Friday, September 29, 2006

Misguided Search Results Roundup

Searched for: "sunbathing party photos"
Found: Photos of 4 year old's birthday party at a nature park, with sunbathing iguana.

Searched for: "Mallard steam" (huh?)
Found: Extremely long list of things that occurred on all the various July 3rds throughout history.

Well what do you know? It looks like that second one may actually have found what s/he was looking for: The list includes:

1938 - World speed record for a steam railway locomotive is set in England, by the Mallard, which reaches a speed of 203 km/h (126 mph)
Actually, quite a few people have hit that entry. As long as it is, and covering as much ground as it does, it...well, it includes a lot of diverse words and mentions a lot of obscure people.

Please accept this sentence in lieu of a snappy closing remark.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The company we keep

You may have heard by now that this is Banned Book Week, (a phrase challenged by Sheryl at Paper Napkin, incidentally, who perfers the term "Disabled books." Sheryl was also the first one to draw my attention to the topic.)

We've all heard news reports about a conservative school district here or there getting up in arms about one book or another, so that's nothing new. Someone's always going to have a problem; in fact, I would go so far as to say that any given book on the planet could precipitate complaints from someone, somewhere. It's the nature of humans. We have different tastes, beliefs, ideals, philosophies. We disagree.

Still, take a gander at the American Library Association's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books which, in this case, covers the 1990–2000 period. That's a decade. Not some random book that got under some random parent's skin and proceeded to have a stink made about it. These are being challenged again and again, across the country.

I don't care how conservative you are, if you are a literate, English-speaking adult, I promise you two things:

  • You have read a good number of these books yourself
  • You will find something on here to make you go "Huh?"
So here you go. The ones that are linked are ones that I've read myself. The starred entries were particular favorites at the time I read each of them (not just favorites among the entries on this list)
  1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain *
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  8. Forever by Judy Blume
  9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  19. Sex by Madonna
  20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel: *
  21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle *
  23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  30. The Goats by Brock Cole
  31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  32. Blubber by Judy Blume
  33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George *
  39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  40. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  46. Deenie by Judy Blume
  47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein *
  52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  55. Cujo by Stephen King
  56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  61. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume *
  63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  65. Fade by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  71. Native Son by Richard Wright
  72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  74. Jack by A.M. Homes
  75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  76. Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle
  77. Carrie by Stephen King
  78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Where's Waldo has been challenged enough times to make it onto the top 100 list for an entire decade. Let's all reflect on that.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It was a fender-bender

I guess I misunderstood Robin because I thought she said that she had come up with something that Alex then decided to do, but which she didn't actually want. So I was thinking more along the lines of "trip for two" (which we've already discussed) than "crashed the car."

But anyway, it's no big deal. He was at an intersection and a large truck needed more room so he backed up and hit a small car behind him. He says you can hardly even see the scratch on our bumber (can you believe I keep forgetting to even look?) but the other car was small and got its hood rumpled up. The other guy was decent about it.

The only interesting part about the story is that he had just paid the quarterly insurance bill that morning (still a few days before deadline but several days after having been notified.)

So, yeah. Anticlimactic.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Holding my breath

Robin called a few minutes ago to say, "I had an idea and Papi said we should do it and I wanted to call to tell you about it but I can't say what it is but it's not good."

Then Julia got on the phone but wasn't even allowed to tell me what she was watching on television because Alex was on top of her making sure she didn't tell me WhateverItIs.

So then he got on the phone and by then I had closed the door because the parrot was screeching downstairs, and stretched out on the bed just in case it was an "are you sitting down?" kind of thing.

You know what he said? He said "I'll tell you about it later. It was Robin's idea to call now."

I did at least ask if everything was okay and he said yes. But still. Big call-her-now news that, in Robin's world is Not Good.

I suspect it will be anticlimactic when it comes, but for now I guess I'll just sit tight, here on the edge of my seat.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Remember that "how to keep a fool guessing" joke? Kind of like that, but on the Internet.

Bored? Looking for something to click on? Not too picky about your Internet fare these days? Well, you could always click here but, frankly, I'm not sure I can recommend it.

