Pencil Sharpeners, Part Duex

In CategoryNavel Gazing

Today I’m at Heart of the Matter giving away two more Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpeners! Head over to enter!

We have had ours for over 6 months now, and I love it more each time I use it! It’s perfect for homeschoolers.

Random Monday

In CategoryRandom Monday

• After whining the other day about the impossibilities of boot shopping, Kristy left a link to the Nordstrom Boot Buying Guide in the comments. Notice how it says that a Narrow Calf measures less than 13 3/4″, while a Wide Calf measures over 15 1/2″. This means, basically, that NORMAL is a range of less than TWO INCHES.


Fie on boot makers everywhere!

• Remember Pop-Up Video? It’s back and better than ever. I may have slouched on the couch for three entire episodes the other day. Now I sort of know who Ke$ha is (not really).  I also see that VH1 is also doing 100 Best Songs of the ’00s, which I will be Tivoing, because I love that kind of crap. I can’t not watch I Love The Seventies if it’s on.

• I am still up in the Spousal Football Pool, now winning by 8 games. Eight! Holla! Jim was not upset the Broncos lost yesterday, telling me “they almost won.” Almost won? That sounds a lot like Lost to me, but whatever.

• I made Buffalo Chicken Bites for the game yesterday.

They were a little messy, but not difficult. Everyone loved them. They were quite delicious, and we will be making them again – it’s a healthy version of a chicken nugget, people! How awesome is that?

I poached the chicken, then shredded it in the food processor. After mixing the chicken, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese together, I divided the mixture and added hot sauce to only one half. The rest I left plain for the kids. Instead of corn flakes, I coated the balls in Panko, which is one of my favorite ingredients. It makes me feel all fancy and chef-y when I use Panko.

I neglected to call them Buffalo Chicken Bites and went with Chicken Balls, which led to a rather unfortunate series of jokes being bandied around the kitchen. “Daddy’s balls are still in the oven” and “Jim, what kind of sauce do you want with your balls?” and so on, said with straight face and carefully averted eyes.

• I was hoping to hold out a little longer, but the sissy in me decided to turn on the heater this morning.

• Happy Monday!


In CategoryHome Schooling

An Op-Ed piece by Hall of Fame football player Fran Tarkenton appeared in the Wall Street Journal the other day wondering what the NFL would be like if it were run the way the public schools are run.

It’s a brilliant analogy. Brilliant.

Here’s a snippet –

“Imagine the National Football League in an alternate reality. Each player’s salary is based on how long he’s been in the league. It’s about tenure, not talent. The same scale is used for every player, no matter whether he’s an All-Pro quarterback or the last man on the roster. For every year a player’s been in this NFL, he gets a bump in pay. The only difference between Tom Brady and the worst player in the league is a few years of step increases. And if a player makes it through his third season, he can never be cut from the roster until he chooses to retire, except in the most extreme cases of misconduct.”

Do you see where he’s going? And he’s right. The article gets better from there, carrying the analogy even further until the point is blindingly obvious. There’s some good discussion in the comments, although I did not get very far.

And then there’s this article about some poor mom who used her father’s address to send her kids to school in a better district and WENT TO JAIL FOR IT.

“Only in a world where irony is dead could people not marvel at concerned parents being prosecuted for stealing a free public education for their children.”

To stop this sort of Educational Thievery some schools hire PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS to FOLLOW CHILDREN HOME to make sure they live in the district.

So that’s not creepy at all.


I am not trying to start a political rock fight. And I’m not suggesting that I know how to fix the school system. But I don’t think that the likes of Albert “I’ll start representing kids when kids start paying union dues.” Shanker is the answer, either.

Nor is this guy, who says that “closing achievement gaps, reducing drop rate rates, improving teacher quality…..need not and must not be achieved at the expense of due process, employee rights, or collective bargaining. That is simply too high a price to pay.”

Shopping! Blows!

In CategoryNavel Gazing


After hearing all day Thursday about Kristy’s boot shopping adventures (selflessly offering my opinions via a flurry of dressing-room-picture text messages), I developed a major craving for some rocking knee-high boots myself. I don’t know if a person under 5’2″ can pull off knee-high boots, but that is a minor detail and I am not deterred.

