Wednesday, March 31, 2010


This weekend we took a drive up to visit The Professor's parents, and they suggested that we go to a newly built park called Walkway Over the Hudson.   (I know the weekend was quite a few days ago, but for some reason Blogger steadfastly refused to publish my photos until today...)  It's the longest walking bridge in the world, and was built on top of a disused railroad bridge.  It was really neat - about 1.25 miles across the Hudson River, with a gorgeous view. This picture was taken from over the side (by The Professor, his palms don't sweat about that sort of thing, and thus he can hold the camera steady.)

It was a beautiful day, and there were lots of people on the bridge.  You're even allowed to bring dogs, so Tobie tagged along (he actually pulled the leash the whole way - I wish we could have hitched him up to a plow and he could have been doing something productive with all that energy). 
Big Trouble brought his binoculars to check out the birds, and a lovely time was had by all.  If you're in the area, check it out - free and fun - two of my favorite things!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

I think I've done at least one other blog post with that title, but my brain cells are running low.  The kids had a superintendent's conference day today, so that meant no school for them.

I have been in charge of battery recycling at their school, and it's been really successful; people drop off their used alkaline batteries at the school, and I periodically scoop them up and recycle them.  This is a tad easier said than done, because although many places accept used rechargeable batteries, it's harder (but certainly not impossible) to recycle alkaline batteries.  For a long time our county was telling people to just throw them in the garbage (the amount of toxic disasters and heavy metals in batteries is truly horrific), which was just unacceptable to us, so that's why we started the program at the school.

I've been taking them to IKEA, a store which is near and dear to my heart because of its oh-so-Swedishness.  The store also accepts used fluorescent lightbulbs (which shouldn't be thrown in the garbage because of the mercury content), printer cartridges, and cell phones.  The kids think it's a really fun outing - we walk through all the rooms set up with furniture, they have some Swedish meatballs in the cafe ($1.99 and served on a real plate - can't be beat!), and I might pick up a Malm or a Hoppen - I love that they keep the Swedish names - makes shopping much more fun and exciting (and Scandinavian).

We haven't made the trek in a while, and I therefore had about 9 jillion pounds of batteries residing in my tiny kitchen.  For those of you who haven't tried to carry 9 jillion pounds of batteries, batteries are really heavy.  I mean seriously heavy.  I separated them into three bags, I handed one to each of the kids, and we trekked to the car (amidst a fair amount of whining...).  We drove the 40 minutes to IKEA, dragged the batteries out of the car, got to the little recycling kiosk, and were met with a sign stating that they no longer accept batteries for recycling. the batteries got hauled back to the car, and we had our day at IKEA - even brought home a bag of frozen Swedish meatballs for the kids.  (Who of course had to help me haul the batteries back up to the apartment, as I wasn't sure if 9 jillion pounds of batteries in a hot car were a terribly good idea).

Where shall I drive my batteries to tomorrow?  They do so like getting out of the house.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring has Sprung

But then it decided to go back into its little hidey-hole - we had a whole pile of days in the 60's (I think it may even have hit 70) which were really lovely, but also make me a little irritated because I know it's only March and it's one giant tease.  Yesterday we woke up to heavy fog - so much so that Big Trouble woke me up exclaiming that something was wrong outside.  The only thing wrong in my book is that it's not summer, but whatever....

Now that all the birthday festivities are over (we jammed just about all of my family into my little living room this weekend - what good sports!) we've been getting back to our regular routines, such as they are.  I made another pile of thank you notes for Miss Serious to send - she's pretty good about writing in them once she can bring herself to put down the latest book she's reading. 

It does so pain my heart to have to tell my children to stop reading.  However, if I didn't, my house would be covered in underwear which never seems to make it to the hamper (still don't know what that's about) and nobody's bed would ever be made (although I don't know if you can really call the half-hearted pulling up of comforters actually making the bed, especially with the myriad of lumps caused by various stuffed animals and discarded clothing....).  Take what you can get, I guess.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Survived!

The week of vast difficulties is now over, and I survived the Pine Wood Derby (Big Trouble's car won twice), multiple requests for cupcakes and desserts, a birthday dinner (at the Hibachi place by request of Miss Serious - always a good time), a Greek Mythology birthday party with 10 small children (it was fun), and my final teaching tests (not fun, but THEY'RE OVER!!!).

The storm we had this weekend was nothing short of spectacular - really strong winds, buckets of rain, and trees down all over the place.   The testing site lost all their heat early on, so it was a real treat sitting in a room for four hours which progressively turned into an ice cube.  We actually did quite well in our home, considering, but the rain blew so hard against the side of our building that water leaked in through the bricks.  This is an ongoing issue, which has supposedly been fixed about elventy times, so sadly we weren't surprised.  But, we didn't lose power, so it's all good.

Now that all the hard stuff is out of the way, I've had time to make these (Miss Serious sent them out to her little friends for her birthday thank you notes):

I was trying out some different things, with varying degrees of success.  And - I've also been working on this (I just can't stop!):

It's now as wide as I plan to make it, so now I just need to complete the nine jillion squares needed to make it the right length.  It's still way too much fun - luckily I'll probably be able to be having this much fun for the next twenty years or so.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I have my final teaching tests to take on Saturday, and I will be thrilled when this whole process is over.  Another thing I realized about taking tests meant for 22-year olds - when I was 22, I pretty much had all my time to myself.  So if I needed to study, or practice writing essays, I would just sit down and study. 

I didn't have two little kids running around who kept insisting on being fed and having clean clothes (how dare they?), or a daughter who was turning 9 this week and needed cupcakes for her class and her kids' birthday party this weekend (the theme is Greek mythology - still have to come up with the crafts and goodie bags), a game night at the church who also want dessert, a son who has his Pinewood Derby race for Cub Scouts, and the school science fair.  What happened here?  The rest of the month is pretty much blank, but everything else decided to land on this week.

So, of course, I have decided to knit:

This is the blanket laid out on my bed - and it's almost as wide as I'd like - I think I might add 3 or 4 more squares, and then it's all about the length, baby. 

A very lovely knitting friend gifted me with these:

I believe these are all Socks That Rock, and let me tell you, they really do rock (as does she!).  She even wound them into tiny center pull balls for me, so they are a pleasure to work with as opposed to the snarls of yarn I have been pulling apart from my own stash. 

Now back to the studying (or shhhhh - maybe the knitting - got to try out all those beautiful new colors!).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One Down

two to go!  I took my first CT teaching certification test on Saturday, and it was fine.  Long and far away, but fine.  This is one of the tests that all new (or soon-to-be-new) college graduates must take, and thus I was surrounded by 22 year olds sporting their sorority sweatshirts.  I looked like one of the proctors instead of the test takers, and the fact that I had to get up at 5:30 AM to get there didn't help any.

I had taken the practice test on the net, and it's a good, solid test which is specific to teaching reading, with 100 multiple choice questions and 2 essays.  Although my life plan didn't include sitting hunched over a middle-school desk filling in circles with my number 2 pencil with a bunch of fresh-faced college students (and being required to raise my hand and get a bathroom pass if I needed to use the facilities), the whole thing was over in a few hours and I was on my way.

I heard an interesting analogy the other day about life plans - it involved the GPS unit in a car (I covet one of these, as I get lost just about every single place I go - the kids are so used to it, that they just assume I will have to turn around when I realize we have gotten far off the track); when you take a wrong turn, or go a different way, the GPS doesn't mock you, or deride your decisions (like I do to myself in my head).  Rather, the voice simply says "Reconfiguring."

No judgment, no second-guessing - but getting the job done.