Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I have the best boss in the world

She made this for me. Last night. Stayed up till midnight, and she's an early-to-bedder (as I've had to become in order to function in the Real World).

Each ball is made from bits of yarn; she cut the yarn in pieces so that the right colors were in the right places.

She used tiny white nails as knitting needles. I'm so impressed with her creativity. She'd seen a big tree decorated with balls of yarn in a mall and decided to make a little one for me.

Love that woman!

Saturday, December 15, 2007


I can't believe I did it.

Because I'm just so doggone good with computers, A and her mom are going to a now-sold-out Hannah Montana concert in January. It only took 35 minutes of inputting the number of tickets, typing in the secret code, and waiting to see if tickets were available. Thirty-five minutes, input, type, wait, rinse, repeat.


But I did it. It was totally worth getting up at 9 a.m. on a Saturday.

Miley Cyrus

Tickets for these concerts are already selling on ebay (I guess the some of the sellers are "fan club members" who got tickets yesterday, but some are selling tickets "in good seats to be announced", which means they hadn't even bought the damn things before they listed them) (I hate people who make it hard for normal kids to get in to see their idols, but that's another rant for another day) for incredible prices. I mean, $3000 for 4 seats? And mommies and daddies will buy them for their precious babes. One person on ebay was selling the fan club passcode for presale for $750--no guarantee of getting tickets, just for the chance to try for fan club presale tickets. I think that the fan-club-presale thing needs to be rethought.

But my precious babe is going to see Hannah Montana, and no scalper was involved, just a little fancy fingerwork on the Ticketmaster site. Ha!

UPDATE, 12/17--I'm still finding it hard to believe that I actually was able to get these tickets through Ticketmaster. I have problems with Ticketmaster ($10 service charge per ticket, $1 facility charge; aren't they all getting a share of the money anyway? Extra charge for parking, etc.), but they're the only game in town, except for those scummy scalpers. Hannah's shows in the Northeast sold out almost before they went on sale, and scalpers on ebay were selling the tickets for thousands of dollars for 2 to 4 tickets, and people were buying them. I thought that ebay ruled a few years ago that tickets couldn't be sold for any more than the face value of the tickets, but it seems that's no longer true. Or maybe it was just for those states that had outlawed scalping, I don't remember.

Last night I checked ebay to see what they're going for for this particular city. I was pleased to see that many hadn't sold (I checked "completed auctions"), and those that had, for the most part, were more reasonable than the shows in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticutt, etc. There were still a few really unreasonably high sales (like $2500 for 2 tickets, not even front row), but most were in the $100-150 per ticket range (tickets were $25--nosebleed--to $65 through Ticketmaster, plus that $11-per-ticket charge), and I'm betting that people who only needed 2 tickets bought the maximum of 4 and wanted to sell the others. The higher prices were scalpers'.

If I could have gotten 2 extra tickets, I'd have been tempted to sell them for $300-400 and fly myself down to take A to the show. But I wouldn't have done that. I'd have sold them for face value. Plus the $11 charge per ticket. There are lots of little girls who really really want to see Hannah Montana in concert, and they deserve the chance to do it at a reasonable price.

Two days later, I'm still thinking: I scored tickets to the hottest show of the decade!!! And I did it with my own little fingers, a lot of patience, and without resorting to scalpers.

Update update: You do know who Hannah/Miley's father is, don't you? Here's a little hint:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lily, the radiator cat

Okay, it's not a radiator, it's heating vent. But she still hogs it, no matter what it's called.

Zippy had a haircut

Done by his cousin, Kara, at her new grooming shop, Kipper's Cuts.

Chester (when his head isn't in the toilet)

Lunching with the ladies (and a few men)

Just look at this! It is so cute!

It's a little Yorkie, if you can't tell from the photos. The giver knows me well!

And it opens to reveal a little hideaway which holds a tiny bone.

Today was our Special Education department meeting, and instead of having the usual this-is-what-the-principal-said type of meeting, we decided to have a covered dish meal with a $1 gift exchange. This was my gift.

I typed up the names and cut them into individual pieces, then put them into a basket and took them around to those who wanted to participate. One of the guys was reluctant, so Mary (head of the SpEd department here, and my boss) told him that she’d do the shopping for him.

