Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gullible Saps for Romney

Seriously, study hurricanes.
Well, it was on t.v. (actually,
 it wasn't) so it must be real.
This might offend some people, but I am pointing out something I noticed recently with my Facebook friends.  Some of my friends were duped into believing some incredibly unrealistic photos of Hurricane Sandy.  One photo involved the Statue of Liberty and a storm cloud purported to be the hurricane.  Now, the scale of the hurricane was estimated by some to be one thousand miles across.  And, those of us who know science know that hurricanes do not sneak up on people, so that one moment we experience blue skies, and the next, gale force winds and downpours, so the minute we saw the photoshopped job, we knew it was fake.  Which is why we loved the response photo, which added other disasters to the mix.  Another showed the statue being struck by what can only be described as a tsunami.  The height of the statue, with pedestal, is over 300 feet, so that wave is topping out at 150 feet.  We had a storm surge, and things are bad, but, again, there really is a science crisis in this country.  I would chalk it up to wishful thinking on the part of Middle America, whom I know are not huge fans of NYC, but some of the duped included New Yorkers. 

What happens is a lot of
people write "jump"
Another hoax that many fell for is the photo that shows either a woman's pixelated face, or a man on a precipice next to a bear.  The caption instructs the viewer to type in a certain word to see what happens.  Now, this is akin to the joke that made people smile for a picture to be taken (when they didn't usually have a webcam) and then frightens them with a scary face and loud noise.  Pictures can work like small movies; they're called animated gifs.  But, they are endless loops, and they cannot be stopped, started or paused.  And certainly they will not become animated because someone commented on Facebook.  Nor will any money be donated because of clicks, and certainly forwarding emails won't bring good luck. 

Apologies, Facebook friends, who fell for these tricks.  And, if you're a supporter of Romney, I am truly sorry for what you are about to read, but it needs to be said.  There is a correlation between pro-Romney posts, and reposts of the above hoaxes.  I can't help but wonder, is being easily duped a necessary prerequisite for supporting Romney?  Do you have to be a chump to believe that a man who made his fortune liquidating companies and laying off people has experience "creating jobs"?  Only suckers can trust a man who says he forgot when he held down another student and cut his hair, right?  I'm asking because I don't get it.  Maybe I am too suspect, too jaded, but then again, I'm usually right.  Perhaps my Romney friends are happier, just blindly believing things that don't logically make sense.  I like my republican friends, truly, I do.  But, they're living in a different world than me. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My Friends, Cancer and Jury Duty

So, as if this week has not been filled with enough awful news, I got summoned for jury duty.  Carefree, summertime me got the original letter in the middle of summer break, and, without a second thought, said "defer".  It seemed like a good decision at the time.  In all the confusion and stress of this week, I almost completely forgot that I was supposed to phone to see if I would be called up yesterday.  It was around 11 p.m. Sunday night when the summons that I am using as a bookmark fell to the floor.  Ugh!  I called, and I did not need to report on Monday.  But, after nearly forgetting to call again last night, this time remembering at 3 a.m., I was called in. 

Jury duty is never fun.  Parking around a courthouse is next to impossible.  In my extremely muddled state, I mindlessly, automatically and 100% mistakenly got on to the Long Island Expressway.  The only thing worse than being on the LIE during rush hour is being on the LIE during rush hour by accident.   From the traffic on the on ramp, I longingly looked down at the completely clear Queens Boulevard where I was supposed to be.  In the jury duty waiting room, Regis and Kathy Lee or Kelly or Michael Strahan or whoever was blaring from a television.  Maybe I'm getting old, but nothing drives me as batty as a blasting media source.  Airports have them, hospital waiting rooms, any place where the public may turn to rioting masses due to the horrible conditions and the breath-taking lack of interest in dealing with issues with any speed or concern.  The public must be subdued, and television seems to be the drug of choice.  We are no longer even allowed the option of a quiet activity like reading.  Remember when people would read?  Not on a screen, but words on paper?  Anyone?

