Monday, December 29, 2008

Read any good books lately?

Our society is growing stupider by the second, gentle readers!! My proof? Think about the question we pose to acquaintances that we know we must talk to politely but have no idea what to say:
How 'bout that weather, huh?
This is a Question for All Seasons in Texas, where a spell of perfectly normal, seasonally-appropriate weather is so out of the ordinary that it's worth a comment. But it's not likely to be a lengthy conversation ...
Oh yeah, 84 the day after Christmas, back down to 40 the next day ... um ... sun's shining ... yup.
... nor is it likely to be edifying ...
I keep a weather glass in my house that lets me know when the barometric pressure is falling or rising, but the layman can tell by the presence of rain or strong winds whether (ha!) a cold or warm front is coming through, and it's safe to say that structures erected on the north Texas landscape have had an impact on what kind of weather we get around here nowadays--for instance ...
Suddenly, I don't care if weather talk is edifying or not.

Anyway, I'm on a one woman mission to resurrect an excellent question:
Read any good books lately?
It's an excellent question! And lemme tell ya, carrying Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses around my grandmother's house through Christmas was an excellent conversation starter even if I did get a few funny looks! The world would be a much better, smarter place if we gave less of our time up to discussing the weather and spent it instead giving discourse on the last novel, short story or poetry collection, or essay we read.

So, gentle readers, read any good books lately? Then do leave a comment!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

News so great you'll splode!

(For those of you reaching for your dictionaries, "splode" is a Cute Overload term that, not shockingly, means "explode," but cutely.)

It's a very Very Special Loquacious Loquat kinda day over here at ... well, the Loquacious Loquat. I hope the readership will be pleased with this one:
Hello,

Alexis is doing good. She is walking more. YEA! She is now walking from chair to chair at therapy. She does have a person on each side of her, but she is holding mostly her own weight. She walked 3 times about 10 steps each time. She even started stepping backwards to sit down. YEA! She is so excited about walking. Alexis walks on a treadmill in the water at water therapy one day a week also. She loves water therapy. She can't wait for Thursdays. I can't wait till the pictures come back so that I can show you all of her progress. MIRACLES DO HAPPEN.

At school, Alexis's best friend Emily is having some competition. (Emily has been out sick alot) Alexis is receiving letters from other friends saying "Taylor is Alexis's best friend" When Alexis walks down the ramp, Taylor and Emily had to figure out a schedule so they could take turns. So, Monday, is Emily day to walk down the ramp with Alexis. Tuesday is Taylor's day to walk down the ramp with Alexis. Wednesday is Emily's day to walk down the ramp. Thursday, is Taylor's day to walk down the ramp. Friday, both girls walk with Alexis down the ramp. I am so glad that the kids accept and love Alexis.

I did have another situation with one teacher. It is the same teacher as before. She again didn't send home the work for Alexis then gave Alexis a paper for a grade. So, I had to remind her that I am willing and want to help Alexis by reviewing any work from school prior to being graded on the work. This teacher just doesn't want to follow the IEP, which is the law. I am tired of her wasting my time. So I sent a letter to her bosses. The rest of the school is AWSOME. So, I am hoping that this one teacher starts doing what she is suppose to do, to help Alexis and stop wasting my time, arguing with her.

Alexis is getting alot of mail. One card came from Spain. Then, Alexis received a card offering her to go on an airplane ride in the Spring. Cool! Alexis received 126 cards in one day. She is having so much fun reading each card, and finding the location where the card came from. Alexis looks on the globe or map to find where each card comes from. Alexis enjoys reading the comments people write in the cards. One person wrote "Santa told me to send you mail, and I do what Santa tells me" I KNOW THAT SANTA IS REAL. Alexis has proof. One person wrote "I am elderly and I can't see to drive, so I wrote a letter" Ahh. I decided to call Alexis's mail ANGEL MAIL. I appreciate that people are taking time from their busy day and thinking of Alexis. I believe that there are angels that come to Alexis's rescue. I know we are blessed. One person sent me an email from Pennsylvania and saying that the district will be sending Alexis mail and that "Alexis has a heart which only one could wish for." "I wish that I personally did know her" She continued to say "The true reason for this time of year-giving" This was a beautiful email. I am proud to be Alexis's mom. I am proud that Alexis is a giver and does touch peoples heart from all over the globe. We are having so much fun with the mail. It is so exciting everyday.

