Sunday, September 27, 2009

KidzArt. . .Your Sunday Morning Peek

Bet ya can't guess which one of them put together the Star Wars tableau, huh? James does love his Star Wars Clone Wars stuff. He hides Clone Troopers everywhere in nooks and crannies. I've been known to disturb the Alliance by picking up rumpled quilts on the couch, intending to fold them, only to hear "Moooooo- om! I had those like that!". I find tiny assault weapons laying in the ridges of the lid of a big RubberMaid storage container or hidden behind cd's in my stereo cabinet. Of course, it does give me an excuse to not get around to the vacuuming. "Well, I couldn't. What if I sucked up some of James' Clone Wars battle gear?"
Kate, on the other hand, likes to make her tableaux out of "things." Doesn't matter what things, as long as there are many of the things. Pennies work, as do pipe cleaners and anything else she can dig out of Mom's craft stash. We'll call this one The Peace Penny Purring collection :)

Hope you have a terrific Sunday! It's feeling so much like fall here, and that is my favorite time of year. That means you Southern Hemisphere peeps are getting to enjoy spring, too, so I'd venture to say it's a beautiful time of year all around the world!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Morning Chef

This was James in the kitchen last Saturday morning. He started out swiping pieces of pepper and onion off the cutting board, and he ended up stirring the sauteed bits and pouring in the eggs for the frittata. Notice the nicely crooked arm and the high grip on the wooden spoon? Yeah, Mom was a little bit anxious about him being that close to a very hot skillet. . . can you tell he actually heeded her warnings? Turns out, the boy might be good cook. He's an adventurous eater, and if you ask me, that's a big chunk of a good cook's personality.
P.S. He may be an adventurous eater, but he thinks he knows that spinach is yucky. . . so don't tell him that green stuff Mom chopped and had him sprinkle into the mix was spinach. I was amazed that he didn't pick up the package and turn it over to read.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No, I'm Not Your Mother. . .

You're right. I am not your mother. I'm not your brother's keeper, and I'm not responsible for anyone except myself. . . but I'm going to tell you a few things anyway.
  1. Whether you consider yourself Republican or Democrat, you are a human being first and foremost. Human beings treat one another with respect. Even though we cannot force another human to treat us with respect, we should treat others with respect ourselves. This means that we don't retaliate with name calling or disrespect and then justify our actions by saying, "He did it, too!". What words of wisdom would your mother repeat to you? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  2. If you are perfect, then I have my doubts about whether you are human. This means that I realize we all make mistakes. We all have our lapses of judgment. We all have our "moments," if you will. Before you vehemently chastise or demean someone else, consider how you would feel if someone treated your mistakes in this same manner. In other words, remember Mama's admonition that "people in who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
  3. If after considering Mama's advice from #2 you still feel you must speak up, then carefully weigh the size of the stone you plan to hurl against the size of the perceived slight. You know, if you plan on running a steamroller over someone else's enthusiasm for a very small idea, then be prepared for them to ignore the words of wisdom in #1 and to slam even the smallest idea for which you harbor a modicum of enthusiasm. Once you've done that to someone enough times, you really can't be surprised when they attack (rightly or wrongly) every other word that comes out of your mouth, can you? Recollect another Mother's favorite: "If you're going to dish it out, then you'd better make sure you can take it."
  4. So, let's get up to speed here. If you have difficulty understanding why you should abide by #1 (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) , #2 (people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones) rubs you the wrong way, and #3 (if you're going to dish it out, then you'd better make sure you can take it) doesn't scare you because you're itching for a fight, then I feel compelled to remind you that "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

"How can we apply these words to our lives (whether real or virtual)? How can we use our opinions to further a serious discussion, instead of fueling animosity toward those with whom we disagree?" you ask. Hmm, let me see if I can think of a few examples for you.

Vinegar: You #$@#@!# liberal! You don't understand anything!

Vinegar: You @#$#$@# conservative! You don't understand anything!

Honey: Look, I know we don't see eye to eye on every aspect of this issue, but maybe we can take a minute to understand one another's perspective. In the end, we may still have vastly different opinions, but maybe we will have helped one another understand why we think the way we do.

P.S. "Retardicans" and "Dumbocrats"?? You know the answer. You don't really have to ask whether or not this is okay, do you? Well, just in case you're trying to justify the wrong answer, let me help you. . . VINEGAR.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Played Free Rice Lately?

