Friday, December 29, 2006

Aiden

Kevin and April had their baby boy. After a lot of scary moments, Aiden is improving. Please remember him in your prayers!

13 Most Influential Americans

Check out History is Elementary for the Top 13 Influential Americans! Had anyone asked ME, I would have same James Polk should have been on the list!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Christmas! We had a lovely time with Ray's family! Midnight Mass was a wonderful experience, complete with sleepy little altarboys! The littlest one was so cute and trying so hard (and the priest knew it), but fell asleep during the homily. His feet were WAY off the floor when he sat in his chair. And at the end he was having problems getting the prayer book - the altar was too high for him and the book too big! We went to Old St. Pat's in Ann Arbor - a gorgeous, homey, little church with a great priest (at least from what we could tell then!).

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Still need a present?

Just a quick post. Still looking for a present - I have the best idea for you! Make a donation to Heifer International. You buy livestock for a needy family and then they are educated on how to care for them and have to pass on some of the livestock to others in the community as well. It is a great gift and a great way to do good work! Ray and I have done this for the last two years and hope to give bigger animals each year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Crazy Christmas House


This house is insane with Christmas stuff! It is hard to tell from this picture, but you get the idea. I have NEVER seen a house this decorated!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Update

So I've been posting pictures, but haven't said much about what's going on with us. So here's an update on our life:

Well, I just have ONE more semester and I'll be done with this degree. YIPPEE!! I so want to be done!! I'm interning in the spring at the National First Ladies Library - YAH! I'm also teaching three (maybe 4) classes and taking two. I only needed to take one, but there were two good classes so I'm just making myself do it. Of the classes I'm teaching, it is only the possible one that will actually be new. I'm in the process of rewriting several assignments and a few notes, but otherwise hopefully it will be a quiet semester. I've been working with this primary source assignment I have. I love the concept, but the actual execution has been in question. It is way too much work for ME. A bad thing, don't you agree? Anyway, I think my new way will be better, but we'll see how it goes. I'm also incorporating some work with website reviews in it. I'm really into information literarcy - students today just DON'T have it. So anyway, I'm trying to provide some. Hopefully my new way will be better, but still get the important things across!

Ray was so ready for vacation. He's got a cold now, but he recovering quickly now that he is feeling a bit better. Sleep DOES make a difference. He has a lot of prep to do over break, but will hopefully be able to get caught up. He is teaching a FIRC (Flight Instructor Refresher Course) in the spring and needs to prep for that. It is a great opportunity, but does mean some extra work.

We are off to MI for Christmas. We are going up on Saturday and will return on the 26th. We both just want to be able to spend some time at HOME over break. It is nice to be able to go up and visit for a short time. When you don't have to drive for 18 hours it makes it easier to visit more frequently, but shorter. I think we might also go up for New Year's. I'm going to spend tomorrow doing my baking to take up. I'm making gingerbread cake, raspberry shortcake and a cheese dip appetizer. Oh and I also making steak fajita roll ups, but those are just to freeze for later. I like them in the freezer and we are currently all out!

We are going to Arlington, VA Jan. 8-10th. Ray is going to an aviation conference - I'm going to play in the musuems! Important things, you know! That is the week before classes officially start at Kent, so it is a good time to get away. Ray is presenting at a conference later in the year in Novi, MI. That will also be fun, but we'll stay with his parents for that one.

I'm so glad I'm done with Christmas shopping. Ray and I went out from ice cream yesterday (we had Cold Stone coupons) and the malls looked INSANE. I didn't want to go anywhere near them! There was even a line in Barnes and Noble! Cold Stone has pumpkin ice cream for the holidays - it is so YUMMY!!! You should definitely go try it!

Well, off to try to get some work on updating notes done!

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows

Yes, that is the title for Book 7...FINALLY. But still no publication date or anything else. But it is something, I guess. So do you think she'll kill off Harry or not?

Dead Santas?

Okay, first of all, I'm not really big into the huge lawn ornaments. Think they look pretty tacky. But, hey, it is your lawn, so whatever you want to put up. But, this is what happens you turn off the new ones - it looks you KILLED Santa on your lawn! It just looks so kooky to me!


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Olga in a Cabinent

This is from tonight - Olga decided she needed to see the ENTIRE basement, I guess!

Potato Soup

Pat (Ray's mother) and I made Potato Soup for our gifts in the jar this year. I forgot to post this one when I did the rest, but its up now!

Olga's Mission....

Olga wanted in this drawer so bad! But Ray only opened it partially and she just couldn't managed to squish it or herself enough! She tried for a good 20 minutes though!


