Monday, May 24, 2010

I Need Help Choosing the Title

I tried to think of a creative title for this blog post, but had trouble narrowing it down. Maybe you can help! Here are a few to choose from:

How I Spent My Summer Vacation--Sledding!
or
The Polar Bear Re-location Program Comes to Utah
or
It Bites Having to Give Back Your Nobel Prize
or
Oh, That's Right. We're Not Calling it Global Warming Anymore. It's Called "Climate Change."





Sunday, May 23, 2010

We Are Not Obsessed in the Least...



If you are not obsessed in the least either, you can print your own Dharma food labels for tonight's festivities right here.   May all your questions be answered...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seven Fresh Factoids About...

YOU!  


That's right, I want to know seven totally cool and fabulously fresh things about you.

After all, you are the reason for this blog's existence, my reason for getting up at 4:00 a.m. to post (ha ha, hee hee, har har--like that'll ever happen!) my inspiration when I have to move or when I accidentally eat an onion.

I'll be sitting here, waiting in the comments box with my Harriet the Spy notebook, ready to learn something new about you.  Don't make me wait too long; I have boxes to unpack.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Great Toothpaste House Move of 2010 is Over!



It is finished. We are in the new house. All cleaning, repairs, and moving have been done at the old house. There are no moving boxes in my living room or kitchen. And guess what? I still have my sanity.

I can attribute still having my mind to a few factors:
1. We had two weeks to get it all done.
2. Lots of nice people helped us move and fed us when we couldn't find our dishes.
3. School was out when we moved, so I didn't have to work the next day.

I was so sane that I even had seven ninth graders over last night to watch The Princess Bride. We finished reading the book version (one of the best books ever written, I tell ya) on the last day of school, so all of them were excited to come over to watch the movie. So excited that most of them watched it ahead of time. No matter. There is no limit to how many times you can watch The Princess Bride.

I've been spending the past couple of days going through non-essential boxed-up items, something I would be doing even if I hadn't moved. I guess it is safe to say that all is back to normal, life is good, and I said the least amount of cuss words I have ever said during a move.

Easily the best room in the house is the bathroom. I feel like I'm in some sort of glam hotel when I am in there. Woe be unto the visitor who splashes on my mirror or the man who misses.


I love this tile work!




Makes me hungry for chocolate and caramel




 Is this tissue holder fantastic?  Makes changing the tissue so easy even a man child can do it!

Our most intriguing neighbor so far has been this proud fella. Is he gorgeous or what?  He is easy on the eyes, but not so easy on the ears. Have you seriously ever heard a peacock scream? It is the most unnerving caw that I have ever heard. You think rock concerts can damage your ears? Try listening to this guy say his piece from a block away.





Yesterday, I was doing my dishes when I heard knocking. I thought it was someone at the door at first, but then realized it sounded more like someone knocking on our wall from the outside. That's not unusual, since I recently had the phone man outside drilling through my wall. I assumed maybe he was back. Since I was still in P.J.'s, Weston played investigator to see who was out there knocking. 


It was Woody!

At first I was all charmed and everything thinking Oh how cute! We have a woodpecker. That quickly changed to What the heck is he doing to our wall?


Arrgh.

Thanks to all of you who wished me well during this move. It ended up being the most pain-free move I have ever experienced. But then, I'm not a man, so the disappearance of the TV remote for a full week didn't bother me in the least.

*photo credit: All peacock and woodpecker photos were taken by Weston.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Hello Boys! It's Your Turn!

You may remember a while back when Madonna Dries Christensen, author of Swinging Sisters and Masquerade:The Swindler Who Conned J. Edgar Hoover, asked readers of Foreign Quang [girl readers, that is] to submit stories of their favorite doll memories from childhood.  The result was a charming compilation called Dolls Remembered.  Several stories from Foreign Quang readers were included in this book, namely frequent comment contributors  Jill, Janice, and the 6-year old daughter of Juliegoose. [Lest you think they only picked readers whose names started with "J" I will tell you that my story was also chosen and my name starts with "R."]

Well, men---get out your clogged-up ballpoint pen or dust off that keyboard because now it's your turn!  Madonna is looking for stories from men about their favorite childhood toys. If your favorite childhood toy was a doll, you're too late.

Here are the guidelines:

A proposed new book: Toys From The Attic  
An anthology of stories by men about their favorite childhood toys--
Compiled by Madonna Dries Christensen

Guidelines:

In up to 1500 words tell a story about your favorite childhood toy/game/plaything that is memorable for some reason. Maybe it’s a toy someone else had that you coveted. Did you request a particular toy but never receive it, or did you receive it and it didn’t live up to your expectations? 

Be creative; include details, use dialogue if possible. You probably don’t recall exactly what you or someone else said, but in a memoir it’s okay to take literary license and recreate dialogue. I will be happy to work with you on your idea. I will do line editing as needed and I might suggest additions to enhance the story or to clarify something. You may request a final copy for approval.

Try to include the following information:
The time period
Your approx age
Where you lived at this time
Was this toy a gift for a special occasion?
Who gave it to you?
Was it something you or someone else made for you?
Did you find it?
Did you save money to buy it?
Do you still have this plaything?
Did this toy lead to a career or a hobby you still enjoy?

Conclude with a current bio, in third person.