What he's been up to

Things Alex has taken in for repair in the two weeks he's been home:

  • Microwave (Squeaky turntable)
  • Radio (Only plays CDs when it's in the mood)
  • Lawn mower (Starts hard even when restarting after mowing half the yard.) (Don't make me show you the blisters.)
  • Edge trimmer (I don't know, something's been wrong with that thing ever since they used to try and cut the whole yard with it.)
  • Fax machine (Has begun to object to passing paper through any of its various orifices.)
  • Computer (Actually, that was me. The new computer is working beautifully but its fan is WAY TOO LOUD.) (The tech basically told me, in a nice way, to get over myself and that today's computers just Are This Loud.) (I'm not really convinced, but I am finally getting used to it.)
Things Alex has bought for release into the local ecosystem:
  • Flashlight for the car
  • Padlock for the front gate (The old one was down to a single key that couldn't be copied.)
  • File (To sharpen the machete he uses to cut big honking pieces off of perfectly innocent plants in the yard.)
  • Ladder small enough to use indoors (But not tall enough to reach the ceiling booger which, yes, is still with us and showing no signs of coming down, ever.)
  • Toolbox for the car (Okay, that was me. He was talking about getting one to replace our Milk Crate of Crap and I found a Black & Decker box marked down by nearly half because it had an eensy defect.)
  • Big faux terra-cotta flowerpot (And by "faux terra-cotta" I mean "orange plastic.") (No word yet on what it's for.)
  • Computer hub and 15 yards of network cable (That was me too, so we can share the wonder that is DSL.) (Found out the next day we overpayed by about 500% for the cable. Serves us right for going to the fancy-dancy Radio Shack in the mall instead of waiting 12 hours and hitting a local computer shop.)
  • Blender (Actually, not yet but surely soon. He asked me what was wrong with the old one and I listed its five known defects, although I may possibly have had him at "smoke.")
Some would question the wisdom of having such a plethora of missing/broken crap for him to come home to, but I think it's smart. This way he gets to nest and make the place his own again. And, too, I am just one of those people that will live without something for a really long time before bothering to get it fixed.

Plus, he's only mentioned the light in my office once (I will pick out a fixture when I am Good And Ready. And don't you dare "surprise" me by installing one for me. And if you ask again tomorrow I will repeat that answer, maybepossibly at a slightly higher volume.)

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Completely random question of the day



What is it about these two words?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Making history

I would not have thought it possible, yet it is so.

Alex found a bunch of photos at his parents' house that were just sitting in a box deteriorating, so he brought them home. Then he went out and bought a photo album. Isn't that nice?

Carrying this through to its logical outcome, today he said, "You have much better taste than I do. Could you maybe put them in the album for me?" And what could I say? There is no denying the truth of his argument. I gave a vague 'yes' and carried on reading blogs.

Then he went out. While out, he called, as is his wont, every time any little thing occurred to him that might need to be mentioned, remembered, attended to, etc.

(At one point I mentioned we had received a response to an E-mail we sent to a potential client two hours prior and, when he started to direct me to a map in his office that one might scan and [etc...], I was obliged to remind him [delicately] that he no longer lives 2000 miles away and that maybe, just maybe, he could look for the map when he got home later this evening.)

On one of his calls, he wanted to know if I was going to help him with the album, meaning of course, "have you started yet?"

Now, people. In my world, a photo album is a dedicated weekend-long project at the very least, and that's just if you're pretty much up to date to begin with. I officially renounced feeling guilty about letting mine go when I started keeping this blog and photo albums are no longer an ongoing part of my consciousness.

I had looked through the various stacks and envelopes of photos earlier in the day and started making piles, but the table wasn't big enough for the piles.

But when he asked about it on the phone, I had this flash of insight. He's asking me to do it the way he would do it. This is a task of an entirely different order of magnitude. It is, in fact, an entirely manageable one. Potentially.

With my Alex-tinted glasses firmly in place, I went back down to the table. Suddenly, black and white and sepia go in the same pile. It was a matter of mere minutes to separate the photos into chronological order (ish).

The album is one of those Peel, Stick and Smooth kinds. Still a little punchy from the "Tone it Down to Good Enough" revelation, I begin to peel, stick and smooth. Nary a photo was trimmed. (They're not mine to cut apart, after all...) Labels? We don't need no stinkin' labels. The creativity is reigned in to the occasional diagonally-positioned photo (and I suspect the eventual viewers will, by and large, assume the adhesive has slipped.)

Freeing, that's what it was. I had 35 years' worth of photos in the album before he got home with the kids.

