Making a List & Checking It Twice

I just overheard a student say, “There’s something about Asians.” Um, yeah. I don’t know what the context is but it’s funny to hear that when kids are supposed to be doing chemistry class work.

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I had a great time this morning. The teacher did not have a first period so for ninety minutes I did this:

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I am making t-shirts for my growing number of second cousins (my cousins’ kids and grandchildren; aka my nieces and nephews) because man, there are so many of them and I’m sure they already have everything.

But they don’t have a tee that says “MY COUSINS ARE MY BFF’S” with (most) of their cousins’ names printed on them as well. Ha! Try returning those t-shirts to Target.

I unwrapped and smashed a couple dozen candy canes. Last year I handed out candy-cane-and-chocolate covered pretzel rods. Yes, the ones that cost two bucks each at bookstores! I don’t like using the chocolate disks from the bakery section; they taste awful. Instead I just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave and dip and coat away.

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Yesterday I took the day off and had a playdate. My friend and her kids came over. Our kids played while we sipped specialty coffee from my Keurig. She told me about how her family has stopped the entire rush of extravagant gift-giving, how they have a white-elephant gift exchange amongst the adults, and how their kids draw one name for gift-giving.

My family has done that before and it requires a lot of time, not just to organize but to ensure that everyone actually shows up to exchange gifts and with in-laws, different sides of their families, etc. that’s a lot to juggle.

And so I decided to just stop the worrying. I cannot afford to buy my aunts and uncles things they want and I’m pretty sure they have everything they need. I cannot afford to buy and/or stress over the dozens of cousins’ kids and grandkids and like my aunts and uncles; I’m pretty sure they have everything too.

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I’m bringing back homemade ornaments, framed pictures, and fresh baked goodies for Christmas. I asked my BFF to just come over one day and bake with my children so I can take pictures and make a scrapbook page. I asked my cousin if in lieu of presents I could just have her two boys over for a slumber party, complete with pizza, ornament making, and cookie decorating (although with the dog being sick we may have to wait until after the holidays). I am going to give the items I’ve created for craft fairs but thoughtfully consider whether or not they would actually have use for them beforehand. Styles differ but how could you turn up your nose to a framed photo of thirty of your siblings’ grandchildren and great-grandchildren?

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The NaNoWriMo Redemption (24971)

As I sit here subbing for seniors in a social studies class, I cringe as I hear, “WHERE’S IT AT?”

It has been over two decades since high school but being in Mrs. A’s English class for two years has taught me to laugh and cry whenever I hear a preposition at the end of a sentence.

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And so it has come to this. My concession to NaNoWriMo 2012.

I lost.

I have a million reasons to explain why but they don’t matter. Now I am committed to finishing what I started. I wrote almost 25K words and have just passed the first threshold of the main character’s journey. I would love nothing more than to finish the story.

I have a few sub jobs lined up and part of each period will be actual teaching. But the rest of the period will be spent writing extensive sub notes according to the students.

But according to us, it will be FinDaNoMo!

FINISHING THE DAMN NOVEL MONTH.

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The Tryptophan Triangulation

Hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

And now I feel a darkness upon us. For those of you not in the States, I’m talking about Black Friday. America’s craziest shopping day of the year.

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I remember when I was a kid my mom would wake up at 7 in the morning and go shopping the day after Thanksgiving. As a mom myself, I’ve been to quite a few BF sales to get great deals on basics for the kids like pajamas and long-sleeved shirts for a few bucks, not to mention huge discounts on gifts for our growing extended families.

I had no idea how crazy this tradition had become until someone actually died during a Black Friday sale. And then tonight I saw a glimpse of how awful some people can be. I saw a news clip of a dad saying to someone else, “I swear to God if you push my kid I will put a f@cking bullet in you!”

It was caught on tape!

It was not enough to have thousands of retail employees leave Thanksgiving with their loved ones early but now we need hundreds (thousands?) of media people reporting this?

Um, also why are you bringing your kid out in the cold at this late of an hour to go shopping? And why are you modeling this behavior? (Okay, no kid deserves any rough treatment but hello? Why are you bringing your kid? Why? Why? WHY???)

Not the recent presidential election. Not the earthquakes that have rocked the planet. Not Hurricane Sandy. Not closing the achievement gap in schools or even how to fix public schools.

Nope. Shopping.

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After someone died in a trample I started to think, “Okay, if I can’t walk away from my cart at any moment during my shopping, then I am taking this WAY TOO SERIOUSLY.”

And so became my mantra. I went for sport. I went to people watch. Sometimes I’d find a friend to go with and we would just hang out and talk to others in line. Others who weren’t taking it quite so seriously. Most of the people who just grunted in line looked like they would kill you for a good deal on a TV.

Last year a friend and I brought some wine coolers to keep us warm in line. Don’t worry. We weren’t obnoxious or rowdy. We just thought it was more funny than anything.

This year I type from my living room. I have broken a tradition of nearly a decade. I don’t have a sitter but eh, I think I’m over it. Don’t get it twisted. Not judging here. Maybe I’d be out there if my husband were home to watch the kids or if we had some play money.

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I talk a big game about wanting to see and help the world become a better place. Maybe the trio closest to me need to see me put my words into actions, not valuing stuff over everything else, not worrying about whether my friends and family will think their Christmas gifts are “good enough”. Maybe taking this year off from the day’s hustle and bustle will give me the perspective I need. Maybe, just maybe, skipping this year will give us more time for this.

