December 31, 2009

The Obligatory 2009 Top-Ten List...

I have totally lost count of how many top-ten lists I've read or glanced at in the last week or two. Also some very clever videos promising to give me the highlights of the entire decade in 3 or 7 minutes... the 7-minute one was better and had fewer mentions of Britney Spears. It also had the perk of ending with "and President Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Collectively, Americans go, "huh?!" Good times...

So anyway, I'm going to sit here and totally improvise my own top-ten list with the highlights of this year (just this year, forget the rest of the decade!) from my own narrow, egocentric perspective. Enjoy!

#1) Moving to the apartment. By far the most exciting thing to happen to me in ages, and a huge change toward the positive. Spidermice, I miss thee not!

#2) Starting a new job. So far I like Head Start, even if some of the rules are a little funny to me.

#3) Brand spanking new friends (but not for spanking). The CTG, Lorena, Wendy, Nancy, Tazzy... people who make my days (and my job) more fun.

#4) Finally getting a guitar. Talked about it for ages, finally did it in May.

#5) "Life Starts Now" by Three Days Grace. Had to wait until September for that one, but it was worth the wait.

#6) The Coiled Crap Hound and the Disco Newt. Thanksgiving will never be the same again.

#7) Finally making it to "hard" on drums on Rock Band. Might sound lame to you, but it wasn't easy to overcome years of CRD!

#8) Learning to drink water. I drink 2 liters every day at work. Formerly on the rare occasion I drank water, my liver would sputter at me and demand "What the heck is that stuff?! Are you trying to poison me?!"

#9) Cinnamon Candy Canes. Those may have existed before this year, but I just found them for the first time. A real nice thing for those of us that like Chrsitmas but hate peppermint.

#10) Homemade tortillas. How did we get by without those?

Song o' the Day: "Life Starts Now" by Three Days Grace

December 27, 2009

Forced Creativity/The Quest for the Holy Grail...

Okay, so I did a mini-vacation from the blog because of the whole Christmas thing, and I'm sure absolutely NOBODY actually noticed or cared. Except for me, and that's enough I suppose.

Anyway, the story I want to relate first takes place on Christmas Eve Eve (That's December 23rd for those of you who can't sort this stuff out). The scene: Allison (sister sib extraordinaire) and I are out trying to get all the shopping done. Also important to note is that on December 16th my class made tortillas at work and I learned how, and I was given the leftover masa mix and told where (supposedly) I could buy a tortilla press. Specifically I was told WinCo. So when Allison and I were up on 82nd in Clackamas where there's a WinCo, I decreed that we should venture in and search for the tortilla press. It was INSANE in there... way too many people and no tortilla presses.

This was a scenario that would repeat at Fred Meyer, K-Mart, Haggen, (all in Oregon City) and Wal-Mart and Mega Foods (in Woodburn). Though we were having great fun out running around shopping and trying to make an innuendo of some sort out of every street sign we saw (that was some hilarity there!), the tortilla press had become the Holy Grail of the shopping trip... none were to be found anywhere, even in a Wal-Mart where I can pretty much be the only white person in there.

I was about to give up standing despondently in the Hispanic Foods aisle of Mega Foods when lo and behold, there came a man whose son I used to teach at MES. The kid was also with him and I said hi to both of them. Then I decided there was no harm in asking, so I asked the guy (who happens to be Mexican) if he knew where in the world I might find a tortilla press. He gave me the name of a little Mexican tienda up in the "little Mexico" section of town... that strip where nearly every store and business is owned and run by Mexicans and the majority of the signage is in Spanish. If I didn't speak Spanish I might have been a little freaked about going there, but I do and so we charged on boldly to find the store.

We arrived there shortly before 9 p.m. (we had been out shopping since about 1) and they looked at us a little strangely as we wandered up and down aisles looking at the imported candy. Allison's primary comments were "What's this?" and "Can we buy some?" The place did have a number of tortilla presses, but they were wooden rather than metal and looked more decorative than functional. No Holy Grail. After almost giving up in despair even at that store, I noticed a corner window display area that we hadn't stepped into yet. And there, in a crate on the floor, were about five metal tortilla presses.

