Monday, January 05, 2009

Things I've Done (coming up for air)

After 4+ months of teaching at a local public high school, I'm coming up for air. Inspired by Erica's list, I've annotated my own version, shown below.

Copy this list into your own blog, then bold or italicize the things you've done. Here's mine:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (Does a Vaporetto count? Think public transportation.)
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Monday, August 11, 2008

Two Great Weekends!

Last weekend (first weekend in August), 3 of my 4 kids came to the family vacation home in New Hampshire, along with their spouses and one toddler! (We missed Joanna's family but had to make do.) Erica has done such a great job of covering our weekend in detail that I'll refer you to her blog for details and photos.

We spent this past weekend with several of my high school friends (and significant others) in Cincinnati, at the home of Fred & Warren. In addition to chillin' time, watching the Olympics opening ceremony, and good food, we took a great historical and architectural walking tour of the "Over the Rhine" area of town, marred only by a few little gun shots (after which a guy on a bike ducked behind a car) about a block away. But the neighborhood is improving, they say... We also visited a David Macaulay exhibit at the Cincinnati Art Museum. (He's the guy who writes books like Cathedral, Castle, and Mosque, with detailed drawings and lots of information about the construction of complicated buildings.) Bill added a puppet to his collection (think furry and orange), giving my friends a glimpse at another facet of my new husband's personality. A great time was had by all!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

How Do You Spell "Scuzzball"?

Bill had a call-back tonight, and he's landed the role of a scuzzball lawyer in "Sly Fox," a satire. Rehearsals start on Tuesday, the night before we leave for a week in NH. Yea, Bill!

(I had to check the spelling of "scuzzball" but that's it.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fun outings

We've already had a busy weekend, and there's still one day left!

Last night, we went to Kiwanis Night at the Lakewood BlueClaws minor league baseball stadium. The BlueClaws were clobbered by the Kannapolis Intimidators, but it was fun, and the weather was perfect (cool and clear)! I also discovered, while I was perusing the printed program, that Charleston, WV's minor league team is now named "West Virginia Power," so I now have to get a shirt with that logo! (To top it off, when I told my parents what I had discovered, they said that the baseball team's phone number is just one digit different than theirs. When they occasionally get a phone call asking "Is this West Virginia Power?" my dad replies "This is ONE of them.") Speaking of the team name, one of their older names, the "Charleston Charlies," is apparently still a sentimental favorite, because the team store still has a lot of "classic" Charleston Charlies shirts. Or maybe they over-ordered decades ago and still have plenty in stock. ;-)

Today, we drove into NYC to see a matinee performance of "South Pacific" at Lincoln Center with Jim and Jennifer (friends in Brooklyn). We found a free parking space on 82nd street and had time for a quick trip to Zabar's, self-proclaimed as "NYC's Gourmet Epicurean Emporium" and one of Bill's favorite stores. We got a new stainless-steel coffee measure (to replace a badly-cracked plastic antique), some barbecue tongs, a pound of coffee, some ginger/lemon cookies, and a bar of the store brand of chocolate (milk/dark). Nothing to break the bank or do serious damage to the diets.

I've been squeezing in as much proof-reading (currently my only paid work) as I can -- thank goodness for the car voltage enhancer, which makes the laptop work with the cigarette lighter socket -- but I'll need to finish a bunch more by Sunday night, so after church, it'll be nose-to-the-digital-grindstone for me! (Bill has a call-back for an audition, but I don't need to leave the house after we get back from church.)

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July -- before it's gone!

I've not been living up to my resolve to post more frequently, but I don't want to let July go by completely without posting, so here's the first 2/3 of the month, in a nutshell:

I spent a few days in Chicago as an advisor for a 3-day, CSTA-sponsored Leadership Cohort training session. While I was in town, I seized the opportunity to meet Emily, my nephew's soon-to-be bride, about 10 days before their wedding, and Emily, Jon, and I had a terrific dinner together! I knew their lives would be a lot crazier the following weekend, so I was thrilled to steal a bit of relaxed time with them.

Speaking of stealing... One casualty of my time in Chicago was my new red BlackBerry, which I left in the hotel room one morning. When I realized that I had left it, I didn't rush out of the workshop to retrieve it, and that was my biggest mistake. (I guess I'm not used to having cars or phones that people want to steal.) By the time I got to the room, it had been cleaned, and the phone was long gone. I had borrowed a friend's phone so I could call mine, in case it had fallen behind the bed, but it wasn't anywhere nearby. I continued to call my number periodically, and for 2 days it always rang a few times before rolling over to voicemail, but by the third day, it went immediately to voicemail, so it had either run out of juice or been turned off. I reported it immediately to both Housekeeping and Security, but it never turned up. I had gotten this phone at a bargain price (after rebates, with a 2-year contract), but the replacement phone, purchased via eBay, didn't come anywhere near as cheap! (The guy at the AT&T Wireless store, where I went to activate my refurbished phone last night, said that BlackBerrys are apparently quite popular among thieves.)

Never mind that nutshell thing...

