Friday, October 31, 2008

M and C's Wedding

What a glorious weekend! Despite the torrential rain, everything went wonderfully. M looked stunning, C made everyone cry during his wedding toast as he talked about how much he loved M (and a special toast to my parents--he choked up; we all got teary), the wedding pies ROCKED and so did the band....

They had a dual ceremony because C is Jewish, so they stood under a chuppah (canopy spread over four poles that symbolizes the home they'll build together), signed a ketubah (Jewish prenuptial agreement, but it's a lot more--it's about pledging your love and faith, etc.), and had this pre-wedding meeting, the name of which escapes me. That part I loved because it came from ancient times when Jacob was married to older sister Leah (who wore a veil so he didn't know) instead of the younger Rachel, whom he'd been promised. Basically, the bride and groom have this meeting to ensure they're marrying the right person! Then they sign the ketubah and the parents all give advice to the B&G. Both of them got to break the glass because they had a feminist rabbi. Yeah!

On the Christian end of things, they had a minister at the ceremony (along with the rabbi) and some beautiful Bible readings. As M pointed out, they wanted to give equal time, but the Jewish faith happens to have more overt customs than the Presbyterians do. As they left, we bridesmaids and groomsmen all lit candles of the guests and the newlyweds left the ceremony in candlelight. Gorgeous.

I've never seen my sister look so entirely happy. Here are just a few of the pictures so you can see what I mean:

flowers--so beautiful!

Getting ready

Mmm...pie...(so delicious!!!)

C's father, M, R

Another good-looking couple (ahem)

First dance (Bonnie Raitt--"Not the Only One")

Crazy on the dance floor

The happy couple!

Sigh...what a happy weekend.

Happy Halloween, folks! I dressed as mid-80s Madonna today and will do so again tomorrow night with T as my roadie. Of course we'll post pics.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Hellooooo, international readers! Glad to have you along! Hope all is well in your respective countries and lives. I appreciate your reading. :-)

On a totally different note...

Favorite Parts about Autumn
  • Fall colors: the bursts of color in all trees. How could I live in Florida, where this never happens?
  • The light in the afternoon with huge clouds on one side of the sky and sunshine on the other
  • Rainy days when you get to curl up with a mug of hot [your choice] and a good book
  • Crisp autumn days with bright sun but cold enough temps to finally pull out that fun jacket
  • Little kids in pumpkin patches
  • Pomegranates
  • Stew and other comfort food
  • The smell in the air. I can't describe it; I think it's a combination of turned earth, sun, and a hint of cold air
  • Pulling out my sweaters even though I know I'll wear them for the next six months
  • Football
  • Stopping every so often to appreciate all of this; allowing myself some introspective moments
What about you? This is my favorite time of year; if it's yours, what makes you love this season as much as I do? Or, why do you love your favorite season? It's a little elementary, perhaps, but give it a shot.

A few election thoughts or, let me briefly get on my soapbox

So Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama this past weekend on Meet the Press, in case you live under a rock and did not hear. While I think that will make a difference in his campaign because, according to NPR, a lot of Independents like Powell and trust him, he made two significant points that I'd like to mention:

1) Barack Obama is not an Arab, as many who dislike/distrust him say. He's an American.

2) [More importantly, in my mind] Why should it matter if he is? He's STILL an American, despite the doubts that others have about his birthplace and his parents' legitimacy of marriage. But again, why should it matter if he is? We still, in our great and enlightened age where everyone gets to vote and we call ourselves a melting pot or a salad bowl or a choose-your-metaphor, we still have a great deal of prejudice against Arabs or anyone who "looks like one". Particularly since September 11, 2001, many Americans have had deep-seated prejudice against Arabs and Arab-Americans. To say that Obama is an Arab and have that not qualify him for presidency just shows me that we still have a lot of hatred and bigotry running through our veins, and we cannot grow or even survive as a country if we allow others to harbor these feelings. Arab still equals terrorist? Have we really gone back to WWII when we interned all the Japanese-Americans? (Yes, I know some may point out we're doing that now in our military prisons.) How do we unify as a country when we refuse to let someone who isn't an American of European descent run it?

