Archive for October, 2006

My little pumpkin

October 31, 2006 By: turtlegirl Category: Adams, Claire, holidays, House, Miscelany, Parenthood

Last night, while Devon was in Scottsdale, Claire and I decided to carve our pumpkin.  I covered the coffee table with newspaper; gathered all the carving tools, a spoon, a bowl & napkins; then grabbed the pumpkin, Claire, and a camera – critical pieces of the puzzle.  When I started to cut the top off, Claire insisted on "helping" – her hands HAD to touch the knife as I moved it around the pumpkin.  To reach the pumpkin, Claire was precariously perched on my knees.  Since she is about three feet tall now, that meant that her head was in front of mine – I couldn’t see what I was doing!

After the top was removed, it seemed more feasible to move Claire to the table as we pulled out the pumpkin guts.  This actually worked out well, except when Claire’s spoon would get stuck in the small opening.  She readily plunged her little hands into the gooey, slimy, seedy, smelly center and removed as much as she could.  I was so pleased that she was interested.  Near the end of our adventure, she actually spent about four minutes examining the strands of pumpkin innards on her hands, and I sat there, marveling at the gears in her little head as they were spinning around.

Claire and I drew the face on the pumpkin mostly together; I, of course, had to take a leadership role or jack would have been decapitated or neutered or otherwise disfigured.  After that, we started carving…  Claire took an interest in the pokey tool and I moved her back to the table and allowed her to "design" the backside of the jack-o-lantern.  She really enjoyed the empowerment and was entertained long enough for me to finish most of the facial features.  Claire helped to clean up the space and even found some seeds on the ground to throw into the trash can.  She is indeed a great helper.

Later that night, Devon and I roasted the pumpkin seeds and sampled a few as Heroes was on.  Claire went to sleep late again and I’m hoping that she doesn’t pass out while trick-or-treating tonight.  She took her Giraffe costume to school today and is already making out with the loot.  Too bad for her that Devon and I have already planned to eat it all!

The Twilight’s Last Gleaming

October 30, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Literature

Here comes November. As some of you may know, November is National Novel Writing Month. This is how it works: Every November thousands of people internationally write 50,000+ word novels. I began participating in 2004 with Our Time, Now and last year wrote Seraph.

This year I am writing a novel called The Twilight’s Last Gleaming. It’s about a post-apocalyptic chess player. That’d be the tag line if they ever made a movie.

I’ll begin by apologizing for not blogging much in November; I’ve got a book to write. Boo-yah!

Stephenie Meyer reading

October 30, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Reviews

Ok, so I will admit it. I really didn’t want to go, but I did know when I did go, I would enjoy it. I did. Somewhere several months ago someone mentioned some lady who had a dream about a vampire and woke up and wrote a book. She got a ton of cash in an advanced and went from there. I was a little jealous, and sort of forgot about it all.

Then I started teaching creative writing this year, and a few kids had read this book called Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. And then her sequel, New Moon, came out this fall. The kids told me she was coming to talk at Changing Hands bookstore, but I had to work that night. I quickly read both books, and I really enjoyed them. There were a few little things that bugged me, like the over description of people’s teeth and such. But it was good.

I drove up to Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale at 6PM. When I got there it was almost full and I got one of the last seats. After awhile she came out and did a Q&A for about half an hour before starting to sign books. I had my copy sign and eventually took off for home. I feel energized now and ready to write my book. But for now Heroes is on!

Save the Cheerleader. Save the World.

October 25, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Leisure, Reviews

My wife and family will hate me for the title of this post, but that’s ok with me. I’ve been walking around since monday whispering, "Save the Cheerleader. Save the World" to the chagrin of everyone. Even Nicki rolled his eyes at that one, and sometimes we all roll our eyes at him.

So unless you’re living under a rock in Tibet, then you know the reference to the new show HEROES. I am totally down with this show, and the cliffhangers are almost Dickensian by the way they make me come back for more more more. 

Briefly, the plot revolves around several characters who mysteriously have developed super powers from flying to reading minds to being a doppelganger of one’s self. Much of it revolves around two Indian professors (one living and other other mysteriously murdered) and the odd horn rimmed man who appears to have adopted a daughter who is unbreakable (even when her chest is cut from waist to neck). Not to mention the cute neighbor who was last seen in Everwood as Colin’s lil sis, played by Nore Zehetner.

I’ve always loved shows where I can be someone new, and even when I moved to a new school in the 4th grade, I’ve always been intrigued with being someone new. I run around singing the Greatest American Heroe theme song and know how much more appropos that is now that I teach high school. I don’t know who my favorite is. Probably Claire, the cheerleader, even if scary stepfather called her "Claire Bear" which we sometimes call our Claire, or Peter Petrelli who saps powers from those around him. Who knows.

I ran a search for my title on the web and found this blogger who’s selling shirts through Cafe Press. Go here to check them out, and tell them to send some royalties to my Turtle Snack!

All I know is… My name is Peter Petrelli and I have a message for you.