We went to see Santa at the Cleveland Sight Center. I said to Alexis "Do you think Santa will have a present for me?" Alexis said "You get a present everyday mommie" then she said "I give you smiles and make you laugh every day and that is the best present mommie" I said "You are right Alexis"

I have attached a picture for you. It takes a minute of two to download, but it is really a cute Christmas picture.

Love,
Rachel and Alexis
You can also see her picture here. She's a cute girl! :) I hope you wrote to her too!

A sad anniversary

I ought to have written this yesterday, but I didn't have much computer time and didn't get back home until 2 AM (and just the thought of that is making me sleepy all over again). That said, I published this a year ago today, and I would like to reissue it.

My friend who gave birth at 25 weeks--her baby died yesterday morning. They were able to hold him one last time. I wanted to pass along this information that has been in the back of my memory banks for years, but that I've only thought of again as I think of him. This is for Tyler.

There are groups all over the country who make receiving blankets for infants who die after birth, are stillborn, or are even miscarried (very tiny blankets). After the baby is gone, the grieving family will still have the blanket to hold on to during those difficult times (and there will be many of them). So for my readers who can knit, crochet, and sew, here's a list of those places:

Afghans for Angels - Headquarters
Afghans for Angels - State Chapters
Afghans for Angels - Starting a New Chapter (if your state isn't represented)
Texas Moms of Tiny Angels

I had hoped to have more, but there are a lot of dead links lurking about.

In addition, NICUs are in constant need of baby clothes for preemies--chances are good your local hospital would love to get some from you. And if you don't knit, crochet, or sew (or if you're like me, you only sew, and you find that knitting and crocheting are skills in higher demand), note that Afghans for Angels always needs old-fashioned safety pins and postage stamps to mail the blankets.

Thanks everyone. Hope you all had a merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christ is born!

Glorify Him!


A merry Christmas to one and all from your favorite loquats! May your bellies be filled with large slabs of the meat of your choosing (or a scrumptious Tofurkey cutlet)! And remember also those without food or shelter and those who are alone on this day. A perhaps write a little note to a sweet little ten year old girl, hmm? (See post below.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Letter writers, get on it!

I was alerted to this via Budgets are Sexy, which is weird but does suggest that I'm not the only one with a "it's my blog and I'll write what I please" complex.

One little girls wish is to receive mail. She has Cerebral Palsy. This is the cheapest easiest good deed one could do....This little girl just wants mail for christmas. If you can find it in your rotten lil hearts to write this angel a letter, I am sure Santa will be very happy....

Alexis Krosky
PO Box 195
Columbiana, Ohio 44408

For more info:
All I want for Christmas is for you to write this little girl :(
If You Own a Pen, Paper and Compassion

And do let me know if you write her so I can know if I have any impact on peoples' actions and so I can possibly guilt you into it!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Let Winter Break BEGIN!

Winter break + computer games = Awake until 2 AM + no time to talk to anyone.

The break is much needed. I'm more than happy to have my husband home for a good two weeks. Maybe we'll actually get the tree up and decorated!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I would be remiss not to mention these things

I seem to pay special attention to all things WWII and anything else even mildly related. If you recall "No Laughs, No Thrills, and Villains All Too Real" and my commentary thereon, then you may also be interested in "Berlin memorial to Roma WWII dead." Roma, for the uninitiated, are more commonly known as gypsies, which is in fact a derogatory name. I don't know about anyone else, but it seems to me to be easy to forget that Jews were not the only people who died in the Holocaust. Roma are still despised across Europe--violence against them is frequent and brutal. I don't think Americans really get that: During the Olympics, NBC went back to Athens to look at the remnants of their Olympic arenas. In one decimated location, the reporter announced that all the copper pipe had been "stolen by gypsies." That's like reporting here that a house was broken into by black people. All that to say that a memorial to the Roma lost in WWII is a bigger deal than we may imagine.

Also call to mind my post "Oh, what will those young rapscallions come up with next?!" on the future of our nation deciding "Hit a Jew Day" was perfectly acceptable. You may know where I'm going next, and I'm sorry to do it: The Hitler cake. I don't want to say too much because I feel this has been run terribly into the ground by now, except to say that I can't make heads or tales of this family. I fully expected white supremacists, but they're not really (if you can get past the whole Holocaust denial thing). I think they're just nuts. And I don't condone naming your kids Adolf Hitler and Aryan Nation, much like I don't condone giving your kids names they'll be embarrassed by when they're 40. (Always ask yourself, When their youth is gone, will my children hate me for naming them _______?) The Australians are the worst about this--"Sex Fruit" is a terrible name for a child, folks. (Google "Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii" and for the lists of weird names of children from the OZ.)

