Archive for March, 2009

Good Advice

28 March 2009

Yesterday’s Unshelved contains 2 of my three New Years’ Resolutions for 2009.  The other resolution is “weed,” which I have already done some of (I pulled three weeds from among the crocuses yesterday).

The Reveal

28 March 2009

For a few years I watched a lot of TLC’s Trading Spaces, with host Paige Davis.  Each show featured neighbor couples trading houses for a couple of days, and with the aid of a designer and a carpenter (such as Ty Pennington) completely re-doing a room in their neighbors’ home.  At the end of the show, the homeowners would return to their own houses, and there would be a big moment when they had to uncover their eyes in the refinished room.  Eyes would bug out, some people cried, some were horrified but most were delighted.

A high point for me happened when one of my students was on Trading Spaces: Family (where families with kids are the participants, as opposed to couples) hosted by Joe Farrell.  I still have that episode on VHS, I believe.

Well, now that we have our first guest staying in our new guest room, I am ready to reveal to you the redesigned room.  This is the room that used to be intensely blue, the one where I scraped the popcorn ceiling over the summer.

We planned the room around the quilt my grandmother quilted, so the color of the walls actually comes from a color in tiny details in the dark green bits in the quilt.  You can’t see that color in the quilt in these photos.  However, the color also provides a link to the bedding, which is from IKEA (as is the EXPEDIT room dividing bookcase.)  We moved the futon up from the basement, where it has been replaced by beanbags.

Here we go:





So, I still need to hem the curtains, and hang artwork (some of which still needs to be framed), but there you go!  Revealed!

PS: the things on the windowsill are veggie seeds being started indoors.

More Spring Stuff

22 March 2009

My husband has decided to try planting vegetables this year.  He decided this before Michelle Obama decided to have a vegetable garden at the white house, and has been pondering where to put the seeds he ordered.  I’d like to put in some rosemary, which I have always kept in a pot, but which I’ve seen survive the winter a couple of blocks away so I want to try it in the ground now.  I have to wait until all the veggie seeds are in the ground, though.

I know some of the veggies will go in among the roses, but today was pea-planting day.  Yes, we know peas are supposed to be planted on St. Patrick’s day, but it was pretty chilly here on the 17th and it was rainy the day my husband took a day off from work, so today it was.



Now, I did not see the seed packet these came in, nor did I look closely at the seeds (it isn’t my project, after all), but I trust that my husband planted peas and not mini-marshmallows.  If these grow, I’ll try to remember to post more photos!


22 March 2009

I am very glad that it is spring.

The longer daily period of sunlight, the blooming flowers, the lack of upcoming science competitions to prepare for, all contribute to my lighter mood!

I love that the crocuses that I planted over a year ago are in their second blooming season and they have clearly multiplied!  I have had snowdrops blooming since January, and they got buried several times in snow.  But now, I have many crocuses!  Look!






That last photo is of the mini daffodils that are next to bloom…soon!

I hope you are also enjoying spring!

More Verizon wackiness

20 March 2009

The depths of Verizon’s awfulness keep getting deeper, the longer I live to learn about them. I swear, I don’t go looking for this stuff. Check out this lovely check written to verizon by xkcd’s Randall Munroe, then listen to some of the phone call that inspired it. It’s a long call, so I don’t recommend listening to the whole thing.

Pecan Pi Pumpkin Pie

14 March 2009


This year I decided against ice cream pie in favor of pumpkin, having a freezer full of squash leftover from the CSA.  This morning I pulled out a baggie of 2 cups of squash pulp (probably the long island cheese pumpkin) that I’d transferred from the freezer to the fridge yesterday, and made the above pi pie.

I’m taking the pi pie as my “tea contribution” to a dance party tonight, where instead of dancing I plan to get a bunch of lab reports graded.  While that may seem odd to you, I find it is pretty effective.  I sometimes get more graded and do less staring into space if there are people who might be watching me.  My friends hosting the party will not be offended and the other guests have seen me do this too many times to count.  This time will be slightly different than usual because I will need my computer.  I am using a spreadsheet I made up to help me judge the graphs my students decided were “linear.” For each group’s data, I’ll enter it in the spreadsheet and it will tell me what the best linear fit to the data is.

Anyway, the dancing starts at about 8 PM and goes for a couple of hours or so, and then there is a potluck “tea” which consists of pies, cakes, cookies, fruit, cheese, chocolate, and of course actual tea.  Most of the guests contribute to the spread.  I hope I am not the only one bringing pie, since it is Pi Day!

By the way, for those of you who are wondering, my Spring break starts on April 4th.  So no, I am not on break yet.


