Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Good Year!

Sometimes very few words are needed. A picture can do the job so much more effectively. So rather than wax poetically about the year that was 2011, I will let the images speak for themselves.

2012, You need to know 2011 will be a really tough act to follow.

Come on, blow my mind!
Cheers and Happy New Year Everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Table Trouble

Somehow in 22+ years of marriage Sean and I have managed to avoid ever having to buy a kitchen table. We have always been the lucky recipients of hand me downs and the like from the family. However, after the Chowder Fest at Sarah's house, it became clear to us that our beautiful family heirloom table made by my Grandfather in high school (no, I know how that sounds but this thing is beautiful), belongs with someone who can entertain like she can. It has many, many leaves and stretches out ultimately to seat about 12 people. It has been neglected and unappreciated in our home and quite frankly is just to darn big for Sean and I. Sarah can give that table the life it deserves.

I still claim the sideboard, it is a huge piece and it fits perfectly in our house so it will remain here, but the table we are happily paying it forward, like my parents did for us, to my sister.

The dilemma is what to replace it with. I've rarely thought about kitchen tables so this is new territory for us. I like square ok, I love round and we both like pub height. I'm a shrimp boat with the world's shortest torso, so it's hard to find a table that fits me without feeling like Stretch Armstrong trying get comfortable.

Over the past few days we have probably looked at 100 tables between here and Albany. I've discovered that there is a lot of ugly and boring out there. If I'm going to spend between 500 and $1000 and keep it around for many years to come, I want a table to speak to us. So far we have narrowed it down to a couple that we like, but I don't want a table that I like, I want a table that I love.

Memories are made sitting around a table enjoying each other and good food and drinks. I want something where we want to spend time. So far I'm not finding it.

I'll keep looking but I'm hoping that it shows up sooner rather than later. I'm purging, decluttering and I really want to start the new year with a whole new outlook in the house. It would be great to have the table to match the new attitude.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's a Wonderful Life!

This is the whole gang at Chowder Fest this year. The venue was changed to Sarah's house this year and it was so much fun! As you can see the theme included tacky holiday wear which added a certain flair!

It's no secret that I'm a Christmas junkie. I love everything about this holiday. Chowder fest was just the kick off. We continued the party the next day all day long. Sean and I started out first thing in the morning enjoying our own celebration. We both loved the gifts we received in addition to celebrating some down time with each other. Then we headed over to Sarah's where we watched the kids open and then play with their gifts all afternoon. There is nothing like spending Christmas with kids. Then we had a delicious ham dinner.

Then I had the pleasure of introducing my sister to the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", my personal all time favorite. She loved it too and it was fun to note the similarities to our own lives. I'm sure that is planned in the story, but it was still fun.

Our Christmas extravaganza continued yesterday as we headed over to The Dalles to celebrate with Sean's Dad and Crystal. It was a nice easy drive over and it was great to see them again.

All in all as always, I was reminded of how lucky I am to live so close to all my family. I really do have a Wonderful Life!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Chore no More!

This is Sean and I after our now nightly dog walk. I absolutely love taking Rogue out for his jaunt around the neighborhood. He prances like a pony, turbo boost of tail wag for anyone who happens to walk our way. If they have kids, it's all we can do to keep him from taking flight with the full body wags.

There is something magical about this time of year. The cold, clear nights illuminated by the beauty of Christmas lights makes something so mundane as a dog walk, seem like a joy to behold.

Thank you Christmas decorators for making my first walk of Winter so lovely, and thank you Cousin Mad for these fancy Yakfoot hats to keep our noggin's nice and toasty the entire time. We love, love, love them!

Life is Good!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The Ross' family has located their outfits for Chowda Fest 2011. This year we added a dress code. "Tacky Christmas."

Yesterday while out and about we scoured Goodwill racks, used clothing stores and a vintage rack or two.

While heading out this late proved a bit more challenging than I anticipated, the end result is none the less glorious.

I can hardly wait!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Scavenger Hunt

Today I located the tops of several flat surfaces in my house. I have yet to drag the Christmas boxes out of the attic, nor hang anything but lights on the tree, but none the less I"m one happy camper.

Maybe it will be a minimalist Christmas at the Ross household this year. After all, it seems I'm not going to be hosting much other than a chubby border collie, a giddy like a kid spirit of my own, and a husband who works all week.

Maybe I'll concentrate on projects and a deep clean rather than decorating this year. Oh to smell something other than wet dog and trail shoes when we walk into the house!

All hail to Winter Break!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caught in a black hole!

I think this may be the slowest moving week in the history of weeks. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that both the children and their teacher have been ready for Winter Break since October.

Dear Santa,

Please bring me the patience to get through the next 16 teaching hours.


Mrs. R'

P.S. If you could bring me a room full of 3rd grade students after break that would be super helpful too, these 1st and 2nd graders have to go!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Stop the Insanity!

