Thursday, December 31, 2009

What a New Year's Eve post is supposed to be? Maybe.

Mac just said to me, "This is the first decade I've lived entirely through. That's pretty cool." Oh yes my son, it certainly is.

I guess this is the post where I should reflect on the year that just ended. I'm torn because this has been a rough year and for those of you who do follow me here know it. I could be tongue in cheek and post about the year, or take a maudlin approach and share. I could always "go for the funny." I know good things have happened this year but it seem easy to get weighed down by the sad and the rough and tough times.

Maybe I could summarize the decade? Take Mac's approach instead? I went to Europe. I moved to another state to live out a life long dream. I had a chance to teach. My son lived with me, then didn't, then did again, then did and now is again. (each "didn't" is when he chose to go to his father's). I had good relationships that all failed. I had bad relationships that all failed. I reconnected with a past lover and my soul mate-- and lost him again. I learned to love the city. And I learned to love the country. I like quiet but I want to make noise. I drank way to much. I stopped drinking. I smoked a little, but I stopped. I went to Hawaii. I went away but I came home. I started the decade as part of a couple and will end it alone. I fell in, and out of, love. I was lost but I found my way back. I started blogging. I took lovers. I learned to cook decadent foods, and discovered I liked it. I had a couple great jobs, and some not so great. I branded cattle and rode horses. I made new friends, and lost some others. I gained weight and lost it and gained it back-- hell, I have no idea where I stand with that battle. I write. I learned to quilt. I learned to hate winter. I've been sick, but I'm better. People died but I went on living. I had lots of fun, but sometimes I didn't, but I always learned something along the way. Not bad for 10 years and being almost forty. Who know what I'll do in the next ten?

Being all introspective, retrospective, all those spective-s, got me thinking about a favorite piece of music. This is one of my all time favorite pieces of music in the world: Pachelbel Canon in D Major. I want to apologize to a Sam of mine because I sent him an email about this song, so I steal from that correspondence. "Canon in D Major" is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. Ever. It's perfect. If anything in this world can be perfection, it's that piece of music. If beauty has a sound, it floats on the notes of this. This song touches a part of me I never knew, it's like air; I need this piece of music like I need to breathe.

Happy New Year to you all. I wish you peace, joy, happiness, serendipity, and much good stuff. Mostly I hope you all find what you're looking for, what you need, what you want.

Respectfully yours,
Maggie Mae O'Sullivan, 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Quilting Queen

I think I must be crazy! I'm planning on starting a quilting project in the next few days. I'm feeling motivated to make one.

Daddy-O bought me a really awesome book that's all patterns for quilts but all the quilts are "strip" quilts. Meaning, all the pieces are cut from strips of fabric or are strips of fabric, or just blocks. There are no triangles, no little pieces, no appliques, just strips of fabric to be cut in various lengths, which makes piecing a quilt top rather easy, and makes it a quick process, too. (If you know what a log cabin quilt looks like, that is considered a 'strip' quilt. Here's a log cabin quilt I found on the 'Net, that's made of scrap pieces. I didn't make it, though. Oh, and scrap means it's all colors, used from miscellaneous fabric, or the left over fabrics from other projects that quilters save.)

One of the quilt patterns is called a "sampler." It has 12 blocks and each block is something different. You can make a whole quilt of 12 different ones or take one block and make it 12 times. I found a simple block that I plan on using 12 times. It will take 7 different fabrics.

I own enough scrap fabric that I don't think I'm going to have to buy any. I keep picking up fabric every time I see something I like and if it's on sale I'm all over it! I love to shop for fabric, though. Every time I go in the notions department of any store, or go to a fabric store, I always have to browse and I usually come out with something. There is something special about a fabric store- all those projects just waiting for creativity to spill onto it. All the colors and textures... one of my favorite things to do, just walk around and touch all those fabrics.

Anyway, like I said, do have tons of fabric in my goodie scrap bag. I also already bought the fabric for a new baby quilt. Since the Divine Ms. K is going to get a brother or sister in June, and I made her a quilt when she was born, I have to make her new sibling a quilt as well (In January my sister-in-law is having an ultrasound that will reveal the gender and they want to know and will tell us so I can have the quilt made before the baby is even born!). I have the pattern all selected, and I have the material if it's a girl. If it's a boy I need to go shopping!

I also have the fabric and pattern to make a denim quilt for Mac. I also have the fabric and pattern to make a Texas Lone Star lap quilt for my Aunt and Uncle who live in Texas. I also have Daddy-O's quilt to finish from two years ago. Actually, I should do that first since all I have to do is the binding. It's all pieced and quilted so I should my ass in gear and finish that.

I should get sewing rather than typing about sewing. But typing about it is a lot less mess; I don't have to haul all the fabric and mat and cutting tools out. Or try and fill bobbins, read patterns and hunt for scissors. Hmmmmmmm, maybe I'll just keep looking at my quilt magazines and books and admire the handy work that's already done and keep the scrap bag in the corner!

In the mood for quilting,

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Every time I watch the Lifetime Network (which is like, twice a year and usually because I can't find the remote control or because I'm drunk and can't find the remote) I always have an urge to write a post about how stupid this network actually it, and how much I despise their boring and stupid programming.

I know I have an urge to do this because I had written almost a whole post about it and I felt "I've done this before" and I searched the archives of my blog and lo and behold, I had done it before. Goes to show that the Lifetime Movie Network sucks and inspires writing about its suckage.

So now I have no idea what to blog about. I am not kidding. I'm sitting here staring at the screen, scrolling through other people's blogs, trolling for a glimmer of an idea. I'm looking at my old posts for inspiration. I'm gawking around the house looking for a writing trigger, and I can't think of anything.

Okay, I can think of things but my mind won't focus on what I want to say about particular topics. I think I have writers' block.

I think if I had a Krispy Kreme donut I would feel better but Mac ate the last one and then he left the empty box on the table, which made me want to smack him with the empty box while he slept but for some reason, I think it would be anti-climatic when he rolled over and shooed me away like I was a buzzing gnat. I can't believe he ate the last one. Damn. It's not like they're fresh; we have to get them at Kroger, pre boxed, but still, they're good. Brat.

I think I'm distracted by the sunshine. We haven't had any sunshine for about ten days and now it's out. Completely distracting. It makes the whole snowy world sparkle like diamonds. OOOOOO, very Edward Cullen skin-like, but better. Oh and I don't think the sunshine will melt the snow because it's still just about 14 degrees. But it's rather pretty. I do feel sorry for the mailman who is currently leaving mail in the mailbox and looks frozen and Popsicle like.

I'll be back when I'm less distracted. Have a nice Tuesday!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Shiver me timbers, it's bloody cold!

I've had enough of the snow already. Please quit. I've begged and tried to bargain with Mr. Jack Frost but he's having nothing to do with me and my pleas; my wailing and groveling is falling on deaf ears as the snow continues to just float around us all, completely unassuming in its dropping, that I hate it and that I'm plotting its dreadful end. I wish I could set a million hairdryers on the snow and melt those fiendish little flakes into nothing but puddles! Bwahahahahaha!

Okay, it snowed so much yesterday that I didn't get to leave to see a movie. Mac and I were already to see Nine. (I have no idea how I convinced him to see it. I've heard rumor that someone is topless, and I don't mean Day-Lewis and since Mac is 16 years old and does love boobies... anyway, there has to be a logical explanation for a kid his age to want to see a musical!) We were going to the next town over but never left Civilization after watching several cars slide right off the slick streets in front of us. Drat! As Mac said, "This weather blows." Indeed it does!

And the weather forecast says we're supposed to have more snow over the next three days. Again, I am unimpressed. I'm cold. I've been cold since I drove home in that damnable blizzard last Christmas holiday!

I even went so far as to look at the price of plane tickets to see my blogger friend P who lives in Florida. For $300 I could go, leaving Wednesday, and stay for a week. I'm afraid it would be so warm, I wouldn't want to leave in a week, whether SHE wanted me to or not.

Anyway, providing Jack Frost takes an ounce of pity on me, I plan to pick up Curley later today to do some fabric and yarn shopping, have a spot of lunch, and take in a movie. We shall see how the day progresses, I would guess.

blast this cold,
Maggie "shivering" Mae

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Really? Out of a jar?

Occasionally some childhood illusions are destroyed and it's not the end of the world, it just leaves ya scratching your head muttering, "Really? Are you serious? Really? Don't kid me, now. Really?"

Christmas is a time of family traditions, or it used to be for our family but some of those have gone by the way side, again, not the end of the world, but just different. When we were kids we could always go to my Grandma F's house (Daddy-O's mom) on Christmas Day afternoon. As my childhood mind recalls, we would have snacks and open gifts and then eat dinner later. Okay, makes sense.

