Monday, December 29, 2008

Mozilla Rules!

I just wanted to pop on here with a public service message, ha ha. Do we have those anymore? Mozilla, as suggested by our esteemed Captain of Hogwash, is awesome. It remembers passwords for websites that you go on all the time, it doesn't have the autofill but a drop down box when you are filling something in which gives you choices you have used before in the same type of space. This is more versatile as with autofill you only had one answer it would fill in, such as email address. This way you can chose which email you want to fill in on which site, etc. I like it much more than the controversial Internet Explorer, which I always used because it was there, I guess. This Mozilla I suggest to everyone. When Internet Explorer gets its security issues straightened out, I for one am not going back.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Kwanzaa!

Happy Sixth Night of Chanukah

Happy Kwanzaa!

Below please find the seven principles of Kwanzaa, in case you needed to know!

The Nguzo Saba - The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

*From -- Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture, 2008, Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press (
Isn't this interesting: "Gifts are given mainly to children, but must always include a book and a heritage symbol. The book is to emphasize the African value and tradition of learning stressed since ancient Egypt, and the heritage symbol to reaffirm and reinforce the African commitment to tradition and history. " Must include a book, what a novel idea. Punny, I know.

Where the hell are the coats?

Speaking of charity, I have a big issue now with the winter coat charities. Now we are always donating our old coats to charities, there are boxes everywhere for old coats. I have never thrown out a coat; I either’ve given them away or donated them. Well, where do these coats go? My best guess is it is a conspiracy theory thing, and some quilt manufacturer is really getting all of these coats and using them for blanket stuffing. Why would I say something so crazy? Try to get a coat. I did. It can’t be done. Seriously.

A kid at school needed a coat, so I figured I would get him one. Easy? Not. The Salvation Army would not help without the family jumping through hoops, which wasn’t the point. It was to help the busy hardworking mom have less to do, not give her more to do. Then I went to Goodwill. Goodwill is an incredibly moneymaking venture; I will never donate to them again after seeing what they charge. Used coats $29.99, really? Add ten bucks and I could’ve picked him up a new one, but as his teacher, I wasn’t doing that. I thought of it at this point, but now it was the principle of the thing - where the hell are all the coats? The churches are wonderful but have limited hours, a working person really can’t get there, so I don’t know what a couple of the church thrift stores would have charged, if anything. I couldn’t get anywhere before 2:00.

So here I am, just trying to get a kid a coat, and I can’t. I called the places that you leave coats and no one knew where the coats actually went so people could get one. I called most of the people I know and no one actually knows where you would go to get one of the thousands of coats that are donated each year. Insanity. A dear friend’s boyfriend had a nice coat he wanted to give away she told me when I called to find out if she knew where to get a coat. So thank A. for the coat, this kid is warm, but what about the next one? Shouldn’t we know where our donations go and be able occasionally to go get something for someone who needs? Right, isn’t that the point? I thought so, but... I can just imagine how hard it is for someone to needs help to actually figure out who to reach out to, to get that help. How do they even know where to go or who to call? I still don’t know where the coats are but I do know where the caring people are, so it’s a leap in the right direction.

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to Everyone Who Celebrates It! I hope something wonderful happens to everyone!

As a quick update, the neighbor I helped with her citizenship paperwork is now an American! Yay! I am so excited for her and her family. She also made me the best baklava ever! Yummy and fattening, but mmmm.

My friend C. was busy today running around trying to make Santa show up for three little girls she knows who were otherwise going to have no Christmas. We did what we could to help her efforts, but I tell ya, when she gets her mindset, she is a force to be reckoned with. (Are we all ladies?) It’s funny I heard once that people would help others more, they just don’t know who needs help. So bless you C. for seeing a need and filling it. I look forward to hearing how it went; I know she totally changed that family’s day and outlook on life too probably.

Thanks to the millions of people around the world who help make the holidays better for others. It is so appreciated, I have had help at the holidays before too – food basket, or toys and clothes for my child. I will testify that when you open that carton or whatever it is, the generosity and kindness of strangers brings tears to your eyes. You are so grateful that someone though of your loved one and whether or not he or she was smiling. It changes your outlook on the world and makes you positive, especially when you aren’t able to give your child what they deserve, like a new winter coat, boots or what have you. When someone else helps you like that, if firms up your resolve that someday you will help others like others have helped you. I am proud to say this year, now that I’m out of school, we were able to do some good things for others, and it felt nice. My child loves to help others too and doesn’t hesitate to run up to her room and bring something down for someone who doesn’t have anything. I am proud of her. Next year we will do more. Of course we always try to help, not just at the holidays, but the holidays there are more opportunities to help.

