Home Again!

We're back (got back late Saturday night, actually). Yesterday we enjoyed our first kid-free day and basically did whatever we wanted (which was taking down the tree and unpacking). Then last night we did a joint dinner with our friends the Fantinis (she made the chicken and bought the other food, and I set the table and made everything to go with the chicken). Woooo! I love those nights.

Watched the Eagles beat the Bills, then played Pinochle and Sleuth (thanks, Chris and Kristin). Sleuth definitely has potential to be a lot of fun, but we're still all working out or recording techniques.

Anyway, pictures of the trip and Christmas morning to come soon.



Family Vacation

We leave in the morning for Colonial Williamsburg. We'll be there through the 29th. Then it's a stop in Chantilly, VA on the way home. The kids stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a week while Joe and I drive home late on the 29th.

Can't wait! If anybody needs us for anything, call Mom & Dad Schierer or Mom Dugan ... they'll have contact info that can get to us eventually.

I don't know if I'll have e-mail access or not.

In the meantime ...

Ps. Just received this lovely e-card from Allegheny College. Thought I'd share.


Another Sickie

When Matthew was lethargic and sleepy yesterday, I chalked it up to three nights in a row staying up past 10:30.

Then he "woke up" giggling uncontrollably around 11pm last night. He didn't snap out of it entirely until we kind of shook him and turned on the light. He still didn't seem to know where he was. Ear thermometer registered 103.5*. Called the ped on call and administered chewable Tylenol. That brought it down to around 101* after 40 minutes.

We woke up and rechecked him around 1am. Down to about 100*.

This morning I made the call to stay home with him when it was back up to 103*. And his bones ache.

Poor kid.

. . . . . . .

Afternoon Update: Matthew seems pretty much fine now and had no fever at the doctor's office (naturally!). The site-specific aches and pains he's complaining of and sudden onset of fever with no other flu-like symptoms are upsetting. He's going back on amoxycillin for two weeks and has had blood drawn for a Lyme titer. Remember this? The results will go right to our pediatrician. So we'll see.

Thursday Update: Matthew's back in school today. His fever came back Tuesday night and we kept him home yesterday. Though he was fine all day (low-grade fever 99.5-ish temp). We picked up some acidophilus to help out (antibiotics do a number on his bowels, enough said). So we should be all set for our trip. I don't know how long the labwork will take. So, we'll see.

Final (for now) Update: The labwork all came back negative. So, unless he has further joint pain, no further action is necessary, beyond finishing his run of antibiotics.



Holiday Sweaters

Do you own one (or more) pieces of festive knitwear?

We've all seen them ... from the subtle sprig of holly on the cuff of a red cardigan (class and understated) to the completely smothered Santa-and-all-his-elves- must-have-thrown-up-all-over this sweater monstrosities. In my line of work ... I've seen hundreds of these things. There something about teaching at the elementary level that causes otherwise perfectly normal adult women to dress themselves in festive garb that would otherwise make them gag.

Now, you can do the sweater designers one better. Hope on over to We Hate Holiday Sweaters and have fun designing your own holiday "masterpiece." Or, just enjoy browsing through others' creations.

WARNING: This is one of those sites that plays music. I know. I can't stand them, either. So, if you're trying to stealth-surf at work, be ready with the mouse to click off the sound.



Brain Power

Tip of the frontal cortex to my brother. And the differences in our scores may explain a lot about our history of miscommunication. Up for a Meyers-Briggs next, Chris?

I took the left-brain/right-brain quiz and came up with a somewhat unsurprising result. I always have known that I'm a generalist, and that I'm way more left-brained than people usually realize (Joe would swear I'm entirely without logic and reason).

But ... what I didn't know is that my phenomenal cranial powers result in 101% brain capacity!

Seriously, I received 50% left-brain and 51% right-brain. The evenness doesn't really surprise me. Nor does it really reveal anything about my brain usage. There's a more specific breakdown of the results which yields more interesting insight. I'm apparently a very rules and order oriented (knew that), non-creative (wha?) big picture person. And they're not evenly spread results. Very weighted in my strengths.