Class dismissed.

May I ask a silly question?

Well, sure, it's my blog. I'll do as I please here.

Anyway, does anyone know why Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Sterne's Tristram Shandy, apparently a volume of both works together, is in the nonfiction section at the library? I'd sure hate to see the poor sucker who stumbled upon it and thought that was reality!

Three possible answers:
1. It's mislabeled.
2. They viewed them as social satire instead of fiction. (That's my most forgiving answer.)
3. It's a study guide for both books. (But there's a logical follow-up question to this: Why does the library have three different study guides for Tristram Shandy and no copies of the book itself?)

Ah. Apparently it's part of the Great Books of the Western World series--volume 36, to be exact. Weird.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Where the computer games at?

They're supposed to arrive in the mail today.

C'mon, UPS! One can only do wholesome activities like reading the paper or reading The Satanic Verses (the wholesomeness of the latter is questionable, I admit) for so long! Gimme mindless dumb!

As long as I'm waiting, I may as well rant. I love my Mac so much. I love not getting cryptic messages about illegal operations (PCs really are criminals, huh?) and the absence of a CPU and the fact that the screen is larger than my TV's screen. But Mac and PC software is not the same, and Mac and PC games are rarely on the same page. Sim City has moved on to an exciting new version ... the best I can get for the Mac is Sim City 4. And it's $60. Yikes. I guess that's the price for parting with the Game Cube and swearing I'll never get another.

Hurry up, UPS! Chandler bored!

We have updates!

Chris says the interview went pretty well. He also said that, because of Christmas break, they won't be able to hire anyone until mid-January. So now he has to figure out of there will be any trouble from his current employer if he gets the job and chooses to up and leave.

That does put a mighty kink in the works. Well ... it does if the district can cause trouble, that is!

Guess what's happening right now ... or at least, should be ... ?

Chris is in his interview. He made it into Houston last night just fine. I, on the other hand--as though anyone could possibly be interested in my doings, learned exactly how many hours of nothing one could pack into a day! At least I got the laundry done.

I'll update when he gives me a call.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Virtual house hunting II

I think the cat's pretty much out of the bag that we're house hunting from a distance in Houston. Chris is departing tonight for his interview, and I'll be here trying to decide how much is too much if we don't know if we're moving. (Getting pre-approved for a loan? Safe move. Stuffing all the clothing into a bag? Bad move. Packing up china and crystal? Somewhere in between.) We do have some favorite houses at this point (many of which have been on the market for nearly a year--nothing's really wrong with them, just a bad housing market), but it never hurts to keep looking. And these pictures are the unfortunate result of said looking ...

Okay, this is a two-parter. These are both pictures of the same house. I just wonder which one I'm getting ...


Something tells me it's the second picture ...

Ai-yi-yi, amigos! What gives with these funny painted rooms? I'd say, "Give me the purple and green argyle room over this!" but this looks much easier to paint over.

Real nice shot ya got there.

Modern, condominium living in the big city is so hip these days! I mean, look at this bastion of urban coolness--it looks like a torte! I hope that's Bavarian cream in between the layers! Mmm ... I'm thinking red velvet, how 'bout you?

Houston is the fourth largest city in the US, and it's been set to overtake Chicago for quite a while now. Problem is, it takes up more space than the first three combined. It's really shocking how dense it's not--you can tell just driving around the city. For that reason, you can have pasture within the city limits, and for that same reason, you can see horses in city dweller's backyards.

Speaking of ai-yi-yi, my eyeballs need a good scrub after looking at this one. Aqua green and lime green isn't my favorite color combination, really.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chandler Quick Hits

It'll be 77 in Houston the day Chris is there, and it'll be only a measly 65 here in the northern burbs of Dallas. Boohoo.

Thanks to last night's sleet, the Castor Beans That Wouldn't Die may have finally met their match. Now I don't have to kill them myself!


