Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day

We started the day with coffee (of course), mimosas, and an AMAZING breakfast of Swedish pancakes and quiche made by my mom and professional chef aunt. YUMMY! While the quiche was cooking, we opened our Christmas stockings (which needed overflow bags below them for all the loot from Santa!). Then it was time for presents! Pictures requiring explanation: Mom and Mark bought each other scissors for the stockings (apparently this is an ongoing problem), Laurie models her Chip Clips as earrings, Peter and Glen attack one of mom's paintings with their new dart guns, and Glen gave Peter some of his old 80's punk rock albums. Yippee!

Later in the day, Laurie whipped up some Glogg. For the non-Swedes out there, Glogg (pronounced glug, because the O should have those 2 dots over it) is red wine, heated with lots of spices, cinnamon sticks, and a variety of fruits, and nuts if you like. All the variations call for different liquors, but we have ours with brandy and aquavit (a Swedish caraway-flavored rubbing-alcohol like liquor). Since all the guys were shoveling, plowing the driveway, or just playing outside with the dog, they especially appreciated a warm drink when they came in! The rest of the afternoon was quiet, with a new puzzle being worked on, new books being read, a nap here and there, and some munching on leftovers.

Oh...and it snowed A LOT. 14 inches as of 6pm and still snowing hard when I left! White Christmases are beautiful but totally overrated when you don't have 4WD. Luckily my brother followed me down the canyon, just in case. I made it home with a scary slide almost off a road and my favorite highway home closed...and about 18 inches of snow plowed in front of my driveway. Still, it was a wonderful day with the family! Merry Christmas!

Christmas Eve

This year, I joined my mom, Mark, brother Peter, uncle Glen, and Aunt Laurie for Christmas at my mom's house. Christmas eve we had turkey, lamb, mashed potatoes, rice, rolls, and possibly some other food for a big dinner. For dessert we had leftover wedding cake that had been frozen! After dessert, we all opened a present, as is the tradition in our family on Christmas eve. Then, we all opened a few more, just for the heck of it. Check out the nice sunset behind mom and Glen when they are opening presents! Laurie gets a little silly modeling a necklace she got from Grandma Johnson!

Lucy's Lobster




Lucy always gets a Christmas present, if only to get her out of our hair. This year she got a stuffed lobster, which was quite a hit. She ripped off the antennas and tore most of the stuffing out of it in no time, but the squeaker and rope legs are still intact....for now.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Winter Relaxation


One of the best combinations of things, no matter what the weather, is:
1. hot tub
2. a good book
3. a cup of coffee (or glass of wine/beer, depending on time of day)

My mom is on another trip, meaning house and dog sitting. Normally, I go up to her house on the weekends when she's gone, since I love being in the mountains. Then, during the week, to avoid an hour-plus commute, Lucy stays at my house. My favorite thing about mom's house is the hot tub!

The first night, it was snowing pretty hard. I had to shovel about 8 inches of snow off first! It may be the only time I've started a beer, and it was colder when I finished it than when I started! The next morning the sun was out so I brought out my book and coffee. Aaaaah...

Three snow-related notes:
1. I may have missed my window of opportunity for putting up outdoor lights. I usually just do some on the bushes in front, and a string of the "icicles" on my back porch. But it keeps snowing. Not a lot, but enough to make it a bad idea.
2. Dog sitting and walking is a lot more fun when it's warmer.
3. Brother Carl, employee at Crested Butte ski area in southern CO, has received 81 inches of snow in the last week. They have a forecast for another foot or two with the current storm! Yowza!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Some cheer

Suffice it to say, the last 2 weeks of school have been absolutely awful. Problems with kids, bigger problems with parents, observation by my principal, night-time commitments (PTO meeting and arts night)....I'm wiped out!

But tonight, I decided to cheer my place up and put up my Christmas decorations! After the initial shock, who put that box all the way up there??? I got to work. I must say, it is feeling pretty festive around here!