Before I can buy boots, however, I have to buy jeans. As you may remember, about a year ago I had a Denim Epiphany, wherein I realized simply could not stand to have yards of fabric swirling about my ankles for one more minute and I hacked 6 inches off all my pants in a snit.

And then winter came about 15 minutes later and I had cold calves for the next 6 months.

However! My desire to have boots outweighs my dread of jeans shopping. Besides, isn’t this the year the skinny jean makes a return? Not only that, but I have a 30% off Kohl’s coupon burning a hole in my pocket.

I head out, ridiculously optimistic I will find something less elephantine than last year.

Sadly, I can’t find any jeans that are not boot-cut or flared cut or modern cut or whatever stupid name they are putting on jeans now to distract us from the fact that we are really buying BELL BOTTOMS.

Will the Seventies just DIE already?

Apparently not, as evidenced by this year’s latest trend: The Poncho.

Everywhere I looked, there were ponchos.

A poncho here, a poncho there….

Everywhere a poncho, poncho.

Actually, I quite like that last one.

If ponchos aren’t your thing, consider the Ruana. Which I have never heard of, but it’s obvious I am not exactly fashionable, so my ignorance is not a marker for anything.

The Ruana is similar to the poncho, if “similar” means Huge and Blanket-Like.

Perhaps you are wondering whether I got weird looks for taking pictures of all this stuff.

The answer is Yes. Yes, I did.

I received several suspicious glances from one guy in particular, who probably thought I was up to no good. He looked like he was considering reporting me to Security, but what kind of terrorist plot could a short, frumpy housewife wearing cut-off cargo pants be formulating?

I abandoned jeans shopping and headed to the shoe aisle. Even when Clothes That Fit elude me, I can always count on the shoe department to cheer me up.

You know, or not.

I found several rows of knee high boots. Victory is at hand! I cruised through the aisles, collecting a nice stack of boxes. I found a bench and started trying on.

First pair – Vera Wang. Could not even get them over my ANKLE. Fine. It’s Vera Wang, she is unfamiliar with women who weigh more than 80 pounds. I toss those aside and go for the next box. Get those on, but not zipped. Same for the next pair.


Maybe knee-high boots are not for me. I go through the rows once again, but can’t find any mid-calf boots.

I take my massive calves home, determined to find something online.  It occurs to me vaguely that boot cut jeans really should suit me better, what with these horrendously gigantor legs.

As soon as I get home, I get on the internet and start looking for The Perfect Boot. You know the one. The sexy, black, easy to get on boot, that transforms me from middle age fashion disaster to pulled-together Woman About Town. Or Woman About Target, more accurately.

I see that the boot descriptions all offer measurements of the shaft (shaft!) and calf circumference. The boots I like have an 8 inch shaft (shaft!) and an 11 inch circumference. This throws me a thought to do some measuring of my own. I measure up my leg eight inches and then go around and get…..wait, the circumference of the boot is only eleven inches?

I remeasure, growing increasingly confused and annoyed.

I keep coming up with a number significantly larger than eleven inches.

I look at my legs, frowning. Is it possible that my calves are really so freakishly huge, yet somehow I’ve gone my entire life without noticing?

I measure my ankle at the narrowest, boniest, least fat-est part, trying to figure out what has gone so horribly wrong with my leg. It measures nine and a half inches.

Nine and a half inches. And the boots are made for a person with eleven inch calves.

Do you see what’s happening here? In order to wear knee-high boots, my calves should be only an INCH AND A HALF bigger than my ankle. An inch and a half!

Stupid, cheeky, non-fashion compliant legs.

I don’t know what kind of person has legs only an inch and a half bigger than a normal (yes? please?) sized ankle, but I dislike them all intensely.

Resigned, I hit the Wide-Calf Boots tab, happy that there might be a few options left in spite of my hideous disfigurement.

This is what comes up –

     Wide Calf Ankle Boot


Very funny.