A blog I follow, Budgets are Sexy, put up a recap of their New Years resolutions. I might do this in the upcoming days/weeks. I can't even remember any resolutions I've made other than the one I made a few years ago to use less toilet paper. Uh, let's move on!

I try so hard to be a Luddite, but I'm not very good at it. We booted the Game Cube when it died--it's being replaced by games for the Mac. We're going to boot the TV--the Mac will serve about the same purpose. I used to laugh at the notion of having a device in the car that tells you where to go--our handheld GPS, bought for geocaching purposes, turns out to be used primarily for direction purposes. And now, Chris and I have discovered the joy of texting. In fact, he texted me just today to inform me that he'd chewed out his best class. I texted him back to tell him that the outdoor pipes had frozen. Quite a day on both the work and domestic fronts.

Our virtual house hunting has produced a favorite house. It's in a revitalization area, it's a few blocks from downtown, and it's a mere 40 minute jaunt from the house to the ballpark! Baseball mini-plans, anyone?

We're under a weather advisory I've never heard of before: freezing fog. Sounds perfect for a Christmas-themed thriller movie.

We used to have a subscription to Al Día, the free, Spanish-language newspaper. After a week, they just quit delivering it. Then recently, they began again ... over a year after we'd received our last one! Right.

Monday, December 15, 2008

SCARY!!!

Chris has an interview at a high school in Aldine ISD, a Houston school district, Thursday morning at 9:00 AM! We needed to make sure that his current job couldn't ask TEA to revoke his teaching credentials, but it turned out that they could only do that if he went to a district surrounding Dallas!

As they say on Cute Overload, "Splode!"

Virtual house hunting

Mr. Chris and I are obviously contemplating getting the heck out of Dodge because of our tremendous fondness (loud, obvious coughing) of Dallas. I shan't say too much on the subject just yet, but I will say that we've been fiddling around with online house searches. Frequently, these listings have multiple pictures. Sometimes, those pictures are very nondescript: "Oh look. This house has walls. And electrical outlets. And some doors. Oo, look, a ceiling fan!" (Note: That's a real conversation from some very underwhelming pictures.) More often, though, it shows things that really ought not to be shown when you're trying to sell a house. This is probably first in a series, a collection of some truly terrifying photos. Start quaking in your boots--this is going to be ugly!

Allllriiight ... this house is actually quite adorable if you don't mind that virtually all the plumbing is missing. Copper thieves, probably. I just thought the kitchen sink on the floor was particularly sad.

What is the sound of one Chandler weeping? I would have loved this room as a 13-year-old.

"Look at that fridge!" I exclaimed to my husband. Some things just don't age well.

I understand what a mirror trick is now. The kitchen isn't as big as you think.

Ready for immediate move in.

You know, they make washers and dryers that are supposed to stack on one another, but who am I to argue with what works?

Okay, what the heck is that? It looks like stairs, but some aren't as long as others and I can't tell what those dark red blobs on it are. And if it's stairs, am I at the top looking down or at the bottom looking up? Yecch.

Wonder what else I'll find on this adventure.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

To market, to market, to buy a fat ... bundle of Swiss chard?

Chris and I returned today to the Dallas Farmers Market. We hadn't been in some time because of our CSA subscription, which brought us more food than we could possibly desire, and often of stuff we didn't particularly want (I don't have many food aversions, but eggplant is one of them). But our subscription had drawn to a close for the year, so we went in search of winter eats.

The Dallas Farmers Market has been a force for evil in the past. Very few stalls were actually run by farmers, but rather by dealers who bid on the produce to sell it themselves. The outrage was great, and now the switch is beginning. But it does have tremendous good on its side, too: The farmers market is actually a series of permanent structures. It's not just a set up and tear down kind of thing in some parking lot somewhere. In fact, there are four sheds--here are pics to show you what I mean:



I can recall getting peaches at the farmers market when I was a youngun, and I remember wondering why the farmers market was in a parking garage. See if you can tell why I made such a mistake:


No trip is complete without lunch at El Mercado, which is across from the non-produce shed where you can get spices, tea and coffee, free-range meats, furniture, candles, soaps ...


And here is said lunch--camarones empanizados!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Back to the library

I walked to the library today while Chris was still at school to do a little writing and a little grading for my hubby. After getting bored with that, I perused the fiction section. I really think there ought to be two different fiction sections: Good Fiction, for the classics and those books that will become classics when they're older; and Junk Fiction, for idiotic chick lit about how much fun shopping is (you can build plots on that?!) and poorly written but inexplicably popular drivel.

