Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Mostly Quiet Christmas

It was a quiet cozy Christmas for us. Anna Rae and I went to an early Christmas Eve mass; I loved singing carols before mass, the sight of the altar with sparkling Christmas trees and tall pyramids of vivid pointsettas, the little herd of children in their holiday finery were amusingly serious and sincere as they talked with father about the meaning of Christ's birth before he gave us his homily, and HG and her friend Brittany sang a flawless and beautiful duet of What Child Is This (if ever I have been guilty of the sin of pride, it was then). On Christmas morning we opened gifts at about 8:30. As an only child being FIRST to see what Santa left under the tree was an unknown concern for HG. That never was the case with me. I would get up long before my brothers and sisters, poking and shaking packages, examining labels, wanting to know and wanting to be surprised at the same time. Now that HG is a young adult I don't feel the need to abandon the comfort of a warm bed even on Christmas morning. Besides it is SO dark, with sunrise only minutes before 8:00am. Once we opened gifts and the french bread stuffed with sausage, Canadian bacon, and Swiss cheese was in the oven, we retreated to our corners with our gifts; HG reading a book of Transit Maps of the World (she has had a big time fascination with maps ever since about age 5), Chris reading the Onion's Dumb Atlas of the World, and me struggling through the user's manual for our new digital photo frame. I have it working, well, sort of; I can load the pictures from a memory card but I busted the feature that allows us to upload from the computer. How? Well the directions say, " You can connect the Digital Photo Frame to a Windows or Macintosh computer to copy files to the built-in memory." Then the next section talks about connecting to a Windows Computer, no more mention of Macintosh. That was not going to stop me, I wanted to play with my Christmas toy, @#*& it! So I followed the Windows directions and the Pandigital icon came up and everything was looking A-OK, I started uploading a photo and the little wheel that turns on your screen to tell you "I'm busy, DON'T TOUCH!" just kept turning and turning and turning for a long, long time. I panicked and force quit every operation I could find and then turned off the frame and removed the USB cable. Big mistake, a few pages later in the manual it says, "It is important not to just unplug or switch off the Digital Photo Frame when files are being transferred...". But like I said, I can still load photos from a memory card so, all is not lost!
Have you noticed our perfect Christmas tree? Yes, it is perfectly fake. We have officially made the switch to an artificial tree this year. What I like most about a fake tree is that you don't need to worry about leaving the lights on too long and drying out the needles and burning down the house. What I like least about a fake tree is that the lights are kept on ALOT and I find myself becoming more jaded about the brightness they bring to otherwise dreary winter nights.
The biggest surprise on Christmas was the snow that started to fall at about midday.
A white Christmas is very rare in Seattle; I can think of only two in my 31 years here. I chopped and sauteed, preparing our holiday dinner while listening to seasonal music on the radio and the big wet flakes of snow swirled outside my big garden window, making it feel almost like Midwest Christmases from my past. Our dinner though was decidedly Pacific Northwest; Pistachio Encrusted Halibut with Spicy Cucumber Yogurt Dip and Skewered Shrimp with Tomatoes and Feta Cheese, accompanied by a simple lettuce salad and tortellini pasta with roasted peppers and garlic. I did not make a dessert but there were plenty of cookies around for nibbling all day long. A good bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon rounded out our very tasty feast.
Afterwards we retreated downstairs to watch a DVD, The Waitress which is a lighthearted romantic comedy. HG was not totally pleased with the ending but just the same we all agreed it was worth viewing. As we were happily cuddled in blankets on the couch and rocking chair, a little excitement ensued in the backyard as I saw a the beam of a tiny flashlight pass the window in front of us. "Hey Chris, someone is in our backyard!" I exclaim. He shoots off the couch pulls open the back door and shouts, "HEY BUDDY! What are doing in our yard?" Turns out it was our neighbor Sam. His girlfriend's black cat had escaped when a visiting relative opened the door. The cat is an indoor cat and is probably a real dufus about living in the wild neighborhood of feral cats, raccoons, and possums in Shorewood. I still don't know if the cat has been found. We loaned Sam our mega watt flashlight. In retrospect I am not so sure that opening the door BEFORE Chris knew who it was, was the best line of response. Adrenaline makes a person do crazy things.
So that was Christmas 2007 for us!

My Snowman Collection

Run your curser over the snowman images to enlarge them and see the ones that are underneath. I love Photobucket!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Solstice Party

