like chicken.

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    Monday, May 26, 2008

    It's not over 'till it's over.

    Why Hillary should stay in the race even though she is in second place

    1. If she drops out now, she'll look like a quitter. Despite her courage and energy in mounting the campaign, despite her success in raising campaign funds, despite being seen as a favored candidate -- the media will call her a loser. A quitter. They'll be wrong, but they'll say it.

    2. If she drops out before the convention, the press will play on the perception of the "gracious woman, giving way to the man." Bleh. Gag. Aren't we over that 50s era sexism?!

    3. In the celebration of the first viable African-American candidate, the public will forget that the first viable female candidate also made history.

    4. Staying in until the end shows her strength, her tenacity, her energy. In politics, this can only be good.

    5. Staying in the race until the convention means the record will show her success in delegate numbers rather than her presence as a dropout. Numbers talk, sing, and dance.

    6. And it's not over until the Viking lady sings, either.

    (For a related post, check out Julie's post at MOMocrats discussing her latest advice for Senator Clinton.)


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    Saturday, May 24, 2008

    Shoes, shoes, shoes

    Amigo has what we sometimes call a "double whammy". His two handicapping conditions, blindness and high-functioning autism, sometimes join together to work against him. Where clothing is concerned, that's very, very true. He has rather weak fingers and poor fine motor skills which make it hard for him to engage a zipper or button a shirt or tie his shoes.
    He started dressing himself in kindergarten, and we adapted by buying sweatpants and t-shirts so he didn't have to deal with fasteners. This way, he could be independent.

    Shoes are another issue. He has worn prescription orthotic inserts since he was two years old. These, combined with his high insteps, make Velcro-fastened shoes impossible. Special education people kept telling us, "Oh, I know where you can buy Velcro shoes that work!" but they didn't come through. I was rather insulted by their insistence that I wasn't looking hard enough. I've bought his shoes since he was two years old, after all. I'd buy easy-to-handle shoes for him if they were out there! Our solution: elastic laces. These laces (that look at first glance like a telephone cord) have been a godsend. He can tighten them when needed, and they never come untied.

    But again, no one else in high school has elastic laces. They're more for the youngest and the eldest (Grandma loves them). While Amigo doesn't mind having these in his shoes, the day will come when he needs to look somewhat professional, and coiled shoelaces won't do the trick.

    Enter Lands' End. They have casual shoe with elastic, and the laces are purely for show. The shoes are narrow enough to fit Amigo's foot, roomy enough to accommodate his orthotics, and look reasonably decent, too. If the shoelaces keep coming undone, I give in and (gulp) cut them short. Amigo keeps his shoes on, they look decent, and we're both happy.

    Until he grows, which at 16 happens all. the. time.

    Maybe I should be grateful he doesn't have his sister's fascination with a shoe wardrobe.

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    Friday, May 23, 2008

    Summertime, and the reading is easy

    Summer Reading Lists are here! I actually don't make a list for my students. Instead, I encourage them (strongly encourage them) to sign up for the local public library's reading program. I'm making my own list and checking it twice, though. Summer is a time when I can read for pleasure more than a little.
    I've found it's a little dangerous to go to a store while I'm craving new reading material. It's much too easy to buy lots of books. That's not a bad thing (who can have too many books? not me), but it can play havoc with the credit card and the family budget.
    I have a graduate class, independent and by correspondence, to complete within one year's time. No problem; I plan to finish most or all of it this summer. I also have software that teaches lipreading. This is a skill that may keep me teaching longer, even as my hearing loss progressively worsens. Both of these projects will take time.
    But every summer I make a point of taking time to read for fun. Whether frivolous or serious, heavy or light, realistic or fantasy, I need to read. Amigo and I will make multiple trips to the library, I'll trade in stacks of books at the secondhand store, and yes, I'll make a few (too many, probably) trips to the chain bookstore and our local independent.
    And lo! Behold! I made an order at Amazon two days ago. I had a gift card, so I used it. On their way here are Isabella Moon and Surreal South by Laura Benedict, Remember Me by Sophie Kinsella, and Sleeping with Ward Cleaver by Jenny Gardiner. My June supply awaits. Now I just need to stock up on coffees....

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    Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Aunt Deb's Rhubarb Upside Down Cake

    Would you believe -- I'm already picking rhubarb? And some of it's actually the rich, dark red that makes it so, so sweet and flavorful.