BEFORE:

AFTER:
Kali loves to hide and play in the tree!












Many of my ornaments are gifts I've received from students. This one (on the right) is a favorite....not only is it beautiful, but I always remember the student giving it to me telling me, "my parents probably spent a fortune on this!" So, despite the blue theme of my tree, there are many ornaments with a red or "apple" theme.









Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Big Search

Something funny happened as the Thanksgiving games were winding down for the evening...the couch started ringing! Of the 6 of us there, all of us claimed it was NOT our phone. Since Toni had 2, but had left, I sent him a text message to see if he had both of them. He didn't reply.

It took a while for it to dawn on me (maybe it was the red wine?)...wait a second...if his phone is the one in the couch...maybe he didn't get the message....ah ha! So I called him instead, and sure enough, the couch started ringing.

What makes this blog-worthy, you might be asking? Why not reach in, pull it out, and return it? Well, it was the extraction process. Apparently Andrew & Timi's couch is very high-tech with all sorts of secret compartments inside. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.














First, Carl tries conventional methods. Then, he goes at it from above while my dad
tries to get it from the floor. Soon, it becomes clear that more drastic measures are necessary. (I might add, here, that if my couch was unexpectedly lifted up, it would definitely NOT be this clean underneath!)





Finally, the Nelson men celebrate victory!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fun holiday with family



Oh, don't get me wrong, the food was good. Really good. Problem is, we ate it too quickly to take any pictures. That happens, when you save your appetite for the big meal....when it comes, all you want to do is EAT! Timi prepared another wonderful Thanksgiving meal for us, with all the fixin's. This year, those in attendance were Timi and cousin Andrew, of course, my dad, 2 brothers, and boyfriend Toni.
Brother Carl

After the feast, we started playing games. First, there were several rounds of Uno, and most of us had a chance to win at least one.

Then, we brought out the Clue, which dad won by default because everyone else guessed wrong!

Andrew and Peter think Uno strategy, while Timi explains how Clue is played.

First pie!

So, I was on dessert duty this year. Several guests, including our hostess, aren't into pumpkin pie, so first, I bought a cheesecake plate. Then there was the pie. Do I buy one or make one? Does it count to buy a crust and pour a can of pie mix in? Does the can have a recipe on the back?

Clearly, I needed some help. I decided to consult my mom. However, with her being a wonderful cook, I had to lay down some ground rules. Mainly, I was not making a crust. I was also buying a can of whipped cream instead of making my own. She did give me my grandma (her mom's) recipe, and some tips, and also she reminded me to buy a pie pan, which she suspected I did not own. So, off I went to the store to buy the necessary ingredients, and, yes, pan. (Also, as a precautionary measure, and sister of 2 voracious 20-something brothers, a backup pie.)

Thursday morning, I started cooking. With the crust made, it was pretty easy, and wasn't long until my house started smelling GREAT! Proud of my creation, I was off to my cousin Andrew's for the big feast. It was a great success! No disaster struck, so the backup pie was not necessary, and Peter happily took it home with him. SUCCESS!

Now, given that the dough for the crust came in a 2-pack, I am considering signing up for "dessert" for my staff Christmas party!

(Also, any minute now, I am going to go clean off the top of my stove!)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Scrapbook weekend!




I'm not sure if I'm behind, or just don't have much to blog about...who wants to read an entry about the trials and tribulations of entering report card grades, after all?

The weekend before last, I had a little incentive to finish report cards before the weekend though...I had other plans! Once a year, my mom and I attend a Creative Memories scrapbooking retreat. It is always somewhere in the mountains, this year in beautiful Estes Park. We are fed and given large tables to spread out our gear. We always bring a couple bottles of wine and make a weekend of it!

