Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Year in Review

When I think back on this year, I realize so much happened, a lot of it great. So I’m going to list of the few banner moments, along with one or two of the downers because you have to take the good with the bad:

  1. Started a blog (!)
  2. Got engaged
  3. Made it through a year in the Buffalo Public School system
  4. Got a job with a more “compatible” school for me
  5. Put my dog Boo down, who did lead a long and full life
  6. Made new friends
  7. Began planning a wedding
  8. Learned new recipes
  9. Helped friends through good times and bad
  10. Had major personal breakthroughs which will help me personally and professionally, including allowing myself to make mistakes and ask for help

And here are a few personal goals for the year:

  1. Not go crazy planning the wedding
  2. Be a good wife to my new husband
  3. Watch less TV and read more
  4. Be as good a teacher as possible
  5. Keep in touch with my friends
  6. Organize my time better
  7. Do all of these things one day at a time, recognizing that I’ll make mistakes and need help but will continue to try my best
Happy 2007!

Happy Ending

Well, it’s been quite a year. I have to start with a most recent and wonderful final event: On Friday night DF and I went to an engagement party for our friends H and M…and they surprised everyone by getting married right then and there. I found out about two minutes before it happened:

“What’s going on?” (to my friend D, who knew from the start as a co-conspirator and photographer)

“H and M are getting married right now.”






They got married right in the Buffalo Botanical Gardens on the same night as their parents’ 33rd wedding anniversary. She came out in her wedding dress and the groom touchingly cried throughout the ceremony, both of them wearing smiles from ear to ear. Only their siblings knew; even their parents were in the dark. It was so perfect for them…and afterward we all went out to this great barbecue place, Fat Bob’s, to celebrate. I know it may sound crazy, but in a way I find it just right because, as H’s dad eloquently put it, “You’ve been unconventional for 28 years; why should I expect you to change now?” I think my favorite part happened after when she saw me and cried, “Beat ya!”

While my mom, also present, told us to also “take the money and run”, we’re still going to have our regular nuptials on time. First of all, you just can’t duplicate that, and second, we want to go the regular route. Oh, we may be looking for Justices of the Peace in the yellow pages about a month beforehand, but we’ll remain traditional. Don’t worry; your plane tickets will not need refunding! It just meant so much to be a part of something special and surprising…at least to the rest of us. A great way to finish off the year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Crazy Christmas

This year for Christmas DF and I had what I coined the T&K Christmas Roadtrip Extravaganza 006. A-palooza. No, no a-palooza; that's just ridiculous. In some ways, so was our travel: Because we have so many families to see, thanks to multiple marriages, on Christmas Eve we went to my stepfather's and DF's mother's, and on Christmas Day we went to my mom's, then to my grandmother's, then to DF's dad's, then back to my mom's, and then got to our own place at about 10:30 at night. Bear in mind that to my grandmother's and to DF's father's house took about an hour each. Pant, pant. However, as DF's mother put it, we have lots of people who love us and want to see us, so that's very nice. My mom also complimented us on our energy and trouper-ism (sp?), so we felt properly patted on the head for our six-stop holiday. Plus I received some truly nice family is lovely and generous and thoughtful, so it was a great holiday. DF and I exchanged gifts at 1am on Christmas Eve, having just come home from a party and unable to wait, like two little kids.

You know, even with all of the traveling and spitty rain, we truly did have a good day. I think we realized how much closer DF and I each felt to each other’s families—we’re more comfortable with each other and it just seems more permanent. Not to sound trite, but we’re gaining family and people who love us. It’s a nice feeling.

Hope everyone had a nice day or two off!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Wisdom of Dr. Seuss

Because we’ve had a relatively green winter so far, it hasn’t really felt like Christmas. In Buffalo, we’re used to having to drive through blizzards at almost any time of year, particularly in December, so this has felt odd, to say the least. Mind you, my heating bill is wonderful, but the holiday’s not the same. My perspective was rekindled, however, when DF and I caught the animated “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” on TV a few nights ago. It has become one of my all-time favorite holiday specials—once I got over being terrified of the Grinch when I was little—and it sends a wonderful message. I truly do believe that “Christmas is within our grasp/as long as we have hands to clasp” and “Christmas Day will always be/just as long as we have we”. I think that’s true of any holiday in any religion at any time of year. We tend to forget it in the rush of Cyber Mondays and last minute holiday sales. As long as we’re with someone we love, it’s enough to celebrate.

Thus even though the holidays are frantic and, for me, involve rushing around from house to house and family member to family member, I will try my hardest to remember that I’m doing all of this rushing and moving to be with those I love and who love me.

Happy holidays!

P.S. Did you know that the man who sings the “You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch” is the same man who voiced Tony the Tiger?

Grammar Bone to Pick

I was reading the New York Times and found three rather large errors in the same article! Here they are:

“During the 12 years she spent at a San Diego software company, CableData, she held no less than 14 different jobs.”

