Friday, December 31, 2010


December 31, 2010

I should probably wax poetic about the end of the year, my lessons learned, my hopes for 2011.  I may fall into that trap tomorrow.  Today I want to tell you about my trip to the meat market.  

Until breakfast this morning, Walter and I were undecided about whether to cook New Year's Day dinner or take the fam to eat out.  We finally decided on eating in, so that we could guarantee the right kind of luck and money (black-eyed peas and cabbage) in our NYD diets.  This sent me off shortly after breakfast to Readfield's (my butcher) in search of a pork loin.  I took my running buddy, Emma (niece extraordinaire) with me.

Said niece, Emma

Emma was fascinated by a store where all you can buy is meat and meat-related stuff.  After Ben, my favorite butcher (and don't tell me that everyone doesn't have a fave butcher), picked and wrapped our roast, Emma wanted to carry that almost ten pound beauty to the cash register.  

At first she cradled it, but since it is long and a bit unwieldy, she opted for slinging it over her shoulder (like a continental solider), and hefting it to the check out.  I helped her get it up on the counter, where she tapped on it while Tammy rang it up.  Someone asked if she was tenderizing it, and she agreed that that was what she was doing.

Emma insisted on carrying it out to the car and pulled it up on her lap for the ride home, where she continued to make a very satisfying noise slapping it as we drove along.

After a few minutes she asked, "Aunt Vickie, do you think I have terrorized this end enough?"

I pronounced it suitably terrorized and she worked her way to the other end.

I am perfectly certain that we will have the most terrorized roast in the neighborhood for our family dinner tomorrow and with all the black-eyed peas and cabbage we are going to eat, we will be the most fortunate family as well.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


December 28, 2010
Merry Christmas!

I accidentally decided to take a Christmas hiatus.  Over the last week, I considered posting.  Who wouldn't have wanted to read my sassy description of Davis bringing his pots and pans home for Christmas SO THAT HIS MOM AND DAD COULD HELP HIM SCRUB THEIR OIL ENCRUSTED BOTTOMS?

Adam definitely asked me to do a post about the Christmas day concert that he and Nico performed at our house on their new violin and grand piano music boxes.

There has to be a story worth relating about my niece dating a mouse elephant.

You definitely deserve to read the account of the annual Christmas bird count (as performed by the Brazos Master Naturalist and/or the local Audubon Society).  Once again they spotted at least 150 vultures that live at one house.  Those black dots on and around this house are roosting vultures not multiple lightning rods.

While those intrepid bird watchers/counters roamed the county spotting over 500 birds, about twenty Canadian (I'm guessing on their nationality. I didn't check their documents) geese dropped by our lake for a bit of a swim before they moved on further south.

This morning (I use that term more in hope than in confidence, since Davis is still asleep) we are packing the Young Prince up and sending him back to Ohio, betting once again that he can squeeze through between the storm that just blanketed the eastern half of the country and the one that's pending.  I just don't know how he is going to work at the incredibly high standard and rate of productivity that he has become accustomed to, thanks to his diligent and able assistants:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


December 22, 2010

I can't figure out why some people can't view the long and the short version of the two C-SPAN videos r when I post them within the same entry.  Here is the short (Erin) version.  The longer version and the explanation is in the original entry below:

Observe (Personally)

December 22, 2010

I had planned a journal entry for today that involved a youtube video and wind.  I can save it.  

Instead, I'm going to exercise a point of personal privilege this morning, much as Congressman Chet Edwards did on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives last night.  I encourage you to watch the entire twenty-five minutes if you have the time as he talks about what is right and best about America (this video starts about half a minute before he takes the floor, but it was the best I could do in the way of editing the C-SPAN video so that you didn't have to watch the preceding ten hours and 57 minutes of deliberations).  If you don't have a half an hour to spare, skip to the second clip I have embedded below (SPOILER ALERT:  Erin plays a featured role as her legacy becomes part of the permanent Congressional record.).  It's just a minute or two that comes near the end of his speech.  Let me know what you think.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Clean and Caption

December 16, 2010

Cleaning up at the end of the semester gives me a brilliant, liberating feeling.  It goes beyond clearing my office desk and credenza.  I tackled the desk in Erin's room this morning.  I work in Erin's room almost every day.  I check my mail on the laptop at her desk.  We have all the beading activity in her room.  As you know, any flat surface accumulates stuff, and her desk is no exception, so this morning I returned all the strewn about markers that Emma had used to make Thanksgiving decorations back to their various containers.  I sorted bead project addresses and receipts and put them away.  I now have a clean flat surface, so more stuff can start building up!

In the process I opened one of the gazillion books, notebooks, photo albums, diaries, etc. that Erin was always starting and abandoning.  
For your entertainment, here is a sampling from that very Lisa Frank Diva Photo Album.  I have written her own caption that she included on the back of each photo (proving, once again, that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree--I spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find the perfect caption for each photo I put in an album, which explains why I am six years behind in getting my photos organized.).

"the karatie boggie  EB, CS!"
NOTE BENE:  I think she meant "the karate boogie."

"Long way from success or should I say tall?"
I also found this in the "notes" section of the album, thus affirming the lovely effect cleaning and sorting can have:

Sunday, December 12, 2010


December 12, 2010

At first, Davis was going to stay a few days in Columbus after he finished taking and grading finals.  I figured he had earned a little time to blow off steam and hang out without responsibilities or even having to explain to his (very understanding) mother why he was awake when he should be sleeping and vice versa. Friday night he called for travel advice:  should he try to slip out of town and down IH65 as the very rainy front pushed through and before the very snowy front arrived?  I hadn't watched the weather, so I assumed he could let it pass on through over the weekend and get on the road on Monday.  

