Tuesday, December 16, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Recipe for a charming Christmas Tree (in 10 simple steps):

Ingredients: 1 Real Live Christmas Tree (either pre-cut or u-cut is fine, any variety- I chose
a Frasier Fir)
1 Christmas Tree Stand
Water
Christmas Tree Lights
Ornaments
Christmas Music

Step 1: Choose your tree. Ideally, u-cut farms are the best because they are usually the cheapest. Plus, it is a lot more fun to go traipsing through living trees, trying to find the most perfectly formed tree. However, time and means may not allow that. Thus, a pre-cut tree from a Christmas tree lot is also acceptable.

Step 2: Get the tree home. (Make sure the vehicle of transport has sufficient cargo space to convey the tree from one place to the other.)

Step 3: If you do not already have a Christmas tree stand, go out and buy one (simply leaning the tree against a wall is not going to be a very stable arrangement- it will most likely fall down within 24 hours).

Step 4: Fill the stand with the water.

Step 5: It is recommended that, before placing the tree in the water, you cut about 1 inch off the trunk to eliminate the "scab" on the bottom of the trunk. *WARNING:* If you do not have a saw to do this, you WILL want to go out and buy one. Otherwise, bad things can AND WILL happen. (If you really want to know, you'll just have to ask...)

Step 6: After cutting off the end of the trunk, quickly place tree in water and screw into place. You may want to try to make sure the tree is not crooked or leaning.

Step 7: Once the stress of putting the tree up is over, turn on your choice of Christmas music.

Step 8: While music is playing, wrap lights around the tree according to your desire.



Step 9: Hang ornaments on the tree as you please. (You may include some sort of tree-topper, like an angel or a star, if you wish)





Step 10: Sit back and enjoy!



(Sorry, this photo ended up a little dark...)


Of course, you could take the short cut with an artificial tree- a little less dangerous (especially the saw part), they don't require watering (which would keep overly curious cats from constantly trying to drink the tree's water supply), and they ultimately might be cheaper since you don't have to buy a new one every year. But then you have the hassle of having to actually store it...

Well, real tree or no, happy decorating!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Operation!

So, does anybody else remember when that word used to freak me out? (How's that for a random phobia, Stevie-boy? How many Spocks and Heart Attacks does the word "operation" get? ;)

Anyway, now it may become a word that freaks out Tonks, too. Okay, so maybe not really...
But she has finally had the big operation which technically changes her from a "she" to a "sterile she." (No, having a hysterectome does not make her an "it," contrary to popular belief- she still has all the machinery that characterizes a female--she just can't get preggers)
She made it through surgery just fine- in fact, she was ready to bounce off the walls again by the time I picked her up in the afternoon. Of course, she is now somewhat limited for the next little bit, thanks to the bright blue fashion statement you see around her neck (apparently, this is actually called an Elizabethan collar- Somehow, I don't think Queen Elizabeth ever wore anything quite that blue around her neck... but who am I to nitpick over such minor details?)
Still, she finds plenty of opportunities to provide wacky, hyperactive entertainment, which is now all the funnier because of the collar...

I promise a more substantive post soon (I have fallen so behind on life over the last month, it is really just tragic- but things will get better soon!) In the meantime, enjoy these pics of dear little Nymphadora!








Sunday, October 26, 2008

Now I know my ABCs...but do YOU know them?

Thanks to Steven for "tagging" me for this list, and Thanks to Tamara for doing it first! So, let's get ready to have some ABC fun- and here we go!

A. Attached or Single? In terms of having a "significant other," I am still on
the single side of things. However, I am quite attached to any number of things...both literally (i.e. the earth via gravity) and figuratively (i.e. my family, my kitten, etc.)

B. Best Friend? On this earth, Esther Morris.

C. Cake or Pie? Yes, please. To both. My mood determines my preference, as does the flavor of either. I'll take most any kind of cake (except red velvet- blech :P ), and enjoy a goodly number of pies, especially homemade pecan! (even with a gluten-free crust ;)

D. Day of choice? Tough- I'd have to say Sunday because it's the only day I really get to rest and sleep in...

E. Essential Item? My brain, scattered though it may often be...

F. Favorite Color? Green, though blue and many shades of purple come in close.

G. Gummy Bears or Worms? "Gummy Bears! Bouncing here and there and everywhere...!" Er...uh... (insert awkward cough here)

H. Hometown? Honestly, I claim Steven's CoBoCoMo as my hometown, even though I wasn't born there.

I. Indulgence? Food-wise, Private Selection pints (Mint Moose-tracks is my favorite); TV-wise, The Office; Otherwise, Bath and Bodyworks!

