Friday, December 31, 2010

Report from the Front: Grocery Shopping on New Year's Eve

New Jersey is the state with the greatest population density in the U.S. At no point is this more clear then when I grocery shop in advance of a holiday.  Which is what I did this morning.  I'm experienced at this particular form of adventure and I knew that things could get crazy.  So I headed out to my local Wegman's at 9 am, not to beat the crowds, per se, but to at least have a reasonable chance of surviving the insanity.  I brought my list and a plan.  I was determined to roll with the punches.

You laugh, but this is New Jersey, and punches may very well occur.

What I noticed was an odd combination of shoppers.  The people wearing blue jeans, sweatshirts,  and sneakers made sense.  We've had a great deal of cold of late.  There are still piles of snow in most parking lots.  But not so much cold that one needed a heavy parka and fur hat like one man I saw.  It wasn't clear to me if he was going grocery shopping or heading out on a North Pole expedition.  Perhaps both?

It's New Year's Eve and a certain amount of festive dressing may be in order.  But it was 9 am when I was at the store and I fear that the woman in stiletto heels and leather pants will be chafed and uncomfortable long before she's done celebrating.

And could someone please explain to me why people must come to the market wearing their horse-riding pants and leather boots?  I always expect them to draw out their whip to move the congested chip and pretzel aisle traffic along.  Alas, though they are dressed for such behavior, they never fail to disappoint.  It's a wonder that I'm not still stuck behind that woman who couldn't decide between Doritos or Tostitos and stopped her cart in the middle of the aisle to whip out her cell phone and seek guidance on the pressing tortilla chip issue.

I safely escaped, with plenty of supplies for the New Year.  I even scored some Poptarts for JT, who will surely be grateful that I survived (though only because I brought the Poptarts home).  I don't mind admitting that it was touch-and-go at times.


Today's evidence that I've officially gone round the bend….my Christmas cookies match my Christmas napkins.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Fool and Her Sled

Once snow falls around here, JT begins plotting a trip to go sledding.  We don't have any hills in our yard or even in our neighborhood and for the last few years, we've just tossed the sleds in the car and headed over to school, where there are some nice hills for our sledding pleasure.
JT, bundled up in his snowpants, parka, and boots, is toasty warm and ready to sled for hours.  I don't get cold but quickly come to fear for the health of my limbs.  Also, at least half of my trips down hill find me and the sled at different end points.  As the saying goes….a fool and her sled are soon parted.
So after a few thrilling rides, I am the official photographer and cheerleader. That means ample opportunities to watch as JT and his sled part ways.
And there's always plenty of laughter, of course, which is why this tradition is so happy.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh, Holy Light

Our town has a tradition of setting out luminaries on Christmas Eve.  JT is in charge of ensuring that ours are properly lined up and he takes his responsibility quite seriously.
It looks so peaceful and welcoming to see them alight in front of all the houses in town. 
That is, until you come home from singing Christmas carols and enjoying the peaceful companionship of Quaker Meeting and find a small fire on the sidewalk in your front yard.  That's a less peaceful sort of affair.
But no worries, my lovely assistant supervised the burning while I went inside to get a large cup of water.  We doused the flames together.  Now I'm wondering if my calm fire-fighting skills will qualify me to join the town's volunteer fire force.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowpocalypse, the Day After

I awoke to an incredibly snowy wonderland this morning. When I walked downstairs, my first sight was the back deck, now suitable for lounging snowmen.
The National Weather Service is reporting regional snow totals which range from 16 to 22 inches in my corner of New Jersey.  Clearly, we're somewhere in that range.  It's hard to say for sure because the wind has re-arranged things; my backyard has drifts of up to three feet.  The sun is now shining and the winds are beginning to decrease.  The neighbors are firing up their snow blowers.  I intend to fortify with coffee and breakfast and join the parade soon enough.  But it will be a chore to even get out the front door to locate my shovel, so there's no hurry on my end.
Oh my!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Live Blogging the Snowpocalypse

This morning, we woke up to the news that the Winter Storm Warning had been canceled, only to be replaced by a Blizzard Warning, which is the National Weather Service equivalent of "you people are screwed."  The forecast expects 12 to 18 inches of snow.  GULP.