One thing I always remember that we had at Grandma F's house was hot wassail in a big white soup tureen. We even would sing the Wassail song. Then it was served in pedestal tea cups with red cardinals on them, with a cinnamon stick. There was also a plate of cheese and crackers. The crackers were ones we never had any other time of the year- like vegetable crackers or cracked wheat. This was back in the late 70s and early 80s when there weren't 9000 kinds of crackers in the cracker aisle at the store; we had Ritz and Saltines, maybe Triscuts if the store was large enough. So at Christmas 'special holiday crackers' were available and Grandma F always had them. Now we would just call 'em wheat thins. The cheese ball was fancy looking and rolled in nuts, placed on a fancy plate with a paper doily. It had a good taste but nothing like I ever had anywhere else or any other time of year. And she was a doily sorta lady.

Well, Grandma F passed away about 16 years ago and recently I've come to figure out that the magical Christmas snacks of her house were completely and utterly NON-fancy. As Daddy-O said, "she wasn't much of a cook but she was all about presentation." The table was always glorious, we always had special holiday napkins and table favors, the food was always good but very simple.

The special cheese ball? Well, apparently the old gal would buy a few jars Kraft Pimento Cheese (I never knew there was such a thing until I saw it for myself in the grocery store!), chill it, and then form it into a ball and roll it through some chopped nuts: viola! A "homemade" cheese ball! And the wassail? Simply heated up apple cider from a local orchard that she threw some Cinnamon sticks into.

And do I even want to explain that her hamloaf, which was amazingly delicious, came from the butcher but all she did was bake it and dump pineapple over it? I don't even want to know if she really made the corn casserole or if it was 'fake' as well.

It has just made me laugh every time of think of these things because all these years I thought she made some secret special recipes that could never be duplicated yet the items have been on my local grocery stores shelves for years. I've a a good giggle all Christmas season about it; man did she have the wool pulled over my eyes! A few years ago I looked up how to make Wassail and I couldn't believe she would go to all that work and no wonder it was so yummy! Geez!

So I think New Year's Eve, I might make some of Grandma F's very special cheese ball and Wassail. I don't think it'll be too difficult.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas recap

We did our family Christmas on Christmas eve day since Guard is working on Christmas day, which sounds like it really sucks for all involved, not just the state guests.

Anyway, we had a lovely family time. Since I had been so sick (I never want to eat Mexican food again. Ever. Any it will be a long while before I ever want to eat steak, nacho chips, lettuce or tomatoes again either, together or separately. ) I didn't get any cooking done. Not one cookie baked, not a casserole made, nor a coffee cake baked. So, we went to Bob Evans for Christmas Eve brunch. I finally ate food for the first time- blueberry pancakes- yum.

After brunch we went back to Daddy-O's house and opened gifts. I got lovely things from everyone- thank you! Mac and Daddy-O really liked what I got them (Mac is now stylin' in an ear flap fur hat and some huge red sunglasses and sporting a Fossil watch. Hey, he ASKED for those things. I'll try and post a picture...!) After the gift exchange, Guard, Booknut, and the Divine Ms K went to some of her family, and Mac went to his SD's. Daddy-O and I chilled here at the house, cleaned up and just read. It was nice!

And at age 1 year (plus a few months) the Divine Ms K loved the boxes and paper and even threw the stuff on the floor to sit in the box and wave arm loads of paper around. Cute!

We had some nasty weather roll in, bringing ice and rain and sleet, but we were all done traveling and home safe. Christmas Eve was the day!

So where did that leave us on Christmas Day itself? Well, apparently the weather warmed up over night to a balmy Midwest winter in the 50s (el Nino much anyone?)so on Christmas Day the snow was ALL gone, and it rained all. day. long. I made cinnamon rolls (The Pillsbury kind) and Mac got home from his SD's and we all just hung out.

Then in the afternoon XRayGirl went with Mac, Daddy-O and me to see Sherlock Holmes, which was good and you can see my review of it here! (I liked Roberty Downey Jr in the Holmes role but I wish is was Johnny Depp instead. If you see if, then you'll understand how he could've pulled it off perfectly!)

All in all, Christmas was just grand! Guess today we're returning a shirt of Mac's that doesn't fit. And stopping at Kohl's to have the security tag removed that was missed from a pair of jeans that were given to Mac. And I think we're going to Best Buy to spend a gift card Mac received! Did I mention there's snow on the ground again? Oh Goddess... help!

Hope ya'll had a great Christmas and are enjoying the long weekend! I plan on seeing as many movies as humanly possible!


I Won another Award! It's like Christmas, or something!

I won this "Circle of Friends" award from follower Jesse. He gave it as a blanket award to anyone who reads his blog and I wouldn't normally claim a general award but Jesse came here to my blog and told me I should go claim it. So I did.

I give to all of you! As Jesse said, no rules, no limits!

Thank you Jesse for such a lovely honor!

~ Friendship award ~

"Friends are like fresh water
circling around in eternal ecstasy...

they make our moments more
profound, without even noticing
until much later on in life...

friendships are the type that
are unconditional and always
a short distance away...

Therefore, I hand this out to all
my blogger friends, and in turn
you can hand this award out with
no rules. To your friends."
~Poem by Jesse Noe

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Humor

"You Shall Name Him..."

The three wise men kneel before the new baby lying in the manager, with his parents Mary and Joseph. They placed the gifts around the babe.

As one stood up, he whack his head on a cross beam and yelped out "Jesus Christ that hurt!"

Mary turns to Joseph and says. "Jesus Christ? Oh Joseph, that's a great name. I like it so much better than Herbie!"

Three Wise Women

You do know what would have happened if it had been three wise WOMEN instead of three wise men, don't you?

They would have asked for directions, arrived on time, helped deliver the baby, cleaned the stable, made a casserole, and brought practical gifts.


Christmas Meme Part Deux

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! I hope you have a safe, happy, and wonderful holiday!

This was a really long meme, so I just cut it up...

Have You Ever?

125. Built a snowman?
Of course. If you haven't built a snowman, go do it now. I'll wait.

126. Heard Santa’s sleigh?
I would've swore yes to this as a kid!

127. Seen Santa & Rudolph in the sky?

128. Sat on Santa’s lap?
sure have...

129. Shoveled the driveway/sidewalk?
Ugh, yes.

130. Made snow angels?

131. Built a fort/igloo?
Nope- us neighborhood kids would try and it would always collapse on us before we could finish.

132. Wrote a Christmas list?

133. Wrote a letter to Santa?

134. Left cookies/milk for Santa & reindeer?

135. Caught a snowflake on your tongue?
Of course.

136. Went caroling?
Sure have!

137. Got hurt during the winter season?
Sort of! I broke my foot in freshmen High School PE class a few weeks before Christmas. I had a huge Christmas tree painted on my cast for the holiday, compliments of Daddy-O.

138. Gone ice skating/sledding?
Yes, both. I fell down a lot. Both.

139. Kissed under a mistletoe?
sort of. One of those moments where we were both "uh, we gotta kiss because we're stuck standing here" rather than it being giddy and romantic.

140. Experienced/saw a miracle happen?
I don't think so.

141. Get everything you wanted for Christmas?
No, but who does? And what does it matter?

142. Cooked/baked?
Yes, though not much this holiday season since I've been sick for several days..

181. You prefer to stay inside where it’s warm?
Truer words were never spoken.

182. You’ve given something (or $) to charity?

183. You spent more than what people spent on you?
In a few instances

184. You like to take your time opening presents?

185. The thing you want most this year costs $100+?
I can't think of any one thing I want that costs that much.

186. You expect to get more than 10 presents this year?
I don't EXPECT that at all

187. You’re a Scrooge/Grinch?
I don't think so.

188. Christmas = snow?
NO! Christmas= family

189. You know the lyrics to more than 25 Christmas songs?
Oh, certainly. I love Christmas music.

"All I want for Christmas is you........"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Meme

Since I had my brush with near death and the swine flu and food poisoning and a tumor and all other sorts of illness (okay, so I was sick with either a 24 hours stomach flu or food poisoning and I'm just being a tad dramatic) I give you the Christmas eve Cop Out post in the form of a meme!

