Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Recess Duty

I had recess duty today.
It was an unexpected assignment, on a freezing cold day. Luckily, I always have my ratty old "fire-drill coat" hanging from the back of my door because I hadn't worn a coat to school.
I know, I know, "what if you got into a wreck while driving!" As irresponsible as it is, I often don't wear my coat. It's a short dash from the parking lot to the doors of the school, it's warm inside, and a coat is bulky in the car, hot in the store.
I was wearing a sweater along with my extra fluffy, extra long scarf. I figured with the coat, scarf, casual-Friday jeans and a sweater, I could last my half-hour assignment on the snowy playground.`
As I stepped outside, a light snow raced along on a breeze. I was glad my scarf was long enough to tuck the fringed ends into my pockets to snuggle my hands.
I surveyed the play areas, frosted wood chips under the monkey bars, kids persisting in a Winter soccer game, girls whispering and giggling, leaning against the walls of the portable.
Two little guys, kindergartners, approach me.
"Will you put on my gloves?"
"Sure, hold up your hand. Push it in. No, hold out your thumb and spread out your this. Push hard, there! Give me your other hand. What's your name?"
I get his gloves on and off they go but in a couple of minutes they're back.
"Will you put on my gloves again?"
"Okay, give me your hand..." The scene is repeated.
They come back! This time, he takes off his gloves in front of me, reaches up under his coat and hitches up his pants. I realize they are a size too big. He can't hitch up his hand-me-down pants without taking off his snowy gloves! When he's done, he turns to me holding out his gloves and I know what to do without being asked.
His little friend exclaims, "My hands are freezing!" He has them clenched up inside the sleeves of a light coat that is too big for him.
"His mom gave him girl mittens!"
The little boy nods in affirmation.
"How do you know they're girl mittens?" I ask.
"They're purple!"
"Well, boys can wear purple mittens. Let me see."
He pulls out lavender mittens, girl mittens. His little hands are frozen.
"You know what, it doesn't matter what color they are! They keep your hands nice and warm. If anyone says anything you just tell them you don't care what color they are, you want to be warm! Give me your hand, hold your fingers like this..." Soon the mittens are on.
"Here, let's zip up your coat."
"The zipper's broken."
I feel like crying when I advise him to hold the two sides closed by crossing his arms.
They go off to my side to play "pick up big chunks of snow and drop them on the ground". I hear them giggling and turn to see one holding a chunk of snow that looks, remarkably, like a breast prosthesis, up to the chest of the other.
"Chi chi" he says with a naughty giggle. The other looks down and snickers, "yea, chi chi."
"Boys, that's not nice" I say as I shake my head. They sheepishly giggle. The bell rings and they run to line up, only after Jesus has taken off his gloves to hold up his pants.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Creepy Santa

Sometime in the early 1960's, the era of shiny aluminum Christmas trees, plastic reindeer and the first Charlie Brown Christmas, my grandma Alba bought us a Santa. Standing about two feet tall, it wore a plush polyester Santa suit with little black plastic boots. His face was also plastic, plastic that had been molded into features that were decidedly not Santa-like. He didn't look like the Santas we were used to, Santas like the Coke-Cola Santa, Norman Rockwell Santa or the Santa in the movies. No, this Santa looked more like a happily demented, half-Asian, leprechaun who somehow had stolen a Santa suit.
Over the years, once we realized he was harmless, we came to appreciate him. He was our creepy Santa. He was a conversation piece. No one else had one like it, that we knew of.

Just a couple of years ago, while looking at a web site about abandoned places, I found another creepy Santa! This was Creepier Santa! His little hands, seemingly ready to strangle you in your sleep, his unfocused icey blue eyes, ghaaaaa!This got my daughter Shan and I thinking, "there are other Creepy Santas out there!" She knew she had to have one of her own. One that would terrorize her own sweet, children some Christmas in the future. The first photo of "cute, Creepy Santa" is actually one that she bought on ebay a couple of years ago.

THEN..I saw THIS Santa!!