Of course, when he did get home with the kids (and once they were hustled into pajamas and bed, it being an hour past bedtime), he suddenly remembered these other pictures he had in this other drawer over here and, looking through the album, 'those ones are actually mine, can we just pull them out?'

I would like to assure you that I remained serene while removing three pages' worth of photos and explaining why we aren't going to be able to just stick those new ones in where the others were. But I suppose serene would perhaps not be the most accurate of adjectives. No, perhaps not serene. But reasonable! I was reasonable!

Then he poured me a drink and I was more reasonable still.

Friday, September 15, 2006

What I got

The week before he came home, Alex told me on the phone he had bought me a present. "It's black," he said. "And it's hot." He lowered his voice. "It's something we're both going to enjoy." All true.

Dear Costa Rica, Happy Birthday

I found an article (on a web page promoting a domestic airline, of all things) that does a good job of capturing the mood of Costa Rica's Independence Day celebrations, so I'll provide the photos and refer you to Nature Air's piece entitled Central America Celebrates Shared Independence Day for a description of the holiday.

Waiting at the park for the runners with the torch to reach our town

The Mayor of San Rafael lights each school's torch and hands it off to the team of student runners. Our school is just a block away, but some of these kids have more of a trek.

The torch arrives at the school - they must have made a circuit of the town in order to give more students a chance to participate, because we strolled over at our leisure and still arrived 10 minutes before the torch did.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh yeah

At the gym on Monday it was announced that one of the instructors had been let go, and that a new guy would be taking over his classes beginning the next day. Someone asked me who they were talking about. Not really wanting to rely on his sexual orientation, which I think is what a lot of people consider his most memorable characteristic, I tried to describe him:

He's that thin black guy who teaches the tae-bo class? (Blank look)
He wears his hair really short? (Clearly not ringing any bells)
You know, sometimes he dyes his hair and shaves designs into it? (Still nothing)
Oh, yeah, he only has one arm. (Oh, him)

Funny what you remember most about a person.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

My mistake

At some point I estimated the distance from home to school at 2 miles, and I've been citing it as fact ever since. I may have based the estimate on road signs that gave the distance, in kilometers, between two points that weren't my actual destinations to begin with.

Or maybe it was more scientific than that, perhaps involving an odometer even. In any case, I am here today to tell you that:

It is 2.98 miles from my house to the girls' school. (You can see the actual route if you click to enlarge.) (Although not clearly enough to be much use to stalkers who frequent obscure blogs by unknown quilters and know their way around Costa Rica.)

I would also like to state for the record: Google Earth is really fun and a great way to start a conversation with the land surveyor in your life.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Well, my day's complete

Someone in San Jose, California found my blog by Googling the words ceiling booger. I hope they enjoyed their visit.

(I suspect that, whatever San Jose's motivation, he or she came away more satisfied than the several individuals who have searched on the phrase "wrestling singlet," noticed a result that looks like this:

... lithe, muscular black man with shoulder-length braids and a personality that can only be described as flamboyant) and, more to the point, today he is wearing a low cut, skin tight wrestling singlet that I really really thought I'd ...
...and clicked on it only to find themselves mired in July's Day in the Life post.)

Does my heart good

The girls were invited to a birthday party yesterday. Alex and I have known the family since before any of us were married or started having kids, and now their youngest child is in the same class as Robin at school.

This party was so much more down to earth than the ones my kids have been invited to recently. The girl and one of her brothers both had birthdays last week and each of them got to invite two friends. They have an older brother, and with Julia there were eight kids all together, four boys and four girls. Aside from the hosts, Alex and I were the only parents on hand.

It was the first time--I think ever--that I've been to a kids' party where the kids just ran around and played with each other. No fighting. No clowns or party games to lose at or prizes to cry over. The boys were watching Harry Potter when we arrived and the girls watched a Power Puff Girls movie after we had lunch (homemade pizza on store-bought crusts). The grownups sat and talked. When it looked like rain, we went out to the carport and did the piñata. Then we came back inside and it rained. We had cake and ice cream. The kids kept playing. The grownups kept chatting.

It was awesome, and that alone would have been enough. But what did my heart good was arriving and hearing my friend's husband say to Alex, "Oh! You're back! I didn't realize you were back already!" Hmm, I thought, I told Yobeth all about it on the phone when she called to invite us. I'm sure she must have mentioned it to him. And there she is, reminding him that she just told him about it on Friday.

