Saturday, December 30, 2006

35 Hours and Counting

The 'rents have been on the ground here on the right coast since midnight on Thursday night and luggage.

To review: Carol and Wayne arrived at JFK at midnight on Thursday night. No luggage. On Friday morning, the word from American Airlines was that the luggage would come in to JFK at 2 pm on Friday afternoon. The luggage would be delivered within 6 hours. At 9 pm on Friday night, the phone rang: luggage delivery dude said he would deliver the luggage, but he would be late, after midnight. We should leave a signed note on the front door and he would leave the luggage on the porch. At 7 am this morning, we checked the front porch: but neither the luggage dude nor Santa had delivered.

A new round of phone calls was made: American reported that the luggage delivery service was on the case. The luggage delivery dude said yes, he had the suitcases at his office ----- the delivery van had broken down last night. But he would be sending the suitcases out ASAP. He'd call once the van left Queens.

It's now 11 am. No joy.

Update: The suitcases arrived around 3pm (we had gone to see a play). They were on the front porch when we got home. Happy, happy, joy, joy.

Friday, December 29, 2006


So we're playing a card game called Loot tonight. And basically Grandma and I are just trying to stay one step ahead of JT. We finish the second hand of the game and put the cards back in the box, all the while looking at the advertising on the box, which Grandma reads as "endorsed by Mesna"........uhhhhhh, that would be Mensa, super genius.

Grandma does offer a defense: she has had very little sleep and her luggage still hasn't arrived....she's missing all her meds. Of course, it didn't keep her from winning the game.

But still, it's the highlight of the trip thus far.

Real Life Conversations with JT and his Grandma

Grandma and Grandpa didn't hit the front porch until 2:30 am last night and the morning came awfully early. I heard JT wake up around 8:30 and have a quiet look around the house: Grandma was awake. So she was invited into his room and as I dozed, I could hear JT talking with his Grandma about all sorts of 6 year old boy things: his new razor scooter, the presents that Santa brought him, reading, his kittens, the tire swing in the park down the street. It was awfully sweet to wake up and hear that conversation.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Parents are Coming, the Parents are Coming!

Say this in the same tone that Paul Revere called that "the British are coming" and you'll know how I feel about getting Sassafras House spic and span and ready for my mother's inspection. C & W are scheduled to land right around midnight and I have been cleaning for much of the day.

The bathrooms are clean, the floors have been swept, the kitchen is clean, fresh sheets are on the guest room bed. As long as my mom doesn't go down to the basement, I think that things will be okay.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Real Life Conversations with JT

JT: Will you help me put on my gladiator costume?

Mama: Sure.

JT: Ummmmm.......where are the pants?

Mama: There are no pants. Gladiators wore skirts.

JT (incredulous): Boys? Wearing skirts?

Mama: Yeah. You can move faster that way.

JT: Are you taking my picture for your blog?

Mama: Oh yeah.

JT: You know people will see it and say, "Who is that little girl in a dress? I thought she had a little boy."

Mama: Pictures speak louder than words, son. Smile for the camera.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post-Christmas Shopping Tips......December 26th edition

1. Tempting as it may be, one should not run to the mall in one's Christmas sweater, sweatshirt, turtleneck, or the like. I'll not say that I have entirely avoided the temptation of holiday clothing, as that would be false. But the Christmas sweater should come out on the 1st of December and go away on the 25th. This rule is as firm as the law of gravity.

2. As it turns out, you are not the only driver on the road who wants to make a turn. It is hard to believe that the earth's rotation is not dependent on you getting through that light. But, ahem, it's not.

3. There is no store left on the planet prepared to offer you a full-price refund without a receipt. Deal with it.

4. Unlikely as it may seem, many people have the day after Christmas off from work and they too are eager to shop the sales. Lines are to be expected and you must wait in them. Patiently. Here again it helps to remember that you are not the center of the universe.

