Friday, October 31, 2008

I am America and so can you!

I voted. Yup, I'm done. Actually I was done last week, but with everything going on with the funeral, I didn't get to tell you about it. Not that everyone was dying to know that I voted, or that you cared who I voted for. Like my little out-on-a-limb self is so important that you model your political minds after me.

But, I'm proud to say that I went, stood in line, and voted. It only took about 40 minutes and I took part in the democratic process. Of course, I hit a snafu since I had both gotten married and moved since my last voting experience. So I had to sit at this little sidetable with other wrong-record-losers and fill out new forms. Then I voted.

And I know I avoided the big election day lines. And the school where I work is not a voting precinct like many, so we actually have school that day. So I would have had to go and vote before or after. Not fun.

I remember the first time I voted and thinking about how grown up I was. I was in college and I came home for fall break. I went in to fill out and absentee ballot, but they let me vote early. Of course, this was in Florida and I could have done it all wrong, but I felt proud that I was grown up and making choices. My mom gave me sage advice that day, "When in doubt, vote for a woman." I still laugh at that, but it isn't any worse than any other non-informed voter theory.

My Pastor says he doesn't care who you vote for as long as you vote. And I agree. You can't complain unless you vote, in my humble opinion. At least I made a choice and took part in being an American. More than it being my right, it's my priviledge. Many countries don't vote, and many don't let women vote.

So, all this to say that I am done. I cast my ballot, wore my sticker and now can sit back and enjoy election night returns.

Happy Voting!

*** the post title refers to Stephen Colbert's book of the same title. Makes no sense, but makes me laugh. Of course, this note is for those of you not cool enough to watch the Colbert Report to begin with.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

a brief hiatus

I am going to take a break for a few days. A friend of the family has passed away suddenly and I am going to be wrapped up in that over the next couple of days. Say some prayers that I will muddle through with dignity.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

the holidays are a comin'

The other day at work my principal asked us what we looked forward to in the second quarter. Many of the staff said that they were looking forward to Christmas vacation, and I can relate to that. But holidays are strange around here.

Family can be hard, especially with two sets of parents in the same town. My mom is now living here and the husband's family has always lived here. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the traditional big holidays that mean family gatherings, big meals, and full bellies. But recently there have been changes in our family dynamics that are going to make this holiday season really interesting.

My side of the family isn't very big. It's just me, two brothers and my mom. On Charlie's side, there are more siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and now GRANDCHILDREN. This year we added three babies to that side, and so Christmas will mean presents for kids, not just adults.

And some of those people don't get along with some of the other people. One year at Thanksgiving there was a huge fight complete with slamming doors and squealing tires. There were about 25 people at Thanksgiving dinner and I maybe knew 10 of them, and then there was the fight and all I could do was sit there and think that my past Thanksgivings had consisted of about 8 people that I knew well.

My husband and I decided that we would do things a little differently this year and host Thanksgiving with some friends. This may make waves with the family, but it's what we have chosen to do for this holiday. I don't know what our Christmas plans will be, but I'm sure it will bring changes as well.

How do you handle the holidays? Marital bliss does not always equal holiday happiness, so I would be interested in knowing how other people do it. Let me in on those secrets for making the best of the holiday craziness.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

too tired for a title

My mind has shriveled up and I am exhausted. All thanks to the Book Fair that breezed through my library and left me a puddle of mush. Today my library is back to normal, but I am still on overload. Too much time spent talking to kids about what they could spend their 50 cents on when all the books are 3.99 or above. Too much junk food that wasn't on my diet. Too much chaos in my normally well ordered library.

Forgive me if this is all I can type right now. I was too tired to even take pictures of the library before and after, so I can't even show you. Suffice it to say that my library looked like an African Safari complete with miles of green paper, leaves, tigers, gorillas, and books.

Wish I could take the day to recover. Sadly, I am back at work.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

life isn't like the movies

I think many of you know that my life hasn't been the easiest of late. In the spring there was all this upheaval and uncertainty in my job, added to the fact that I am dealing with infertility and my mother moving into my house. Lots going on. And most of the time I think I handle it pretty gracefully. At least, I hope I handle it gracefully. I would like to.