We started across the yard and before we even got to the house for some reason we all ended up peering between some tree branches to see a softball-sized beehive just above head level. "Wow," says my friend's husband, "how long has that been there?" And I'm thinking, Long enough for you to have been made aware of it I'll bet. [Later confirmed by Yobeth, who warns him about it every time he cuts the grass.]

A little while later, Yobeth was putting the pizzas together and asked the guys to go out and get some ice cream and some beer. Arturo couldn't find his wallet and asked one of the kids, who had been comparing the photos on the different ID cards earlier in the day. The boy showed him where he had left the wallet, but it wasn't there. It was clearly somewhere in the house but just couldn't be found. Until Arturo checked his own desk drawer (for the second time) and found the pesky thing.

I just felt so at home with them. (Can I get an Amen?) I think all husbands were separated at birth.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Welcome home Papi

Welcoming Committee

Four Generations


Friday, September 08, 2006

At least I got a good post out of it

So I'm picking Julia up at school yesterday and I'm looking around expectantly for a wall or table full of wonky kindergarten masks.

Not seeing any, I ask the teacher how the mask making went. "Oh, we're going to work on those another time," she says.

And that is all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Day in the Life - New, Improved 26 Hour Edition!!

6:00 a.m. - Phone rings. So much for sleeping in a little because the girls are at their grandparents' house. It's Robin, crying, asking me to come pick her up at 7:00 because she doesn't like going to school from Abuela's house. Ask why. Because she doesn't like the lunch Yolanda packs, and she doesn't like having to walk to school. Ask if she's had any breakfast yet. No. Remind her that breakfast usually makes a really big difference in how bad things seem to her. Tell her to go have breakfast.

6:05 - Get up, open curtains, make bed. Go downstairs, uncover parrot cage, open cage, open downstairs curtains.

6:15 - Put water on for coffee. (The coffee maker got fried when the power went out a couple of weeks ago. Since Alex is bringing one when he comes home on Saturday, for now I'm using the traditional Costa Rican system, pictured below. You can get a no-frills setup at the grocery store for about $2. [Found the picture here])

6:20 - Fix granola with bananas. Oh yeah, we're out of milk. Mix up a little powdered milk. Make coffee.

6:30 - Take breakfast upstairs and turn on computer. Eat while checking E-mail, blogs. Track shipment of recent order. Discover and end up spending a long time reading Love, Honor and Dismay and Shakespeare's Sister. Write check to Lisa for slippers she's sending with Alex.

8:00 - Oh yeah. I don't have to take the kids to school this morning and I'm skipping the gym so that I can get some serious straightening up done around the house. This in anticipation of my husband's return on Saturday (he's been working in the United States for a year and a half. There have been visits but now he's coming home to stay.) Get dressed, take dishes downstairs, see a motorcycle pull up outside, but he sticks a bill in the gate and drives off, no need to go out right now.

8:15 - Right. Organizing. Go to kitchen and look at the utility space where I had to uninstall a shelf in order to let the phone company guy get at the wiring to install DSL. Pull some things off the remaining shelf and kind of put them where they go. Find screws and reattach shelf support. Replace shelf. Pull trash can up and start throwing out scraps of wire, cut-off bits of plastic from an old project, 3-inch long pieces of aluminum tubing, etc.

9:00 - Phone rings. Alex needs to make out a bill of sale, will E-mail the information for me to translate.

9:10 - Find a sample bill of sale online, plug in as much as I know about the sale, highlight things he needs to check/fill in, E-mail to him. Get sidetracked by cappuccino drink box, write blog post about it.

9:45 - Organizing. Go back downstairs and look at utility space. Unappealing. Turn to plastic-food-container-storage-space. Attack that. Make stacks of containers without lids, yogurt and ice cream containers to give to kindergarten, burnt-out coffee maker and other items we don't need. Throw stuff away here too. Refill ice cube tray.

10:20 - Check E-mail in case Alex needs more help with bill of sale, maybe check a blog or two.

10:35 - Shovel out foot-deep (well, only in places) piles of stuff that accumulates at end of kitchen counter. Divide into my stuff, girls' stuff, random stuff, trash stuff. Dispose of accordingly.