Holy Grail found. Much rejoicing in the camp.

So on Christmas Eve, the Chamaco and I made tortillas. Or I should say really he made tortillas... he rolled the dough into balls and pressed the tortillas, and I just fried the suckers up. About halfway through the tortilla making process I realized I had no idea what we were going to put on the tortillas, so I went digging through the cupboards. I found a can of chicken, a can of corn and some cheese and tossed all three into a skillet. It was surprisingly good... the Chamaco said it was the best dinner he's ever had.

Christmas came and went really quick like it always does, and I realized that we have not much food and not much money with which to buy food until approximately the 2nd of January. So tonight I've been digging around seeing what I can find to feed us for the next week or so. I went by Grocery Outlet and picked up those cheap food staples that I don't really know what to do with... dry beans, rice (the regular kind, not the Rice-a-Roni kind with flavors), some corn... going to be getting creative with that and the tortillas during the next week. We'll see how it turns out.

December 19, 2009

The changes a year can bring...

Comparing Christmas season '08 and Christmas season '09...

LAST YEAR: We lived in a falling-apart house with no heat.
THIS YEAR: We live in a pretty nice apartment with gas heat.

LAST YEAR: I was unemployed.
THIS YEAR: I sometimes wish I worked less, but I am blessed to have a job surrounded by good, godly poeple who are passionate about what they do and make working with them so much fun.

LAST YEAR: I did nearly all my Christmas shopping at the Dollar Tree, because it was what I could afford.
THIS YEAR: I did most of my Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart... moving on up!

LAST YEAR: We got food boxes from a couple of different local organizations.
THIS YEAR: An organization called to offer me a food box and I told them they could probably find someone who needs it worse than I do. After I hung up I realized what I had just been able to say and I almost cried.

LAST YEAR: I carried my son upstairs to his bed when he fell asleep on the couch.
THIS YEAR: I can barely pick up my son, much less carry him upstairs. This only happened in the last month or two. I realized today that soon I won't be able to pick him up at all... my baby is gone. I almost cried.

LAST YEAR: My son was the sort of co-dependent that being the only child of a single mom will get you.
THIS YEAR: I have an increasingly independent eight-year-old who more and more often wants to do things by himself. I told him that I was going to get Nancy's recipe for play-doh because the stuff we make at work is better than the store-bought stuff. I said this because I thought it would be something fun we could do together. He asked if he could do it by himself.

LAST YEAR: I had a couple of friends, but mostly felt very lonely and isolated.
THIS YEAR: I have some very good friends, some less-close-but-still-good friends, some casual acquaintances that always make me smile (hello CTG!), a pretty full social calendar, and sometimes wish desperately to just be home by myself for a few hours.

LAST YEAR: I was single.
THIS YEAR: Still single... no change there. : )

Thank you God for filling 2009 with so many positive changes!

Song o' the Day: "Blessed" by Martina McBride. It fits. Listen to it here.

December 16, 2009

I less-than-three "rounded swag"!

The last few days have been riddled with hilarity and brand new catch phrases, so I shall sum up the best I can. :) A few new entries to the encyclopedia/dictionary are in order.

LESS-THAN-THREE (v.): Some of my more Facebook savvy friends have informed me that in order to make those silly little hearts that everyone is so fond of sticking in their status messages, you use the < (less than) symbol, followed by the number three ( <3, get it?). This strikes me as hilarious, and has caused me to go around exclaiming, "OMG! I totally less-than-three you!"

SWANKY LOUNGE, THE (n.): The little corner of the office at SR with a couch and a water cooler in it.

SWANKY FLYSWATTER, THE (n.): The flyswatter hanging in the swanky lounge.

