Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, Happy New Year! I really don't know what else to say. I have a very boring life, and not much to report.

As much as I enjoy reading lists, like "Ten worst blogging mistakes of 2011" or "Five best design moments in your home", or "The inside scoop on where the best five broken meters are in town," I can't think of a list to write myself.

Speaking of meters, I remember a place I worked for 6 years, in a bedroom community of Portland Maine, a large town called Gray. It had a busy intersection, five state routes plus a turnpike interchange met just 100 feet from my office door. It was the only route for Poland Spring Trucks, logging trucks, and modular home trucks from the industries that produced them upstream. Trucks passed by the office constantly. Or I wished they passed. Once they got off the turnpike, they spotted the Cumberland Farms next door, or the McDonald's next to that or the Chinese restaurant across the street, and they screeched to a halt, parking at the first longish straight stretch they passed by: the driveway. Often, like, daily, they would park in front of our exit, blocking us, and our customers in. It was a problem.

Briefly and jokingly, me and my friend who owned the property thought about putting up a meter there, just so see what the truck drivers would do. We didn't, but the idea gave us a lot of giggles.

I'm not much of a retrospective, reminiscing kind of person. I had a good 2011. I assume 2012 will be equally as good. Or it won't. I don't know. That's about it for a year in review.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Vacation

Our school department gives us two weeks off at Christmas and New Year's. I look forward to it every year. We start school on August 1st so by the time December comes around I'm ready for a long break. Contrary to popular myth, we don't get paid during this time. We get paid through this time but we only get paid for the days in the year that we work, 185 days. The pay is just spread out through the year so we can plan and budget.

Our District does an excellent job of that. Really excellent finances. I'm proud to work for the Madison County Schools. But when the vacations come along I'm happy for those too.

I don't have furniture that is all that comfortable. My couch is a futon, and the depth is off. If you sit with your back straight against the back, my knees don't hang over the edge. Moreover, it tilts upward. So when I want to get up, my knees are not hanging over the edge so I have no leverage, and I have to hurl myself to get over the deep tilt. Of course the cat laying across my legs and the other one draped across my shoulders are also a hindrance, lol.

Anyway, I put my laptop on a pillow and type or surf the net as I watch TV. TV is so inane these days I could be working on solving cold fusion and still get the drift of most TV shows. Every website I've read says NOT TO DO THAT to your laptop. Finally after about two years I heeded the warnings about pillows and overheating laptops and I bought a laptop desk. It came yesterday and I really like it.

It is a lot lighter than I thought it would be and less bulky too. It works like a charm. Unfortunately as I went to the page describing the product is says out of stock, they don't know when more will be in stock. Too bad! I would have bought another one, they are only $12. But now I can surf with the computer on my lap, guilt-free.

I also ordered a book, The Apostle: A Life of Paul by John Pollock. The editor's description says "The Apostle masterfully combines careful adherence to biblical text, detailed research, and a storyteller's gift to create a book equally relevant for both casual readers fascinated by Paul's life and serious biblical scholars. Pollock begins his fast-moving narrative with Stephen's death and follows Paul through his conversion, missionary journeys, and eventual execution. Many will enjoy it simply as a satisfying and insightful true-life story, although maps and a study guide allow for deeper exploration. The Apostle was originally published in 1969, and this new edition marks the first significant revision in many years." I started it last night and I really like it.

What a blessing it is to have time to read, to cook, to rest. The resting part is especially appreciated. After four and a half months of daily contact with every germ known to man, I am well and truly sick by the time Christmas comes. Ever since I started teaching, I always spend Christmas vacation recovering from bronchitis and this year is no exception. My lungs feel like they weigh 90 pounds and my throat is raw from coughing, suppressing coughing, or recovering from the last cough. Good timing though, just when I need to rest my body and my throat, I can stay home and sleep and not use my voice. Except when I talk to the cats, of course.

This week I am going to try and make pasta e fagiole, and make a citrus salad with the oranges I was given, and pineapple and kiwi. Avocados were on sale for 78 cents, yay! I'll make something with those, or just eat avocado and tomato sandwiches, one of my favorite sandwiches of all time.

