Happy, Happy


In the book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor McGonagall gives Hermione Granger a Time Turner. This hour glass on a necklace allowed the wearer to travel back in time. Hermione used it in order to take more classes during her third year. I want one.

What have I been doing lately? Everything and nothing. I go to school, I volunteer in the library. I help the boys with homework, I cook dinner. On the weekends we try to do something as a family. I find myself returning to journal-style blogging, which is how I used to blog when I started 7 years ago.

I do have one exciting piece of news to share. I’m the literature coach for our diocese’s academic decathlon! We’re reading The Call of the Wild and Heart of the Samurai. I’m so excited, so nervous. Aside from a couple of days subbing, and a semester of helping first years after I graduated law school, this is the closest I’ve come to teaching. I trying very hard to tamp down my naturally competitive nature. I doubt very much the children want to meet with me every single day of Christmas vacation.

(The decathlon is in March! We’re not going to wipe the floor with the competition by celebrating the birth of our Lord!)

So that’s what I’m doing.

The State of My Face


I thought I would give an update on my face since I last talked about the flareup that turned out to be rosacea. I dutifully took all the medications prescribed to me by my dermatologist who, in my completely uninformed opinion, may have Asperger syndrome. Let’s just say she lacks an empathy gene, and when I asked her about a mole during my rosacea appointment, she acted like I asked her about the color of her underwear.

“The purpose of your appointment is not to talk about a mole. Your appointment is to talk about your rosacea. You need to schedule an appointment to talk about your mole because this appointment is about rosacea.” All of this she said while looking at the wall to the right of my head.

During my appointment about only rosacea, we concluded that the medications weren’t helping, so she added a fourth one to the pile. This I also dutifully took, and my face did get slightly better. Unfortunately, it also got ridiculously oily. I have always had dry skin, so the excess oil production was confusing. Never have I had to reapply powder or blot my face during the day, but there I was, blotting myself with paper towels and tissues. I eventually realized that it was because all of my medications were drying out my skin, causing my body to produce oil in record amounts. My face didn’t look good enough to put up with one more hassle. I stopped all my medications and started researching other dermatologists.

I was painting the 4th grade classroom with the teacher, complaining about my face per usual, when she suggested I use essential oils. She gave me a sample of Immortelle by doTerra after making sure it didn’t have any oils that would make matters worse. I tried it, and I have to say I loved it. It’s all I’ve been using ever since, and my face looks better than it has in a very, very long time. Not perfect by any means, but much better than before. No one has asked me lately if I’ve been punched in the jaw, which I consider a success.

I’m not sure if I really had rosacea after all, and I’m not recommending immortelle for those who do because it’s expensive and I don’t want anyone to waste their money because some weirdo on the internet said it works great. If you do buy it, be aware that it stinks to high heaven. A list of the ingredients (Frankincense, Helichrysum, Rose, Lavender, Myrrh) should explain why.

Immortelle users swear it helps with eyesight, wrinkles, rosacea, dark under eye circles, brown spots, wound healing, scarring, and taxes. I’m kidding about the eye sight. <----sardonic

Here's the thing. You have to watch out for marketing mumbo-jumbo, and there is a lot of marketing mumbo-jumbo in any and all forms of retail. Immortelle has worked wonders for me, but I don't believe it works on repairing eyesight. I'm sorry, but I don't. Wrinkles, okay. Same goes for skin rashes and other inflammations, especially since it has lavender. I know for a darn fact it doesn't work my brown spots because I’ve been applying it to my ever-growing collection for two months now with zero improvement. ZERO.

At least this gives me something new to complain about. BROWN SPOTS. They immediately age me, no matter what I put on my face. I can’t cover them up with makeup, but I suspect my makeup is too sheer. Other than immortelle, I haven’t used anything else to lighten them up. I won’t go back to my socially awkward dermatologist, obviously. I need to do something, though, because my 1+ hour of daily recess duty isn’t doing me any favors. If you’ve had success lightening your brown spots, I would love to hear your recipe.