Don't worry, this story has a happy ending; we'll get there eventually.  Just yesterday, I worked all day trying to secure an appointment with my neurologist, whom I need to give medical clearance for my scheduled radical hysterectomy.  He is a busy man whose first available appointment was January 8th of 2013, so an assistant did major juggling to get me in tomorrow.  And then there is the referral issue that I won't even mention.  I was dreading having to reschedule it, given the hassle it was to schedule it the first time.  Jury duty is notoriously difficult to shirk.  And, so, with trepidation in my heart and five minutes on my meter, I got my break.  With unbelievable speed, I was first in the jury duty problem line, and two minutes later, I was excused, no questions asked.  The cancer card is coming in handy already.  I called school, to tell them I would be coming in, and I was told not to; they already had a substitute.  Free!  At 10:30 in the morning!  And so, the song of the day, with lyrics modified by me:

Cervical cancer and whiskers on kittens
Summons for juries and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

I am also singing "Hooray for Hollywood", I imagine because the word "hooray" is in the title.  I am a sick, sick person.  In mind, not in body.  Okay, in mind and in body.  But more so in mind.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Social Media - Start from the Beginning

What was that second thing you said? 
My last post dealt with my newly diagnosed cancer, which I decided to post about it on Facebook, and I thought I'd explain my reasoning.  We've all read the status updates that say something that indicates that a major life event has occurred, but was not announced on Facebook.  Statements such as "Second ultrasound shows six toes" or "We're legal!  Got certificate in mail and changing name today!"   I end up confused as to what the protocol is for this scenario.  Does one "read between the lines" and bust out the congratulations or the condolences, or should I question the friend about the initial announcement?  It's as if, at a party, you start a story with "So, when I had the triplets six years ago, I noticed there was a new supermarket so close to the house.  Have you been to it?  It has the best croissants"  Your friends will certainly agree about the croissants, but they'll want you to back up to the part about the triplets.  It reminds me of the confession scene in Moonstruck:
Loretta Castorini: Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been two months since my last confession.
Priest: What sins have you to confess?
Loretta Castorini: Twice I took the name of the Lord in vain, once I slept with the brother of my fiancee, and once I bounced a check at the liquor store, but that was really an accident.
Priest: Then it's not a sin. But... what was that second thing you said, Loretta?

And so, since I will obviously be referencing the cancer in future posts, I decided to start at the beginning, rather than slipping it in between insignificant events.  I rather not answer everyone's questions one-by-one; maybe it's the teacher in me.  I'll teach everyone once, and if you have questions, ask them in front of the group.  Maybe someone else has the same question.

How Does One Announce Cancer in the Digital Age?

I now need to change my blog's blurb to include "surviving a stroke, marriage and cancer".  I was diagnosed this week as having stage 1B cervical cancer.  That stage is low and has very high survival rates, which is encouraging, although it is most likely still a low stage because the doctors have not  tested enough yet to ascertain whether it is actually more advanced.  I am somewhat relieved to know that the size of my tumor generally warrants optimism that the radical hysterectomy I must undergo will cure me completely.  Actually, the radical hysterectomy is the better option: if tests show that cancer is in my lymph nodes, then I will need radiation.  I guess, as kids, we say we want to experience everything.  But, God, if you follow this blog, I can do without the radiation experience, okay?  That is one thing where vicarious living will certainly suffice.

Teal Ribbon :
Meaning: This color is a symbol
for ovarian, cervical, and uterine
cancers as well as sexual assault,
polycystic ovarian syndrome,
and tsunami victims.  What fun! 
When the results of my biopsy were brought to my attention, of course, I started crying.  There were two reasons for my tears: my daughter and my mother.  The only thing worse than leaving a young child motherless is leaving a mother childless.  I can do things to help my daughter after my death, but there is nothing to console a mother who loses a child.  When my student was killed at thirteen years old, nothing, nothing will ever erase the screams and desperation of his mother as she arrived at his wake.  Never should a child precede his mother in death.  So, Mom, I love you, but you're going first!

Let's back away from the edge of darkness for a moment, to look at the bright side of things.  Just as modern medicine saved me once, I have very competent professionals on my side, and every reason to believe that I will emerge from this to live to see my daughter reach adulthood.   She was more interested in the timing of my surgery (two days before Thanksgiving) than in any of the concerns that we adults have.  "How many days are in November?  November is a long ways away.  What holiday comes first, Halloween or Thanksgiving?"   And, then, she pushes her torso up on her shoulders (this was in bed) by standing on her tippy toes on the headboard and challenges me to push her down.  She'll take anyone's mind off the heavy details.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Santa's Helper Needs Help Keeping Secrets

My hiding place for the "Made in West Germany" furniture was discovered.  I was crestfallen.  Little Curiousity Queen noted that the bed "needs a mattress".  Well, at least that's still a surprise.  I made a mattress mostly copied from this site, although I skipped the boxspring, and instead of making buttons out of cardstock, I used Recollections mini brads.  I simply bent the arms back and forth until they broke off, and used the brad head only.  Can you believe that Kris made that bed out of paper, poster board and glue?  Kris, I bow to thee.