As soon as JT headed off for camp parenting time, I hit the gym.  The snow wasn't yet upon us but I take forecasts like this seriously and I figure that 18 inches of snow might prevent a trip to the gym tomorrow.  As I drove home, some tiny flakes had begun to fall.  As of this writing (12:30 pm, EST), there's a steady fall of snow, though the flakes are tiny.  My shovel and ice melt are on the front porch, I've got a pot of popcorn set to pop, the cats are napping on their favorite radiators, I've got a stack of books and an afternoon of football, and I'm ready for Old Man Winter to bring it on.

Updates as warranted.

1:34 pm
The snow is falling; but still a rather light affair. The National Weather Service is still predicting doom and gloom...but no one from the township has driven by with the megaphone to warn us to get our cars off the street, which around here is the usual precursor to a serious snow event.  So I feel perfectly safe in ordering up a nap.  Yawn.

3:59 pm
Post nap (a nap which demonstrates again the value of the new sofa) snowfall total is about an inch and a half. The north wind is steady and fierce; I'll be sweeping snow off the porch before the night is over.  The wind chill at the moment is 14 degrees, so I'm delaying the trip outdoors. My neighbors, who usually snap-to for in-storm snow removal, all seem to be in hibernation. So I'll follow their lead and check in with the widow in my Trollope book.

4:29 pm
Wrapping up and heading out to turn on the Christmas lights.  Aren't I the brave stupid one?

4:45 pm
Damn, that was cold.  About 3 inches of snow have likely fallen.  The wind and drifts make it awfully hard to tell for sure.  I shoveled my way to the lights, plugged them in, admired the effect.
And then went back inside because, as I believe I mentioned, it's cold outside.
6:45 pm
Thanks to the wind and the drifts, it's hard to be certain how much snow has fallen.  I'd hazard a guess that there's a good 6 inches in the backyard as of now.  The forecast suggests another 12 inches could fall overnight.  The wind has covered the back windows with snow flakes and it's piled snow on the tabletop on the back deck.  There's a fairly steady blowing wind moving at 10-20 miles per hour and fairly often I hear some impressive gusts that leave me hoping all the tall, heavy trees in my immediate vicinity have deep, strong roots.  In sum, winter is not messing around.

8:40 pm
Easily a foot of snow on the ground and still falling at quite an impressive clip.  Winds seem reduced, but for how long?

10:00 pm
Someone in my neighborhood has fired up their snow blower and hit the streets of Sassafras Town.  WTF?  Normally, we all snow blow together but there is more than a foot of snow on the ground, it's still falling, and the temp is 22 degrees with a wind chill of 9 degrees. This girl is headed to her flannel nest. 

Updates in the morning.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

JT went to sleep in a nervous state last night.  Though the NORAD folks assured him that Santa was still handling his responsibilities in South America, a local radio station had announced that Santa had been seen in the New Jersey sky.  He felt that safety demanded we all take to our beds and let the man in red have as much time as he needed.  My announcement that I intended to stay up and watch some of A Christmas Story on TNT was greeted with healthy skepticism.  If Santa passed our house by, it was ON ME.

But he needn't have worried, as Santa did stop by sometime after midnight.  This morning, we came downstairs to witness Santa's largesse.
Then we opened our presents and spoke with Grandma and Grandpa, the source of the box of 661 baseball cards that currently litters the living room.
He's very happy with his new Major League Baseball wardrobe.
The Medieval weapons stand is staying open on Christmas; when you think about it, Barbarian invaders are never really on holiday.
And the cats were also good enough to warrant a little treat from Santa.
Later today, we'll enjoy Christmas supper with the R-K family.  We've the makings of a very happy holiday and hope the same is true for all of you.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010


Remember when Christmas Eve was the longest day of the year?  Not just long, but agonizingly, painfully slow…hours that eventually culminated in going to bed in a room with your cousins, all of us far too excited to consider actually sleeping.  But longing for sleep nonetheless, because only sleep could bring Christmas morning and the glory of Santa's bounty.

As a parent, the day plays out in a far different fashion.  It doesn't feel like endless hours so much as a series of tasks that must be accomplished on time.  For me, playing Santa on my own demands a sort of military precision.  I organize in advance and all of my construction duties are handled on December 23rd, when my son goes to see my ex and I can duke it out out with the Playmobil instructions fully sober and generally sane.  I often recruit a friend to help, which makes the job both easier and more enjoyable.  And when JT returns at 4 pm on the 24th, we have a series of traditions to fill the hours.