Perhaps I'm acting naive. I don't know. I'm not sure if I agree that we should become a bilingual country or if we should unify under a national language and I'm not sure I entirely disagree with former Sen. Richard Lamm (CO-Dem)'s fears of multiculturalism. I believe that people come here for a certain kind of freedom that they can't get anywhere else. I think our country's pretty fractured right now, on various fronts, and I don't know what to do to "fix" that, for lack of a better word. How we can unify while still allowing people cultural autonomy. I go about my day, just like everyone else, and I do what I can to make it a good day and a good place for myself and those around me. But we need someone larger than us to do that for the country. We need the best candidate. Ethnicity shouldn't matter; a love for this country and a willingness to do what's best for it should.

I usually keep my opinion pretty tame on this blog with regard to these matters. Perhaps it's because I hear these sorts of narrow-minded comments at the same time we're reading To Kill a Mockingbird, where a jury convicted Tom Robinson of rape simply because of his skin color, based on the Scottsboro Trial where a similar real-life event happened. I just see too much parallel thinking along similar race-based lines.

I hope we can rise above our prejudices. I hope we can choose a candidate based on who will do the most for our country. I have an idea of who I think that person is, and it's because he's most qualified. He can lead this country in the direction it needs to go.

Whew, OK, I'm done.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Last Weekend's Fall Fun

We went to my FIL's for a visit and for Penny to race around and generally act like a dog with his three dogs. I'll treat you to a few pictures; he has a pond, which she found immediately and had a happy time racing around becoming completely muddy filthy. She did NOT like the bath she had to take as a result....

I wish I'd gotten pictures of the glorious leaves; you can see them a little bit. I love this time of year most, even though (because?) it's so fleeting.

Tonight we'll have dinner with my dad, who's in town, and my 93 year-old grandmother, who still has a sharper mind than most people I know. She's been around a while (OBviously) and, as an aside, says that while she doesn't entirely like either candidate, she's voting for Obama. I laughed my head off when, before the VP debates, she said, "Maybe Sarah Palin will bring her baby up on stage to get a few more votes." How fantastic.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Strange but True

Apparently, a doctor in Hawaii found that doing chest compressions for CPR to the beat of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" allows for the right rhythm and the proper number of beats per minute. I'm not kidding. Check out the brief article.

How bizarrely appropriate. I love it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How did it go?

Well, we lost the dance-off, but we did the sophomores proud. I just hope I haven't lost all credibility as a teacher by struttin' my stuff in front of a gym full of teenagers. Frankly, they screwed us by sending all of us to the "second round", which we had not prepared at all. I was transported right back to college as I attempted to dance to "Pump Up the Jam". Yikes. Sorry, J., no video footage of my amazingness. Now I'm off to watch the Homecoming parade, which goes right by my house.


I always love the parade. They're so proud and they do like to see me waving on the sidelines. I stood in my neighbor's driveway in the slim hope that I can keep people from knowing where I live, but I'm not sure it worked. The best part was the cast of our fall play marching and screaming "One! Flew! Over! The! Cuckoo's! Nest!" over and over.

Didn't make it to the football game because we had to clean the gutters (wheeee), but the dance, ah, the dance. Perhaps I've become an old fuddy-duddy, but good Lord, the fashions have become ugly. Apparently the new dress of choice is this banded bottom dress, which to me looks like a large sweatshirt cuff tacked on to the bottom of the dress. I found a few pictures:

