Monthly Archives: January 2009


No matter how hard I try, nor how careful I am, sewing is continually a losing battle for me.

I managed to put together two more yoga mat bags – one for me with the dragonfly satin, and one for a colleague from the English department at Local U. who also takes my yoga classes.

Blair’s cat found her yoga mat while she was away one afternoon and discovered that it’s just a lovely scratch pad, so my friend needs a method of containment that not only keeps Henry the cat from digging his claws into it, but that also affords her convenient travel on public transportation.  I promised her a bag.

In reality, putting a mat bag together is really very straightforward and simple – it’s all straight lines.  Still, I manage to screw SOMETHING up every time I make one – I’ll forget to set the strap in the seam before I sew it, or I’ll put the thing together so that the lining is wrong-side out when I flip everything around, or I’ll make the channel for the cord too narrow for my little threader-thingy to fit through.  Today was no exception (and yes – I did all of those things).  I’m also concerned for the integrity of the fabric I chose for Blair’s bag; it’s a lovely green satin sari fabric, but it’s not particularly sturdy.  I’m hoping the seams hold.


(sorry about the crappy iPhone photo – I’ve got a screaming headache now and I’m too lazy to download a picture from the camera.  I’m going to go take some Adv*l and lie down.)


Filed under dumbassery, Friends, frustrations, General Bitching, Little Bits of Nothingness, my oh-so-exciting life, pets, technical difficulties, yoga - theory and practice


A “Fucking Frantic, Ferrying Friends, Floral Friday.”

We had the roof replaced a few months ago, and now it’s leaking.  A lot.  Like, Mr. Chili drilled holes in the ceiling and put a bucket under it.  We’ve got icicles where we never did before, and it’s baaad around here.  We’re waiting for the contractor to show up to tell us what he can do to fix it, at least temporarily, until we can get a more permenant fix in the spring.

That’s part of the frantic that will be my Friday, but not all of it will be bad.  I go to the club to teach my yoga class in about ten minutes, then I’m coming home to hopefully find O’Mama in my living room.  From there, we’ll head out for a light lunch and a little shopping, then I’ve got to head out to pick up  Tonks, who has some sort of rare eye infection, and ferry her to her doctor’s appointment.

After THAT, I come home, grab the girls, and go BACK out, this time to visit grandparents.  After two grandparental visits, we’ll come back to a hopefully drier Chez Chili and crash.

Today’s flowers are an aster –  it symbolizes patience…


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and chamomile – it symbolizes fortitude.  I’m going to need both today, I think…


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Happy Friday, Everyone!


Filed under concerns, F-F-Friday, Friends, frustrations, General Bitching, Home and Family, my oh-so-exciting life, technical difficulties


Kwizgiver is doing the interview meme, and I asked to play along.

The deal is that she gets to ask me five questions that I answer on my blog (though the number of questions is really pretty arbitrary – I’m not promising anything if you play along with me – you might get five questions, you might get three; it all depends).  Anyone who wants to be interviewed by me needs to just say so in the comments, and I’ll send you questions you’ll answer on your blog (if you don’t have a blog (Hi, Dudley!), email your answers back to me and I’ll post ’em here).  Get it?  Okay, here we go:

Microphone Held Toward Viewer

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1.  If you could have an attendant (a chef, a butler/maid, a masseuse, a chauffeur) tend to you for one month, what would you choose and why?

I’d choose the maid, without question – though I’d want the person to be more of a housekeeper than a personal attendant.  I can keep my house tidy with minimal effort, but the getting down to floor-washing and dusting and tub-scrubbing and window-cleaning sometimes gets to be a little more than I’m willing to do, regardless of how much those unattended things poke uncomfortably at my psyche.  I’ve actually been considering having someone come in once a month, just to give my house a good scrubbing and keep the cobwebs at bay, but I don’t think I can justify the expense.  Besides, I’m going to be unemployed in about 7 weeks; that’ll give me enough time to get to some of those chores, don’t you think?
2.  If you could be in a movie, as a character or an extra, which movie would you want to be part of?

Oh, THIS is a hard one.  There are so many movies that I love, but I don’t think I’d want to be part of the MOVIE so much as I’d want to be part of the STORY, you know what I mean?  The first thing that came to mind was The Last Samurai, but that’s probably because there have been a lot of occasions where appropriate quotes from that film have popped into my everyday life.  I wouldn’t have minded being an elf in Rivendell, though I’m WAY too short (and a little too round) to fit the physical description of a Tolkein elf.  Of course, I wouldn’t mind being Will Smith’s love interest…

3.  How does music provide the soundtrack to your life?

Most often, the soundtrack is completely enclosed within my own head, since it seems I rarely listen to music much anymore (which is something I’d really like to rectify…).  As a matter of fact, I was JUST telling Kizz the other day that I think I might start posting little addendums to my blog entries, telling you all what songs are on the loop in my head for that day.  Very often, I’m surprised by what gets in there – and HOW it gets in there.  Today, for example, I’m replaying Perfect World by the Indigo Girls over and over (If you can’t see / beyond the myth of isolation / and the miracle of daybreak / doesn’t move you anymore…).  Yesterday?  It was Ghost Riders in the Sky by Johnny Cash.  Don’t ask me; I don’t know.