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The Crafty Capacitance

This has been quite a busy weekend. Rain storms kept me from driving to my race last Saturday and honestly driving in the rain would have been far worse than running in it! I felt quite gulty about missing the race but talked it over with my husband who always manages to say what I need to hear.

This weekend was my first craft fair. I had no idea what to expect. I baked three pans of brownies to sell for Saturday, three more for Sunday, and sold out of them by the end of the craft fair. I sold three kinds of brownies: chocolate caramel, mint (made with real Andes creme de menthe candies), and toffee. I don’t have a picture because they ran out too fast. Also, if I took the time to take a picture of some, they might have ended up in my belly.

I prepared these items to sell, priced $2-$10.

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These wreaths took over sixty hours to make, priced $25-30 each.

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I ended up donating one to the craft fair raffle. One of the volunteers was an elderly lady who was so kind to me. I guess you’d have to be to the FOUR-TIME WINNER of the raffle! Anyway, I ended up giving her one on her way out. I sent a friend’s daughter (who was selling her own treats as well) to bring it to her on her way to her car. I was told she was ecstatic. Sixty hours, schmixty hours.

BTW, t’s true! I won four times! I bought six raffle tickets for five dollars and won four times. I’ll have to take a picture of my winnings for a later post because I hear the kids stirring. Almost time for breakfast.

I also painted these wreaths red and glitterfied them. (If “glitterfied” is not a word, then it should be.) One of them sold.

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I only sold a few items and the craft fair ended up costing me more than I actually made. I forgot to figure in the cost of lunch (and um, actually packing snacks and meals), not to mention all of the awesome crafts and treats out there. I bought a large loaf of pumpkin bread for ten bucks. Yes, pretty expensive but it was delicious and I was hoping that it would feed us for a few days.

Wrong.

It fed my kids for a few hours! My mom said that it disappeared fast.

I’m glad I got a slice when I did!

I’m thinking about doing another craft fair at an elementary school and repricing some of the items to sell.

But in the meantime, three kids’ bellies are growling and I am twenty thousand words behind for NaNoWriMo! Think I can catch up? I’ve done it before. Cross your fingers and send me a cyber kick to finish please!

The Eponine Complex

I was not very productive this weekend. The weather has officially moved to sweater status, sometimes even boots and jacket days. I don’t know what it is but cold weather and rain make me very sleepy.

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We put up our Christmas tree but haven’t decorated it yet. I wanted it up before my Lia Sophia jewelry party on Wednesday.

This weekend will be my first craft fair at our church. I will be occupying a small corner of a friend’s booth and I’ll be selling Pinterest-inspired stuff from last year as well as homemade brownies with my son. Some of our proceeds will go back to the church and I hope this can be something our entire family does every year. I don’t know about other crafters but I don’t paint and glue gun and spray for the money though making enough to cover materials is ideal. It’s just a lot of fun, especially when the kids want to do their own project on the side.

Before the craft fair on Saturday I am running a 10K.

I haven’t been running since the last 10K. Um, last month.

I am not nervous about it. I think I will run at a slow pace and try to run the entire six-ish miles without stopping but…

I won’t beat myself up if I have to walk. I just want to finish.

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Sometimes I freak out about what I’ve got scheduled but then I go back to work and somehow everything all gets worked out.

For the last few months, I’ve been thinking about how much I love the performing arts and would love to start bringing our kids to different shows. Did I ever tell you that I once auditioned for Les Miz?

Yep, I did.

Once.

That’s all it took. It only took one shot to let me know that while I may be able to carry a tune, I am no match for a Broadway audition. It only took one shot to realize that I have no future on Broadway. It only took one shot to realize that I would never sing in a theater.

Today I’m subbing for theater. Today I did this.

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I sang. And I was loud. And probably okay.

But I don’t care. I sang in a theater.

As You Wish

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There were only five kids in my second period class. It’s a class full of seniors and most of them went on a field trip to tour a couple of local universities. Two of the kids had permission to assist another teacher.

Three kids.

They dutifully studied for other classes. One student asked if she could watch a movie.

Why not? I thought. But it has to be one of her teacher’s movies.
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NaNoWriMo: Day 7 (10,163)

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10:35 am: I’m feeling much better today even though I had a hard time falling asleep last night. This morning, I started a two day sub job for an awesome English teacher.

I wrote four hundred words before lunch, passing the 9K mark. I was feeling pretty good, especially compared to yesterday and the day before. I was thinking about how Mexican food would be delicious for lunch since the teacher’s prep period was right after lunch and I had a couple of hours to myself. After I talked to my cousin’s daughter for a bit (she’s a junior here), I decided against leaving campus and just had a leftover chocolate chip Pop Tart I found on the kitchen counter this morning.

I went downstairs to the faculty restroom and came back…

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To a classroom of students waiting outside my door!

New term, new schedule! So glad something made me stay instead of leaving.

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And now I don’t have a class for last period. What shall I do?

Should I go home and let the dogs out? Should I go to Starbucks and have a delicious creme brulee latte? Should I pick up my kids from my brother’s house early?

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No. I’m just gonna sit in this empty classroom and write.

1:40 pm: 9634 (So close to breaking 10K!)