5. No child in his or her right mind willingly quits playing with the toys left by Santa to accompany you to the mall. Perhaps this is why junior had a meltdown in the middle of Bridgewater Commons, whilst passersby looked on in horror.

Christmas Supper

The food was good, the company was terrific, and the boys used their very best manners. Mama was happy. It was a really good day.

Monday, December 25, 2006

"Best Christmas Ever"

It seems that JT has a bit more resilience than his Mama. He came downstairs this morning, took a look at all of the Santa loot and announced, "this is the best Christmas ever." So that felt pretty happy. And with this kind of joy in our house, I plan to take a page from his playbook and have a happy Christmas myself.

The cowboy costume seems to be a hands down favorite......though I'm not sure a gun is required to get a glass of water served up, JT seems to think that I move quicker when heat is involved.

Ready to Greet the Man in Red

We've set out our cookies and JT left Santa a note wishing him a safe journey. From here the boy is off to bed, with hopes that sugarplums dance in his head. Memo to Santa: We are ready.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Little Change and Some More of the Same

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is change. As anyone who knows me has learned, my life has undergone an enormous and painful change this year. I haven't always been happy about it. I hope that with time the changes will feel like they were for the good. But in the midst of the upheaval, it's awfully hard to know. And, even under the best circumstances, I've never been a fan of uncertainty.

Despite the unexpected changes, some things have remained the same. I am still JT's full-time Mama and I am still the essential person I have always been. I have tried to maintain my sense of humor. And in the midst of the upheaval in our world, I have done everything possible to make sure that my son feels as certain and secure as ever. That's the tall order of parenting every day and it becomes even taller when one parent has flown the coop.

So the past 6 months have been about change and more of the same for JT and me. I've done my best to see to it that he knows how very well-loved he is. I've maintained some of our most beloved traditions. This month, that's meant making Christmas cookies together and greeting the town fire truck when Santa made his tour through town. We've done lots of new things as well, because that's what change means.

At this point, I have no notion of what 2007 will bring. But the change to a new year will be most welcome, if only to shut the door on the painful year that was 2006.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Man of the Hour

Just when I fear that no one reads my blog, I get a load of e-mails with one question: what's the address for the Norad Santa Tracker? Here's the address --- You'll have to cut and paste because I can't get the blogger link button to work. The site is cool and very impressive to the crowd of believers.

And as Christmas Eve approaches, aren't we all believers?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sassafras Sister

My sister KO lives in California and while I was slacking about off from work on Thursday, she was busily educating America's youth. Or doing something. She sent me this e-mail about her Thursday and is now my first official guest-blogger:

Potluck today at work. Made the tri tip last night (overnight), seasoned with a red wine sauce, shredded it all up. So yummy. Brought the crock pot to work and while getting it out of the car, the cord got stuck under the seat. My hands kept moving...crock pot stayed still...until there was shattered crock pot and 5 pounds of tri tip all over the pavement. I laughed. Except that it was kind of the main
dish for the potluck, so I was most worried about what to feed the department. I got dad to go buy more meat and BBQ it for me, but what a way to start my day.

Then during my prep I took three girls with me to do some stuff for winter
formal. We found a lost dog out on Nees Ave., so we spent a good 20
minutes returning the dog to it's rightful home (success), but it just
wasn't how I needed to spend my time, you know what I'm saying? Except
that I can't just leave a dog out on a busy street. and when I called the
guy on his cell phone (thank goodness for awesome tags--address, home phone
and cell phone), he was so thankful and happy. And the gate that was open
was by the kids' playset, so there was kind of lots of joy in knowing that
we prevented some crappy moments at home for a family (if something would
have happened to the dog). But oh vey.

Note: Tri tip is a cut of meat (beef) that seems to only be available in California. It's one of those crazy Cali things that I miss here on the right coast. And, yes, KO has earned herself some good karma on this day. The picture is KO and her younger son Spence, taken at Disneyland this summer.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Multi-tasking for the Masses

Years ago, Vanna White wrote a beauty and lifestyle book. I remember in particular that she recommended using the shower as a Water-Pic (remember those) for your teeth ---- to save time in the morning. For this lame suggestion (and many others), the book was roundly trashed by the critics.