It is Creepy Santa incarnate!
How could anyone hand their baby over to such a monster?

He doesn't look like our Creepy Santa...

but he's creepy, baby!
Oh... he's creepy.

Check out

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Oh, no!! Run to the bell tower! Alert the villagers!
Catzilla is among us!!!

Screams of terror float on the air above the Dicken's Village. The tiny villagers are frozen with fear as Catzilla steps carefully past the Tutbury Printer and Faversham Lamps to peer inside the Ole Curiosity Shop!

Innocent school children, anxiously huddled together, are witness to the carnage!
Only the pitiable, village idiot continues to sled blithely, calling "Heeer Kiiittteee, Kiitttttteee!"

Beans has suddenly developed an interest in the snow village! She loves the perpetual skaters in the other village, often perching on the nearby chair arm, her head following them as they skate in their never-ending circle. Every now and then she, very gently, reaches out a paw and knocks one of the figures over. Now she is on the prowl for more of the little villagers to playfully paw. She just can't figure out why, in this village, nobody moves... aside from the fact that they are frozen in fear!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Duggar's Greet Baby #19

I'm surprised by how little the media has responded to the delivery of the Duggar's 19th baby.
I'm surprised the Duggars themselves haven't been wringing every little drop of publicity they can out of this birth, as they have their other blessed events.
Forty-two year old Michelle Duggar delivered her 19th baby by emergency c-section yesterday. The baby girl, due March 18th, weighed only 1 lb. 6 oz.
I am sad for the family and especially for mom Michelle, but this is the reality of a forty-two year old woman who has already had 18 children. The incidence of birth defects and birth difficulties and even maternal death increase with every year past 35.
When the family announced the pregnancy, it was all "happy, happy, joy, joy!" You were quickly reminded of their other 18 upstanding, good-looking, moral, industrious, cheerful and intelligent children if you dared bring up her age or the toll on her body. You were a party-pooper or worse, anti-family!
As long as the outcome is happy lucky pretty, we're all ears, but don't tell us about the outcome that reflects reality.
I hope Michelle is okay and that their poor baby makes it .
I hope she and BillieBob, or whatever his name is, think real hard before a number 20.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Enjoy a little tour of our Christmas world.

I think we've all established that it's family that makes the holidays bright. But the trimmings at Christmas, for me and mine, are not only powerful links to the past, but stir the very emotions called up in this tender season. A decision not to include an item displayed in previous childhood years, is met with wails of protest, because of the special place it holds in the hearts of family members.
As I peruse decorating blogs and magazines, admiring the beautiful Christmas decor ideas in trendy colors or elegant themes, I realize that my Christmas decorations, not decor, are decidedly distinct.
They reflect, sometimes literally, years of collecting.

Close to half of all the ornaments that hang from the branches of our tree are pre-1960, bought at estate sales and thrift shops. Some were inherited from Grandma. They are all glass, with finishes that have tarnished and flaked over the years, giving them character.

The Dept.56 Village pieces were bought, almost always at After Christmas sales or at store closings or as beloved gifts from Don, whom over the years has come to appreciate the charming collectables almost as much as I do. My children especially love the villages and I have made sure that I have a number divisible by 4, so that when the time comes to divvy them up, each will get an equal amount. I look forward to the day when little grandchildren stand on tippy-toes to peek at Scrooge observing the past in Fezziwig's Ballroom and stare in fascination( as the cats do) as the tiny, porcelain skaters glide in their never-ending circle at the London Skating Club.

Perhaps they will wish they could eat some of the diminutive treats displayed in the windows of Lafayette's Bakery or Mrs. Stover's Bungalow Candies.

By New Year's day, I have "had enough" and am anxious to get it all packed away for another year. But for these next few weeks, it wouldn't be Christmas without the glitter and glow of our beloved trimmings.

Enjoy a little tour of our Christmas world.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Successful Thanksgiving with the Baker Girls

The turkey was tender and juicy.
My sister Cheryl's rolls were scrumptious.
The tables looked festive.
And I remembered to buy the pies.