I FINALLY finished my Costa Rica scrapbook that I started last fall, and got started on Peru. My mom worked on her Africa pictures-getting most of Mount Kilimanjaro done, and starting on her safari pictures! Most "scrappers" are documenting their children's or grandchildren's milestones...but not us! I wish I had pictures of my mom and the room we were using, but alas, I think the thought of even MORE pictures to eventually need to do something with was a bit of a deterrent!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Thanks for a great season, guys

Okay, I'll admit it...the World Series didn't go exactly as I would have liked.

But come on.

We made it to the World Series!

Boston did it the boring, old fashioned way-they played great baseball all year long. We took a less traditional approach. By now everyone has heard of the winning 21/22 baseball games, where the first 14 of those games were Must Win, because in mid-September, we were 4 1/2 games back. It was exciting! I was lucky to go to many of the games toward the end of the season, and I may never see as exciting game as our playoff-playoff come from behind in the 13th inning, win. It was fun to be a part of, and the Rockies made history.

So, another season over, time to recuperate and start looking towards spring training. My students have already assured me that "they will play again next year" even though guarantees of wins haven't been as plentiful. So, thanks for a great year!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hairstyles of Room 20, update

Okay, you didn't think I'd want to post about the World Series at this point, did you???

I thought an update of hairstyles was in order, however. First, we have student #1 from a previous blog, with his mohawk dyed purple. Thursday was Rockies Spirit Day at school. The kids participated, even after getting whomped 13-1 the night before.

Now, we have a new style from another student. If only the parents spent as much time reading with their kids as they do on hair....but that's another issue.

And that's not all. My good friend Chris is a huge Red Sox fan (although he'll cheer for the Rockies any other time, as shown in previous posts). In the spirit of friendly competition, there have been all sorts of hi-jinx going on this week. First, there is the bet between Jim and Chris....if the Rockies win the series, Chris has to dye his hair purple, and if the Sox win, Jim will be a redhead for a day. Next (and most brilliantly, in my opinion) we (it was my idea) decided to "decorate" Chris's room after school on Wednesday. This is us, surveying our fine work. In retaliation, Chris changed the backgrounds of all the computer screens in the computer lab to the Red Sox logo. Finally, Jim (he's our dean and tech guy) went into Chris's room and messed with his computer. Every time Chris got an email for the rest of the day, his computer cheered, "Go Rockies!" Of course Jim emailed us and told us to email Chris early and often! Also, Jim took the word "and" out of Chris's dictionary, and replaced it with "Go Rockies" so every time he typed the word "and," it was automatically replaced!

I suppose some teaching might have occurred this week too. But what fun is THAT to post about?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Week in Review (updated with pix & video)

You know life has been hectic if the Rockies made it into the World Series almost a week ago, I was at the game, and no posting has occurred yet!

Okay. Monday. Got into a minor fender-bender on the way downtown which really delayed things. Then my battery died, from having the hazards on. At that point, I figured my day had to get better, because it really couldn't get worse. It did (get better, that is). :) The Rockies beat the Diamondbacks, 6-4, and SWEPT the series (again; more broom pictures to be posted later) to win the National League Pennant and a pass to the World Series, for the first time ever!!!! It was very exciting, needless to say. After the game, they presented the NL pennant and had a little ceremony. The game was really long, it started at 8:18pm and at 10:00 it was only the 4th inning. The only reason this was important was because...I had to pick Toni up at the airport AFTER the game! So that happened at about 1am, then I drove him up to his house in Lafayette. Nothing like starting the week on 2 1/2 hours of sleep!

Tuesday. Hard day at work. Did I mention my class is really hard this year? Then after dragging my tired self home, I still had some conferences to prepare for. Oh yes. Conferences. (This is after at least 7-8 hours of preparation put into conferences over the weekend)

Wednesday and Thursday...I taught all day Wednesday and had conferences from 3:30-8:00 p.m. Thursday was conferences from 8am-8pm. Phew. I was more nervous about conferences than normal this year because I had a lot of bad news for a lot of parents.