But I thought of Vanna this morning as I was terrorizing the kittens by using the electric sweep to clean the stairway in my house. I stood on the edge of the steps, using the broom, and getting in a nice calf stretch after my workout. Usually I read when I stretch but I was branching out today.

Vanna would be so proud.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Suddenly I Could See Clearly

I went for my yearly contact lens eye exam yesterday. I chose a new doctor this year because last year's eye doctor (from one of those doc in a box eyeglass places) recommended a new contact lens and, much to my dismay, I followed his recommendation and ended up with the Acuvue Glass, Sand, and Grit in Your Eye lens. I believe that the official name was Acuvue Hydroclear Advance. It was neither clear nor advanced. Frankly, it was a pain in the......eye.

I had followed his recommendation against my better judgment as the old lens brand had been happily serving me for years. But he sagely suggested that the Glass, Sand, and Grit in Your Eyes lenses would allow my eye to breathe better. "They're new," he said. "Everybody is getting them, " he cajoled. And who am I to deny progress?

I hated these lenses from the outset and when the new doctor asked what I was wearing and whether I liked them, I was vehement in my dislike. She smiled and said, "Yes, I've heard that before." It seems that the evil lenses have been withdrawn from the market because many people feel the way I do. Lots of doctors were urged by Acuvue to give them a try, in part because they'd make more money. But the product is not a success.

Ha! Vindication at last. It turns out that the Acuvue Glass, Sand, and Grit in Your Eye lenses are made of silicon, which does allow the eye to breathe better. But, whereas most disposable lenses need to be replaced once a month, the Acuvue Glass, Sand, and Grit in Your Eye lenses need to be replaced every two weeks because they cannot be easily cleaned. Alas, my insurance only covered 12 pairs of lenses a year and the Acuvue Glass, Sand, and Grit in Your Eye recommender had conveniently failed to mention that I would need to buy an additional 12 pair (perhaps because he knew I wouldn't switch if this fact was revealed?). Thus, for about two weeks every month I suffered.

And not quietly.

I'm back to the old retro lenses now and I'm a happy, happy girl because of it. 2007 is looking better already.


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Homework is Fun!

On occasion, JT comes home from the first grade with extra "homework" ----- assignments prepared by his friends and copied by the teacher for the students to complete. Tonight, P and D had made homework for the kids, this in addition to the regular homework from Mrs. C.

And that's how you know this is prep school ----- the first graders are making themselves extra homework for "fun" and their classmates are happily completing the assignments, not beating the snot out of those who manufacture the extra work.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Finishing Touches

On day one of the baking frenzy, we made chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, rocky road fudge, and mint chocolate brownies. Day two featured cardamom shortbread, hazelnut chocolate brownies, molasses cookies, and chocolate chip brownies. All of these treats will be packed up and brought to school on Tuesday. Tonight, JT and I put the finishing touches on the sugar cookies.

I find that feeding students yummy baked goods creates a mellow attitude that says, "sure, we'd love to take your quiz Ms. M." And what more could a teacher ask for?

Sunday, December 17, 2006


The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings this week is anticipation. And given that it's the Christmas season and my son is hounding me to open "just one package, mama," it seemed like a good idea to write about the anticipation of Christmas.

When I was a child, the month of December was sweet torture. Slowly, the days passed. My sister and I would endlessly look over the Sears catalog toy pages, dreaming of what Santa would bring. And as we opened the boxes on our advent calendar we could count ourselves closer to the big day. We'd decorate the Christmas tree and then watch as packages magically appeared under it. The whole month was about anticipation.

