Monday, December 31, 2007

Keep Those Cards, Letters, And Questions Coming

Thank you to those of you who are humoring me by playing along with my 20 Questions, really it is 10 Questions, game. I am enjoying reading the real things that Inquiring minds want to know. Ideas about how to best address the these burning inquiries are bouncing about in my feeble little brain. So too are the appropriate gifts to acknowledge my favorite questions. It is not too late to join the fun. There are still seven days left. The first installment of answers will be posted on Monday January 7th.

More later . . .

Saturday, December 29, 2007

It Felt So Good!

Though it might make for a more interesting story, the title of this post has nothing to do with the fortune in my cookie last night at the Asian restaurant where we had dinner. It read, "A pleasurable and memorable adventure lies ahead of you." Yeah, whatever.

Instead, it is about all of the knitting that I did not get done for Christmas. In years past I have made a list of people for whom I needed gifts and what I might make for them. This first step was done early, like New Year's Eve. Once I took a realistic look at my list, I chose patterns, made a schedule, and set to work. It did not work that way this year. I had some ideas. In fact, there were several things that I really wanted to make. It didn't happen. I made absolutely no Christmas gifts. What is up with that? This is the first year since I began knitting seriously that I have not made a single thing-not even a washcloth! Now that Christmas has passed, I am making up for lost knitting time.

One of the things that I had intended to make as a gift was a hat for Erin. She is to hats what Emelda Marcos was to shoes. Definitely a hat lady. I wanted to make something to go with her new red coat. This was decided on the 19th of December, when I was in the yarn shop buying the yarn to make the infamous Christmas stockings. I thought at the time that it might be a diversion from the stockings, but no such luck. The stockings were finished in a timely fashion; the hat was not even begun.

It was finally started on the 27th. Better late than never, Right? Because I was no longer forced to adhere to a Christmas deadline, because, well, I missed it, I enjoyed the knitting. Big needles and nice wool make for a pleasant knitting experience. And because the secrecy of Christmas was over, no one asked what I was making. This may also have to do with the fact that the hat was to be felted and knitted objects before they are felted are rather unattractive. No, they are butt ugly! I have decided that with such items that no one asks what you are making because they are deathly afraid that you will say that it is for them.

See what I mean?
This is Erin's hat fresh off the needles. Objects in this picture DO NOT appear bigger than they are! Before felting, this hat was big enough to fit the heads of every diva in town and then some all at one time

Then the magic happened. With a trip to the washing machine, a little hot water, some detergent, high agitation, and a leap of faith (all repeated once more), the result is this.

The felting process is amazing. It didn't seem so when I threw that wool sweater from Grandma in the laundry because I was too lazy to fold it and put in the drawer; then it seemed like the laundry gods were just out to get me. Now that shrinking is a miracle. If only it worked on things other than wool.

Don't forget to send a question for a chance to win.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Year

It has been exactly a year since I published my first post on this blog. It's title was, "Are Bloggers Egocentric?" I concluded then that "they" (now I must say "we") probably are. Truthfully, aren't we all? It really only comes down to how we each manifest this characteristic. I do it here. Over the year I have written 152 posts, two more than the psalmists and two less than the number of sonnets of Shakespeare. I am comparing only numbers here, not quality!

I know that there are a few of you out there who actually read what I write. I hope that every now and then I say something that speaks to you in a meaningful way. If not, I hope that you are at least entertained, that you smile occasionally. Truthfully, I will continue to write even if no one reads a single word posted here. Thus speaks my ego. However, I would like to attempt to create something that others can stand to read. So as I begin my second year as a blogger, I would like to incorporate a little interactive fun. Here is the deal:

Around my house, the holiday season officially ends on January 6th, the Feast of the Epiphany, the day Brooke goes back to school and Mike returns to work. Between now and then, I would like those of you who read what I write here to send me questions that you would like me to answer. You can either post them in the comments section or send me an email. I will answer all the questions over the next few weeks. As far as the type of question, anything goes. Yes, anything. You may send one question a day; that means the possibility of ten questions per person. They may be serious or off the wall. The choice is yours. Start thinking.
Here is one posed by my 15 year old daughter. "What happens when someone who has a pierced nose with no ring in it at the time blows their nose?" As I said, ANYTHING GOES!

