29 December 2011

In the Coming Year

A couple of months ago, my Mum proposed the idea that she and I should do the half marathon - See Jane Run.

When Mum mentioned it, I had just under a year to train, which seemed entirely doable.  I said Yes, and began training, sorta..... I have only really begun running the past couple of weeks.  Already I have seen such improvements so as to completely excite me and keep me pressing onward.  I have decided to further challenge myself.

I have been wanting to do the Danskin Women's Triathlon for almost 6 years. I had even signed up for it one year, but found out I was pregnant with my daughter, and decided it was not the right time for me to do it.  I *will* do it in 2012 though!

This race is my favorite.  I do it every year.  I love the obstacles, the team aspect, the free beer, etc. Really, who knew a race could be so much fun!!

This is one a friend posted today.  She was asking for folks to join her in training... Looks fun; I just might.

19 December 2011

This is the Word....

I am a writer; it is one of the art forms that I feel I wield well.  I love to paint pictures with words, grammar as the stroke of my brush. The creation of a story is the drawing of a world into being, and this art form is my chosen medium of expression.

Currently, I am most excited about an idea that has been percolating for easily  two decades.  All of my interests and studies lead right back to one place.  It hit me, this correlation, quite recently.  I had noticed many "trends," if you will, in things I was studying, but had never put two plus three together to get the answer five before this.

Upon making the connections, I began planning a book.  This book is turning into a tome in the sheer scope of research that I must complete before being able to fully write on the subject.  However, I have been mulling over the beginning in my head since the inception of the idea.  Today, I sat down and wrote it. Now I am off and running.....

16 December 2011

My Crafty Side

I made some very important decisions last night. I love making things, to the point where, if I am not creating something new, I feel a bit anxious and unfulfilled. That is one of the reasons that I began my etsy shop.  I wanted to make what I love more than just a hobby.  However, I believe that the shop has taken from me some of the love that I have for the craft-ing.

I have not been terribly successful on Etsy. I think that the amount of time and self promotion that is needed to stand out from the crowd, is more than I really want to invest. I want to just be free to make the things that I love most, and not have to try to market them as well.  It is just too much effort and energy doing something I really don't care to do.

So, I have decided to let the listings in my Etsy shop expire.  I shall no longer pursue that avenue for peddling my wares.  I don't know if this is a permanent, but it is definite for right now.  I am very serious about being the writer I claim to be, and so I need to clear my plate of  several activities that get in the way of my progress.

Currently I am in the research phase of a book that I have to write.  This book requires my concentration and is calling my name.  Until further notice, I am hanging up the Etsy hat.

06 November 2011

The Letter

I sit here, the letter that I had written to my Grandmother still within my sight....

I spent two very glorious, yet very sad days with my ailing grandmother last week.  My grandmother was dying of lung cancer, and rather than attend her funeral, I chose to spend what little money that I had saved up, on a plane ticket to go and be in her presence.

Cancer is an evil, terrible, horrible disease that should be eradicated from our universe.  To see someone you love so emaciated that you can bear witness to each and every bone within their body. To be in constant pain, each and every day, a pain that copious doses of morphine, oxycottons, and various other pills cannot but dull a little.  To have to trade awareness and lucidity for a reprieve from suffering..... only to drown in your own bed...... I hate Cancer......

I was blessed to be able to see my Grandmother before she passed.  I will forever be grateful of the time spent. The hospice where she was for her last few months of life was operated by this amazing family.  They allowed me to spend the night with her and care for her as much as I was able.

As I packed up my stuff, she told me that she wished I didn't have to go.  I agreed that I would prefer to stay a bit longer, but that I was unable. She understood, but asked that I not forget her, and that I write a letter.  I promised to do so. I kept that promise too.  I wrote to her the very next morning after I arrived home.  I was going to stamp it and send it to her..... when I got the news......

30 October 2011

Grandma Ann

My family history is scandalous, as is most everyone's.  Mine, however, holds a bit of extra scandalous sauce.  My mother was an "adopted" child.  I put this word in quotations as I am not certain that the adoption was ever actually legal and finalized.  Her birth mother did not choose to give her up, nor did she even know where she was placed.  This was the result of a vindictive husband, who didn't want the children, but did not want for her to have them.  My mother was never given the full story, but was raised to believe that her birth mother had abandoned her.