Christmas Eve was the best and the worst combined: Santa was close at hand but the minutes of the day would slowly tick by. We'd often spend that night with our cousins Aaron and Brian and when the time for bed finally came, we'd lie in our sleeping bags too excited to sleep. It would take forever to drift off and I can still hear my mother saying, "the sooner you sleep, the sooner Santa will arrive." And yet sleep was most elusive that night.

The next morning brought the reward for all that waiting. Santa had been at our house! The presents were set out and there was the anticipation of the stocking yet to come. As a little girl, I believed in Santa with all of my heart and even when the truth was revealed (thanks, McCalls magazine), I protected the secret.

As an adult and now a parent, I see exactly why the anticipation of Santa was so magical. For me, nothing re-creates that childhood happiness like preparing for Christmas Eve. All month long, I store away little Santa treats for my son, just waiting for that happy moment when we come downstairs to find the presents left by Santa. JT's anticipation is great and I'll admit that I stoke the fires. I want to give back to him the childhood magic that I once anticipated.

So the presents are appearing under the tree and we've written Santa a letter. Mama has squirreled away the perfect treats for tucking into a boy's stocking. We'll watch the NORAD Santa tracker on Christmas Eve and we will set out cookies for Santa and reindeer food as well. And for that night I will believe again.

I can't wait.

Today's Etiquette Tip for Picking up the Boy at Your Ex's House

- Maybe don't wear your new girlfriend's sweater; the one that she wore when she came over to dinner as our guest earlier this year. It's just bad form; kind of tacky.
- Also, and this is just a general tip for life: if you have no melanin, yellow is just not your color. Not so much, you know?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Holiday Treats

Today has been declared cookie baking day at our home. We haven't finalized our cookie list, but JT has requested sugar cookies and brownies, so those will make the cookie tray for sure. I'm in the mood for shortbread, so I'll be making that. And no holiday would be complete without rocky road fudge. Next week, he'll bring cookies to his classroom and I will bring treats for all of my classes. It's a tradition that we both enjoy.

Last night I got out the big roaster, which I use almost exclusively to make cereal mix, another holiday tradition at our house. For those of you playing along at home, the recipe is reproduced below.

6 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups corn chex cereal
3 cups rice chex cereal
3 cups wheat chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup bite-size pretzels
Heat the oven to 250 degrees. In a pyrex bowl, melt the butter and stir in the Worcestershire and spices. In a large baking dish (I use my roasting pan), combine the cereal. Pour the melted butter and spices over the mixed up cereal and gently stir to coat everything. Place in the oven. Roast for an hour, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Christmas Songs

For the past few weeks, the first grade has been practicing for the holiday sing. JT enjoys singing class (though I fear that his musical abilities reflect his mama's skills, which is to say he should sing only in the shower). His sense of holiday songs is a combination of the different traditions that he is learning about in school, so he is just as likely to sing about Frosty the Snowman as he is to sing "dreidel, dreidel, dreidel." I like that.

My friend S tagged me to come up with a list of my favorite Christmas songs, and it's given me plenty to think of this week. Check out Shelley's list at And mine is right here:

1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
I remember first learning this song in the elementary school choir. The pacing was a challenge for a chorus of 10 years olds but I loved the way that singing it made me feel. It was the first grown-up Christmas carol that I ever learned all the words to and I still remember it. I've even been known to sing it out loud when I'm sure that no one is listening. I learned then that it was an English carol from the 1800s.

2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Rudolph is the first Christmas song that I learned, complete with all the childish revisions: "you'll go down in history, like Nixon!" (yes, I date myself). I even knew all the names of Santa's reindeer and to recall them today (and rarely a day passes that JT and I don't discuss the reindeer and whether or not they are ready for the coming trip), I sing the first part of this song. JT is singing the song now, complete with all the silly additions, which he finds endlessly amusing. It makes me smile.

3. Deck the Halls
Who doesn't love this song? I like to hear it sung in rounds, because it seems so much more festive that way. Plus the whole song reflects my hopes for the season and the way that I run my home ----- always open for friends to pop by and feel welcome.