SWAG, ROUNDED (n.): Due to the strict non-celebration policy at work (we do not acknowledge any holidays at all... we might make seasonal projects such as snowmen, but not Christmas trees), I was a little baffled last night at Family Night when I noticed a number of families making something that looked suspiciously like a wreath. (This was made even more funny because earlier in the day one of the teachers was told that she shouldn't have put the wreath picture on something she sent home with the children because it was a holiday symbol). I was informed by one of my co-workers that it was a "rounded swag". I thought that was hilarious as I went about pointing out how a great many of the "rounded swags" had something suspiciously looking like Santa Claus attached to them, and also how my co-worker's own "rounded swag" had the word "NOEL" prominently displayed. We agreed that this was certainly not in any way a holiday statement and that it only meant to signify that the alphabet now has only twenty-five letters.

Another coworker then pointed out that wreaths, as she so boldly refers to them, come in many varieties, not necessarily tied in with any specific holiday... for example, your autumn wreath. Dang it, she's right! Now if only we could beat that through the heads of the administration! Honestly I would have more patience with this policy if we actually had a family among our three classrooms that doesn't celebrate Christmas... but we don't. So "rounded swags" for all, and a joyous no-12th-letter-of-the-alphabet!

WHADDYACALLIT (n.): I had no word for this last thing, but it's pretty hilarious. We have this chair at work that is broken... the backrest, instead of being at the level of the middle of your back, is at about the level of your butt. Lorena and I have had great fun over the last few weeks trying to imagine the body structure of someone who could sit comfortably in that chair, and last night before Family Night we decided we needed to try to make this guy. Thank God for internet, MAD magazine, copiers, and old socks... Also for Lorena, because I less-than-three her.

Initially we tried making this guy with some gloves, but Lorena decided her own hands would probably work better. Apparently he is "voguing" in this first picture, which is an 80s fad that I totally missed what with not having been socially conscious for most of the 80s.

Song o' the Day: "This Time Imperfect" by AFI. For no particular reason other than that it has been in my head a lot.

December 10, 2009

The coolest Chinese lady ever...

I went bowling with Audra tonight. In the second game I got 104 points, which I think is a record for me. Yay! (Yes, I know I suck, thank you.)

Anyway, after bowling we goed Happy Famiry (which in my family is code for "we went to Happy Family, which is a Chinese restaurant here in Mo-Holla run by authentic Chinese people with authentic Chinese accents). And we couldn't help but notice the large and colorful display of not-so-authentic flowers on the table, seen below.

Not the sort of thing you could easily miss, right? Actually when we went into the restaurant, they told us we could sit anywhere we wanted since we were the only people there and I immediately selected the table with the large tacky neon flowers because I am attracted to bright and shiny objects sometimes.

Anyway, while we were deciding what to order, Audra noticed that the waitress was sitting at another table (remember, we were the only customers in the restaurant at shortly after 8 p.m., so she wasn't that busy) making roses out of ribbon. The flowers on our table were also made of ribbon - though much more intricate than the roses - and logical deduction geniuses that we are, we made a connection.

When the waitress came over to take our order, I asked her, "Did you make these?" She said she did, and that each flower took about 40 minutes to do. She also said that the roses she was doing now only took about two minutes. And then she directed our attention to a large mobile hanging from the ceiling, and if memory serves me she said it had taken her ten hours to make that. We were much impressed and praised her artistry because, hey, we can't make flowers out of ribbon.

She was very attentive all through the course of our meal, visiting our table no less than half a dozen times to ask if we needed anything, if everything was all right, etc. And after we'd paid the bill and were getting ready to leave, she said, "Wait, I have something for you nice ladies." And she handed each of us one of the roses she'd been making. I haven't got a picture of it yet, but perhaps I'll add it later... it's quite cool.

Now all I need to do is get Kyle in there to tell me if they're speaking Mandarin or Cantonese. I surely can't tell the difference. :)

Song o' the Day: "Silver and Cold" by AFI. Oh how I tire of these sub-freezing temperatures!

Chuckling evilly to myself...

This morning I took the Chamaco to school along with 30 cupcakes. His birthday was yesterday, you see, but he wasn't in school yesterday because he went to Seaside with his dad. His teacher said it would be okay for him to bring in a treat today though. So I sent him to school with loads of sugar for his little friends and said a quick prayer of thanksgiving that I have a class of 17 3, 4 and 5 year olds who will not have sugar today as opposed to a class of 26 second graders who will be quite hopped up.

