Monday, July 31, 2006

Bye Bye Birdie

My very lovely friend Chip has described the weather as gross hot and what a perfect description for it! It is just yucky! This house is just a big sauna set on high, hot and damp. Luckily we have the neighbors pool for relief, but today (say it isn't so!) the pump is down. To the sprinklers!

Yesterday, we went to see Bye Bye Birdie performed by the Elyria Summer Theatre Association. It was a good try. The singing was just so-so for some of the actors. The sets were okay, but the train they had was excellent. There was also a live orchestra and that was a nice touch and they were pretty good. Of course we only went so we could spend two and half hours in a dark, air conditioned room. By the time we got home, we couldn't go back in the pool because the obligatory daily thunderstorm was underway. At least it cooled off a little. But as long as I get to watch Deadwood on a Sunday night, it's all good.

But I really want to write about how much I love eBay post office day. Something about all those little packages stacked up and ready to go makes me so happy! Is it the idea that stuff is leaving the house? Is it that I know every little package represents a small amount of money? Or is that I'm just like Maria in the" Sound of Music" and "brown paper packages tied up with string" are one of my favorite things? Hard to say.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Yard Sale Success!

It rained all night. All night! Thunder, lightening, pouring rain. I was positive the sale was going to be a wash out. (Oh! That was bad!) Woke up at seven and it had stopped raining and the weather people said that it would stay clear. And low and behold, it did. It was cloudy and threatening, but it never rained. The trees were really wet and anytime the wind blew, we would have a mini rain shower. The sale went over pretty well. Got rid of lots and lots of stuff and made a little green in the process. I can mark "Have Yard Sale" off my very long to do list!

Today, E and I went to Cleveland for a poetry reading in honor of his friend Jack's 79th birthday. Jack was going to read a bunch of his stuff and there would be cake and whatnot. What we didn't know was that another poet would also be reading, and this guy was the worst. Absolutely miserable, insane poetry. It made you want to scream and bolt from the room. This guy's claim to fame is that sometimes he makes a clever pun. That's it. That's all he's got beside dressing weird, acting insane and forcing people to not only listen to his crap, but read along with his endless handouts. The guy must spend a fortune on paper! I only applauded when he said he was done. It was a very long afternoon.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Much Ado

Last night the kids and I went to see "Much Ado About Nothing" up at the college. They had an outdoor performance in their little amphitheatre and it was an excellent show. The kids were able to understand and really enjoy the performance. Of course it helped that I gave them a quick overview of the story along with key clips from the movie so they could keep up. The last thing I wanted to do was spend the whole time answering "Who is that? What did he say? What's going on?". The show was interrupted once during the first act for a rain delay. They were able to finish the first act, but we had to move inside for the second. It was raining buckets when we came out, so good call on the move!

Tomorrow is yard sale day, one of the more interesting days of the summer. I have a sale every summer and it usually goes pretty well. I like visiting with the neighbors and catching up with people who drop by. But there is always the creepy and downright scary few that make yard sale day that much more exciting! The trouble right now is the threat of rain. It's raining right now, thunderstorming actually, but there's not much I can do about it. I like to put out the stuff the night before, but that's not going to happen this year. We will just have to wait and see what the morning looks like.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Books and Magazines

I finished "The Chocolate War" a few days ago and I don't think I actually read it before after all. None of it rang any bells. Maybe I wanted to read it but never got to it. It was a really good book, but I could tell that I've been reading nothing but Newbery's for a long time. Every swear word was a slap and there were lots of references to...well it's set in an all boys prep school and you know what boys do! Shocking! But despite the language and all the sex talk, it was a great read. I've started now The Outsiders, which I know I have never read or (believe it or not) seen the movie.

The kids and I just got back from playing tennis. If you think it's easy for three people to play tennis, two of which are kids whom tennis experience is made up of 6 classes last summer, than you've never tried it. Luckily, the court up at LCCC with the wall opened up and we could hit the ball against the wall for a good long time. We left when we finally hit the final ball over the fence and into the field. Some genius has written "You Suck" on the wall. I was starting to believe it after awhile.

But the reason I am blogging today was an article I just read in Discover magazine. Discover is my favorite magazine ever! It's my forever gift from my dad who buys the subscription. I think he does it just so we have something to talk about! Most anything interesting I tell people starts with "This article in Discover said..." The article today was about a guy who gives happiness lesson, that being he teaches people to be happier in order to improve their lives. It was a very well written article full of point and counterpoint. He says that happy people are healthier, live longer, are more productive and successful. Others countered that being happy all the time is unnatural and unrealistic. I was digging it and then came the side bar, which is very cool. Titled "Dead Poets' Anxiety", here's the first sentence.

