Monday, December 29, 2008

Funny cuz it's true...

I just came across this blog on John's blog. (Yes, that would be the same John who proposed to Dana at Christmas!) You should read some of these. I'm not really sure what to make of them. Some are hilarious, some are just weird!

Overheard in Chicago

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ramblings....

For days I've been writing posts in my head, and even taking pictures to go with them, but as you can see, none of them have made it here! I shouldn't even be here now, since I'm going to be late for work, but I felt like I needed to "check in" with all my bloggy buddies. The weather here has been absolutely schizophrenic! A couple of days ago, the windchill was nearly 40 below zero, and everything was frozen and snow-covered. We had a little warm up on Christmas Eve (it got just above freezing, maybe 36 degrees?) so a lot of snow melted, but then by that night, it froze again. Christmas night, we had freezing rain, the likes of which I haven't seen in a while. It was so bad that nearly everyone who was at my parents' that night ended up staying for the night because is was just too dangerous to drive home. If I didn't have Dorky Dog at home, I would have stayed, too, but I didn't feel like cleaning up a lake of pee the next day. Yesterday, the temperature kept rising, and melting everything. Last night, there was the weirdest fog going on, which I'm sure was really just the steam rising from the ground. Today, it's about 60 freakin' degrees outside! Naturally, that means flooding all over the place here. My basement has water in it (I'm not even going to think about it!) and my dentist mentioned this morning that her basement was also flooded. It's been raining on and off all day, which isn't helping the flood situation. This weather is just nuts!! We had almost a 100 degree temperature change in a matter of days. I can only assume the temperature is going to drop again, drastically, and all this water will again be ice. Then we'll be listening to more news reports about 10 car pile-ups on the freeways. Oh, joy! I just hope it doesn't screw up my drive home from work tomorrow morning. Speaking of work, now I'm REALLY going to be late. Sheesh, me and my ramblings.... I'll try to post some pics from the bar later, since I have a feeling it may be a little slow tonight.


Oh, wait! Congratulations are in order for my friend, Dana!! She and John got engaged for Christmas!!! I'm so happy for them.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

This just stolen...

Here are a couple of things I lifted from one of the DJs over at The Lite. This video is really neat, and a great idea for being green this Christmas, or anytime.

Furoshiki gift wrapping from RecycleNow on Vimeo.

This made me laugh out loud at a few of these.

Tips for the Holidays

1) Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2) Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You can't find it any other time of the year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3) If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4) As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5) Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6) Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7) If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8) Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9) Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10) One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a great holiday season!

Thanks, Kevin!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I heart the G Family!!!

I haven't written about the G Family in a while, but I still love them just as much as always!! Especially at this time of year. They never cease to amaze my with their generosity. Thursday morning, Mr. and Mrs. G showed up with 24 goody bags for my babies.
Each bag was lovingly decorated by hand by, what I'm guessing was, the entire G Family. I love that this family actually does things together! It's sad to me that they are the exception instead of the rule when it comes to the families in Englewood. I realize not everyone had the idyllic childhood that I was privileged to have, but most of the families in Englewood are the polar opposite of what I had as a child. Most of our kids are raising themselves. Nearly all the families are single parent families, many of our students are foster kids, oh my God....I'd better stop right now. I had NO intention of writing a rant. Let's see, where was I? Oh, yeah, the G Family!!

Mrs. G always makes old-fashioned goody bags, with a piece of fruit, and few pieces of candy and maybe a little toy. This year, she included a book and some crayons. How great is she?
Of course, she brought me a lovely gift basket like she does every year. This one was just as beautiful as all the others. Just in case I haven't said it lately, I LOVE THE G FAMILY!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Private Post

The post is for Auntie KBL, and Auntie KBL ONLY! OK, I guess her BelovED can take a peek, too. Obviously, I can't keep the rest of you from looking, but I'm warning you now, it's BORING!

I LOVE this stuff!!
Getting in a good shake!How cute is he?!You talkin' 'bout me?
Alright, enough already!! I'm trying to take a nap here!
He just wouldn't do anything cute, sorry.


