Let’s Dish

January 24, 2009

In the comments section for the previous entry, candidbeauty wanted to know about the anti-inflammatory patches.  They are called Flector Patch, and I have to say that they give me more pain relief than Lidoderm patches.   However, I am a bit concerned about the increased risk for blood clots and stroke, considering that I have Anticardiolipin Antibody, which also puts me at risk for those medical problems.

Another question was asked by LA, who received a very cool set of dishes from her man, Mick, on her recent birthday.  I mentioned in her comments section that I had also purchased dishes at Pier 1, and she wanted to know what kind I bought.  They are called Cassidy stoneware.

It’s not a complete set, though.  I found them on a back wall in the clearance section, where they were being sold by the piece.  The plates (which are oversized, and therefore have to be kept in the cabinet above the refrigerator because that’s the only cabinet that is deep enough for the plates to fit in) were marked down to $1.99 apiece.  The salad plates (although that’s not what I use them for; I always use bowls for salad.  What about you?) were reduced to 99 cents.  The price of the platter was  $2.99.   I got four of each plate and one platter for $15 plus tax.  They were sold out of the bowls, which is too bad because I really would’ve liked to have them, as well.

I couldn’t find the dishes on the Pier 1 website, so I did a web search.  This photo came from ebay, but the colors are off.  The blue part of the plate looks grey in this shot.

So, I figured I might as well take a couple of pictures myself.

In other news, it appears that I have a sinus infection, and it’s making me pretty friggin’ miserable.  For the past couple of days, my nose has been running a marathon and I’ve been sneezing my damn fool head off.  At work yesterday, I lost count of how many times I heard, “Miss, your nose is red.”  Just call me Rudolph.  Or Bozoette II.

Song of the Day:  Jolly Red Nose

If I Had a Sledgehammer

January 22, 2009

…I’d knock myself out.  Seriously, this flare-up is getting to me.  I’ve been in severe pain since Christmas.  As usual, the worst of it is located in the area of my right shoulder blade.  It feels like somebody stuck a knife in there, and gives it a twist every now and then.  My neck hurts, too, and so does my lower back.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get through each day.

As I’ve mentioned before, I try to reserve most of my strength for my job.  For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been assigned to a Resource classroom, helping 9th and 10th grade students with modified versions of the English 11 Regents exam.  This is meant to serve as an introduction to the Regents exam, so that students will get an idea of what it’s all about.  It will also show where students need the most help.  (Reading comprehension and essay writing!)

This is a somewhat stressful situation.  It is alarming for me to see how low level the skills of many of our students are.  No matter how hard I try to get them to understand the task, I get blank looks in response.

This extra stress isn’t helping my pain.  When I leave the school at 2:00, I am so wiped out, the thought of walking home is so daunting I might as well be facing a steep mountain.  By 7:00 pm, the pain and exhaustion are so overwhelming, just talking takes superhuman effort.  All I want to do at that point is escape into sleep.

I saw my rheumatologist on Monday, and she prescribed an anti-inflammatory patch.  I sure do hope it will give me some relief from this crippling pain.

By the way, I do know that Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land is Your Land.”  When I post a song of the day, I often name a performer, rather than the songwriter.  In this case, I indicated “as sung by Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen.”

Speaking of Pete Seeger, The Ex was a good friend of Pete’s daughter, Tinya, back in their college days.  I met her and her children at a birthday party for one of ex B-I-L’s kids many moons ago.

Song of the Day:  If I Had a Hammer by Pete Seeger

This Land is Our Land

January 21, 2009

We watched the inauguration ceremonies at a school assembly yesterday, and I cried through the whole thing.

I finally feel like this land is my land again.

Song of the Day:  This Land Is Your Land as sung by Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen

This land is your land,
This land is my land,
From California to the New York Island,
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters,
This land was made for you and me.

As I went walking that ribbon of highway
I saw above me that endless skyway,
I saw below me that golden valley,
This land was made for you and me.

I roamed and I rambled, and I followed my footsteps
To the sparking sands of her diamond deserts,
All around me a voice was sounding,
This land was made for you and me.

When the sun came shining, then I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving, and the dust clouds rolling,
A voice was chanting as the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.

One bright sunny morning, in the shadow of the steeple,
By the relief office I saw my people,
As they stood there hungry, I stood there wondering if,
This land was made for you and me.

Was a big high wall there that tried to stop me,
Was a great big sign that said, “Private Property,”
But on the other side, it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking my freedom highway,
Nobody living can make me turn back,
This land was made for you and me.

More Cheese, Please

January 18, 2009

First of all, I’d like to thank everyone for the encouraging words (in my comments section and via email) over the potentially catastrophic job situation. Fortunately, I belong to a union, and our contract says that, in the event of a layoff, the last ones hired are the first ones to go.  Still, I have cause to worry because I think there are only around sixty Teaching Assistants in the district, and they are talking about eliminating fifty-one of those positions.  There’s a very good chance that nine people have seniority over me.

LeAnn raised a point that I want to address.  Unfortunately, there wouldn’t be any severance pay, and the measly unemployment benefits I’d receive wouldn’t be enough to keep us afloat.  So, if I lose my job, we will be in serious trouble immediately.

