Wednesday, December 28, 2011

As seen in my house

Have you ever seen the advertisements for that space-saving spice rack?  The one that takes up four inches of space?

T and I saw that one evening and I said, "You know, our spices are such a mess, I'm almost tempted to call and order that," without any irony.  We have these lazy Susans of spices that predate our move to our house [shudder] and I just never got around to cleaning them out because who takes time to clean out the spice rack?  Not me.  It certainly didn't rank high on the list of priorities, even though I knew it would make life better. 

Guess what T got me for Christmas?  

I don't even have a picture of the other, two-tiered lazy Susan rack. 
It was too far back, with lots of clutter in front of it.


And Julie Andrews and a host of angels sang in the background.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Well, I must say without prejudice that J was a STAR this Christmas.  If you have read this blog with any regularity, you know that December 25 involves The Great Christmas Road Trip because we have so many people to see, and J did very well with all the traveling.  On the one hand, I feel so fortunate that we have so many relatives to spend time with and love.  On the other hand, spending time in the car going from place to place to place gets a bit tedious.  But I try to focus on the former, not the latter.  In a few years J will want to stay home to play with his toys, anyway, so that will all change.

We went to my stepdad's for Christmas Eve cocktails.  Dad gave J his little Christmas outfit, complete with reindeer footies:

 Sister E and niece C...J is finally reaching back!

Then we went to T's mother's for dinner.  She got to feed J his dinner:

 Note the footies and Dad's "classic Grandma picture!" expression

On Christmas morning we opened our own presents.  No pictures of us unkempt in our jammies, sorry: T made breakfast and I whipped together dough because when you give the gift of bread, it helps to have it fresh.  This made for a slightly hectic morning, although we had fun with our stockings and gifts, as usual.  Then we zipped over to T's father's house:

 Grandpa loved the plaid shirt...he owns many just like it.

Next, we traveled to Batavia to see my grandmother and my dad.  Grandma adores her great-grandmother status, as you can see:

 How terrific is this wrapping paper?  I've tried not to use it anymore in my green living pursuits, but I'd use this in a heartbeat.

 Happy Papa and little J

 Hooray for this Christmas thing!  

Our last stop before heading home was my mother's with my sisters and their families, along with another sumptuous meal.

 T with the two kids
Five men and a baby
(I'll have to post the women version of this once someone sends it to me!)
Home again, home again, jiggety jig by 10:45...a long but lovely Christmas.  Hope all of you had equally nice holidays!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Well, J has grown in leaps and bounds...almost crawling, almost sitting up, close to teething.  Today he reached the fabulous milestone of ratcheting his cries up to a scream when he's really hungry.  It's that cry you cringe at when you hear it in the grocery store and promptly turn your cart around and head toward...anywhere else.  But now he has a few new toys from Santa (aka grandparents), so life isn't too bad (as long as milk comes rightnowimmediatelyfasterSCREAM).  I'm pretty excited for his first Christmas and all the ensuing pictures.  He got a sweet little Christmas outfit from my dad and stepmom, so that will enhance the cuteness.  Not that I'm biased.

On a more sober note, yesterday I found out the boy I home-tutored for most of the last school year passed away on Monday.  He had a rare form of cancer and his family viewed his survival as a long shot, but boy did they try.  Kid went through surgeries, chemo, you name it.  I got him through ninth grade English... we met once a week.  We did a lot of talking about non-English related topics, mostly movies, books, Buffalo sports teams, and the annoyance of younger siblings.  Andrew was mature for his age and handled his illness with a lot of humor and calm.  A huge sports fan, he collected all sorts of memorabilia, and foundations such as Carly's Kids and Make a Wish helped him get a few more, plus visits and introductions to many of his sports heroes.  When I heard he'd died, I broke down because...why?  Why a teenage boy?  Why right before Christmas?  And then I thought about it...this last surgery was a long shot at best.  It may sound terrible, but now he doesn't have to suffer chemo or the many side effects, no more colostomy bags, no more weight loss or worrying that a simple cold would become not so simple.  T also pointed out to me that I had the privilege of giving him a normal spot in his life, even if that normalcy involved me chiding him about missed homework deadlines and making him write essays.  I'm so glad I got to work with him and get to know him.  It's one of the privileges of teaching.

But I've also begun to realize that I can do that sort of helping elsewhere, too, outside of that profession.  The idea of getting out of teaching for a while has rolled around in my subconscious for a few months now.  I'm meeting tomorrow with a colleague of my dad's who may be able to connect me with others who can help me find work.  I'm cautiously optimistic...the unemployment's running out relatively soon, and I have to have something under my belt.  In the meantime, I can remember Andrew and hug my own precious, healthy boy.  If I don't get to this site before Sunday, merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate it (and happy Hanukkah right now!) and--J is kind of crawling as I write this.  I'm going to go watch that little miracle.

Love to all of you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Look. At. This.

Today we Skyped with Papa.  These are the screen shots he took of J:



Made it!

And the world will never be the same.  

(Note: Not full-on crawling yet; lots of creeping, arms-only with occasional legs thrown in and rocking in place on all fours.  But it's coming....) 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stationery card (Shutterfly said they'd give me a $10 off gift card, so I've done a little advertising.)

Simply Modern Band Holiday Card
Create modern holiday cards with your photos at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Life lesson

Yesterday I had an interview for an English position at a local school, full time.  I prepared for it, went, answered the questions as well as I could, was my bright and charming self, created a writing sample, and...didn't get called for the second round of interviews that afternoon.  Honestly, the waiting felt worse than finding out I lost out.

That told me something, something that's swirled around in my mind for a while (what I wouldn't give for a Pensieve some days): Maybe I should take a break from teaching.  Maybe the universe or some Higher Power has given me the signal that I can use my other skills and interests to do something.  I love teaching, love it dearly, but the paperwork--grading essays, homework, you name it--tripped me up even before I had J.  I can do it...I can get things done, but it's not my strong point when I don't have a deadline imposed on me by someone else.  I don't do self-imposed deadlines well at all because somewhere in my head, I believe it's not a big deal if I don't meet it.  Somehow I don't get that not meeting that deadline means less sleep, less time with T, more stress.  I know it but I don't. 

I certainly don't think going into a job other than teaching will be...easier.  I just think it might be better suited for me.  Right after I found out I didn't get the callback from this place, I immediately called this person my dad knows who can help me find something.  We've got a lunch coming up, we discussed the idea of international student programs (Trick Panda, may need some help on this from your end on this--I'd love to know more about St. Margaret's program if this comes to fruition), using my languages, editing and writing, and I began to get excited.  It felt good to think about using my other talents as well.

This probably sounds repetitive, but I know now that getting cut from my last job has become one of the most serendipitous events in my life.  I would never, ever have had all this time to spend with my son otherwise.  And I wouldn't have the chance to expand my horizons on the job front, either.  Thanksgiving has come and gone, but I find myself still, every day, deeply thankful and grateful for my life and the course it's taking.  What a surprise.