Why 30 cupcakes for 26 kids, you ask? Because the cupcakes come in boxes of 12 or 6. Two boxes of 12 would not have been enough for everyone, so I got 2 12s and a 6.

Know what the Chamaco got for his birthday from his other grandpa? $75. But here's the fun part... $50 of it is in $1 bills. The other $25 is in quarters.

Gotta love relatives with a weird sense of humor. His dad gave him a dictionary.

December 6, 2009

The super-amazing blog/Christmas list/Top 10 list!

To the maybe two of you who noticed/cared, I apologize for the lack of posting over the last few days. I have been sick as a dog (too sick to play Rock Band, even!). I am still sick as a dog, but now getting bored with it and ornery about it, which means recovery can't be too far behind... just in time for work tomorrow! This is nicely ironic, because I started getting seriously ill about two hours after I got home from work Thursday (which is Friday for me). At least cold viruses are respectful of my work schedule. On the plus side, I got a new 20" widescreen monitor for my desktop computer, which makes everything I put on it look pretty (and makes my sims look kind of short and squatty if I try to run the game fullscreen. I've found that running it in windowed mode works much better). You may see the screen in all its glory in the following picture:

I am particularly pleased with this monitor because I got it cheaply. Someone had returned it to Best Buy because of some "superficial scratches on the base", so they'd re-boxed it and knocked 20 bucks off the price. Me, I'm not much looking at the base and I don't care if there are a few "superficial" scratches on it, so I said "Okay, I'll take that one." Which is good because it was the only one they had... they apparently sold out on Black Friday and this one came back. So I took the poor (superficially) battered thing in and gave it a nice home.

Being sick has given me ample opportunity to do something I try not to do that much... sit around and passively stare at pretty moving pictures on a screen. I'm talking movies/television here, people. Not my favorite thing in the world. Many of you are under the impression that I don't watch movies or TV at all. This is very nearly true. The only TV show I watch with any frequency at all is "House", and I only watch movies that appeal to my fairly limited interests (and usually I get up several times during because I don't like sitting for that long without doing anything). However, to say that I don't like movies at all would be a lie. So I scratched around and came up with a top ten list comprised of my favorite movies and TV series. Some of them may surprise you, others may leave you scratching your head and wondering, "What the ****?!" That's usually the reaction I'm trying for in these blogs. : )

My rating scale for these can be summed up as "Can I watch this show/movie repeatedly without wanting to barf, and if so, how many times could I watch it before I barfed?" So I would barf shortly after only a few repititions of the #10 item, but could probably watch the #1 indefinitely with no nausea whatsoever. Enjoy!

#10 - "Pirates of the Caribbean" (movies 1 and 2... I didn't bother buying the third)
Had they not made the second movie, I probably could have given this franchise a higher rating. However, each movie was progressively worse aside from the fact that Johnny Depp was still hot in all of them. Seriously, if it wasn't for his Keith Richards-esque portrayal of Jack Sparrow (Captain!) nobody would bother with these films at all.
Vomit Tolerance: About 3 repititions

#9 - "A Bit of Fry and Laurie"
Most of you yanks (Allison and Audra excluded, because they hang out with me enough) are probably not aware of this sketch comedy series that aired in England in the late 80s/early 90s. Sucks to be you. Some of you might recognize the "Laurie" bit of "Fry and Laurie" as being Hugh Laurie who is now internationally known for playing... DR. HOUSE! This just proves that even when my interests diversify, there's a connection. This show is undoubtedly funnier if you're British, but having a smattering of knowledge of British slang/politics lets you in on a good bit of the humour. It also helps to have a Brit on call who can explain to you the stuff you don't understand. (Hi Wong!)
Vomit Tolerance: Can watch all 4 seasons about 3 times yearly.