8 March 2009

Yesterday I got up at 3 AM, and went to bed at 11 PM, so the title is the number of hours I was awake yesterday.  In my opinion, 20 hours is too many.

My team got all the way to the second semifinal round of the National Science Bowl, but wound up in third place.  It was pretty amazing to watch the competition.  My team was very good, but they lost to another VERY good team, from Brooklyn Tech.  The questions got progressively harder, and at the end were very challenging.  The kids were pretty disappointed at first, but perked up later after a spicy Mexican dinner in a hole-in-the-wall place.


Most of us ate the mole, either green mole or red mole.  It came with rice and black beans, and was very spicy.  I didn’t eat most of the sauce, which was very spicy, until I tried dipping the fresh-out-of-the-fryer tortilla chips in the mole.  WOW.  It was a delicious burst of spicy happiness in my mouth each time I ate another chip with mole.  Seriously yummy.

I can’t believe I have another mega-day tomorrow.  I need some down time!  I think I will have to settle for early bedtimes on Tuesday and Wednesday, however.  I just need to finish tomorrow’s lesson plans for the substitute and take care of the last of the laundry, and I can go to bed tonight.

Waaaaay too much.

5 March 2009

Tomorrow I will be checking things off lists very carefully, and getting a bunch of stuff ready for action of various sorts.  I expect to be at school late.

Saturday I am driving to NYC with four kids and a mom for a National Science Bowl competition.  We are leaving at 5 AM, which means I have to leave my house at about 4:20 AM.  I have no idea what time I will get home.

Then I have to switch my clock forward an hour, and you should too!

Monday I am taking a team to the Science Olympiad regional competition.  When I get them back to school and the last one goes home with a parent, I will hop into my car and zip home, change into something nice and professional for going out (including lipstick, probably), and hop back in my car so I can go present some awards at the Delaware Valley Science Council Awards Dinner.  I expect to be late to that.

I am co-supervising an event at Science Olympiad, and I have tomorrow after school and Sunday to put together my piece of it.  I’m finalizing exactly what that will be tonight over the phone.

Also tomorrow I have to put together my lesson plans for the sub for Monday, make sure all the Science Olympiad kids have goggles, aprons, calculators, and whatever else they need, and clean off my desk at school for the sub.  Plus fax the medical forms for the Science Bowl, and go grocery shopping.

And oh yeah, I still have a pile of labs to grade.  Surprise.

I will be incommunicado for a few days while I cope with the “doing waaaaay too much” mode that I’ll be in.

French toast, Japanese vocabulary

2 March 2009

We’re having another snow day today.  And it is still snowing.

This morning I made French toast for breakfast.  Where I live, every time there is a snow storm in the immediate forecast, people crowd into grocery stores en masse.  It’s amazing!  The joke is that everyone has to buy bread and milk and eggs before the snowstorm…but why?  Clearly the food of choice during a snowstorm is French toast!  So I made some this morning:


Mmmmmm, with New York grade A medium amber pure maple syrup from the Edwards’ farm.

I was going to just wait until it stops snowing to shovel, but the shoveling guy who has been here before came back asking another $10 to shovel.  I figure sure, and I will shovel again this afternoon (only it will be less work) once it’s over.  I’m a sucker for stimulating the economy these days.  Over the weekend I spent a bunch of money (well, less than $100) at, where you can buy all sorts of Japanese items.  I bought some flash cards for learning nouns and greetings, and some notebooks with red and green transparent overlays and some red and green pens and highlighters which are study aids.  You write your vocabulary words with red and green and then you can quiz yourself by blacking out either the English words or the Japanese words with the overlays.  The asian markets aren’t doing well either, and stimulating the world economy can only be good for our economy, right?

I’m up to lesson 15 in the My Japanese Coach program, and I can put together a few simple sentences.  I almost had the opportunity to practice when I was in Chicago–as I was going through security in O’Hare, there were a couple of Japanese women ahead of me.  They were having a lot of trouble understanding the TSA person’s instructions, particularly when the TSA person told them they had to have their boarding passes in their hands when they walked through the metal detector.  Luckily, I had my boarding pass in my hand, and I was able to point at it, helping the Japanese women understand what they needed.  At that point I could have said “Kyou wa getsuyoubi desu” or “Watashi wa onna no hito desu” but to say “Today is Monday” and “I am a woman” seemed pretty lame, so I kept quiet and just pointed at stuff.

By now I can tell you in Japanese that Buzz is a cat and Buzz isn’t energetic.  Here he is in a typical non-energetic pose:


Buzz-san wa genki dewa arimasen. Kare wa neko desu. Buzz-san wa doko desu ka?

One of these days I will figure out how to put the kiragana in on the computer, but for now all I can do is scan.

Keep warm!