Still trying to capture some cute. The UPS guy distracted him :(


This is a loonngg clip and makes me a little sad. You can totally see how deaf he's become. You can see his Husky mask showing, mostly when he's in the darker part of the yard. You can also see his Shepard tail when he's walking away. Despite how much he pisses me off, he's still pretty damn cute.


It figures, as soon as I want to take a couple more pictures of him, he decides he wants to play! Dorky Dog!! By the time I switched modes on my camera, he was done being cute :(

OK, I started this friggin' post on Thursday, but Blogger decided to act like a PMSing little bitch that night, and wouldn't finish downloading these damn videos!! It's now 7:00 pm Saturay night, and I'm just now able to finally finish this. Ugh! Auntie KBL, I hope you appreciate the aggravation I endured for you!!!! Good thing I LOVE you!

***

OK, I just clicked on the videos, and they are so freakin' dark, you can't even see what the hell is going on !! I'm hoping it's just my computer, and that you'll be able to see them. Darn it!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Illinois' Official Christmas Carol

"Get packin', Rod Blagojevich,"
by John McHugh
(to the tune of "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen")
***
Get packin', Rod Blagojevich
The state's in disarray
The Tribune wants you unemployed
At least by Christmas Day.
The TV pundits want your head
Could there be pay to play?
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Save Illinois!
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.
***
Good riddance, Rod Blagojevich
Your Elvis look's inane,
The Senate's mad, so's Lisa's dad.
You drive us all insane.
Our transit's broke, the state's a joke,
The Tollway's one big pain.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Save Illinois!
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.
***
Good luck, old Rod Blagojevich
The feds have quite a place.
Fitzgerald's poked his nose around
And if he has a case,
George Ryan's moving stuff around
Creating extra space.
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Save Illinois!
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy.

Thanks, Peppy, for emailing this to me! It cracked me up!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Thanks, Pops!

Once again, my daddy sent me a great email today. This is seriously one of my favorite Christmas songs. It's definitely in my Top 10, if not my Top 5. Check it out.

I got another great email from a friend today letting me know what our new state motto is:

Illinois - Where our governors make our license plates

Maybe it's just me, but it made me giggle.

More proof that Italians are the most incredible people on Earth...My brother sent me this one today:

OK, dork that I am, this made me really miss my marching band days! :(

The weather here has been its usual schizophrenic self. It hit 50 yesterday, and this morning the windchill was below zero. The actual temperature hit about 10 degrees today. All four of my car doors were frozen shut this morning, despite letting my car run for almost 15 minutes before going outside. Thank goodness my son is practically a man now, because I had to use his muscle to get us in the car. However, I'm still walking around in my hooded sweatshirt, as it's not quite cold enough for a coat yet. ;-) I do keep my coat in the backseat, though, just in case my car breaks down or something.

The cold did keep some of my babies home today, which I fully expected. I had 6 out today! I shouldn't even admit it, but it was glorious! That's 1/4 of my class! If only that's the class size I had everyday.... We'd get so much more accomplished, that's for sure.

It's well past my bedtime, so I'll save the scoop about my son's party for next time.... ;-) Night, night!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Picture-palooza!

I tried to post these last night, but my computer wouldn't cooperate. So, I'll bore you with them tonight instead!!

We made a Christmas tree with our hands! How cute is this? Anything made with the babies' hands is adorable in my book. Usually, I let the kids decorate their fingertips with big sequins, and then I overlap the hands, so the tree has a "fringy" look to it. Unfortunately, I didn't have any sequins on hand, but I did have pom-poms. They still look cute, but I could do without so much wall showing :(
A close-up of the fingertips. At least I had cute pom-poms. I bought this huge bag of about 1,000 pom-poms, all different sizes and colors, so the babies had many to choose from for their hands.

The babies made "lights" again this year to string around the room. I LOVE these!