Several years ago, I found out that my mother was adopted. I became curious about my biological grandparents.  I had the displeasure of meeting the biological grandfather.  He was an ass and treated me as if I were filth.  All this before I was even made aware of who he was in my genetic map. I was horrified and hurt when I found out who he was.  I decided to try and find my biological grandmother.

About three years ago I took up this task in earnest.  One of my favorite activities is research, and I am good at it.  It did not take long, and I was able to get in touch with my Grandmother, I even had her phone number.  we made a date to talk on the phone, and believe me, I was nervous... until I started talking to her.

The first time that I spoke with my Gma Ann, we spoke for a good couple of hours. She was funny, charming, informative, etc.  I truly enjoyed her personality, and wanted the opportunity to get to know her. Sadly, her health was failing. So many years that we were robbed of, how does one make up for that, she in Oregon, and me in Texas.

Today, I got the news that she is close to her last moments on this plane of existence.  I have feared this moment would come.  It pains me to think that I still have not even had the opportunity to look into her eyes.  So tonight I contemplate spending the bulk of my savings so that I may spend a few moments in her presence.........

20 October 2011

Number 4?

I have a huge love for children, and a great deal more patience for them than I do for the average adult human.  I believe that they all deserve the best chances and opportunities possible during their childhood.  That is what makes childhood great.  I was very fortunate growing up.  I lived in a home with a mom and dad who loved me dearly and provided for me anything I could wish for.  I took ballet, had a pony, had access to more books than I could read..... Even decisions that, at the time, seemed to be cruel, were actually for my benefit (i.e. my parents' decision not to have a television in the house.)

As a result of my upbringing, I am grateful, and have a huge ache in my heart for those who do not share the same sort or similar of advantages of being in a loving home.  I do not want to be one of those people who feels empathy towards those less fortunate, but I want to be one of those people who actively works to better the lives of those around me.  Which brings me to my real reason for writing.....

My daughter very recently started kindergarten.  She is a remarkable and spirited young lady with a heart of gold.  I cannot sing the praises of my daughter enough.  I truly love and admire her.  That is besides the point,  though.  It is within her experience as a kindergartener that she has come across some other amazing individuals.  One such is her "reading buddy."

Each week, at least once, the children in Kinder are sent to go and work with a reading mentor, a child from 5th or 6th grade.  These mentors help them develop the skills to become stellar readers.  My sweet daughter has been particularly blessed to have the most amazing of mentors, a phenomenal child that I am glad to have the pleasure to know.

The girl that mentors my daughter approached me in the halls the first time I met her.  She came and told me that my daughter is doing remarkably well in her class, and is a joy to be around.  One of the next times I saw her was on a particularly difficult morning.  My daughter did not want to go to school, and she was crying and wouldn't let go of me.  This sweet little girl came up to us and addressed my daughter, asking her to walk her into school. My daughter responded immediately and took her hand, walking happily inside the building.  Each time I have seen her mentor, she has been loving and kind and truly just an absolute pleasure.

Having been so impressed by this girl's kindness toward my daughter, I  wanted to inquire of her teacher to see if it would be alright to give the girl a little something for Christmas.  I went after school to her teacher and asked. Her teacher said absolutely it would be alright. Then I sang the praises of her mentor and told her how happy I was that my daughter had been placed with her.  That is when I found out her story.

The little girl that has been so kind and loving to my daughter is quite effectively an orphan. I was floored when I heard this.  My immediate response was, "How do I go about adopting her?"  Of course, that was a knee-jerk reaction, but it got me thinking.  Why not?  We have the means....

I have thought about the possibility of her being abused, and in turn becoming an abuser.  I have considered that that might effect my children adversely.  At this point, I believe I am in the "information gathering" stage. My daughter's teacher is going to inquire a wee bit into the matter.  From there, I can consider where to go.  At this point, however, the situation looks promising, and I am hopeful.

