To-do, Ta-dah! and Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo

To do tonight: Visit Kwik Trip. Fill minivan’s gas tank, pick up a dozen eggs, and buy a snow brush. Mine disappeared last time Chuck borrowed the minivan for a weekend.

Ta-dah! Chuck starts his new job tomorrow! He’s no longer in the television industry. He’ll be building fire trucks instead. He’s looking forward to the change, and we are, too.

Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo: It’s the most wonderful time of the year to share my holiday music collection at work. My coworkers have been very accepting of my playing Christmas music as performed by brass groups, pop singers, a capella  singers, and just about every genre that plays or sings the songs of the season. Only one puts on his headphones as soon as I arrive. Scrooge. I turn off the speakers and put on my headset as the clock approaches official work time.

I’ve also had fun sharing videos with my virtual students. I use a safe-tube service to eliminate comments and ads (you’d be appalled to know what kind of garbage is out there), and I’m respectful of  my students’ many beliefs. In sharing music, my goals include encouraging my students to log into class on time, quieting the chat before class, and starting class on a positive note.

To-do: I haven’t logged into my school account during the weekend. I like to get some grading done at home whenever I can. I have to balance that, however, with my own need for rest and respite, a.k.a. sanity. This item may or may not become a Ta-dah!

Meanwhile, Amigo is helping Chuck get supper ready. The Packers won, and we’re looking out over the first snow of the season. Life is good.

Readers, what’s a ta-dah! in your life?

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Attitude. And a blind sense of humor.

I almost – almost – feel for the director of Amigo’s barbershop choir. But really, he set himself up for this one.

Director Man had the risers set up, the festive scenery in place, and the lights on the choir. He stepped back, looked over the group, and asked, “Is there anyone who can’t see me?”

Without a pause, Amigo raised his hand, the hand not holding his white cane, and the choir erupted with laughter.

They were still chuckling when I arrived to pick him up two hours later. Spark plug, indeed. They’ll have a hard time picking a new recipient for that award!

Amigo in his Elf costume

Amigo in his Elf costume

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Cranberry Sauce – Daisy’s Way

1-2-3 Cranberry Sauce

1 cup water
2 cups sugar
3 cups cranberries

Bring to a boil, then simmer 20 minutes or until all the berries have burst. Add cinnamon to taste. Serve warm.

Now, the backstory. I brought this recipe home from kindergarten on a sheet of construction paper. We made it at home since it was so easy. It became a standard at Thanksgiving dinner, the tradition lasting long after the original paper faded.
A generation later, my kids started helping me make it every year. If we have leftover cranberry sauce, I use it in jello or add it to muffins. This little piece of my “saucy” childhood continues, along with Thanksgiving memories that will never fade.

Have a wondering Thanksgiving, readers.

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Progress in healing

Yet another cabinet member has been announced to a fanfare of “Oh, no!” Amigo didn’t remember the name, but he remembered enough to inform me that the new Secretary of Education will be a “billionaire school choice advocate.” I can only take so many of these announcements. They’re bad for my blood pressure. In the interest of my own health, let’s look for some silver linings.

The next time a woman runs for president, she will not have to jump the same hoops that Hillary did. Trailblazers, Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton included, blazed a trail so that others can follow.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We’re bringing mashed potatoes, butternut squash, Packer veggies (peas and corn), and cranberry sauce. Have I forgotten anything? La Petite will bring the wine. The potatoes are in the crock pot as I type. Oh, pies! I bought pies from a local bakery this morning.

The nearby meat market (I love that place) was hopping. In fact, I changed my route to avoid the traffic on their corner as I was on the way to the bakery, another small business I love. I walked in, paused to inhale, and then picked up a box of cookies while I waited for my turn. The problem with shopping at a local bakery is simple; I always come out with more than I planned to buy. Problem? Maybe that’s not a problem. Small Business Saturday is coming up, and I saw two small businesses that were doing well already today.

Amigo has already found Internet radio stations that are playing 100% Christmas music. I’ll make a list, check it twice, and bookmark a few to listen to at work. Now if I can stop myself from singing along…

I predict January will bring another down period. This inauguration will be hard to take. But for now, let’s look at positives. For those who celebrate, enjoy your Thanksgiving.

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From two years ago – what a difference.

Two years ago, the garden had officially succumbed to the freezing temps overnight. Today, I was outside in my Wisconsin Badgers tee shirt, turning soil and enjoying the huge blooms on the marigolds.