Actually, the biggest surprise is that the mattress doesn't fit in the bed frame, and also, it's crooked.  This mattress will go inside a math manipulative bed frame, and either sold, or traded.  So, I get to make another to fit the furniture I bought and that she already knows about.  It better fit, I tell you.  How does Santa do it?  Then I get to make bed clothes, assuming that this mattress fits.  The fitted sheet tutorial that I will follow is from Pickup Some Creativity.  Wish this elf luck.

Friday, October 19, 2012

More Information about My New Keystone Cape Code Dollhouse


It seems that I really did get a great deal the other day when I was compelled to buy a rather neglected dollhouse.  It turns out that it is a nice make, called Keystone of Boston.  It is missing two window panes, which I am sure reduces its desirability, but Keystones are very sought after antiques.  Keystone stopped manufacturing dollhouses in 1953 OR my version was sold at FAO Schwartz in the 1960's, depending on what source you use.  They are made of masonite, out of which my old Fisher Price homes and buildings were constructed.  It is missing a chunk of the front door, a chimney, a chimney cover, and a few supporting brads, but over all, it is is excellent condition.  Every time I sneak away to work on it, I'm amazed at my luck!  Terrific!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ghetto Witch Crash Halloween Project DIY

I have an aunt on my mother's side and my uncle on my father's side who now, since the passing of both of their spouses, live together on the Cape in the summer and in Florida in the winter.  The story of these two is one of my favorites, because it illustrates how resilient and strong people and their hearts can be.  This post is not about them.  Nor is it about the wonderful family vacation we spent on the Cape and Martha's vineyard, even though that was a highlight in my life, as well.  This is about the chance sighting that I had on that trip of a stuffed witch, with wooden legs, smashing into a telephone pole.  These are now ubiquititous, but it was the first time I had seen one and it cracked me up.  It looked homemade, and since I figured that they had created it, I assumed that I would have to fashion one on my own as well.  Of course, I was wrong

Anyhow, last year, when my daughter attended a private school, they had a yearly "White Elephant" sale that all parents had to volunteer.  I volunteered for the last day, and I was present for the closing of the sale.  Anything that was left over was going into the trash, so, with witches on my mind, I scored a free headless doll (why no one bought that, I'll never know!), a black stretchy pair of pants, a "decorative" straw broom wall hanging, and a lime green, very pouffy, scrunchy.  A year later, a neighbor brought over all sorts of miscellaneous items that included a pile of red curly hair.  Knowing this one random item, can you even begin to imagine what sort of items were included?  Anyhow, since she knows I can make shit out of any old thing (I recovered her old IKEA couch, I should write a post on that!), she knew that those bizarre, off-the-wall items had my name written all over it.

So, I painted the doll's legs and feet, cut out a black outfit, cut a piece of old broom stick and attached the decorative broom to the end with an eye screw, put the scrunchy around her waist, glued on the hair and voila!  Ghetto witch crash!  It's ghetto because her hands aren't on the broom, and because she is dangling from the branch like she was hung, not an accident victim.  Oh, well, I'll perfect it later!

Fabric Paint - To Do or Not To Do

Say it with me: Foe-toy-yah.  Now you
can be pretentious, too.  Cords in pic
will be dealt with once Santa arrives
with my flatscreen tv holder.
One project that I have been keeping on the back burner for a while is painting fabric.  I have read many tutorials that swear that it works, that it's soft, and you'd never be able to tell.  Well, I bought some fabric medium, and I have just the candidate for renewing: my fauteuil.  Wow, I'm sure you're thinking, you own a fauteuil?  What's that?  "Fauteuil" is "chair" in French, and one way to know if you're pretentious is if you can pronounce it, which, bien sûr, I can.  It is a rather subdued and somewhat sun-faded blue at the moment, but the fabric is in awesome shape and is obviously of some quality. 

Rather than ruin my beautiful chair, I thought I would first do a proof-of-concept with my daughter's rug.  This rug, a cotton striped kilim, had been exposed to more body fluids during my daughter's first four years of life than a toilet at a Poison concert.  Of course, we washed it, but certain things simply do not come out.  So, I tried painting it.  I could not perfect the formula of paint to medium, so that either the original stripes came through, or the rug was the texture of cement.  I had paid $25 for it (it was an 8x10), so it just went into the garbage.
Before and after cardboard chairs.

