Archive for June, 2007

At The Park With Makende

June 28, 2007

If these don’t make your uterus hurt, you’re clearly dead or heartless (Or, I suppose, you don’t have a uterus.). Please, someone give me a kid before I abscond with this one. (Just kidding Social Worker Tony, I promise I’m not the kind of person to abscond with a child! I’ve got references to prove it!)

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Sometimes ya gotta stop to smell the roses…

 

Updates on Top Secret Project

June 27, 2007

I apologize for all the issues I seem to be having with the link to donate. For now it seems the easiest way to donate to Evan’s Brain Surgery Fund is to follow the link to Momma’s blog and click the link on her sidebar. (If anyone is a WordPress Wizard and can help me figure out how to insert form code, please let me know!)

We’ve had a couple of donations for prizes, so there are going to be more drawings for prizes. The first prize is going to Stimp for being the first to notify me of a donation. You’re getting some handmade soap and lotions from Robin (THANK YOU Robin!). Congrats Stimp and Thank You!

I also decided to give a prize to the highest donation. In addition to getting tickets in the quilt drawing, the highest donor will also get a special prize.

Also, if you would like to send a check or money order, please email me. I will send you the name and address for where you can send it.

Thanks for your efforts everyone!

Top Secret Project Revealed

June 26, 2007

Alrighty, the time to unveil the Top Secret Project has arrived! (I’m imagining my three readers gasping with anticipation.) But before I show you and talk about it, let me explain how it came to be.

For those reading this from outside Los Angeles or the Stitch & Bitch community, This is Evan.

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He is a cute, adorable baby boy who was born with “Hypothalamic Hamartoma,” or HH. Evan’s Momma talks about it here on her blog.

Luckily for Evan, he was diagnosed very early and hence his chances of success are really good. But he has to have a very expensive surgery. His Momma and Papa have worked hard both with and against their insurance company to get Evan the surgery he needs. Unfortunately, despite what they will cover, Momma and Poppa are likely gonna have to cover some portion of the procedure as well as expenses (hotel, gas, etc.) while Evan is recuperating.

Joansy and I were chatting and talking about Evan’s surgery and the burden it was on my Momma and Poppa. We began talking about how we wished there was something we could do to help them out. We had already made Evan a quilt and although I know he and his parents love it, it doesn’t help them pay for his surgery.

Since neither Joan nor I is independently wealthy (or even dependently wealthy!) and neither of us is lucky enough to hit the lottery before then, so both of those options were out. Instead we began talking about how we could help raise the money Evan needs for his surgery.

A bake sale? Good idea and one that we may come back to. Although I’m not sure how to tap into the market of the internet with a bake sale. (If you have ideas, please leave them in my comments!)

A raffle? Well, in the little bit of info I found, raffles are only for the properly-licensed non-profit organization with lots of time to do a bunch of paperwork. Scratch that.

What we finally came up with (and we’re open to other ideas, just leave them in my comments) was to do something similar to what Yarn Harlot did for Knitters Without Borders. She had people email her after they’d made a donation to the organization. Those names were put into a pot, names were drawn, and prizes were awarded.

So here is our idea: Momma and Poppa already have a PayPal account set up to take donations (which you can access by going here and clicking on Evan’s Brain Surgery Fund). Click the link and make a donation to Evan’s Surgery Fund. Then send me an email with the date and amount of your donation (we’re going on honor here). For every $5 donation you make to Evan’s Brain Surgery Fund I’ll put your name into a drawing for a prize once. A $25 donation will get your 5 entries! (And the love, kharma, and warm tingling feelings that go with helping out a little guy and his family in need!)

Oh wait! I didn’t talk about the prizes. Well, we don’t have that many. But since Joansy and I are the Quilting Wonder Twins we made two quilts to give as prizes.

The first quilt, entitled More Hearts for Evan (the quilt we gave Evan was called “Loving Hearts for Evan”, is approximately 56” x 70” and is made from batiks that we collected from a block swap. The backing is not batik, but it’s still pretty!

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The second quilt, entitled Even More Hearts for Evan, is approximately 49” x 63” and is also made from batiks from a block swap. The backing is not batik, but is still beautiful.

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Both quilts were pieced, layered, quilted, and bound by Joansy and I during my 4 day stay with her in Canada. They both have heart-themed quilting patterns, although they are both different from each other.

So help little Evan get his surgery by making a donation to Evan’s Brain Surgery Fund. You could win a quilt that is covered in hearts and filled with love. More importantly though we’ll help Evan.

 

If you have a blog, perhaps you can either link to my site or create a blog entry about what Joansy and I are trying to do. The more people who know about it, the more people who may contribute to Evan’s surgery.