OMG MY SKIN. This is 41, people.

Happy, Happy


Fruit and squash


October Collage

Dining room table

Every time I think I’ve dodged the cold I feel coming on, I get a tickle in my throat. I must have caught something in the TK-K classroom, even though I wash my hands all the time. There is a teacher’s in service on Friday, so the boys don’t have school. I have to go, even though I’m not a teacher. Have you ever wanted to not get sick because you don’t want to ruffle feathers by missing something important, only to secretly also want to get sick enough that you can get out of going?

It gives me smug satisfaction to have bookcases that aren’t styled. Old craft projects, rocks the boys find on hikes with my brother, and a post-it note reminding me to check out The Snakebite Letters.

Nico’s teacher told the class about apple fries, and he hasn’t stopped asking for them. I promised I would make them for him, but when I searched for recipes I found out apple fries are literally fried. [insert bug-eyed emoticon here] I want to meet the person who looked at an apple, our modern-time symbol of health, and said, “You know what? I’m going to fry the hell outta this thing. Then I’m going to roll it in sugar.” I’m still making them, of course. I have apples, though I might need some more. I’m going to try this vegan recipe.

I decorated for Fall/Thanksgiving. The boys wanted to go out and decorate for Halloween, but I don’t want to decorate for just one day. Plus, the decorations are morbid. I don’t want to hang a zombie head over my fireplace. I can’t believe I am now one of those moms who decorates for the seasons. That’s thanks to the library. Also, the boys are appreciative and notice the decorations right away, which is motivating.

It’s time for me to move the fiddle leaf fig. A couple of months ago I mentioned that the plant was starting to scrap the ceiling. Now it’s growing along the ceiling. I might move it outside, though I’m worried because the spot I have in mind faces West. I finally bought some air plants for the containers I bought over the summer. Now I want to get some sand for the balls, for looks more than anything else. I regret heartily the long air plant holder-thingy I bought. I should have bought a third glass ball.

Currently our dining room hold book wrapping supplies, legos, a toy car, graded homework, glue, the a fake pumpkin that fell off my door wreath, two cacti, a variegated jade, and Nico’s pinto bean school project. Notably absent: things that belong on dining room tables.

A Post About the Library, School, and Shoes


Last year, even without any sort of electronic management system, I was able to keep stored in my memory everything I needed to know about acquisitions, circulation, and cataloging. If a child said they liked dinosaurs, I knew where to go and what we had. Now, with the influx of books we received from generous parents (and my own friends!), my optimistic goal of reorganizing the entire library, and my time away from the library aiding in other classes, I need help.

I’m looking at open source systems since a proprietary model is not an option this year. If you have experience with Evergreen, Koha, or any other integrated library system, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


One should always spend time around children when one is feeling especially cocky.

On top of aiding in the 4th grade and volunteering in the library, I’m now spot-aiding in Kindergarten. The children so little! I can’t believe my own boys were ever so young, especially Mikey. I was walking by one little boy who stopped me with a quick tug on my sleeve. I bent down with a smile.

“Mrs. Candalellella? Why are you wearing a wig?”



The younger grades at school are becoming obsessed with Halloween, specifically the costume I’m planning to wear. I tried telling them that I would most likely not wear a costume, but they won’t hear of it. There is one particularly enthusiastic group of 3rd grade girls who won’t let the issue go. I know they are huge Harry Potter fans, so I said I would maybe go as Hermione.

Dead silence. A few nose wrinkles and shared glances.

“Actually, Mrs. Kendall, you should be Mrs. Weasley,” said one.

“No, no!” said another. “Professor Sprout! You could totally be Professor Sprout.”


That’s all I have to say about that.