The good news for those of you who play along with me is that there are prizes. I promise they will be good prizes! I'm sure you are wondering how the prize winners will be determined.

The winners will be chosen as follows:
Those who submit the question or questions that I like best will be the winners. Isn't that simple? No fine print. No rules to follow. Just send your questions and hope that I am amused. Oops. There is that ego thing again.

In other blog news, today is my birthday so I had to change my profile for the first time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Night Before Christmas

Thank goodness for the Internet! Had I not been able to shop via the Internet in the middle of the night, the presents around here would be virtually (no pun intended) non-existent. I am happy to say that all that I ordered arrived safely with no problems. My successful on-line shopping experiences made me realize just how powerful the Internet truly is. This is both comforting and scary. For all the good that can be done on the Web, I know that there is probably an equal amount of ill that can also be done. I am going to stick my head in the sand and ignore that possibility for the moment.

I was trying to think of a "gift" that I could share with all of you that read my musings regularly. Here I must give the gift via the Internet rather than simply shop for it in that manner.. I remembered a piece that I wrote with a few friends ten years ago. I will confess up front that this favors my knitting buddies but hopefully the rest of you will smile a little as you read as well. I hoped that I could still find it somewhere on my computer. I typed the title on the search line. Because I was not paying attention, I actually typed it into Google. Imagine my surprise when it returned several hits. I thought that someone else must have written something with the same title. As you will see, the title itself is not terribly creative. Because I had nothing else to do at midnight, I started following the links. All of them contained the words that we had written. Many of the sites that I found were blog entries that contained many comments. I read those too. "hilarious!", "Wonderful!", "How creative.", "This made me laugh." Interestingly, all of the sites listed the author as the famous Unknown. For this, I guess I am thankful. I suppose it is better that there is no attribute than that is credited wrongly.

We originally wrote this as part of a presentation for a Christmas program for the Dallas Handknitters Guild back in 1997, I think. My friends Betty Kay Seibt, Phyllis Eccleston and I were given the task of entertaining a room full of frantic knitters who were trying to finish all of their handmade Christmas gifts. The piece we wrote was a small part of our overall program. After this guild meeting, it was published in the guild newsletter. From there, someone (not any of us) must have posted it on the Web. It was at this point that A Knitter's Night Before Christmas began its ten year journey in cyberspace.

I am happy that these words have brought smiles to the faces of many knitters over the years. And, I hope that it, like the original from which it is parodied, will become a story read each Christmas Eve. I offer it to all of you now.

A Knitter’s Night Before Christmas

By Kris Elliott, Betty Kay Seibt, and Phyllis Eccleston
for the Dallas Handknitters Guild Christmas Program December 1997

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
Was unfinished knitting not under the tree.
The stockings weren’t hung by the chimney with care.
‘Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds.
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep; he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was six inches too small.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tripped over my yarn and fell down with a crash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how much I still had to go.
Out on my lawn I heard such a noise.
I thought it would wake both Dad and the boys.
And though I was tired, my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
But what I heard then left me perplex-ed,
For not a name that I heard was what I expected,
"Move, Ashford! Move, Lopi! Move, Addi and Clover!
Move, Reynolds! Move Starmore! Move, Froelich--move over!
Paton, don’t circle ‘round; stand in the line.
Come now, you sheep will work out just fine!
I know this is hard; it’s just your first year,
I’d hate to go back to eight tiny reindeer."
I peered over the sill; what I saw was amazing,
Eight woolly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard at the door
Santa’s feet coming across the porch floor.
I rose from my knees and got back on my feet,
And as I turned ‘round St. Nick I did meet.
He was dressed all in wool from his head to his toe.
And his clothes were handknit from above to below.
A bright Fairisle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His cap was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosy red face.
The scarf ‘round his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
The back of his mittens bore an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I espied a small label.
"S. C." was duplicate stitched on the cuff,
And I asked, "Hey, Nick, did you knit all this stuff?"
He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit when I was a kid."
He was chubby and plump, a quite well-dressed old man.
And I laughed to myself, for I’d thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.
He spoke not a word, but looked in his lap
Where I’d laid my needles and yarn for a cap.
He quickly began knitting, first one cap then two,
For the first time I thought I might really get through.
He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks.
While I sat back and drank scotch on the rocks.
So quickly like magic his needles they flew
That he was all finished by quarter to two.
He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me,
And I heard him exclaim as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year start your knitting sometime around June!"

