Friday, July 24, 2009

Self Explanatory

First tomato of the year and new favorite shirt. I feel 20 years old again, with a powerful-statement-shirt. Believe it or not, this was taken on the first shot. Skillz.

More green beans than I thought:

I've been sewing for this show for the past two weeks. Won't you come shop? I will have some of my mother's crocheted bags made from plastic shopping bags, too.

Friday, July 03, 2009


I love seeing this when Maggie and I come down the alley at the end of our daily walk. Zinnias, chianti sunflowers, some other type of pale yellow sunflower, four o'clocks, and a marauding squash.
Upon looking at this, I didn't even notice the baby robin sitting on the fence (on the left hand side) when I took the picture! He or she has been kicking it in the yard for several days now, following its parent around and chirping for food. Love the little speckles on its belly!

Cantaloupes are getting big. I've already bartered several of them away, so I hope there's more where this fuzzy guy came from.

Praying mantises are also getting big. This lady was hanging out on my corn, which is a few weeks behind last year's harvest date.

Monday, June 29, 2009

First tomatoes!

I found this fabric in a hunt for yellows. I made a pair of Jams out of it in 1986 or 1987. I am slightly embarrassed ....A. because I wore shorts out of this fabric and B. because I've had the hideous scraps for 22 years. But, it works perfectly with the tropical blue, red and yellow placemats I cut out.

Monarda and daisies from my garden make a nice bouquet in the bathroom.

Okay, so the tomato was on the plant when I bought it, but it took a while to get nice and yellow!

In other news, I will be taking a fresh shipment of man whore kitchen goods to Paste today. There apparently is quite a demand for man whores in St. Louis, which I am happy to fulfill.

Cranky Yellow on Cherokee Street will also be selling my "men" this week. I'll pop by there tomorrow to drop some off. Cherokee Street has experienced quite a renaissance in the past year or so. It's not the scary neighborhood it used to be. Go get some good coffee at Mississippi Mud, walk a few blocks west to Cranky Yellow and get some tacos on your way.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Don't Mess With My Kids!

I am all up in arms about this news article. This woman is so out of touch with reality, it's frightening.

Sure, I might complain about how annoying my students get by April, and yeah, there's a lot who I honestly cannot stand, but even the worst ones deserve a decent meal. How often have I been asked for a pass to the nurse because she gives out crackers and the asking child hasn't eaten that day? I know how much of a motivator food is. But 7th graders can't work at freakin' McDonald's! In fact, they can't legally work anywhere!
It just riles me when people do or say things that are negative towards or about the students I work with. The "dreaded" inner-city (sort of), poverty-line living kids who know how to do all the latest dances and can text faster than I can blink.

Robin gives several ways to help out with this, if you're as riled as I am.

So, a few photos to relax us all:

1. Current state of the garden. That would be a fence of dill.
2. Current state of cantaloupe/ladder experiment. Need another few ladders, but will mess around with fencing tomorrow.
3. Red monarda (bee balm). I have not seen one damn hummingbird, even though this plant is supposedly hummingbird crack.

4. Watermelon patch. Why, oh WHY didn't I space them out once they got big?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Metro East Pride Fest Tomorrow!

You know you want some male pinup oven mitts, or maybe an apron, right? Half-naked firemen? Half-naked cowboys?
Come find me with the St. Louis Craft Mafia in booth 14 tomorrow at the Metro East Pride Fest in Belleville. It's not that far from St. Louis; don't let the river freak you out. Just look for the banner above!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

First Sunflower!

Ahoy, mateys! I'm 5' 2", which makes the volunteer dill behind me..... super freakin' tall!
Please to see the crib, pink monarda and futon/bean trellis in the background.

Pink monarda! I think I planted it last year, after a visit to Walker Gardens (my parents' house) in Pennsylvania. It is deliciously candy pink and I want to eat it.

And here is the first sunflower of the year. It was a volunteer, natch, and may be a Chianti type. Either way, it's wondrous.

Good things: 1. Senora Muertos' bad-idea-having dog made it through the night after eating spoiled dog food. Thank you, St. Francis of Assisi.

2. Matt had a peaceful birthday last night with his scooter buddies. We sat in the backyard drinking beer, visiting with the neighbor's cat Ginny, and watching possums scoot through the hoosier neighbor's yard. I experimented with some nighttime photography, as evidenced by the Monster Dill below.
3. Anyone have a window AC unit they need a new home for?

4. I am up to my eyeballs in man whore fabric. It's being sewn into sassy oven mitts and pot holders, just in time for Pride. I'll be at the Metro East Pride Fest in Belleville, IL on June 20th with some other Mafia girls.

Everyone wants a half-naked fireman in their kitchen, right? For a mere $10, he can be yours. I accept cash, checks and credit cards.

5. Superchick and I put the Chinese coin quilt in the frame this morning. If you need me, I can be found in the freshly-cleaned basement, with Matt's iPod radio thing perched on the washer, playing all my faves.

6. I will be at the Big Ass Indie Art and Craft Show on July 31 to August 2. I promise you kickass placemats and whatever man whore oven mitts don't sell at Pride.