Left Brain Percentages:
60% Reality based (I wouldn't have guessed this to be true about me.) -- You process information with a firm basis on reality, but because of this, may lack creativity. You are able to easily create or adapt to rules and regulations. For example, you understand the repercussion of your actions. You easily adjust to change in the environment and probably do not become emotionally involved in many tasks.
53% Sequential (Yup, I knew this one. Big time.) -- When you process information you have received, you are able to order it in a systematic, logical order from first to last. You probably excel in spelling and find tasks such as mathematics and following directions relatively straightforward. You also may find enjoyment in making "to-do" lists, checking off items after each task is completed.
37% Linear

20% Verbal
17% Symbolic
0% Logical (I guess Joe is right, after all! And now that I read their description of this characteristic, I think I can agree with it.) -- You may tend to rely on a "gut" feeling to help you make your decisions from the information you have received. For example, you will often choose an answer on a test because it "feels" right, and you may be correct. This is due to the fact of your tendency to look for the whole picture but not the details that create it. You can often start with the answer and work your way back to allow yourself to see the process and parts that create the whole. You may find math problems and science experiments difficult because of this.

Right Brain Percentages:

71% Holistic (Big picture gal, that's me! With excellent visual-spatial skills.) --
You naturally see the big picture first, but may have difficulty seeing the details that accompany it. You probably experience difficulty starting in the middle and working your way to a solution. Your natural inclination is to discover what you're doing before you comprehend any of the parts. However, this method also provides your visual spatial skills that can help in physical arts, such as painting or sculpture, or athletics, from basketball to ballet.
46% Concrete (Why do these keep going back to math problems? Eeew...math. Always loved Geometry, though.) --
At times, you feel the need to see a real object in order to understand it. At other times, you are able to understand a problem on a symbolic level. For example, you may find that in solving math problems, it occasionally helps you to "draw out" the problem in order to understand and solve it.
32% Nonverbal

20% Intuitive

17% Random

16% Fantasy-oriented (Because I'm craftsy people say that I'm very creative. But, maybe I'm not all that creative, after all.) --
You have a low ability to process information in a fantasy-oriented way. You have the tendency to focus on rules and regulations rather than on creative approaches. You generally do not have a problem adjusting to change in the environment. You may lack creativity, but you do not need to become emotionally involved in tasks in order to complete them.



Odd Inventions

"They" say that inventions arise when someone sees a need and designs a way to meet that need. Some of these fill needs that probably aren't strictly needs. Some of these are just plain weird. Taken from this site. Christmas shopping possibilities for those people on your list who already have everything common and useful.

Anti-theft Coffee Cup
I'm guessing this would be ideal for shared break rooms, where people just sort of keep their coffee mugs on a tray for convenience. I've worked in places like that, but I don't drink coffee...so never had a missing mug. I'd have to think the plug would be a bit weird rattling around in your desk drawer in between cuppas.

Transparent Toaster
I guess this luxury toaster would be handy if you really only ever toast one slice of bread at a time. I wonder if it'd be adjustable for bagels. I'm thinking not. Still, if a particular shade of tan is really your thing, this would be the perfect toaster.

Day Clock
OK, I'll admit I sometimes lose track of what day it is. I have weeks where I'm lulled into a false sense of Thursday-ness, only to remember it's only Tuesday. But, I think I'd feel more than slightly ridiculous having a day of the week clock hanging on my wall.

Laser Scissors

OK, I like a nice straight, even line as much as the next elementary school teacher. But this seems like a rather extreme way to accomplish a fairly straightforward (get it?) task.

Ergonomic Infant Pillow

While I can sort of see the point of a nestly, cuddly-shaped pillow to position and comfort your precious bundle, the "lifelike" hands are totally creeping me out. It looks like the poor baby is about to be crushed by a malevolent Muppet. I wonder if it's available in different fabric colors for various ethnicities.

Phrasebook T-Shirt
I can't imagine the comments one would receive actually using this T-shirt in a foreign land. Probably something along the lines of "Regarde l'idiot dans le t-shirt ridicule. Il pense que nous sommes des imbéciles!" Or even "посмотрите идиота в смешоной тенниске. он думает мы будет дурачками!" Or, considering the tact and awareness of many Americans traveling overseas, "Bloody Yank, we speak English here! We invented it! Wanker. Find your own bloody loo."



Dead (or not) Celebrities

Today on NPR I heard a bit about Evel Knievel's funeral* and I thought, "Huh. I guess I thought he was already dead. Who knew?"

When we lived in Pittsburgh, one of the morning radio shows (probably 3WS, we listened to them a lot) used to have a call-in contest where they'd name ten celebrities in thirty seconds and the caller had to identify them as living or dead. This quiz always made us feel really stupid and clueless.

And I'm not a dumb or unaware person, really. But I swear, every year when I watch the Oscars** and they do that retrospective montage of actors (directors, etc) who'd died in the past year, there are always a few who make me think, "Huh. Really? Thought s/he was already dead. Who knew?"