Help end world hunger Hmmm. Free Rice? Didn't I play that vocabulary game and like it? Seems like I did, but I forgot to bookmark it. You know what that means? Of course, you know what that means. I forgot about it. Plus, even though the game part was fun for my brain, I had nagging questions about how playing a word game on the internet could possibly translate into feeding a hungry person somewhere in the world.

If I had remembered to bookmark it, then I might have gotten around to reading the FAQ's on this page. The gist of the matter is your presence on the site is valuable to advertisers on the site. Why spend time trying to fill that bowl with rice? I have a few reasons of my own, and they are bouncing around my 1/2 spiritual, 1/2 skeptical smartass mind. Let me tilt my head forward a little bit more-- maybe some of them will jump onto the screen ;-)

Here ya go. Some reasons to remember to play Free Rice:
  • Vocabulary isn't the only subject now! Since the last time I had played, they've added grammar, foreign language vocabulary, multiplication facts, basic math, famous painting identification, chemistry, and geography.
  • It's fun to challenge yourself! Even if you have your doubts about how this could possibly work to feed people, the other goal of the site is to educate people. Did you learn a new word? Did you get a wee bit faster at spitting out multiplication facts? Did your kids look over your shoulder and learn something, too? Voila! Goal number two being served!
  • Donating this way isn't likely to cut into donating on other fronts. You can do this while you're surfing the 'net (which you're probably going to do anyway sometime during the day if you have the opportunity, right?). If your bill for internet service is going to be paid anyway, then playing this game doesn't take away spare change which you could use to buy a few cans of food to donate locally.
  • Much as I dislike it when people throw Snopes reports up in other peoples faces, I did break down and search yahoo with this question, "Is Free Rice legitimate?". Snopes says it is. The first page of the search didn't bring up much more than that and a pretty entertaining squabble on this site. In the end, I have to agree with those people who argue that you get something out of playing, whether or not you think the donations are making a difference.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Daddy!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to the bestest Daddy!
Happy Birthday to you!
And the Mommy loves you lots, tooooooooooo!
P.S. How confusing this can be if you aren't family! That 46 year old in the picture is my husband and their Daddy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bouncy Bobby the Fictional FartMonster, or Mom Will Never Catch On to This One!

This is my daughter. She's the creative one and the wild one. She's the one who would explode from the goofiness which builds up inside her every day at school if she couldn't express her goofiness all evening long at home. (Lawd, help her mama, the nervewracked woman who is a quiet smartass!)
Yes, this is my daughter, the artist and blogaholic who rather innocently requested that I take this picture and post it in my blog. Let me give you some background. Unlike lots of people in this day and age, I cannot say the word FART unless I whisper it. All the times my dad let rip with noisy ones when I was a kid, he never said, "Oops, excuse me. I farted." My mother would've cut him the withering glance reserved for those who let curse words slip from their lips. When Pop perfumed the air, it was occasionally "cutting the cheese," rarely "pooting," and most often "letting one." Given all this, plus the educational tips gradeschoolers always share with one another about such things, I knew of the word "fart," but I sincerely thought it must be the dreaded "F-word."
Okay, okay, you laugh. I must remind you, though, that I grew up in the seventies and early eighties in a fairly sheltered rural area. Gradeschoolers didn't say the F-word back then. Well, maybe the really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaallllly bad kids said it, but I knew doing what they did would get me in big trouble. My fingers are itching to tell you what constituted really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaallly bad behavior in that little world, but I've recently friended some people on Facebook who went to school with me. If I tell you "really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaaallly bad" in second grade involved surrepticiously shaking up your soda can and then innocently asking your teacher to open it for you, then some of those people might see this and know who did the bad deed. If I tell you "really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallly bad" in eighth grade (not my class, but one year older) involved aluminum foil wrapped cans masquerading as soda cans for lunch when they were really beer cans, then those same people would remember. . .and that was "really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllly some serious bad" that most of us would never even have dreamed necessary to try, let alone actually doing it. Anyway, the point is that while those kids might have said fart without fearing for their lives, I didn't. While those kids probably knew the F-word, even if they didn't repeat it, I must have been in junior high before I realized the F-word was not FART.
My kids know all this. (They also know that repeating any Mommy curse words is a no-no...and, yes, I've spent my adult life making up for lost time by using the real F-word much too liberally.) They think it is hilarious to trick me into saying FART or to get away with saying FART in front of me or to watch my face watch for their reactions when someone else says FART. I can guarantee you that Kate knew I wouldn't ask her if she intended for this picture to look as if Bouncing Bobby is bouncing along on FART power. The crafty little booger knew I wouldn't want to have to say FART.
Fast forward to tonight, when I have time to honor her request and put her picture on my blog. I crop the picture, darken it a little bit because I always get washed out looking flash pictures inside the house, and load the image onto my blog. James walks by my desk, looks over my shoulder, and bursts out laughing as he says, "Look at Bouncing Bobby farting!!"
LOL, whaddya gonna do? I guess they could have worse phrases escaping their lips :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ChickenFriedMush4Brains Attempts 2 Write U Another Blog Entry