18 October 2011

Promises, Promises

Yesterday, during casual conversation, a new friend shared some Words of Wisdom from her Mother that truly hit home with me.  We were discussing her resolve to quit smoking, when she told me about breaking a promise to one's self.  According to her mother, breaking a promise to yourself is a huge blow to your self esteem.

Consider that your inner, or higher self, knows what the next step in your development should be.  You know the path that you should be on.  For instance, you know that by quitting smoking you will be healthier.  You promise yourself that on such-and-such a day, you will walk away from this bad habit and never look back.  This is truly the best choice for you.

Two weeks after making this decision, you falter and go back to old, unhealthy habits.  This action is telling your subconscious that this much needed change that would have a positive effect on your development is not important because you are not important.  You are undermining your self worth. 

This idea stayed with me.  It puts a whole lot of weight on new resolutions.....  Samhain is coming up, and I usually write my Top 25 goals for the year.  These are the things that I would like to manifest in my life over the coming year.  ..... I am ready......

03 September 2011

Bringin' Back the Good Ole Days!

I have convinced my S.O. that we really and truly need to make the other structure on our property into a library.  I have always wanted a library, as those of you who read my blog regularly may recall.  I have been collecting books my whole life in hope that one day I will have one.  That day is soon coming now. So, it is also about time that we bring back the Bookplate.

Bookplates hit the height of popularity at the end of the Victorian Era, or so my research tells me.  It is a sad thing that they fell from fashion, however, as there are so many lovely designs. What better way to mark ownership?  Certainly, a special inscription inside the cover is nice, but only when is comes in a book delivered as a gift.

It is always a welcome surprise when I pick up an old book from a bygone era, at a yard sale or used book store, and find an old book plate inside the cover.  I fantasize about who that person must have been, building my story upon the type of book chosen as well as the type of bookplate.

So, the questions now posed are these:  What sort of bookplate(s) should I choose?  Do I use a different style for each genre?  Do I design my own, or draw from the tradition?  The one below is a stamp that one can place within their book with just a wee bit of ink.... (though I am partial to the actual paper inserts.)

I best get started.  I have over 1,000 books that are begging for bookplates....

05 August 2011


As I have written on more than one occasion, I am terribly book obsessed.  Books were my first friends, and my dearest companions.  To this day, if I need a bit of comfort on a dreary day, I look to books to provide that for me.  In fact, I carry a book with me everywhere I go, and feel naked if this significant detail is somehow overlooked in a day. My love runs deep, so I was excited when I found Bookfessions, a blog collection of bibliophile's confessions.  I can relate to most each and every one of them....

The internet has gifted me with so many different sources for fueling and organizing my book fever.  There are two other sites that I would like to share with you, Library Thing and Goodreads.  I use them both regularly, but for different reasons, which I will explain..

Library Thing is an online database where one can keep track of all the books on their bookshelves. You can tag each one with helpful info so that you can easily search you library later in order to find various books.

I really enjoy the community aspect of Library Thing.  Each time you add a book you can see all of the other members that have the same book.  Often this is not very interesting, but if you have a rare book, and there are only a couple of other members that also have a copy, it can be the start of a good conversation.

Library Thing also compares your library with that of other members which is always fun to find a kindred soul who shares a similar library.  If you are like me, that is one of the first things I do when I visit a new friend's house, I peruse their book collection attempting to glean information about them, this just cuts to the chase.

If you decide to join Library Thing, please look me up.  My username is SpookySpice.  I have been a member of this site since it was in beta and I have yet to finish adding all of my books, but that is a because I keep getting new ones before I finish adding all of the old ones....

My second book tool is Goodreads.  You might be wondering why I would need another book recording site, when I already have Library Thing, but I can easily explain this.  I am, as you know, and avid book reader.  I read constantly and not all of the books that I read are in my personal collection.  Many of them I borrow from friends or the library.  This being so, I can't really add them to my Library Thing shelf, can I?  So, my solution is to record then in Goodreads.  I try to write a simple review for each book I read as well.