A shot of my poorly styled shelves,
with the turquoise painted magazine
holders on the left.  Fabric scraps
hanging from second shelf are
another half-finished project

The only other fabric I've tried to paint was my husband's old magazine holder, and that came out perfect.  But then, it was always hard and it was meant to be hard.  But, I had some extra paint, and I got some old chintz covered miniatures (they came with a Tomy bathroom that I had to have.  Tomy miniatures are the bomb, yo), that the glue had started to stain the already shabby looking upholstery.  So, I painted.  It seems to be fine.  I've been asking my miniature people if it feels like they're sitting on cardboard, but they sarcastically told me that they are sitting on cardboard, which is true.  Do I dare risk my fauteuil?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Join Me in Doing Something to Make High Stakes Test More Transparent

 Last night, when going over my daughter's homework, one of her worksheets advertised at the bottom of the page a website where we could locate an "animated glossary and tools".  So, we tried to visit and were thwarted by the lack of an access code.  I was a bit disappointed, and I considered writing the teacher for the code, but then, as a teacher myself, I kind of dread when parents write me letters.  It always means extra work on my part, and teachers are busy enough without getting new jobs from parents.  So, I didn't write the letter, and instead decided to wait until parent teacher conferences or open school night to ask for it.  I don't want to be the stereotypical Gifted and Talented Pain in the Ass Parent.  You know, the one that is involved in their childrens' education to the point of smothering and being a total nuisance.  But, that got me to thinking about making a nuisance about another part of education.

Some of my best ideas come to me in the morning, when it is just me, no radio, no television, no email, my husband is already at work and my daughter is still sleeping.  This morning, my epiphany was when I thought to myself "it is time to do something about high stakes testing".  My daughter will be partaking in this insanity in three years, and as an involved parent, I want to address anything in which she needs improving.  Every night, I am involved and truly interested in her homework and classwork.  We discuss the topics she is learning, and we look for things online, such as virtual manipulatives, or videos about making maple syrup (she's studying geometry and trees right now) to reinforce the concepts.  So, imagine that in three years time, that I learn that my daughter is "approaching standards" or "below standards", and that is all the information that I am given.  What will I do then?  I need to know much, much more than this to help her improve.  What good is a diagnosis with no possibility of a cure?

Not every child can be at the top of their class.  Not that
that will keep them from becoming president and enacting
stupid, impossible legislation with an even dumber name.
So, this morning, in the relative calm of my morning routine, I decided to do something about this.  I'm going to protest, lobby and entreat people to fight the insanity of opaque testing.  It seems like it would be an easy sell to parents: wouldn't you like to know exactly what problems or questions your child answered incorrectly?  If these tests are diagnostic, we should be able to use the scores to improve.  If they are not diagnostic, then why are the children spending most of their educational careers preparing for and taking them?  There will be pushback, of course, because the testing company does all kinds of machinations to ensure an even distribution of "far below", "approaching", "on" and "exceeding" grade levels.  Their scoring is inconsistent, since it is done "holistically", which by definition involves interpretation, and that cannot be "standardized".  They don't want parents to take notice of these things.  But, if high stakes tests are going to become an all-important, integral part of education, then we need to know the details.  Transparency is demanded in government, so why not in scores?  A teaching intern sees high stakes tests as a vicious cycle of blame: teachers blame parents, administrators blame teachers, and parents and children are largely forgotten.  As the intern wisely claims, "Since fear is the root cause of all problems, transparency, and therefore honesty, is the cure."

No proof it will improve schools, scores, or
anything else besides business's pockets.
So, in my preliminary investigation, there exists already many organizations devoted in some manner or other in this cause.  FairTest, the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, is aimed mostly at college admissions tests.  There is a recent high school graduate looking to interview people who have had negative testing experiences for his documentary.  There is a resolution that is being passed by school boards that we can endorseChange the stakes posted a link so that parents who want to view the results of the state tests can do so.  There needs to be a serious uptick in the number of parents who do so.  And Parents Voices NY, another anti-test promotes opting out of the Field Tests, at the very least.  Together, we can make it more difficult to use our children and our children's education pawns in the struggle to break the union and privatize education.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Exhausted Teachers