Do you get how short and unattractive these make you look unless you're model-thin, and even then they're not that great? I saw TONS of versions of these dresses. Apparently leopard-print has also made a comeback. I think they theorize that they can wear a shorter dress because it won't ride up as far due to this ridiculous cuff. Some girls looked lovely, but many chose to show off their assets, if you know what I mean. The boys looked pretty standard, nothing exciting there. On the whole it remained a pretty tame experience, with a few kids smoking cigarettes and two who came back drunk, chose to fight it rather than 'fess up, and suffered the consequences. My favorite parts of the night:
  • -Colgaters, they played "It's Rainin' Men"! (Hallelujah!) And the kids knew it!
  • -I did the "Cha Cha Slide" with four members of my Brit Lit class. It rocked. You know, that slightly obnoxious but fun (yes, fun, honey--T can't STAND this song) song that tells you what to do: "One hop this time! Cha cha now, y'all. Two hops this time! Take it back now, y'all." I think I liked it best because it's impossible to dance suggestively with your date during this song.
  • -I ended the night in the foyer instead of the hot, sweaty, hormone-filled gym. Seriously lucky, folks.
  • -Some kid asked me to dance. I don't know if he got dared to do it or what, but he seemed sincere. Kind of cute, really. No, I did not dance with him.
Meanwhile, while I chaperoned, DH spent his evening at an Octoberfest our friends had and talked with Ryan Miller and Paul Gaustad (two of our best NHL hockey players) for ten minutes. Lucky jerk.

So, that's Homecoming. A little bit of Americana, kids.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Traditions both good and bad

Well, yes, time does fly! What with watching political debates, cleaning the gutters, frantically lesson planning, and having a cold which I'm forcing myself to think of as allergies, I haven't given myself a minute to write.

This weekend is Homecoming, which includes all sorts of Americana, including tonight's pep rally and Powder Puff football game (junior girls play senior girls); and parade, football game, and Homecoming Dance tomorrow night. I will chaperon the Powder Puff and the dance. Yes, they pay me, but I find it fun to do these things, particularly since I had no such events in my tiny high school. Oh, and I chose to compete in the teacher Dance-Off, which has me and two colleagues pitted against others while we do "choreographed" dance moves to the song "Cotton-Eyed Joe" and "Pump up the Jam". Anyone who's seen me do modern dance knows it's going to be quite a scene....Sisters, stop laughing. My little team will ROCK. I'll let you know how it all goes.

Today included a rather mean tradition called Freshman Friday, where upperclasspeople haze the freshmen, calling it a "rite of passage". What a crock. As I wrote before, if there's one thing I cannot stand, it's bullying of any kind. Mostly it includes writing with markers on kids, squirting them with water, and using those bingo daubers on them. We warned the students over and over again not to do it, were out in full force today, and sent at least four kids home, banning them from any Homecoming events. It's mostly sophomores and older siblings, but it scares the freshmen and I do not like them to feel unsafe. As far as I know, we just had those few incidents, but I'd love that little snippet of Americana to go away. At least my little froshies in my homeroom made it through OK; I checked on them as I saw them.

Now I'm off to take a nap before tonight's events...thank goodness it's a three-day weekend for us because I need the rest! Fortunately the weather people predicted a glorious, warm three days, so I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Do the same, my dears!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Domestic Doings

This past Sunday we did what everyone says they're going to do but does not: We cleaned our basement. Actually vacuumed, got rid of numerous daddy long-leg communities, threw things away, and set up our gym equipment, complete with treadmill, bike, [used] rowing machine, and weights. The former two pieces came from R., who acquired them from a previous trainer. We do not have piles of money to buy equipment. Oh, and we set up the iPod dock for tunes while we work out. Love it! Used it! Rocked out! Mind you, it's still concrete floor and the insects will try to stage other coups, I'm sure, but it looks fantastic compared to the mess it was. The process involved a lot of

"Why the hell do we have this?"
"I don't know. Maybe one day we'll--"
"No. Throw it out."

I wanted to take a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, but DH pointed out that at this time of year (and at other times, if I'm honest), my good intentions will sit for months until we inevitably DO throw them out. I'll work on this, promise. We also got a new filter for the vacuum cleaner and, at the risk of sounding totally 1950s, I loved vacuuming after we switched it in. I felt inspired as it zipped across the rug, sucking in any and all dirt, as opposed to the effort it made before, like a small child trying half-heartedly to use a straw on a piece of ice: Maybe something gets sucked up, but only by accident.

Plus we've got guests coming for dinner this weekend, so we HAVE to clean. It's one of the reasons I invite people over. I'm not kidding.