Thursday, May 28, 2009


I think I read something, somewhere, sometime about crossword puzzles being good for your brain. You know -- protecting against dymentia, increasing IQ -- that sort of stuff. That may be true, but I just do crosswords because they're fun. I like having one at my desk throughout the day. I can look at in my spare time and at lunch. A lot of times it helps me to get my mind working again if I have come to some sort of mathematical or pedagogical impasse. That's a brain benefit isn't it?

Lately I've been doing the puzzle from the LA Times -- sufficiently challenging, and free every day.

Total Cost: $0 for a brain boost. What's a five letter word for "collar extension"?

Friday, May 22, 2009

The True Spirit of Memorial Day

When I was going to school in Utah, I was always impressed by the number of people who visited the cemeteries on Memorial Day. Every grave was had flowers and/or a flag. In fact, when I was seaching flickr looking for a picture to represent this, I found the one above, which was taking in Heber, UT.) It was really impressive. It reminded me of the reason that we have Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Funny Books

In Friday's Wall Street Journal there was an interesting installment of "Dear Book Lover" (an advice column for readers). Someone had written in with the following question/request:
"Everywhere I look there is bad news. Not uplifting. Negative. Sad. There seems to be a competition going on to see who can deliver the worst news of the day. Let's have a column on funny books to be read and enjoyed -- with a long list."

I couldn't agree more. We have enough sad. We need more funny. In that same spirit, I have submitted three of my favorites.

1. Jeeves in the Morning -- pure farce. How can you say the words "Steeple Bumpleigh" and not smile?

2. Ex Libris -- smart, bookish humor. My favorite chapter is about the 'odd shelf.'

3. All Creatures Great and Small -- not so much funny as cheerful.

Total Cost: $0 at your local library for a good chuckle.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kicking the Habit

English Toffee. One of my favorite candies. I have always liked it, but lately it's been getting out of control. It started in Maine when Janet and I would go shopping together and pick up some candy at the check out line. I would always get an English Toffee candy bar (which will remain nameless). Since then, I would get one every few days after work. Then it was up to every day. THEN, last week, Kopps was serving English-Toffee-candy-bar custard (I got two scoops). This was starting to get out of hand. Where would it end?!

On Friday it came to a head. I stopped by the drug store for my English toffee candy bar fix and decided to pick up an extra three or four to keep in my desk. By the time I went to bed, they were ALL gone.


Since then I haven't been able to look at another English toffee candy bar.

Total Cost: $2.50 worth of candy bars. Small price to pay to get my life back!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Air Travel

On Wednesday, Nora flew home from visiting Janet in Maine. From what I understand, the Maine visit was great and the flight home was terrible. It’s the same old story – long lines, delays, no leg room, lost luggage, hotel vouchers, overpriced airport food – and all this while she carried her infant son.

Strangely enough, I seem to remember when flying was a comfortable and enjoyable experience. I remember larger seats, real meals, pillows and blankets and (just once) a hot washcloth. Was it ever really like that? Are my childhood memories deceiving me?

Well apparently, there WAS a time when air travel was enjoyable, comfortable and classy – according to the new book Flying Across America. If the stories are true, people used to dress up to fly, and while aboard they ate hot meals with real forks and knives (knives!).
I think part of what makes flying today such a pain is that we are often comparing it to how things used to be. Maybe the best option is to realize that it won’t ever be like that again, and find ways to be comfortable and classy in spite of it. Just my opinion.
Total Cost: $45 for the book (which I haven't bought)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Planning to Plan

Well. Memorial Day is coming up, and I have decided that I would like to go camping over that weekend. When I say camping, I mean that I would like to do some hiking, some swimming, some campfire sitting by ... stuff like that. It's still in the planning-on-planning stage, but right now it sounds fun. Amazingly enough, I got the idea from this hilarious Top Gear challenge. Hilarious.

Total Cost: $0 ... so far.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SPACE: the final frontier

So, this past weekend I saw the new Star Trek movie and I thought it was great. The characters were pretty well developed and the CGI stuff was kept to a minimum (or maybe they're getting better at it). There was pleanty of action for people who like action, and plenty of plot for people who like plot. There was even some quality humor.