I might not celebrate Christmas, but I love it! What a wonderful time of year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It's the next day...

...and we are now getting 16 to 20 inches. Let it stop, let it stop, let it stop. :)

Happy first night of Chanukah to everyone! Peace, Hope and Love!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

First Big Storm of the Year

We got our first foot of snow last night. It's still snowing actually, but I don't think it is accumulating. Here I go trying to be "photographerly."

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Last week's ice storm



Heavy Baby Tree

The Meltdown

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Latka time

It is Chanukah time again! Yay, the celebration of fried food. I have to make batches and batches of latkes today and tomorrow, for Hebrew school tomorrow and public school on Monday. This year I decided since I bought a little food processor that I would use it to shred my potatoes instead of my grater. I went online to see if others are doing this and they are.
There was also quite a few comments about latkes without blood in them from the grater not being as good. My thought, ewww. To my dear friends who have had latkes at my house, I would like to assure you never have I bled from the grater! Yuck, my mind races back over the years to the probably millions of latkes I've eaten that other people have prepared, did they scrape themselves on the grater? Bllehh, I have to stop thinking about it – I’m grossed out!ANYWAY, I found a great website with pictures and a latke recipe from Chez Lewis in Jerusalem. Thank you! This is the link I'll put it over in the Links I Love column so you can just click. His tip with the starch and flour I am definitely going to do having had trouble holding the latkes together in the past. The only change I will make from his recipe is one potato at a time, my processor is tiny, and I will add in the bowl I put the shredded potato in some baking powder to help it not turn pink/brown as I process the rest of the potatoes. I really like his step-by-step pictures though. Check it out, I’m going to have his page up while I’m in the kitchen later! (I wonder why he has bricks on his stove though...)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just some thoughts...

We got out of school an hour early today because the rain was turning to ice. Winter is here! Argh. Strange even to me, but I wish it was snow instead of ice. Snow seems safer, if you fall on it, it can cushion your fall. Ice just hurts. Although the trees after an ice storm especially right before sundown are beautiful. But the trees right after a snowfall are beautiful too.

Well gas is exactly the same price as it was in 2001, weird. I just hope that people still know there is a need for green technologies and that this low gas price is only temporary. I figure the next time it goes up it will stay up like overseas.

I started my new nonfiction writing class, I am very excited although I blew my first assignment. I just submitted my second one, and I hope it is better than my first. All I want to do is write but in classes it just seems I have no idea how. Yet I teach it all day, what’s up with that, I do not know. I know I am helping this kids, I guess I just need someone to help me hone my skills.

How does that Bachelor show work, how do they have any idea that out of those 25 people the person will find a lifemate? Wouldn’t it be great if all we had to do was date 25 people and we would find someone to love? Reality television is so unrealistic.

I want to watch Will Smith’s new movie, Seven Pounds.

Have an incredible day.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I surely did. I’ve been too busy eating leftovers to post, because I was lucky enough to have Thanksgiving at my house with dear friends. It was so wonderful, this is the first year I had leftovers and yum!

There have been some freaky things going on in the world. The little boy at my baby’s class who likes her was actually a victim of a home invasion. Poor little thing, he had a gun pointed at him and was seriously scared. He was on the local news and all. These brilliant teens four of them got away with something ridiculous like $3 and half a Percocet. Let’s just say, not worth it, idiots! Well, turns out two of the idiots I know from the school, they graduated already but what a small world it is. One of them is not really a bad kid at all either, so it is sad. I couldn’t believe it when first I saw the seven year old in TV, and then the big kids, it really makes no sense. They will be on one of those stupid criminal shows. The family they were trying to rob is obviously quite poor too, so it is ridiculous. I guess that same night they tried another house too, but weren’t successful there either. All I know if they are going away for quite some time threatening a little boy with a gun, and an old woman in a wheelchair. It is nuts and depressing.

What isn't so depressing is however the gas prices. $1.64 today. I looked in my daughter's babybook and in 2001 gas was $1.57. The price of food isn't going down though, it's still going up and up. We are in a recession now, but I went to the main shopping area in my town this afternoon and it was packed, there was not indication of any recession going on there...