A week after I returned from Chicago, we were back for Jon's and Emily's wedding -- what great family times we had! We weren't sure that Mom & Dad would make it there, due to Dad's complications from Parkinson's Disease, but they made it, he did OK, and everyone was glad they had come!

Also on the medical front... I need to get a crown replaced (symptom: peel-me-off-the-ceiling pain when I drink anything cold), but I don't have breast cancer (based on the results from a needle biopsy), so I'd say I'm WAY ahead of the game! BENIGN is my new favorite word!

In between (and during) my trips here and there, I've kept busy with some CS curriculum proofreading -- I'm actually earning some money this summer!

We're home for a while and eagerly anticipating being able to set up our office. (The rest of the flooring should arrive mid-week.) Maybe I'll even be able to find my paper copies of the score reports from my NTE/Praxis exams! I need them to get a NJ teaching certificate (if I get a job with a public school), and ETS doesn't keep scores after 5 years. Who knew, in 1977, that ETS would change policies so many years later?!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Busy Weekend and My Own "I Did It!"

We worked on home projects this weekend. Bill fixed a problem with the pool (amazing how quickly the water becomes green when the chlorinator runs out of tablets!), and I pruned and/or uprooted some vines that had threatened to take over the fence around the pool, the deck, and several bushes. Bill put up track lighting in the hallway to our bedroom, in anticipation of putting up a wall of family photos. (His frames of Kiwanis pins are on the opposite wall.) We love our new well-lighted hallway!

I finally started working on (machine) hemming the sheers for our bedroom windows (so that they clear the baseboard heaters). Now I need to clear off the ironing board, which has become a holding station for things on their way downstairs, out to the garage, etc.

I also assembled shelves (brought from Lancaster) for our "Christmas closet," the place we store gifts that we have bought for specific people or to hold for future gift-giving, when we find something we know will be perfect for "someone," we're just not sure whom. We still need to make a list so that we can add to it any time we put something in the closet, so we don't lose track of things, but we're well on our way to organization! This allowed me to move in some gifts that I had been afraid of losing in the pit of the smaller closet that previously served that function (in addition to holding random other stuff), which, in turn, freed up some space on shelves in my part of our bedroom closet, which allowed me to move some things up from the floor! It also allowed me to clear out a cardboard chest, which I've now FreeCycled. (It's like a reverse game of dominoes.)

But the most exciting news is -- inspired by Joanna's own "I Did It!" post -- I played the piano for the first time in years! I warmed up with the theme from Romeo & Juliet and then moved on to Haydn's "Gipsy Rondo," my all-time favorite recital piece (from year 4)! It wasn't very smooth, and my wrists felt very aware of movements I hadn't made in quite a while, but my fingers remembered a lot of it (sometimes faster than my eyes could see), and it felt good to have started up again. (I played Kerry's baby grand, since it's in the living room -- my spinet is in the basement for now -- and the touch was unfamiliar, so that gave me another excuse for rocky playing. But I sat on my own piano bench, with the needlepoint cover that my mom made, and that was great!)

Tomorrow, we leave for the Kiwanis International convention in Orlando, followed by CSTA-related events (CS&IT Symposium, board meeting, NECC conference) in San Antonio.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Combining two full households yields a lot of extra stuff! At Erica's suggestion, I registered at, an online clearinghouse for things that people no longer want. You join a list for the region in which you live, and you can post an OFFER or a WANTED notice. (There are strict guidelines -- no money is exchanged, items are picked-up by the taker, no pets or kids, no matter how much they might annoy you at any given time...) The person making the offer may choose from among the respondents, without having to justify.

I got rid of many things, including some pretty nice stuff (a standing gas grill and a nice dresser that none of my kids wanted) before I left Lancaster, so I could avoid moving things we didn't need. However, I've also joined the list for our county here, mostly to get rid of stuff that was already here, but also moving boxes and some smaller things that I had brought but we discovered we couldn't use. We're still sorting and weeding out, and I'll keep making offers.

I've been amazed at the variety of offerings and requests; when I had a lot of broken pieces of old brick pavers (left over from my patio project), Bill was skeptical that anyone would want them, but a guy came and got them all -- boxes full! One woman came to get a few small things from Erica's earlier years (after Erica had claimed what she wanted), and she mentioned that her husband had lost his job and they were trying to come up with Christmas presents for 12 grandkids. Since the time of my post, Erica (who was still at my house), had weeded out more things, and she offered the woman anything else that she wanted. Bonus for everyone!

Last night, while (finally!) trying to clear the dining room table so that I could set up my sewing machine, I moved a plant to a wobbly set of plant shelves and knocked over the plant at the far end (think dominoes). Pot, plant, and wet soil hit the floor (and baseboard heater), and I struggled not to go ballistic. Bill had earlier suggested that we could cut down on the plant population, so I asked him to be specific about what could go. Around midnight, I posted an offer for 4 different kinds of plants (including a photo of one we couldn't identify), and requests have poured in this morning! Some plants have babies or offshoots, but we have 3 full pots of aloe, which I can divide as many ways as there are requests. (I asked people to prioritize, in case I had multiple requests. Some people follow directions better than others, so those who didn't specify a preference will get aloe.)

Step-by-step, we're getting this place in order, which makes us both happy!