But what made it wonderful was family.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

My mom hosted Thanksgiving dinners, sometimes for 25 or more guests, cooked a perfect 30lb. turkey, baked flakey crusted, famously delicious pumpkin pies from scratch, and hosted 2 out of town daughter's families with grandchildren in-tow, all the while working full-time in a stressful Escrow office. She made it all seem so easy.

About eight years ago, I was to be in charge of Thanksgiving at my house, for the first time. My parents were going to drive up from California, stay with us and enjoy the holiday as guests. My dad, while working on a friend's turkey farm, was showing off for the younger workers and leaped off the back of the loading dock to slide down a pole and broke his ankle. So, he and mom were not able to come up to Utah. Thanksgiving would be just my family and my sister's. Just 11 people, easy enough.
Not being a great pie baker and working part time, I decided to buy my pies at Marie Callendars. I smartly put in my order and planned to pick them up on Wednesday. Don wanted to take everyone to a movie that night, so I struggled to get all of the "do-aheads" prepared for the next day. As we left for the show, I was confident that I had done everything I could to make ready for the upcoming feast.

When the movie ended, we stood to leave and I turned to my sister in a panic!
With eyes that I'm sure looked like they had just seen the ghost of Thanksgivings Past, I gasped, "The pies!"
"The Pies! I never picked up the pies!" I hissed at her.
She looked back at me with wide eyes and tried not to giggle,"what are you going to do?"
I didn't want Don to know I had forgotten the pies. I just couldn't tell him. I'd never hear the end of it. So, making some excuse, my sister and I raced up to the restaurant, praying it would still be open and that they would still have my pies. We were among the last people to enter the tent set up in the parking lot for pie pick-up and came home with the essential dessert.

The next day, I tried to remember how my mom did it. I had bucked tradition and tried a new recipe for a corn dish that wasn't a success, and the turkey would not get done! We ate much later than planned after Don's constant harangue of, "Is it done yet? When is it going to be done? I'm starving. When will it be ready? Is it almost done?" At my mom's house we always ate around 3:00 and here it was, already dark when we finally sat down. The meal wasn't bad, but I felt like I had never had control of the situation and it certainly wasn't as good as Grandma's.
Now 8 years later I am, once more, hosting Thanksgiving with my folks as guests. I feel like a newlywed who hasn't had much experience in the kitchen, except for that one disastrous dinner! I am 54 years old, a grown woman! I consider myself a good cook, but I am anxious!
What if the turkey doesn't get done on time? Where will I seat 16 people and what if I forget to go to Costco for the pies!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Fond Farewell to Fall
October 2009 -November 2009

Our lovely Fall suddenly ended in the early morning hours. We woke up to snow, catching us unprepared as it fell lightly upon the generous blanket of leaves that covered the lawn and flower beds! Don had hoped it would hold off until he'd had a chance to clean them up, one more time. He is not one to let them pile up, he just needed one more clean-up after getting home from sunny St. George.

The nice thing about the cooler weather is the return of our pretty, yellow finches with their fluffy little bottoms! They love the thistle seed sock, hung just outside our dining room window. Hanging on upside down, side-ways, any way they can, they fight for position, banishing ne'er do wells, pushing and shoving and generally making a mess of the deck. Not at all like the sweet birdies that helped Cinderella with her ribbons or the greeting card blue-birds that hold sentimental banners aloft, they really are little savages!

If you click on the picture you can see the snow flying in the background. By the time I got out to start my usual Saturday "Tour de Grocers", it was really coming down. Every time I got into the car, after having crossed the parking lot and loaded the groceries, I had to shake my head like a dog to get rid of the snowflakes clinging to my hair. And, dang! I was having a good hair day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Come with us and you will see...

this is our town of Halloween!!

Monster Eyes

Punkin's, bones and
ghouls, oh my!