Favorite Christmas…

01. Non-Jesus-related song?
"Sleigh Bells"

02. Jesus-related song?
"O Holy Night" or "The First Noel"

03. Santa-related song?
"Here Comes Santa Claus," specifically the Gene Autry version.

04. Fictional character?
Ebeneezer Scrooge.

05. Dinner’s main course?
Dinner food has never been a big Christmas tradition. Breakfast/ brunch has been

06. Dinner’s dessert?
any and all desserts are good desserts

07. Scent (pine, gingerbread, candles…)?
baking smells

08. Animated movie?
I'm counting A Charlie Brown Christmas here

09. Non-animated movie?
I have several: Love Actually, The Santa Clause, The Holiday

10. Personal memory?
One year the weather was really horrid and my Aunt and Uncle and their kids were here from Texas. My Uncle opens my grandmother F's garage door and pulls his car half way in (thinking it wouldn't freeze either of them), and in the process freezing both their cars so they weren't able to get the 20 miles from grandmother F's house to ours, where my mother had been cooking and cleaning in preparation for weeks. So my dad manages, with the neighbor's help, to get one of our cars started: our second hand car he used to go to work every day: a Pinto. So we all loaded into the Pinto with presents and food, with my mother swearing under her breath the whole time, and went over the river and through the woods (I am not kidding, we really had to go over a river and through some woods!) to my Grandmother F's house to celebrate Christmas. And did I mention the Pinto had no heat so we were pack in like sardines with blankets? And the driver's door doesn't close so it had to bungee cord close, across dad's lap and tied off on the emergency break. We still had a good time and got there in one piece!

11. Story/Fairy Tale?
A Christmas Carol.

This or That
12. Candy cane or peppermint patties?
This time of year I have a soft spot for candy canes!

13. Sugar or gingerbread cookies?
sugar, of course!

14. Tinsel or beaded strands?
Beaded strands

15. Multi-colored or same-colored lights?
white lights, please

16. Flashing or still lights?

17. Wreaths or mistletoe/holly?

18. Rudolph or Frosty?
Frosty, if I have to choose one.

19. Sledding or snowball fights?
I loved both when I was a kid.

20. Snow or ice/icicles?

21. Snow hat or earmuffs?
I wear both

22. Getting or giving?
I like both equally.

23. Snow days or plow trucks?
Snow days- no school!

24. Stockings or presents?
I like both!

25. Cookies & milk or letter to Santa?
all of the above, of course!

26. Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

27. Log Burning Channel or real thing?
Real thing, of course!

28. Cards or emails?
Cards are really nice, but emails are nice too. Just knowing that someone took the time to wish you a happy holiday is the real gift.

29. Shoveling or cleaning off the car?
Well, they both suck!

30. The Inn’s manger or the animals?

31. Mary & Joseph or The Wise Men?

32. Hot cocoa or eggnog?

33. Jack Frost or Little Drummer Boy?

And I stole this meme from here....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Two words: food poisoning

XRay Girl and I had dinner last night- Mexican.

From midnight to 630am this morning, I have been in the bathroom every 20 minutes, either vomiting, having an "upset stomach", or both at the same time. Every 20 minutes.

I never want to eat again. Anything. Nothing.

OMG, will it ever end?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I love surprises!

I do love surprises, well, the good kind anyway! And this week I had to awesome surprises.

First, I called my blog reading friend in Florida named P. She reads blogs but doesn't blog herself. She's been reading me for a awhile now, and somehow we exchanged emails and then one day when I got my new cell phone number, I did a mass email and grouped her in with it. Lo and behold, she called me on my birthday.

So this week, I thought I would call her to chat and wish her a Merry Christmas and tease her about our weather here- it's cold and we have snow. She lives in Florida and while it's not what I could consider cold there, it is to her. But when I phoned her, I got her answering machine so I left a goofy (long message- sorry P!) and she reversed surprised me and called me back! We had a good chat last night, and P, I hope you're feeling better soon! It was great to talk to you; thank you for calling back!

My second surprise came in today's mail! Fellow blogger and teacher, an excellent writer that you must check out, sent me a gift! The ever awesome Bragger was crocheting beanie hats for her students and wrote about it on her blog a few weeks ago. Being the smart ass that I am, I posted a comment about wanting one. Well, wish and you shall receive because that super kind and thoughtful blog friend of mine made me a pink beanie and sent it to me!!!! It's so adorable and I love it! it fits perfectly. Thank you Bragger for your kindness!

Two great surprises in two says. I love it when good things happen.

beanie wearin',

Monday, December 21, 2009

If these guys were real

So I have a crush. On a person. Or, rather, people. Who are fiction. Well, actually that's not true. I have four crushes on 4 men who aren't real. They're fictional book characters. And they are awesome.

First, I *heart* me some Atticus Kodiak. He's a character created by author Greg Rucka. Atticus is a hot body guard. Well, he's actually smarter than that makes him sound. He runs a very high profile professional personal protection company. Well, he did. Until he went rogue because of a woman who was an assassin. Until then, he had his own company and made good money and had a stable job with friends and interests. His love life was always a mess; even a former business associate he was romantically involved with dumped him, and if memory serves, she became (went back to being?) a lesbian. But that had nothing to do with Atticus as it did that she was mega screwed up. Anyway, he is hot. He's described as tall, dark and handsome (I haven't read a book about him in some time but I think he's African American but I might be wrong about that. it doesn't matter to me either, but I'm just sayin'). He has a sexy job, he reads intelligent books. So, he's not real, he's unattainable, he has a mistress who's a killer, and he's not allowed to come back to the United States because of her, but hey, I've dated some less than perfect guys in the past.

Another character that I have the major hots for is Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series written by Janet Evanovich. Stephanie, the main and wacky character makes me laugh, but her friend and mentor and once upon a time lover Ranger makes me hot. He also has an unusual job: he owns his own company called Rangeman, which entails many things. Because Ranger is a complete enigma. He provides security, is a body guard, owns some property, had some well made investments, hunts bail jumpers, assists the cops with high profile cases, and is an all around in general man of many talents when it comes to legal sorts of things. And according to the books, bedroom things. He's also like James Bond with fabulous technical gadgets and cars. He keeps a crew of men working for him, to keep his company in action. He's a handsome, sexy Hispanic fella who exercises, eats healthy, dresses in all black, enjoys reading for pleasure, and has a dray sense of humor. And every woman within 100 miles seems to get wet panties. He is sexy... in a subtle way.

Penn Cage, a Greg Iles character, and of course, Atticus Finch from the classic To Kill A Mockingbird round out my top four fictional boyfriends. It's funny because I picked these guys long ago but recently I read a review of the new Iles book, The Devil's Punchbowl, and the reviewer compared Penn Cage to Atticus Finch. Irony. Both are southern lawyers who are widows with children (Penn only has a daughter). Both are family men. Both enlist relatives to help them with their kids. Both have a strong sense of doing what's "right." Both hold political positions in ther small communities. Both sare sexy, strong and non- arrogant men who are thoughtful and smart. *Sigh* Ah, they are just splendid. And so very fictional, darn it.

I've decided these fictional guys are so much better than real men. Well, because they're fictional, of course. Real men are real and usually train wrecks, or liars, or unreliable, or just not worth my time, effort, nor energy. In real life, no, I have no idea what's up with Trooper. Last I knew he was sick with a bad cold on Thanksgiving and he would call me when he was done combining so we could get together but I've heard nothing and that was obviously a month ago. And he didn't answer any texts I sent so... The only other possible date was a guy I met in Chicago and he sent me a few emails, insisting we get together on New Year's Eve and I've heard nothing from him since then either.

Actually I'm pretty happy being single, and it's less stressful, less tiring, and less emotional. There's less sex but since I've been riding on the celibate train it almost doesn't seem to matter any more. But if any of these four fictional guys could walk off the pages and into my life, I might have to change my mind about being single. Or at least about being celibate.

A single girl who enjoys Cosmos, conversation and shoes,

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Randomosity

I'm sitting here at the dining room table with the curtains at the windows open. I'm watching the snow fall, the big fat flakes and falling softly. I've got my Christmas tunes playing, with a steaming cup of coffee at my elbow. (And a bit box of tissues since I have a cold, after all). I've got my warm flannel jammies on, and it's just nice. I'm really feeling the Christmas spirit right now. It snowed all day yesterday and we certainly have several inches of accumulation so it might be a white Christmas here.

Mac is going to be the angel Gabriel in a Christmas cantata that my father's church choir is doing. I've been helping him memorize his lines and all I can say is that I hope he gets Jesus's name right with the whole "he shall be called wonderful" ,etc. He keeps forgetting some of it and at one point he just said, "Name the little dude Jesus." Oh. my. God. And, I must point out, he'll be wearing a halo. I canNOT wait for those pictures! Mac, in a halo...

I started wrapping gifts and listening to Christmas music today and it was lots of fun. This year I'm not doing fancy ribbon though, because the Divine Ms K. eats everything off the floor right now; she at the age where everything she touches goes into her mouth. Reminds me of the years we couldn't have ribbon because of the cats...

We have several Christmas light displays in our area and I'm hoping to go see them all. We have a new community garden park and it's lit each evening this week. There are also carolers strolling about, and cookies and hot cider are given away to visitors.