    Bottom Layer:

    Place these ingredients into a greased and floured 9X13 pan.
    3 cups cut up rhubarb
    60 mini marshmallows (or enough to cover bottom of pan)
    3/4 cup sugar

    Cake Batter:
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup shortening or butter
    2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg substitute
    1/2 cup milk
    1 Tablespoon baking powder
    1 3/4 cup flour

    Cream sugar and shortening (or butter). Add eggs and milk. Stir in baking powder and flour. Spread evenly over rhubarb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Serve upside down plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Mmmm...delicious.

    And if you think I'm kidding about how yummy this cake can be, I must tell you that I freeze rhubarb, too. A taste of summer can be delicious in the middle of a cold, snowier-than-usual winter like 2007 and 2008 delivered. Frozen rhubarb works in this recipe and many others. My backyard produces many of these delicious red stalks: too many to use up in June, July, and August. Right now, it's fresh. Next December? I'll dig into the freezer and make this again.
    Did I mention that I compost the leaves?
    Never mind. Go eat!

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    Wednesday, May 21, 2008

    You said what ate your homework?

    Making report cards a little more challenging....Buttercup jumped into this box of social studies projects and took over. She took the top off the box (!!) and made herself comfortable. Yes, my dear students, the rabbit ate your homework. Sorry, folks, there was enough left to grade. You're not all getting an automatic A.

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    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Who put the wheels on my hollyhocks?

    Those vagabonds. Really. First the tulip and daylily traded places. Now there's a hollyhock in the middle of the as-yet-unplanted garden plot. How does this happen? I blame the squirrels for the bulbs moving. But the stray hollyhock? Maybe a bunny or bird ate a seed and, er, dropped it there.

    I transplanted it before spreading the compost. Here's hoping it thrives in its new home.

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    Teaching: it's political.

    I get my news from a variety of sources: my local newspaper, news websites online, and more. I find people who are like-minded online, too. This primary election -- you know, the longest one in recent history -- isn't as dull as some say. In fact, even as I worry that Party conflicts may provide the opposition with too much ammunition, I'm finding it downright fascinating.

    Teaching is a political profession. Besides the internal district politics, administrative power and control, my daily work is affected by decisions made in the state capital and in Washington, D.C. When my friends tell me that they just want to "close their doors and teach," I want to grab them by the shoulders, look them in the eyes, and say, "You can't shut out the laws! You need to help make them! And change them!" And then I want to go home and write a letter to my senators and congressional reps.

    A few years ago Rod Paige, then Secretary of Education, called my national association (the NEA) a nasty name. He asserted that our tactics were terrorist in nature. I wrote letters. I sent emails. Many, many educators did the same. By calling teachers terrorists, he put us in the category of those with whom our government is at war. This kind of outlook in the Bush cabinet has been very damaging to public education.

    Now the NEA (National Education Association) is looking for slogans to help publicize the need for professional wages in education. I have a few ideas, and I know there are clever educators who can access their inner salesperson and come up with a really good campaign. What do you think, boys and girls? Women and men? Ladies and gentlemen of the classroom and beyond? Educating everyone takes everyone -- in the village and beyond -- and it's not cheap.

    My slogan thoughts so far:

    Do the math: pay like a pro.
    No Classroom Left Unfunded
    A "free" Public Education is priceless, not costly.

    There are slogans built into existing quotes, too:
    If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.

    But for now, I'll keep informed on the upcoming election and I'll keep writing creative and effective lesson plans to connect with students in every way I can. I feel fortunate to work in a great field, one where I can make a difference. My votes can help ensure support from the legislatures and the White House.

    Yours can, too.

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    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    Drain the swamp. Drain the swamp.

    I am looking forward to our family vacation.

    That said, I still need to teach four more weeks, grade a few more (lots more) papers, complete a big batch of NCLB-related paperwork, complete a full set of progress reports, and clean/straighten/ close up the classroom.

    And... help Amigo with his homework. Keep track of his finals schedule, figure out his transportation for that week, and get him there and home on time.

    Move La Petite home from school. This might not be as bad as it's been in the past, since she's not living in a dorm any more. She has a year lease on the apartment, and most of the furniture and other large items will stay there. We'll just have to move her mattress, her stereo, her clothing, her shoes, her rabbits... well, maybe it will be a big trip after all.

