Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saba Before & After

The weather has been very humid lately. We had days and days of rain. Last, last Wednesday when Saba arrived for our usual Wednesday dinner, I had a "whoa" moment when I saw her hair. Saba is one of those lucky individuals with seriously thick, naturally curly hair (so speaks a thin haired person with board straight hair that won't hold curl). Usually her curly hair is well, tame. Not on Wednesday though--so I asked if I could take before and after shots. Before and after she restrained it, that is.

The Team

Sometimes I think I spend more time at work than at home. If I was of an mathematical bent maybe I would actually figure out the percentages. (I'm not though so you are out of luck.) My co-workers are like family and they kindly put up with my foibles. Here we are enjoying the opening ceremonies of Field Day 2009. Kudoes to Betsy, Carolyn, Monica, Carolyn, and Teresa!

Friday, May 29, 2009

EES Field Day 2009

In spite of a foggy damp start, Field Day 2009 took place yesterday at Eldersburg Elementary. The sky cleared and the sun came out (as I can attest because I got a sunburn on my neck--just my left side though). The day was very hot and humid. In the mid-afternoon a thunderstorm rolled through, as such things tend to do with that kind of weather. Everyone headed indoors when the thunder started and Field Day came to a quiet end. Scores of hot, sweaty, red-faced children and parents walked sluggishly out the doors and headed for home. I imagine everyone did the same thing that I did when they got there--jumped in the shower!

Field Day, formerly known as, Play Day, is an invention that was new to me when I came to work in Maryland. We don't have it in the Midwest--at least not in my old school districts. Basically, Field Day is a whole day of P.E. Since 99.9% of children will tell you that their favorite class in school is P.E., you can imagine how popular the notion of a whole, entire day of P.E. is for the children. Field Day is spoken of in hushed tones of reverence. The day starts off with opening ceremonies on the blacktop. We say the pledge. The band plays--Louie Louie-this year. And the Third Graders do their special dance, which they spend weeks practicing. It's a blast watching those Third Graders busting out their moves.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I TOLD you so...

You would be amazed at how much of my day is spent wanting to say, saying, or reminding people that I said, "I told you so". If only people would listen to me in the first place. I know things. Hello..I am President Queen Robin of Robinworld. It is a fine place--and I have much cr*p knowledge. Anyway--some days I say it so often that I even sing the "I told you so" song made famous by Debbie Reynolds on Will & Grace. Sometimes I'll add the dance in there too. WHAT? You don't remember the song and dance? I'm shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn't have it. I can't understand's famous to moi. (Center of my universe, remember?) I don't know how to take a clip and turn it into a YouTube video--sounds like a professional development opportunity for the summer vacay, so ya'll are out of luck for now. Meanwhile, I'll leave you with the Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis duet of "I Told You So" as a consolation prize. Small comfort compared to watching Debbie Reynolds sing and dance as Grace's mother, I know, but we can't always get what we want...hmm that oughta be a song too.

Hallucinations--They're not for the weak...

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Three Day Weekend

I've blogged before about the pressure that a three day weekend brings. The expectation that one should be productively engaged in either work or play. Around here lots of people head for the coast and enjoy the beach in Ocean City. I've been reading on Facebook that lots of my friends and family are out in their yards, sprucing things up. Some with kids are watching softball games or going biking. Me--I'm doin' nothing. No thing. Not one thing. Not one vacation-y or permanently productive thing, anyway. Usually I talk about going here or there...and this week was the same. I'd like to get up Gettysburg way and see the cyclo-rama. But for crying out loud---it's like forty-five minutes in the car to get Gettysburg and that is just too much trouble. I haven't even had the energy to read a new book yet. So far I've just been re-reading old favorites. On Saturday, I slept super late and then took a four hour nap. LOL I think I'm taking sloth to whole new levels. Wait--wait--I can at least pat myself on the back because I scrubbed the foyer, kitchen, and den floors today. Woohoo. The house smells bracingly of Mr. Clean now. Now Judy and I have been sucked into the movie Last Holiday--I love it when Queen Latifah goes shopping and blows all her money on fancy clothes and then eats all of Chef Didier's fabulous food. Like the Princess Bride, Fifth Element, and Galaxy Quest; Last Holiday can always pull us in even though we've seen it many times.


Mama & Daddy, 1965, Rhode Island

We didn't have many deep talks.
Conversations were kept light.
But once it was quite different.
He spoke honestly in the night.

If we can't learn from other's mistakes,
We won't be happy, he said.
We will not have a better life,
Our marriage needs to be fed.

For we have seen how our folks act,
How they don't pull together in life,
The love they started out with,
Has ended only in strife.

That's not what we want for each other,
That's not what we want for our life.
We want our home to be happy,
With a loving man and wife.