J. January or July? I like July because that is when my birthday is; however, my birthdays tend to be low-key and not very exciting... I like January well enough, but whereas July is often too hot, January tends to get too cold- Like most of my family, I tend to be more of an
autumn person.

K. Kids? Well, I have about 80 of them this year- kind-of a nice change from the 100+ I had last year (i.e. my classes are smaller!). Yeah, maybe someday I'll have some of my very own (if not, I've apparently wasted a lot of time coming up with my favorite names that I would bestow upon my offspring).

L. Life is not complete without? The gospel. Yeah, yeah, I know that's the cheesy answer. So sue me. Sue me for speaking the truth.

M. Marriage Date? It looks like you'll have to consult a psychic to get the answer to that one.

N. Number of Brothers and Sisters? Originally, by blood, I have 5 sisters and 1 bro... Through marriage, I now have an additional bro and sis... and through my blood bro, I have quite a few imaginary brothers... I'll let you do the actual math (beware, you may have to use imaginary numbers to do it!).

O. Oranges or Apples? Depends on the time of year. I really like both. Trying to compare them is like trying to compare apples to...oranges?

P. Phobias? NOT mirrors... How about the irrational fear that I will sneeze while driving over a bridge and that the muscle spasm will then force me over the side of the bridge and I will either crash or drown (depending on what is under the bridge)...

Q. Quotes? I use them all the time. I love them, because most of the time, someone somewhere has said it better than I could. Here's a quote I currently have posted in my classroom: "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them." (Mark Twain)

R. Reasons to smile? Autumn blue and blustery days and crunching leaves and Fall Break (which, sadly, is now over) and Noah (especially with the cat wand) and Tonks and the hilariously small Smart car (I saw one on my way home from church today) and even several of my students are good at making me smile!

S. Season of Choice? Um, I believe I already clarified that I am an autumn girl all the way.

T. Tag some peeps! Okay, I tag the yellow chick Peeps, the pink chick Peeps, (I think there are blue chick Peeps?), the purple bunny Peeps, and any other Peeps you guys know about.

U. Unknown Fact about Me? When I was about 10 years old, I saw The Lady in White at my cousin's house for the first time. I got so freaked out, imagining that the ghost girl was gliding through the windows that I finally had to go sleep in the bathroom, the only room in the house without any windows.

V. Vegetable? The only veggie I can honestly say I love is corn.

W. Worst Habits? Procrastinating, nail nibbling, interrupting, correcting, using big words... (well, I guess that's only a "bad" habit when I inadvertently make someone else feel dumb...)

X. X-Ray or Ultrasound? I agree with Sarah- there's got to be a better X-- How about or X-Files or X-Men? Wait. That may be too hard to decide- I'd probably have to pick The X-Files, though I did enjoy the first two X-Men movies...

Y. Your favorite food? I suppose that "they" have asked for just one food in order to keep people from writing never-ending lists of what they love. So, if I have to pick just one, I'd probably say mom's classic BBQ wings (hot or cold!)

Z. Zodiac Sign? Cancer (hmmm...what do you think that says about me?); Sheep/Ram (depending on which Chinese calender you are using); Kark (Indian zodiac)

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's the Abominable...Pumpkin?

Yes, it is true. On my way to conference two weekends ago, I came across this horror. As if we didn't have enough to torment us with the yearly bombardment of snowglobes and Santas and Frostys and other hideously horrifying blow-up lawn ornaments. Now, they have to extend the terror to an already terrifying holiday. Kids will get sick from more than just overeating candy. If you haven't already thrown up in your mouth a little, you should come see it in real life. If you dare...



video
(P.S. Sorry for the rather shaky camera action...)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saving lives one drop at a time...


I gave blood yesterday. Despite years of fears relating primarily to needles, I decided that the time had come to at least try to give.