Family gatherings

October 23, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Pittsburgh, Travel

We buried Grandpap on Saturday. I think part of the reason it freaked me out personally is because he’s my father’s father. And then we walk into the funeral home and the sign above the door says "Mr. Adams". I AM Mr. Adams. My father is Mr. Adams. Very Odd. I even took a picture. I don’t know what to say, Uncle Richard was the worse off and I heard the story about him spending an hour at his father’s bedside after he had died. I also heard the story how the 14 year old grandson was the one who told Grandma that Grandpap had died. I also saw some family members who I’d not seen in sometime. Grandpap looked fine. There was a military flag in the coffin that they later draped over him, and the Steelers teddy bear that my father bought him for his 90th birthday last month. More than nought we embraced one another and enjoyed the company of everyone, rather than dwell on what had happened.

We carried Grandpap from funeral home to the hearse and got to drive through every red light and stop sign to Port Vue. I’d never seen the Adams’ burial plot before, so that was very interesting. Everyone back three generations was there, and then off to Ciccanti’s for lunch. I had driven past that restaurant probably 5,000 times in my lifetime and never knew how to pronounce it. Well now I do, after asking the owner.

We spent Saturday night and all day Sunday at Grandma’s house with everyone. It was wonderful to spend time with Kimmy and Brian and his family. Uncle Ernie killed me in Cribbage, but that was still fun. And a ridiculously fowl ref call kept us from celebrating further with a Steeler’s win over the Falcons. Then Grandma started going through Grandpap’s drawers and pretty much gave away his entire wardrobe. Some people would think that would be an odd thing to do after burying your husband, but then she has 9 grandsons, and we can all use clothes. So we got ’em. And Grandma distributed other momentos to us in order of age. I will remember Grandpap by wearing his Seiko watch, his ties, and some socks. Jaime got overcoats, money clip, etc…

People want to say "sorry about your loss" but Grandpap was not a loss. He was a gain. 90 years with a family who Grandma looked out at from the hallway (all of us sitting in our Steeler shirts Sunday afternoon) and commented "look at this wonderful family. We’d not all be here and have each other, if it weren’t for him. We’re all blessed by Grandpap."

Another dollar, another rainy day in the ‘burgh

October 20, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Adams, Pittsburgh, Travel

We’re in Pittsburgh now, and we took the red eye with Claire Wednesday night. I don’t think I ever want to give her Benadryl before flying again. She and her mother become hyper on it, and in her case, she cries and screams all night. We touched down in Charlotte in the early morning fog. It was about 2AM our time, and 5AM EST. We took off again at 7AM and we all conked out until we hit Pittsburgh.

We drove down to Grandma’s house last night. Grandma’s siblings stocked the fridge and we all descended upon the house where she hadn’t stayed since she called my uncle in June and told him to come get them since she could not take care of grandpap alone anymore. They’d been at his house since.

The only grand child who can’t get back for the funeral is Sean, who for some reason couldn’t get off of work. So Uncle Ernie and Aunt left Cocoa Beach, FL at 3AM and drove straight through 16 hours to Pittsburgh and everyone else flew.

Today’s the viewing all day, and tomorrow is the funeral. We, the grandsons, are the pall bearers. I try not to cry. I doubt I will make it.

It’s done.

October 18, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Adams

Grandpapadams_1This morning my phone rang. Jaime called and he sometimes calls at odd times, but then right after that my mother called. I answered the phone because I knew. I was sure. Perfectly sure that he had died. He did. Within an hour of when I was called.

It was odd to take that call in front of a class of students, and one even hugged me. And even odder to tell my 18 month old daughter that she’ll never know her great grandfather who was there with me for all the years of my growing up.

Tonight I fly home to be with my family.

John "Jack" Francis Adams
DOB. Sept 1916
DOD. October 18, 2006.

Bye, Grandpap.


October 17, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Claire

My new post at can be read here.


October 17, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Adams

Nothing new from the Grandpap front, but my mother did send me the following website, which I thought was a little morbid but factual. It just continues to prepare everyone for the inevitable.

Time to turn on the heater?

October 17, 2006 By: nooccar Category: Work

So yesterday Claire and I went out to get into the truck to go to daycare, and it was cold. So cold. Now we’re from Pittsburgh, and that’s great and it gets cold there; I’ve even walked over the 10th Street Bridge from Duquesne in the dead of winter with a windchill below ZERO. So now here I am in shorts and a t-shirt and I’m cold. It’s probably 55 degrees and I fight not to turn on the heater in the truck. Claire who was born here and lived through a broken AC in the dead of July wrapped a fleece blanket around her and put it over her head.

So then we get to work. I didn’t notice it as much yesterday (probably because of the shorts and t-shirt) but today I have on jeans. And I always know when winter is approaching because every business thinks they need to turn on the heaters full blast! I presented this morning in our library and felt sticky and stinky 30 minutes later. It was horrible and I know winter is here. When I student taught I would sometimes wear a sweater and we had electric heat along one side of the classroom. Everytime I went near it, I’d roast. Little driplets of sweat rolled down my back to remind me that is was supposedly colder outside now for some reason.

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