It's true, the chickenfriedmush part is how my brain feels after a good day of substitute teaching. Stepping into big shoes and trying to keep them from falling off your feet is a challenge that I like. It's not so much that anyone expects you to actually walk anywhere in those shoes, it's that you try to keep the shoes from sinking into ignorancequicksand and hopefully keep the kids from going barefootbrained. Given this setup for success, how could I not enjoy playing teacher? I suspect the way I feel about subbing is akin to the way grandparents feel about keeping the grandkids once in a while, fun without all the intense responsibility.
Today was little less on the "fun as in haha laugh a minute" side because the teacher is the parent I mentioned in my last post. The classroom kids are sad for her, but they've all agreed that getting way behind in their schoolwork will only upset their teacher on another level. I am so proud of them. They worked so hard today, and they made her cards and letters when they had spare time after finishing assignments.
(insert long nap here. i fell asleep with my own munchkins when they went to behind around nine o'clock)
(insert nothing else here. apparently, writing muses don't awaken after a 3+ hour nap and start cranking out funny anecdotes and serious observations in any manner that i can translate into words for you)
(oh, and by the way, insert a huge virtual hug to yourself from me right here. hope your wednesday is a spectacular one!)

Monday, September 14, 2009


I suppose not a single one of us knows which droplet of dew will be the one that breaks the strength of the web.
I suppose not a single one of us knows what to say to the spider who loses an exquisitely woven web, especially if it looked to us to be a young and carefree web.
There's no explaining the whims of nature and gravity, at least not to the spider. The situation simply is what it is.
And, yet, somehow, we long to explain. We long to comfort and to sooth. We yearn to say something that will reinforce the strength of the spider or its web, or even both.
I know of a parent who lost a teenage daughter today.
No one ever expects the droplets of life to pull down one so young.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Uh, Oh! Don't Tell Me They Are Playing Truth or Dare Again!

Mother and I were on the phone, catching up on the weekend's events. Pop had just gotten done describing the Hi and Lois Sunday cartoon that fit James and Katie to a T. Something about Dot liking the new school year very well. . .and Ditto responding that he didn't like it at all, in fact, he felt the way to describe it was to say something like, "my nightmare is just beginning." Boy, considering all the battles so far about whether or not the little boy needs to wear his glasses, all the reprimands about not having to like girl cooties but definitely having to show respect to the girls, and well, that's all I'm going to write about that.
In the middle of Mother's rundown of who did what last week, I hear noises from my own bathroom. Noises like the sound of shampoo bottles and such being removed from the back of the toilet tank, noises I don't usually expect to hear from my bathroom unless I'm in there cleaning. The noises got louder and had the distinct chalky clank of a toilet tank top being scooted.
Me: What. Are. You. Doing??
Them: nothing.
Me: Uh, uh. What. Are. You. Doing??
Them: we said nothing.
Me: One more time. WHAT ARE YOU DOING??
Them: playing truth or dare.
Me: And what does that have to do with the toilet tank??
Them: i dared her to take a drink of toilet water. yep, he dared me.
When will I ever learn not to ask these questions? . .Drink Up!

Oh, sure, you remember Tang, don't you? Of course, you do, especially if you were born any time before 1975 or 1980 or so.

Week before last, I stirred up a glass of Tang for my son, my fellow sugar fiend slash lover of intense flavor. He took one sip and proclaimed it deliciousness epitomized. Okay, he's not that smart yet. What he actually said was either AWESOME or WOW or YUM while simultaneously grinning ear to ear and jumping up and down excitedly. You get the idea, he liked it a whole lot!