11:10 - Sit back down at the computer, just for a sec. Realize today is 6th. Decide not to do Day in the Life because it's such a stay-at-home day. Decide to start anyway, in case I change my mind.

11:30 - Hungry. Make Ramen. Eat at computer.

12:00 - Go back downstairs and look at utility area. Unappealing. Return to mess on kitchen counter. Take some stuff upstairs and dump on sewing table - the one place not subject to cleaning by Saturday. Back downstairs. Unload dryer, move day-old clean clothes to dryer, try to reload washer but find insufficient light clothers in hamper. Huh. Caught up on laundry? Well, except for the numerous loads' worth still in my room, waiting to be put away.

12:30 - Back at kitchen counter, find that the folder of Very Important Documents about the car's new engine was not, in fact, at the bottom of any of the piles. Panic gently while checking to be sure, then send some pleas heavenwards and check Alex's desk. This is where the documents should be, but I have no memory of putting them away, so don't particularly expect to find them.

12:32 - Find folder in the "Car" section of the file drawer. Congratulate self. Tidy Alex's desk and remove crap that's not his.

12:40 - Consider making scones but decide not to spend the time on that. Head back upstairs to check E-mail in case Alex needs help with the bill of sale. Find message from local client, reply that he can call Alex at home next week. Add to this post.

1:00 - Go downstairs and look at utility area. Unappealing. Remember that Alex probably won't want the spare bed in his office. Go to move it out and find two kites and a puzzle on the bed. Fold up kites, take puzzle apart.

1:15 - Pull mattress off of bed, drag to playroom. Fold up futon frame, pull out of office, leave in living room. Pull ratty old couch out of playroom and into office (tile floors are nice). Push futon frame into playroom, go fetch empty paint buckets and 3-year-old phone books and place as before under end of futon frame to prevent tipping. Put mattress back on.

2:00 - Reward self with some computer time. Add another couple of items to 100 Things post. Take and edit a photo to accompany it. Putz around online until cell phone alarm says it's time to pick up Julia.

2:40 - Get Robin's play clothes, head out to car. Open gate without tying up dogs, pull out, shut gate. Drive to school.

2:50 - Get to school early, find Robin, give her play clothes to change into when she gets to her friend's house. Wait for friend's mother, make arrangements to pick her up at 7:00 p.m.

3:10 - Julia says she has to bring fruit tomorrow. Go to store and wait two weeks while Julia decides what kind of fruit to bring, suddenly has to pee, returns to fruit contemplation. She settles on carrots (close enough). Buy carrots, potatoes, milk, microwave popcorn, loaf of bread.

3:30 - Return to car in rain, drive home.

3:40 - Make coffee. Julia wants to play on the computer. Tell her she can have a turn when I've finished my coffee. Check E-mail and stuff while drinking coffee.

4:10 - Shut down my stuff, pull up PBS Kids website, give Julia her turn. Get trash can and head for playroom. Get all Barbie stuff into Barbie Stuff Box. All cars into Car Place. All stuffed animals and dolls into Large Box. All books straight and on one shelf. All blocks in Block Place. All dress-up stuff in random box I found. All giant legos in Giant Lego Tub. All crayons, pencils, glue sticks in Crayon Box. Everything else thrown into a couple of the remaining boxes. Doesn't look that different in here.

5:35 - Take down Christmas lights from stairway bannister and hall railing. Yes, Christmas lights. You want to make something of it?? Dump lights on ironing board.

5:50 - Getting late for the homemade french fries I was planning. Plus Robin wouldn't want to miss them. Stare at shelves for a while.

6:00 - Make macaroni and cheese, microwave a hot dog. Call Julia away from computer game, take turn at computer while she eats.

6:30 - Send Julia to get into pajamas.

6:45 - Review directions to Robin's friend's house, drive down to San Rafael. Fail to find friend's house, end up on long rural road with no good place to turn around. Find driveway, turn around.

7:00 - Go back and find friend's house, arriving on time after all. Chat with friend's parents, pet their dog, wait for Robin.

7:10 - Continue chatting with parents, petting dog, keeping overtired Julia unhappily car-bound. Wait for Robin.

7:15 - Go in to find Robin. She's coming. Just looking for her sock.

7:20 - Tell Robin to leave the sock and let's go. Go.