7. Senora Muertos and I engaged in some plant thievery Thursday night. If a house is vacant, it's okay to dig up the wine-red lilies, right?
It took the dark of night and a pint of Schlafly hefeweizen for me to get up the courage. Plus, we were rockin' out to some Beastie Boys' "License to Ill". What a stellar album that is/was. When it came out, I was in seventh grade, and had never heard anything like it.

8. Visits with garden and former work friends this week, plus an invitation to Remains on Morganford. A used clothing/textile processing plant? Hells yeah!

9. I have pretty much convinced myself that I would be happier without children. I'm up to 90% now. If it happens, that's cool, but damn if I don't look forward to reading in the backyard with an iced coffee each afternoon.

10. My oldest friend in the world is coming to visit in July and I am panting with excitement. I will remove the Obama sticker from my car before driving down to Elephant Rocks, though. Mustn't upset the rednecks! The sticker is fading, anyway, but I really want to avoid smashed windows :(

Friday, June 05, 2009

Man whores! Get your man whores!

So, I made these oven mitts.
You like?
I ordered $50 more of the same woodsmen (heh heh) and some other varieties of man whore fabric today.
Amy at St. Theresa's Textile Trove was super helpful and dug through their fat quarter bin to find some hot man fabric. She even found some surfer boys for me. What a peach she was! If you are ever in Cincinnati, you must get thee to the trove. It is a mind-boggling explosion of beads and fabrics and wonderment.

I'll be selling these at the Metro East Pride Festival on June 20th, in Belleville. Also, there will be matching aprons, which may or may not have come from the disgruntled art teacher's room at school. She was cleaning out as much as she could, in a "stick it to the man" moment.

I myself had that same moment last Monday, when I was told I would be moving to another classroom. Do non-teachers understand how much stuff we have in our rooms? It's almost like moving the contents of an apartment! Luckily, we had students, so we put them to work carrying boxes and hundreds of books.
A little advance warning would have been nice, but I guess it's better than the last time I moved classrooms---at that time, I came BACK after summer vacation to be told that my team would be moving. We had a week of teacher work days before school actually started to move and get our rooms in order.

But, I digress...In other news, please check out my friend's website, Senora Muertos. She has taken the brave step of quitting her day job and is crafting for a livin'. She'll also be at the Pride Festival with me in a few weeks.

Not much else to report. The garden continues to grow. Very soon, I will be training melons and squash to climb fences and a wooden ladder. Go, watermelons, go!

Friday, May 29, 2009

19 days' difference

I have super short hair now! God bless Erin at Bouffant Daddy in Maplewood!

In this picture, I was squinting due to itchy contacts and bright overcast sky and blinding white garage and Matt taking his time getting the perfect shot. Although, since it's the end of school, I do usually look like this lately!

My gorgeous roses that bloomed like mad for a week and are now just a memory.
Green peas! I never have enough to eat as a side dish, so I just eat them in the garden. They are sandwiched between a butternut squash and green beans. The frame in the background is from our old futon. Very Asian, no?

Red hot poker (tritoma) that I got from my mom 2 years ago. I somehow planted all the yellow variety in front of the house. Hopefully some of what is in the backyard is the red kind.
Black-eyed susans or yellow coneflowers that so DID NOT bloom last year or the year before, if I remember correctly. They come up to my elbows.

The garden yesterday, after 6 days of rain. Think I have enough dill? The potato/tire experiment seems to have failed. It hasn't sprouted through the last layer of dirt and leaves I put in the stack. I will have to do some investigative surgery this weekend to see what's what. If all else fails, I can always dig up some potatoes that are growing INSIDE the compost bin.

I need to find some clever way to grow the cantaloupe and watermelons up a trellis. First, I need said trellis. Anyone have an old wooden ladder?

One-half more day of school. Four long hours and then I am free! Teachers have to report for a half day on Tuesday, so I set aside a stack of crap to laminate that morning.

It has been a really tough year, with the death of my former student, family issues, the 2.5 month convalescence of my team's leader, all the infertility crap and the just rotten group of students we have. Sure, some of them have turned around, but the truly obnoxious ones have gotten worse as the year went on. I can only tell myself that they will be their mothers' problems for life, whereas they are my problem for 9 months.

I had a mother come up to school this morning because I wrote a referral on her daughter, who, freshly back from suspension, chased a boy down the hallway, grabbed the stapler off my desk and started shooting staples at him. The mother actually asked for the stapler to see how far the staples would shoot, which wasn't far at all. She was annoyed that I hadn't "investigated" why her spawn was chasing The Boy and that I made a big deal out of the stapler thing. She stomped out...this was all in front of MY CLASS.
I decided not to tell her that current rumor lists her house as The Party House ;)

So when you want to sit back and gripe about how unfair it is that teachers only work 9 months and get to loaf all summer, just remember the bullshit that I have to deal with on an almost daily basis. Just remember the stapler story.
And if I hear one more person say "you suck for having all summer off", I will punch them.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

No More Words

Nothing like a Berlin (band, not the city) reference, eh?