A few minutes after slurping down the entire glass of Tang, he came up to me and said,

"Mom, if this stuff has been around since you were a kid, then how come I'm just finding out about it now??"
Ha! He's a boy after my own heart, er, taste buds. While his sister and father subscribe to the Boring Is Better theory of food, James and the mommy enjoy some flavor and intensity in their food. Who wants a plain peanut butter and jelly sandwich, when you could be having a peanut butter and jelly and potato chip sandwich? Who wants a cracker, when you could be having a handful of sea salt and ground pepper croutons? Who wants a plain cheeseburger, when you could be having a Whopper Jr? Yep, he's the boy who snitches the last of the roasted red bell peppers off the cookie sheet, the boy who will without hesitation taste a lemon flavored foreign soda and drink the last of it before I get my share. (Limonata, found at the World Market is one of our latest finds.)
Did you click on that first link up there, the one for Tang? I guess I was one of those kids who thought it was made especially for the astronauts. Turns out, it was already around when some astronauts needed a powdered mix to take with them into space and disguise the bad taste of the water run-off from a piece of equipment. I also didn't know you could use Tang to clean your dishwasher. Since I don't use the automatic dishwasher, I am the dishwasher, and *I* don't think Tang is going to make my list of favorite shower gels. Don't imagine I'll be making any Moon Beam cocktails (Tang + Jim Beam) any time soon, but that was an interesting tidbit, as well.
Ever wonder exactly what is Tang? Here's a page that discusses the ingredients. Ever wonder why astronauts eat certain foods? Here's a page that tells a bit about spacefoods. Ever wonder why Angie would throw Tang into the shopping cart in the first place? Don't have a page link for that one. If you know the answer, don't hesitate to let me in on the secret. In the meantime, if you'd like to reminisce about the favorite foods of past decades, check out this page.
Thirsty yet?

Friday, September 11, 2009


This day always leaves me speechless.
I can distance myself somewhat from the extreme horror of the Towers and the sadness of the hit on the Pentagon.
But the field in Pennsylvania, and what happened on the Flight that ended there?
It always fills my eyes with involuntary tears.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

To the Woman Working at Highway 62 McDonald's

Thank You
You probably won't remember doing this, but I will remember your kind service! Pulling through a drive-thru for food or coffee is one of those things that hardly ever warrants much attention on the customer's part after the fact, but I think I need to make sure other customers know that you exist. All I ordered was an iced coffee with an extra shot of espresso (I needed my coffee hit, don'tcha know).
You brought my order to the window as you finished stirring it, and you said as you handed me a straw,
"Please taste this, and make sure I got it right before you leave."
Do you know how rare you are? Do you have any idea how many times I have wanted to walk behind the counter and ring up my own order because cashiers were too busy talking to wait on the customer? Oh, not at your particular McD's-- I'm talking in general terms. Do you know how nice it is to have someone thank you for being a customer, thank you with a smile and kind service?
I hope your boss knows how nice you are :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How Many Years Ago??

Must've been about 38 years ago, since that's William Lee in Tommy's arms. William, aka Uncle Bubby, will be 39 this October, so that makes Soupie almost but not quite 3 and me 5 in this picture. We're the two in the light green dresses. Yep, this looks like it had to be spring, 1971.
What were you doing in 1971?

How did I get these to the side? Side, center, or side, these are from the Irvington Grade School Awards Night in Spring 2009 :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

More Pics to Share

Just Saving Bits and Pieces of Life All Around the WWW

So, I have to admit it. . . I have no idea how to do all the backups I need to do. I put a CD-R into the disc player and saved a few pics. Then it didn't have room for the next big file, and I couldn't make the file go to a new CD-R. Kept getting a message that there was no CD in the drive. I swear, I am the techno-version of the people who can't wear wristwatches without making them die.
Now, while the laptop is actually coming on and not displaying some lovely rainbows of pixels, I'm trying to upload a bunch of photos to Photobucket. . . and that is slowly working for the first few files so far. Right before that, I attempted to use one of those USB drive thingamabobs to store my photos. You guessed it. I have no idea how to make the pics go to the thingamabob. I thought I was doing it, but I wasn't.
How silly is it to not just go find a class or a computer repair tech who'll walk me through some of these basics so I don't have these catastrophes?? Well, since I've got several sub jobs the next few weeks, I think the time has come to pay for a laptop tuneup and get some instruction, too. I give. You hear that, TechnoWizardGods? I give up with the bumbling and feeling guilty because I should be able to take care of maintaining and troubleshooting problems as they arise. I give up thinking I'm a failure because I can't figure it all out on my own.
*sigh* I am good with words. I am good with creating images. I am good with melting glass. I am good with choosing and wrapping thoughtful presents. I am good with cooking flavorful food (and am good at accepting that no one except James in my family will eat/try anything except plain-boring-don't-spice-it-up food). I am good at taking interesting photographs. I am NOT good at teaching myself even the basics of computer use and maintenance. Pffffbt.
Henceforth, when you see all the pics I'm getting ready to dump into my blog so they'll be saved one more place, you'll know why :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh, Fiddlesticks! I'm Supposed to Be Packing, Anyway!