#8 - "Animaniacs"
This one would have undoubtedly ranked higher were it not for the Chamaco and his tendency to watch things so often that I hate them, even when I started out liking them. But I loved this show as a child (well, middle schooler... that was how old I was when it was on), and now having bought two volumes on DVD as an adult and watched them with my own child I am pleased to announce that most of the more adult humor sails right over the Chamaco's head just as it did mine when I was younger. This show truly has something for everyone, and adults and children find it amusing albeit for completely different reasons.
Vomit Tolerance: Can watch both volumes we own about 4 times yearly.

#7 - "Finding Nemo"
We got this movie accidentally sort of. Wong was fishing about for a good 4th birthday gift for the Chamaco, and I suggested a kids movie, and together we settled on this one which neither of us had seen. In the end, I think I liked it better than the Chamaco does. This is still one of my favorite Disney movies, right up there with Mulan (which someone should get me for Christmas, thus bringing in the Christmas list part), and Lilo and Stitch (which I already own, thanks). There's enough humor and action to keep the kids interested, yes, but for adults - and particularly the parent ones - it's a rather touching story about learning to let go of your growing child a little. Someone pointed out to me the other day (I forget who it was) that "Nemo" is Latin for "no one". Clever play there, Disney.
Vomit Tolerance: I can watch this one once every couple of months.

#6 - "Eating Raoul"
Put the kids to bed early for this one! Okay, this is a bad 80's movie and most of you have probably never heard of it. I bought it initally because it has Robert Beltran in it, who some of you may know as Chakotay off Star Trek Voyager, who I had a huge crush on for about a decade. This movie is hilariously twisted as far as plot goes, and the acting is hilariously bad for the most part. The plot centers on a very prudish married couple (separate beds and all) living in L.A. in the middle of the swinger scene. They want to open a restaurant, but can't get the money. They come up with this grand idea to lure the swingers (who "no one would ever miss") to their apartment and kill them for their money because they're always so wealthy. Enter Raoul (Beltran) who accidently stumbles onto their scheme (while robbing their house) and offers to help them get rid of the bodies. Hilarity ensues... trust me.
Best line: "Honey, would you mind picking up another frying pan? I'm just a little squeamish about cooking in the one we've been using to kill people."
Vomit Tolerance: I've seen it often enough to have it memorized, but I could watch it just about anytime the urge struck me.

#5 - "Lilo and Stitch"
Best Disney movie ever. (Sorry Mulan.) I totally dig the more realistic portrayal of life in this movie, and the message that family sticks together no matter what. Then you throw in aliens. How can it go wrong? Stitch is awesome, don't get me wrong, but for me it's Lilo that makes the movie. I could totally see myself in her place... a little kid with high intelligence, an overactive imagination, and some weird obsessions (pictures of fat tourists, anyone?). For me the real winner is when the social worker comes over and Lilo is sitting on the floor shaking some spoons with faces on them in a jar of pickle juice with a book titled "Practical Voodoo" at her feet. "My friends need to be punished," she intones. Hysterical!
Vomit Tolerance: One time the Chamaco made me watch it almost every day for a month. That was too much.

#4 - "Batman Beyond"
This was airing on TV when I was in high school, and I used to look forward to it every day. For those of you who don't know, this is second-generation Batman... Bruce Wayne has given up the game because he's an old geezer. Enter Terry McGinnis and a spiffed-up batsuit. Actually, everything is spiffed up... Gotham looks way more futuristic complete with flying cars (and most of the signs rather suspiciously in Japanese), the villains are spiffed up (even the old ones who come back, and there are bunches of new ones), and even the theme music is way more listenable. I own seasons 1 and 3... someone really needs to get me season 2 (and any others that might exist) for Christmas! : )
And best of all... no rubber nipples on the batsuit!
Vomit Tolerance: Put in another DVD! Seriously, the Chamaco and I have watched an entire season in one evening before.