Ray's Tie Story

So a little background first. One of Ray's co-workers had a holiday party and specifically said "no ties," since they all have to wear them at work all the time. And he said that if you wore one, he would cut it off. This was a challenge to Ray. So he sent me on a cheap tie hunt and I came back with a very girlie one. He then wore it over his t-shirt to the party:Well, of course, his co-worker cut the tie off. Then Ray wore the cut-off tie for the rest of the night!
Now in the course of the party, everyone thought Ray should wear the cut-off tie to work. And Ray took the bait. He brought a real tie in his pocket, but he did get some laughs (and some glares). He came home at the end of the day with the cut off tie around his head like a bandit!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

New Recipes

I just put some new recipes up on my website:

Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies - these got rave reviews from Ray's dispatchers. I wanted someting new and these turned out REALLY good. Chewy and yummy:) I also made my traditional chocolate chip cookies and I tried a new gingerbread recipe, but I wasn't happy with the gingerbread recipe so it didn't make my website.

Cheddar Bacon Penne - this really is just a fancy take on Mac & Cheese. It was pretty good and Ray likes new twists on old things from time to time.

Glazed Pork Tenderloin - Ray picked out this recipe to try. He really likes pork, but I'm not a huge fan (except for ham at Easter). I try to try a few pork things from time to time to be fair to him. This was very good, if you like pork. I didn't mind it and I don't really like pork, so if you like pork, you'll love this. Plus it is really is pretty easy - as long as you remember to marinate ahead of time!

Grading

Here is a time honored way of cutting grading time! I believe I heard several of my professor go with that method! I prefer the random lottery method myself...just make sure I give a couple of each grade!:) We don't want to caught without our grading done - then we have to do the walk of shame!

***As a note, of course, we all actually grade our exams fairly.***

Memory Lane....

Memory lane can be rather scary! Mrs. Ament (remember her...middle school social studies) found this picture and gave it to my mother, who sent it to me. I almost didn't put this up...I almost wish I could pretend I didn't exist in middle school! There is a time in my life you COULD NOT pay me enough to repeat! The only thing I wouldn't mind back is my jeans size....

Battle of the Books...I read some really great books...and some really terrible ones! I was trying to think which was the worst...I can't remember....it all has been smudged out by the memory of having to read The Great Gatsby. Oh, how I hated that book! Then there was Hemingway.....oh and Moby Dick. I tried so hard on that book - because Mrs. Baker would make it sound SO exciting...then I would try reading it at home...like trying to move in concrete! So who has actually read all those book you promised Mrs. Baker you would? I still have to actually get through the entirity of For Whom The Bell Tolls if I'm to keep that promise. I think I'd rather go reread Wuthering Heights. Now there is a book for teenage girls!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Snow all Gone.....So Sad.....

So this was right after our snow storm:

Now look at it....

So depressing! We need snow back!

Friday, December 15, 2006

FINISHED!!!!!!!!!

I just mailed my Christmas cards, all my presents are wrapped and mailed, so I'm officially done!! I took my last final yesterday morning and I'm only waiting on one more to grade to finish grades for the semester.

Now I have three classes to prep for next semester....not thinking about that right now.....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Dam

I got this as an email...I have no idea if it is actually true as it claims, but it still very funny and very much in keeping with what our government would do!

This is an letter sent to a man named Ryan DeVries by thePennsylvania Department of Environmental Quality, State of Pennsylvania.This guy's response is hilarious, but read the State's letter before youget to the response letter.

SUBJECT: DEQ File No.97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. DeVries:

It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Qualitythat there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referencedparcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/orcontractor who did the following unauthorized activity: Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outletstream of Spring Pond.

A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity.

A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued.Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is inviolation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resourceand Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994,being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Pennsylvania Compiled Laws,annotated.

The Department has been informed that one or both of the dams partiallyfailed during a recent rain event, causing debris and flooding atdownstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherentlyhazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you tocease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore thestream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming thedams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed nolater than January 31, 2006.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so thata follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff.

Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activityon the site may result in this case being referred for elevatedenforcement action.

We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

Sincerely,
David L. Price
District Representative and Water Management Division.

Here is the response sent back by Mr. DeVries:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Lycoming County

Dear Mr. Price,

Your certified letter dated 12/17/02 has been handed to me to respond to.I am the legal landowner but not the Contractor at 2088 Dagget Lane, TroutRun, Pennsylvania.

A couple of beavers are in the (State unauthorized) process ofconstructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outletstream of my Spring Pond. While I did not pay for, authorize, norsupervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended thatyou call their skillful use of natures building materials "debris." Iwould like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their damproject any time and/or any place you choose.

I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their damskills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dampersistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic.

As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of damactivity.

My first dam question to you is:
(1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers, or
(2)do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said damrequest?

If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, throughthe Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of all thoseother applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. Perhaps we willsee if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes andStreams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of thePennsylvania Compiled Laws, annotated.