Matt, Maggie, meat and the new smoker.

These irises close up each night. I didn't think they did that.

My gorgeous rose bush from the neighbor's yard. It is 35 years old, but survived the move across the alley a few years ago. Notice I managed to get a fly in the picture too. There are at least 25 blooms open right now. *sigh*

Friday, May 08, 2009

Help Chester Lose a Leg!

Sometimes life craps all over you. It's been crapping on me since last summer, and I am tired of it. In an effort to bring more positivity into my crappy life, I tried giving up snarkiness as my New Year's Resolution. It lasted a good 2 months, but then something happened at school and I just couldn't restrain myself.
I am not a bad person: I recycle, I pick up trash that blows down my street, and I'm even growing tons of food this summer to donate to food pantries. Hence, my watermelon patch....

I am a 7th grade teacher, for chrissakes....that should earn me my wings, right? I talked Angry Boy out of punching the lockers today! I broke up a girl fight! I made a grandmother cry when she read her granddaughter's heartbreaking poetry----all this in a week!
I thought the universe had smiled upon me last night, when I saw a gorgeous indigo bunting at my feeders! Look how amazing he is!

Well, the bunting must have been a fluke, because I just received more crappy news today that for once, has nothing to do with the reproductive organs of me or my husband. I'm not sharing it here, but trust me it is sucky and frustrating and scary.

To try to counteract this recent shittiness of the universe, I am having a sort of benefit for my friend Elizabeth. She is part of Tenth Life Cat Rescue and has an adorable kitty, Chester, who needs a leg amputated. I offered the use of my hedge clippers, but would be unable to stomach stitching him back up.
Soooo...tomorrow at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market, I hope to make lots of money, because I'm donating 20% of them to help with the amputation costs. We only need $200 more!

You should stop by the market! I have baby jade plants, boxed and ready for Mother's Day. I have 2 mini-quilts, maybe 3 if I stop crying and get to the fabric. Also, I have some rad lunch bags with fused plastic bag linings, regular fabric market bags, and whatever else I can scrounge up. Oh, I'll bring my Star of Bethelehem baby quilts too!
Come on out, get a Kuva coffee, an apple tart from Companion Bakery, and help lil' Chester!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It's officially spring.

You know it's spring in South St. Louis when Ted Drewes on South Grand is open for business. True, they sell Christmas trees and pine garland, but the real fun starts when you've got a belly full of hot fudge sundae with pecans.
Normally, I go for a blueberry milkshake or the chocolate Copernicus, but I wanted to start slowly. Plus, there was half of a Cuban sandwich from City Diner already taking up real estate in my stomach.
Garden progress: 2 watermelon seeds have sprouted. What I think is a forgotten moonflower seed has sprouted, thankfully, by my leaf bin at the edge of the garage. Moonflower's first leaves are never symmetrical or neat. They always look like they've been through a blender and then munched on by squirrels. The seed coat of the moonflower is ridiculously hard, so you have to nip off the end and then soak the seeds in water for a day or so.

Yesterday, I found 2 volunteer green bean sprouts. I have a nagging feeling that I just haven't' planted enough. Everyone keeps asking me, "oh, if you have any extra produce, can I have some?" and so forth. Perhaps I should become a gardener for hire. It'd be like hiring someone to raise your horses. You don't want to get your hands dirty, so you have "help". I could be referred to as "the girl" or "the help". Perhaps I can even get scraps from the kitchen!

Good things today: nuzzling with Scooter the friendly pit bull, getting scooter tires from Bobby for my tater pile, and of course, eating the finest foods South Grand can offer.
Oh, and peas.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Garden doings

This is where I've been spending most of my free time. Observe, if you will, the tree line of dill. That's lettuce and spinach and red and yellow onions behind it. A pot of peppermint is on the right. There's a volunteer tomato in a protective soda bottle cloche and a pot of chocolate peppermint.
And in the scooter tires? Why, a potato plant, of course! I don't even care if I harvest any potatoes; I just think it's a cool idea.
Each time the plant grows above the leaves and dirt, I stack on another tire (thanks, Bobby!) and add more leaves/dirt. It must be 2 1/2 feet tall by now. Luckily, I have a tire source.

Here are my delicious irises which decided to bloom this year. I cannot explain how wonderful they smell and look. I thought lilies were my favorite flowers, but now irises have usurped them. Would Iris be a weird name for a girl? NOT THAT IT'S A POSSIBILITY, but I think it would be nice.
On the other side of the porch is the 35-year-old rosebush from my old neighbor Brenda. When she moved, she invited me to dig them up. I only took one, as I don't like fussy plants. I dug a hole, threw in some coffee grounds and said "Mazel tov" to the plant. It must have 25 buds on it this year!

Other garden news: part of my ground cover for the paths is an old quilt from Poppymom. It was so shredded and beyond any sort of repair. It sat in my basement for a year, and last weekend, I realized it would be a fitting tribute to use it as a ground cover/weed blocker in my garden. I've been all emotional about quilts since seeing the Gee's Bend quilt exhibit at the Missouri History Museum. It's free on Tuesdays to city and county dwellers!