When Walter and I tuned into the weather channel over coffee on Saturday morning, the news looked grimmer.  If he missed that very small window that appeared to be open between late Saturday morning and late Saturday night, it would be next Thursday at the earliest before he had another safe opportunity to drive out of Ohio.

Never mind that his sleep was way off from the cumulative effect of late night studying plus the marathon grading party that he and the other TA's had until 5:30 a.m. one night this week to get final grades turned in in time.  He packed up and got on the road:  Columbus, Cincinnati, Louisville, Bowling Green, Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Texarkana, and then a series of small east Texas towns.  Since he left, we have spent more than our usual amount of time in front of the weather channel and with a tab to opened, watching as this cold front swept the path behind him.

I have a pot of green chile chicken and potato soup on the stove and think he might arrive by 9:00 or so this evening.  There's are many ways to drive the final 250 miles of his journey, but no good way.  Just two-lane windy, hilly (for Texas) roads through little east Texas towns.

View Larger Map

I hate waiting.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rest and Relax?

December 9, 2010

Home today.  Sent home by the IT people at work.  Sick office computer.  I can't tell how sick, but I took it as a bad sign that I could not open any programs besides my browser and my automatic weather feed.  I think that means it has mono.

Germs do spread.

I left for lunch at 11:30 (to meet Tracy and find out  she had had all the luck with lanyards this week--$500 on Tuesday alone) and all was well.  When I got back to the office at 12:30, my precious desktop was way under the weather.   I submitted my trouble ticket, printed out my grade spreadsheet (preparing for the worst-case scenario), and powered down.  Soon Ashley from IT arrived--just like someone from the Ghostbuster team.  She took over the driver seat and started searching the mitachondrial level of my computer files.  

She spent the next hour digging deeper and deeper in the file structure of my computer, while I did the same thing to the files and stacks of papers on my desk and credenza (I never NEVER throw anything away after the semester begins on the theory that I can't always tell what piece of paper a student my find important.).  She wasn't really making tut tut noises or big gasps of amazement or even little sighs of disgust while she worked, but I could tell she wasn't making big progress either.  At some point she exchanged texts with some other uber-guru, then asked me if I could work at home for the rest of the day.  When I nodded, she then added "And maybe all day tomorrow" and looked away quickly.

So here I am at home.

My reward for having all my grading finished and recorded (save finals)?  Besides have a computer in the critical care unit of the Mays Business School Computer Hospital?

Dog poop, scorpions, and puke.

That's right.  After breakfast this morning, I walked down the hall to see what I needed to do around the house before I went out and ran seasonal errands.  I glanced into Davis's room (which I had cleaned for his Thanksgiving trip home and which will need to be brushed up before he gets home for Christmas) and spotted four little poop logs.  I turned into Erin's room to avoid looking at the poop and found a six-inch (wide not tall) patch of puke.  

A quick about face headed me to the bathroom (and the cleaning supply cabinet) where I came face-to-face with brown scorpion trying to scrabble its way out of the bathroom sink.

I wished, ever so much, that I was at the office, and someone else was having my fun.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


December 2, 2010

After teetering and stumbling along all semester, I bumped into the last class day of the semester today.  I'm not completely done yet--various grading opportunities remain. . . and of course finals (Yes, I do have the next-to-last one scheduled:  Wednesday December 15, 1-3), but I no longer have to worry about whether to dress for a class day or a classless day (those who know me can appreciate the microscopic difference between these two states of the world).  [Did you happen to notice the way I mangled the punctuation in that sentence?  Far too ugly to correct.  I think I will leave it as a warning to sloppy writing.  Sloppy, as you know, is one of the seven dwarfs of bad writing, along with choppy, wordy, stodgy, weak, awkward, and boring.]

I woke up wondering about my travel plans for 2018 and 2022.  Yes!  You can save the big bucks buying your airline tickets eight to twelve years in advance.

Actually, today the World Cup sites for beyond Brazil-2014 were chosen:  Russia and Qatar.  Let's all envision what kind of inducements it will take to get Walter's buy-in.  I'm thinking this will go much beyond a generous foot massage or dinner at Madden's.

On the topic of soccer, I played small-sided games at practice on Tuesday and managed not to hurt any of the girls through either clumsiness or willful fouling.  They even chose to pass to me some of the time, proving that I wasn't a complete liability.  My body didn't creak too much yesterday, but this morning I had to do my dynamic stretches almost half way around the lake before I felt like I was walking with my regular gait.  

We will close out the season tonight with our last practice.  I say "we" but I mean they.  I have signed on to help my friend Joanie backstage at her musical at Rudder High tonight and tomorrow (I know, it's an Odd Friday, but I really owe Joanie big time).  Hopefully, I can figure out whatever it is she wants me to do--ride herd on unsupervised teenagers revved up by the cooler weather and the approaching holidays, no doubt.

As long as I'm drifting from one topic to another, I'd probably better stop before I run aground. 

I promise I will get back to the lanyard workshops soon (One at Navarro after school on Monday), but in the meantime, if you are looking for the Perfect Teacher's Christmas Gift, it's just a click away.