"Poets who committed suicide were much more likely to have used first person singular references like "I"," me", and "my" and fewer first person plural words like we, us, and ours.... Suicidal poets also tended to use fewer communication terms like "talk", "share" and "listen". Then there was a contrast of Sylvia Plath and Denise Levertov.
I'm sure this isn't true of all poets, but what a cool thing to study and find a correlation in!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bye Bye Giant Tree

Monday night, around 11 PM, it sounded like someone was shooting of firecrackers right out on the street, immediately followed by a crash and a huge whoomp! It was a branch, falling off the tree two houses down. Now mind you, this "branch" was bigger than any of the trees on my property, except the oak. It blocked the road completely as it fell perfectly, right in front of the only car parked in the street, maybe only a foot off the front bumper and rest up into empty yard. No damage to anything. Tree guys couldn't have done it as well as the ants. Oh yes, it was ants. Lots and lots of them. That big branch was hollow. The street was crawling with them. I like to think about that one nibble too many. The poor branch was just holding on when some little critter needed a late night snack and CRASH, then whole damn thing comes down!

This morning, at 8 AM, three of the biggest tree trucks I've ever seen came for the rest of the tree. This was a tree lawn tree and I guess the city doesn't feel like it should press it's luck. The next branch probably was going to go through someone's roof. It only took a morning's work to shred through 100 years of tree.

This tree was a giant, just a fabulously big oak. The kids and I went down to measure the stump, 6'7"! And while I never wanted it at the end of my driveway, it was an impressive landmark for our block and I will miss it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Award Winning Books

Last night I finished the book "Dobry" by Monica Shannon. Not a particularity great book, but boy oh boy do I know a lot about Bulgaria peasants now. I mention this book because it marks the end of a project I've been working on. I have been trying to read all the Newbery Award winning books and last night I did it!

If you are not familiar with the Newbery Award you can learn all about it here. In a nutshell, every year the Newbery is awarded the best new book in children's literature. It was first awarded in 1922 and I'll save you the math, that makes it 84 books right now that have won. I started reading them because these are the book you find on the teacher shelves in elementary classrooms, where I spend oodles of time. Our local library down the street also helped out by having all the Newberys in their own special section, saving lots of time on searching for titles. I didn't read them in any particular order, just what I happened by next. The last few I had to order in from other libraries because ours didn't have them. But now it's done. The boy asked me which was my favorite. Out of 84 books, that's a tough choice, but here's a few that I really loved:

  • Tale of Desperaux-- Kate DiCamillo-- Okay, maybe this one is my favorite
  • Year Down Yonder-- Richard Peck-- Or maybe it's this one...
  • Number the Stars-- Lois Lowery-- got to love a good Nazi story
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry-- Mildred Taylor-- excellent writing
  • From the Mixed up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler--E.L. Konigsburg -- long title, great book
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins-- Scott O'Dell-- girl power!
  • The Twenty-One Balloons-- William Pene Du Bois-- strange book, but neat
  • Johnny Tremain-- Esther Forbes-- I'm sorry E. I liked this one!

Just choosing these was difficult! Most of the books were wonderful in some way (otherwise, I guess they wouldn't have won!). I would have been easier to make the list of books that were real stinkers!

If you are looking for something easy, quick and satisfying to read, I would recommend almost any Newbery winner. It's been quite an experience. I still read out loud each night to the kids and it very often the book I just finished. So what will I read now? I just happen to have a fabulous little book here listing 50 great young adult novels. It's a whole new section of the library for me! My first book is "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier. I remember liking it in High School. Let's see if it's still got it!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Beach Trip

It's been hotter than heck around here! Being air-conditioning-less, we have to improvise. A few days ago it was a new sprinkler, a real one from Home Depot, no more baby sprinklers from the toy store! Today it was a trip to the beach. We all got up early, had a big waffle breakfast and were sitting on Huntington Beach by 9:30 AM. Very unlike us to say the least. But we had a lovely, sandy time. The lake was nice and cold, almost too cold when you first get in! The kids buried each other in the sand and dug out little walled lakes that they filled, then destroyed. E and I sat in the shade to read and people watch. No pictures because I forgot the camera, but it was a beautiful day out there. The sky was SO blue! Around noon it was starting to get crowded, so we headed out. Now we're home again and sweltering. Oh, well. Tonight I'm going to work on my photo albums which I have been putting off for.... Let's just say it's been too long. Being too warm to move around much, it's the perfect night for it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Lights Out