(Do I want to admit that there’s one guy in the department that most of us don’t know and haven’t seen often because he works in another wing of the school most of the time? And that he never speaks to anyone or smiles or responds when spoken to? And he’s big and hairy and scary-looking? And that at least 5 of us drew his name and then hastily put it back in the basket and shuddered and denied that we’d drawn it? And that by the time he drew a name, it was his that he drew? Only one other was left by that time, so I told him he had to put it back. And I’m really ashamed to admit that, at the luncheon, he was very cordial and laughed a lot. Didn’t look nearly as scary when he laughed.)

So we all found cute little gifts that cost practically nothing. Some were handmade. Some came from The Dollar Tree. The best one (beside my Yorkie and the gift I gave to Mary--whose name I legitimately drew after the scary guy's name: a small personal fan to be used during hot flashes) was a note printed on pretend parchment, tied with a red ribbon, talking about the recipient’s upcoming wedding and that she’ll give a 2008 penny as soon as they’re released, for the recipient to wear in her wedding shoe for good luck. Very sweet.

Everyone seemed to have a good time. And the food was GOOD!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Just for comparison

It's now 70 degrees.

People in the mid-to-southeast are

Total morons when it comes to snow. Idiots. Give us an inch of snow and we're doomed.

Last Wednesday morning's weather was a perfect example. An inch of snow and drivers panicked. Completely. Granted there was a bit of ice along with it, black ice, which makes it worse. But people aren't used to snow anymore. Add the number of inexperienced drivers determined to drive to school come hell or snow and it's a recipe for disaster. Then add in the low budgets that the city sets for snow and ice removal and it's just ridiculous. Also, since we rarely have major snow storms, we don't have the equipment to remove it. (Prime example: The Richmond area. A few inches of snow and they're closed for over a week. Really.)

We haven't had a major snow in years. (I've doomed us now. I'm very superstitious.) For a few years we had a lot of snow; in February of 1993 we had over 3 feet and schools were closed for 2 weeks. Of course, at that time I was working in a rural county with roads on two mountain ranges, and if those roads aren't passable, the whole county is closed. I was living in the city, though, and it was almost a week before my road was plowed.

The following winter we had two more 3-footers, maybe a month or less apart. Again, schools closed. I couldn't get out of my garage for days.

In January of 1996, two days after I gave my two-weeks' notice to the rural county to come to work for the city, we had a storm that covered the cars in the parking lot at home; only the mirror of my car was visible. It drifted badly. That time schools were closed for the remainder of my two weeks; talk about lucky--I didn't have to make up all that time!

Since then we've had a few snows, but nothing like those. I can remember maybe two since I've known Tom, and I was living in a quadriplex whose owner plowed the driveway and sidewalks right away.

Last year I think that we missed maybe 2 days due to bad weather, the year before, only one or two. Before that, we didn't miss any days one year.

Thursday we opened two hours late, which is almost as unusual for us as closing. Did I tell you how bad the freaking parking lot was? A solid sheet of black ice. There had been no chemicals or gravel applied. Not even an attempt. Because "chemicals don't work until the high 20s" (see previous post about this). Uh uh. It's just a slap in the face for those of us who made the effort to get to work. They don't want to spend the money to make it safe for those of us who work and attend school here.

I feel so loved.


Some comments that I swear were there last week have disappeared. What is going on???

Sunday, December 09, 2007


My dear friend, Tonia, is destashing some really nice yarn because her insurance is balking at paying legitimate medical bills. Go on over and check out the yarn; I'm buying some recycled silk that I've always wanted. I'd much rather that the money go to Tonia than the yarn company!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Perfect Storm (stupid title, came from this article)

Posted 2007-12-06 on http://www.dnronline.com/

Open Schools, Slick Roads Upset Parents In City

By Jeff Mellott

HARRISONBURG - Some parents questioned Harrisonburg School Superintendent Donald Ford's decision Wednesday not to delay or call off school because of snow- and iced-covered streets.

Speaking Wednesday afternoon, Ford said he regretted his decision.

"For those parents who were not only inconvenienced, but actually experienced genuine concern about the safety of their children, I am really sorry that happened," he said.

Angry Parent

City resident and parent Sid Caplan was angry about his experience.