Just wiki-ed a bunch of folks and here are some I think I thought were already dead.*** Who aren't! Bully for them! Richard Dawson, Jack LaLanne, Ernest Borgnine, Phyllis Diller, Arthur C. Clarke, Betty Ford, Edmund Hillary, Joseph Wapner, Carol Channing

Way to go, guys!


*He died on November 30 of lung disease.

** Yes, I know ... you never took me for the Award Show type.

***Dead or Alive? Check whether your favorite celebs are still with us.


Red States v. Blue States

I have not fact-checked this, but found it interesting. Reprinted here for your convenience.* Some nifty cartograms on red states and blue states can be found here.

Dear Red States: We're ticked off at the way you've treated California, and we've decided we're leaving. We intend to form our own country, and we're taking the other Blue States with us.
In case you aren't aware, that includes Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois and the entire Northeast. We believe this split will be beneficial to the nation, and especially to the people of the new country of New California.

To sum up briefly: You get Texas, Oklahoma and all the slave states. We get stem cell research and the best beaches. We get Elliot Spitzer. You get Ken Lay. We get the Statue of Liberty. You get OpryLand. We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom. We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss. We get 85 percent of America’s venture capital and entrepreneurs. You get Alabama. We get two-thirds of the tax revenue; you get to make the red states pay their fair share.

Since our aggregate divorce rate is 22 percent lower than the Christian Coalition's, we get a bunch of happy families. You get a bunch of single moms. Please be aware that Nuevo California will be pro-choice and anti-war, and we're going to want all our citizens back from Iraq at once. If you need people to fight, ask your evangelicals. They have kids they're apparently willing to send to their deaths for no purpose, and they don't care if you don't show pictures of their children's caskets coming home.

With the Blue States in hand, we will have firm control of 80 percent of the country's fresh water, more than 90 percent of the pineapple and lettuce, 92 percent of the nation's fresh fruit, 95 percent of America's quality wines (you can serve French wines at state dinners)
90 percent of all cheese, 90 percent of the high tech industry, most of the U.S. low-sulfur coal, all living redwoods, sequoias and condors, all the Ivy and Seven Sister schools, plus Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Cal Tech and MIT.

With the Red States, on the other hand, you will have to cope with 88 percent of all obese Americans (and their projected health care costs), 92 percent of all U.S. mosquitoes, nearly 100 percent of the tornadoes, 90 percent of the hurricanes, 99 percent of all Southern Baptists, virtually 100 percent of all televangelists, Rush Limbaugh, Bob Jones University, Clemson and the University of Georgia. We get Hollywood and Yosemite, thank you.

Additionally, 38 percent of those in the Red states believe Jonah was actually swallowed by a whale, 62 percent believe life is sacred unless we're discussing the death penalty or gun laws, 44 percent say that evolution is only a theory, 53 percent that Saddam was involved in 9/11 and 61 percent of you crazy bastards believe you are people with higher morals than we lefties.

* Mostly. I don't know anything about pot, so I left that part out.



Geography Quiz

OK, an actually very cool online quiz. Test your geography knowledge (or lack thereof). I made it to the "hard" levels, level 10 I think, but don't remember my exact score. I wish the map were larger.




Potential Changes

Prayers requested for some potential changes (for the good) at my job. Things are uncertain right now. Mr principal and I had a very promising conversation yesterday, and I'm hoping things come to fruition.




I sent $150 in late pledges received just after I returned from the 2007 Breast Cancer 3-Day. I mailed them in toward my 2008 $2,200 objective. That was .... hmmm .... back in early November sometime. They still haven't posted to my account.

Stupidly, I didn't make copies of the checks before sending them. And they're from people I don't know. I think someone must have heard from someone else, or seen it in the paper or church newsletter or something.

So, basically, two generous and wonderful people are unable to balance their checkbooks because of their outstanding donations. And, I have absolutely no way of telling them or letting the 3-Day know about the currently-missing donations.

Hopefully they will still turn up.


ps. This post should IN NO WAY discourage you from donating generously to me, yourselves! Hee.

Too Bad, So Sad

Guess all my blogging was just for the "good" of the "world." I didn't win any NaBloPoMo prizes.





I did it! Posted every day for November. Yay!

Plus ... it's December 1 ... Christmas party day! Busy and fun (so why am I still up?).

And there's a (slight) chance of snow in the forecast this weekend (yeah, but it'll never materialize).