I blogged earlier this week that I thought I was getting sick and then I felt better and then I felt sick. BUT I do have a 'wonderful' Christmas cold, with a stuffy nose, sore throat and congestion. I am going to even put a positive spin on this- at least I'm sick this weekend rather than next weekend, Christmas day. and I'm almost done with sweats/ chills part. I hope. And I'm thankful for Puffs Plus with aloe.

Since my brother has to work Christmas day, we're doing out family Christmas on Christmas eve day. And that leaves Christmas day open to relax. So I'm holding back a gift or two for Mac for the actual day, and then Daddy-O, Mac, XRay Girl (her sons are at their dad's on Christmas day this year so she'll be home alone otherwise), and I are going to see Sherlock Holmes. I'm totally psyched about hanging with family and friends, and seeing a movie.

On Monday I'm doing the final Christmas shopping with Daddy-O and Curley. I think Tuesday is when Hecate and I are having our pre-Christmas rockin' girls time out (I should get that printed on t-shirts for us!) and I'm hoping that I feel better enough to stay home on Wednesday and do some baking. And that my cold germs are gone by then so I won't contaminate everyone! I want to make fudge and my mom's cut out Christmas cookies, and pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. And sour cream coffee cake. And pecan tartlettes minus the pecans since I'm allergic. So it tastes like pecan pie but with just the goo.

I'm hoping the day that I bake (and before that day and after that day... and probably after that day since the list is huge) I'll be able to watch some of my favorite Christmas movies: When Harry Met Sally (though this one could wait until New Year's Eve, per usual), Love Actually, and The Holiday. And don't forget a version of The Christmas Carol with Albert Finney. I want to indulge in my classic favorites, too, like White Christmas and The Bishop's Wife. I also want to see It's a Wonderful Life because I've never watched it before- I know, I know. Part of me wants to NEVER watch it just because I've made it 38 years without, but that seems wrong somehow. I also thought I might indulge in a few new films like The Perfect Holiday and This Christmas.

So, what are ya'll up to this holiday season?

Merry Maggie

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I hate Verizon Wireless. Can you hear me now? I HATE them!

Verizon Wireless makes my head want to explode. (Actually, I say that often about things. It's, like, my thing to say and I say it waaaaaaaay to much. But in this case, it's really true. they do!)

Since Moving back and not having a job, I've run my cell phone bill about a month in arrears since about March. In August, I wanted to have Mac taken off my plan since his SD added him to his cell phone package about a year ago and his phone line hasn't been in use all this time. But I couldn't take him off until August because that was when his plan expired.

Only I couldn't take him off my plan since I was a month behind. According to VZW a customer can't make any changes in their phone plans unless their bill is paid in current. So, this last Monday, I paid my whole phone bill off, up to date.

Then I called Verizon, or a company that is obviously run and operated by Satan and his minions, to change my plan. This is again where Verizon gets to screw me hardcore and not even buy me dinner.

Because Mac was on my plan, were under a 'friends and family' package. Once I deleted him, I had to restructure my 'package.' I send lots of text messages so I decided I wanted to keep my unlimited texting to other VZW users, and then I have 500 messages to those who are NOT VZW. We checked my average talk minutes and I average about 260 a month- those are 'anytime' minutes. I debated going down to the 450 minutes but some months I was just at 500 minutes and other times I was just at 100- that's why 260 was an average. So I took a 900 minute package. With 900 minutes, I can pick any 5 people I want to have on a list that I can call for free at any time- not using any minutes. Also, because I dropped my 'family' package and just became a single package again (cell phone for 1 anybody?) it changed some of the perks I had. My "free" nights and weekends now are from 9pm-6pm in whatever time zone I happen to be in, rather than starting at 7 pm like it was. I also dropped my Internet usage and email from my phone. Now all I can do is talk and send/receive text messages and pictures. I can take pictures, which is a feature of the phone and has nothing to do with the horrid VZW company. All that being said, believe it or not, and will all the stupid changes and loss of perks, I will end up saving...$12. Yup, all that mess to save me $12- tax included.

I. am. pissed. I went from 1800 minutes to 900, lost the Internet and email, lost 5 'friends and family free numbers', and lost a whole phone line and I. am. only. saving. $12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HATE VERIZON WIRELESS!!!!!!! HATE HATE HATE them. With a fiery passion like no other.

Now, I could make my savings be a little more. I could be a single plan, go to 450 talk minutes, drop the phone insurance, have zero 'free friends and family' lines, and drop the text/ picture messaging, and I would save about $20 more.

My stupid phone plan isn't over until January 2011. I am practically counting the seconds until I can get away from this horrid company.

One more way to be abused by Big Business,

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ohmygosh no waaaaaay!

I can't believe I forgot to blog about a girl's day out with Hecate a few weeks ago! I think it was one of those things I wrote the post in my head so many times I just forgot to actually TYPE it!

Other than our usual laugh hilariously over everything, get caught up on everything in our lives and just walked the mall and made fun of people and talked and ate and had an overall great time, we also went to a movie.

Funny thing: we went to the Vera Bradly purse store and though I love bags almost more than the next woman, Hecate's love of purses outshines me by far. I am also not a fan of Vera Bradley but she is. So I browsed and I have to say that when you can buy a purse, an eye glasses case, luggage, stationary, wallpaper, a wallet, a ball point pen, place mats, wrapping paper, and a tea cozy all in the same matching pattern, I think a person has gone a bit to far. Not to say that Hecate did that- not at all.... but she COULD. If she wanted. Since they sell all that stuff. Yeah... wow. I just sat on a little couch in the "shoppe" and tried to not touch anything or break anything.

I have to say the evening with Hecate was the best date I've had since March, maybe even all year! And I call it a 'date' in a joking way because she paid for the movie tickets- which was so super nice of her! (thank you again, by the way!) And when I jumped ten feet in the air and verbally shrieked in fear/ shock/ surprise and sucked air in a not quiet way, and grabbed her arm on one occasion, she didn't get up and leave me. We had more fun laughing at the three large, "MANLY" college age boys in front of us who also squealed like little school girls on more than one occasion. OMG- we about died laughing over that! Oh yeah, we saw Law Abiding Citizen.

She also bought me an early Christmas present at the bookstore. Now, before you all crack up laughing, I've been rather partial to this little creature for quite some time. Soooooo, when I saw this mini version, I KNEW I had to have it but I was broke so I wasn't going to get it. Hecate bought me SOCK MONKEY, a mini version! OMG! I carry him in my purse and he goes with me everywhere so I'm never lonely. Or bored. And I have a good conversation piece. She also informed me that out there in the big retail world there are PINK Sock Monkeys. Oh. My. Gosh, I MUST MUST MUST have one of these. A PINK Sock Monkey- I can't imagine anything better.

(I've been taking pictures of Sock Monkey and me doing stuff together, but tonight when I loaded them, there was a problem with most of the pics, which means I probably have a problem with my camera. Life with Sock Monkey is another post, though.)

So I had a great time since we hadn't seen each other since school started since she's teaching full time, she's a full time nursing student, a full time mom, a full time wife, and also has other family and a personal life! We're going to get together next week because we'll be on Christmas vacation! Yahoo to both of us!

I love hanging with Hecate,

Since most of my pictures with Sock Monkey aren't any good due to digital camera technical difficulties, and I don't have one of Sock Monkey, Hecate and me, here is Sock Monkey making telemarketing calls with me at work!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tales from a substitute teacher's diary part 2

Well, I'm not a sub any more, but I'm a full time aide, but the idea is still the same, so I'm not changing the title of this post... and I wrote it a few weeks ago... hey, I hate to let a piece of writing go to waste.

When I teach, I try to be cool and laid back with the kids. I try not to sweat the small stuff, and I think most of it is small stuff. If a kid needs a pencil, I give them one out of my special "sub bag." Yeah, I carry a bag with extra pencils, paper, highlighters, scissors, tape, erasers, etc. Because I think a kid telling me he can't do an assignment because he doesn't have supplies is small stuff. Without making a huge ado of it, I hand them whatever supplies they request. And in the process, I also ask for manners. If a kid doesn't say thanks or please, I just say "manners" and the word is said, and we move on. I, by the way, always say "you're welcome."

I try to remember kids names, give them compliments, smile at them, and am ready to have a joke or a funny story. Kids hate having a sub because they know it's probably a waste of a class day; they know it means they're going to be handed busy work, which sucks for anyone, but especially for kids.

When I sub for math, I am usually at my worst because I never feel like I know enough material so I am very methodical and not very fun. I never, ever deviate from a math lesson plan, or try to value add to it, either. But in any other class/ subject I always try and add to the lesson, give examples, create games, or do something to make it fun! And it's funny, because kids always remember the wacky stuff I do in their classes when I sub, so I guess it makes a good difference.