    And then, when the school year is actually over and I've locked the classroom door and left it behind, I need to get the family ready to travel.

    One of Husband's many sayings is this: "When you're up to your neck in alligators, it's hard to remember that your goal was to drain the swamp."

    I think I need to rephrase the first sentence of this post. I will look forward to vacation the day we leave and everything else is done. Then, and only then, will I be able to breathe freely and easily. I'll be ready to leave my own "swamp" behind.

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    Friday, May 16, 2008

    White Elephants and Rabbits

    "Mom, Grandpa sent me a white elephant!" La Petite moaned one Christmas morning. Grandpa's heart was in the right place. He knew she loved rabbits, and he had picked out a ceramic candlestick shaped like a rabbit. The rabbit was, I kid you not, this rabbit was scary. He meant well, and she kept it (at the back of a shelf somewhere), but thank goodness she was old enough to appreciate the thought behind the gift!

    As kids get older, it's harder to shop for them. La Petite is in college, so we let the grandparents know what she needs for her apartment and for school. They often pick up gift cards for her favorite online stores, too, knowing that clothes and Converse shoes make this girl happy. Most of the time we're lucky that way.
    Amigo is a little tougher. When he was young, his toys were easy to pick out; they were the ones that talked, sang, and made noise. The noisiest, of course, came from the grandparents. We think they were laughing all the way through the store knowing what they were plotting for their own offspring! Now he is interested in cooking, so they buy him Braille cookbooks and kitchen utensils. Kitchen utensils make great fidget tools for a fidgety kid, too.

    Parent Bloggers Network suggests Grandkids Gift Guide, a resource for gift giving. This could be handy! It doesn't have a specific area for teens or college kids (yet), but there are some unique and fun items in the 12 and over section. No candle holders. Darn.

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    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    April Showers bring May -- flowers?

    PTA decided to extend Teacher Appreciation Week to be two weeks long. They asked kids to bring in flowers. Despite the poor quality photo from my cell phone camera, I think you can see that I feel appreciated. Yes, that's my messy desk behind the vase. Hey, it's May. My workload is at its heaviest right now. In other words, it's the perfect time for kids to give me flowers.

    But I must say I like these flowers even better.

    P.S. PTA gave us "breakfast" in the lounge at recess, including Starbucks coffee. W00T!!

    Happy Love Thursday, everyone.

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    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Compost is Beautiful. Photogenic, even.

    Husband laughs at me when I take pictures of my compost bin and its lovely product, but a few comments and emails have said, "Show us! Show us more!" I'll lead you to a few, and then add in whatever turns up in the camera this season.

    To begin with, this is the bin. Thrilling, eh? We had to knock down the fence so that the lid would stay on. Luckily, the neighbors (the landlords) didn't care, even appreciated that we were willing to take care of it so they didn't have to do the work or dispose of the wood themselves.

    Before and after pictures
    ! The science teacher in me loves this one. The organic process, the macro and micro-organisms doing what they do, not to mention the minimal garbage I send to the landfill, what's not to love?!

    I saw this on "sale", and I just couldn't buy it. It's lovely, it would look nice on my kitchen counter, but I can't bring myself to spend money on compost. Part of the beauty of composting is that it's low or no cost. I'll just keep re-using my old plastic containers and then throwing them out when they finally give up the ghost.

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    Tuesday, May 13, 2008

    Dreams of a Mother from long ago

    If you know the name Julia Ward Howe, you probably know her as the writer of the lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Ms. Howe's poetic voice also suggested Mother's Day, long before it became a holiday, as a day to celebrate celebrate peace.
    The first stanza of her Mother's Day Proclamation reflects her protective feelings as she wished for the men in her life to be safe from the ravages of war.

    "Arise then...women of this day!
    Arise, all women who have hearts!
    Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
    Say firmly:
    We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
    Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
    For caresses and applause.
    Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
    All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
    We, the women of one country,
    Will be too tender of those of another country
    To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

    MOMocrats are celebrating Mother's Day all week by asking moms to share their dreams. I join them as Mom, as teacher, as political liberal, but mostly as dreamer.