For starters, we check in with the Santa Tracker on NORAD.  This year, JT's already got the website loaded up on his laptop.  Next, we set out our paper bag luminaries (they are a tradition in our town), spread some reindeer food in the front yard, and then we eat supper.  As the dark settles, we head south to join some friends at their Quaker Meetinghouse.  There's a period of companionable quiet followed by singing of Christmas carols.  Afterward, we eat cookies and the adults visit while the children run off their Christmas Eve energy. 

By the time we return home, our town is beautifully lit with lights and luminaries.  We usually take a walk to see the displays.  When we come in from the cold, we check Santa's progress on NORAD and then set out his snack.  That always includes a bottle of water, because JT is convinced that Santa will have grown tired of milk by the time he arrives in New Jersey.  I make jokes about setting out some quality whiskey but my nonsense is dismissed.  Santa is at work on this night and he wouldn't drink and fly.  

JT's usual stalling tactics are abandoned at bedtime on Christmas Eve as sleep is the only sure path to Santa's surprises.   We read "The Night Before Catmas" and then some Christmas stories by Alice Taylor and Laura Ingalls Wilder.   I turn out the lights and then creep downstairs, ostensibly to watch "A Christmas Story" on TV, though JT is often nervous that I'll stay up too late and Santa will skip over our house.

I love the quiet sureness of these traditions.  Being a parent on my own can sometimes be a lonely experience.  But not on Christmas Eve, when I imagine myself in the company of parents all over, all of us deputized into a secret society devoted to the reward of our children's bright, shiny eyes on Christmas morning.

This night makes it all worthwhile.  Always.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Pretty Packages

Last week, I put my presents for California in the mail.  I mailed the packages on Tuesday and when I reached into the pocket of the coat I was wearing, I found the receipt for the 2009 mailing… happened just one day later than then 2010 mailing.  Confirmation that I am nothing if not predictable.  My sister reports that the package arrived last Friday, so that's happy.
Wrapping packages is something that I always enjoy.  I spend more time than I care to admit picking out the paper and ribbons I will use.  I plan ahead and set up all the supplies on my dining room table and then I am a wrapping machine.  I trust that the packages have been placed under KO's Christmas tree, which one hopes is well-guarded from the reach of her dog Murphy, who is known to be a holiday hazard.  And, if not, I used a lot of tape and knotted the bows.  Which might slow Murphy down for a minute or so.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Creeping, Not Creepy

When JT and I go for an evening walk in the snow, we call it creeping.  Spoken that way, it sounds as if we are lurking outside the houses in our neighborhood, peering in the windows and plotting nefarious acts.  Which is not at all what creeping means.  At least to us.

Creeping is walking in the cold evening quiet, enjoying the sparkle of the snow and the beautiful stillness.  Alas, our December has featured plenty of cold but no snow.  So there has been none of the traditional creeping.  But we have taken walks to admire the holiday lights.  And Sunday night, we headed to the center of town to check out the tree in the gazebo and the traditional Christmas display.  We visit this display every year, and I've made many pictures of JT since we moved to this town 5 years ago.  But this year it was suddenly quite apparent to me how very grown up my little boy has become.
There's no way to turn back time and there is much about being the mama of a 10 year old that I have come to appreciate (for example, the boy is strong and that's a quite handy thing to have on hand).  Even so, I miss having a toddler in my lap (let alone a baby on my hip) and I felt that so acutely on Sunday night.

Monday, December 20, 2010

(Sort of) an Unveiling

The presence of our giant Christmas tree makes it impossible to truly see the redesigned living room.  I'll post complete pictures of the changes in January, when the tree has gone.  Still, most of the ingredients of the new room are on hand and it seems appropriate to post some pictures of the new sofa and chairs, both of which are very happy additions to our home.

The sofa is incredibly comfortable (and nothing quite reveals the sad state of the former sofa as a seat on the new one).
The chairs are just as comfortable and the brown and red color combination is quite pleasing.
When I come downstairs to the new living room each morning, it's a very nice room to behold.  But it can't compete with a seat on my comfy sofa at the end of a long day at work, which is heavenly.  This past weekend, I even enjoyed a little afternoon nap in the sofa's embrace.  I'm looking forward to many more of those catnaps in the weeks ahead.
Tiger and Lucy concur.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

And Now a Word of Praise

This is normally the point in the weekend when I start to triage, aware that I haven't finished my long list of things which MUST BE DONE, and must now prioritize to use the rest of my evening efficiently.  Usually, right about now I am headed upstairs with another load of clean laundry to put away and plans to iron clothes for the week ahead. 