I would like to ask a favor. Should you ever run across this again, tell all that you know that the author is not Unknown. You know at least one of us!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Birthday Bash

We have just finished a weekend of birthday celebrations. Offspring No. 1 turned 18 yesterday and offspring No. 2 is 15 today. They had very different ways of celebrating their birthdays.

As I said yesterday, I thought long and hard about how best to celebrate the 18th birthday of my first born. I wanted to do something appropriate, something meaningful, something that clearly stated that I acknowledged the rite of passage from child to adult. What can you do at 18 that you have not been able to do prior? Gamble? Buy pornography? Vote? Okay, I will give her a voter registration card for her birthday. I really could not think of anything that I thought she would enjoy or appreciate, so I did the logical thing; I asked her what she would like to do. I was waiting for her to say that she wanted to go get a tattoo or she wanted to "party" with her friends. I was pleasantly surprised when she said that she wanted to be taken to Central Market. For those of you not from Texas, Central Market is a grocery store, an exceptional grocery store, but nonetheless it is still a grocery store. For Brooke's 18th birthday we went to the grocery store. She was thrilled to be buying leeks, and dragon tongue beans, and fresh parsley and cilantro, and freshly baked bread, and tofu, and many other things that jumped into her cart.

The kid, I mean the adult, truly is a nerd; a nerd who is an amazing cook though. When her friends ask what she did for her birthday, she is going to say that she went to the grocery store. You should all hear the rumble of laughter across the country. Fortunately, Brooke does not care much about what others think. Let them laugh. She was happy. Because she was happy, I was happy. What could be better?

Continuing with her cooking themed birthday, we also went to see the movie, Sweeney Todd. There is an uplifting piece of entertainment. Seeing this movie made me greatly appreciate all of the vegan meals for which we had just purchased ingredients.

What to give as a gift to an 18 year old is tough. Though the task was difficult, I think we all did OK. She received a few books and DVD's. She is never disappointed with either of these. Money and gift cards also made their way to her. And, she got the Lego Batmobile. What more could an 18 year old want? We ended the day with a pasta dinner.

This morning we got up and started it all over again. Erin wanted a lunch tailored especially for carnivores at a local Brazilian steakhouse and, she wanted to invite two friends. Your wish is my command. Bring it on. As the waiters brought around an endless supply of freshly grilled meat on a skewer, I tried hard not to think about the plot of yesterday's movie. Lunch was followed by a trip to the mall to finish some last minute Christmas shopping and then a rendez-vous at the house for cake and opening of the presents.

What should I get her for her birthday? I was helped on this one. Last year about this time, Erin played Miss Adams in the stage show A Miracle on 34th Street. She fell in love with a red wool coat that was issued to her as part of her costume. She wanted to "just keep it" after the show, convincing herself that it would not be missed on the costume deck, but that she would miss it. I tried to buy her a red coat last year for Christmas. None was to be had. I had forgotten about the whole red coat thing until I saw one in a store a few weeks ago. That's it! That's the red coat. Birthday present solved. She also received a lovely hat, though it does not go with the coat.