Edited to remove PayPal links and add button in sidebar that actually works! Unfortunately I can’t get the button to work. If there are any WordPress Wizards out there, HEP ME HEP ME! Until then, please go to Momma’s and Poppa’s blog to make donations.

More Canada

June 25, 2007

I come from white trash, so I know the value of using duct tape (or Duck Tape as we called it). I’ve used it many times, for many things. Although admittedly I use it less as time goes on, choosing instead to actually repair whatever it is that I would have taped together. But in my youth, I used it quite a lot. So I have nothing against duct tape.

Unless you look out your airplane window and see it on the wing of the plane!

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Luckily I didn’t see this until I had only about an hour left. An hour spent gawking out the window checking to make sure the duct tape isn’t gonna come off thereby resulting in a small plane crashing to the ground is better than four hours of said activity.

My last full day (Sunday) in Canada was spent much like the previous two, but with a bit more sense of urgency. Joansy and I didn’t have any idea how long it would take us to finish the Top Secret Project so we were working full throttle throughout most of the day. Luckily we finished in the late afternoon. Since the weather was cooperating (it rained and/or thunderstormed most of the time while I was there), we took a walk around the lake.

 

 

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The evening flew by and before I knew it I was on my way to the airport early Monday morning (is 4:50am morning?!). Luckily there was plenty of light so I didn’t feel like it was that early. I even got to see a Canadian sunrise (which normally wouldn’t have happened since it happens so flipping early during the summer). (Sorry it’s blurry but those freaking Canadian mosquitoes were getting ready to haul me off into the grass, so I was fighting them off while trying to capture a shot!)

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What a lovely closing image of my visit to Canada. (Lovely enough to almost make me forget the duct tape on the plane wing!)

O Canada

June 23, 2007

Bad Blogger hasn’t been around to blog because he’s in Canada! Specifically, Camrose, Alberta. Actually, Bad Blogger could have been blogging, but he’s been so busy since he got here on Thursday. I had to get up at 4:15am to catch a 7:15 flight at LAX. That was a killer, because of course I left all of my packing until Wednesday night after our Adoption Classes! So there wasn’t much sleep that night.

I arrived in the early afternoon into Edmonton (it was supposed to be late morning but Air Canada had other ideas on when I should get here). My pal Joansy picked me up from the airport. This was the first time Joansy and I had met, although we’ve been online pals for 6 or so years.

To welcome me to Canada, Mother Nature sent a hail storm to make the hour long journey home more interesting (and even longer!). Here’s a shot of Joansy freaking out as we wait on the side of the road (one of several times that happened) for the hail to pass.

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After we finally got back to Joan’s, we had a sushi lesson. We ended up making a California Roll, a Spicy California Roll, and a Salmon Roll. We enjoyed those with some Sumi Salad, and of course some white wine. Here’s Joan making her first roll:

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(Shhhh! Don’t tell her she’s got some nori on her face!)

This is Casey and I after that lovely dinner, the remnants of which you can see on the table!

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Friday Joansy and I started on a Top Secret Mission. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I can give you all some hints. Here’s a shot of Joansy working:

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And a shot of me working.

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And while we’re working on Top Secret Mission, Joansy let me use her Mac Daddy Embroidery Machine to make these:

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There used to be 8 of those, until Mac Daddy got mad at me and ate one of them. So now it’s a set of 7! Or a set of 6 with an extra. Either way…

I also made these:

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I’m so in love with these napkins. I love the color and the designs. Joan made her a set using white napkins. I have one more set of white napkins that I get to embroider before I leave.

Friday night we went to Edmonton to have dinner with Joansy’s twin sister, Janesy. Here we are all nice and toasty at the end of the evening (with the help of Yellow Tail):

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And this was the lovely dinner we enjoyed at Jane’s and Barry’s (her very kind and funny hubby) home:

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I didn’t get a shot of the Tres Leches Cake I made for dessert. But MAN was it gooooood!

Most of Saturday was spent working on Top Secret Mission. More details on that later.

Congratulations Nagisa!

June 17, 2007

I had the second graduation cake due for today. It was a little rough (not a wise idea to cake while hung over!) but it came out pretty well. Unfortunately there were so many more things I wanted to do for this cake, but this was as good as it got.

Nagisa graduated from a catholic school. She loves to draw and her favorite color is red. She’s a very artistic and creative young woman in general with a great sense of style. I used a tutorial from my Cake Hero Lorraine to create the sugarpaste Nagisa.

Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and chocolate-raspberry mousse covered in chocolate fondant. Everything on the board is edible!