We started with some green and red construction paper, and some awesome peel-and-stick foam Christmas shapes that I actually bought at the dollar store!
The babies cut the spirals and the star, then stuck on the shapes...
...and ta-dah! Christmas trees!

We wrote letters to Santa the other day. They're pretty generic. I wrote the letter on chart paper for them to copy. Normally, I sit with each baby individually and help them write exactly what they want Santa to bring them, but I just didn't have the time this week. I'm going to try and do another letter next week that's more personalized. (If you click on the picture, you can enlarge it, and actually read a couple of the letters.)


We made the requisite paper chains during math time the other day. Of course, we were working on AB patterns!
This unit in our reading series is about food, and last week's big book was Apple Farmer Annie. The back of the book has several recipes for different apple "things," like apple sauce, apple cake, apple muffins, etc. Last year, when we got to this unit, I brought in my crock pot and we made "cinnamon apples." The babies lost their minds!! They LOVED them so much, it became a weekly thing. I loved that we were actually using up the apples from the lunchroom, because hundreds of them get tossed in the trash every week. Well, I knew this year's babies would love cinnamon apples, too, so we made them last week. They were such a hit, I told them we would try to do it every week, as well.

Tuesday, I brought my crock pot and my apple/peeler/corer/slicer back to school, and we got busy.

Ms. Nikky in the lunchroom gave us lots of apples. (I had already peeled about 10 before I snapped this picture)
On my favorite gadget, the apple/peeler/slicer/corer from Pampered Chef!
In the crock pot they go...
...with a sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon!
Turn it on and let it cook! Oh, except for one thing....one of the little bastards, I mean babies, unplugged the damn crock pot at some point!! I didn't notice until about noon, when I was wondering why our room wasn't filled with the delightful smell of cinnamon and apples yet. So, instead of cooking for a good 4 1/2 hours, like they did last week, they only cooked for about an hour and a half. They were still pretty crunchy, not all soft and mushy the way we like them. But, they still tasted yummy! How can you go wrong with apples and cinnamon, right?
OK, I'm about to throw this damn computer out the window! It's taken me about 3 hours to finish this damn post, thanks to all the pictures!! Does anyone else have trouble when they try to post pictures? Anyway, time to hit the sack, as it's after midnight. I've got a looonnnggg day tomorrow. I'm letting my son have a party tomorrow night, and I still have tons of cleaning/straightening/shopping/setting up to do before the kids arrive at 7:00. Plus, I have to attend a wake at some point tomorrow afternoon. My sister's ex-father-in-law passed away Tuesday. My two nieces have just been so upset the past couple of days. The older one was supposed to come to the party. As a matter of fact, she was going to come home with me after school tomorrow and help with all the party prep. Now I'm screwed since I put it all off til the last minute, thinking she was going to be helping me. Man, it sucks to be a procrastinator!! I wouldn't be so worried about it if it was just going to be the kids, since they'll all be down in the basement. But, I invited the moms to stay if they choose to, which means the upstairs needs to be presentable!! Damn! OK, bedtime for Bonzo!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

While I was away...

...some stuff was going on! Here is a modge-podge of "stuff" I've been meaning to post about.

I did a seriously half-assed job of decorating this year. I just haven't been in the mood to do all the holiday stuff. Perhaps my three jobs have something to do with my lack of enthusiasm? I don't even know why I'm sharing these pictures with you, since the decorating pretty much sucks.

I usually look so forward to the day after Thanksgiving, as that's usually my big decorating day. In the three years that it's taken to finish my freakin' basement remodel (a post for another day!!) I haven't really done the big decorating. At least not inside, since it's been pretty much a mess for the past three years. Over the past couple of years, I've been slowly weeding out the decorations that didn't work, and last year, I finally threw out all my lights. Most of them were strings that only half worked (I would just bunch up the half that didn't work, so you couldn't see them) and I was sick of using them. I got rid of everything! I also threw out my Christmas tree a couple of years ago, since it had gotten filthy with construction dust. The past few years, I've been purchasing a potted "baby" tree at Sam's Club and just setting it on a table as our Christmas tree. I know, pretty lame, right?