And then there was the package from her sister. Brooke's gift to Erin was wrapped in newspaper and decorated with PETA stickers. "Cut class, not frogs." Pigs are our friends." And so on . . Wearing her knitted critter scarf, Erin carefully unwraps the box, while thinking that any minute she may have to call in the S.W.A.T. team.
When left to her own devices, it is always a little scary to see what Brooke finds to satisfy her gift-giving obligations and then to see just how she chooses to present said gift.. Despite the peculiar wrapping, Erin was overjoyed with what was beneath the PETA propaganda.

Here is Offspring No. 2 all decked out in her birthday haul.

Not pictured here is the pink hooded sweatshirt that says, "Real women drive John Deere." Is this not appropriate for a child who is now old enough to take driver's education?

As of this moment, a well-dressed, old enough to get a learner's permit 15 year old has been born, as has a new, voting non-Republican. What a comforting thought!

A not so comforting thought . . .in 2010, these two will turn 18 and 21 at the same time. How will we celebrate then?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Mission Accomplished

Truthfully, today is marked by the accomplishment of two missions. The first, as of 1:37 am this morning, I have successfully raised Brooke to adulthood. I'm not exactly sire what the means; her room is still a mess and we still pay all her bills. That is not the adulthood that I am living. I wonder where I went wrong. I thought long and hard about how best to celebrate her 18th birthday. Tomorrow I will share the details.

Today's other accomplishment concerns the mystery project that I should have said no to last week, but didn't. Here's the story.

On the 8th of December, BK and I, as well as everyone else in Denton county who has been involved in theater in any way, judged a high school drama tournament. Between sessions, BK was sitting in the judge's lounge knitting. Though I often knit at these events, I had left my knitting at home on this day. I was so far behind at that point, I could not decide which project to take so I opted for nothing. The following MOnday, while I was giving the first of my two exams, a person who had been judging with us called BK and asked her if she would be willing to make a Christmas stocking for her. As you might expect, BK's first question was, "For this year?" Truth to tell, I am not exactly sure what the inquirer's answer to this question was. As they discussed the project in more detail, the fact that the stocking included intarsia came up. This is not BK's favorite kind of knitting and because BK had several other projects in the queue, she told this person she could not do it.

On our way home from school that day, BK told me about the conversation about the stocking. The condensed version was that the original stocking had been made by this person's mother. It had been misplaced for a while and when they found it, it had a few problems. So, could we make another one like it. At some point, this person's mother-in-law had made a stocking to match the original for our friend's son. It became clear that these stockings were meaningful family heirlooms.

Last year BK and I knit stockings for almost everyone in our families so I know how important these things can be. And this year, I made Mike's stocking and BK made one for her new grandson, Carson. We hope that the stockings we've made will last our kids, well, forever. But, we know that things happen and this may indeed not be the case. If one needs to be remade somewhere down the line and neither of us can do it, I hope that there is some kind soul out there who will do it. For this reason, I decided that I would at least look at what we were up against, if I thought I could make the stockings. This was late in the afternoon on Monday, December 9th.

Monday night I was writing the pattern for the stocking. Tuesday morning we headed to the yarn shop to buy the yarn. The fact that the store even still had yarn in Christmas red and Christmas green was a miracle. Maybe this was the restocking of colors for those people who want an early start on the stockings they will make for next year. Writing the pattern such that I could re-create the original design was somewhat of a challenge. Here is what I was given to work from.

The is the original "damaged" stocking.
It is difficult to see in this picture, because all of the colorwork is on the fold or front of the sock rather than on the flat side making it more visible, but the intarsia says, "Merry Xmas", has a Santa Claus, and then the name of the person on the leg. The foot is simply stripes.

I was also given the sock that mother-in-law made for her grandson, son of our friend. Here it is.