Friday was much tougher, in a totally different way. My uncle Dennis died last week. His funeral was Friday. Mostly family members read this blog, and understand the emotions that were involved. If not, basically, I did not have a close relationship with him growing up, and have only seen him once since I was about 11, because he and my dad didn't get along (to put it simply). However, his oldest son, my cousin, is only 7 months younger than me, and we were really close growing up, and have recently started seeing each other again, after many years. He and his younger sister are way too young to lose a parent. There were also lots of other complicated family dynamics, but either way, it was a heartbreaking morning.

However, that evening was a really special time for the family. We all got together at my cousins house, where his wife prepared a traditional Hungarian meal for about 10 family members. It was an important time to talk to family members normally spread across the country, and it was a wonderful time to reconnect, laugh, and cry, although the circumstances that brought us together were so tragic. I hope my cousins saw what support they have within the family.

Pictures: top, cousin Andrew, his wife Timea, and cousin Jennifer. Middle: Aunt Diann, cousin Ryan, my dad, a former longtime girlfriend of Dennis's, whose name I can't for the life of me remember, my brother Peter, and me. Bottom: Andrew and Timi busted out some aged (1982!) sweet wine they brought home from Budapest (or somewhere) for a toast.

The rest of the weekend was more normal. I got to actually see my boyfriend for longer than the ride to the airport, and I played some poker. I tried to catch up on my sleep. We got our first snow. Now, tomorrow is Monday again. So...in conclusion...the Rockies are in the World Series, which is pretty fantastic, but there have been a lot more important things going on these days.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Diversion

What is it about sports? Why do we pay athletes millions of dollars to play a game? Why do we act as though it's the end of the world if "our" team loses? And we party in the streets when they win, even with all of the other problems in the world and in our lives? Even living in a big sports town, I never really got it (especially football!).

It's a diversion. Probably anyone else could have told me that, had I asked. But what better way to forget about your lousy day at work or really tough week, than to watch a baseball game as if your life depends on the outcome?

Maybe there's a reason my last 6 posts have been about baseball! (Well, that's how I've spent my time, going to baseball games and going to work. You really don't want me to blog about work.)

Oh, I still think professional athletes are grossly overpaid. I still don't get football. But we could all use a little diversion from time to time.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Fairy Tale Continues. SWEEP!

Note on the video: this was not the game ending and the win. I think the pitcher threw a strike or something. That is just how loud and excited the crowd was!
The Rockies came home from winning 2 games in Philly to sweep them at home! They are going to be playing the D-Backs next in the NLCS. Wow! Julia and I had a great time sitting in the Rock Pile and watching our guys win. And I tell you what, they really go all out for these playoff games! They did the huge flag on the field for the National Anthem, and released hundreds of balloons afterwards. There were fireworks before and after the game! The best part of all, though, was all the fans and energy at the game (except for the 14 minute power outage). The Rockies have never made it this far in the playoffs!

Before the game, we were entertained by people all over Denver casually carrying brooms around with them, on the light rail, and through the streets. There were also vendors with hundreds of brooms for sale! Thank goodness we won, otherwise I imagine all those people would feel a little silly.

The Rockies are the team no one expected to see in the playoffs. After winning 17 out of the last 18 games, they're also the team no one wants to play. SWEET SWEEP!

Now, the waiting begins...game 1 of the next series doesn't start until Thursday!! After just 1 game at home, they are going to AZ for the first 2 games of the series. The good news is, my mom, Mark, Toni (or someone) and I are going to game 4, the 2nd home game, next Monday. I might go broke buying Rockies tickets, but boy, am I having fun! Who knew October could be like this? (We all call it Rock-tober here now). WOOHOO!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Pictures from the Rockies game

My video from the 13 inning playoff - playoff game is too big. Until I figure out how to edit it, here are some pics from the big game.

Tomorrow: Game 3 vs. Phillies. We are up 2-0, coming home, and I. Have. Tickets. :)