I cannot even express how grateful I am that the week ahead requires no ironing, no 5:30 am wake-ups, no lunch-packing, no grading, no meetings, and no lesson plans.  It will instead feature hours and hours of reading, workouts in the morning, afternoons of cooking, card games with JT, and plenty of time to put up my feet and enjoy the new sofa.

That's very, very happy.

Cookie Report

Earlier this week, I posted the list of cookies that I made for the cookie day that I plan for my students.  I promised pictures and recipes later this week.  And I'm just now getting round to that. 

I made some photos while the baking and decorating was happening:

But I completely forgot to make pictures while the students were eating.  So you'll have to trust me that the cookies were well-received.  And here are recipes for some of the faves.....

The recipe for Christmas Cherries came from Pioneer Woman.  I also used her recipe for chocolate almond toffee cookies and sugar cookies

Peppermint chocolate chip cookies are a recipe of my own devising.  And they are most yummy.

1 cup butter
¾ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar, plus more for rolling shaped cookies
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 ¾ cups flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips (frozen, if possible)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

At medium speed on the mixer, ream the butter and sugars together until they are well-incorporated.  Add the egg and the extracts and mix for 1 minute more.

Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder and then add slowly to the butter mixture, beating at slow speed.  Once everything is well-mixed together, fold in chocolate chips.

Using a tablespoon of dough, roll cookies into a ball and then roll in sugar.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool for a minute or two on the pan and then remove to a wire rack.  The cookies will rise nicely and taste all sorts of yummy.

Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

Santa is reading and he will be expecting these cookies to be at your house on Christmas Eve…….it's time to start baking.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Real Life Conversations with JT: Literal Thinker edition

The backstory: On Wednesday evening I found myself wandering the Rutgers University campus in search of the parking for Voorhees Chapel, where JT's school choir was scheduled to sing.  It had been one hell of a day and so getting to the place (we could see the chapel) and not being able to find a parking lot where I could park without risk of being towed seemed like a fitting end to the madness.  There were plenty of other families from the school also engaged in the same task and we were all trying to sort things out.  Finally, I saw what I thought was a familiar face, a parent in the school who has older children and had likely been to the concert before (and thus knew where legal parking was available).

Me:  I think that was G's dad, right?

JT:  I don't know but that was G's brother.

Me:  What, and you think that her brother is just driving around with a stranger on a Wednesday night?

JT:  I'm just telling you what I know.

You'll be relieved to know that later investigations revealed that the car was being driven by G's dad, also known as the father of G's brother. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Real Life Conversations with JT: Guilty Conscience edition

The backstory: JT attends the same school where I work.  Every once in a while we see one another on campus.  Usually, he's willing to acknowledge my existence.  Sometimes, however, he's a little nervous to see me.  The other day I was outside as JT was headed into the music building and he caught sight of me.

JT:  Hi.  Am I in trouble?

Me:  Should you be?

And then he ran into the building, a fugitive from justice.  Or his mama.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cookie Day!

Each year I pick a December day and on that day I bring in cookies for my students.  This year, between the classes I teach and my home room, I've got nearly 90 students.  That's a lot of cookies.  And today is cookie day.

I baked dozens of cookies (24 to be exact) and made a batch of rocky road fudge.  This is one of my favorite holiday traditions.  As they often do, cookies just make the day better.

Today's treats include:
- old-fashioned sugar cookies
- ranger cookies
- molasses cookies
- toffee bars
- chocolate peppermint chips
- Christmas cherry cookies
- iced cut-out sugar cookies
- Rocky Road fudge

Later this week, I'll post pictures and a some recipes.  In the meantime, happy cookie day!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Packages

We've been playing Secret Santa at school for the past week.  This morning is the reveal.  I play because I like picking out little treats and wrapping them up to make pretty packages. 
Plus, it gives me an excuse to use all my Etsy Christmas tags, which means that I will eventually need to buy some more.  I call this a win-win.