Notice the interesting shape of the foot. Perhaps this was made to go over high heeled shoes? Actually, the problem is that the person who made this had no idea how to make a heel flap and pick up a gusset. Based on the knitting techniques that were employed in this stocking, the fact that it looks as much like a sock as it does is a bloody miracle.
The most difficult part of the pattern writing was the charting of the Santa Claus. I couldn't really tell exactly what he was doing, primarily because of bad colorwork. First of all, the floats across the back are pulled too tight so Santa looks like he is seizing up. Secondly, the design is a little strange.
I'm not sure what the green at Santa's waist is. To me it looks like he was impaled with an evergreen, probably not the image that I should replicate. I made some editorial decisions and redrew Santa. One major change I made was to add black boots. In the original design he looks like he is wearing knickers and has not seen any sunlight in . . .decades.

I worked on this project from last Tuesday until this morning. Oh, one more detail: she wanted TWO stockings. I know you are all thinking that she wanted me to remake the high heeled stocking. No. She wanted one for her husband. Here they are.
When I agreed to do this project, our friend said that she wanted to pay me for making the stockings. All of you knitters know that most people are either ignorant of the time that such a task requires or can't afford to pay for the actual time that it takes to make something by hand. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would be grateful just to be reimbursed for the yarn. When I delivered the stockings this afternoon, the recipient shed a few tears. Yes, good tears. Truthfully, that was payment enough. She then asked how much she owed me. I replied with, "The yarn was $40." Because she is a crafty person, my friend knew the value of my time. She wrote me a generous check and gave us two beautiful poinsettias. The stockings were immediately hung on her fireplace and I came home and placed the poinsettias on my hearth. All are happy. I am finally beginning to feel a little Christmas joy.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Service With A Smile

As I have mentioned, I am way behind on Christmas preparations this year. What little gift shopping I have done has been via the Internet. I was able to take advantage of several online shopping sites that were offering free express shipping. Though these deals guarantee the delivery of the ordered items no later tha Demeber 24th, there is not any room for things to go wrong - lost items, tbe the wrong size or color, etc.

When I got home tonight, one of my purchases had arrived and was waiting for me in my desk chair. The box had the seller's name on it so I knew exactly what it was . . .or should be. I stared at the box thinking that it was awfully big for what I had ordered. Perhaps I should open it now just to make sure all is well. I ripped the tape from the shipping box and pulled the packing slip from atop the item. Relief. The packing slip listed exactly what I had intended to order. Since much of my shopping has taken place in the wee hours of the night, I was perfectly willing to admit that I may have clicked on the wrong thing. Not this time; the packing slip confirmed that I had indeed placed my order correctly. But still the question, why is the box so big?

Inquiring (and procrastinating) minds want to know. I lifted the BIG box from the shipping box and reluctantly pulled the lid off. Oh, this is so not what I ordered! What do I do . . .

I checked the website for return policies. The Help section outlined the entire process. It seemed easy enough. The return shipping label could be printed from the web page and the return would cost me nothing. Then I noticed a phone number on the packing slip. It was midnight; I doubt any one is answering the phone at this time of night, but I'll give it a try. The recorded message began. Several cheerful voices clearly stated my options for proceeding and they offered me the opportunity to hear the joke of the day. A comapny with a sense of humor, especially at this time of year, can't be too bad. Naturally, my problem was one of those that required me to stay on the line until the next available representative could take my call. Again, a cheerful voice spoke.

After I told him my situation, the cheerful voice on the other end of the phone apologized repeatedly and vowed to remedy the situation. He transferred me to another cheerful voice. After reading her a few numbers, she said that the item I originally ordered would be shipped tomorrow via overnight delivery and that they would send someone from UPS to pick up the item that I had received in error. I told her that I would be glad to take it to UPS myself. As long I would receive my original order before Christmas, I was perfectly happy. After we discussed all of the details concerning the shipment of my correct order and the picking up of the incorrect one, the cheerful voice said that they would like to credit my credit card for this order as a way to say that they were sorry. I told her that that was not at all necessary, but she insisted. So, now I am getting the item, by Friday, free. How often does a company treat you like that?

Interestingly, this particular company's advertising slogan is "Powered by service." We all know that much of the time, a company's slogan bears little resemblance to what they really deliver. Here is the exception. They are indeed powered by service . . .exceptional service.