In happier news, I had a chance to see the beautiful (inside and out) GBW and her stunning daughter, A, yesterday.  When I heard that GBW was going to be selling her wares at a winter farmer’s market at a college not far from my house, I made plans to stop by and say hello.  We haven’t seen each other in a very long time.  I mentioned to GBW that it’s also been way too long since I last saw LA.   I really miss her.

Another thing GBW and I talked about is how LA isn’t a big fan of cheese, but she sure can sell it.  Daniel doesn’t like cheese, either.  In fact, he hates the mere thought of it.  That goes for all dairy products except butter.  He has said that one of his biggest fears is that, when he is on his deathbed, I will lean in and whisper, “You know that dish you liked so much?  Well, it had cheese in it.”

GBW remarked that she can’t imagine life without cheese, and neither can I.  I have yet to try the Chevre logs sampler, (plain, garlic herb and herbs de Provence), but if it tastes as delectable as it looks, it’s sure to be absolutely delicious.  I did try the feta, and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted.  Word is bond.

Now I’m heading upstairs to take a shower so I can use GBW’s yummy Oatmeal & Honey all natural goat milk soap.   Then I’ll light a fire, read, knit, listen to music and alternate looking at the flames and looking out my window at the pretty wintry scene, courtesy of the freshly fallen snow.

Thank goodness for simple pleasures.

Song of the Day:  Mice Eat Cheese by Modest Mouse

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January 16, 2009

Our schools are closed today, and I can’t figure out why.  Unless pipes are frozen, or something like that, this was a ridiculous call.  It’s zero degrees, so I can see having a two-hour delay.  This is a walking district, and some of our students have a two mile hike.  But closed?  This means that we’ve used three of our five snow days, and it’s only the middle of January!  I don’t want to give up any of our spring break.  (One year, we lost the entire break!)  Grumble.

I wish I had known about the closing before I had already been up for an hour and drank two cups of coffee.  Getting up was very difficult for me this morning.  After work yesterday, I went to the Ikea in Paramus, NJ, and didn’t get home until 9:00 pm, which is past my bedtime.  To make matters worse, I had a bad night (which always happens when there is any deviation from my usual bedtime routine), and woke up just about every hour.  I’ve been dealing with a flare-up of severe pain (which is one of the reasons I’ve been so quiet here), and nights like last night sure don’t help.  It would have been wonderful to sleep a bit later this morning.

My Friend and I are going to try to get an appointment with the chiropractor, then go to lunch, followed by a trip to Sam’s Club to return the red pea coat I bought Leigh for Christmas.  Even though it’s a size small, it’s way too big for her.   It’s too big for Rebecca, as well.  So back to the store it goes.

Before I head out, I’d like to share something that Sasha brought to my attention. Performing artist, Neko Case, and Anti record label will donate five dollars to Best Friends Animal Society for every blog that reposts Neko’s new single.  Click on the link below (under the Song of the Day) for this free downloadable mp3 and please visit Antilableblog and Best Friends Animal Society for more information.

Reading:  The Three Junes by Julia Glass

Song of the Day:  Angel by Sarah McLachlan (I can’t watch that animal cruelty commercial without crying, so I don’t watch it at all.)

People Got A Lot Of Nerve by Neko Case

I’ve had some interesting experiences since I last posted here… For one thing, there was a trip to NYC on December 31st, which included lunch at Katz’s Deli and a visit to the National Museum of the American Indian to see: 1. the Fritz Scholder: Indian/Not Indian exhibit, and 2. the Identity by Design: Tradition, Change, and Celebration in Native Women’s Dresses exhibit. Then there was jury duty on January 5th.  (Actually, I only got as far as sitting through the selection process, and didn’t even get called up for an interview.)

However, I don’t feel like writing about those things.  Instead, I want to talk about a fine-feathered friend of mine – the pelican, my favorite bird.  The recent news about an increase in the number of sick brown pelicans in California is quite upsetting to me, given my affection for these creatures.

I suppose it’s strange that I should develop such a fondness for pelicans…  My fascination with these birds began during a fishing trip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida approximately twenty years ago. When we returned to the marina, at least a dozen pelicans settled themselves all over the boat, begging for handouts. I was enthralled.

Despite their ungainly appearance, there is something graceful about the way they dive-bomb the water in search of a meal. I could watch them for hours. In fact, I did just that on El Capitan Beach in Santa Barbara, California, during a cross-country trip in 1996.

Pelicans aren’t exactly a common sight in New York (although I have seen them in New Jersey), so I have to make do with some figurines and stuffed pelicans.  Here’s a sampling of my collection.

A few weeks ago, I was delighted to come across this pelican calendar.

My favorite photograph is featured for the month of March.

Now if only I could see a white pelican, I’d be a very satisfied bird watcher.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this poem by Dixon Lanier Merritt (1879 – 1972):

“Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!
His bill holds more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Enough food for a week.
But I’m darned if I know how the helican.”

Song of the Day: King of Birds by R.E.M.