I've been working on a series on the other blog that means a great deal to me. I love writing, and I feel most at home in front of a keyboard. I remember when I switched from typewriter to computer, what a happy day that was. The scene in my head is vivid: college circa 1981, in my loft efficiency apartment, sun streaming in, me at my desk in front of the typewriter. Deadline looming, this paper has to be finished NOW. But I never had lessons in typing and I am not an accurate typist. I was awash in Wite-Out, managing my typos, waiting for the white-out to dry, adjusting the paper with an eagle eye attempting to line up the last thing typed with the marks on the typewriter roller...I remember screaming AAARRRGGGHHH! And yelling that 'someone HAS to invent a better way!' By the time my Master's degree course rolled around in 1997 I was comfortably enconsed in front of a PC with word processing software, pressing cut and paste and the backspace with no Wite-Out in sight. Goodbye typewriter! Whaddya know, someone DID invent a better way. I was at the library a while ago and as I browsed near the table with an old typewriter on it, a child said, "What's that, Mommy?" I would have answered "It's a torture machine, son".

Isn't it weird to be old enough now that the common things you used in your youth are now obsolete relics. I often used to wonder what life was like in that regard for my grandmother, born in 1901 and emigrated to the US in her twenties. She was born in England when electricity and telephones were relatively new inventions, and she died in 1982 after we had gone to the moon, invented computers, and vanquished polio. Her life  during the twentieth century must have been a whirlwind of new technologies emerging every day.

I'm finding myself tuning out of the latest inventions. I don't care about Blu-Ray (I don't even own a DVD player). I wonder why the Birds are so Angry, why don't they spell Wii correctly and I don't need a virtual reality when the one I'm in is just fine, thank you. I think I am on my way to becoming an official fuddy duddy. Oh, well, at least they still have books. For now at least.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas (vacation) is here

Christmas and holiday vacation is here. We are released from school as of yesterday afternoon and won't go back until January 6th.

I am liking this! I plan to rest and recuperate from my sinus infection that is heading toward bronchitis. [coughing a lot today!] My mum sent me birthday bucks. I went hog wild and bought a book on the life of Apostle Paul and a laptop lap desk for when I'm typing on the couch. I am really looking forward to both!! My bible reading plan is to re-read several of the minor prophets, probably Obadiah and Hosea, and Micah.

For fun I'll likely lounge on the sofa writing while using that new laptop desk, and watching old reruns of Law&Order, lol. I'm at peace and very content, and 100% sure of the Holy Spirit's working in me for God's glory.

I am looking forward to visiting with friends, and writing. Eating the goodies people have shared with me, including making a wonderful fruit salad out of the many oranges I've been given. What I do not plan on is being busy. I have enough of that at work.

The Holy Spirit has given me a job that puts me in a lower standard of living economically but a high standard of quality of life. I have the opportunity to work with children, which I consider the noblest of professions. That is high-quality to me. I have time off,  lots of it, to pursue my interests. I can rest my mind and be refreshed to study deeply, without being tired, and that is very high-quality to me. I have opportunity to recover from the myriad colds and sinus infections, and that is very good. I can be with friends through online ministry or in real life, OR stay by myself if I want to, and that is excellent. All these and many other things are wonderful benefits of the job I have.

So the next little while will be filled with the same peace and contentment I feel every day, except I'll be able to appreciate it in a less hectic manner because all is calm at the Prata house.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Some photos I like

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Thursday, December 01, 2011


At recess today, a kindergartener was eating a Nutty Buddy ice cream cone. Examining the wrapper closely, she said to herself, "I'm nutty. And this ice cream is my buddy. So that fits..."

Another kid...came running up to me, frustrated. Yelling, she said:
--"I went over there to tell those boys to stop wrestling, but they wouldn't listen to me!"
--They didn't listen to you because you are not the boss.
--"But why? Why I am not the boss?"

I feel your pain, honey.