As you may have noticed, there is a link to my shelf on the sidebar of this page.....

I have only been a member of Goodreads for a little over 3 years now, and have only been adding books as I read them, not often from the past. As such, my list is incomplete, but that is a project for another day. ....

29 July 2011

A tisket a tasket

UPDATE: The space that my partner and I were going to move our shop into did not work out.  We were two days away from signing paperwork, and we got the call.  It was heartbreaking, but we decided that we could find something better.  For now, I am working on a website where we will conduct our business.  I will have more details on that, coming soon....

In my crafting life, I have begun making dolls again.  It used to be that for each of my friends' birthdays I would make them a doll that was fashioned in their likeness.  I haven't done that in years though.  In fact, it wasn't until recently that I have begun making dolls again. 

It used to be that I was only making cloth dolls, but I have recently taken to altering plastic dolls, such as barbies. Here is one I made at the request of my daughter....
I hand stitched all the beads and such onto her outfilt, and made her headpiece and various bits of jewelry from Creative Paperclay.  It is an awesome clay.  It is water based, and dries to a porcelain like clay.  It hardens without baking.  I am currently working on this mermaid, made from the same clay and the remains of a doll attacked by our puppy....
Trust me, it was not easy to find two shells small enough to be cover her wee breasts.  All she needs now is to have her hair done, her makeup, and some fabulous jewels!

This last doll I made one evening while hanging out with a friend.  We decided it was time to get back into sewing doll.  I decided to make mine a fairy.
My daughter, who assisted me in painting the doll's face, named her Flower Rosey Daisy.  I thought that was a good name for a fairy. 

20 July 2011

Crazy Busy in this Crazy Life!!

So, as you may recall from my last post, I am busy working on my boutique and getting life in line for doing that.  The space that we had been offered did not work out as planned.  This, indeed, was a disappointment, but not the end for Modern Edwardian.  Our search continues to find a more ideal space for our physical presence.

In the meantime, I have been working on our website.  It is coming along quite nicely.  I cannot wait to have something to publish online and share with you all.  I am hoping that will be possible in just a short month!!

In other news, (very exciting news, indeed), my work has been featured on a blog!! YEAH!  GreenMan's Grotto is the name of the blog.  You really must check it out.  It is fabulous.  Just click on the Green Man below to be transported....

08 July 2011

The Works

So, Sunday my partner and I go and look at a possible retail space.  We are going into business!! That is what I have been bubbling over about, unable to sleep or shut down my overactive mind.  Yesterday, we got our DBA, and it is looking very much like this is actually going to happen for us!!  Oh, the excitement is at 11.

Care to know the name of this little venture of ours?  The Modern Edwardian ~ For those with a Flair for the Dramatic.  You like?  I have also put together a few logo/promotional designs.  I will post them here so you can tell me what you think.

That is the first design.  I did another version of it, that is just a different color, but it gives it a whole new look.

This one is not as simple, but quite in line with the style and presentation we are looking to convey.


And the last one, though I will likely make many more, is this.  It could easily be converted to a business card, once we are sure of the location....

Wish us well, and let us know what you think of the designs.

06 July 2011

Christmas In July!!

www.,I have named today's post Christmas in July for many reasons. One reason is that I am participating in the Etsy-wide sale of the same name.  All of the items in my Etsy shop will be offered for 20% off this month; you need only input the coupon code CIJ20 at checkout. So happy shopping at my shop and thousands of others who are participating this month!

The sale is only one of the many reasons July is feeling like Christmas.  This month is shaping up quite nicely:

  • I got a library card and have been exercising this fine privilege.
  • I have begun a workout regimine with a dear friend
  • My book (the one I have begun writing) is coming along swimmingly!
  • I am feeling a huge creative surge, and have been able to bring many ideas to fruition.

Some reasons I am not at liberty to speak of, but as soon as I am, I will be posting here immediately.... 

05 July 2011

Another 4th of July has come and gone...

Yesterday was the 4th of July.  Austin was fairly dead.  There were no festivities to be had, so many of the the folks that normally crowd the streets of our fair city did not come into town.  I didn't much mind this.  I prefer less people in most situations.