#3 - "Dogma"
Another one to put the kids to bed early for. Not recommended for people with no sense of humor when it comes to religion (Catholics in particular, consider yourselves warned). One of the less religiously offensive things about this movie is that God is a woman (played by Alanis Morissette) and it goes downhill from there. My fave part is the whole "Walrus and the Carpenter" scene where one of the "fallen angels" convinces a nun to abandon her faith based on the poem about the Walrus and the Carpenter, made doubly ironic (as his friend shortly points out) by the fact that, "You know there's a God. You've been in his presence!" This film is also notable for  being one of the last decent films Ben Affleck was in (ouch!) and for having Jay and Silent Bob in it.
Vomit Tolerance: Pretty high. I'm sure there's a limit, but I haven't found it yet.

#2 - "Shrek" (1, 2 & 3)
I own and adore all three of these movies. And when I get tired of them in English, I switch the audio over and watch them in Spanish... whole new movie! This is one series that has not lost anything from the first movie to the third (and indeed the second movie was arguably better than the first, but this is what usually happens when Antonio Banderas is involved). I hear there's a fourth one in the works. I sincerely hope they don't screw that one up.
Vomit Tolerance: Amazingly high.

#1 - "The Crow"
Yeah, sort of a jump there from animated comedy to gritty drama, huh? I think a lot of people, upon watching The Crow, get caught up in all the revenge, death and violence and miss the point... The Crow is the ultimate love story. It's about a love so strong that nothing can stop it... not even death violent murder on the eve of your wedding. Even so, there is enough violence, sex, drugs, etc. in the movie to make it unsuitable for children and faint-hearted adults. Also the soundtrack is pretty awesome.
Vomit Tolerance: Pretty limitless.

Song o' the Day: "Love Like Winter" by AFI... stuck in my head today since it never got above 35 degrees and the video is very snowy. See it here.

December 2, 2009

This morning....

I staggered out into the hallway toward the bathroom, still rubbing at my eyes and trying to get my brain to engage, and I happened to glance at the stairs. The Chamaco was sitting there on the stairs, playing his DS.

"What are you doing?" I asked him. (Though at that stage of morning it probably sounded more like "Whuttreyadooin?")

He looked me in the eye and said, "I decided I didn't want you to boss me around this morning, so I got up and got dressed and got my coat and shoes on. I didn't brush my teeth yet, though... you can tell me to do that."

I tried to make sense of this for a moment, then I asked, "Did you remember to get your snack for school?"

"Yep," he said. "I already told you... the only thing I didn't do is brush my teeth."

So I left him there on the stairs and went about my morning routine, issuing exactly zero orders for small people to get their shoes on or whatever. It was sort of oddly silent. Then came the point when I went downstairs and opened the blinds on the kitchen window to let some light in, and realized that everything was white out there (frost, not snow). A glance at the thermometer (33!) made me decide I wanted to go back to bed. Unfortunately that's a no-go on Wednesdays (and pretty much every other day of the week too). And then the Chamaco came downstairs ready to go out to the bus, and I looked at him and said, "Get a warmer coat. It's all icy out there."

"What?!" he demanded in that tone of derision that he has mastered so perfectly. This is his standard response anytime I tell him to do anything he doesn't want to do. He likes the flimsy little gray jacket, and he argued with me about whether or not he should have to put on a different coat for a few minutes. But I prevailed, got him into a warmer coat and gloves, and we headed out to the bus stop. As soon as we stepped out the door, he exclaimed, "Brr! It's cold out here!"

"Like I said," I reminded him. "See? Sometimes I still know stuff."

I don't know why, but it seems especially lately I'm on a quest to prove that I'm still relevant as a parent. Aside from cooking meals and washing clothes, he can now do pretty much everything else for himself. I even left him home by himself for 10 minutes the other night while I ran to the store to get some milk after I discovered that ours was more of a chewy solid than it was a liquid. He didn't die or burn the house down. In fact, when I got home he said, "I didn't even move the whole time you were gone." And indeed, he was sitting on the couch playing Wii right where I had left him ten minutes previous.

With his 8th birthday now a mere week away, I'm struggling to get my mind around the concept that the part of parenting where he is completely dependent on me for his every physical need is over. Now comes the hard part... it falls to me to try to guide him as he develops mentally, emotionally and socially, and to help him make good choices for himself until his brain matures. Yeah, he'll still grow, but his physical development is pretty much going to take care of itself from here on out provided I remember to feed him occasionally. I'm a whole 10 years away from being the parent of a legal adult (don't get me started on whether or not 18 year olds are mentally adult).