First, Caplan said had to pick his son up after his school bus became stuck on Smithland Road early Wednesday morning. Then, after dropping his son off at Harrisonburg High School, Caplan's car slid down the driveway and struck a curb, damaging a wheel rim.

Caplan said he was frustrated trying to get news from city and school officials about his son's bus.

"I got more information from my son stuck on the bus on his cell phone - that he is not supposed to have. I am glad he had it [Wednesday]," said Caplan, who happened to have the day off from his job at Augusta Medical Center. (note from me: Kids aren't allowed to have their cell phones turned on during the school day, but they may have them on the bus or anywhere else up until the time they walk through the school doors.)

Caplan, who recently was hired by the city as a part-time bus driver, went to the scene.
"There were kids walking away. Some parents were coming to pick them up. At least three parents' cars got stuck," Caplan said.

Road Conditions

Smithland was not the only place where city streets were treacherous.

"Slick," said Harrisonburg Police Department spokesmen Lt. Kurt Boshart in describing road conditions.

Boshart reported that a car slid into a parked police cruiser on Central Avenue. No injuries resulted from that incident or from numerous others around the city, he said. (note from me: That police officer is my nephew. Good reflexes, Steven!)

Another car also slid into a city transit bus on Pear Street but did no damage, reported City Transportation Director Reggie Smith.
"We had numerous incidents this morning. I would dare say every bus slid or spun at one time or another," Smith said.

Tough Going

Two school buses needed assistance on Wednesday morning, he said, including the bus on Smithland Road around 7 a.m. The other bus was on Kelley Street at 8:15 a.m., Smith reported.

Drivers did not attempt several inclines to pick up students, he said. Some school buses kept their schedule but others were more than half an hour late, he said. "All in all," Smith said, "our drivers did an excellent job, and we were lucky considering the conditions."

Making The Call

Anticipating the storm, Ford said he checked the weather at 5 a.m. and detected nothing. Ford saw snow at 6 a.m., but he still had no indication that road conditions would deteriorate so rapidly, he said. (note from me: Bull hockey. Check the Weather Channel. It clearly showed the bands of snow coming across, not to mention the "snow advisory" in effect from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m.)

With bus drivers getting ready to start, Ford decided school could open.

Ford, who says he received about 10 calls about his decision, said he returned telephone messages to those who left contact numbers. "Going to school is never going to be a top priority to me over the safety of children," Ford said.

By Wednesday evening, only the city school system had announced delays. Due to inclement weather, Harrisonburg's schools will open two hours late today.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I love Jinky. I love his mommy. We're email buddies. She knits, too, and made some cute sweaters for her dogs.

Check out Jinky’s book. If enough people order it, he'll write another one. The world needs another Jinky book.

One inch of snow cripples western Virginia

Every stinking school system in this part of the state (and WV) are stinking closed this morning. Except our city school system. It took me 15 minutes to drive the 5 miles after I dropped Tom off this morning. Roads had not been treated. The damn school parking lot hadn't been touched; we couldn't tell where the lines were, so we're parked all over the stinking place.

So far at least two buses--full of children--have been in accidents and have to be towed. There have been many parents calling in saying that their kids have been in wrecks; at least two teachers have been in wrecks. My boss can't get off her street. Tardies have been totally suspended today because kids are just coming in when they can get in. Many buses are either stuck or haven't picked up kids at all.

Happy freaking Wednesday!

Okay, the lot isn't as bad as I thought. Only two or three cars are blocked in with dumb parking.

And the weather forecast is calling for another wave of snow to come through starting any minute. Wanna bet we'll be here till 3:00 anyway?

Saturday, December 01, 2007

No sign of Stumpy

We're still hoping that he'll come back after hunting season. Lots of little males in the front-yard herd, but no Stumpy.

Look who's in the front yard

Right now:

And here you can see our West Virginia porch lights. I think they've been up for about 8 years.

I'm heading out to the kitchen to make my specialty, homemade vegetable beef soup. It's my favorite comfort food. Mom mentioned that she made some last night, and it sounded good to me. It's very bland, very plain, and I love it. Tom adds lots and lots of hot peppers to his; he doesn't like bland. That's okay with me; I don't mind if he doctors his up so he can tolerate it. He's the primary cook here; this is the only thing I cook. And he's a good cook!