Most of the day, the family and I lounged around the yard.  I put up the hammock and relaxed.  I have realized that there have not been enough hours spent on that hammock. I am going to have to make up for that in the coming weeks.

In the evening, a good friend joined us for a trip out to Georgetown, where they were still having a fireworks display.  Here are some of the resulting photos.

I love the many colors in this photo....

This photo reminds me of a jellyfish.....
How about this for a bit of crazy fun?

And this looks like the Big Finale......

Much fun was had by all.  What did you do on your 4th?

01 July 2011

Grandma's Cookbook Collection Part II

Today I am featuring another of Grandma's exquisite cookbooks.  This one is from 1958 and is put out by Good Housekeeping.  The title is Book of Salads.  Check out the front cover, super chic.

 Note that this sold for only $.39. What a steal!  I really love the artwork in this cookbook.  It takes kitsch to a higher level.

This very precious book has illustrations of this sort on every page.  My favorite, however, is the one for Green Goddess Salad.  Honestly, I though this sort of salad was a modern invention... Learn something new every day....

And, finally, a peek at one of the fabulous full color photos....

30 June 2011

My Morning Routine

     I am not a morning person, never have been. However, being the mother of school age children, I must put on a "morning face" and enter the world hours before I would care to.  The way I am able to do this is by getting up obscenely early.  If I am able to have my breakfast, meditate or read, and watch the sun rise, all before waking my children, I find that I am much easier to be around. 
      Summer has lessened this burden a bit, though, since our time constraints are not as rigid.  Now I get up around 7:30 and eat my breakfast, perhaps do a bit of writing.  Then I go outside and water that plants.  This is one of my favorite times of the day.  Here I can see all the changes that took place as I slept.  It may not seem possible, but new worlds can open over night.  In fact, I recently scattered some loofah seeds, on a whim.  My friend was clearing out some boxes and happened upon a plastic bag of these seeds that someone had given her years ago.  I thought they were likely goners, but decided to scatter a few to see.  This is what I discovered this morn:  
     There are several spots where the loofah seeds are sprouting.  I am pleasantly surprised.
      I have also found that my beloved Aloe is doing well after the last rain.
       She had babies!!

And remember yesterday?  I mentioned that I LOVE chocolate?  Well my chocolate mint plant is taking off, and I am absolutely thrilled.  I planted her below my kitchen window so that I can catch a whiff of her sweetness each time I open the window.

29 June 2011

Sketch #3 - Favorite Food

     Chocolate is most definitely my favorite food, though I don't eat it very often.  I try not to, so that it remains a sacred, treasured food.  I only eat the finest of dark, bitter chocolate as well.  This also ensures the maximum amount of enjoyment.
     Have you ever eaten anything you love so often that the thrill and pleasure of it no longer holds the same intensity?  I have, and I want that never to happen with chocolate.  Practicing restraint allows me to always feel that charge and mouthwatering goodness as I bring the first piece of chocolate to my lips.....

28 June 2011

Favorite Animal - Sketch #2

There simply aren't enough Giraffes in my life.  They live so far from my own residence that I only have wee stuffed versions of them about the house.  *sigh* 

26 June 2011


I have been working on my sketch challenge.  I have finished 3 to the degree that I am ready to share them.  Today I will share the first; it is my self portrait.  The face may not be mine, but various symbols in and around my hair are me.  Let me explain a bit. 

In my hair, at the bottom right, I have done my best to mimic the drawings of my daughter.  She is, quite honestly, one of my favorite artists.  Her characters have such style and whimsy. 

Up from my daughter's drawings are expressions in Arabic.  These expressions are not only common phrases in Arabic, but they are also mottoes I live by and through which I navigate the world.

The animals (frog, owl, giraffe, and bee) are my totem animals. 

On the opposite side (left), you will see the stars and moon.  I am a night person and stargazer.  I look to the heavens constantly.

The tree is one of my favorite subjects in my art - drawing, photography, etc.  I feel most comfortable in the mountains amongst skyscraping trees.