These were the goals he set for us,
And the life that we now shared,
The night he said these things to me,
And his innermost soul he bared.

Mary J. Stevens

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Date

We had gone to see a movie,
and then to a place to eat.
"I'm feeling kinda hungry," I said,
as we sat down for our treat.
'Course I didn't know 'till later,
I had scared him, with what I'd said.
Though I knew that something troubled him,
for his face--it turned bright red.
When I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich,
he relaxed. quite visibly.
I guess he thought that I'd meant 'starved',
and he couldn't afford the fee.
He didn't make much money.
His pay was really low.
He couldn't afford a three course meal,
my brand new Navy beau.
Mary J. Stevens

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Do what you love, Do what you are good at....

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Fried Green Tomatoes

In all my travels,
many foods I've tried.
But only in Indiana
did I eat tomatoes fried.
They flour and fry them
before they are ripe.
As long as they're green,
they'll eat any type.
But that is not all,
that I have to tell.
For they eat squash and zucchini,
fried as well.
One more thing,
I'd like to impart.
It's something I've said,
right from the start.
So when in Indiana,
if its food from the ground,
Just flour, and fry it,
and pass it around.
Mary J. Stevens

Norman Rockwell

I just can't get away from my romantic nature. This is one of my favorite paintings by Norman Rockwell. It is called, "Marriage License". I love the way the man has curved his arm protectively around his delicate fiancee. He's wearing a suit and holding a hat. Her beautiful dress is crisply ironed, a pristine sunshine yellow. She even wears matching shoes. The dark, messy office surroundings provide a contrast the the light prettiness of the future bride.Today couples go apply for a marriage license in blue jeans but once upon a time it was an event for which you dressed up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bare by Solo

We're very big Solo Cup Company fans here in Robin/Judy World. In fact you could say that Judy is even obsessed with Solo Cup and its products and packaging. I guess that's because she works for Solo in the Corporate Graphics and Printing department. She deals with packaging and marketing, so it was big big news here when Martha Stewart used their new Bare by Solo eco-forward(tm) earth-friendly cups and plates on her Birthday Show. She used the products as part of the birthday party table-scape. They showed very well and Martha had many nice things to say about the products. She made a tiered paper candy stand with the products too.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


In the interests of sharing, I had a revelation today. I was bopping down the hall toward the kindergarten wing, following in the footsteps of two dancing kindergarteners. They don't just walk-- they twirl and skip and hop and step's quite entertaining to watch but a challenge to keep up with at times. Anyway, while following along, I realized I was feelin' good, you know, lively and perky and good. By the end of the day after thousands of steps around the school, I'm usually on the tired side. Not today, I wasn't. And that's when I realized that maybe those iron supplement tablets I'm taking for my anemia are helping me. Maybe I was tired before because of the anemia. Huh. It's not old age after all. That is quite a relief. Now if only there was a vitamin that would help me to remember all the stuff I forget.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lee Mead and Josh Groban

We watched "Any Dream will Do" the BBC talent show searching for a new Joseph to star on the West End tonight as usual. (In spite of the fact that Comcast has lousy broadcasting of that channel. It constantly undigitizes itself and turns into mosaics of color squares.) It's an old show and the results are already on the internet which, as I've mentioned, just means Judy and I enjoy it all the more. Josh Groban came on the show and chose Lee Mead (the eventual winner) to sing a duet with him of his song, "You Raise Me Up". Lee did a good job. I suspect that Josh chose Lee because he was the most technically able contestant, as well as, the one with the voice most similar to Josh himself.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My Beau

He was tall and lean,
Still somewhat green,
Just a country boy at heart.
And it hadn't been long
Since he'd left home,
His Navy career to start.
He had a Hoosier accent,
He had it 'till he died,
though he lived in many cities,
And sailed the ocean wide.
At first, he seemed quite shy to me,
With not too much to say.
I didn't know he would become,
Quite talkative one day.
I was most impressed by his gentleness,
He was always so kind, you see.
But the greatest of his virtues,
Was the love he had for me!
I never knew just why I was,
The one to win his heart,
I only thank the Lord that of,
His life I was a part.
Mary J. Stevens

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ahhhh, Friday.

Isn't Friday night a joy? The relaxation that comes when you sit down in your favorite chair and know that you have nothing pressing to worry about or do. Ahhhh. My Lazyboy is the only man I need. That's how "I" feel on Friday night anyway. All my friends with husbands and children and sporting events and laundry and gym-jam and dance classes--they don't view the evenings and weekends with quite the sense of pleasure that I do. As I often point out, cats aren't as much trouble and work as kids ...especially once they die--the cats, I mean. (Hey, they lived a LONG time...eighteen and nineteen years apiece.)