I digress....this year, Rabbitt Gardens is growing: ancho, jalapeno, habanero, red chili, and banana peppers--in the front yard! It took me 4 years, but I finally convinced my husband that it wouldn't look hoosier-ish.

In the back, we will have: corn, butternut squash, acorn squash (hopefully), peas, green beans, lettuce, spinach, carrots, 2 types of tomatoes, red onions, yellow onions, watermelon, cantaloupe, basil and....I think that's it. There's only so much room and only so many trellises my husband will put up with.
I also have a ton of flower seeds planted that may or may not be growing. They're still in their 2-leaf stage and so blend in with what I know to be weeds.

Again, today, someone asked me to help them start a garden. I have to tell you, it is a fantasy of mine to become a garden consultant. I can help folks get their yard dug up, start composting, and share enough seeds with them to get them started growing. Wouldn't that be fun? What would I charge? I'm so into people growing their own damn food and being self-sufficient.

It's also a fantasy to sell plants and seeds-oh wait! I WILL be doing that at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market this Saturday, May 9th! I have baby jade plants that are packaged in Chinese takeout containers, ready to go.
I also will have a few sets of magenta hollyhock plants (see below), and maybe some mini quilts if I can tear my hands away from the computer.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


Many good things today:
1. Spending time with Miss Lemon and Superchick at Superchick's basement/sunroom sale.

2. Pitchforking the garden beds and finding the most deliciously black and crumbly soil.

3. Brave robins who know that human digging equals worms.

4. The solar dryer (clothesline) made its 2009 debut and is currently drying the second load of laundry today.

5. Blues City Deli sandwiches.

6. The first iced coffee of the season.

7. Taking the plastic off one of the little stained glass windows in the bedroom. Mmmm...fresh air...

8. Tonight, we sleep upon 400-thread count sheets.

9. Cutting down the tall ornamental grasses and astilbe. Anyone want a healthy butterfly bush? It's the giant bush on the right in the pic below. That's purple hyacinth bean growing all over it. The bush can't keep growing where it is right now. I've got Easter lilies under there somewhere. Last summer it was 6 feet tall in its second year of life. It's that soil, I tell ya!

10. Digging in the compost bin and disturbing a once-happy field mouse. Now, if the same mouse was in my house, I would be all Adolf Hitler on its furry grey ass. But, in my coffee grounds and clementine peels? Cute, cute, cute. Now keep chewing my compost!

10.1 Discovering wonderfully wonderful soil at the bottom of Field Mouserton (yes, stolen from "Lost" when Sawyer says "New Otherton" but I love wit). That soil is going to produce some amazing veggies this summer. Corn ahoy!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cute Overload at Rabbitt Gardens

As you can see, Maggie can jump up onto the new bed.
Please note she is steadily pushing Daddy out of her way.

And if that pic of all her little footsies together isn't pukingly cute enough, how about a close up?

That is one content dog.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Hoarding...long and rambly

My question to you today is: Why do we hang on to "stuff"?
I spent some time yesterday with Superchick, who is planning on selling her house, and needed my Toughlove to clear out her sewing room. The things she hung onto are no different from the goofy things I do. Who needs 3 metal thimbles, if you don't use them? I even have a commemorative Princess Diana porcelain thimble from my dad's mother. WHY?

Another example: I'm transferring my old tote bag necessities into a new tote bag, and realized I had 2 lipsticks, 1 almost-empty MAC Lipglass, 1 roll-on lip balm, and a new lip gloss stick. Have you seen me lately? Was I wearing any of the above?

The Lipglass is seriously from at least 4 years ago, when I lived in an apartment building with a MAC cosmetics employee. Tanya and I would get into the boxed wine and then play makeup and watch videos. I like the Lipglass, but it's almost gone and the applicator is all gunky. But, did I throw it out? No, I added it to the dish in the refrigerator with the other 7 lipsticks I've acquired over the years and can't seem to part with. One of them is so old, the color (L'Oreal copra) has been discontinued, and I bought it (on clearance, natch) at the Osco on Brighton Avenue WHEN I LIVED IN BOSTON, which was 10 years ago.

What the heck is wrong with me?!

After a few minutes of indeciveness, I added these things to the little pocket of my new Liberty print tote bag: loose powder (also very old...must downsize to a compact), 3 OB tampons in a little case I got for free, the new lip gloss, a pad and some Trident. Oh, and don't forget the little zippered pouch of eye drops and roll-on lip gloss (mmm...smells like ginger).

As you all know, last week we got a queen size bed. It was easy for me to say "adios" to 3 of the sets of sheets we had, especially since I know they are going to a great little girl. But the others? Waaaa....they were from our wedding....waaaaa.....I like the prints so's the red with white snowflakes from Martha Stewart set that I stalked at K-Mart until they went on sale....
You get the idea.
Part of my crazed mind wants to keep them and use them for the backs of all the quilts I intend to make. *coughs of disbelief* The other part wants to take my MUST CULL CRAP I WON'T USE mood and give them to said little girl.