4. What Child is This?
I like the sentiment of this song and the wonder of it. To me, it's a reminder of Christmas Eve as a holiday of quiet joy and, dare I say it, hope. While writing this post, I did some reading about the song and it turns out that this is also an English carol, circa the 16th century.

5. Joy to the World
When I was a little girl and this song was sung at church it always seemed to fill the room with joy. It was as if the big moment we were all waiting for had finally arrived.

It's not really a song but the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack from the Peanuts Christmas special is absolutely essential to my holiday celebrations. I play it often and enjoy the quiet of the music. Years of Christmas memories are wrapped up in these songs, and I look forward doing the same for my son.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Kittens from Hell

As a result of an incomplete home improvement project, there is a small hole in the corner of my bedroom where the air conditioner cold air return duct is located. I need to have a box built around it, but honestly it just hasn't been a priority what with the zillion other things on my to-do list that seem more pressing.

And then I got some kittens. Within hours of moving into Sassafras House, Lucy went right down that hole and ran around the subfloor in my bedroom, meowing and generally sounding unhappy. It was a tense half hour and JT was hyperventilating with panic, but Lucy eventually came out of the floor and JT calmed down. I covered the hole with all manner of duct tape and cardboard. That was in October.

Last night I was exhausted and I crawled into bed at 10:30 pm. Two hours later I awakened to a scratching noise. I turned on the light just in time to see Lucy fling aside the cardboard covering the hole and then I watched her disappear right down the hole, complete with a sassy fling of her tail as I saw the last of her. Before I could get out of bed (to do what, I have no idea) Tiger followed. Now they were both in the subfloor, running about and meowing.

It was freakin' midnight, I was tired, and now I had two kittens in the subfloor of my bedroom. I'll not lie: my first thought was "if you're that stupid, then you get what you deserve." I figured they could stay down there until they were hungry enough to come out. Then I thought about how I would explain this to JT, not to mention the nice people at the Humane Society. For the next hour, I waited patiently by the hole in the floor so that I could rescue each kitten from the perils to which they had introduced themselves.

Then I shut my bedroom door for the night and tried to get some sleep. This morning, between starting a load of laundry and packing the lunchboxes, I patched up the hole with enough cardboard and duct tape to secure the international space station. For extra protection, I left my bedroom door shut.

Today I will make some calls to get the duct work permanently contained. And in the light of day all I can say is that it's a damned good thing those kittens are cute.

Friday morning update
: Despite the fact that I had created a veritable Berlin Wall around the hole in the floor, Tiger and Lucy tried again last night at midnight. What's the deal with the midnight attack? I kicked them out of my room, only to have them meow pathetically outside my door, desperate for my company. It might be a long weekend.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Kids in Africa

Some of the students at my school are raising money for a charity that helps to provide education for children in Africa. For a fundraiser, they sold buttons and I have one on my jacket. JT saw it and asked what it was for. So I told him it was to raise money so kids in Africa could go to school.

"Wait," he said, "children in Africa don't have to go to school?"

"Well," I responded, "they want to go to school, but sometimes they can't."

You could just see the wheels turning in his head as he tried to figure out just how he could arrange it so that he could live in Africa and skip out on school and some kid in Africa could come here and take his place in the first grade.

Monday, December 11, 2006


We put up a Christmas tree this weekend and the kittens are transfixed. So far, they've managed to stay out of the tree, though a number of ornaments on the low lying branches have been batted about. And every morning I come downstairs to find this snowman ornament on the floor. Clearly, the kittens have had their way with poor frosty.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ticket Day

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is Punishment and Reward, which got me thinking about Ticket Day. In my son's 1st grade class, every Friday is Ticket Day. All week long, the kids have the opportunity to earn a ticket for good behavior. It's a reward system administered by the teachers in the classroom. You don't get a ticket for just following the rules, but for going above and beyond. You might earn a ticket for helping another student or for holding the door open without being asked. Each table can earn tallies for good behavior and 5 tallies are worth a ticket.