On the downside with cats, they're never potty trained exactly so you are always dealing with excrement. Our cat Max never did sleep through the night either. I blame Judy for that-- if she would have ignored him when he tried to wake her for food in the night way back in the beginning, he wouldn't have gotten the idea that someone would get up and feed him at 3 am. Hmmm, my post about weekend relaxation just took a weird turn there--I didn't really intend to talk about cat litter boxes, just so you know.

Back to the pleasure of the weekend. I worked late after an excellent day and even managed to start organizing and culling junk in my classroom closet in preparation for the end of the year. I left with the satisfaction that comes with being done with all tasks and a clean desk for Monday.

Since it was my turn to cook I planned a complicated menu of Chinese take-out. Now I'm getting ready to watch the special features of Hogan's Heroes-Season Two. I also shared with Judy my secret (now not so secret) plan to buy a wireless printer for the laptop. It's very inconvenient to have to hook up the laptop to the cord over by the computer desk and I'm not going to keep doing it and that's that.

This weekend, I plan to engage in activities that involved organizing in preparation for the thousands of summer visitors coming our way. Judy's linen closet won't know what hit it after I get done with it tomorrow. I'm also going to get back to reading for the book challenge. I'm pushing 25,000 pages, I believe.

Schooooool's Out for the Summer!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

To My Sunshine

Before you came into my life,
My future seemed quite dark.
Clouds had covered up the sky,
And silenced the singing lark.
I had little to wake up for,
Less to look forward to.
But God knew what I needed,
So He sent me you.

You have made my life worthwhile again,
And filled it with your love.
My precious bundle of sunshine,
Sent from up above.
Now the sky is bright,
Life is good.
All the dark clouds flee,
When I feel your sweet arms,
Encircling me.

Mary J. Stevens

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kristin's Baby Shower

Waiting for the shower to start. The guest of honor isn't here.
First things first, get food.

Food and fun time. Woohoo! Now for presents!

Wendy and Kate take it all down. Is the pig with the tiara and tutu cute or what??

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hogan's Heroes

Judy has become obsessed with Hogan's Heroes. She now claims it is the best sitcom ever made. That's seems a tad excessive to me. Once she discovered it was on TVLand's channel every day, she began "taping" it. Then she discovered it was on some HD channel (I can't remember which one) and she began "taping" that one too. ('Taping' is in quotes because we use the dvr which doesn't actually tape.) Anyway--we were up to saving six HHs a day for a while. Since to keep the dvr relatively empty is an obsession of Judy's that meant Judy felt compelled to watch ALL the episodes daily so she could delete them. That's when I got the idea of seeing if the show was available on dvd. It is and thanks to Amazon we are now the owners of all six seasons with 168 episodes. (No finale though. The heroes don't get a homecoming episode with ticker tape parade.) We've watched all of Season 1 and part of Season 2. Judy insists all watching ALL the episodes even the ones we've already seen, btw.

My question is--how many episodes of Hogan's Heroes can you watch in a weekend before you start talking like Shultz. Whatever it is--we've passed it because my internal monologue now regularly includes Shultz' intonation and phrasing. "I know NOthing! NOthing!"

How many episodes can you watch before you start thinking about writing a scholarly article about the stock characters which appear in the show. One could actually watch each episode with an eye toward analyzing how Shultz puts self before state when he refuses to turn in the heroes when he sees them doing something wrong because it is too much trouble. Or his constant references to how people should all be nice to one another. His anthem cry, "I know nothing" is the apathy of people who see evil and do nothing because they prefer to pretend it does not exist and don't want to be shaken from their comfortable view of the world. Shultz is a lovable character, and yet when you think deeper, he isn't a man of character. He's lazy, weak, greedy, and disloyal.

Robert Clary, who played Louis LeBeau, narrated one episode and had some interesting stories to tell about the series. He narrated one episode entitled "Art for Hogan's Sake" touched on the wholesale theft of the art and treasures of France by the Nazis. Clary actually spent three years in a concentration camp during the War. He felt very strongly that critics of the series who felt it trivialized the Holocaust needed to understand that the series was NOT about the Holocaust and concentration camps, but rather about a POW camp, something completely different. FYI.

See what I mean? Watch enough and you either make meaning or go crazy.

Azaleas versus Rhododendrons

Azaleas versus Rhododendrons
Clash of the spring titans.

I coulda tole ya this.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Climb

From my second floor window,
I looked out to see,
My daughter up high,
in a maple tree.

Needless to say,
I was fit to be tied,
I hollared at her
Until she cried.

And though I didn't
like to scold,
I did, for she was
but five years old.

My real feelings,
I tried to hide.
For I was actually,
quite filled with pride.