I really have no intention of turning my blog into an advertising site. (I read several blogs that have sold out to consumerism. I am sorry for them.) However, I feel that the wonderful service I received deserves a big thank you. And I know that the best thank you gift that I can give to a business is to recommend them to others. So, if you are in the market for shoes or other accessories, visit I trust that you will not be disappointed.

Thanks to these great people, my Christmas spirit is improving.

(Sorry for the vaguenesses here. The person who will receive this gift reads this.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Puppy Love

With two teen aged girls in the house a discussion of puppy love could get ugly in no time at all. So I will leave the girls to tell their love stories to their friends via text messaging and Facebook. I must admit though that periodically I check the "status" on their profiles just so I know what kind of moods to expect. At present, all is well on this subject.

This is the first time in several months that everyone has been home. Brooke came home a week ago for winter break and Mike is actually working from home this week. Though Adidas is happy to have all of his humans around because that means more suckers to throw the Frisbee, he is not too keen on having to share his half of the bed. Also, with Mike and Brooke home, the couch potato factor at our house has increased exponentially. Therefore, there is competition for the best seats in the house. The dogs are having to share a chair.

"I can't believe that #@*! is sitting in my chair. We are going to have to go sit in Mom's office and I am going to miss the House re-runs."
"If we just sit here and be quiet, he'll get up in a minute for a Diet Coke, or one of his phones will ring, or he'll just start wandering. They do that when they get old, ya know. Then we make our move and the big leather chair is ours."
"Until then . . .Don't tell my friends, but I don't mind sharing a chair with my baby sister. It beats the heck out of sharing with one of those feline things!"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Where Have All The Days Gone?

BK asked me this morning, when we left to take Erin to school, if I had written a blog entry last night. I had to respond with a somewhat embarrassed "no". When I started writing nearly a year ago, I promised myself that I would write "regularly"; myself and I never talked the specifics of what regularly really meant. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think that I intended never to skip more than a day or two. I realized with BK's question that it has been almost a week since I last posted. What I have I been doing?

Considering just how I have spent my time over the last week is a good question. As I look around me, I am immediately struck with all the things I have not done - the laundry, housekeeping, making any progress on Christmas gifts, grocery shopping, played Frisbee with Adidas (I think he has marked me off his Christmas list), changed the cat box . . .I think you get the picture.

In an attempt to see myself as something other than a lazy, irresponsible schmuck, I share with you what I have done since I last wrote.

  • On Saturday, I spent ten hours judging a Texas Forensic Association tournament. Truthfully, I am not convinced that I am qualified to judge these things, but I love to do it. The talent amongst the high school kids who participate in these events is amazing. As I watched the various judges come and go during the day and as I kept track of the Ryan High kids who were competing, I was amazed by how many people in the Denton theater community I have come to know in the past few years. Erin, who was competing, made the same observation. She knew nearly all the judges on a level beyond just acquaintance. Because my Dad was in the Navy, I never lived anywhere long enough to establish this kind of roots. It is an awesome feeling. We can also walk into our favorite diner on the square and the servers will bring our drinks before we ask and then ask if we want "the regular" this time. There is much good to be said about fairly small town America.

  • Saturday night I saw many of the same people as we attended a Denton Community Theatre production of Big, the musicali. Erin was in the chorus of this show. Though she had a non-speaking role, she had a featured swing dance. For her this couple minutes in the spotlight made all the many hours of rehearsal worth it. It all paid off; the dance required her to do a back flip with her dance partner spotting. Over seven performances he never dropped her on her head! In fact, Brooke came home Saturday and saw the show. The first thing she asked after seeing Erin's performance was how many times she had fallen on her head during the rehearsals. Thanks T.J. for sparing her little blond head!

  • Sunday I sang for Mass in the morning and then the choir, with the Texas Camerata, performed a concert of two Bach cantatas. In between the two I had a massage. You would choose a massage over laundry or changing the cat box too!