I have 2 boys in the middle school who call me "gangsta lady" because one time I was messing around with them when they weren't trying to be "bad asses" and I was "all like yo yo yo, what up dwag" and they laughed their butts off, and since then, I have been dubbed "gangsta Lady" and they're my "Totally awesome dudes". hey, they aren't being disrespectful to me; it's just our way of connecting.

There are moments when I don't like subbing, just like anything else, but I do try and be a cool and fun sub. It makes my life easier, and kids like me. Guess it's a win-win situation both ways.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From nasty to nice

In light of my horrid post yesterday about my slug of an ex-husband, that rat bastard, I am now going to spread some Christmas cheer. I hope.

I want to clarify that while I do live in the Midwest in a 'smallish' town, we still have some big city issues that arise in our schools. While we don't have to have an armed guard or drug dogs, we do have lock down procedures, drug problems, extreme poverty, middle school kids who are sexually active, and kids who have personal and family 'issues.' It's really not that uncommon to break up a fist fight between kids or have a student tell a teacher to "fuck off" and then slam out of a classroom. We have kids who are homeless, those who come from divorced families, those who have folks who are in prison and live with extended families, kids who reside in foster care, or with a friend.

Now, all that being said, I want to tell you what approximately 368 middle school kids did in the last two weeks. Over the course of 2 school weeks, the kids raised just about $1200 in CHANGE. I'll omit the details of the contest, but grades 6, 7 and 8 all competed against each other to see which grade level could raise the most money in coins only. When it was all said an done, they raised about $1200, with about 70% of that dollar figure being in pennies.

Amazing. These kids were amazing. They emptied piggy banks and change jars. They brought in left over lunch money. They brought in money found on the street, dug out of couch cushions, anywhere they could get it. And these weren't just the 'rich' or 'well off" kids doing this, but ALL the kids. I saw some kids that I know don't have a pot to pee in drop money in those jars.

And do you know why?

A kid at the high school needs a kidney transplant and is on the donor list. And he had some health complications so he missed an inordinate amount of school, his mother missed all that work while he was in the hospital, and such. The kids decided they wanted to do a community service project as a school, and decided to "help one of their own." The boy who needs a transplant has a younger sibling in the middle school, and the mom was an aide in the school system, so the students know her as well. They thought this family could use help, especially with Christmas coming, and all the driving to the special hospital (about 2 hours one way) and the money that the family spent on fuel, for missing work, for food, bills, anything.

So what I need to remember is when I want to smack these kids in their heads for being idiots, I can think they do have big hearts and they do give. I'm proud of these kids. And they deserve any accolades they receive for doing such a good thing.

Teenagers are good people, too.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The other shoe has fallen with an earth shattering ka-boom!

I don't have a cold after all. I woke this morning feeling fine; I have no idea what last night's sicky feeling was all about but thank the goddesses that it didn't stick!! However, I would say I have another ailment I haven't been able to shake for the last 13 years: I hate my ex-husband.

For the last several months he's been nice to me and I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop because he's an asshole-at-heart so another shoe HAS to drop. And when I say nice, I mean he's defended me to Mac, complimented me, and wanted to work with me to parent (our parenting skills are not even remotely close. I respect my son and treat him like a human being. Sperm Donor... well, he doesn't, but he's not human himself.) Ummmm, okay.... not! For the last 13 years since we were divorced he's belittled me, bad mouthed me to Mac and everyone who might even have heard of me been, and all around in general horror of a human being. He's been verbally abusive to me and has just made being divorced even worse than it possibly needed to be. I've wished he would die only so I would never had to have contact with him again. I am living for Mac going to college so I never have to speak to the Sperm Donor except at graduations, weddings, christenings, births, etc. I will no longer have to talk to him about MY son's upbringing.

Two weeks ago my Ex and Mac got into a huge fight and I think, after hearing the details from both of them, my Ex acted like the bigger baby. Mac should learn to leave well enough alone, to not be sarcastic and to not "out smart" his father and step-monster, but overall, my Ex acted like an immature child. Mac moved in here with Daddy-O and me since his Sperm Donor got out of control and threw Mac out of his house. He was supposed to be the grown up and not the child but alas, that didn't happen. What a fucktard! What an asshat!

So then on Sunday Mac decided the silence went on long enough and tried to talk to his Sperm Donor. Which then caused another argument at Daddy-O's house, where I tried to referee. Mac ended up furious with his father and in tears and I threw the SD out. Daddy-O was pissed and upset to the point where he left his own house.

Mac then decided he would try one more time and I called his Sperm Donor to try and pave the way since last Sunday was a disaster of Sperm Donor's making. I told him what he did at Daddy-O's was uncalled for and would NEVER happen again, and if he came here and yelled at ME or Mac again I would call the cops. I wouldn't even have a conversation with him on this property unless it was via phone. I also told him he acted childish and never listened to his own kid, even though he tried to tell me nothing was his fault. I told him Mac wanted to come home and he proceeded to tell me a huge list of 'expectations' he had for Mac to follow if he were to come home. OMG- I wanted to smack his ugly, pug, smug, fat face right through the phone.

I really hate this man. He is the King of all Jerks and lives in Jerkdom. Stupid fucking jerkoff bastard.

There is so many more ugly details to this whole torrid, sordid story so I'm going to just say that by the time I got off the phone with him tonight, I decided I will NOT talk to him in the near future. Furthermore, after I told Mac the outcome of my conversation, he doesn't want to go home any time in the near future. I wouldn't either.


One ruins it for all-- well, more than one!

Brief announcement:

Due to the huge number of spamy, junky, sales-y type comments I'm getting here on my blog, I've turned the comment word verification back on. I know it sucks, but I'm getting about 30 junk comments a day that I have to read through to find the real, legitimate ones that I love to read from real human beings who care. And then I have to click "reject" on each one- grrrr! Many apologies!!

And if the word verification screws up your ability to comment, please let me know! We can figure out a plan B.


Monday, December 14, 2009

The welcoming of the annual Christmas cold

I think I'm getting a cold. If I had a dollar for each time I sneezed today I wouldn't have to work for the rest of the week. And then tonight, I sneezed and suddenly I have a stuffy nose and I can't breath through my nose at all, I sound like I morphed into Sneezey Dwarf, and if I press on my cheeks I can feel snot bubbles pop- yeah, totally gross, but Mac said I had to say it. And my whole body aches. This is not good.

This is a bad time for a full blown cold since we have final exams this week. And I still have all that stuff to do like baking and wrapping and being festive and all that holiday shit.

XRayGirl gave me a huge bottle of Vitamin C so maybe that will help ward off the evil. Is it true if you take too much Vitamin C you'll turn orange?

I swear it's only because of the kids' cooties.

Okay, I'm gonna go and lay on the couch and wait to get better.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the weekend, Sock Monkey, and a random email from a Sam.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

The sun will come out, tomorrow!

I said that earlier this week I saw a Broadway production of the wonderful musical Annie. This is one of my most favorite musicals of all time. This musical is probably what caused my undying devotion and love of "the theatre."

By the time I was 4 or 5 years old, I knew all the words to the musicals The Sound of Music and West Side Story. I hadn't seen either of these by this age but my dad would play the piano and teach me these songs as I sat with him on the piano bench. This is where I also learned to read music.

So by the time I was 8 or 9 years old, I was all ready to see my first musical. And my Grandma F made it happen. She held season tickets to a local semi-professional summer stock theater group. One of her friends always took a 2 week vacation and this year, I got her ticket. I saw Annie.

This was a metamorphosis. I had never seen live theatre before. And I was awestruck. I remember sitting in my seat and not moving for the entire show. And the girl who was Annie was my age. And I loved singing and music and I knew that could be me. ME, I tell you!

Now I'm not sure of the sequence of events after this, but I believe I drove my parents about insane until they finally bought me the record (yes, vinyl) of the soundtrack. And I learned all the words. Around this time, the movie Annie came out and I copied all the dance steps. And I learned all the lines for each character, not just that of Annie, and I thought Punjab was stupid since he wasn't in the original Broadway version (guess I was a theatre snob even at age 10!).

We started singing music from Annie in elementary school choir since it was pretty popular. Then the music teacher told us all that while we couldn't do the whole play, we were going to do a few songs from the show in a concert. And someone was going to get to be Annie. The music director even had us try out. And lo and behold, I was picked to be Annie. I donned the reg curly wig and the red dress and had a moment to belt out "Tomorrow." OMG- I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

And this point, I think my obsession with Annie peaked. Now remember I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. My parents never traveled with us and I knew other people who were like me. Keep that in mind: sheltered Midwest little kid who had never been anywhere.