Mary J. Stevens

Friday, May 08, 2009

Friday Night Manipulation

Friday Night is our special dinner out night. It's a night for non-fast food, restaurant food. Judy and I take turns buying the dinner and bringing it home. As everybody knows, I don't like eating IN restaurants. I also don't like eating at home. It used to be a dilemma. But fortunately lots of places now offer easy 'to go' food. Chili's happens to be Judy's favorite restaurant. If she had her way I'd bring home Chili's every Friday night. If she knew I had Chili's yesterday for lunch she'd be disgruntled and I'd hear about it. Sadly for her, half the time it is her turn so she has to eat somewhere besides Chili's.

Tonight was Judy's night to cook--ergo-- it was Judy's job to bring home dinner. When she finally wandered in at 6:30 after working late I was feeling sick from waiting for dinner for so long. (Darn iron supplements---everything I was told about them is true. Yuck.) By that time nothing sounds very good. We had our usual back and forth about where to go, to our mutual irritation. Then Judy suggested that she would cook something from the freezer. That appealed even less than going out. So I suggested Chili's. I knew that would turn things around for her. So the questions is who manipulated who? Did I manipulate her into going out to dinner when she was prepared to "cook" something at home? Or did she manipulate me into giving in to Chili's, which I turned down the first time she mentioned it, by suggesting that she'd actually cook? Hmmm.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Happy Birthday Karen

Happy Birthday Karen!!

The Broken Leg

There is a sad story, which here must be told,
A story, I feel, I must unfold.
Of something that happened to Judy one day,
When a patch of ice got in her way.

That awful winter was at it's peak,
There was cold and ice and snow
That January afternoon,
(Whose date I do not know).

On that dark day at five o'clock,
Judy left work for home.
And as she slipped along side her car,
Her workmates heard her moan.

I got the call 'round ten p.m.,
At that hour it gave me a shock.
So the first thing I did as I answered the phone,
Was to look up at the clock.

Bad news, I thought, this time of night,
Then Judy confirmed my suspicions.
She had fallen and broken her leg,
Due to the icy conditions.

A coworker had driven her home,
From the parking lot where she fell.
She waited for Robin to appear,
While her leg continued to swell.

They rushed her to the emergency room,
After they ascertained,
Her leg must surely be broken,
By the sheer amount of pain.

There they sat the whole evening long,
She and Robin awaiting their turn.
'Till at last they saw the doctor,
And suspicions were confirmed.

A splint was applied to hold it firm,
A cast would be put on the next day.
And finally at ten o'clock,
They were sent back on their way.

Oh, the numerous problems,
Like climbing the stair,
And getting herself up out of bed,
Were almost more than Judy could bear.

Next day they put her in a cast,
From her ankle to her thigh.
Her knee was bent at an angle,
And 'why me' was her cry.

For weeks she would have to stay wrapped up,
In the big and heavy cast,
Unable to help herself at all,
But slowly the long days passed.

She was able to do so little,
Or even to get herself up.
The only good part of the whole darn thing,
Was that she could blame The Cup.

Two weeks of leave were granted,
But it wasn't any fun.
Robin waited on her hand and foot,
It kept her one the run.

When at last the big cast came off,
(It was signed with dozens of names),
She didn't expect to get a 'break',
Only more of the same.

Judy, you are the first in the family,
To ever break a bone,
And the rest of us all fervently hope,
That in this you will be alone.

Mary J. Stevens

Truth is Truth

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Not that I'm braggin'...

Deep Thoughts  I got 'em!
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Between a Rock and a Hard Place...

Caught between good-bye and "I love you", the devil and the deep blue sea", that is what peri-menopause/menopause is like. Now I'm not saying I'm IN menopause--let's just say I'm ripe for it as I prepare to turn 49 years old next month. But this is what this "time of life" means to me: it means that sometime in April, I started switching back and forth between my air conditioning and my heat. Yep, you got that right, my AIR CONDITIONING went on in APRIL I wonder rather fearfully that will mean for July and August.

Tonight, Saba came over for our usual Wednesday night dinner. (Meatloaf ala Judy ala Paula Dean) In the course of the evening, Judy pulled open the sliding glass door. It's been cool and rainy for the last four days so you'd think it would have a cooling effect, to invite the evening air into the house. Nope. Today's weather turned distinctly spring-rain like (as opposed to winter-rain like) so it felt...muggy. At least to my senses, with it's broken internal thermometer. Not long after Saba left, I excoriated Judy for opening the door--in addition to forcing me to breathe allergy-laden air, she had "muggied" up the house. The air is now blasting away and I'm sitting her without a cuddly-cover in sight.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Truth in Flair

Something we all should remember.

Swine Flu Prevention

The CDC has put out some advice for swine flu prevention. (I know they changed the name but I like the animal's friendlier.) Anyway--here's the advice: DON'T DO THIS!