7:25 - Half a mile down the road have a horrible, horrible thought. Wasn't tomorrow the day Julia was supposed to take a paper maché-ed balloon to school to make a mask?

7:26 - Attempts at denial a failure. Tomorrow's the day. Contemplate alternatives to a paper maché-covered balloon. Find none.

7:28 - Go around a couple of blocks to double back to the store that carries glue and balloons.

7:30 - Store is closed. Poor Second Choice store is open across the street and might carry glue.

7:31 - PSC store does have glue, not sure it's the right kind, and balloons, not sure they're the right size. Sigh. Purchase glue and balloons.

7:40 - Stop at little shop near house to inquire about more glue. Just one tiny bottle left. Cashier knows me and has some helpful suggestions. Buy tiny bottle of glue, little box of starch for possible home-brew recipe, ice cream because I think I'm going to need it.

8:00 - Arrive home, carry sleeping Julia to my bed, send Robin to get pajamas on and brush teeth.

8:05 - Feed dogs & cat, start girls' video, sit down at computer to research paper maché technique.

8:09 - Blow up balloon, begin tearing newspaper, mixing glue.

8:20 - Apply first layer of newspaper strips with lots of glue, follow with second layer of dry strips as suggested on one website. This uses up entire supply of glue.

8:50 - Set balloon aside to begin drying, research home brewed glue recipes. Google "quick dry paper mache" and find some options.

9:10 - Cook up batch of flour/water paste, set in cold water bath to cool, get out hair dryer and apply to balloon.

9:35 - First layer seems kind of dryish, paste is cool enough to stick hands in. Apply second layer.

10:00 - Get Kapucci out of fridge, drink while blow drying second layer and reading Boing Boing.

10:30 - Apply third layer.

11:00 - Eat ice cream while blow drying third layer and reading stuff online.

11:20 - Balloon pops from excessive heat. Sigh. Pull out balloon scraps, poke newspaper back into roundish shape, begin blow drying inside, which is not at all dry, rotating constantly to keep it from collapsing too much.

11:40 - Inside is relatively dry. Get new balloon, stick into hole, inflate and tie. Fit is not perfect, but should support the thing. Kind of.

12:00 - Apply fourth layer.

12:30 - Blow dry fourth layer. This thing doesn't look like it's going to be very firm, ever. But it might be usable. Kind of. Good thing kids her age aren't too picky. I hope.

1:00 - Decide that adding additional layers will just trap moisture inside the damn thing and it'll probably be fine. Set on table.

1:15 - Sit down to finish this post.

1:50 a.m. - Post this. Proofread? Not so much.

Edited to add:
2:05 a.m. - Oh yeah. Thanks Sheryl at Paper Napkin for inventing this Day in the Life thing, even though it purt-near kilt me this time around.

Further edited to add:

2:10 a.m. - Hit the pillow.

6:00 a.m. - Pitter patter of little feet.

6:10 - Get up, open curtains, make bed, check balloon. Damp. Very damp. And about as rigid as a brown paper grocery bag.

6:15 - Warn girls that high-order cooperation would be a very good idea, make coffee, fix cereal, pour milk, pass girls the fixins and have them butter their own bread.

6:20 - Settle in to eat breakfast with right hand and blow dry balloon with left. Kids help by getting their own refills.

6:35 - Tell kids to cover ears, pop balloon, begin drinking coffee with right hand and blow drying inside, which is sodden, with left. (Note death grip on coffee mug.)

6:45 - The Idea That Saved The Morning. Prop blowdryer in lid of butter dish. Cut carrots into sticks with both hands, blow dry inside of ballon with no hands.

7:00 - Pack girls' lunches with both hands, BD inside of B w/NH (rotate balloon occasionally and add empty yogurt container to butter dish lid for added leverage.)

7:15 - Get dressed, pack clean clothes for after gym, brush teeth, braid hair...all while blow drying balloon.

7:30 - Blow dryer dies. Yogurt container is half melted. Balloon is dry and firm. Back in running for Mom of Year.

7:45 - Leave house on time, fully dressed, fully prepared, good moods all around. A little tired.

*Note to kindergarten teachers everywhere: Remind the parents. Always remind the parents.

A click a day for good causes

The Hunger Site The Breast Cancer Site The Child Health Site The Literacy Site The Rainforest Site The Animal Rescue Site

Added 6/12/06

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