I now began a campaign to move to New York City so I could be Annie on Broadway. I begged my parents to take me to NYC so I could be Annie. I cried and screamed and threw a fit and couldn't understand why they just WOULD NOT move. I even came up with the idea that my dad could move with me and mom could stay here with my brother. Never mind that I had not the first clue about the concept of the cost of living and moving. I didn't have the first clue what Broadway even was or how I couldn't walk in the the theater and be Annie. I took choir a few times a week at school, sang with my dad at home, and I got the part in the school show so why couldn't I be her on Broadway? Yeah, I guess I was little out of whack about it all. Needless to say, I was relentless but they still wouldn't move.

Then one night I was spending the night with the Shrews (when I was young and obviously stupid and still liked them) and they were watching the evening news before Johnny Carson. There, I heard the news. Annie, one of the longest running musicals on Broadway, was closing. OHMYGOD- I was now never going to get the chance to be Annie! I was so distraught and cried so much that I had to go home. And I pouted for days because they wouldn't take me to NYC.

Fast forward to now, and a touring Broadway show was coming to town. I had talked for weeks about wanting to go to the show but I didn't have enough money to get tickets. And they sold out so fast! Then Curley called with the news that she scored 2 free tickets and insisted I go. Okay, she didn't have to insist really hard. And when she told me there was a great deal of screaming, squealing, and jumping up and down.

The show was amazing. Breathtaking really. All the magic of the theater right there on a stage just 6 rows from I sat. The girl who was Annie was amazing, there was a real dog for Sandy, and Rooster was a cutie (he reminded me of a former Sam, actually!) I could barely contain myself from singing along. It was so wonderful. This was the best production of the show I've seen yet, and trust me, I've seen this show at least a dozen times! Just wonderful! And the little girl who was Annie has her own blog: click here to see it!

And this is why I love Annie. And this is why you should love Annie. If you have a chance to see the Broadway show, then do. The movie doesn't do it justice.

Annie trivia: Sarah Jessica Parker played Annie on Broadway.

Since I never got to be Annie and at age 38 I think I'm a little to old to play that part (Daddy Warbucks would... well, I was gonna make a sex joke but that seems in poor taste), I've now got new sights set on a new role from the same musical: Miss Hannigan!

Enjoy the following clip; I wish I had footage of me signing "Tomorrow" but alas, such doesn't exist, so I've got this for you instead! And I've hunted the 'net to see if I could find the girl from last night, just alas, no luck. This is just a cute version!


Saturday, December 12, 2009

I'm alive, well and kickin'... and tired

I. am. exhausted.

I started my new job with the special ed kids this weeks.

Mac moved in with Daddy-O and me for time period unknown.

The weather turned cold and within 48 hours we had snow, rain, ice, sleet, fog, winds gusting up to 30 mph, and sunshine.

I also worked at the insurance office and went to Mac's choir concert. I saw the live Broadway show Annie, graded papers, wrote lesson plans, did some laundry, Christmas shopped, cooked, did dishes, and I think there was some other stuff.

I gave myself permission to not blog yesterday (thank you bragger for this encouragement!); and I've given myself permission to write this week ass blog post.

My plan tomorrow is to try and catch up on all things blog. I've missed reading everyone (though I've read some of my favorites but I didn't take time to comment, sorry!) and I've missed writing. I do have so much to tell you! And also tomorrow, in addition to all things blog, I want to answer emails, wrap gifts, finish the laundry, bake Christmas cookies, see a movie, clean my room, re-arrange furniture, take Mac for a haircut, and finish decorating my pink Christmas tree. Writing it all down makes me tired.

So good night and see you tomorrow!

Maggie Mae

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I still have 'building anticipation', even at age 38!

For those of you who've lived where there is inclimate winter weather, you will completely be able to relate to this post, right down to the last snow flake.

Living here in the Midwest, one of the life's mysteries to a first grader is the concept of "snow day!" You hear all about it- older kids talking in the neighborhood or the school hallways and you wonder what is this magical thing of which they speak? It gets colder, snow starts to fall, wind blows, and all kids can talk about is "will we ever get a snow day!?" Then we hear that it's supposed to snow, maybe 2-6 inches. Then the wind is supposed to blow up to 40mph guts. Finally, we hear the wind chill numbers are somewhere near 60 below, and as a first grader, who even knows that the heck it all means, except everyone talks about "snow day!" It's the only time of the year when one could find elementary school age children glued to the TV news, waiting for the weather guy.

The next morning, mom yells that it's time to rise and shine and kids fly to the window to see, waiting with baited breath- is there snow? YES! Of course, everyone runs to the TV and stares at the local news waiting, hoping, praying, dancing the 'pee-pee' dance in anticipation that the name of YOUR school will be called for the glories of all glories- a SNOW DAY!

And when he names your school, kids jump up and down and scream and shout with glee. And immediately kids beg moms to go play outside. While children everywhere are celebrating this free weather gift, this respite from the evil hallowed halls of school, moms sag in lackluster defeat against the kitchen counter, gripping it for dear life, swearing at the weather guy, cursing him and is off spring, muttering "snow day" like it's the F-word, and rummaging cupboards for a hidden bottle of Valium or whiskey (for them or for their children? One of the mysteries of life).

Having the day off is great, like a new kind of freedom. It was also a mix of what could happen. If we got the snow day! off because is was freezing cold, like your nose will freeze and fall off your face if you're outside for 6 seconds cold, then you were trapped in the house. That meant TV, games, playing Barbies, and fights with siblings. If it was just a TON of snow- blizzard conditions- then we could GO OUTSIDE!!!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!!!!!

My mom was the one who told us if we got dressed and went out, we had to stay out. Now if that sounds like child abuse, then think again. Picture this: you have a kid that you get into long underwear, jeans, a t shirt, a long sleeved sweater or sweatshirt, then pile on the outdoor gear: snow pants, coat, boots, scarf, hat, and mittens. This takes about 20 minutes or 7 hours depending on the kid and the speed of the parent. My mom could have me ready and out the door in about 3 minutes, flat. Now, if she didn't have the 'go out and stay out' rule, all that work would've been for naught. One cold finger and it would be back inside, peeling off the layers like an onion and trailing melting snow from one end of the house to another while whining, "Moooooom, I'm boooooooooored". With 'go out and stay out' in play, then she had at least 30 minutes before I could press my little face against the door and wail, "Mooooooooooooooooommyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, can I come in now? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease? I'm coooooooooooooooold!" Hey, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. And she did.

Snow days in elementary school meant sledding and snowman building. It meant snow angels and eating snowcream. It meant catching flakes on your tongue and just running around like a little kid, loving the snow. As a teenager, it meant a day off from school, sleeping in. Oh yeah, you hear "snow day!" on the radio or TV and you called all your friends to squeal "snow day, ohmygod!" and make plans for later, and then went back to bed. It mean hanging out with friends if you could get to each other, maybe baking cookies, calling the local radio station to request your favorite song and then trying to record in on your cassette player when it came on, watching VHS movies, eating, reading, playing boardgames, and really, just chilling out.

The best snow days! of all were those that were announced the night before. That meant you could just sleep in and not have to get up to hear the magic words. The day off would be the same, but the suspense is less, and the night's sleep is better because that free day off is right there, baby!

I remember one time in '78 we were off school for three weeks because it was the worst winter storm the Midwest had faced in 70 years. I also remember when I was in high school that that we were off for almost 2 weeks because it would snow several feet, then the wind would blow, then it would warm up during the day and drop below freezing at night, creating an icy mess on the roads the next morning. It cycled like this for 2 weeks. This was also back in the day (omg, I'm old to be able to say that!) when we didn't have to make up school days missed to snow. Feh.

Which brings me to now. On Tuesday night, it was sleeting, then snowing, then sleeting and then snowing, then rained and it was supposed to freeze. I thought for sure on Wednesday morning there would be at least a 2 hour delay. Mac, Daddy-O and I all talked about it, and reminisced about our favorite snow day! experiences. There was a bit of anticipation and some of the old magic of "will we or won't we" hovering in the air. Then, there was nothing. It was a balmy 45 degrees when I left the house to go to my job: teaching SCHOOL. I felt bummed and let down.

Then last night- Wednesday-, Jack Frost reared his ugly head. The temps plummeted. The wind picked up and we had gusts between 20-30 mph. All the water on streets and sidewalks turned to ice. People lost power. Community activities all over town were canceled. The snow started falling. Again, will there or won't there be a snow day? Even at my age, I am still excited about the prospect of a snow day! It's part of the magic that still hums within me. Maybe a secret reason I went into teaching?

I don't know yet if the snow day! will happen, but rest assured, if it does, you will hear from me since I'll be curled on the couch, wearing my jammies, drinking coffee, and planning a nap!

My kingdom for a snow day,
Maggie Mae

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sometimes I think I'm becoming boring

Is there a shelf life for bloggers? If so, sometimes I feel like my expiration date has passed. Often I feel like I'm boring, like I have no more stories to tell, that nothing is happening to me that is blog worthy. Sometimes I blog about my weeks, and I think I sound like some of those boring "Twitterers" who say things like: "got up. at work. at home. fell asleep." Blech!