Then, on Friday all the tickets are collected and a drawing is held. If you win the drawing, you get a reward prize (JT's favorite is a homework pass). The more tickets you have in the drawing, the greater your odds of winning. A winner is drawn for each of the 3 tables in the room. Five children sit at each table. So the odds are pretty good that every child in the room will win at one point or another.

Not surprisingly, JT loves Ticket Day. He plans all week to earn tickets so that the odds will be in his favor. Because the system works by rewarding good behavior, he has an incentive to behave well. But the system is intermittently reinforcing, so good behavior doesn't always earn a prize beyond feeling good about behaving well. And to me, this is the real lesson of Ticket Day: that when we do right, we feel good.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Happy, Happy Sound of a Roaring, Clinking Furnace

We awakened to a very chilly 55 degrees here at House of Sassafras. The furnace wasn't working. I did all the things that I could do: checked the thermostat, checked the circuit breaker, checked the pilot light. To my admittedly untrained eye, the pilot light seemed to be out. But the idea of me and fire and gas in the basement just seemed like a bad one. So I called the repairman. 3pm they said. Okay, I responded.

I spent the day at work idly imagining just what a weekend in my cold, cold house would feel like. While my students enjoyed the irony of me living without a furnace (much to their dismay, my classroom is always ice cold), I considered the horrors of a $5000 furnace repair bill. In short, I borrowed trouble and worried like only my mother's daughter can do.

The boy and I were home at 3 pm and the temperature in the house had sunk to 50 degrees. The cats were okay, but they have fur coats. And then, two minutes after our arrival home, our savior, in the form of a burly Jersey guy with a whole lot of tools arrived. He went to the basement and a few minutes later came upstairs with a twelve inch black cord in his hand. "Your thermocouple is burned out," he announced.

The thermocouple keeps the pilot lit light. No pilot light means no warm steam and no warm steam means a cold, cold house of sass. The repairman headed out to the van to get us a brand spanking new thermocouple.

Just a few minutes later, the new thermocouple was installed, the pilot light was lit and I can hear the sounds of my furnace thumping and roaring to life. The radiator pipes are clinking with steamy happiness. It's music to my ears.

Best of all is that a new thermocouple is bargain priced at $86. So we're back in business here at Sassafras House, planning on a warm and toasty evening.

The New Jersey DMV

It was time to renew my driver's license and so I headed on over to the local DMV yesterday afternoon. I'll start with the good news: I was in and out of there in 20 minutes. Despite the horror stories about proving your identity, they gave me no grief at all (basically because they ignored their own rules) and it was easy to secure my fancy new digital license.

What I can't get over is the squalid, third world look of the DMV. The place was funky smelling, the floors were dirty, the paint was peeling and the whole office looked like the 3rd circle of hell to which bureaucrats are assigned in the afterworld. But for the brand new picture of Governor Jon Corzine, a smiling despot overseeing this wonder of modern bureaucracy, the place looked as if they were still working with the circa 1970 decor. The employees were as nice as one would expect given their wretched office conditions. But honestly, you'd need some serious antidepressants if you worked there every day.

And I have one last question: why did all the employees have a pierced eyebrow? Is this part of the DMV civil servant code in New Jersey? I demand answers.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

You Can Take the Girl Out of California......

....but you can't take the California out of the girl. One of the best things about growing up in California was the Mexican food. It's good, abundant and fresh. At the grocery store, tortillas are in the bread aisle, not the refrigerated section. I always miss California Mexican food, though over the years I have learned to make those tastes of home in my home, wherever it may be.

Tonight I made a batch of homemade refried beans. I do that every once in a while, just to have them on hand. For the next few days, we'll have some tostadas, some burritos, and some tacos and beans. Yum. The recipe is an adaptation from Diana Kennedy that I found over at my no-longer secret place for terrific food, Simply Recipes. If you'd like to make a batch of your own, here is the link: My sister also has a recipe that makes a great batch of beans, perhaps she'll post it?