Tentative deadline: October 31st

As with my other books, I plan to self-publish and donate royalties to charity. Therefore, I cannot monetarily compensate contributors. I ask for “One Time Rights” only. You retain copyright and all rights to the story. You may publish it elsewhere without my permission. At a later date, I might ask for photos.

Send in the body of an email or by attachment to iowagirl1@aol.com
Madonna Dries Christensen, Sarasota, Florida (www.madonnadrieschristensen.com)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Almost there...

The Great Dreaded Moving Day of 2010 [please let there be only one!] is upon me, and tonight I will be sleeping in the infamous Toothpaste House.  I took a picture of it this morning but do not have time to download it. The exterior is a lovely shade of Gleem, with teal trim.

As soon as I finish posting this, I will be an unplugged woman for about a week. Men (one man and two boys) are standing by, waiting to yank the cables out of the back of my computer. I feel like Captain Von Trapp when the bad guys were waiting for him to finish singing Edelweiss.

The local phone company says I should only be offline for about a week. I'm not holding my breath. The last move it took them two weeks to transfer internet service from one house to the next.  I will miss you all.

Until then..may you have a wonderful May with absolutely no snow.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Three Powerless Hours

Many of you old-time Quangsters are well aware that my son, eleven-year old Weston, does not like school.  This is not to say that he does not like learning because he will question me endlessly every "together moment" we have. [Please see sidebar item devoted specifically to this phenomenon.]

He wants to learn what he wants, when he wants.

Weston does some of his best learning on the computer. One night he sat for three hours using Google Earth to find all his favorite landmarks and monuments, such as Devil’s Tower, The Empire State Building, and the Eiffel Tower (which he tried to find in relation to the Louvre.) If I send him to multiplication sites online he can answer questions endlessly on his times tables. Give him those same questions on a piece of paper and he can’t breathe.

Although he’s never been much of a history buff, times are changing thanks to software such as Civ City Rome, Age of Mythology, and Age of Empires.  He and his friends are constantly asking me questions such as “Who was Pippin the Short?”  “Who was Edward Longshanks?” and “Does Hephaestus cheat on Aphrodite the way she does on him?”

Needless to say, many of his play dates with his friends revolve around learning history wasting time on his computer.

Friday afternoon, the power went out.

My husband got to come home from work early. Weston had a friend over playing and I was tending granddaughter Hoolie, while her mom worked.

Things were very quiet because none of our machines were humming. Computer Geek was playing “volleyball” with Hoolie using a red balloon. Weston and his friend, lacking a computer (ohmygoshno!) to play on, were downstairs in Weston’s room rocking on a battery-operated guitar.  Computer Geek mentioned casually, “What kids will find to do when there is no power.”  I thought, “Ohmygoshblogpost!”

Knowing that the odds of ever catching such a momentous few minutes on film ever again were pretty close to nil, I grabbed my trusty digital camera and documented their powerless journey.


Go for the spike!


Smoke on the Water...



Untangling kite string





A little after five o'clock, the power came back on. A few minutes later all three kids came back in. Computer Geek and I looked at each other and in an unspoken agreement decided not to tell them we were back online.  It didn't work. They smelled the electricity running through the walls and excitedly fired up the computer. Back to answering questions. "Who were better, the Greeks or the Egyptians?"

Saturday, May 1, 2010

It's May 1 and There's No Snow!

All the snow has melted, it's May 1, it's sunny, and I think it's safe to say that spring is here! ( Utahns may curse me tomorrow if I have prematurely announced the arrival of spring. )

Growing up in the heartland of Iowa, we celebrated May 1 with May baskets. Arriving home from school, we would find tiny paper cups on our doorstep, filled with popcorn and small candies. Peeking out of the top might be a dandelion, a violet or a lily-of-the-valley.

The May Day tradition is that you must drop your "basket" at your friend's door, knock, then quickly run off lest they catch you and kiss you!

When I moved to Utah, many people had never heard of such a goofy practice. I gradually stopped commemorating the first of May.

Today, because of the need for some sort of giddiness at the [finally!] lack of snow, I handed out May baskets. I put them together, and Computer Geek and Weston made the clandestine deliveries. Males love doing things without getting caught. It's the closest they get to James Bond.

I am all for simple, so if you would like a simple, cheap, way to make someone's day today, here you go.

Supplies:
Styrofoam cups  (Easy to write on with colored markers)
Pipe cleaners  (Oops, I'm showing my age. These are now called "Fuzzy Sticks." )
Stickers
Markers
Ribbon, if desired  (I had mine all ready to tie around the handles and then forgot!)
Popped popcorn
Small candies
Real or silk flowers

I used Hershey's Nuggets with Almonds, M&M's, fruity licorice (more spring-like than  black and red,) Tootsie Rolls, and Tootsie Pops.  In the picture, I don't have them filled all the way, so you can see what's in there. After the photo, I jammed it full with more popcorn.



The one that looks very bland is for a baby who is teething, and who won't know the difference anyway.



As you can see, girls got pretty flowers poking out at the top.

A truly wise person will make sure the popcorn is cooled off before assembling the basket, lest the M&M's melt. Not that I have ever done that. A truly rich person would have added some small toys. A person who is not in the middle of moving would have decorated the rims of the baskets with colored markers.

Go ahead. Make someone's May Day.

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