In preparation for the Relief Society Broadcast last night, our stake planned a two-hour segment dedicated to various service projects- humanitarian kits, quilts, wooden blocks, coloring pages/activities...and donating blood. We had a mobile unit hanging out in the church parking lot, taking as many willing donors as they could. Now every so often, especially since 9/11, I have thought that I really should overcome my fear of needles and of giving blood and help out by donating a pint. However, I would often use the fact that once-upon-a-time I was anemic as an excuse to avoid it. So, despite a desire to try and do some good, it somehow had never happened. Until now.

For the several of you who still have the same fear of needles as I do, I won't go into details except to say that it really wasn't as bad as I was afraid it was going to be. I survived. I didn't even get woozy. I was so proud of myself. I had overcome my fear and succeeded in doing something good. I wish they had had stickers for first-time donors like me, something that could tell the world that we decided to take some action and help others in need. Alas. Thus it is that I am sharing my pride with the world via this blog. For all who care, I have finally donated blood. And while I don't think I'm ready to do it every two months like some people, now that I know that I can make it through the process, I will gladly donate again.

Here's to life!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering...






Regardless of how you feel about the current administration and the war, I just want to remind the world of one thing:
"That there is some good in this world...and it's worth fighting for." (S.G.)

Let us remember and honor the many soldiers who, whatever other motives are out there, are fighting for the good in this world and are upholding the honor of the oaths they have taken to serve and protect this country.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Why Labor?

Okay, so does anyone else ever wonder why they call it Labor Day when most people get the day off work? I suppose if I really wanted to know the reason for the name, I could just look it up... but why work on a holiday? In fact, in spite of good intentions to actually work on lesson plans and such, here I am instead working on a new post for my blog. I may get around to the actual productive work at some point today, but for now, I am enjoying the non-Labor part of Labor day...i.e. actually taking a holiday from work.

Since I promised photos of my various travels over the summer, I thought today might be a good day to start that. Here you have the first sample of the trip Juli and I took to the great state of Washington (where I served my Spanish-speaking mission):

We begin with the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland), where I spent the first six weeks of my mission getting trained by Hermana Jennifer Carroll. I wasn't there very long, but since we worked exclusively with the Spanish branch, this is where I really felt I got the language down pat. Because my memories of this area are rather vague, it was quite surreal to drive around the town with fragments of recollection. Here are some photos of what I DO remember:

The Blue Bridge (one of the main bridges across the Columbia River) Because we lived in Kennewick but mostly worked in Pasco across the river, we used this bridge most frequently. most


The Cable Bridge (the other main bridge across the Columbia River) We didn't use this one as much, but it sure looked cool, especially when lit up at night.


The Columbia River Temple (in Richland, near where the Mission Home is located)



After the Tri-Cities, we drove down into Oregon, where my third area was located- the thriving metropolis of Milton-Freewater.

Because we covered the whole stake for Spanish contacts (which went from Walla Walla, WA in the north down to Pendleton, OR in the south), we took in quite a bit of ground. Beside M-F and Walla Walla, we also did some work in the tiny towns of Athena and Weston. Here are some photos of that area (which, incidentally, was one of my favorites, and certainly my most successful area):

Our apartment in Milton-Freewater (which apparently still houses missionaries, judging by the picture of Christ in the window):


Pegg Johnson, a convert to the church, was such an enthusiastic, cheerful woman- she was absolutely adorable and was so helpful to us in so many ways!


Here's how Walla Walla dealt with rising gas prices:


The view from Tollgate Mountain (where Weston- and some of the members of the M-F ward- were located- it's not the Rockies, but it is still a pretty impressive view!)

And here is my attempt to capture what was really an incredible rainbow (although this is just one side of it, it was a full arc rainbow, spanning the stormy sky with its impressive array of brilliant color!)


Thus ends Part I of the Washington Saga- as I get more time throughout the week, I will be adding on, so stay tuned...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Changes...

So. In order to explain my current life situation, I need to provide some information.

First, the facts:

1. I currently only hold an emergency license, which expires at the end of each school, and is renewable (for up to three years) if there is still an emergent need for the subject (in my case, Spanish). In other words, if they have enough certified Spanish teachers to fill the positions, they don't need me and therefore won't renew the emergency license. So, the expiration of my license left a Spanish teaching vacancy here at Tech.

2. Senora Oreilla, who is from Spain, left at the end of the school year to return home, leaving a second Spanish teaching vacancy here at Tech.