    I dream that differences will be valued, not disdained.
    Eye color, hair color, body shapes, and skin shades will be appreciated for their beauty and variety.
    Cultural traditions will not disappear, but will thrive and grow together into a rich and fascinating sharing of knowledge and beliefs.
    I dream that blindness will be merely a different way of seeing, and deafness impair only the quantity, not the quality of the language 'heard'.
    Children will matter because they own the future. Their education, academic and social, will become and remain of utmost importance.
    The mediators and the peacemakers will be recognized as the strongest leaders.
    Questions will come from curiosity, not ignorance, and the answers will breed respect.
    Knowing each other, knowing ourselves, will lead to knowing that fights and conflicts, wars of all kinds, will cease to be of value.

    MOMocrats: Dreams of a Mother
    Cross posted at A Mother's Garden of Verses for Mother's Day, 2008

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    Monday, May 12, 2008

    Compost: Let it happen!

    Hi, I’m Daisy, and I compost in my backyard.
    You could call me an urban composter, although my home city is more suburban in size and style. I have a bin in the backyard, a bucket in the kitchen, and a small pitchfork and shovel in the garage. These are my tools, and this is my story.
    I gather more kitchen garbage than I ever thought possible and dump it in the bin. Layered with grass clippings, weeds, and the occasional pile of leaves, the mixture, well, rots. Slowly but surely, it decomposes and becomes again one with the soil. I stir it once in a while with a pitchfork or turn the layers with a shovel, but that’s about all. Compost, as they say, happens. And it often happens not because of my efforts, but regardless of what I do.
    My bin is simple. It looks like a large black garbage can, but it has no bottom. The lid is easy for me to take off, but somehow the raccoons haven’t gotten into it. Husband bought it for me several years ago, assuring me that it is made from recycled plastics.
    Regular ingredients in my compost include coffee grounds, banana peels, apple cores, potato peelings, and melon rinds. Children prefer not to eat the heel of the bread? Compost. Bag of chips down to the crumbs? Compost. Shucking corn on the cob from the farmer’s market? Compost. Some of my more unusual ingredients have included wax paper covered with cookie crumbs, the paper wrapper from a fast food sandwich, and paper towels used to wipe up a spill. We’ll add small amounts of grass clippings because large layers tend to mildew and not mix well with the rest. The contents of our pet rabbit’s litter box can go in the compost on occasion, but again, not too much or it simply won’t decompose completely. In the autumn, the fallen leaves will provide the final top layer before winter sets in and it‘s too cold for the process to work.
    There is very little that can’t go in the compost. Eggshells might work in warmer climates; here, they still look like eggshells months later. Meat, dairy, and seafood are not good ingredients because they decompose slowly or because the smell will attract wildlife you might rather not host in your backyard.
    I was chatting with a teaching colleague in August, discussing the fast pace of our jobs and how weeding and composting give me such pleasure. My coworker, an environmental science teacher, understood completely. She knew that sometimes, we just have to sit back and let nature’s cycles take life at their own speed.
    In our climate (northeastern Wisconsin), composting only works for about half the year. Every spring we spread the previous year’s compost on the garden, and then the whole cycle starts again.
    Yet, in this fast paced, oft-wasteful world, it feels good to take action on a small scale. Composting does that for me.
    This post is a reprint of a guest post written last September. I'm getting ready to spread the spring compost layer, and it feels great. We had a frost warning a few nights ago, reminding me not to plant too soon, but the compost and rototilling can happen any time.

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    Sunday, May 11, 2008

    Is your home childproofed?

    A close friend forwards emails to me all the time. I read them, delete most, and rarely forward them any farther. I have to admit, though , that the last one she sent made me laugh. My comments are in italics.


    1. You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up. Sit down? He crashes on the couch and then doesn't move except to eat.
    2. Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children. I just hope my children don't decide to give me that "gift" anytime soon.
    3. Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young. At age 6, I could ask "where did you hear/learn that?!" At age 16, I don't really want to know.
    4. Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn't have said! And when the kid doing the quoting has a near-photographic memory, you're screwed.
    5. The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own. Doing time as a Girl Scout leader can fill this purpose, too.
    6. We childproofed our homes, but they are still getting in. And I must admit it, darn, they're cute sometimes. I just hope mine will support me some day in the style to which I'd like to become accustomed. Heck, let me dream.


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    Saturday, May 10, 2008

    The Ensemble

    Click- click- click- click- click
    Shuffle, shuffle, slip, pad, pad,
    Tiptoe, tiptoe, bounce and flounce
    Ballet flats. Mary Janes.
    Flip, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip
    Flip flops.
    Cross trainers!