I feel the need to offer this public service announcement to the children of today, well and their parents too, listen closely:


Somewhere over the past two decades we changed from a society of winners and losers to a society where everyone is a winner which ultimately leaves us all losers. Not everyone can win. It doesn't work that way and it shouldn't. There is a hierarchy to life and if you work really hard for something you should get something different than the moron next to you who just cruised by.

Today I was fortunate to experience two shining examples of the insanity of our times. The first was when I had the stupid idea to check my work e-mail. It's Saturday, I was certainly asking for it by looking. What did I find? A scathing e-mail about an upset child because he did not receive a lollipop yesterday in Reading group. The letter demanded to know the details of said lollipop and a plan for how I was going to make up for the damage done to this poor child. I composed a lovely letter stating that the lollipop was a reward for 100% on the spelling test. All the children who scored a 100% received one. Since said child missed 6 out of 10 spelling words, he did not fall into the 100% category. I reminded the reader that the list goes home on Monday and we practice in class EVERY day. The children who scored practiced until they knew their words 100% and had earned their reward. I reminded said reader that the child would have another opportunity to study his words next week and try again. I would not be providing a reward for 4 correct words.

Seriously, I should give your child a reward for 40%? Everyone is not a winner, best learn it now.

The second shining example of what society has come to was witnessed tonight when I went and saw the local production of "The Nutcracker". I am a HUGE ballet fan. I was in ballet for 8 years with the local school who put on the production. I loved it, and worked really hard. I was not gifted at it and was never an exceptional ballerina. I did not work hard enough to be one. When I took ballet the original owner was an old man who had been in a professional touring company in Europe. He was the real deal. We had to extend our arms all the way to the tips of our fingers. Bent wrists meant a slap on the hand. His cane he taped to the beat of the piano music would leave a sting on any leg not extended and toe not pointed. Our lines were to extend past the end of our appendages. We knew it, we learned it and we practiced.

I was put into toe shoes at the age of 12 and still have the crooked, mangled toes to show for it. I will never get these wretched toes on my feet into peep toe Mary Janes or vibram 5 fingers. 3 years of toe shoes have taken care of that. Try as I might, dream as I did, I was never selected to TRY OUT for the Nutcracker when the Eugene Ballet came to town doing casting calls for the local show. The Nutcracker was something special.

Now it is 25 years letter. Apparently the Ballet school now subscribes to the "everyone is a winner" theory of ballet. Clearly everyone was in the Nutcracker. What I saw tonight was poor technique on over weight ballerinas. There was no extension and half the girls couldn't maintain their balance in an arabesque. There were only 3 dancers on toe in the whole performance. After a dance across the stage their chests were visibly heaving from exhaustion. It took all my restraint not to stand up and scream "For God's sake girls, point your toes, extend your arms, your shoulder's are not an accessory for your ears, drop them down!"

Apparently I am a ballet snob. I'll admit it and I think it is ok. I came home and danced for Sean. I said to him, this is the ballet school of the 70s and 80s. His comment to me was "you are really good at that." This is 25 years or more after the fact. I then demonstrated what I saw tonight. His response "wow."

I'm not sure when the images of the evening will actually fade of my retina's. Hopefully soon because I want to remember the Nutcracker as beautiful, graceful, and something to be earned, not given.

Maybe next year I'll have to sign up for a ballet class around the time the performance practice starts. It appears they let everyone in and maybe I can get my chance on stage. Clearly I don't have to worry about embarrassing myself.

Am I a harsh bitch? Maybe, but I prefer to see myself as a realist. I don't go crying and throwing a fit every times someone beats me in a 5k or 10k.I don't demand a ribbon when I don't get one. I know that there are others out there better than me. It's life, it's real. We are all unique special snowflakes, but we are not all winners. Deal with it folks and move on!

It's Here!

Decorating day! I've waited exceptionally long for this day this year. Now that my final is over and I have a weekend, it's time to mix up a little Christmas cheer in the house.

Photos to come later on!

Merry Christmas Movie House!

Thursday, December 8, 2011


Thank God it's Over!

What you ask? The worst damn grad class I've even taken. In a little twist of irony I somehow missed my core classes and so I'm forced to take them at the end of my grad program. I'd say that my classes would have been easier had I taken these first, but it's not true. These are the hard ones. They must be used to weed people out of the program. Oh well.

In another demonstration of irony, this class was called Theory of Communication. It was by far the worst class I have ever taken due completely to the complete lack of ability to communicate on the part of my professor. He spent the entire term spewing theory and then telling us how incorrectly we applied them. Not unexpected, it's new and difficult material. Arduous if you will. The problem is, he never gave any examples of proper application. I received feed back after feedback all term long about my weak arguments. No examples of strong arguments mind you.

I've spent the past 6 days writing a 10 page final trying to apply 8 Communication theories to a 60 second PSA on River Safety.

I fear my GPA is completely toast due to this class, but the exhaustion I feel right now is like nothing I've felt in years. At this point I don't even give a shit. I'm just glad it's over.

One class closer to keeping my job. At this rate I'll be finished just about the time I turn in my resignation.