So, what is with my clinginess to these things?
And seriously, I now have at least 7 shirts that are all the same leaf green color that looks so fabulous on me. Must. Find. Other. Color.
But I can't get rid of them!

Things I Have Too Many Of And Must Eradicate:
1. Sweaters I plan on wearing, but don't.
2. Gap Kids size 13 overalls. I used to fit these. I haven't worn them in at least 7 years. But why are they still in my closet?
3. *sigh* fabric
4. Insulated thermoses. I have 4, if you count my travel mug. Matt has 2. What the hell?
5. Clothes hangers.

Things I Have, Don't Use, But Won't Get Rid Of:
1. suede/shearling coat which was my mother's from 1967. It is too small, but I love it.
2. navy blue Doc Marten boots...well-loved and creased
3. Matt's grandma's sewing machine
4. Books, books, books
5. Leather biker jacket with punk band names painted on it. Found for $4 at a church yard sale. I was the luckiest girl in Brookline, Massachusetts that day, even though I missed the bus and had to walk home from the dentist, who had looked at my teeth and laughed.
6. patterns, patterns, patterns.

Today's Good Stuff----Demolition begins tomorrow on the apartment buildings behind St. Mary's High School on South Grand. I hope they're going at it when I leave for work, cause I surely love a wrecking ball! Thank you, thank you, thank you, whomever, for getting rid of those shitty buildings and their mostly-shitty tenants! Bring on the baseball field!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Good Stuff--anniversary/Christmas/birthday/V-Day present


FINALLY, all the past major holidays have now been atoned for!
The coolest part? This mattress has a firm side and a plush side. I laid down on it, pronounced it "perfect". Matt did the same thing. Then we switched sides and it was like angels singing when we realized it was two different firmnesses!

Whoever invented a dual-firmness mattress is up there with George Washington "I know you'll like peanut butter, Allison" Carver in my book. I love them.

Matt goes to pick it up tomorrow, and hopefully one of my beloved readers whose name rhymes with "spammy" will help him. I am way too short to mess with a queen size mattress.

And, snow flurries this morning! Snow is always good for me.

Oh, I even dreamed I found the camera maybe that's a good omen.

Now to write up write-ups about my refashioned clothes for today's Swap O-Rama at the History Museum. Come to see me!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Good Stuff, Late...

I am really wishing I had a camera cord so I could show you all the cool things sitting on my sewing room floor...

Well, today's good stuff was that I had a crazy-ass dream about daffodil bulbs. A large hill of them. Seriously, like a dump truck load. They were at the house I grew up in. I was trying to rake them out, as well as the cover of snow that was on them. Then, there was some business about trying to climb a wooden fort/play pen structure to avoid being eaten by wolves (possibly some "Lost" leftovers).
But seriously, what's with the bulbs?

The other night, I dreamed about my student who died in October. Mike was just sort of there in my dream, smiling at me. He had lost weight and seemed happy, so that was comforting.

We had a mock MAP test this morning at school, and nobody in my homeroom complained. Of course, I plied them with Tootsie Pops and they shared some Fruit Roll Ups, so maybe that's why. And, most of them DID know the parts of a friendly letter! Hallelujah! I HAVE taught something!

My kingdom for a camera cord!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fame and Fortune is a Game I Play

Hello, my faithful 3 readers...
Next Saturday, you have the chance to meet me at the Missouri History Museum's Swap O-Rama!
Not only will I have a rack of my own refashioned clothes for inspiration, but I will be doing short workshops on how to turn your cherished old punk rock tee shirts, or whatever, into a cozy tee shirt quilt. Aaaannnnd, I may even be manning a sewing machine to assist attendees with their own refashions!
You know I love thrift, frugality and repurposing, so this event really has my name all over it.
You'll need a bag of old, unwanted, yet CLEAN clothes to get in. Once in, you can sort through other folks' castoffs and find something you love! If it needs an applique, or ribbon button placket or to be taken in, you can consult with an alteration expert and do it right there and then!
This event is all part of the George Washington Carver exhibit that is going on now. He was all up in inventing and reusing, plus creating my favorite food, peanut butter.
In fact, I ate a peanut butter sandwich with a bowl of chili today, and let me tell you, my husband's scooter mechanic knows his food! Tony Bourdain, I dare you to try that combination!

Good Things:
1. I beat Matt at bowling today.

2. Estate sale yesterday yielded the vintage linen napkins I had been hoping for. It also yielded 1930's apple green curtains, a stack of craft and Better Homes and Gardens magazines from 1957 to 1973, an appetizer tray to match the 2-tiered one I already had, and a sweet little 1961 book about birds, with gorgeous, haven't-seen-the-light-of-day-in-40-years drawings.

3. The forsythia branches I cut last week are beginning to bloom inside.

4. I found a new band I like: The Pains of Being Pure At Heart. Total 80's American twee pop and I love them dearly. I even think Tiny Montgomery would enjoy some of their tunes, twee aside... Emusic describes them as the soundtrack to the last day of school before summer vacation of your 16th year. I'm sold! If it's heart-wrenching, I love it.