    Pumps, slingbacks, high heels and low.
    Walkers unused to the elevation wobble and lean,
    Give in and walk through halls in their stockings or bare feet,
    Donning the dressy shoes for the actual moments of their performances.
    Ballet flats in more than black
    Keep time with updated Mary Janes in shiny patent leather
    Or plain but perfect matte finish.
    Dresses, skirts, and at times casual but pretty capris
    Accompanied by their footwear as their wearers are accompanied by the piano
    Create an ensemble of like -- or unlike -- fashion.

    This post was created and inspired by Scribbit's Write Away Contest for May on the topic of (you guessed it) Shoes.


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    Thursday, May 08, 2008

    Blogging. Do you get it?

    Kathie Lee Gifford doesn't get it. The Today Show's Hota Kotb doesn't really get it, either. Three well-known bloggers took some time out from BlogHer Business conference to sit down and talk about blogging for the Today Show. They were introduced as "mommy bloggers" -- as in "Oh, no, not the mommies!" The feature was edited to make the women sound like they sit around all day chatting online and make a living doing it.

    The lovely Mir was initially concerned about the final production making her look "like a dork" in public. After the feature aired, she was more concerned about the obnoxious "Tell me your secret!" emails that were the price of her 15 minutes of sound bite fame. No one editing the production realized that these women are the exception, not the rule, of the blogging world. They don't make a living talking about diapers. They make a living as freelance writers; their clients are often online. Believe me, they work. How would I shop for Christmas and birthdays without Mir's Wantnot?

    Punditmom gets it and explains it well. Many women started blogs because they were not finding their voices and those like them in mainstream media sources. We may or may not be moms, and we may or may not blog about our children. We do, however, have a voice: a strong and ever-growing collective voice.

    Jenn at Mommy Needs Coffee (I think she's my doppelganger with a Texas twang) wrote about blogging for passion or products. If a blogger writes only for the products, the writing doesn't stay fresh long. I don't know anyone who subscribes to a feed reader or bookmarks a blog just to read paid posts or ads. It's the personal nature of the blogosphere medium that makes it interesting and exciting.

    I liked Mir's comment that blogging is cheaper than therapy. It's the reason I started reading blogs and writing my own. I continue because I enjoy it. Getting the occasional free book to review and winning a prize now and then are bonuses.

    To read a summary of Mir's experience and to view the clip, check out The Business of Mommyblogging on BlogHer. It's worth it. You'll get it.

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    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    What's your return policy?

    It isn't wordless, so it's not Wordless Wednesday. It's definitely not an illustration of dedication and unconditional love, familial or otherwise, so it's not a Love Thursday. I see this sign every time I take La Petite grocery shopping, and I finally had to take out my cell phone and snap a picture. Taken literally, it just doesn't work. Come to think of it, the sign doesn't really click in the figurative sense, either.

    I still think it's crying out for a caption. But maybe, just maybe, the label stands on its own. Perhaps I should say it parks in its own...never mind.

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    Monday, May 05, 2008

    Mother's Day? Already?

    But it's only Cinco de Mayo today! It can't be Mother's Day -- oh, I give in. I'll go shopping tomorrow night after school. My mom, Husband's mom -- they each need something as special as they are. This always takes a little thought.
    Me? You wanted to know what I need or want? Oh, that's harder.
    I already have a new purse, a unique and timely clutch.
    I'm pretty well stocked on clothing.
    My bike needs a new seat, but it's already purchased and sitting in the garage waiting to be installed.
    The cupboard has plenty of coffee in it. Chocolate is always welcome, but really.
    I've hinted (directly) to the family that they could pick up the garden supplies I need and I'll be very, very happy. Simple pleasures work for me. Okay, kiddos and Husband, here's the list. I already have quite a few of the seeds I need; I mainly need seedlings.
    Tomatoes -- cherry and Big 'Uns (Early Girl grows well in our soil).
    Peppers: Green, Red, Chili
    Broccoli or Cauliflower to grow and share with the bunbuns.
    Herbs! Seeds or seedlings, either works for me. Basil, rosemary, thyme, at the least. Oregano grows nicely, too.
    A new watering can, unfortunately. The old one cracked last fall. Sniff.
    A small sprinkler to replace the one I stepped on and destroyed the day Tiny Bunny died. I was a little distracted.
    That's about it, family. Any or all of these lovely items would make me very happy. You know how much I love to dig in the dirt!