Monday, December 13, 2010


JT has a habit of tucking his sweaty, funky socks in hidden corners so that I don't have a fit when I find them in the middle of the hallway.  Friday night, he tucked them under the Christmas tree, amongst the packages.  So I guess I know what my my winter break holds in store. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Crime Wave

The victim: 
 The accused:
The motive:
The accused pleads not guilty by reason of temporary holiday madness.  Negotiations for a settlement are on-going.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Tree, 2010

Earlier this week, I promised to post some pictures of our Christmas tree.  It's really a lovely tree, fresh smelling and magical with its ornaments and twinkling lights.
Just as a Christmas tree should be.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Classy Operation

This is exactly the sort of thing my mother has been fearing for years:
 The new sofa - allegedly - arrives tomorrow.  So the old one was kicked to the curb.  We'll just consider it our new outdoor seating.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I Call Bullshit

I teach government in order to earn my keep in life.  And a routine part of any lesson about government is to discuss the importance of compromise in political life.  It comes up over and over again: to govern effectively, one must compromise.

I get that the filibuster is one of those tools of compromise.  Hell, one of the questions on a recent exam I wrote asked students to analyze the legislative effects of the filibuster.  Hint: the answer is that the prospect of a filibuster forces compromise.

But today, the filibuster and a complete unwillingness to compromise killed repeal of DADT in the U.S. Senate, the capital of Washington D.C. dysfunction.   My disappointment in my government is as great as my frustration.

There's talk of trying again and I hope that it's a meaningful re-do.  Because I just don't know what else to say to my students, my child, or to my fellow citizens.  We should be better than this.

We must be better than this.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


I was all prepared to draft up a blog entry that fire-bombed the Obama-GOP compromise on the Bush tax cuts, extension of unemployment payments, and the lot of it when I saw this post by Steve Benen over at Washington Monthly........hmmmmm.

Maybe I should hold off on my condemnation?  It's rather unlike me to shut my mouth just when I'm poised to shout......but hey, why not?

Consider it my holiday gift to you.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010


The cats always love the Christmas tree and so it was no surprise to see Lucy headed underneath the tree for some rest and recreation.
A more unexpected development was to find the two legged creature underneath the tree.
I think it's the best tree we've ever had.  JT seems to agree.

Monday, December 06, 2010


Each year, I spend part of my Thanksgiving weekend filling the boxes in JT's advent calendar with tiny treats.  He loves this tradition and hustles out of bed on the cold December mornings to see the day's surprise.  Strictly speaking, the advent calendar serves as a combination alarm clock and incentive system: get up and you will be rewarded.  That sort of thing is handy to have on hand when his motivation to get up each morning slows.
This year, there are some tiny ghostly pirates in a few of the boxes.  There are notes offering larger packages (mostly containing Christmas ornaments…..he has a collection and enjoys adding to it), some chocolate coins, and the occasional dollar bill.
It's a lovely tradition, one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.

Sunday, December 05, 2010


This year's Christmas tree was selected from a local tree farm.  We headed out in the cold twilight on Friday evening.  The farm belongs to the family of a student of mine.  When we headed out into the tree lot with said student driving the Gator and carrying a hacksaw, I made some jokes about this being just how a good horror movie would begin.  But I needn't have worried.  We walked around and looked for the perfect tree….they were all lovely and, in our defense, none of them seemed particularly enormous at the time.  And we were taken with the lovely cold night and the color of the sky.  Finally, we settled on a tree.
 Student L cut it down for us.
Then we loaded it on the back of the gator and drove back up the lane.
On Saturday morning, JT and I carried the tree into the house and set it in the stand.  It must have grown larger overnight.
We've not yet finished the decorating….just putting on the lights took several hours and a strategy session or two (thanks to sb for the help!).

The cats are impressed and most pleased, of course.  The smell is terrific.  It's an amazing tree.  When I suggested that it might be a little large for the room, JT got offended on behalf of the tree.  "It's perfect," he emphatically announced.

And so it is.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dare to DREAM

It is no secret that I wish for a much more expansive immigration policy in this nation.  I've written about it at length.  In the next two weeks, the Senate may finally vote on the DREAM Act.  This legislation has been before Congress in one form or another since 2001.  The bill has already passed the House and only needs passage in the current lame duck session of the Senate.  It would permit a pathway to legal residency for current illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children, have lived here for more than five years and have completed high school (or earned a G.E.D.).  To actually earn legal resident status, they would have to finish two years of college or military service.