5. I have decided to go ahead and get the recannulization procedure, just in case Someone's variocele surgery shows success. Wait a minute...perforating my tubes? And the word "tried" is spelled wrong! can something that sounds like "cannoli" be bad?!

6. I have tomorrow off!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Good Stuff Updates

Crap, I have how many days to catch up on? I am such a I really want a baby?

Today: Umm....Maggie and I had a nice early evening walk in the rain. Otherwise, it was a nice warm day and my students were in a good mood.

Sunday: MIL made yummy bean soup for us. I went to an estate sale and scored some perfect 1950's curtains AND a box of blue Shiny Brite glass Christmas tree ornaments. The box is in perfect condition and the balls are just a smidge scratched. These people didn't know what they had!
Saturday: Matt left for Chicago at 5:30 am. Alecia and I went to Leftovers and I got a treasure trove of pencils and fabrics. Leftovers Lady told us a sob story of how they need money, so get thee there and buy something, already! It was super warm and we drove with the windows down.
I went grocery shopping at 6 pm and was one of the few sober people in the store. The guy behind me in line reeked of alcohol. When does one have to start drinking to get that drunk so early?

I also saved $8.44 in coupons, thank you very much. Cocoa roasted almonds are my new favorite things, although it was fun to let my students taste wasabi and soy sauce almonds. It was a new, hot experience for them, and they made funny faces.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hump Day Good Stuff

Things happened today (well, one thing) that was majorly depressing, but otherwise, it's been a decent day.
1. Fresh milk makes great coffee.
2. Suspended student (who told me I was pissing her the fuck off) came back, sans attitude or bitterness.
3. Hmmm.....I guess it wasn't a four star day. Just a day. Just a cold, cold day....

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

My foot hurts Good Stuff

Can one seriously ruin one's feet by wearing Danskos? My tootsies just don't fit in my Vans anymore without pain.

Today kicked ass for several reasons:
1. I had an all-day meeting.

2. I had a chai from Starbucks.

3. We got our work done early and got to leave early.

4. I walked the dog in the freezing cold, with a scarf from Kate wrapped around my head/face/neck. Girls, it is aquamarine wool, so I know you're all jealous.

5. The dog did not poop, so I did not have to take off my mittens on said walk.

6. The slightly sour milk I put in my coffee did not make me sick. I have a bad history of eating/drinking things I probably shouldn't. My frugality will be, and has been, my downfall. I got so sick last spring (slightly moldy red pepper pesto...but I ate from the non-moldy side!) that I called in sick to work and didn't eat for a week. I also spent the entire weekend in bed, which is unheard of for me. The trains must run on time! Where does that phrase come from, by the way?

7. I culled a garbage bag plus a paper bag full of scraps for someone on Freecycle.

8. It's taco night!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Feeding People Is a Good Thing

See here:
If you are short on time, just read this one paragraph:

LiveFeed is in an online contest to win $10,000 and we need your help. Please go to: , register for the website and then vote for LiveFeed as the best idea on the ideablob contest. If we get enough votes this week, then we make it to the finals and then we need you to vote AGAIN between February 23rd and the 28th. Votes before the 23rd do not count towards the finals, so voting between 2/23 and 2/28 is critical for us to win $10,000. This is free, easy and takes one minute.

Thank you for your support

If you have 2 more minutes, keep reading:

We really need your help to win this contest, so we are asking your help three more ways.

1) Make sure you vote before AND after 2/23 to get us into the finals and to win the whole thing so LiveFeed can win $10,000.

2) On February 23, please email all of your friends and encourage them to vote for LiveFeed as well. We really need votes during the finals, so emailing your friends starting 2/23 is very important. 2/27 reminders are great too!

3) Consider adding a note to your facebook status and your twitter updates, invite people to vote for LiveFeed use this URL - it costs nothing and only takes a couple minutes to register and vote.

Thanks for your support of such an amazing cause.

Amy Graham

After you've voted, spread the word! We'd love it if you'd donate your Facebook status or give a Twitter update. We've even written it for you. Just cut n' paste:
Vote TODAY!! Help LiveFeed win $10,000
Feel free to forward Amy's message to your friends, family, and random people who've found their way into your email contacts. Mention it on your blog. Then let us know in the comments what you did to spread the word today.

Groundhog Day

I always feel sorry for Punxsutawny Phil. He's comfortably snoozing, and is then yanked into the cold Pennsylvania air for a bunch of men in stove pipe hats. Of course we're having 6 more weeks of winter! It's f'ing FEBRUARY, you idiots!
And if it were to warm up, we'd have snow in April again!
But, the proclamation is cool:

Greetings from Punxsutawney!

Phil Says Six More Weeks!

Phil's official forecast as read February 2nd, 2009 at sunrise at Gobbler's Knob:

Hear Ye Hear Ye

On Gobbler's Knob this glorious Groundhog Day, February 2nd, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Prognosticator of all Prognosticators

Awoke to the call of President Bill Cooper

And greeted his handlers, Ben Hughes and John Griffiths

After casting a joyful eye towards thousands of his faithful followers,

Phil proclaimed that his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers were World Champions one more time

And a bright sky above me

Showed my shadow beside me.

