Friday, April 27, 2007

My Book Review

When you're in second grade you watch Reading Rainbow at least once a week. I get a big kick out of watching Geordi La Forge (without his banana clip eye bling) riding horses or touring some factory where they make crayons. The show always ends with overly cute kids giving a review of a book they read and loved and you will too. Their little reviews follow a strict format: Title and Author, a few facts and highlights, personal opinion and the recommendation. Being inspired by their enthusiasm to share a good book, I too will offer you this, my own Reading Rainbow book choice:

I think you should read "Talk to the Hand" by Lynn Truss. Lynn Truss's voice in this book is crystal clear, very British and hysterical. This is a book for grown-ups, because while it doesn't get terribly profane, it does have the "Eff" word, a lot. The book discusses what is rude, who is rude, why they are rude and how you yourself could be a little more polite. Unfortunately, she points out some things that I never considered rude before, but now that you mention it... well, let's just say I'm looking at my phone in a whole new light. My favorite part of the book is the her step-by-step emotional roller coaster you go through when someone doesn't say "Thank You" when you hold a door open for them. Very enlightening. "Talk to the Hand" is not a long book and can easily be read in a few days, even all in one day if you really get into and have the time free. You should read "Talk to the Hand". You'll love it! (Insert big cheesy smile)

Okay, maybe I won't make it through an audition for the show. I'm probably too tall anyway. But I do mean every word of it. I'm most of the way through another book of hers, "Eats Shoots and Leaves", which I'm big time enjoying. Maybe if you're lucky, another enlightening and persuasive review will be coming your way!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Phantom Returns

It's okay everyone, breathe. I am still here. Alive and surviving my stint as a second grade teacher. Another six days to go and so far all is well. They are a yakky group of kids and they sing the opera so very well, but it could be much worse!

Working everyday piled on top of camping the whole weekend really has turned this place upside-down. There is actually NO FOOD in the refrigerator. It's all condiments. Sunday is my shopping day and this week I was kicking it out at Singing River with the chicks, so no shopping got done. I've just been throwing stuff together all week trying to keep us all from starving to death. But camping was a glorious weekend if you only look at food, weather, campfires and hiking. And let's JUST look at that shall we? No need to dwell in any dark places.

While at camp I make a God's Eye that was (No kidding) about three foot in diameter. I took a picture of it with my phone, so if you want to see it, you'll have to catch me with the phone because I have zero idea how to get it out of there. I suppose that kind of information is probably in the little book; I even know where it is. Okay, maybe I'll do that. But not anytime soon.

The boy goes camping this weekend with his troop. Their weather won't be as beatific as ours last weekend, but it seems to be their lot in life to camp in rain, snow and mud. Must be a Boy Scout thing.

Our Mama Cat has turned into a walking, furry sausage. Not a pleasant image I know. Eating just calorie rich Kitten Chow has turned our sleek, half-starved stray into a lady of plump loveliness. On the advice of Nance though, we are putting her on grown-up cat food and try to get her back into just sleek and athletic looking. I'll post some "now and then" pix soon so you can see how she's changed in the past year!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What a way to make a living

Tomorrow I start a twelve day stint in a second grade room in my home school. Hurray! 12 days of not waking up with the phone ringing, 12 days of knowing what I'm doing the next day, 12 days of being somewhere with guaranteed nice kids and not insane animals. Hurray again! I met with the teacher today and the plans are dreamy! Just broad strokes with general time frames and the instructions to just get through what I can. This I can handle!
And I picked that clip art picture because the kid in the pink shirt cracks me up. Every class has a kid like that!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

As the Phone Rings...

Some of you might remember Larry, the guy who doesn't live at my house. You can refamiliarize yourself with him here. We haven't heard much about Larry lately, not the entire winter. But all that changed this week. Here's the call I received on Sunday:

Sweet Little Me: Hello?

Guy With Wrong Number: Hey ya! Joe Shmoe gave me your name about brick laying.

Tiny Girly Voice Me: My number?

Guy Suddenly Sounding Unsure: Uh, yeah... maybe I have the wrong number...

Me, with the upper hand: Maybe you do. What number are you trying to reach?

Frantic shuffling sounds of Man going through everything around him: Ah.... Hmmm... Oh! Here's it is. (rattles off my phone number)

Me taking change of the situation: Yep, that's me. But look, you want the 216 area code for that number.

Man totally flustered by this turn of events: Really? Oh, thanks so much. Sorry about this! Thanks for your help. Sorry about the call. Okay. Bye. Thanks again. Good-bye!

Now I think this guy was completely adorable by how upset he got over having a wrong number. Is this how he stumbles through life, done in by life's every tiny misstep? Does he painfully count out how many items he has before he attempts the Express Line for fear of a cashier reprimanding him? Is he the guy who takes an agonisingly long time to make a left turn, because he would never dream of cutting someone off, only to charge recklessly into traffic because someone behind him finally honked? What are his nightmare like? Accidentally walking into the ladies room? Poor fella!

And then yesterday...

With a song in my heart Me: Hello?

Man (And was that the sound of a hand slapping a forehead?): This is the number I called before!!!

Me, so happy that Mr. Anxiety has called back: Yes it is! You want 216, remember?

Mr. Anxiety, really winding it up: There's no area code on this business card!

With a tsk-tsk tone to my voice: Well, there should be.

Poor, poor Man, almost to a yell, but not quite: There SHOULD be!

I'm considering calling Larry. I know his number after all. He should be more considerate to his customers. People can be fragile!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting Zoo-y

Spring Break just keeps chugging along around here. Yesterday we all packed up and headed out to the zoo. I guess it's been awhile since we went because the whole damn bird house is gone! Gone like it was never there and replaced by this strange Eiffel Tower made of rope looking thing that the kids get to climb on and two concession stands. That bird house was a pretty big building and cool to boot. The reasoning behind this evades me.