When I first started blogging, I was inexperienced, and experimenting so I was all over the place and had no focus regarding content. Then I moved to the Wild West and for three years, I could blog about my new life experiences since I went from a Midwest City Girl to in the middle of nowhere Wild West girl, with a new career to boot. And for those three years, I might not have always been scintillating I usually had something that I felt worthwhile about writing.

But sometimes, now, I struggle.

As I'm sure you can tell from the offerings of the last year I was sometimes desperate: memes, Johnny Depp pictures, promos for EventChaser and Razorgator with nothing else on those days. I even resorted to a blogger ploy when one doesn't know what to scribe: ask for your input. I wrote a post with several topics and you the readers voted on what you wanted to hear about from lil' old me. It was probably pretty obvious I sometimes feel I have nothing to write about that anyone would want to read. Like serving bread without butter, cheese without crackers (you thought I was going to say WINE/ Whine!) or a Margarita without salt.

I don't want to just kvetch all the time. We all have our down periods in life but right now I feel like I've had a looooooooooooong down period and I don't want this to be a whiny forum, anymore than it already is. Especially since Christmas is coming. And I have a JOB so I feel like I should be bouncing off the walls with joy when I'm really now worrying about catching up on my bills as much as possible before I no longer have a job in June.

Maybe my 'wacky' period in life is over. I can't live like Lucy forever, can I? Maybe now I'm just like a no name extra cast member of Wagontrain who just keeps on wagon training until I die of typhoid in the episode 2?

I promise a spinning class and a Zumba write up but every time the new 'Y' offers a spinning class, I was scheduled to work one of my crappy part time jobs (that yes I was thankful to have because half of the country is out of work, blah blah blah) Over Christmas vacation I will take a Zumba and spinning class- one each. I know those classes should be posting worthy, unless it kills me. Which could happen. But I guess if that does occur, there's a post that will result from it, one way or another. I have a few people who will blog in a moment of my unfortunate untimely demise.

I think Hemingway was on to something with his writing and drinking concept. Not that I want to commit suicide or anything but I really hardly drink at all since I've moved back here to Civilization. I think I can count on one hand the numbers of times I've consumed, or at least both hands with some fingers left over. Maybe I should reopen my relationship with the bottle to see if I can get the creativity flowing again?

Maybe I need a shtick? You know Julie Powell did her thing with the Julia Child cookbook. Maybe I need something like that? Okay, not exactly that of course since it's already been done, but you know, a concept, a goal, a project. Who knows? (and if you have any ideas, send them my way. You know I'm game for ALMOST anything.)

I'm also thinking of doing something that other bloggers do: give stuff away. I'm going to come up with stuff people want, make readers do things to get the stuff and then pick a winner and mail out prizes. I don't when I'm gonna do it, or what I'll give away, or what I'm gonna make readers do to get it, but a giveaway is a'comin here to "shoes and purses."

So I think I'm going to be thinking and evaluating what I want to do with my blog. Keep it, trash it, go on a hiatus, change the focus.... not sure. In the meantime, I'll be posting as usual and who knows what could happen?

the winds of change are blowin',

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here's what I decided

First, thank you all very much for all your input regarding my decision to SpEd aide or to English teacher. I appreciated all the comments and your perspectives. Some points really helped me twist my thoughts and look at this in several ways.

And I decided to go with the SpEd position. The easy and obvious points were I would know how much I am making ($$$ wise) and about the benefits RIGHT NOW. With the English teacher gig, I wouldn't know anything until, possibly, February. I will also have benefits that start now, and do I ever need a trip to the dentist.

I like the idea of possibly having a job next school year, which wasn't even a thought with the maternity leave. I like my supervisor, which is a positive. This lets me be in education. That's a good thing as well.

I can try and see if I like working in special education. So far I do like the kids and my class room teachers. I'm learning lots about special ed. kids, just being there for 2 weeks.

I also have a strategy about getting my degree. A teacher acquaintance told me I should just brow beat the state DOE to death. She said I should write letters and call repeatedly to get an exemption to the licensing rule. She said it's been done by others and if I'm dedicated and persistent, I could get it done. Since we have a State Secretary of Education who is trying to pass legislation that would let anyone with a Bachelor's degree get a teaching certification, then this might be a good time for me to strike with what I want. So while I'm working in SpEd, and not having to grade and do lesson plans, I can make getting my certification a part time job.

So, a new chapter in my educational life begins. I started teaching college, was an Assistant of of Students at a college, taught grades 7-12 at the high school level, and now I'm an aide for middle school special education.

Now, is it fair for me to ask how many days until Christmas vacation?


Monday, December 7, 2009

Why am I in education? I can't even get my OWN kid to read!

I love love love Mac. I really do. You know I do. I would lay down my life for the child. But why is it that I have moments where I want to beat knots on him head? Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!

Remember that Reading Counts program I wrote about? Mac has to do Reading Counts in his school in place of doing book reports. Each semester he needs 40 points worth of books to get a grade, split into 2 deadlines with 20 points per quarter. His deadline for the semester is this coming Friday and so far for this second quarter he has ZERO points. (Edvard Munch had to be depicting a parent whose smart child was driving her insane.)

So he has to read 20 points worth by Friday. At his grade level. Which is college level, or in the Reading Counts lingo a 12+. Which equates to a boring classic with about 3000 pages.

He finally found a few books he thought he could read and I checked the audio versions out of the library so he can read AND listen to it on his iPod so he can be "reading" this book all of the time. And he can listen to the CDs in his car.

Could he read 500-1000 pages between now and Friday without audio aid? Oh yeah. Would he? Uh, no. His argument, which is lame, is that all of the books on the Reading Counts list are boring. I told him that his punishment was that he was going to read a book over Christmas break and have his points ready at the start of the next quarter (second semester), on day one, because we were not doing this 11th hour shit again.

He's smart but he is so bored with this English class and I cannot seem to convince him that the only person he hurts is himself when he does stupid shit like this. Actually, he knows this and feels bad and that's why he's panicking right now. Butthead. And yeah, he knows better. And yeah, I gave him the "when you get to college" lecture.

the thunking sound you hear is me beating my head against this blog,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Meme Christmas!

Okay, I was tagged by Wiley but I love Christmas and I love a good meme so no worries, mate! Tis the time to get into the season!

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
Yep - and I plan to finish it this week if everything goes accordingly

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.
Christmas Day the whole family, me, Guard, Booknut, Mac, Daddy-O, and the Divine Ms K all get together to eat a meal and open presents and just hang out for awhile, sing carols and such. Since Guard's job sometimes has him working on Christmas, we find the nearest day he has off and we pretend it's Christmas and do the same thing.

3. When do you put up your Tree?
Well, this year I left it up all year around because it made me happy and it's pink. So today I plan to dust it off and add some new ornaments and turn the lights on it.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper?
I try not to be but I have been known to shop on Black Friday but it had been YEARS since I hauled my ass outta bed to hit a pre-dawn sale.

5. Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
Since I moved back to Civilization, I don't have to travel. When I lived in the Wild West, I came home, about 2000 miles, for the holiday season.

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
A funny memory? I can't think of one that's funny really, though when Mac was about 2, every night he wanted me to pull him in his sled to the neighbor's house so he could see the dancing Frosty the Snowman that glowed at night

7. What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
Love Actually or The Holiday. I realize neither of these are really Christmas movies but traditional ones like A Christmas Story doesn't really amuse me and I still haven't seen It's a Wonderful Life (yeah, I know, I'm terrible!) I do like The Santa Clause, Scrooged, and A Christmas Carol with Albert Finney as Scrooge are also holiday favs of mine! This year I plan to watch White Christmas with Bing because it's been years since I've seen it.

8. Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?
I like to do a little Christmas baking, though I haven't the last few years.

9. Fake or Real Tree?
Fake. My mom was allergic to tree sap so we never had a real tree

10. What day does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
I don't usually feel panicked about getting it done but about money.

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Usually I am not though the last several years I've gotten to my folks house and helped them wrap gifts on Christmas Eve; I refused to wrap my own!

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
If the weather cooperates, I love to take a night walk in the snow. Or at least catch up on my movie watching!

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
I have no ability to do crafts at Christmas or any other time of the year!

14. Christmas music? Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?
I love Christmas music ! "All I want for Christmas is You", "Santa Baby", "Carol of the Bells", "Sleigh Ride", "The First Noel", and "Silent Night" are just a few of my favorites.

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
This week!

Want to play along?

Copy and paste the questions into your blog,

•Then tag 5 or more of your favorite blogs, and leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.

•When you post on your blog, please spread some Christmas Cheer, and leave a link back to Heather's blog (Top 10 Christmas), and the blog that you were tagged by (See Wiley above!).