  • Monday began finals week. I gave my first final Monday morning and then went to the knit shop to wish Alissa (aka The Knitting Fairy) a happy birthday. Also on Monday I said "yes" to a project that I probably should have said "no" to. I will write more on that later. Suffice it to say that much of Tuesday was consumed with the specifics of this project.

  • On Wednesday, we made two round trips to Dallas; one for my second final and another for choir rehearsal last night. I must confess to a brief nap yesterday afternoon because in the midst of all that I have done, I am also trying very hard to get sick.

  • A good part of today was spent reading final projects from my theory class and averaging grades. I did take time out this afternoon to have a little fun with the girls. BK and I took Alissa out to lunch for her birthday.We had a good lunch and a fun visit. How can you go wrong with a lunch that involves dessert and a trip to the beloved bookstore? This evening, after going to school with Erin to pick up her PSAT scores and attending a parent meeting explaining said scores, I came home and did some more work on "the project". Brooke kindly made dinner. She asked what I wanted. Because my throat feels like there a million little creatures in there scraping paint with razor blades, all I could say to her was that I wanted something soft. She made some lovely bean soup. And here I sit at 11:25 writing this entry.

I guess that I really have not wasted much time. The massage was not wasted time! Neither was the nap. My grades are done and submitted electronically for the first time. I am making progress on the mystery project and the Internet and I have had some discussions about Christmas presents. I still have much to do before the holidays; I will soldier on one step at a time.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Friday Night

When you get old and sit at home alone on Friday night with only the dogs and your computer, and are easily entertained, what better to do than discover new ways to embarass your offspring. I've got it here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Get Thee To A Nunnery

I usually ask one question on each of my tests in music theory that has nothing to do with the immediate material but is intended to make the students think. One of my favorites is to ask them what they might like to be doing if they were not pursuing a career in music. Because students today seem to have had many experiences and opportunities before they get to college, most have a ready answer to my question. To some extent, I think that they may also get better information about potential jobs from high school counseling than I did when I was in high school nearly thirty years ago. (Wow! That hurt.)

Kids today are given several different tests that are designed to identify both their interests and their talents. Erin came home with the results of her tests this week. This is the child who loves theater, plays soccer, and is on the Academic math team. Her recommendation is as follows:

"Your high scores bring together many characteristics that can be useful to people. You are a creative and outgoing person and you enjoy helping others with their problems. You also have the ability to communicate your ideas and thoughts clearly. You may be a person who likes to teach or to plan fund raising programs for charity. For you, what is important is that you are helping others. Most occupations in this pairing require at least a Bachelor's degree or some post high school courses. It is also helpful to have a Master's degree or a PhD in many of these occupations."

In terms of assessing her strengths, this evaluation is right on. So what career opportunities do they suggest she explore? At the top of the list is clergy or nun. I know many people who would like to send their teenaged daughters to the convent but I have not heard of any getting real support for such a plan. According to the test, such a career path best utilizes her skill set and requires the most education. If that much education is not appealing, she should consider being a teacher. Should Erin want to lean more toward her creative side rather than her people side, she should consider being a writer; again, this path requires the most education. Being an actor requires some education. If she really does not want to go to school post high school, she can be a comedian. Seemingly one does not have to be well educated to be funny. Maybe all those really stupid things that fall out of the mouths of comedians are because they honestly don't know any better.

Erin has several years before she has to decide which career path to follow. At least she knows what some of her options are - and aren't. She scored a zero on the business and management section. She is quite organized and could perform jobs in this area, but I know she would not be happy. So, check back in six or eight years to see how accurate this test is.

I remember taking a similar test when I was in high school. It recommended that I be a forest ranger. I am not sure what this was based on. I do enjoy the outdoors. There are times when I would be perfectly content in a cabin in the woods communing with nature. My second option was to become a lawyer. Yeah, well. Third on the list was a musician. I don't remember if teacher was suggested at all. At this point in my life, though there are many things that I enjoy and I would be happy doing, I can't imagine doing anything that did not involve some aspect of teaching.

Did you take any test like these? Were they accurate? What are you doing now? What would you like to be doing?