I am holding a book, of course while wearing the jade necklace that my beloved gave me when he first professed his love, and my throat chakra is glowing because I love to express myself through language and by singing.

06 May 2011

Another 30 Day Challenge

Remember a couple of months ago when I was doing the "30 Letters in 30 Days?"  Well, I did finish it (in more like 60 days), but I removed it from my blog after the first 8, as I thought it was getting more personal than I cared for this blog to be.  I have decided, instead, to include this challenge in my blog.  Just so y'all know, I likely will not post daily, but more like a couple times a week.  Yes, art is personal and one can bear their soul to the world within their work, but there is always a bit of anonymity as well. Well, here goes, stay tuned......

12 April 2011

The Green House

I have been making jewelry and clothing for a great long while.  Actually, I have been crafting since longer than I can remember.  It is a family tradition, one might say. My mother is gifted in working with her hands, whether it be sewing, knitting, or anything else.  I, not so talented, but willing to put in the work. Though I have always been a maker/doer, I have never had more than a virtual corner in which to display my wares.... Until now.

New to the fine city of Austin, Green House is a boutique that carries the works of local artists and crafters.  They are situated in the heart of what is Austin, and they embody the unique feel that makes this city great.  (The address is 701 E. 53rd.). It has so very exciting to me as I have put my wares here and in less than a month I have had to restock!  They haven't even had their Grand Opening yet!!  
 In the short time that they have been open, I have learned about how to better marked myself on, as well as offline. I have been ramping up my Etsy shop, listing new items regularly and getting involved with teams.  I will do a separate blog post on the marketing end later....
Another plus to putting my items in this boutique is that I can test new products and get actual results and reactions from real live people!  I have been doing this, as it is inspiring to have a real audience, as opposed to virtual.  My Etsy shop has not allowed me this.  Now I can test items and place them in my Etsy if they are in demand. Very cool.
The actual opening party will take place on May 7th from 10am to 10 pm and will be an event *not* to be missed.  There will be live music, cocktails, a local artist's work in the gallery, and tons of fabulous  locally handcrafted goodies!!  I hope that you all can come and hang out with me!!

21 February 2011

Andriod Apps - *My* Top Ten List

I have only recently become part of the "Android World." Though I desired an android phone since the G1 first came out, on an unemployed student's budget, I recognized the greater need for frugality. Now, however, I am a graduate, am gainfully employed, and actually have reason for owning an android powered phone.

In the few short months I have owned my smart phone, (2 months actually), I have collected some amazingly useful and geekishly cool apps.  Also, since I still cling to my frugal self, they are all free apps.  My top ten findings I shall share here, in alphabetical order:

1)  Any Memo:  How many hours in your life do you suppose you spend waiting?  We wait in grocery lines, lobbies, on the phone, etc. Why not use that otherwise "wasted" time to learn something new, or review something that  you learned long ago? Any Memo is a flash card app that contains flash cards on everything from Languages to Geography to Math.  I use mine to study Arabic.  I have found it makes waiting *so* much easier.  In fact, more than once, as my wait ended, I found myself thinking, "Damn! So soon?"

2)  Endomondo:  This is my personal trainer app.  It keeps track of your workouts.  It connects to GPS and can track a course you run, walk, or whatever.  Then it will save it for you. You can work on beating your record, or you can sync with a friend for a bit of friendly competition.  In addition, there is a handy playlist feature that pulls media of your choosing for play during your workout.  With such a tool, who needs a gym?

3)  GList:  This is my shopping list app. Whenever I run out of an item (i.e. foodstuffs, hand soap, etc.), I add it to the appropriate list and it is there when I go to the store, provided I don't forget my phone.  As I walk the aisles and acquire the items on my list, I can check  them off.  At the checkout, I press "checkout,"  and those items are removed from the list. What I especially like about this app is that is saves all previous items added into a list so that I don't have to retype them each time.  For items I use often, like almond milk, this is very convenient, just "check" it and it is back on the grocery list.