But every now and then something comes along that really hits home and it hurts. Like this movie that my husband rented recently. Then She Found Me is a movie with Helen Hunt, Colin Firth, Bette Midler and the guy married to Sarah Jessica Parker. He has a name, but I can't remember it right now.

In this movie, April (helen hunt) is 39 and wants to have a baby. Sadly, her husband has just left her. She herself was adopted, and doesn't think she wants that life for her child. She then meets two people...a new man, and her birth mother. It's an interesting conversation movie.

But when she is lying on the table waiting to be InVitroed or whatever, she refuses to pray. She feels like she has lost faith.

I get like that. All the time.

I feel like maybe my prayers aren't good enough, otherwise God would answer them. I wonder if I am wrong to pray for a baby. Like maybe that's too bug a something to ask for. And I know it isn't, but here I am, a year and a half after we started trying, sitting here with no baby. And another month has just past where I have not ovulated. And I am sad.

So Friday night I had myself a little cry, brought on by this movie. And in the movie, April and her new man eventually adopt a little girl from China who is adorable, and they have a happy ending.

I'm ready for my happy ending, too.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

brought to you by the letter V

I haven't ever been particularly political. While I aspire to be a patriotic American, I fall short of really knowing my issues, candidates and bills. I know the basics, but I don't really delve deeply into the views of the particular parties or candidates. I read a little bit, I watch a little Jon Stewart, a little Tina Fey and some CNN.

But I don't really talk about it all that much. I don't get the bumper stickers or the yard signs and I don't rush to the primaries. Maybe you might label me as apathetic, but I do my part. I vote. I support charities. I pay my taxes.

But, I don't bring my views to work. I don't sit around at lunch and talk about how stupid the other candidate might be. I don't trash the other party.

Here's why:

You never know who's sitting in that room. You don't. At all. I don't know who's reading this blog. I can imagine that there are people out there that support both parties and both candidates. And here's a news flash...THAT'S OK!

It's ok that you might want to vote for the other guy. THAT IS YOUR RIGHT. As an American. That's why there are TWO we have a choice who we want to run our country.

I try to be respectful of other people's views and beliefs, and even if I disagree, it really isn't my place to attempt to change their minds. Not at my job. Sure, if I have someone over to my house and we're talking politics, I might take a minute to point out some things, but that's in the safety of my house. In the relative public arena of my teacher's lounge, I feel that room isn't the place to broadcast my political views. I don't want to get into it with my co-workers. I have too much to do at work to sit around and debate the election.

So, whatever your choice is, I respect it. I'm just sayin'. And you may choose to write about it on your blog, but I will not be telling you who I am voting for. That's my business. And your vote is your business.

Ok, off the soapbox now.

Monday, October 13, 2008

buy the book

How do you pick out a book? Do you have a favorite author that you gravitate to or do you just wander around the bookstore and look in the genre that you like? I can spend hours in Barnes and Nobles and I could spend hundreds of dollars in one visit. In fact, I often do. Of course, it isn't my own's for my job. Yes, I do have a really great job.

But I used to be an art teacher and I guess you never stop being an artist, so I love cover art. You aren't supposed to judge a book by it's cover, and I don't, but I can definitely appreciate good cover art. Usually, in a photograph, the eyes draw you in, but I was intrigued by this painting where the face isn't even shown. The Other Boleyn girl was an awesome book and a great movie.

I love too that the cover art can vary by the country the book is published in. I happened upon a Harry Potter from Australia one day and I snapped it up. The cover is completely different and I like seeing how that artist interpreted it. And critics will tell you, we here in America definitely had one of the best interpretations of that magical orphan.

The color and art can draw you in. It's like an invitation to a party of one. Do you want to pick me up off this shelf and begin an intimate conversation, a cover might ask? The Midnight Twins first spoke to me with it's bright colors and, I hate to admit it, there is a tree on the front. I know, it's sad. I love trees.

