Monday, December 29, 2008

New Shoes for Me!

Every year I get myself a Christmas present, sometimes even a pricey one. This year, I decided to buy a practice tutu. I planned to buy one online for about 40 bucks, but a local store had one for just 16. I thought, I can be frugal and I am amazing.

Then I went shopping with my sister. I was being so good, browsing things without the buy-it impulse. This lasted until we got to the shoe department at Younkers. My heart went out to these Sofft brand red shoes, which were on sale. I tried to walk away, and literally couldn't. I picked up one shoe from the display, and held it while I walked around the department trying to find something similar for cheaper, in a feeble attempt to displace the attraction, or to get rid of that gut feeling entirely. It was no use. Resistance is futile. I had to try them on, or, as I told my sister incoherently, I would cry as we left the store and possibly all the way home. Later, she expressed that they reminded her of the red shoes. Ballerinas, you know which ones I mean. I could not leave the store without these shoes, especially since they are comfortable, with a lightly padded interior, a character shoeish heel, and a rubber sole that includes black and red flowers. They will go with skirts and jeans, and I can wear them with light socks, nylons, or bare feet.

Red. Leather. T-Straps.

I bought them, and lo, they are awesome.

Happy Christmas to me! (Eventually, you will receive a family Christmas update, when I have picked my favorite moments.)

Monday, December 22, 2008


Note to self: When in receipt of an ice storm, then below zero temperatures, do not park so close to the house, because when the sun heats up the ice on the roof, it will melt onto your car, on the shady side, and freeze there, necessitating well nigh an hour of scraping and head-scratching as to how to get the ice off the sideview mirror. There will be no helpful layer of water under said ice, due to the wind chill, so you will not be able simply to pry up whole sheets of the ice--no, it will truly be stuck on there as if superglued, and you will have to, in fact, make little channels with the corner of your ice scraper, and then attack from said trenches. You will, in fact, chisel off enough that you can see, but also give up getting it all off the driver's side windows for the time being, because you value having circulation in your fingers. You'll attack it again early tomorrow, when it is, perhaps, slightly warmer and less below-zero-y.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's Er...What? Moment

It's been a busy day, and since now the office building is blissfully quiet and I have no other pressing concerns just this minute, I am enjoying one of my favorite activities, which is looking up trivia on imdb.
What connection, you might ask, does My Fair Lady have with Sherlock Holmes? Freddy Eynsford-Hill of 1964 is played by the very same man as Sherlock Holmes in the 80s and 90s versions that sometimes pop up on PBS (like tonight).
I'm pretty good at this game, but I don't think I'd EVER come up with that. His singing was dubbed, but even so. Gracious.

And while we're at it, yesterday's moment came at Home Depot, when I was wandering around and around thinking about a project. I came across a worker who looked exactly like Simon Pegg, sans facial hair (like in Hot Fuzz). When he asked if I had any questions, I told him I was tempted to make him help me because he looked so much like Simon Pegg. He looked at me blankly, claiming he didn't even know who that was and no one had ever said that to him before, but when I brought up Shaun of the Dead and asked him to confirm that he looked like Shaun, he said he could see it.
Seriously, people...EXACTLY like Simon Pegg. And no one had ever told him. Possibly because they were afraid everyone else had told him, which is why I initially hesitated.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Birfday Shout-Out

Happy Birthday to My Sister!

Five random things I love about my sister (because obviously she is smart, beautiful, and loving):
1. She is a Lady, and her manners are impeccable even when she is with her family, except when...
2. We get the random uncontrollable giggles, especially where swordfighting tiki umbrellas are concerned.
3. She has the ability to envision a project and execute it just as she envisioned it.
4. When she was a teenager, she stood up to the bully of our bus when he was following us home from the busstop and making crude remarks.
5. She has beautiful taste in textiles.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Nostalgia, Part One: Emmy Keeps a Promise

At least once a year I read through my favorite childhood book, Emmy Keeps a Promise, by Madye Lee Chastain, usually around Christmas because that's when the climax of the story takes place.

The book is set in the last four and a half months of 1850, and I know that because early in the story Emmy Thatcher (aged 11) and her sister Arabel (aged 19) go to see Jenny Lind's first American concert, which took place in September of that year. I don't think I knew it as a girl, but with all the talk of bandboxes, valises, poplin, satinet, and doing odd jobs for a few cents a week, I certainly knew we were talking about the 1800s. As the story opens, Arabel and Emmy are leaving their Aunt Hannah and Uncle Ben, and are off to New York; Arabel has a teaching job at a girls' school, and Emmy is going with her, because they've never been separated. Aunt Hannah asks Emmy to keep an eye out and see if she can find a nice man for Arabel, but Arabel is determined to be a success and pay back her Aunt and Uncle for all their support. In New York, the girls work hard, but also spend time with their new friends the Spenlows, who are wealthy and who include Emmy's best friend Lissa and her dashing cousin, Captain Andy (both of whom live with their Grandfather). The Misses Thatcher live in an attic room let by the Piddlebys, whose patriarch is in the clam business. All is going smoothly until Christmastime, when Arabel becomes deathly ill, and they are taken in by the kind Spenlows. I'm sure you can guess how the romance turns out.
I am not sure I could describe why this book touches me so. On the one hand, there is the marvelous scene staging, and I love the occasional references to fashion, the adventure of discovering 1850s New York, and the fun of the events described. But there is also a combination of simplicity and independence in the book that I love. While I was looking for the picture, I came across a few other pages about the book, and others have been just as obsessed as I am with it. It is, as one page pointed out, a romance, but its point of view from Emmy's perspective and the well mannered delivery of the story never fail to warm me, even while other romances fail. Every time I read it, I cry with Emmy's desperation to get help for Arabel, and at the book's happy conclusion. It always gets me in the mood for the Christmas spirit. It is a book that I can give myself wholly to as I read.
The copy I have is the copy I checked out over and over again from my elementary school library. The card is absent, but there's a sequence of dates on the date due slip from 87-89 that are probably all mine. That's how much I loved this book, and how pleased I was that they gave it to my Mom when they were getting rid of some things. I'm sorry that other little girls won't get to experience it...but not that sorry.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Who Cares?

I have so much on my mind today, and am really struggling with some final grade decisions. I don't even know why I'm blogging except that I have a few bites of my Jimmy Johns sandwich left and didn't want to get mayo on any essays. On the keyboard is fine, though.
I don't know why these grades are so hard. They shouldn't be. But I'm tired, and making compromises and really need to remind myself that this is not the be all and end all. Sometimes I get very worked up over very little, or what should be very little, and have trouble remembering that I'm not going to get fired, this is just pre-portfolio assessment, my students are all generally very good and in good shape, and overdramatizing things is only going to give me an ulcer.
Obviously, I need a bubble bath and some Lambic. Stat.