So 6 more weeks of winter it will be.


Well, then. How does one discern a joyful eye from an angry, vengeful groundhog eye?

Today was an "eh" day, but..

1. The roofers are back at work at my school. Imagine me munching on an apple, juice running down my chin, ogling roofers with my coworkers during lunch. The one in the red sweatshirt is the hottest one, reflective sunglasses aside.

2. Hot gossip abounds at work, but I can't talk about it. Sorry, Bev :)

3. My hair looked great today.

4. I think I can actually take the dog for a walk, since most of the snow has melted. Sorry, Cat :)

See? I got nothin'!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

January 31 TGS

All of today was a good thing. I was required to tag along w/Husband and his scooter buddies to go scout out motels and entertainment in Lake of the Ozarks. They're planning a scooter rally down there in April, and wanted to make sure the rumors of development weren't true.
So, we left bright and early and drove for like 3 hours through snow-covered fields. Lots of cows, horses, and I spotted a bright yellow bird on a telephone wire that may have been an evening grosbeak.
We also saw a coyote, ate at a great diner, and once we got home, watched 2 discs of Lost Season 2. A good day, all around.

Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30 TGS

1. I drove to work this morning and did not get stuck once on a side street.

2. I got to work early!

3. Beautiful sunset alert!

4. Lost, plus pizza, plus blueberry beer equals a good night.

5. My kids were awesome today.

6. A reader contacted me and said many, many complimentary things in her introductory email. It's hard for me to accept compliments without feeling bashful and goofy, so reading them is much easier. Thanks, RA! I will be really freaked out if you are the former owner of my house....same last name!

7. Matt is ordering pizza with mushrooms and black olives.

8. My coworker made chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for the January birthdays at work. Someone else brought 7-layer dip, and if you think 9 am is too early for dip, you don't know me very well.

9. I traded my birthday slippers for ones that fit better, all without a receipt.

10. Matt got me the coat I coveted at Target :)

January 29 TGS I have said before, I secretly love the bad kids. The Student Who Breaks My Heart Because He Has No Coat gave me a story he wrote while in in-school suspension. It's all one paragraph, but starts off about a boy whose Communication Arts teacher, Mrs. Rabbitt, inspires him because she says she loves reading his stories. The boy then wants to write a 2 page story for her to read.
His (TSWBMYBHHNC) writing is godawful, but damn, if he doesn't come up with some wacky ideas for stories. He is so proud of all of his writing, and I gave him a fancy folder to keep them in, in a secret place in my classroom.
That made me super happy. It seems he is reaching out to us, trying to avoid the gangster lifestyle he is destined for. We just don't want him to bring a gun to school like his brother did, so he gets lots of hugs and compliments.
Yay for being an inspiration!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Good Birthday Stuff

Today's Good Stuff came early. The sky today is the prettiest shade of blue I've seen in a long while. After 2 days of snow/sleet/freezing rain and Monday's general gloomy sky, it was nice to see the sun. Plus, it made the snow melt faster off my car.
So, I'm celebrating my 36th birthday with a Snow Day from school. Yes, I capitalize it because it is an important event. I'm a little bummed that I won't get to lord Birthday over my students and celebrate with my coworkers, so I'm trying to get myself started on a sewing project.

Also, the next little kid who comes to my door with a shovel, perfect manners and big brown eyes peeking out from a fur-lined hood is going to get $10 to shovel my across-the-street-neighbor's walk. I don't know where these kids come from, but I do love their entrepreneurial spirit! The older boys in our neighborhood finally rolled around at noon yesterday looking for shoveling work. Typical 16-year-olds.

Maybe I can do a list of Things I've Learned In My Life.

1. Name-brand plastic wrap is infinitely better than store-brand.

2. Always listen to your inner voice.

3. They're more afraid of you than you are of them. This still does not help me with spiders, although I managed to not obsessively vacuum out my snow boots which had been sitting in the basement for a few months.

4. Solar dryers all the way.

5. It is important to develop a good relationship with siblings, secretaries and custodians, especially if you want a custodian to "find" another key for you or if you need an alibi for your parents.

6. Older people have all the answers.

7. Teaching has also broken my heart many, many times, not just from deaths but from knowing about the hellish home lives of some of my students and knowing I can't take them home with me to protect them. Yet, I still do it.

8. Never come home with an empty gas tank, thinking "Oh, I'll just stop for gas before work in the morning." That will be a bad, bad morning. I haven't learned this the hard way; it's just a smart rule.

9. Don't bother eating store-bought tomatoes in the winter. They will also break your heart.

10. When traveling, wear as many items of clothing as you can so your suitcase isn't too heavy.

11. Life is often unfair (the Duggars, for example, or the lady who just had 8 freakin' kids) but it is also often amusing and good.

12. Hard work and a positive attitude makes you live longer. If you don't believe me, you can go visit my grandma (89) and grandpop (96 or 97) and see what they have to say. Grandpop can still speak Polish.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Good Stuff 2

Aside from the last-night phone call telling me I had today off, not much to report on today. I attempted some sewing, but have no interest in it. What is wrong with me? If we end up having to adopt, I am going to have to make some damn potholders/money!