I have several concerns. My first concern is, aren't the beavers entitledto legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destituteand are unable to pay for said representation -- so the State will have toprovide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that eitherone or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event, causingflooding, is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Departmentis required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring PondBeavers alone rather than harassing them and calling their dam names.

If you want the stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition pleasecontact the beavers -- but if you are going to arrest them, they obviouslydid not pay any attention to your dam letter, they being unable to readEnglish.

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build theirunauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and waterflows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoySpring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and EnvironmentalProtection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources(Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams).

So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can bereferred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until1/31/2006? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and therewill be no way for you or your dam staff to contact/harass them then.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention to a realenvironmental quality and health problem in the area. It is the bears!Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe youshould be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the beavers alone.

If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! The bearsare not careful where they dump!

Being unable to comply with your dam request, and being unable to contactyou on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your damoffice.

THANK YOU.
RYAN DEVRIES & THE DAM BEAVERS

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Garages are for.....CARS

What a novel idea! Anyway, we weren't using our garage for much of anything except Ray's spray painting, but when winter started to come, I told Ray he should really start pulling in his car once the snow flew. Just beause he gets up early and while our garage isn't heated, it will keep things like SNOW off the car and save you a lot of effort. Well, Ray was very skeptical of this (while I thought the entire point of having a garage....guys are weird!), but when the snow storm hit I made sure to park my car so Ray could get into the garage if he wanted. And he tried it....and guess what? HE LOVED IT. Go figure....keeping snow off your car DOES help.....MEN!!!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Smoking Ban

In the last election, Ohio banned smoking in almost all public places. The ban took effect yesterday. I'm thrilled - smoking is a nasty and dangerous (health wise) habit. Plus it STINKS. There a lot of places I avoided because of smoking, but now I can go without fear of being poisoned!

Snow Storm!

Ohio got POUNDED!! It seriously snowed for 24 hours straight! It started during the night on Thursday and didn't quit until midmorning today!! The shot below is my backyard. The roads were fairly icky yesterday, although most people were being smart drivers (there were of course a few idiots). Isn't Lake Effect snow fun? I'm sure Cleveland got a ton more, but I'm happy!

Okay, so this is geeky, but I haven't had anywhere to shovel for years so I'm actually proud of my shoveling this morning!

Santa?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Washing Machine Blues

I was washing clothes and hadn't been paying attention for awhile, so I went downstairs and everything was off. So I go to pull the clothes out of the washer and they were in standing water! Not good. So I make Ray come look. Well, the sweater I washed before this load had shed and the fuzzies were clogging the sink where the washer drains into. But the washer won't keep draining if the sink is full. I didn't know this! Something about the way it drains...pressure or something. Anyway, so Ray unclogged the sink, reset the washer and it works again! YAH!!

Oh, I also washed Ray's flashdrive (because he is horrible about cleaning out pockets...I check them, but his dress pants have very long pockets), but it also still works. I guess they are pretty durable!

FINISHED!!

What am I finished with? Christmas shopping!! I'm still waiting for a few things to arrive by mail, but everything is bought, ordered, etc.!!! Now I just have to do Christmas cards.....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The healthiest state is....

MINNESOTA!!

I would never guessed it.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061205/us_nm/usa_health_states_dc

ND was also up there! Ohio made improvment.

The worst....LOUISIANA!

First snow!

We finally got some real snow today! Probably won't stick, but it did make me happy!

Ray's Gaming Table in Action....

Ray played his first game on his new table last weekend.

Sarah Polk

Me in my Sarah Polk costume last Saturday...complete with the hairdo! We only had one tour, though:(

Olga checking out the tree...

Now a teacher, then....

In a Past Life...

You Were: An Evil Philosopher.

Where You Lived: Israel.

How You Died: The Plague.

Santa's Wrapping....


My lair...I turned the upstairs guest room into a place to hide and store presents. I need to get moving...mailing time is a factor for me!

See...I even managed to get a few under the tree...really annoys the cat...she was using the tree for her naps!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Entertainment Center

The other piece of furniture Ray's parents brought up - now we have everything here except our bikes.


Desk

The desk that Ray's parents brought up. It is from Ray's room growing up.
You can see the cat is checking out this new addition.
Me at work on it - you can see that the cat decided to accept it.

Ceiling Fan

The fan that the guys put up without all the ladders and stuff. Nice isn't it?

Christmasy House

I decorated last weekend for Christmas. I actually took pictures THEN, but am only now getting them up here.
Me with the tree
What's that under my tree?
The mantle in the living room
My candles in the windows from outside. I need more...more windows in the new house than our last apartment. Anyway, I have a few up. I love the look of candles in the window.