Scolded! Get off my lazy blogging butt and post something new, I've been told. Okay, you make a good point, it has been too long. But the fact of the matter is that the lazy days of summer have finally caught up with the Andersons. After a busy, busy June of camping in one form or another, July has found us flopping around with a wide open calendar. Yesterday I even took a nap in my hammock! We walk the dog, cuddle with the cat, cook-out, eat ice cream (Twist and Shake!), and watch whatever movie just came from Netflix.

The power went out yesterday, which didn't cause too much of an alarm until we heard the firetrucks very, very close. I decided to cut through the back and see what the fuss was all about, but I never made it out of the yard. Mary, the neighbor directly behind me, had firemen in full scary gear all over her house, trying to get in. I wanted to tell them "Please don't use that ax! Those patio windows are really easy to pop!" But then the back door opened. They had climbed in a bedroom window. Thank goodness! My neighbor is a single mom who works crazy long days and is never home. When the power went out, the neighbor on the side came out and saw sparks shooting out of the back of Mary's house. The power line from her house to the pole was drooping almost to the ground.

The fireman secured the whole deal and put up "Do Not Cross" tape, took all their big truck and left. The power company came out and did their thing for a couple of hours. For awhile we had power in just the kitchen and the upstairs. Weird! Then, no power at all. We played Clue by candlelight which was lots of fun and I'm not saying that just because I won. And now it's all back to normal and the clocks are re-set. The "Do Not Cross" tape, left lying around by the power company has been scurried up by the kids, soon to be used in all kinds of cool ways if I know them!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Everybody Home

It's been a long two weeks, but finally all the Anderson's are back together on Columbus Street. E is home from Vermont. The boy is home from camp. The girl spent the night last night at Relay for Life with the Harrison's. Today, we are just hanging out together and doing tons of laundry!

Happy Birthday today to my darling sister! I hope you have a fantastic day! We love you!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Family Night at Camp

The girl and I joined the troop out at Firelands last night for dinner. As you can see, our Scout is alive and doing very well. He really seems to be enjoying himself. His leaders are all extremely impressed with how easily he's adjusted to camp life. He's been very busy taking rifle shooting, leatherwork and fishing, along with attending Trail Blazers, which seems to be some kind of Boy Scout Basics type of class. He is covered in bug bites, but other than that, he seems great!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fireworks Night

Last night was fireworks at Cascade Park. The weather looked crappy all day, but by dinner it was all blue skies and cool breezes. A perfect night to be on the hill. The girl, the brother and I went with the Harrison's. Lots of glow bracelets, a loud band and a fantastic show. Thanks for pictures Denise! And thanks so much for coming along with us!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Will the camping never end?

Got the boy off to Boy Scout camp this morning. He took practically the whole house with him! And on top of that, when we go out to see him Wednesday, we're taking him clean clothes for the second half of the week. That was to save on packing! But, he was really excited about going and that made me feel better about it. He's taking fishing, basketry and rifle shooting this week. He promised to take pictures. We'll see...

Girlie Week started today with us going to see a movie. We saw Cars, which is not exactly a girlie movie, but it was an okay flick anyway. The bad part was the theatre full of antsy, fussy kids. Yuck! We'll have to find something much more girlie to do for tomorrow.

Bryan's Party

Here's the gang at Bryan's 40th. Everyone missed you E. Especially me!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Twist and Shake

It's almost open again! Hurrah! It's been a long wait for ice cream around here, but yesterday I noted some big, important changes to the building. The first being that it has a sign now, a pretty sharp looking sign at that. Also, all those cheesy posters of food you would never order are up in the windows, but they're all new and bright, not sun faded and framed with dead bugs. Can't have an ice cream stand without that! Finally, there were people inside all wearing the same shirt! Will it open today? Tomorrow? Are they waiting for the 4th? The suspense is too much!

Day Camp is over and we survived again. The weather was certainly on our side; not too hot and it never rained. The boy finally got to go wading, feet only, in the river yesterday. Better than nothing, but certainly not the week long river swim he usually gets to take during day camp. Today, we pack and pack and pack. The boy leaves for camp tomorrow. And with E. in Vermont, it's going to be girly week around here!