I took a picture of my bowl of beans and then saw the fruit bowl behind it, filled with avocados and mangoes, two more staples in my home that remind me of California. It's going to be cold with temps in the 30s here in Jersey today but at my house we'll have burritos with guacamole and queso fresco, courtesy of JT's California Mama.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Signs of Our Declining Civilization

At 11:30 am today, I headed on over to to see what the Iraqi Study Group had recommended for the fracas that is the War in Iraq. But alas I was diverted from this important news by stories with leads like, "Boy Arrested for Opening his Christmas Presents Early" (ammo in my continuing battle with JT over this very issue) and "Paternity Unsure on Spice Girl Child" (I'm not sure how this information will ever come in handy).

All I can say is that our civilization is in deep, deep trouble when this constitutes the news.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Real Life Conversations with JT

On Monday, JT and I wore our matching green-striped shirts. At the end of the day, we stood in the mirror and looked at ourselves. We had this conversation:

JT: "Nope. I'm better looking."

Mama: "Seriously? You are missing two teeth and don't have much hair. I look better."

JT: "You're just jealous that you can't drink water without opening your mouth like I can."

Point taken.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Adding Insult to Injury

I'm up extra early this morning to attend a workshop for the teacher gig that keeps me busy during the day. So it's Monday morning and I'm in the shower at 5:20 am. That itself is below average. Post-shower, I return to my room to find my rotten kittens all curled up in the nice toasty warm flannel sheets that I had just vacated. They are purring away.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

One Hour

The posting over at Sunday Scribbling is one hour. So I have decided to make a list of all the things I have done in one hour; the hour from 6:45 – 7:45 pm tonight, Sunday, December 3rd.

In this hour, I have:
- Posted comments about 7 students to the on-line data base at work.
- Checked out the new postcards over at
- Read the latest entry over at
- Started to make peanut butter cookie dough ----- JT helped.
- Took picture of JT helping with cookie dough.
- Talked to my mom – I'm to wrap and place under the Christmas tree the Lands' End package she has sent my way. Got it, Mom.
- Finished the cookie dough with the little baker.
- Rolled the cookies in sugar, put them on the baking sheet, and placed them in the oven.
- Unloaded the dishwasher.
- Loaded the dishwasher.
- Started a load of laundry.
- Set up the coffee maker to automatically start brewing my coffee at 5:20 am tomorrow morning (an unusually early day is planned).
- Watched JT pour himself a glass of water from the Brita pitcher. Cleaned up the water that spilled and re-assured him that he'll eventually get the hang of it.
- Pre-packed JT's lunchbox for tomorrow ---- hot chicken nuggets, in a thermos, will go in tomorrow morning. Frankly, I find his lunch choice indefensible, but it's what JT wants. So it's what JT gets.
- Took the hot cookies out of the oven, cooled them on a wire rack.
- Put the rest of the cookies in the oven.
- Brought JT two warm cookies.
- Poured myself a glass of milk to go with a few of those cookies.
- Re-read this blog posting while eating cookies.
- Dowloaded photo and posted.

Next up: washing the boy and tucking him into bed.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

This is Supposed to Reassure Us?

I read in the paper this morning that American Ambassador to Iraq John Negraponte believes that the war in Iraq is nothing like the war in Vietnam. Negraponte says, "In Vietnam we knew who the enemy was. In Iraq, that's not clear."

Is this supposed to reassure us?

Friday, December 01, 2006

History Day

The first Friday in December, Princeton University hosts a conference for NJ history teachers. The morning is given over to American history and the afternoon to a world history topic and the speakers are always the top people in their field. I went today and it set my mind awhirl with all the things that I still want to know more about.

I rather think that is the secret of education: discovering that there is so much more out there that I have yet to learn.