Watching this prequel gave me a renewed interest in watching the original Star Trek episodes (which I had never seen). I was curious to see where these characters and plot points came from. So, last night I sat down with a cup of tea and a stack of papers to grade and watched two episodes on youtube.

They were hilarious. The costumes, the hair, the makeup, the dialogue, the computers, the "special" effects. Didn't they realize (in 1966) that astronauts weren't using microfiche?! Funny, funny, funny. I would definitely recommend!

click here to watch

Total Cost: $7.00 for the matinee. Not bad for a weeks worth of entertainment.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Under the Weather

Sick today. Chills and no appetite. Left school early. Slept all afternoon. Feeling better.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gift Giving

I love giving gifts. It’s an exciting challenge to watch and listen to a person, trying to discern what would most surprise and please them. For example when I was in Maine, I saw my niece ask over and over again to play with the shovel. So, when I was downtown, I found her a bucket set, complete with a mini shovel and a hand rake. It was a big hit, as evidenced by the following pictures.

The same thing happened this mother’s day. I tried to think of a gift that would be extra special but wouldn’t need to be dusted or cooked. Finally, I came up with something perfect, and it was VERY well received. I don’t want to say what it was, but here’s a hint:

Any guesses?

Happy Mother’s Day Mom! xxoo
Total Cost: $0 and three hours a week.

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day Mother!
(picture to come)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Prayer in School

As most of you know, I teach at a Catholic School. Twice a day prayer is said over the loud speaker. (This could also be a scripture reading or inspirational poem or something like that.) I always like the reflections that are read, and since the ones giving the prayer/thought are faculty volunteers, I signed up – even though I’m not Catholic.

As some of you know, I have already been called upon to deliver the prayer/reflection twice, and both times it didn’t go so well. It’s not that I don’t know how to say a prayer or read a scripture, it’s just that I forget. I’m always standing in my classroom at the beginning of second hour thinking “oooo, someone forgot it was their turn” until I get a call telling me to get my butt down to the main office. These stories are good ones and I would be happy to share them with you, but here’s what happened today.

As none of you know, today my number was up again. Fortunately, I have known about this since Monday and have had a chance to prepare. I chose to read D&C 88:118-120. I love that scripture and how it talks about studying and learning (I’m a teacher to the core). I was ready. So, this morning I got to school, made some copies, ate my orange and chatted with the librarian. During first hour I gave a test, graded papers and answered homework questions. When the bell rang, I stood there blissfully waiting for my next class to come in – blissfully until the phone rang … I had forgotten AGAIN! Later one of my students said she knew it had been my turn for prayer when she saw me racing down the stairs. Sigh. At least I was prepared this time.

…Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; That your incomings may be in the name of the Lord; that your outgoings may be in the name of the Lord; that all your salutations may be in the name of the Lord, with uplifted hands unto the Most High.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Free Lunch!

Oprah is giving away lunch at KFC. All you have to do is go here to print off the coupon. Unfortunatly, my printer isn't working, so I won't be joining you. But please, enjoy all that grilled goodness for me!
Total Cost: $0 -- if you can acually get the coupon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

How To Make a May Day Basket

I have a confession. I have never made or given a May Day basket. For those of you who don’t know, the “May-Day-Basket-Ritual” goes like this: get a basket and fill it with flowers, hang it on a friend’s doorknob, ring the door bell, run. (If you get caught, you’re supposed to get a kiss.) What a charming tradition! It seems like something that I would do faithfully each year – I love anything that involves spring, flowers and gift giving. The problem is, May 1st always sneaks up on me, and then I feel like I don’t have enough time to create something really memorable. But this year I decided things would be different! Even though I forgot it was May Day until this morning, I had to give a May Day basket to at least one person. Turns out, it wasn’t that hard. All I had to do was:

1. Roll
2. Staple
3. Cut
4. Buy flowers
5. Deliver
Pretty easy. Next year I might give out two baskets.
Cost: $7.00 for paper and flowers. Worth every penny.

Happy May Day!

picture found here.