LOts o' fun for ALL!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Another Exciting Friday Night

Driving to dinner, the sunset over the Oquirrh Mtns was incredible! One of the most amazing sunsets I have ever seen! It appeared giant white-gold flames leaped from the mountain tops, lashing the fuschia streaked grey sky. I didnt have my camera so I have tried to approximate it with the most similiar sunset I could google.

We went to Applebee's. I had chicken-fried steak. I was going for comfort and found it in the chunky mashed potatoes covered with salty milk-gravy.

On the way home, we watched the odometer turn to 19,000 miles. This activity was a lot more fun before odometers were digital. Back when you could actually see the tiny numbers turn. The nine going, going, gone, as zero made its appearance.

We stopped at Costco for gas. A tall, ugly woman with a mass of horribly blond hair filled her tank at the next pump over. Her husband saw me staring and laughed. Then I stared at him and we laughed together. It was a couple on their way to a Halloween party. He was she and she was he.

Just another exciting Friday night.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Meanderings

The other day, I found mittens on sale for 79 cents a pair. I picked up 10 pair thinking that someone would be doing a "drive" for the homeless shelter this winter and I would be found prepared! But tonight, as I traveled the vast expanse of the internet, surfing on my trusty, red wireless mouse, my typin' hand became characteristically frozen. My thrifty spouse keeps the thermostat at 70, which sounds reasonable during the cold months, but I am always cold! My hand doesn't freeze at work where it is warm! Anyway, my right hand always turns into a popsicle after a while at the keyboard. I thought of my cache of mittens! I took one pair from the bag and, taking the scissors to each fingertip, I came up with a solution! Aside from looking like a cheap Michael Jackson wanna-be, it really does the trick! My hand is warm and toasty!

You already know from an earlier post, that I am afflicted with pareidolia(scroll down) The WIKI articles relates it's not only faces we Pareidoliacs see, it can be just about anything! Today as I drove home alone in the car, I was excited to see a large squirrel sitting on a fallen tree branch.
I squealed with delight to no-one in particular, "OH! A squirrel!" (It doesn't take much to excite me.) I was a bit worried for it, since it was right next to the busy highway! Imagine my disappointment when I realized the "squirrel" was just an extension of the broken branch. Yes my friends, that is the pain of living with Pareidoliasm.

My creatively talented daughter, Shannon, was on television recently and I was so proud of her! She even gave me a shout-out for teaching her the fine art of scavenging for treasures on the road-side! Check out her appearance on "Studio5".

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rush's Rants have Ruinous Ram-ifications

So, Rush Limbaugh wants to buy a football team...
What's the big deal? The guy loves football.

1. It's been well-documented that transcripts on Limbaugh's own website, in 2007, quote Limbaugh as saying," The NFL all too often looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons. There, I said it."

2. He stated on-air that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was "overrated because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed."

3...."all the stuff that happened in New Orleans…whining, where’s FEMA and moaning, where’s BUSH?"

4. "It’s Obama’s America, is it not! Obama’s America, white kids getting beat up on school buses now! You put your kids on a school bus, you expect safety but in Obama’s America the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering!"

"I feel that given the overall weight of his statements regarding blacks, for him to own a team, even part of it, would be modern slavery." Zennie Abraham

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Midnight Run

I had to make a run to the library tonight to pick up some books. I had promised someone I would pick them up to use in her class. Only, I had waited too long and the hold had expired so, I had to drive to several libraries instead of just one.

It was only 7:30 when I set out, but with the night darkening so early now, it seemed like midnight and I found myself surprised by all the traffic, even though I was a part of it.
"Don't these people know it's late? What are all these cars doing on the road this time of night? Yes, I'm out here but you should be at home!"