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Congratulatins Nagisa!

Congratulations Jeff!

June 16, 2007

Jeff, husband to SuperCrafty and papa to ChubbyCheeksMakesMyUterusAche, graduated from UCLA today.  His thoughtful wife ordered a cake for him from me.  She requested a hockey puck cake since Jeff is/was a hockey player.  This is what I came up with:

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Man, I didn’t realize the bottom part of the fondant was so messed up.  Grrrr!  Photos don’t hide anything, do they?!

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 Yah, I know, the poor bear has excema.  Actually it’s a new recipe for gumpaste that I used.  Hated it!  For obvious reasons.

Inside the cake it was Chocolate Raspberry Truffle (chocolate cake with chocolate-raspberry mousse and raspberry curd.)  I tasted tested the components and they were pretty good individually.  Hope it all tasted good together!

Congratulations again Jeff!

(Interesting aside: Jeff apparently did some schooling in Camrose, Alberta, Canada.  I have a good friend, Joansy, who is stuck lives in Camrose and who I’m going to go visit in a few days.  What a kawinkydink, no?)

 

Tagged

June 13, 2007

Despite having yelled, “I’m on goul (wtf IS a goul?! Was it a poor, white, trash thing?!), I’m safe!” I was tagged by Faith (actually I vaguely remember being tagged by someone else a while ago, but I couldn’t find it when I went back to look for it). The tag: 7 things you probably don’t know about me.

Seeing as I’m such a freaking jabber jaws and have NO boundaries about my life, I doubt there is much all y’all don’t know about me. So I’ll dig into the crevices of my memory to see what I can find.

1. I learned how to read by watching Sesame Street. True story. When I was in grad school (for the third time) I had to do a project for a literacy class where I reconstructed the history of my literacy skills development. And according to my mom, I learned how to read by watching Big Bird and the Gang. I then proceeded to teach my younger brothers and cousins to read. (The fact that none of them graduated from high school has NOTHING to do with my teaching abilities!)

2. I almost cried when I heard that Mr. Wizard died! I spent countless hours watching Mr. Wizard when I was a kid. I learned how to clean silver from him! In short, Mr. Wizard helped me get my Gay Card.

3. Speaking of my Gay Card, the first time I remember having an attraction to another boy was in 4th grade. Miss Finney, a fourth-grade teacher, had invited members of her tribe to our school. I was so enchanted with one boy; I could hardly take my eyes off him. After the day was done I was standing in line for our bus and the Native American kids were getting onto their bus. I said to David, who was a few years older (actually he couldn’t have been more than two years older as our school only went up to 6th grade), “He’s really cute.” I will never forget the look of disgust on David’s face. That was the first time I realized that what I was feeling was “wrong”.

4. I used to sell Rainbow vacuum cleaners. I forget exactly when it was, but I think it was over a summer when I was home from college. And using the word “sell” is a stretch. As I only sold one. Moreso I tried to sell vacuum cleaners.

5. I never french-kissed anyone until I was 18 years old.

6. It was with a girl.

7. I french-kissed a guy when I was 21.

There ya have it!  All done.

Now, I’m gonna tag Joansy and Landa.

Parting Words

June 12, 2007

Yesterday was my school’s first graduation. Eleven of the students who were graduating were part of my “familia”. Similar to a homeroom in other schools, a “familia” is where we deliver AVID content, monitor grades, and do fun stuff (like the BBQ I had at my house on Sunday). When I started two years ago, I inherited a “familia” who had previous had two other teachers. This group of students believed they were cursed, so during my first week they asked, “Are you going to leave us at the end of the year like the other two teachers?” It was at that point that I decided there was no way I was going to leave them until after they had graduated. So despite changing positions in February from a teacher to administration, I kept my commitment to my “familia” and finished out the year with them.

At yesterday’s graduation, the graduates were presented by their “familia” teachers. We began by giving a short speech to our students and then we distributed their diplomas. These were my final words to my students:

To Familia V,

It is with great joy, pride, and sadness that I watch as each of you graduates from Lennox Academy and begins the next step in your journey. It seems like just yesterday that I was anxious about meeting you for the first time. I was aware that this TA was “cursed” (to use your term) and that I had a great responsibility that was being placed on my shoulders. Through it all, I have grown as a teacher, and more importantly as a person. Each of you has touched my life in some way.

Erica, you taught me to laugh and to “imagine”.

Pepe, you taught me how to be noble by accepting the consequences of my actions.

Maria, from you I learned that there are times to be quiet and to listen.

Jose, you taught me that I need to fight for what I want, even when there is no one behind me supporting or encouraging me.