“When she was nine months’ pregnant with her first son in 1984…”

“ ’I didn’t have a minute to spare, therefore, I don’t think I wasted any minutes.’ ”

Can you tell me what’s wrong with each? Just in case: The first one should be “no fewer than”, the second should have no apostrophe after “months”, and the third sentence should have a semicolon after “spare”. The Times!

BUT there is a happy ending to my story: Upon e-mailing the Times of these egregious errors, a very nice man replied within two hours. He apologized, said he’d send the corrections to the editor, and offered to send me a copy of the NYT Manual of Style and Usage for my classroom! I’ll let you know if I receive it. I have to say, the Times really redeemed themselves there, although somebody should’ve caught the errors.

On that note, my friend L. and I are planning on becoming champions of grammar, Grammar Warriors, if you will. Our alter egos will be Mechanics Maven and Captain Comma. Our boss will be Lynne Truss, and we will travel the world stamping out unnecessary apostrophes, fixing split infinitives, and reminding the world that, while language is “evolving”, as the linguists say, there is still a standard to adhere to, dammit! We could have outfits and secret weapons, like comma-shaped darts to blow at signs where necessary and pens that double as stun guns for rampant abusers of the English language. Anyone who wants to join is welcome. Just don’t tell who I am; as my secret identity I am very mild-mannered and it might shock all who know me.

Dorks—er, Grammarians Unite!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

So Comfy...

This past weekend we went to Target (our favorite place) in search of a warm winter blanket. We expected it to be like any other trip: Go for one thing, come out with about ten things not on the list, nothing special. Little did we know the bounty we were about to receive…. We meandered toward the bedding aisle, stopping at sweaters for DF and shoes, of course, for me. As I turned down the “bedding” aisle, I saw it: The Excalibur of Blankets. A heavenly choir filled the air and light shone down on what mere advertising mortals call the MicroPlush Blanket. I called DF over, tears in my eyes, and we stared in awe at our blanket.

After our nice light blue purchase—and flannel sheets $30 a set!—we hurried home to make the blanket part of our bed and our lives. I kid you not, it is the softest, most comfortable piece of bedding that has ever graced my prone form. Sunday was spent under the covers grading papers. My butt fell asleep, I was in there so long, and I didn’t care. The only downfall is leaving the bed…but it makes night time so much better! I truly think this blanket will help me with time management, because I will try to get my work done so I can climb into bed to get some literal one-on-one with The Blanket. DF’s not a bad part of the whole snuggling bit, either.

Thank you, Target, for making my life better!

Friday, December 1, 2006


Want to relive some of your childhood? Check out the link to see (sing it with me) "1 2 3 4 5, 6 7 8 9 10, 11 12!" I also found "Mahna Mahna" and, for those who remember, "The Ladybugs' Picnic" and the one about the alligator king. If you don't know any of these, check them out and enjoy!

The Coziness of Fall

I wrote this neat little entry about how great Thanksgiving was, and it erased! Short story: To me, Thanksgiving is the holiday that’s most strongly associated with family. It’s about coming home or going to another family member’s house, doing everything you can to be together. For some reason Christmas doesn’t quite have that same ring, maybe because more people use it as an excuse to go away, mainly to someplace warmer, if you’re in the Mid-Atlantic as I am. But Thanksgiving is about staying in, eating great food, and being together. Heck, even the networks realize it: This year marks the first one I can think of where they deliberately did new episodes of shows, probably because they know everyone will be so zonked on turkey tryptophan, they won’t want to do anything else. And who wants to? We deliberately ate a nice, slow, four-course meal, talking between delicious dishes. I’ll throw this out to the rest of you; it’s one of the questions we asked:

If you could have dinner with any person from history, living or dead, who would it be? (I always love that one) Any athlete? Any comedian/actor?

For historical figure, I said I’d like to talk to the chambermaid or the advisor of the famous historical person. I figure they have a perspective nobody else has, and probably have an inside take that the history books don’t. Among us we said Stalin, Benjamin Franklin, Idi Amin, and Johnny Appleseed. Pretty varied and interesting bunch we are, I think.

Tonight winter has finally arrived. We had an absurdly warm week—that crazy week in October was much worse. And then, as if someone had flipped a switch, December 1 the temperature drops, the winds blow, and I know the snow’s coming. Even though it happens every year and we know it’ll be cold until the end of March, everyone still gets excited. I admit I have listened to and belted out Christmas carols in my car—although I think it’s massive overkill that the stations began their 24-hour coverage on November 15. Good lord. But now that it’s December, we’re all going to hunker down, pull out the wool sweaters, cheer the Sabres, and enjoy it. There’s something about being in a warm house listening to the wind whipping outside that makes me feel incredibly cozy and content—and grateful that I have what I do!

Sabres are 19-3-2, going for 20 tonight against the Rangers—and I’m sitting here watching Mystery, Alaska to get ready. Go Sabes!