    This blog blast suggested by Parent Bloggers Network and Johnson's, sponsors of Johnson's Baby Cause, a charitable organization supporting mothers and children worldwide.

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    Sunday, May 04, 2008

    That's My Bag

    It's the end of the solo-ensemble festival season, and I cleaned out my Judge's Bag last night. This is the bag I pack in February and leave packed until early May. On those early Saturday mornings, I just pick up my bag and hit the road, knowing I will have everything I need when I get there. A quick stop for Jo to Go coffee, and I'm on the road.

    I took out:
    • Twelve sharpened pencils (with assorted logos of music stores and universities)
    • One pen (with a University logo on it)
    • One lip gloss
    • One sample sized tube of hand lotion
    • One small bottle of hand sanitizer
    • One package of peppermint Tic Tacs
    • A handful of cough drops
    • A small package of hearing aid batteries
    • A reusable manila envelope, 9 x 12 size
    These will get redistributed between my purse, the medicine cabinet, and my desk at school. The pencils will probably end up with students who need them.

    But the bag is not empty. For next year, I left:
    • Two empty folders (from music stores)
    • The binder containing my Adjudicators' Handbook
    • Two thank you notes, one from a student and one from a parent group
    • My Master Adjudicator name tag
    • My name stamp for "signing" 40-50 ratings forms every festival
    • And one pen and one pencil to get me started next winter.
    And in other "bag" news, I knew there was a good reason I didn't buy a new purse when my other one broke. Check out the MOMocrats! I may bake cookies, but I don't stay home and have teas.

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    Friday, May 02, 2008

    Footwear, footwear

    Shoes!! Scribbit's latest Write-Away contest, the one for May, has a great topic: Shoes. Being one of the female persuasion who has always enjoyed the quest for footwear, I knew I'd have a few posts in my archives on the topic. The question will be: which one is the most appropriate for the contest?

    Green Bay Packer fans must have the right shoes.

    We called it Mort, short for Morton's Neuroma. It's healed nicely, thank you, but it did mean limiting my shoe selection.

    The perfect location for some Mother-daughter bonding.

    Maintaining the rainbow collection

    Procuring the rainbow collection -- oops, I entered that one in Scribbit's contest last August. The topic then was "Collections."

    Hmm. Shoes. I can think of something, I'm sure. I am Mama; hear me roar!

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    Thursday, May 01, 2008

    You just can't leave me home alone.

    I bake bread when I'm home watching a sick teenager. Doesn't everyone? Well, maybe not. I cheat, sort of, and use the breadmaker. My breadmaker has a timer, but I rarely use it. I'd rather be home to smell the odors, I mean the aroma of the rising and baking bread. Today I made Margalit's Oatmeal Honey Wheat bread recipe. It's delicious!
    When I'm at home and I'm healthy, I pack my schoolbag with paperwork. I get some of that done without the pressure of watching the clock for the next bell.
    Sometimes I spend money online. This worries Husband a little. Today I registered for a 3-credit graduate class. It's a bargain, and I hope it's not a "cheap" class in its quality. I've talked to other teachers who have taken classes from this source, and they all felt it had been worth their time. I certainly hope mine is.
    I have a wishlist of books sitting by me, and an Amazon gift code waiting to be used. Hmmm. It's really easy to overspend on books. That's what's stopping me. Before I buy any more, I'd like to talk to my coworkers about establishing a book exchange. We had one at my previous school, and I contributed and borrowed frequently. In fact, I think I bought more new books than I had in the past (rather than second hand) because I knew I'd be able to borrow several others, therefore saving money in the end. If enough teachers want it and the principal approves, it'll be a great sharing opportunity for our staff.
    I also read a lot more blogs than usual. In the evening, my normal "surfing" time, I'm often tired and sometimes moody from the day's struggles. By day, with a little more coffee, er, energy, I can surf the political blogs and make reasonably intelligent comments.
    Housework. Yes, I get a little more housework done while I'm caffeinated and have a bit of discretionary time. Bunny cage gets cleaned, wastebaskets emptied, and more.
    No, you just can't leave me home alone. I clean, I bake, I read, and if this keeps up, I might spend money -- on books.

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