Heather would like any blogger to participate in this meme, even if you have not been tagged She will go back and add your blog link to the list if you wanna play along.

And I'm not going to tag anyone specifically; anyone who would like to do this, go for it! leave me a comment that you did so I make sure I read!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

From 0 to 2 in less than 24 hours!

Okay, so now.................................. I have 2 job offers, both are full time until the end of the school year only. So it's full time permanent employment until June 2010.

Apparently, the woman who had all the experience ended up getting a full time job and didn't want the maternity leave, so it's back to me. I can have it it I want it. Remember, it's teaching four periods of 7th grade writing, and 1 period of 7th grade reading. The other job I was offered is as a special education aide, where I assist as certain group of kids during the school day; I move from room to room with them. These are mostly 8th graders, with a handful of 6th and 7th thrown in during a private study hall for special education kids only called "resource."

So what do I do? Feed back would be helpful, if anyone has any insight to provide. I like the way you people think so the scope of your thought process would be appreciated.

I've compiled a PRO and CON list below to help ya'll out. (SpEd will be the special education paraprofessional job and Eng. will be short for the English teacher job)

SpEd: I like the kids. I also like my immediate supervisor. I like the challenge. There is no homework to grade, unless I want to make some extra work for myself, but it's not necessary. I would know how much I'm getting paid by the hour and I would have benefits. Everything would go into affect on Monday- pay and benefits, etc. I wouldn't have to apply for an emergency certification at all. There is a chance this position could turn into a job next school year as well; a slight chance but still a chance. I get to "teach" a reading class, even though I wouldn't be the teacher of record I would still get to be the person doing the lessons and actual classroom insturction during 2 periods a day.

Eng: I would have my own classroom and space. I would be the teacher in charge and of record, doing my own thing. I would be teaching! This position pays every other Friday. If I were paid "salaried" the money and benefits are MUCH better than the SpEd position. I like the 7th grade teachers; they're a nice and positive team.

SpEd: I wouldn't have my own classroom or space; I move around so there's no space to call my own. I have no background in special education so I'm nervous. I only get paid for days when there is school because it's an hourly position, rather than salary, so if school is canceled for a snow day, I lose a day's pay. They only pay twice a month: the 15th and last day of the month and they run 2 weeks in arrears.

Eng: I would have to see if I qualify for an emergency certification and I woulnd't know the results until around February because it's a convoluted and complicated process. If I didn't get an emergency certificate, I would get paid sub pay with NO benefits for doing all the same work as a full time teacher; so think teaching, lesson plans, meetings, grading all for $65 a day if I DON'T get it. I'm not super impressed with my immediate supervisor (who I had an important meeting with over all this in about 45 seconds as he walked from the the gym to another building and he told me to see someone else if I have questions. Hmmmmm). If I do get an emergency certificate it is good for one school year only so I would fill this temp Eng. job for 5 months and I would no longer be eligible for a emergency certification again since it's a one time thing. There is less than a 1% chance that this could be my job again in the fall- slim to non for job security. And I would not have the opportunity to teach for anyone else since I wouldn't used up my one and only "emergency teaching" certificate.

Okay, there are all the facts that I can think of right now. If I think of anything else, I'll pop it into the comments section. I have to make a decision by Monday.

No matter what I'm psyched that I'll have a job for 5-6 months! Finally a little stress relief! Trust me, I'm happy dancing over that prospect but still nervous about making the right choice since I seem to often make so many wrong ones.... ya know?


Friday, December 4, 2009

Looks can be deceiving

I decided to drive thru McDonalds on my 27 minute lunch hour today. I grabbed my coat off the hook and my purse, went to the office to sign out (so if there's an emergency they can find me, I guess) and when I walked out there door, there he was.

A student was running up the stairs, carrying his lunch tray, when he tripped on his too big middle school boy feet and *splat* down he went, face planting on the stairs. I paused and waited to see if this was a potential disaster or if he would be like me: pop back up and look around to see if anyone saw him hit the ground. I was prepared to pretend I was digging in my cavernous purse (think carry on suit case)for my car keys so he could save some face.

He didn't move so I jogged toward him and as I got close he raised his head up and the tears started flowing. And his face was covered, and I mean covered in red ooze, dripping down his nose, his lips, and off his chin. His hands were covered and he was bawling his fool head off.

I turned around and stuck my head back in the office and said "Austin ________ fell on the stairs and there's blood everywhere."

I ran back to the kid and told him it was okay. I helped him stand up and he could walk but he was clutching his face and stomach. By this time another teacher arrived and was helping me help him. I gave him some tissues to stanch the flow of blood, which was everywhere. (I so don't do blood. Even when Mac was learning to ride a bike, his skinned knees were taken car of by the neighbor lady because the blood made me feel faint)

By the time Austin calmed down and we could maneuver him down the stairs and toward the nurse we found out... well, the school cafeteria was serving hotdogs and french fries for lunch. Austin wasn't covered in blood at all, but ketchup! He filled one of the little sections on his tray with ketchup to dunk his fries. And it was now all OVER him and the south staircase!

Well bloody hell- he about damn near gave me a heart attack!

And I passed on fries at lunch...


PS- and Austin was fine. He suffered from a skinned knee and having the wind knocked out of him. And a bit of bruised ego... Me, on the other, well, I'll never be able to eat Heinz again!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

50 about Mags

I'm exhausted. There's too much "stuff" in my head and too many worries on my heart. I wanted to write about special education but it's turning into a thesis rather than a post. I might use it anyway... who knows? It will certainly fall into the "academic school of thought" category. I also physically don't feel good. I think I'm getting a cold. I'm copping out and giving you a meme of crazy questions.

1. What is the color of your toothbrush?

2. Name one person who made you smile today.

a student

3. What were you doing at 8 am this morning?
Sitting in a 8th grade science class

4. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?
talking to Curley on the phone

5. What is your favorite candy bar?
this week, KitKat

6. Have you ever been to a strip club?

7. What is the last thing you said aloud?

8. What is your favorite ice cream?
amaretto cherry

9. What was the last thing you had to drink?

10. Do you like your wallet?

11. What was the last thing you ate?
veggie beef soup and a pot roast sandwich

12. Have you bought any new clothing items this week?
Yes, I bought a new pair of shoes on Monday night, which I'll feature here on Sunday

13. The last sporting event you watched?
A Colts game a few weeks ago

14. What is your favorite flavor of popcorn?
Regular popcorn with butter and salt

15. Who is the last person you sent a text message to?

16. Ever go camping?
Hell no! I don’t do “roughing it” or bugs.

17. Do you take vitamins daily?

18. Do you go to church every Sunday?

19. Do you have a tan?

20. Do you prefer Chinese food over pizza?
I like both equally

21. Do you drink your soda with a straw?
Sometimes — if I’m at a restaurant, always.

22. What did your last text message say?
“I'm free Mon. nite or Wed 16" or something like that. (My cell phone is upstairs so I can't give it word for word)

23. What are you doing tomorrow?
Going to work at both jobs

24. Favorite color?

25. Look to your left; what do you see?
A coaster, 3 books, a paper explaining the benefits of a full time job I might get, and 2 remote controls

26. What color is your watch?
I have several. The one I wore today was pink

27. What do you think of when you hear “Australia”?
Wiley, a blogger!

28. Would you strip for money?
Nope because I'm fat

29. Do you go in a fast food place or just hit the drive thru?
Usually, just the drive-thru

30. What is your favorite number?
9, 7 or 3

31. Who’s the last person you talked to on the phone?
Well, tonight I was doing my insurance telemarketing, so other than possible clients, I'm gonna say Curley

32. Any plans today?

I taught, worked at insurance, refereed a fight between my son and the Sperm Donor, went to the Dollar Tree, and at dinner with Daddy-O

33. In how many states have you lived?

34. Biggest annoyance right now?
Will I or won't I get this full time para-professional teacher's education aide position

35. Last song listened to?
Some random Christmas song on the radio

36. Can you say the alphabet backwards?

37. Do you have a maid service clean your house?
OMG! I wish!

38. Favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
I have a variety of shoes I wear on a regular basis

39. Are you jealous of anyone?
unfortunately yup

40. Is anyone jealous of you?
OH. MY. GOD. I couldn't imagine they would be. If so, they need drugs.

41. Do you love anyone?

42. Do any of your friends have children?

43. What do you usually do during the day?
lately, work

44. Do you hate anyone that you know right now?

45. Do you use the word “hello” daily?

46. What color is your car?

47. What size wedding ring do you wear?
I don't wear a wedding ring

48. Are you thinking about someone right now?
Not really

49. Have you ever been to Six Flags?

50. How did you get your worst scar?
Picked a chicken pox scab!