4.  What is your preferred method of communication–other than face to face?

I get a lot of text messages, and I like not only the immediacy of texting, but also the idea that someone can just whip out a quick “hey, I’m thinking about you” without having to get much more involved than that.  Just the other day, for example, one of my LU students from last term texted me to say that he was studying rhetoric, and that he thought I’d get a kick out of that (and would I be available later in the semester if the rhetorical going got tough?).  I love that a bunch of my far-away friends can just pop on to my phone and make me smile, and I adore being able to zip off unsolicited and unexpected love to my far-away friends whenever they pop into my heart.  Oh, and I also love that nearly everyone who texts me does so in complete words.  I’m fine with incomplete sentences or no punctuation, even, but shit like C-U-L8R makes me crazy; luckily, no one does that to me.

5.  Is there anything particularly fun about raising girls?

I can’t speak for the raising of ALL girls (also, I have no boys to compare the girls to…), but I can speak with authority to what’s fun about raising Chili girls.  For starters, these kids are, as we say around here, wicked smaht.  I’m constantly astounded by the things they notice – and are able to articulate – about their world.  Sometimes I wonder who’s learning more from whom. They’re willing to play along with me when I ask them to analyze situations (or books, or songs, or movies – THAT’S some kind of fun, let me tell you!).  They’re growing into young women who know they have brains and who aren’t afraid to use them, and that tickles me.  More than anything else, I feel my job is to teach them to get along in the world without me, and they seem right on track for being able to do just that when the time is right.

I’m also really jazzed about the fact that my relationships with my daughters have always been – and continue to be – strong and healthy and loving and solid, which is entirely UNlike my own experience growing up.  My girls know who I am – I let them in – and I treat them with dignity and respect (though I don’t always get that back, but that’s more a consequence of developmental stages than a lasting trend, I think).

More than anything else, though, my girls have helped me define and solidify who I am.  I know, in a way I never really understood before I had children, that what I DO is far more important than what I SAY.  I’m living my life in such a way that my children will be proud of me (someday – I don’t think they get it now).  My kids force me (in a good way) to be genuine and authentic.  They keep me honest to my true self, and I love them for that.


Filed under Blogroll, compassion and connection, Friends, fun, general kid stuff, Home and Family, Little Bits of Nothingness, meme


627.  That’s how many closings have been reported to the news site I use to find out whether the Chili family needs to get going on snowy mornings.  I’m feeling like, lately, it would be less work for them to list what’s still open.

Everyone gets to stay home today.  Local U. and Tiny Community College both made the decision to close last night, and the public school announcement was posted early this morning.  Frankly, that I got the alert from Local U. surprised me; the school has a reputation for not closing for ANYTHING short of Armageddon, so that they should send out the mass email to faculty, staff, and students last night that they were shutting the whole school down effective at 4 a.m., before any snow even started falling, left me more than a little concerned for how today is going to go.  I’m suspicious that they know something we don’t.

Regardless, we’re looking down the barrel of yet another snow day.  Sigh.  I’m making waffles to celebrate.  Mr. Chili will head out at regular intervals to clear the driveway.  The girls have plans to frolic in the precipitation.  My goals for the day include a couple of loaves of bread, a few loads of laundry, a Grammar Wednesday post, and finding the bottom of the pile of analysis essays my students turned in on Monday.  There’s probably a DVD movie in our future.

What’s YOUR day look like?


I searched Google for “snow angels” and found this.  It was too funny not to share. (and no, Mr. Chili does not go out in his altogether to shovel, I assure you.  The boy heads out with nothing but his eyes showing most of the time; it’s frickin’ COLD out there…)


Filed under Home and Family, Little Bits of Nothingness, movies, My husband rocks!, my oh-so-exciting life, strange but true, weather

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Random Things.  I’m still feeling a bit scattered – I’m blaming the head cold and the approaching snowstorm – so this is what I’ve got.

1.  About the weather…


Heavy Snow Chance for Measurable Precipitation 100%
Hi 27°F

Seriously – another “significant snow event” is headed our way.  The conservative estimates are for upwards of 8 to 12 inches of new snow before it’s all over.  The local weather guy even went so far as to tell the kids that they probably won’t have school tomorrow, which is a terribly dangerous thing to do; imagine the hate mail he’ll get if the kids DO have school tomorrow (though, to his credit, he DID tell them they still had to do their homework).  I’m not complaining TOO loudly, though; I know this storm is the remnants of what glazed the middle of the country with ice.  I’ll take a foot of snow over a quarter inch of ice ANY DAY.

2.  I’m entirely dissatisfied with my recent attempts to caramelize onions.  I’m considering calling Bertucci’s and asking them how they do it – they’ve got the best caramelized onions I’ve ever had.  Anyone got any suggestions?