I went to WalMart the day after Thanksgiving, and long story short, I picked up a couple of trees for $25 each. Yay! They're pre-lit, which I've always been vehemently opposed to, but I figured, screw it, they're $25! Once I got them home, and opened the boxes, I fell in love! I actually bought extra lights, since I figured there wouldn't be enough on the tree, but once I plugged them in, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn't need to put any more lights on the tree, and that left me lights to string around the room in the basement. It looks perfect for the party my son will be having Friday night. (I haven't taken pictures yet of the decorations, but I probably will the night of the party.)

But, I'm still a sad, sorry case. I only brought one box of ornaments in from the garage (because they were in my way when I was trying to get my outdoor decorations) and they happened to be my son's. It's only about a third of what he has. Every year since he's been born, my mother, sister and I have always given him personalized ornaments every Christmas. Plus, other people have given him ornaments here and there over the years. He has more than enough to decorate a whole tree. Like a said, I brought about a third of them in, and we used them to decorate the tree in the basement, which is "his" tree. No garland or tinsel, just a scattering of ornaments. Like I said, sad! But, it actually doesn't look that bad, does it? I know, it needs a skirt, I'm working on that.
Yes, ever the teacher, I put my Christmas books on display on top of the bookcase. My son has his own bookcase in his section of the basement, and there's about 20 Christmas books on top of it. I know, I'm a dork!
These are the only decorations I put outside. I decided to just "showcase" all my penguins. Plus, Santa, of course! The landscaping is all new (I had it done in November) so the bushes are so little! The are barely big enough to justify lights!Lame, right? I should be embarrassed by these photos, I know. I didn't realize until after I uploaded the pictures to my computer that I didn't get my inside tree in the picture window. I think I had the blinds closed. Oh well, no big deal. It only looks good from a distance, since there's not a single thing on it. Seriously. I didn't put one single, solitary ornament on the tree. I had originally planned to put all my penguin ornaments on it, as I have enough of those to decorate two trees. But, when I went out to the garage to look for them, I suddenly became overwhelmed by the thought of first, lugging all the boxes in, then realizing that in three short weeks, I'd have to pack them all back up and drag them back out to the garage. I just said, "Screw it!" Yeah, I'm definitely feeling the effects of the chronic fatigue I've been suffering with lately. I suppose three jobs will do that to you. That's why I'm cutting myself so much slack, and I refuse to feel guilty about this. The one upside is that we have gorgeous snow on the ground, which always makes the lights and decorations look even better. Gotta LOVE Christmas in Chicago!!

Well, this post has wiped me out. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm trying to watch the series finale of Boston Legal while I type! I know there was more "stuff" I meant to share, but it's going to have to wait until next time. You're welcome! ;-)

Overheard during centers today...

Boy 1: "When girls are around, I get nervous and fall out!"
Me: "WHAT?!"
Boy 1: (giggling now) "Yeah, when I see a girl, I fall out!"
Me: "You're so silly!"

I then overheard another snippet of conversation involving kissing! "...and she kissed me on my lips and I fell out!" Several of the boys mentioned girlfriends (!) which makes me a little uncomfortable. One of the boys did make me laugh, though, when he said, "Everytime a girl comes around me, she wants to be my girlfriend!" Hmmm...future playa in the making?

(For those not in the know, "fall out" means to faint/collapse/pass out, depending on the situation. It's very much an "Englewood-ism.)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A little something for the kiddies...

...or anyone who wants to waste a huge chunk of time like I just did!!!

http://www.dominicks.com/ifl/grocery/Holiday#iframetop
Click on "Create your own gingerbread man."

Have fun!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

In the meantime...

...go here for some fun!

No...

...I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. I just haven't had the time/energy/inspiration to post anything this past week. I'll be back soon, I swear. I plan to get a full night's rest tonight (something that hasn't happened in quite some time!) so I should be full of "piss and vinegar" tomorrow. [That's one of my mom's favorite phrases. Weird, I know!]