I thought you'd like to know that today was another positive day for me!  For those of you keeping score, the ratio of good-to-bad is now 2:900 or 1:450!  But, I have have my nadirs, as well, and even though they're in the past now, that doesn't mean it won't happen again.  American teachers are not just battling their students, they are up against parents, administrators, public opinion, and know-it-all pundits.  And we're tired, folks.  It may be anectdotal, but I have seen many great, experienced teachers pull the plug early to just end it now.
Ha, ha, ha, a-ha, a-ha, ahhh, ahhh, waaaaaah!
I remember, quite clearly, a day almost two years ago now when, on my way into my awful, horrible teaching position at a "good" local school, I just didn't know how I was going to keep doing it.  I realized that it was only my eighth year teaching, and only the second at this school, and that other teachers put in 20, 30 or even 40 years at this.  I dreaded even one more day there.  It was me against the world at that school; I was spending all my time and energy trying to plan four different lessons a night, four different goal sheets, four different quizzes, four different assessments, four different projects, grading four different subjects (this is against my contract, as was the one prep I would receive a day).  I gave my all, and despite this, everyone hated me, literally seething with rage towards me.  The students were entitled little liars that twisted everything I did, and their parents would, if I was lucky, yell at me with disdain and disgust, but generally would just call the principal.  It was the worst.  I couldn't bear one more hour of it, and begged my husband nightly to allow me to resume child care leave.  I also regretted my decision to return to work so quickly post-stroke and was secretly wishing for another stroke, consequences be damned, so I could go on disability.  Let me repeat what I just said: I wished for another stroke.  It was a dark time. 

Needless to say, I would not have been able to continue at that school, and I am extremely happy to have a new position that is not even close to as unbearable as my last assignment.  That being said, though, even without the weight of an entire community's misdirected fury, teaching is no walk in the park.  Teachers are tired.  It is too much.  This article sums up a lot of the points I've been making for years in conversation, and for the last year on this blog. We are scapegoated for every problem, when most of the blame should fall on the parents.  I cannot solve every child's problems in the six hours I see them for ten months when they are tweens.  I cannot even solve every student's problems in math in that time, although experience has shown that I can solve almost all of them in two year's time, I can wear down the hardest hard-ass in the second year, thank you very much.  But, it is unfair what we ask of teachers and it is time for it to end.  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thinking About Our Legacies

This is the only picture I own with both Gramps
and me in it.  Back row from left: Nana,
Gramps, me (under a hefty chunk of bangs).
Bottom row from left: my sisters Maureen
and Karen, both also sporting copious
amounts of bangs.  Obviously, Izod shirts
were the rage at the time.
I read a very touching post recently at Stowed Stuff entitled What Grandfathers Do Best. The writing is fabulous and really takes you back to a time and a place where your Nana and Gramps, Mimi and Papa, Oma and Opa, or Gramma and Grampapa are always there for you, ready and waiting for your visit and praising your every achievement.  Grandparents have a way of conspiring with their grandkids, and of course all children respond to that.  Grandparents are adults that don't have rules, and they even break some!  But more than that lovely, warm remembrance of a special kind of love, the specific subject of the post got to me: Gramps.  See, Annie Stow is my cousin, and her Gramps was my Gramps, and he was loveable, happy and fun! 

I was blessed that I knew all of my grandparents, and I loved them all, but Gramps was more than a grandparent, he was a friend, and the best kind of friend.  He was the type of friend that assured you that you were fabulous (actually, the words he would have used was "ultra, ultra, ultra") the way you were; the kind of person who helped you out of jams and didn't judge you, and never told your parents.  He helped my cousin and I get burrs out of hair, and he got the grass stains out of my pants without my mother knowing that I had stained my knees yet again.  Those were the only two times I really needed his help, since I was an absolute angel, but my cousins could tell you stories!  And he was the type of BFF that was always at the ready with something fun!  He would spend his time of our visits downstairs in his basement with the kids, playing his reel-to-reel tapes and getting out his giant newspaper roll (he was a pressman) for us to draw on.  He went around round-abouts as many times as you wanted with no regard for the time or the destination (or, as I now realize, the stress and potential danger of driving in a round-about in the Boston area!).  You really could not ask for more from any one else in your life.

My father is now the Gramps
to my daughter
Annie's post, besides making me a teary, sobbing mess, made me reexamine what I want my own daughter to remember about me.  I hope she'll reminisce about her fun and young-at-heart mother, and that she holds me, as I hold my Gramps, dear.  I wish that she grows up with the security of knowing that I will always be there for her, always loving her, as I knew that Gramps did me.  And I hope that when I'm gone, that she will cry for a bit, but that she will then use me as an example of how a life should be lived, as I look back on my Gramps and the wonderful part of his life that I was privileged enough to share.