90.9, the glowing blue numbers illuminated the car's gray seats and my right, denim-clad knee. I was listening to
KRCL, our local, independent, listener supported radio station. Just about every town has a station like this one, very liberal leaning, with G.B.L.T. public service announcements, Pacifica Daily News, Democracy Now! and the dates and times of drum circles, Reiki classes and Planned Parenthood hours.
The Wednesday night host, Emily, plays the best music every week. But the only time I listen is when I am alone in the car coming home from a workshop, a meeting or shopping. Yet everytime I listen, I hear something new that I rush home to google or find on Youtube. This time,as drove on in what seemed to me the prematurely blackened night, I heard a theme of sorts.
From Oingo Boingo
"We close our eyes and the world has turned around again
We close our eyes and dream and another year has come and gone"

"I'd like to make myself believe
that planet Earth turns slowly" Owl City

The fact that it was dark night and that I longed to close my eyes and dream, made these songs an especially effective soundtrack for my chore.

Help me add to the "Night Driving soundtrack". Send your suggestions!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

Having solved the problem of one of the "small whys" mentioned in my previous post, I immediately felt my spirit lighten. It wasn't the solution I'd hoped for, but the weight was off my shoulders, having done everything I could to solve the problem. I know I am being pretty cryptic here, but there are some situations I just don't feel I can just "put out there." Which brings me to my subject: Do I really need to know you had sex in the airport bathroom or How much is too much information?

Shan and I were just talking about the fact that some bloggers could, in our humble opinion, use a little more discretion when sharing their lives with the world, even as we wondered where one gets the chutzpa to be totally transparent. Is it confidence or ignorance? A plea for attention or a devil-may-care honesty? And what about the repercussions of total disclosure? I know people from my work, church and neighborhood read my blog, so I am limited in some of the anecdotes, trials and attitudes I can share. At least that's what I think...maybe I'm just too uptight?

The "bathroom lover" seemed angered and hurt when someone commented negatively on the post. On the other hand, Liberty Post was recently accused of being sanctimonious after commenting on David "Lothario" Letterman's confession. I've always admired her intelligent candor on issues close to her heart and more especially, her tactful replies to her detractors. She's a class act, for lack of a better term. Dooce shares her hate-mail now and then and, while some are pretty funny, they can be very mean and kinda scary. Of course many of these comments are delivered anonymously. My rule is, if I can't put my name to it, I probably I shouldn't say it at all. But how much freedom do we have when we write to, potentially, hundreds of strangers?

A friend of mine has a second undercover blog that covers the entertaining goings-on at her job. Another friend had a "secret" blog that she directed me to after we shared some personal struggles. Sometimes, I wish I had a "nom de plume" blog. Damn! I just gave away the name I wanted to use for it! On it's pages would be all of my unknown follies, my bitchiest opinions, my hidden fears and heartbreaks. But for know, I am trying to keep up with the public blog, working to not worry so much about what people will think when I give my honest opinion, irreverent observation or awkward emotion and if you ever come across a blog called NomdePlume, it's not me...really!

With all of the dreaming going on in blogland, may I suggest this excellent article in Segullah. While it is written from a Mormon perspective, it's not exclusive in its insights!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It is so hard for me to blog with the start of the new school year.

With Summer comes the uncluttering of my mind. Without the cares and preoccupations of school to fill all of my limited, available, brain space, my thoughts are free to roam and find corners in which to lie down and ruminate creatively.

But especially this time of the early school year, when there is so much to be created, assessed, organized and worried over, my mind is always "on". My brain is always abuzz with ideas, things I need to remember, concerns. It will calm down as the year goes on, as I get into a groove. Yeah, as I get my groove back. "How Cathy Got Her Groove Back" lol! Taye Diggs, calling Taye Diggs!

Actually, I've been a little down in the dumps. In fact, I could just cry right now, as I sit at the keyboard. I don't know why. Well, if I analyze it, it's because of a lot of small "whys". I guess I can be thankful that it's not one giant, awful, "why".

I definitely think I need a good cry. The Horse Whisperer would be good. The Family Man (NOT to be confused with Family Guy) always makes me cry. There's the Green Mile and Meet Joe Black. Most Nora Efron movies...I know, I know, her movies are romantic comedies, but they still make me cry.

I don't want any of the heavy hitters like The Boy in Striped Pajamas or a movie where the Mom is dying. I'm down in the dumps. I don't want to turn it into a full blown depression.

What would you recommend? Movies, not therapists.