This one is certainly about the eyes. Or...eye. And once you read the story, you keep looking back at that eye. I did. All the way through those 600 pages.

There are many reasons why I choose books. I have many authors that I like and will usually gravitate toward those names if I can't find something that draws me in. But I am open to being invited by new friends to their parties, and it's great when you find a book that has intriguing artwork and design elements. I don't know if they have contests and hand out awards for cover art, but they should. And this post would serve as my nominations.

What makes you choose a book, or are you as open as I am? I would love to hear your reasons as I know it will certainly help me understand my students better.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My name is Sissy, and I am a Twilighter

Saw this little linky on Bug's blog and went right on over to find out about myself. Thought I would be an Alice, but I guess not. Wonder who some of you would be?

I'm a Bella! I found out through Which Twilight Female Are You? Take the quiz and find out!
Take the Quiz and Share Your Results!

Go on over, take the quiz and then come back and leave me a comment telling me who you are. Go on, you know you want to.


My mom recently went to an Apple Orchard and bought a huge box of apples. I like apples ok. They're all right. I can't eat a whole box of them, though.

So we decided to make pie.
Yummy, sugary, cinnamony apple pie.
Piled up high with lots of apples and put in a not so homemade crust.
Ahhh...this is the way to eat apples.

The crumbly topping melted and crisped up to make this hard sugary layer on top of the apples. It was really flavorful because we mixed several kinds of apples together to make the pie. I was really proud at how fast it came together and that we made something so yummy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

the royal musicians

As Queen of the Indoors, I am sure you've guessed that I like to be inside. And I do. I like to look at nature, but from the safety of my window. I love trees and grass, but our yard isn't even close to being lovely enough to go outside and enjoy. And because of this, and because I like to read, I like music as well.

But I am spoiled. Well, what Queen isn't spoiled?

Spoiled by XM radio.

Oh, what delights the royal musicians, XM radio, have brought me. No more commercials. Music divided by genres. All sorts of genres. Two hundred and twenty-seven something genres. We have XM through our DirecTv satellite dish and I have a receiver in my car.

And I love the features it has. If I am in the house, I can scroll through the channels to see what I want. And each time a new song comes up, you can see the title and artist. So helpful if you happen to like a song and would love to buy it for your iPod but the stupid DJ never tells you who sang it or what it's called. And in the house, I can even rewind if I want to, because we have a DVR. Lovely.

In the car, my unit is nice as well. Simple, but nice. It has 8 presets that I can switch between, but it also shows me the title and artist. This is the feature that spoils me. When I am driving with other people now, I keep looking for the information. And some newer cars have that kind of thing, but older cars don't. I want to know who sang that song. Sometimes it's not important, but other times it can drive you crazy not to know. Especially if you've heard the song several hundred times but can't identify who the singer is. So frustrating.

And, if I want to be outside, which I rarely do, I have a nifty little set of speakers that my car XM unit pops into and it becomes a boom box. Love it.

So, you see. Along with my title and my crown, the royal musicians have spoiled me for good. I can never go back to life before XM. Sigh.

Isn't life good?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

pumpkin time...

Fall means:
  • Pumpkin spice candles
  • Thanksgiving
  • Turkeywith gravy and mashed potatoes made with real butter
  • That other scary holiday

  • Crisp apples with caramel
  • Leaves swirling around my neighborhood in an array of colors
  • Orange sunflowers that my husband brought me
  • Cool walks with a dog on a leash
  • Yard sales

  • Planning for Christmas shopping
  • My birthday
  • Sweaters and coats and scarves and mittens
  • Football Frenzy (at my house at least)
  • Cuddling up with a good book and a blanket

What is fall to you?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

stretched to the breaking point

Out on a limb. That's me. Well, this girl isn't me...this is come chick I found on the internet in a cute red dress who happens to be sitting on a tree limb. But that's how I view this blog. Like I'm Out on a Limb. Stretching the boundaries of who I am and who I should be striving to be.