I aide 4th grade and Kindergarten. I have 1 hour of lunch/recess duty every day, and 15 minutes 1st recess every 3rd week. I then go to the library, where I shelve, organize, and help the kids find books. I am not exaggerating when I say I spend the majority of the day on my feet. I’m looking for my pedometer because I’m curious to see how many steps per day I’m walking. I must walk more now than I did when I took daily walks. But, my feet are paying the price. I’ve tried comfortable shoes (Bare Traps, FitFlops–I have these) but apparently they aren’t comfortable enough. I used to wear and love Danskos. Maybe it’s time for me to go back? Please, spill the beans on your favorite comfortable shoes. And I mean comfortable. I’m almost to the point where I’ll wear something unattractive. Almost.



I have the most vivid dreams. I don’t dream as much, that I can remember, when I stay up late or sleep less than 7 hours. Lately, though, I’ve been making an enormous effort to get to bed before 10:00pm so that I can be up by shortly before 6:00am. The result of which has been dreams. Crazy dreams, scary dreams, bizarre dreams. So many dreams, but none more memorable than one during the early hours of Thursday morning.

My mother and I, as well as teachers from school, were invited to a private audience with Pope Francis. After the audience, we lead him in a procession into mass. Obviously, all of us involved considered this a huge honor. In my dream, I spent quite a bit of time shopping for the best, most flattering outfit. I ended up wearing a dress from Target. That’s not the punchline; I actually rather like the dress. The coral and yellow striped beach hat was another story. Not even dreams could make that hat acceptable.


We were lined up with the Pope who, in my dream, was petite and friendly. Big church doors opened–I think my mind inserted Westminster Abbey–and Pope Francis turned to me and said, “Here we go! Are you ready?”

I said yes, even though I felt anything but ready.

Suddenly, as often happens in dreams, we were in the sanctuary. This sanctuary was different. It was circular, like the old 360° stages used in MTV Unplugged, only enormous. The stage held comfy leather sofas at least two deep. And chairs, also comfy, but more like something you’d see in a doctor’s office. Needless to say, we were all excited about the sofas and chairs.

I approached the softest looking sofa but was surprised to find a man stretched out and fast asleep. How rude of him, I thought, to be at this important mass, in a place of honor, only to drool all over the furniture. To say nothing about wasting the best seat in the house! My mom and I shared a glance of annoyance.

Pope Francis - General Audience - Nov. 20 2013

We kept moving. I saw two chairs that were empty, but on my way there I almost tripped on a pile of of dirty, stained blankets on the floor. I made a mental note to talk to whoever was in charge and tried to discreetly kick the blankets under the nearest chair. My foot hit something solid. I looked down and found the blankets covered a homeless man. A squatter! Now the people in charge were really going to hear it. All of us started mumbling opinions, none of them kind.

As I looked around the sanctuary, I noticed many of the chairs and sofas were occupied by the homeless, the addicted, and the ill. Even the floors were difficult to navigate. But it wasn’t impossible to sit down. The two chairs next to the homeless man wrapped in blankets were empty, but to sit in them we would have to step over the man. His stench was overpowering. He made my eyes water.

There was a chair next to another man, but he was obviously intoxicated. I almost sat down there, but he looked like he was going to be sick. No thanks!

It seemed like every seat in the sanctuary had a problem.


At this point, mass was about to begin. Those of us invited by Pope Francis made our way to the nave. Not nearly as prestigious, but it smelled better and we could sit next to each other rather than people we didn’t know–or care to know, honestly.

During all this, I could feel Pope Francis watching us. I caught his eye; he smiled just like he does on TV and in pictures. I preened.

In a soft, gentle voice he said to all of us, “Your true faith is expressed not in your presence at a special mass, but in your treatment of the poor, the ill, the marginalized people of society.”

I woke up.

AP10ThingsToSee Vatican Pope Liberated Doves

Hi! I’m Jules.

I used to be an attorney, but it made me grumpy. Now I write about life, sweet and savory, as a wife and mother to two small boys. My knowledge of dinosaurs knows no bounds.

You can read more, including the meaning behind the name Pancakes and French Fries here. And, yes, I really am phenomenally indecisive.