3. At the end of the school year last year, Tech hired a new French teacher and a new Chinese teacher.

4. According to my friend and colleague, Lily Stewart (another Spanish teacher here at Tech), Tech did not hire any replacement Spanish teachers by the beginning of this school year.

Now, for the theory:


With funding constantly being tight here at IPS, I think that rather than fill the two vacant Spanish positions AND create two new positions at Tech to compensate for the new French and Chinese teachers, Dr. White (our beloved and illustrious superintendent) decided to reallocate the salary money- in other words, he cut the two vacant Spanish positions and used the salaries from those positions to pay the new French and Chinese teachers. Of course, it is only a theory, but it seems to match up with all the other facts previously mentioned. That means that there are currently only 3.5 teachers to cover classes for all the Spanish students (one of those teachers is actually a Special Ed. teacher, but she is covering one or two of the Spanish classes, which is why she's only 1/2 a Spanish teacher). Sadly, that means that, despite these two new languages being offered, there is still overcrowding going on in the Spanish classes.

So, what does all this mean for Peeser?

Well, since there technically aren't any Spanish vacancies, despite the desperate need for them, I can't be hired to teach Spanish at Tech. Now, I have been told, if by the middle of September, our principal can prove to Dr. White that enough of the projected students have actually enrolled and are coming to class that it warrants a need for an additional Spanish teacher, then he may "re-create" one or two Spanish teaching positions, and presumably I will then be called to fill one of them.

In the meantime, lest you think I am idling my time away with my new kitten and Olympic TV, I am back at Tech filling a Reading teacher vacancy, probably until the end of the semester, at the very least. Yes, I, Elise Lambson, am now attempting to teach reading to students whose skills are such that they failed to pass the I-STEP test (Indiana's standardized test, similar to the MAP test in MO). I have a co-teacher for a couple of weeks who has been helping me get my feet wet... we'll see how this goes.

So. There is my current life in a nutshell (granted, a very LARGE nutshell, but what are you going to do?).

On the upside, I have entered a program through Marian College that looks like it will get me certified a lot sooner than the one I was going to do at IUPUI. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Getting to know her...

My life is a bit crazy right now- perhaps by the weekend, I'll be ready to share that insanity with all. But for the time being, as promised, some attempted photos of my hilariously rambunctious kitten- enjoy!

The drive to IN from MO:

Her favorite perch in my room:

Asleep on the floor:

Laying on my neck:

Dirty from the fireplace:

After a bath....:

And now, the piece de resistance: an attempted video of her playing with a new toy:


video

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cupcakes + Gelato + Sister = A Fun Afternoon: Check it out!


When Juli somehow discovered that Indianapolis has its own cupcake shop, we knew we had to check it out, especially after glancing at their array of flavors. So, yesterday afternoon, Juli came over so we could see what this "Flying Cupcake" is all about (well, she also came over to meet Tonks in person- we had fun watching her tear the feathers out of one of her new toys... photos will follow soon...)


Anyway, while it wasn't hard to find the shop, we did make a small detour into the children's book store next door (quite a delightful place). When we actually made it into the shop, we were pleasantly surprised to find that they also sell gelato (and in flavors that complement the cupcakes!). So, with cupcakes and gelato cups in hand, we sat down to enjoy an atmosphere of nostalgic ambiance:








Okay, so maybe it isn't quite the elegance of The Cupcakery in St. Louis, but it was quite the charming place. The cupcakes also might not be quite as good, but they were very tasty in and of themselves--enough so that whenever any of you come to Indy, The Flying Cupcake is definitely worth a stop-in. It definitely made the afternoon with Juli a fun one (or, I should say, Juli made the afternoon fun by joining me in checking it out).

(for a complete listing of their available cupcakes-including pictures-click here; this way, you're prepared for when you come for a visit! :)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Meet Tonks!