Anyway, I picked out seven books and set down with them, intending to read the first chapter of each. Chris was a darn sight quicker getting home than I expected (he met me at the library), so I only got through a few. I'm sitting here next to Flannery O'Connor's Everything That Rises Must Converge, John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flats (a modernized version of King Arthur, which is my idea of a good time!), and Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. I'll have to return for the others at a later date.

I admire the work ethic of some at the library. I got out of the house before school could let out so I wouldn't have to mingle with the chavs leaving the high school. But some kids actually did come in to the library to work ... on a Friday! I wish I'd had that work ethic when I was in school, but I guess it wasn't in my nature actually try studying and whatnot. A lot of that might have been that I seem to process things better by hearing (if I'd secured a few audiobooks I might have done better as an English major), so being a sponge my GPA turned out quite alright. Still, kudos to kiddos who got their work done licketysplit.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's beautiful!!! ***bump***

This is old, but it's still funny, and you can even still read the link on the New York Times! Ethan Frome humor is always good and welcome in my world.


Oh, please read this! I beg of you!! "There will be a quiz." 

As always it's the NY Times, so read it before its nine days are up. For that reason, I want this paragraph preserved here for posterity's sake:

To their credit, the folks at Barnes & Noble make a habit of challenging readers’ assumptions and sometimes getting right in their faces. For example, their edition of “The Picture of Dorian Grey” included the intemperate question “Is sin ugly or beautiful?,” while “Ethan Frome,” the unreadable Edith Wharton novel that ends in a toboggan disaster that simply must be read to be believed, even though the book is unreadable, got right down to the nitty-gritty and demanded: “Is this novel just too grim to be enjoyed?”

The miserable truth is that Ethan Frome is just too lousy to be enjoyed. All school children should be subjected to it the way I was. It builds character.

I dedicate this post to my history professor father, who probably has a collection of sample questions even better than these. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I am happy

Why am I happy?

Tea with chocolate in it? Yes, please! A present I purchased was from SerendipiTea, and I couldn't resist throwing in a few things for myself. Decaf ChocolaTea was one of them. Mmm.

Lata Mangeshkar? Yes, please! Needing a pick-me-up earlier in the week, I turned to the radio section of iTunes and the international channels. And now yours truly has a bit of a Bollywood obsession. "Bombay Beats India" (which isn't a sports headline) has the best beats, but "Hindi Radio Mera Sangeet" will play classic stuff occasionally. Shake your booty.

Chris finished with classes at SMU? Yes, please! Of course, probably no one is happier than he is. He was the one having to keep up with his students' and his own classwork! But after a year and a half of it, I still hadn't grown accustomed to his absence on Mondays--even this Monday evening I started work on dinner before realizing that he wouldn't be home until after 8:30.

Free gift with purchase? Yes, please! SeredipiTea threw in a cool strainer with my tea purchase. Ain't that sweet?

Getting up early? Yes, please! I even got the unprecedented pleasure of waking the cat up. Lemmy usually gets sick of waiting for me to get up and puts forth her best effort to get me up, which means I get stomped over (as much as an 8 lb cat can) and my nose sniffed. She was happy to see me up so early, but still had to get the formality of sniffing my nose out of the way.

No Christmas music? Yes, please! I really don't like the stuff. Listening to Bollywood is a sure-fire way to make sure I don't hear a note of it! Talk radio helps too.

You'd be happy, too.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What about the blog, part II

Okay, it was voted to keep the blog alive and leave it alone. I didn't want to leave it alone, so I deleted a lot of posts (this is #200 again) and reorganized it. You'll notice some new labels:

Chandler Needs a Life: There's lots of stuff about the deceased Game Cube and my obsession with Zelda games in here. I have neither now, but I'm sure there will still be proof that I need a life (or at least a job).
Kitties: High time they got their own category! Especially now that they've regained their pseudo-kid status.
Social Studies Class: "Distracted by History" combined with current events--it's 7th grade social studies all over again!
Near and Dear: Topics near and dear to the hearts of the bloggers.
Today on a Very Special Loquacious Loquat: In spite of the silly, after-school-special kind of name, this is the important stuff that needs extra attention.

There are other new ones, but they're less interesting.

Things are now organize to my satisfaction. :)