A recent New York Times magazine article details just how deserving these young men and women are.  Some of them are in college right now, working toward a college degree that they may not be able to use for legal employment.  Imagine the courage it takes to pay tuition, go to school, and dream of a future when your only prospects are low-paying jobs in the illegal economy.  If the American dream means anything, it means opportunity for people like these students.

I will confess that it made me very proud to learn that many of the students most active in the DREAM movement are enrolled at UCLA, where I went to college.  The Chancellor of their university has spoken out in favor of the legislation.  I wish these fellow Bruins, and the hopes and dreams that they represent, the very best. They are Americans who do their nation proud.  They deserve the opportunities and prospects that the rest of us can so easily take for granted.

Please contact your Senators and ask them to support the DREAM Act.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Food Friday: Loaded Baked Potatoes

This recipe is a comfort food staple of my kitchen --- such a staple that I don't even have a recipe written down.  But this dish is such an essential part of my cold weather kitchen that I thought it might be worth my while to write it down and make a record of it.  Privately,  I call it potato goop, which JT points out hardly sounds inviting.  You can call it whatever you like; I guarantee that you'll call it delicious.

This is comfort food, so it's not low fat (far from it!) but if you were a better woman than I, you could make some substitutions to make it a more healthy addition to your cooking repertoire.

4 baking potatoes, washed and ready for baking
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 green onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

optional: 6 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped

Heat the oven to 400 degrees and then toss the potatoes inside.  Bake for one hour.   In the meantime, mix together the sour cream, soft butter, grated cheese, and green onions.   Set aside while the potatoes finish baking.
When the potatoes have baked, split them in half, fork the insides up a bit, add a generous dollop of the sour cream mixture.  The heat of the potato will help to melt the cheese and butter and make it all sorts of tasty.  Sprinkle some bacon on top.
See if there is some Lipitor lying about the house and eat up. 

Serves four.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Of Ignorance and Impunity

One of my favorite Thomas Jefferson quotes is his assertion that “No nation is permitted to live in ignorance with impunity." I think of that often and recently, as discussions about an appeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy have come round again, I've been thinking about it a lot.

The House has already voted to repeal DADT.  President Obama has said that he will sign the bill if the Senate will act.  So repeal of this ridiculous policy feels amazingly close at hand.  If only the Senate will act.

If only indeed.  Earlier this year, the Senate failed to act; many of those who opposed repeal indicated that they preferred to wait until a Pentagon report on the policy came out.  That report came out yesterday and it endorses a repeal.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs endorses a repeal.  The Secretary of Defense - a Republican appointee - endorses repeal.  It should be a done deal.

But it's not.  The stupidity of excluding people from serving their nation in the military because of their sexual orientation is not lost on me.  It's not lost on my ten year old sonIt's not lost on a majority of Americans.  But it is lost on a handful of Senators.

Soon enough, the Senate will be out of session.  In January, a new Congress takes office.  The new GOP-controlled House will not support repeal of DADT.  This is our moment.  It may be our last moment for a long time.

Call your Senator and urge him or her to support repeal of DADT.  Do it now.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Applejack Order

Last weekend, I spent a few hours finishing up the rest of my fall garden chores.  The day was sunny but cool;  it was lovely to be outside and at work among the plants.  I've decided not to till my garden under this fall and will instead experiment with composting in place.  Come spring, I will till up the garden patch, add more organic compost and then till it again.   I use most of my leaves as mulch and many of them have been raked into the garden; I'll add some more later this month.  Rain is forecast for today, soon we'll have some snow and it won't take long before those leaves are a nice layer of rich compost enriching the soil in my garden. 

My canna bulbs have been dug up and set to dry.  This weekend, I'll wrap them up for the winter and store them in the basement.  The box pictured below was half full of bulbs when I planted in the spring.  Their doubled size tells me that the growing season was obviously good to them.

Like the rest of the trees in my neighborhood, the apple trees have lost the last of their leaves and are now ready for the coming cold season.  I find this point in the garden year a little bittersweet.  The growing season is over and the cold has yet to fully descend.  I'm months away from the green shoots of spring. 
And so I remind myself that this season must have its allotted time.  My garden catalogs have already arrived.  As usual, there are abundant zinnia seeds for me to dream about.  I hear tale that Santa will bring me some new gardening gloves.  Next fall I can expect a real apple and pear harvest.  All of these things are well worth the wait.

Today is the last of the apple tree photos on the first of the month.  Though they will certainly make occasional appearances, next year I plan to feature a new plant to start the first day of the month.