Here's something good.
In winter, I have tons of these little guys at my feeder:
This, my friends, is the dark-eyed junco. The yellow-eyed junco lives in New Mexico and Arizona because it's smarter and more in touch with the Earth Mother. They are just the cutest little guys, with their white tummies and the chicken-like way they scratch through the snow for seed. How do their legs stay warm?

A few months ago, I found a horrifying sight in the yard. A sparrow had gotten its greedy head stuck inside a feed hole of one of my bird feeders. It was flapping frantically and was too panicky to figure out how to unstick its head. I gently held its little body and took off the top of the feeder to figure out what to do. With a lot of gentle twisting and poking and praying that I wouldn't tear its head off, I freed the bird, who flew into the bushes, gathered its wits and flew off.

Their bodies weigh nothing and you never realize how thin their legs are until you've got a really stupid one in your hand. So, how do their legs not freeze solid?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Snow by Thelma Harrington Bell

Last year, the librarian at my school did a purge of all the books that hadn't been checked out since she was born in 1984. Therefore, I am now in possession of a million ancient school books with luscious graphics and colors. Some were given to Tiny Montgomery, but some I hoarded like My Precious.
Here's my favorite book, simply titled "Snow". It was first published in 1954, but the copy I have was printed in 1969. Aqua, black and grey? Yes, please.
I love the little bird house and the cozy human house in this picture.
And if I was totally crazy, I'd get that snowflake pattern in the above picture tattooed across my shoulders.

The Good Stuff

I am, with her approval, borrowing a great idea Tiny Montgomery had a few weeks ago. Each day, I will let my 4 readers know about something good, great, or wonderful that I experienced. I'll call it The Good Stuff, which is what I also call the tube of Gold Bond Ultimate Lotion I keep at school. Even my kids call it The Good Stuff. "Mrs. Rabbitt, can I have some of The Good Stuff?"
Here's why I'm doing this:
1. I teach 7th grade in a low-income district. I am bombarded daily with petty bullshit, especially by girls who are always antagonizing and being snarky to one another. It's never been this bad before. I am so freakin' sick of hearing what soandso said to soandso on the bus and then some slutty 8th grade boy is always bothering them and blahblahblah is two-faced and so on.

2. This world is pretty sucky, and we need more goodness.

3. I'm tired of hearing people talk about how stupid or terrible everyone else is.

4. My mother trained my brother and I to notice the small beautiful things in nature. It's hard to pass this onto to low-income, bitchy 7th graders, but I try.

5. My NYE resolution was to stay un-snarky and not to complain about things/people I can't control. It went well until I went back to school, but I put up a good fight. I have only had 2 or 3 incidents when I was given a "Get Out of NYE Resolution Free Card".

Here's my first nice thing, seen at 6:50 am today.
So, it snowed, beautifully, yesterday. The sky this morning was that typical pinkish city sky, covered in thick clouds. As I discovered the snow on my car was brushable and not an issue, I heard crows cawing. The noise got louder and louder, and I finally looked up. Above me was a murder of at least 50 crows, flying east. It was so peaceful and solitary and I felt like the only person in the city watching these black dots flap overhead. Ah... a haiku moment...

Also, my coworkers and I had a good chuckle during team meeting this morning. Other teachers brought in bagels and coffee, so I had a nice snack in the library during my free time.

My 6th hour class read silently during DEAR so I rewarded them with wasabi and soy sauce flavored almonds. Most of them had never had wasabi, and it was fun to watch them experience it! For the record, the only girl who didn't like it usually makes a big show out of everything, so her opinion is invalid.

Happy Lunar New Year to my Asian and Asian-phile friends, both 15 months old and above :)
I am an ox, so hopefully good things will happen. See if this description doesn't just scream ALLISON!

Oops...according to Wikipedia, I'm a Rat. But, according to my Chinese friend, I was born on the cusp, so could have attributes of both.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New Bags!

I am in the middle of adding new market bags to my Etsy shop. Remember, they are pretty much one-of-a-kind, and so fabulous that they won't last long. I hope.

Tonight we may be going to the Meet Our Alderwoman Candidate party at Grbic's. She's my neighbor, so I already know her, but there are raffles and such. Plus, free door prizes!

I've been sickish all this week, but dragged myself to school anyway. By Friday, I could not get myself psyched for a day full of boring meetings, and even though I wouldn't have had classes, I still called in sick. Then, I stayed in bed until 10 am. TEN AM! That's when I know I'm sick!
My doctor called in a Z-pac for me, which is 30 doses of the antibiotic azithromycin in 6 convenient pills. It basically kills ALL the bacteria in my body, good ones too. So, let's hope I make it through the weekend without getting the vomiting, diarrhea, or yeast infections that are possible side effects. My life is awesome, huh?

And as far as the previous post goes, we got nothing. But, the ball doctor said it could take a year or so for everything to heal from the variocele surgery.
At least my house is clean for now!