The election was nearly over (and I was worried). We’re a few days away from Election Tuesday. I’m worried sick. This election – it’s so unreal that it’s scary.

So what’s next? How did Compost Happens find a way to continue without politics or gardening on the topic list? Ha-ha. As if I’m ever at a loss for words!

Don’t worry, friends, family, and fans. There is still almost half of the NFL season to go. You’ll read the reactions of the O.K. Chorale as the Packers do their best to protect their best – Aaron Rodgers, that is. I might even post the results of our Eating the Opponent tradition. Indiana corn chowder (with bacon) and bacon cheeseburgers tonight as we prepare to meet the Colts on Sunday. if you were curious.

The garden was a simple pile of dirt and scattered straw two years ago. This year, like 2015, there’s a lot of green in the yard, providing a beautiful backdrop to the multi-colored leaves falling from the neighbor’s maples. In fact, I turned soil today and pulled up rogue grass roots to make room for a row of walking onions.

I still have a small tray full of green-turning-red and even more green-turning yellow tomatoes. I have enough ripe tomatoes to add to salads and BLTs for a little while longer.

As for the election results – I’m sure there will be reactions, good or bad, from the family here at the Chorale or from our favorite time traveler, Grandma Daisy.

What to write? Blog fodder? No shortage here, folks. As my favorite quarterback said a couple years back, R-E-L-A-X. I’m not going away any time soon.

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Short Conversations by text

Introduction – Blogging this election has been much harder than 2012 or 2008. I don’t want to give the Republican candidate any more of my time or blog space than he deserves, but if I stay silent, if too many stay silent, then his misogyny and racism will spread. Instead of posting election-related content, I’ll simply tell you that I VOTED already, and move on to an everyday conversation.

Actual Text Message Conversations (I couldn’t make these up)

from Chuck: Gotta love our downtown! I went out to plug the meter again and a stranger had already done it.

my reply: Pay it forward!

And yet another day — 

I was on my way to the Take and Bake pizza place to pick up a particular type of pizza for Eating the Opponent. As I pulled in to the parking lot, my phone went “Ding!” signaling a text message.

from Chuck: Here’s some must have – the Golden Girls Action figures. Someone really is producing them and will sell them at an upcoming comic con. Collect the whole set!

my reply: I want the Supreme Court Women set.

Chuck’s response: I bet the Ruth Bader Ginsberg action figure would kick the trump bobble head’s butt.

my reply: Darn right. Notorious RBG to the rescue! Add superhero cape to the judge’s robe!

Follow up: I haven’t ordered my blue pantsuit Hillary action figure yet. Yet. I still wish Lego would get serious and make the Supreme Court Women. 

 

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Excuses for the Things I Haven’t Done List

It’s sort of like a to-do list. I’ve accomplished a lot in getting the garden put away for the winter, but there’s still a great deal left to be done.There’s always an excuse, er, a reason, though. Let’s see.

Drain the rain barrels. But it’s still warm enough that there’s no danger of freezing. I use the rain barrel water to rinse out the litter boxes and the kitchen compost containers. Can’t I keep the rain barrels running for a little while longer? (she says plaintively)

Take out the last tomato plants.

It's a jungle out there.

It’s a jungle out there.

Cut back the flowers, such that they are. This is a low priority task. If I don’t do it, the small furry creatures will do it when winter sets in for real. 

Spread compost. This is an ongoing task. I’d rather spread it now than in the spring, but I can do this in the spring if need be. But if I don’t do it now, will there be room in the compost bins for the winter’s kitchen scraps? Well? 

Plant the walking onion bulbs I procured through foraging. It’s okay. I had permission. If I plant these now, they’ll come up in spring with little or no help. But before I put the bulbettes in where I want them, I have to weed that space. Yes, folks, it’s true. I need to weed the garden in November. Do you see why I’m procrastinating? 

Trim the lemon basil plant. This plant isn’t happy indoors. Maybe it needs a trim and a grow light. Maybe I should just cut it off and hang dry it, once and for all. 

Take a load of cast-offs to a thrift store. The pile I call the “Next Goodwill Load” is overflowing the laundry basket that holds it. But first, I really wanted to empty a couple more drawers. It’ll make room for hiding birthday and Christmas gifts.

Speaking of gift shopping, I need to get my annual spreadsheet in place. Ugh. It’s a necessary evil. Keeping track of what I’ve already bought will help prevent overspending. And since I started shopping in August – hey, don’t roll your eyes. Art in the Park (a local summer art festival) is one of my favorite shopping opportunities.