AngelinaBeadalina has left the building.
The virtual building, that is.
I'm still here in the real world :)
I just won't be as connected to faraway friends and family for the timebeing :(
Seems my laptop started shimmying, then streaking funky colors, and at last report, it was sporting a lovely rainbow of pixels but no images or words or anything else I could control.
Oh, well.
I'm supposed to be packing our stuff for the move, anyway.
Guess this is somebody/someone/somepower's way of making sure I stay focused on the task at hand, huh?
Take care of yourselves, and I'll be checking in occasionally to see ya!
aka the Queen and Empress of Procrastination and Disorganization

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Clotheslines Distill Sunshine :-)

This picture was taken in the summertime, twenty years ago. What my fingers feel when I look at it is strictly wintertime, though. One thing you never forget about hanging clothes is wet denim wrapping around your cold bare fingers while you fumble with another clothespin to secure the rest of a pair of jeans on the line. Jeans are the worst offenders in winter. Jeans are heavy. No matter how good the spin cycle on your "warshing" machine, a single pair of Levi's will have the perceived weight of an eight pound bottle of laundry detergent. No matter how sturdy the handles of the laundry basket, your chilled fingers will slide to the one chink or break in the handle that cuts into your almost frozen, but not quite numb enough, flesh. Yep, wintertime is what springs to mind when I think about hanging clothes on a line to dry.
Summertime has its own clothesline quandaries, to be sure. Take, for instance, the dreaded t-shirt tail stretch. T-shirts have a lovely, comfy, soft feel against your skin because they are so pliable, so happy to oblige this tug or that pull. That same obliging stretchiness turns your comfy t-shirt into a reminder of the Inquisition-- how else could a plain, simple square of fabric turn into an evil, distorted patch of strange sundried lumps and bumps, other than if it has been tied on the rack and tortured? Oh, wait, those aren't marks from some torture device, those are dips and stretches from gravity pulling the wet fabric toward the grass while the clothespins held on tightly. I remember all sorts of attempts to get rid of the t-shirt tail twist when I was a kid. You can try overlapping the edges of two t-shirts and securing these thicker areas with double clothespins, as opposed to hanging shirts singly and with single clothespins at the corners. You can try hanging the shirts from their shoulders and hoping the stretch isn't noticeable once it's filled out some by the slope of your own shoulder. You can try bringing almost-but-not-quite dry t-shirts inside to the dryer for a finishing fluff. The one thing I don't remember trying, but that has real possibility as a solution, is folding the top of the t-shirt down at armpit level and anchoring the clothespins inside the armpit part of the should seam. Then, the stretch might still be there but not be as easily seen?
What else? What other trials and tribulations shall I count? Oh, yes-- underwear and sock days. There never seem to be enough clothespins on the line to handle all of the socks and underwear in a big load of whites. You can scootch all of the free clothespins down the lines to the end where you are hanging the tube socks and anklets and panties and shorts and bras, but you'll still end up opening the last free clothespin as far as possible to open it without breaking the spring, all in a last ditch effort to hang the remaining five socks at the bottom of the basket.
Would you believe that I started writing this because I'll have a clothesline at the new house and can't wait to use it? Does it sound like I might have talked myself out of keeping the clothesline? Not a chance. While other people contemplate questions about actual cleanliness (see the labels to this entry) versus the savings in kilowatts per year, I will happily hang out towels and sheets and quilts. While the multitudes of electric dryer converts espouse convenience and fluffiness, I will happily nod agreement (and even join them for most loads of laundry) BUT I will also use that clothesline to distill sunshine into bedcovers and dishtowels and button-up shirts and yes, even jeans. Mmmmmm, can you close your eyes and smell the sunshine? Feel the warmth trapped in an armload of clothes as you quickly take them off the line on a slightly chilly spring afternoon?