Well, here she is- the lovably feisty furball who entered my life just a week ago. For the time being, she shall officially be known as Nymphadora Tonks, or Tonks for short (however, I reserve the right to change the name if something proves more fitting to her personality). Despite her tendency to snip and swat at feet and fingers, she really is quite adorable, especially when she snuggles. Sadly, she is not one to pose for photos- she seems a bit camera shy- but as I am able to get better photos of her, I'll be sure to post them!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Short Stuff

No, I am not referring to my height. I am simply trying to give a brief update on the last couple of weeks to the few, faithful followers of this random blog. So here are a few quick notes and pics:

1. July 18, 2008: Julina and I went to see the Dark Knight on IMAX! Holy incredible movie experience, Batman! It was so amazing to not just see the film, but to FEEL it as well (and, unlike the sadness of Sarah's experience, the sound/music did not overwhelm the dialogue, which was very well-delivered). This movie is dark, I'll grant you (which is why I was utterly flabbergasted to find that parents had brought small children and babies- yes, I mean INFANTS around, maybe even under, the age of one- to this film). But it deals with relevant issues in a meaningful way. The acting is amazing; the effects are superb; and I love the message Chris Nolan delivers regarding the power of choice and how the choices we make have an impact on those around us. If you haven't seen it, you should be running to the theater right now! (Okay, driving might get you there faster... and maybe you should wait for a day other than Sunday to do it...)

2. July 18, 2008: After watching the aforementioned fantastic film, I drove the extensive six hours to Missouri to spend a couple of weeks with my family, making a stop in St. Louis to dine with Emily, Joe and Noah and to do a session at the temple before it closes for cleaning.


3. July 20, 2008: With Emily, Joe, Noah, Steven and Tamara driving over for the occasion, we celebrate my birthday by eating Mom's fantastic BBQ chicken wings, corn on the cob, watermelon, and baked beans (all the tastes of summer!) with a yummy trifle and chocolate/rocky road ice cream cake (compliments of Emily) for dessert! I got some great games, foamy soap (one of my favorite B&BW purchases), and Reese's Pieces. We rounded out the night by playing one of my favorite games, Balderdash!


4. July 24, 2008: Miss Saigon! While I will freely admit that Emily was the bigger fan, I've always loved the music to this production- I loved the soundtrack (being poor, I was never able to buy it, a fact that will soon change), I loved the poignant tragedy of the story- so I was excited when she mentioned that it was coming to the Muni (Muny? St. Louis' Municipal Theater). Fortunately, she was able to get a baby-sitter for Noah, so Joe was able to come, too. The production was fantastic. There were a few kinks that threw us off balance, but overall, it was incredible- the performances were solid and did an excellent job with the story and the music. We were also lucky enough to have cool weather and NO RAIN (despite the rain that had come before and after the performance). It was a great night and a great way to spend time with my sister and brother-in-law.

5. July 28, 2008: I will be driving to Hannibal, MO to meet my friend Rebecca Powell and finally get my kitten! I still haven't made any final decisions on the name, so there's still time to suggest away... :) If you'd rather vote than suggest, some final contenders are: Agadore Sparticus, Thor, Cairo, Hel, Squishy, and Tonks.

So, that's my life in a nutshell (albeit a rather large nutshell). When I return to IN, I will try to post more summer updates (e.g. travels to WA/OR, Dallas, among other things...)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand...something...something

Just a reminder- I am still hunting for ideas to name the little gray and white kitten that will be coming into my life in a couple of weeks... please let me know whatever your thoughts are (some good ones I've heard/read are: Thor, Teaspoon and Squishy, --and Genny, I actually think Murth is quite hilarious, though I don't think I will end up going with that one :) So please keep me posted with your ideas (get it?! POST-ed! because this is a BLOG! Ha ha. okay, never mind...)

Now, on with this tag- inspired by both Tamara and Genny's blogs (both of which turned out great photos for this tag! It's really gotten me quite excited to try this! And while the others I have seen- Steven's, Emily's, Kirsti's- are also fun, those two get the kudos because they were the ones that really made me want to do this)
Here goes:

1. Age on my next birthday

2. A place I'd like to travel

3. My favorite place

4. My favorite object

5. My favorite food

6. My favorite animal

7. My favorite color

8. Town where I was born

9. Town where I live

10. Name of a past pet

11. Name of a past love

12. Best friend's nickname

13. My screen name

14. My first name

15. My middle name

16. My last name

17. One of my bad habits

18. My first job

19. Name of my grandmother

20. College major


So, now you get the fun of seeing the obvious and trying to figure out the bizarre and mysterious... (I'm happy to answer any questions you may have!)

Enjoy!