Rake leaves. It’s windy out. That’s enough, isn’t it?

But seriously, I’ve gotten a lot done recently. I cleaned out the main garden plot and the plot behind the garage. I’ve stirred both compost bins and added water to the smaller one to keep it from drying out. Rain barrel water, in fact. I’ve kept up with bunny’s litter boxes, and I add those to the garden soil, too.

Most important task of all: I voted. I voted early at City Hall. That’s a deep sigh of relief.

Readers, have you voted yet? All the other tasks can wait.

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Flashback – Foreshadowing?

I was browsing my archives and reminiscing, and at the same time thinking about how I’ll be teaching flashback and foreshadowing as literary techniques very soon. Here’s a flashback to Election 2012.

The flashback begins with a smallish haul from a midweek farm market.

I’m not growing zucchini this year. Can you tell?

Unfortunately, Chuck thought I went overboard.

Fortunately, I have good recipes for zucchini bread and zucchini cookies.

I met a friend for coffee. Unfortunately, I ran late. Fortunately, I found a great parking place and we had delicious coffee as we worked.

Lovely, tasty beverage!

Fortunately, I donated zucchini bread when I did a little volunteer work for the Obama campaign.

Unfortunately, I didn’t plug the meter with enough change.

A $5 Ticket!$@#^!

I dropped off the Obama postcards at the post office and then went to City Hall to pay my dues. It’s a small price to pay to help re-elect the president. Fortunately, I had change for the meter that time. Unfortunately, I left the change in my pocket. Fortunately, the meter readers were still canvassing the blocks by the political offices. So… I made another investment in downtown and brought home smoothies for me and Amigo.

Oh, what a day. I think I’ll go hide in the tomato jungle. At least I don’t have to pay for parking there.

Foreshadowing? Come back for more in the category of literary techniques, Daisy style.

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State Count Day – a semi annual event

In a brick and mortar school, State Count Day is simple. Encourage your students to show up, take attendance, and sign the attendance to verify its accuracy.

In a virtual school, we need to document attendance in slightly different ways. I send out an email first thing in the morning (from home! before I get to work!) reminding parents of the numerous ways they can prove that their children are enrolled with us.

  • email, including names of students
  • take online attendance (Mark P for Present)
  • call the school or teacher to verify enrollment
  • Attend a virtual class (I held a homeroom meeting for just that purpose!)

I sent my instructions out with a Read Receipt so as soon as a parent clicked on the email, I received confirmation. We only use those as documentation if we’re desperate.

Meanwhile, I taught three virtual classes: a homeroom meeting, my regular Friday morning Social Studies, and my high school music class.

It was a busy day. (hahaha, Captain Obvious, I know)

On top of this, I was starting to run a fever. Chuck has a virus of some kind, and I’m afraid it’s my turn. Neither one of us likes being ill. The one who is relatively healthier cooks up the chicken soup, basically.

In conclusion (I’m already sounding like an English Language Arts teacher), I wasn’t the most pleasant to be around, so I posted a guard outside my cubicle.

Hee. Hee. Hee.

Hee. Hee. Hee.

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Foraging again

I’ve been driving past this small, overgrown garden for weeks. This patch caught my eye each and every time.

Onions! Walking onions!

Onions! Walking onions!

These onions, the Egyptian walking onion variety, were HUGE. They had sprouted bulbs on top, as these onions do, and a few had fallen over to plant the next generation.

The appearance of the garden led me to think that someone wasn’t taking the time to care for it. The owners probably wouldn’t miss a few clumps of bulbs. But I wanted to be ethical and above board with my foraging. So when I saw a man in the driveway loading a car seat into his vehicle, I pulled over and asked him. He was more than willing to let me come over and harvest bulbs for my own patch, and he even warned me that they’ll spread.

I knew that.

It was a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon when I tucked my phone in my pocket and grabbed a shears, gardening gloves, and an empty banana bag. I encountered a few Pokemon critters on the way, and walked my way toward hatching an egg or two. Trust me. Poke-fans will understand. The banana bag was about half full when I packed up to walk home again.

bunches and bunches of onion bulbs

bunches and bunches of onion bulbs

bulbs separated and ready to plant

bulbs separated and ready to plant

Forager Daisy strikes again! Next spring I’ll have more green onions than I need, and they’ll plant the next generation with or without my help.

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