I think I put myself out there in print. But being real in person can be so much more difficult. Sometimes I just gloss over my hurts and pains in real life instead of addressing them and getting past it. Then I come and dump it all on you, my ever faithful readers. And you take it and pray for me and wish me well. I think. I hope.
In my real life, I don't think I'm brave at all. I think I shrink into the background many days and become the wallpaper. There, but not really all that present. Appreciated, but not really noticed.
Sometimes I feel that way with God too. I feel invisible, and I know I am not. But it's hard to keep the faith sometimes. Today is one of those days where I feel horrible and am feeling low. I know it's all supposed to work together for good, but I guess I just gotta keep praying. I have to trust that this will work out and if I'm supposed to be a Mom, it will happen. But I feel overwhelmed and hormonal and tired and stretched beyond my capacity for intensity. And I know that many of you will sympathetically tell me to be patient, and I know I need to hear it. So I will keep waiting.
And waiting. With my box of tissues. Out on a Limb.

Friday, October 3, 2008


I missed him last night...

For him..

Not quite a fair trade, ya think?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

like a long lost friend

When I was an art teacher, I taught high school, and I loved it. I really liked working with teenagers figuring out who they wanted to be. I felt like I had some influence with them, and I could talk with them about their interests. I was also lucky enough to chaperone a trip to Spain, then lead my own to Italy one year, and London/Paris the following.

I loved traveling. It was all I wanted to do growing up in a small town. I wanted to see the world. When I studied art in college, my textbooks were filled with artworks, cathedrals, museums, sculptures, etc, that were all somewhere else. America is so young, and Europe is full of history everywhere you go. Sit on a park bench, someone famous probably sat there.

Anyway, when I got the chance to go...I packed light on clothes and heavy on film and I went. Sure, it was a guided tour, but I think Europe with a tour guide is good. With a translator is even better. I saw so many places and things that were in my textbooks. Sometimes I broke down in tears when standing somewhere that I had only seen in books. I was so touched. In Rome, I wandered in awe around the coliseum, where Christians were fed to the lions. How often can you walk in footprints that are thousands of years old? Not on this continent.

The last trip I took culminated in Paris. Such a pretty city with a really snotty attitude. I think the French countryside is gorgeous and the people are warm. I visited Versailles, the famous Monet gardens and bridge and walked the Louvre. Stood in front of and under this:

Don't know why I thought you couldn't walk underneath it. Seems silly now, but I guess I thought that would be off limits. It's not. Just so you know. And it is painted a chocolate brown. Didn't really think about that, either. I thought it was just faded black, but it is brown.

But interestingly enough, there was always one sight that warmed my heart and beckoned me closer. The bright lights, the tantalizing smell, the familiar menu. Ahhhh, McDonald's.

I hang my head in shame. I know. Travel that many miles and eat at a McDonald's? Seems really like an insult to the French people, the Italian people, the Greek people, the British people! But let me tell you, you will be so happy to see those Golden Arches if you ever travel abroad.


Let me explain.

Our tour included breakfast and dinner in the cost, so those meals were preplanned and not always so scrumptious. In fact, often they were repititous. And sometimes strangely foreign. Now I like to try new things, but I would like to choose them, not just have them set in front of me. So for two weeks our stomachs experienced some upheaval as we adjusted to food that we weren't used to eating.

But at lunch, if we were in a big city, sometimes we were able to find a McDonald's and it was so exciting. I remember in Rome, we walked down this street with some fantastically expensive shops, a bookstore and a Prada. Then, the McDonald's. It was like seeing the American flag waving and welcoming me home.

Double cheeseburger, no pickle, fries and a Sprite.


Isn't it funny that such a small thing can help us adjust and feel normal? I love to travel, but there are times when I am tired of absorbing the newness around me and just want something familiar. A security blanket of Americana, if you will.

And, I may apologize to the British, and the Greeks and the Italians for skipping the local fare and eating under the arches, but I won't apologize to the snooty French.

I think you know what the French can kiss. My derriere.