We came dressed in our glitziest and gaudiest Christmas wear to wine, dine, and watch corny holiday movies with our friends Bethany and Jason. Bethany brings 'funwear' to new heights with her green crinoline and silver spandex legs. Jason works at Magnolia Audio Video, installing high end home theaters in homes, businesses, on yachts, and commercial fishing boats. They hosted their Solstice Party in the Design Center's 15 seat theater. On view was: The Muppets Christmas Carol, The Grinch, and Scrooged. It was the perfect start to my two week holiday break. The buffet table groaned with the weight of food and drink. Honestly folks, the holiday is just now gaining momentum for me and I think I have already gained the 7# that most Americans put on during this time of year. I have made only one batch of cut out cookies but goodies have abounded at work and of course both my parents and my in laws have sent goodies: Angel Food Candy (my hands down favorite Christmas sweet since childhood), candied nuts, and of course cheese from Laney's; curds, cheddar aged 2 and 4 years, baby whips, aged Parmesan, and the list goes on and on! But wait, I still have not given the list of treats from students: gift cards to Cupcake Royale and Starbucks, boxes of Ferrero Roche, Godiva chocolates, Rock-n-Roca (delicious beyond imagining!) and bars of chocolate flavored with Earl Grey Tea an Ginger (from Trader Joe's). I must confess, I gave about half of the 'loot' from school away to our church's holiday 'meal in a bag' program. This rain had better let up so I can run some of these excess calories off. Oh! The official results for the Jingle Bell Run have been posted and I ran the 5k in 25.51. This put me at 18th out of 183 in females aged 50-54, which is totally respectable in my opinion.
So what do I have planned for the next two weeks?
1. Reading Love in the Time of Cholera
2. Starting a classroom blog
3. Painting a bathroom
4. Cross country skiing
5. Cooking and enjoying it
6. Lunch with friends
7. More running
8. Watching more dvds
9. Phone calls to relatives and friends
10. Some time in my classroom; "What? You didn't know that teachers spent time at school during break? Tsk, tsk."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I remember when a tangerine in my Christmas stocking was as expected as a candy cane. Now Clementines like these Cuties, share the produce aisle along with satsumas and a host of various tangerines. So why two boxes for a family of three? It was a BOGO (buy one, get one) of course. Even at that the price was, "Gasp!" $8.99. But the HG, like me, pouted that it just wouldn't be right to be without these fragrant, juicy, easy to peel citrus fruits during the holidays. They make the best of snacks in the classroom too and the whole room smells fresh (something you can't always say about a kindergarten classroom).
Speaking of kindergarten, look who visited my classroom yesterday! HG stopped by to meet my class and she helped at the Arts and Crafts table. Of course she thought they were all SO cute and they in turn were rather 'taken' with her. I do not encourage HG to pursue teaching as a career but I guess it wouldn't surprise me if she did, considering all the time she has spent visiting and helping in my classroom ever since she was very little.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Holiday Spirit

Last night I poured my holiday spirit into creating the playlist you see on the right side of my blog. I asked the opinion of HG (honey girl) and she said with a groan, "Eww...I don't like to be bombarded with music when I am reading a blog!" I must say I agree with her and I am tempted to take it off. I think though I will keep it on through this month and let you readers out there give your opinion. There is a little button in the left hand corner of the playlist that you can click to turn the music off if you find it obnoxious. If you listen to nothing other than Jingle Bells by Anup, it will be worth your while.
So what else has kept me busy? Well, last Sunday HG and I ran in the Jingle Bell Run. That was fabulous fun! There were over 11,000 runners! Most of the runners wear gaudy holiday costumes and everyone wears bells. Our attire was decidedly tame. We were in the 5k runners wave and by my watch my time, 25.53 looked very good! Official times won't be posted till Dec. 21st. It actually started to snow briefly as I came running out from under the Convention Center, which gave me the burst of adrenaline I needed to run up the exit ramp and on to the finish line.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Slipper Day

Friday was Slipper Day at Sanislo. How fun to be in toasty slippers all day! Only two of my kindergartners wore the exact same slippers and those were Spiderman slippers. On the first Friday of every month it is school spirit day and we have an assembly at the end of the day. Kids can sign up to showcase their talent. This month, a second grader showed us his Irish dancing and two first grade girls and a third grade girl played the piano. At the end of the assembly we sing Happy Birthday to students and teachers who celebrate birthdays during the month. They are simple, no pressure assemblies for the teachers and the kids really enjoy seeing each other on stage.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Women

Chris Bennion, photographer

Busy, busy weekend for me, and lots of fun too! It began Friday night at the ACT theatre where I went along with about a dozen other teachers/friends to see Clare Booth Luce's stylish 1936 play The Women It was described as "venomously funny" and I must say that is an accurate description. I also thought it was an appalling commentary on how some females communicate with each other; lots of cattiness and backstabbing. The script left no doubt that the 'good old days', really weren't all that great for women. The best part of the play was the detailed and extravagant costuming of 1930s women's wear, everything from lingerie to evening gowns.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Rain, Rain Go Away

On Saturday there was snow and now today it is 56 degrees out and it has been raining nearly steady since last night. Many areas of the state are experiencing serious flooding and a stretch of I5 near Chehalis is closed. Some small towns are being evacuated by boat. All Star Fitness here in West Seattle has been flooded and is closed. Check out the West Seattle blog for photos. Personally, we have nothing disastrous to report at our house but I do know more than one of my coworkers has a flooded basement. The photos above show the lake that has taken over our playground.
This isn't going to drain anytime soon!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

December Is Here!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Nothing like a couple inches of snow to usher in the holiday season! I am glad it was a Saturday as I really don't want the school year to drag out in the spring. At the start of all this snow, I was in 'old Burien' and the little specialty shops and boutiques were having their open holiday house and there were carriage and hay wagon rides up and down the street. It was quite picturesque and I sure wish I had brought my camera with me. I just know on Monday the kids in the classroom are going to be full of chatter about this lovely, although wet and brief snowfall. This morning it sounds like rain and looks like sleet coming out of the sky; quite miserable. The Midwest also got snow yesterday but from looking at the news, it probably was a bit heavier and is still around today. Here in Seattle the snow seems like a dream.
Well, time to make some pumpkin bread and then start decorating the tree!