3.  I’m working on two posts for Please Pass the Popcorn – I spent the weekend on the couch, snarfing and snerking, and Mr. Chili, kind and loving soul that he is, brought back a couple of pretty good movies for me on his way home from a sojourn to the Home Despot.  I haven’t quite got the posts the way I want them yet, though.  I’m blaming the snot.

4.  I love people who speak their minds.  ImprobableJoe wrote this post the other day, and it totally worked for me.  I don’t agree with everything Joe has to say – that’s part of why I like him – but this post said something I’ve been trying hard to articulate over the last half year or so in a way that I could never have said.  I’m also in love with MAB, though my love for him isn’t limited to a specific post; he’s just smart and sharp and funny (oh, and he sings, too.  His wife is a lucky woman).

5.  My mother-in-law bought me Dewey for my birthday.


I heard about this book on NPR about a month or so ago – it’s the story of a kitten that gets left in a library drop box on the coldest night of the year, survives the ordeal, and goes on to become a beloved member of the town for nearly two decades.  The prose is easy and light, and the story is well told.  It’ll only work for you, though, if you truly understand the magic that goes along with a good purr.

6.  We’re managing to keep up with my goal of eating at home more often, though I’ve still not hit a stride of planning meals.  I’ve got a crock-pot chicken thing planned for this evening that will, hopefully, turn out better than the disaster I put together for Sunday night.  I’m not sure what happened; I was expecting greatness in the form of chicken and onions and carrots and bean sprouts simmered in coconut milk and a little bit of garlic and ginger.  I went WAY easy on the crushed red pepper flakes, even – the recipe called for a half teaspoon and I only shook in about 30 flakes – but none of us liked it.  Today’s offering consists of chicken, a sauce of cream of mushroom soup and onion soup mix, some veggies, and rice.  I’ll report back on how it went.

7.  I’m procrastinating about reading my students’ essays analyzing Obama’s speech then comparing it to another inaugural address delivered by a former president.  Part of my hesitation comes from the fact that when I asked the students yesterday which other speech they chose, one kid mumbled something incoherent about “some vice president talking about national defense or something.”  It alarms me that, despite handing out a written assignment sheet – complete with a rubric – AND sending out an email with the assignment criteria on it, some kids – well, at least ONE kid – didn’t even do the assignment as it was outlined.  Sigh.

8.  I downloaded the U.S. Constitution on my iPhone for free.  I’m loving having the document literally at my fingertips and have found that I acutally use the application a bit more than I expected to.  I’ve been meaning, for the last year or so, to learn more about our founding documents (remember my somewhat anemic attempt at a Civics on Saturday theme?), and having them constantly and easily accessible makes that process much easier.  Of course, I also downloaded a program with five free solitaire games and, if I’m being honest, I’ll have to tell you that I open that file more than I open the Constitution…


9.  I made myself a  new yoga mat bag the other day.  The one that I’d made several years ago – with pretty dragonfly satin purchased on a wander through Chinatown in New York City with Kizz – finally gave up the ghost a couple of weeks ago and popped the strap.


I put together another one that I actually like a little better structurally (it’s a little roomier and I was more careful about how I put the slippery lining in, so I’ve got no fraying edges on this one) but I have to tell you that, aesthetically, I miss my old bag.  The new one is essentially the same design – a black bag with a fabric panel around the middle – but this panel is a gold and brown bamboo pattern that I don’t like as much as I liked the dragonflies (I would post a picture for you, but it’s in the trunk in the car, and it’s VERY cold outside, and I’m feeling lazy.  Use your imagination).  I’m going to have to make yet ANOTHER one, I think, and put the dragonfly fabric on it.  I’ve got plenty of yoga mats, though, so I’m going to keep the new one.  Maybe I’ll keep it at the gym at Local U.

10.  Someone I love very much called me out of the blue yesterday.  He’s traveling with his family and, for whatever reason, I popped into his head and he decided that I was worth more than just our usual quick text.  It’s people like this in my life and the simple, unexpected, unconditional expressions of love and kindness that they continually offer me that humble and astound me.  I never, in my wildest dreams, imagined that I would be graced with such friendships.


Filed under admiration, Blogroll, books, celebration, Civics on Saturday, compassion and connection, cooking, dumbassery, frustrations, health, Home and Family, Little Bits of Nothingness, love notes, movies, My husband rocks!, my oh-so-exciting life, politics, randomness, reading, teaching, ten things Tuesday, weather, yoga - theory and practice


… my last inauguration-related post.  I know I’m wearing some of you out (Hi, Falcon!  Hi, Alan!), but I made Auntie go through all the trouble of putting the arrow on this picture for me (thanks, Honey!) and it would be ungracious of me not to use it.


Happy Monday, Everyone!!


Filed under celebration, fun, inaugural trip, Little Bits of Nothingness, remembering, road trip!

Quick Hit

…WHERE does all the snot come from!?


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Filed under General Bitching, health, Little Bits of Nothingness, quick hit