4)  Google Sky Maps:  This app has brought the amazing coolness!  I have always been a star gazer.  I even entertained the idea of being an astronomer...once... before I realized the amount of math involved.  With this app, though, I am able to wax brilliant and educated as I name every star visible in the sky!  I just hold up my phone, start the app, and the sky map tells me the name and mirrors the location of all I see... It is a beautiful universe!

5)  Laputa:  This is my kindle, except I don't have to carry multiple devices, just my phone.  Laputa is an Ebook reader that is connected to many free download sites.  I am currently reading the Dresden File books, turning each virtual page with delight.

6)  Posterous:  As an obsessive microblogger, intent on chronicling my life, I have a myspace, twitter, facebook account, tumblr, etc. I want to update them consistently, but not separately as that would take a ridiculous amount of time and is most inconvenient.  Posterous allows me to update multiple sites in one go.  Yeah! for saving time and keeping my peeps up-to-date!

7)  Shazam:  Have you ever been in a coffee shop and heard your new fave song, but don't know the artist or title?  This brilliant app will allow you to hold up your phone, capture a snippet of the music, and it will respon with Artist, Song, Album Title, and other relevant information.  Brilliant!

8)  ShopSavvy:  As I have mentioned, I have frugal tendencies.  Hell, frugal is my chosen lifestyle!  This being so, when I find something that I desire, I scan the barcode. In one scan, all my comparison shopping is done for me. I can choose the cheapest local or web price, then, fully informed, I can acquire the item.  Or, if I deem it too expensive, I can add it to the appropriate wish list.  I will also set a price alert, so that if the item falls to a specified price or below, I will be alerted so that I can make my purchase.

9)  Springpad:  This is my catch all notepad. Whenever I have a thought, idea, hear a quote, etc. I put it here.  I collect these and organize them in their proper places later.  This frees me from my previous mountain of paper notes.

10) Toodledo:  This one just might be my absolute *favorite* app.  This is my virtual To Do list.  I have always written To Dos on paper, sometimes multiple lists in a day.  The paper notes are cumbersome and easily misplaced, but the feeling of checking off a completed task.  Toodledo allows me to organize and keep tidy all of my tasks.  I can also add due dates and reminders.  The whole system is quite fabulous, and yet another paper saver!  Apps help people Go Green, haha!

So, these are my top ten, but I am always on the hunt for cool apps.  So, if you share any that I can add to my arsenal, anything that assists me in my mission to take over the world, you will be remembered in the regime change.

03 February 2011

Lesson Plans

I have just finished my first week as a tutor in our local school district.  From this one week I learned much.

Before I began work, I was told about the reputations of the two schools I would be working at. One school is known to be academically superior to the other.  In addition, the one that lacks academically is said to be populated with ill mannered students and a great deal of violence.  Though I only have one week worth of experience in these two schools, I can honestly say that the assessment of the two is far from correct.

In the more prestigious high school I have met some really fabulous kids. However, just as many are rude and disrespectful.  In one of my classes, I encountered an entire group of students who would not stay on task, and who used their very expensive smart phones to text throughout the period.    I learned from this class that I needed to be much more stern with the class as a whole, which only made some of them angry, rather than garnering more respect and participation...

In the "other" school, I had an amazing time. I met really smart, engaged, and enthusiastic students.  They all participated and seemed to enjoy the tutorials.  I did not have any troubles with any of the students, and I was disappointed when the day ended much too soon.

So, what was different between the two schools?  I have analyzed this thoroughly, and feel that I understand what makes them different.  In the first school, all the teachers that facilitate the tutoring sessions do so differently.  However, they all bear similarities in how they differ from the program in the second school: 

  • At the first school, the teachers seem indifferent to the students, yet at the second the teacher greets everyone by name and checks in with them as they walk into the classroom.  This can be as simple as asking how they are that day to inquiring about a test in a specific class.
  • In the first school, the students break up into the same groups every time. However, in the second school, the teacher splits up the students based upon the similarities in their questions.
  • At school #1, the teachers have them go directly into the tutorial, while at school #2 the teacher introduces a "fun" question to let everyone chat about themselves for a few minutes.
These are the three major differences in how the classes are organized, however, there are many other differences that are much more subtle.  In all, I would say that the teacher in school #2 is exceptional.  She is the sort of teacher that I hope to be, and I am definitely taking notes about the way she handles various situations and how she structures her classroom, and I will write more about this later....