Also, there's that huge bridge that spans over the bear part of the zoo. Spooky, scary bridge but interesting nevertheless and a good landmark for where you are. Right now there's big chunks missing from it and this old guy told us they are going to blow up the rest of it later this month. The zoo without the giant bridge? What is going on?

Oh yeah, there were animals there. Lots of animals. Being cold they were out doing all kinds of fun, moving around things. The highlights were the big noise that the hippo made, seeing a baby orangutan whose birthday it was and learning that giraffes walk right-right-left-left and not right-left-right-left like most every other four legged creature in the world. There, you learned something today! Bummers were that the baby koala wasn't out, the butterfly exhibit is over and while it didn't rain in the rain forest house, it did drizzle on us most of the time we were out there.

Right now the kids have rearranged most of the furniture in the living room and draped the whole thing in sheets and blankets. But they're happy, so what do I care.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Crazy Mouse = Crazy Pictures

Happy day after Easter! I hope your Easter day was full of chocolate, bunnies and that plastic grass all over the place. We spent the day at the IX Indoor Amusement Park. You can't get more Easter-y than that! We go every year, but this is only the 2nd time we've gone on Easter Day itself. But it's a great day to go, there's barely anyone there. Imagine that!

The big draw for us is this one roller coaster they have called the Crazy Mouse. It is the coolest little roller coaster ever. We're big Cedar Point people, but CP doesn't have anything even close to the Crazy Mouse. It has round cars that sits four people. As you go up and down and back and forth on this super smooth track, the car itself spins around. There's sharp curves that, even though you know it's coming, makes you feel like you're going to go flying off the track into the middle of the park. It's terrifying and hysterical. I laugh like a damn fool the entire time, every time. It's actually a little embarrassing. Whenever I'm playing Roller Coaster Tycoon, I always build a version of the Crazy Mouse first. I want my guests to have the best!

The Crazy Mouse has a camera that snaps your picture as you're going down the first hill. That's always good for a big laugh to see the awful expressions on everyones faces! Last year we rode it so many times, we knew exactly when the camera would snap, so we came up with a plan. We were all going to look off to the right and salute as the camera took the shot. It would be an excellent picture. And it was, but not for the reason it was suppose to. In the picture we're all looking to the right, hands to our brows, big smiles in place, except for the boy who has forgot the plan. While the three of us are cheesing it up, he has a death grip on the handle and a look of absolute terror on his face! His hair is going straight back and his eyes are huge. It is the single funniest picture ever taken. Much to his dismay we bought it, but after we realized how upset he really was, I tucked it away so he would never have to see it. (I would post it here, but he would be mortified. If you really want to see it, next time you're over, I'll let you sneak a peek.) I take it out whenever I'm in a cloudy mood and it instantly makes me laugh. It's a great shot.

This year we promised to take the revenge picture. This time as we passed the camera, the three of us would look super scared and he could wave and smile. And it worked, kind of. The boy was smiling, but it was a bit of a scared smile. The man and the girl both looked scared, but it was a tad of a laughing scared. But the true look of terror goes to me: I look like the cave troll from Lord of the Rings is waiting at the bottom of the hill. I was horrified at how horrified I looked. Honestly, I guess I didn't hold back at all. I would post the picture here, but we didn't buy it. The boy decided against it. I guess just making us do that was enough for him. What a relief!

Monday, April 02, 2007

My April Fools

The girl and boy turned a whopping 12 years old yesterday! Not only was their entrance into this world dramatic, but they had the pre-natal sense to arrive on a memorable day. Not a bad start and it's been a grand 12 years since.

Yesterday we celebrated with a houseful of family and a ton of food in the brunch category, complete with funnel cakes. After presents, I used my family members as slave labor to put together key rings for the kids to give out at school today in place of the customary cupcakes or treat bags. They were a surly crew (especially my Grandma!), but the finished products were worth the complaining. The afternoon was spent playing cards, more eating, drinking bad wine and lots of visiting. It was a lovely day. It felt like a mini Christmas! Here's one of the key rings we made (sans the ring). Ely colors with an Ely Eagle on the end.
Saturday, my co-leader Denise and I went to an all-day leader training out at Timberlane. Now that might sound like a drag to you, but we love to go to these things. We went to four classes. The first taught us what kind of chemicals you can throw into a campfire to make the flames turn different colors. The green worked and looked the best. (And yes, Brewer, we were very safety conscience!) Then we took a mosaic class. Glass was flying everywhere as we snipped and cut. This is what I made and I'm pretty damn proud of it. That's a mirror in the center, but in this shot it looks like a hollow box. Weird.
After lunch, we took a basket weaving class which probably was the single most frustrating thing I have ever done. The woman who taught this class should be put up for sainthood. She had a roomful of women who had just got done breaking glass, now trying to weave uncooperative reeds. The mood was tense. It was awful to start, but it did get easier, just like she said it would. Here's my basket:
After that it was African drumming, which was more fun than I thought it would be. Nothing to break or fight with, just things to hit. We had dinner at Boccardi's and I got to play hero as I ordered pizza to go and brought it home to my hungry crew.
While I was doing all of this, the man and boy were out playing paintball. They said they had a really fun time and they both have the mandatory number of bruises to prove it. The girl spent the day out with Grandma buying spring clothes for her AND her bear Lola. Lola ended up getting more outfits than the girl!
The big birthday present this year were tickets to go see Weird Al in July. They both get to take one friend and we'll make a wild day out of it. They're so excited! July can't get here fast enough!