Juanito, from you I learned to relax and enjoy the moment.

Jhonathon, you taught me to persevere even when the system seems like it is stacked against you.

Anahid, you taught me the importance of a smile.

Angy, from you I learned the importance of family.

Wilbert, you showed me that some things are worth driving 60 miles a day for!

Mariela, from you I learned that leopard print does look good on some people.

Angel, from you I learned to appreciate my writing abilities.

For all of these gifts that you’ve given me, I thank each of you.

It seems that those with youth seldom listen to the words of advice from those with more experience. Despite this, I am going to give a piece of advice that has the power to make all the difference. You’ve heard it a hundred times from me and hopefully you will remember it and use it in your lives.

Be supportive.

These two words have so much power. It is often in giving that we end up receiving. If you can be supportive of others, you will often find that others want to be supportive of you. Most importantly, be supportive of yourself. Accept your limits and maximize your talents. Be your own biggest fan.

You are each incredibly talented people, with boundless capacity and limitless talent. I hope each of you is able to create a life that makes you happy and helps to make our world a better place.

With love and immeasurable pride,

Mr. V

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You’ve Lost That Blogging Feeling

June 10, 2007

Well, you may not have lost it, but I sure have. It’s not that I don’t want to blog, it’s that whenever I had time, I don’t feel like blogging. It has been quite the week people. My school, a start-up charter school, is graduating its first class this year. And with this first ever graduation comes lots of ‘oh, never thought of that’ moments. Which means we’re hustling at the last minute to figure out what, how, when to do things. So it’s been crazy because of that.

Then add in the Senior Picnic, Dia de Reconocimiento, and TA BBQ at my house and it makes for a very exhausted Mr. V. And a Mr. V who does not feel like blogging… But for the 3 loyal readers who care about what’s going on in V-land, here’s an update:

Makende
Nothing going on there, she’s just too darned cute not to put in my blog!

Makende and her gorgeous Maman

Makende and her gorgeous Maman (not hard to tell where she got her looks from, eh? Although her papa is a looker too!)

This little one LOVED the corn on the cob. Here she is attacking it…

What’s to say? Strawberry Shortcake…

Adoption
We’re ready to send the paperwork to the state to get our Family Foster Home number, which allows us to get our fingerprints, which will allow us to get our home inspected. Looking forward to that about as much as having Ingrown Toenail Surgery.

The classes are just as I expected them, 25% interesting and useful and 75% waste of time. Sigh. We spend lots of time taking care of housekeeping (paperwork) type issues, listening to people spout off about how “if there’s enough love in your heart, you can help a child born addicted to crack”, listening to the remedial reader (yes, she’s an adult) struggle to get through a paragraph because insists on raising her hand to read A LOT! But clearly it’s a hoop we have to jump through. And having gone through many a graduate program, I’m good at jumping through them hoops!

Tomorrow is our night to bring dinner. Every week four of us work together to bring food for the masses. Tomorrow night we’ll be providing a pasta bake with italian sausage and garlic bread.

Other than that, we’re talking about how to begin preparing out home for the inspections and the child/children. In order to pass the inspection we need to have the appropriate bedding, clothing, and toys for the child/children. Well, as I mentioned here, it’s mighty freaking difficult to plan when you don’t know the age(s), gender(s), and number of children. So we’re reaching out to our friends with kids and asking them to lend us items they have just to get through the inspection. Then once we get our child(children) we’ll personalize it from there.

Knitting
Not a whole heck of a lot going on there, as I’m sure you can imagine. I was thinking the other day that I feel like I would like to knit something for my little dumpling, but what? And how many? Maybe I’ll work on a blanket. ROFLMAO Yah, cuz there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that I’ll EVER finish ONE blanket, much less TWO. Thoughts?

Vacation
I’m finally going to go meet/visit my online pal Joan. We ‘met’ online a few (6?) years ago on a quilting forum. Then the members on the quilting forum began requesting a few too many “prayer circles” (and let’s not mention the butt ugly quilts they were donating to unsuspecting children), and I decided it was time for me to move on. But Joan and I continued to keep in touch to the point now where we IM about every day. We’ve spoken on the phone quite a few times and will video chat when time and our lives permit. We exchange gifts at birthdays and holidays. She’s really become an important person in my life. And I’m hoping she wills me her MacDaddy Embroidery Machine when she kicks the bucket (in many, many years).

So I’m going to The Tundra (Edmonton, Canada) to sign the will visit her. Can’t wait. Should be fun!

Wow, not bad for a blogger who’s lost that blogging feeling, eh?


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