26 January 2011

Oh! What a "Tangled" web.....

Way to go, Disney!  Thank you for taking a (mostly) harmless fairy tale and infusing it with wickedly insidious stereotypes. Sure, we are all aware that this sort of thing has been taking place in Disney movies since their beginning, but times surely have changed, right?

Wrong!  I took my daughter to see Tangled today.  This was to be our special "Mommy and Me" activity. However, not five minutes into it I was questioning my choice of movies.  The main antagonist in the movie is the only non-Caucasian in the whole film.  She appears to be of gypsy stock with black, kinky curls. While our protagonist is a lovely young Miss with long, flowing, straight golden hair.  To add insult to injury, the antagonist's name is Mother "Goth"el.

Yes, yes, I know that in the end, the Princess does have short brunette locks with an anachronistically "hip" hairstyle.  However, let us not forget that at her most exceptional moment, when she was full of magick, she was sporting golden locks...

So, Disney, I must again Thank You for doing your worst and attempting to convince my ethnically diverse children, mothered by an old school goth, that all things dark must certainly be evil, and further ingraining the idea that all things good, pure, and magickal are blond....

I won't even get into the wretched anti-crone stereotypes that are represented here....

17 January 2011

Pain in Mind

Once upon a time, I entered into a creative endeavor with the closest of my small circle of friends. I did so because for me, creating is the way I share myself, and doing this with another person is a way I express my deep love for them.  Unfortunately, this endeavor did not go well, and it ended a close friendship in a dark and dreadful manner.

I have tried to examine my role in the demise of this friendship countless times, but I did not see it coming, nor did I ever have reason to think we were having troubles.  Yes, it could be that I was blind and ignored important signs, but the way in which the situation was handled by her did not allow me any room to explore the problems that were created.  She wrote me a letter "breaking up" with me, then proceeded to speak scathingly of me to many of our mutual friends.  Granted, she may have been working through the situation and her feelings by talking to folks we both knew, but she said very harmful  and hurtful things, and never once spoke to me directly.

The loss of a treasured friend can be devastating to anyone, and I definitely grieved for a great long while.  I would feel a pit it my stomach when I thought of her. I dreamt about her.  I gathered all of her belongings and tried to put them out of my home to keep the pain from returning unexpectedly.  Honestly, it was like experiencing a death in the family.

I did reach out to her, after a time.  I had had a particularly vivid dream about her and felt that perhaps it was time to make peace with the situation.  As I thought of how horrible she had treated me, I thought perhaps I must have hurt her in unspeakable ways for her to have been so cruel.  I wrote her a lengthy letter explaining my deepest regrets for the way things had ended between us and letter her know that she was important to me and that I was sorry for whatever I had done to cause such animosity.

She responded rather quickly to my letter, calling me a liar and questioning my integrity.  If she held back anything, I could not tell.  This response sealed the deal for me.  I sealed up that part of my emotions and wrote her off in the process. Granted, we still had mutual friends, but we somehow never ran into each other after that... Until recently.

In the past year or so, we have been able to make a sort of peace.  We have been at a couple of the same events and have avoided the awkwardness that one would expect.  However, the hopes of a continued friendship have been carefully swept from my horizons.  I have accepted this... honestly!  It is our dear friend JC who has not.

JC is an amazing and wonderful girl.  She sees the world in ways I do not, and her view is lovely.  As far as friends go, she is of a rare breed.  She is one of the truest, most loyal and loving people I know.  I truly adore her, and she is loyal to both of us.  As such, it pains her for the two of us not to be close and to share the bond the three of us had shared in the past.  Since we found our peace with the situation, she has been trying to put us in the same places more often.  I suppose she sees a glimmer of the past, and in it, hope. I just don't know how to tell her that the past can never be again.  I can't open myself up to invest in that relationship again, and that the "ex" and I are not even the same people anymore.....