I Actually Enjoyed My Job, For a Day!

As a middle school teacher, my contract stipulates that I teach 25 periods a week.  You would think that means five periods a day, but students today need double blocks of math.  This isn't because we are teaching them more math, it is because the geniuses in cubicles somewhere, geniuses without any teaching experience, decided that we need to use a workshop model, which means that we're supposed to ask the children how they would add fractions, or how they would subtract integers.  Never mind that most would just take the path of least resistance and do it incorrectly, and then the teacher would need to dispel their misconceptions.  And, we only teach for 10 minutes; you heard that correctly.  It's called a "mini-lesson".  This is honestly how we're supposed to do it.  And we're supposed to do it with manipulatives, which is fabulous for some things, but others, not so much.  So, while we're futzing about with high level thinking tasks, which the students cannot do because they have not mastered the basics, the children are actually learning less than when we did the old chalk and talk.  Ten minutes of teaching, plus the rest of the period with the students "constructing knowledge" leads to the blind leading the blind at the best, and a total waste of time at the worst.

In any case, the double block schedule means that I must teach an even number of periods every day, so on three days I teach four periods, and on two days I teach six periods, plus a "common prep".  So, two days a week are quite a grind for me.  This year, Fridays are a six-period day.  And, in general, I barely survive them.  But, for some unknown, mysterious reason, I enjoyed teaching on Friday.  Not because it was closing in on a three-day weekend.  I just truly felt like I was doing my job.  And it felt good!  Those of you who follow this blog, or who know me, know that this is a rare event.  A one-in-900 chance event, since I don't think I've had a good day teaching since my student died, over 5 years ago now.  Why was it so good?  I really couldn't tell you.  If I could, I would, and then I'd sell the reason to the teachers of the world and be independently wealthy, because every teacher would be willing to shell out a year or two's salary for the secret.  Here's hoping there's more to come.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Tuesday was another good day, Wednesday wasn't terrible, but Thursday returned to normal.  But, things seem to be overall not quite as bleak as they once were.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I Was Forced to Buy Yet Another Dollhouse


I've encountered more than my fair share of those sickening people who score great things so cheaply.  I have a friend that gets giant buckets of Legos from Craigslist for $15, and I follow the blog of a woman who scored a beautiful campaign chest with brass fittings for $10, and yet I can't seem to find a break.  Okay, I do find an awful lot of stuff that comes in handy such as stacking baskets, Barbie dreamhouses, chotchkes and doodads, but never anything I really need!  Alright, and a cool bookcase that fits perfectly in my foyer.  And, still, I fare unfavorably compared to some other people, until today!  I regularly scour the website www.estatesales.net, and I recently spied not one, but two interesting items in the two flanking pictures.

The title of this post may have given away the item in the second picture.  Those of you with sharp eyes and a very keen imagination can identify the item in the first picture.  It is a copper fountain, of the type that I have been eyeing for quite some time.  I want one to a) drown out the sounds of the LIE and the planes landing at La Guardia, and b) to inspire my 5 a.m, meditation/yoga sessions that will surely happen once I acquire a fountain feature!  I'll get back to you on the latter, but the former already has proven a disappointment.  Anyhow, I wanted one, so I got one.  The copper artsy kind run $500 to $700, but my (tarnished, but working) one cost a mere $50!  That was my gas money, but who cares!  I own a fountain!

Doesn't drown out anything, but I
still like it.  The tones match the
wall art colors (another estate sale
find).  That horrible plastic pipe is
"temporary" (read: will be there for
5-10 years unless I nag)
In contrast, I do not need, nor want another dollhouse, as I documented.  But I was curious if the house came with furniture (it did).  I couldn't help but ask how much they wanted for the house, and I was told $25.  Great, I'm not tempted  Then, the man running the sale volunteered $20.  No, I really don't want it.  But then, upon check out, buying my "Made in West Germany" hand painted dollhouse furniture, and inquiring the price of said furniture, the seller then said if I took the furniture for $10, he throw in the dollhouse.  Well, now, how can one say no?  Our current dollhouse is too small and we need to upgrade.  He was basically forcing me to take it, you see?  I am weak, I cannot resist such things.  So, it sits in my garage, under a Care Bear tablecloth, waiting for Mrs. Fixit to clean, renew and redecorate it for Christmas.  Why, oh why, did I do this to myself again?

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