And no, that thought does not make me want to have another one, thank you for asking.

The first freeze of winter 09-10 this morning prompted deep ponderings of how much I despise Oregon weather. At one point in the planet's orbit you have to wrap yourself in multiple layers just to keep warm, and a mere six months later you find that your skin is bubbling. I am firmly opposed to all things cold and wet, and this includes rain, snow, and animal noses (especially dogs), which means I live in entirely the wrong state, and especially the wrong part of it. Every time I look out my window in the morning and see the ground is white, it prompts thoughts of hibernation... I could totally see crawling into bed and emerging sometime in late May or early June. I mentioned that this morning to the CTG and how ill-suited for Oregon life I consider myself to be. He shrugged and said, "Lots of animals here hibernate." Well fabulous... all I gotta do is get someone to pay my bills and excuse me from work for the next six months so I can crawl into a hole until the weather is nicer.

Or alternatively, I could move back to Cuernavaca where the weather is fabulous year-round and they have way more thunderstorms. (Did I mention that even the rain in Cuernavaca is generally warm? I had never experienced warm rain until living there.)

This was the view from our bedroom window in Cuernavaca. More of this, please!

November 29, 2009

It is most assuredly NOT beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Around this time of year, many people assume (wrongly) that I don't like Christmas. I groan and cover my ears when I hear Christmas music playing and I make disparaging comments about people who already have their Christmas trees up/Christmas shopping done/houses decorated. This often gets me the "bah-humbugger" label, applied by people who haven't actually picked my brain on the subject.

Let me assure you, nothing could be farther from the truth.

In actual fact, Christmas is one of the precious few holidays that I care about at all (the other three being Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Halloween... though my love for the latter is diminishing a bit). I never liked Valentine's Day, I'm not even remotely Irish (despite the fantastic American melting pot that is my DNA) and I don't drink hardly ever, so I don't give a whooping funt about St. Patrick's Day. Easter is sort of a throwaway holiday to me... it's when the rest of the world finally gets around to celebrating something that I, as a Christian, try to celebrate every day - the resurrection of Christ. And I still don't get what rabbits and eggs are supposed to have to do with that, especially since rabbits don't lay eggs (with the notable exception of the Cadbury Bunny). I only care about New Year's in the sense that I have a legitimate excuse to stay up ridiculously late and hang out with my friends... which is another thing that I would do at any time of the year. Otherwise, hey, a brand new year... just like the last one. Big fat hairy deal.

No, I like Christmas. What I object to is the overcommercialization of Christmas. I object to the fact that Christmas has become 99% about buying stuff and 1% about being with your loved ones (and forget Christ, because we have taken him out of Xmas). I object to having Christmas goods on display as early as late September (August in Cuernavaca, which I think is funny since it doesn't even snow there). In fact, I object to the general retail practice of having your holiday goods in stock at least two months in advance of the actual holiday. Because I assure you, the day after Christmas they will start putting out stuff for Valentine's Day. And once that one is over it'll be Easter merchandise. I object to the fact that the overcommercialization has, for many people, made the holiday season more stressful than enjoyable. I object to the fact that every year my own mother stresses out because she feels like there's not enough money available for us to have a "good" Christmas. At Christmas of 2006 (right after she almost died) I told her that I thought we would all be content this year with the fact that we still have a mom. I don't think she believed me then, and I don't think she believes me still. Don't get me wrong, gifts are nice, but I won't feel Christmas was a failure if there is not a sufficient quantity of gifts under the tree or if the gifts do not add up to great enough of a cash value. I object hugely to that... if you've let your kid get the idea that Christmas sucked this year because he didn't get the $300 gift he wanted (or even the $100 gift he wanted), you and your kid both need a sound beating.

Let me repeat: Christmas is NOT ABOUT STUFF.

Christmas is about being with your loved ones, showing them you care (be that with presents or presence), getting the whole gang together and letting hilarity ensue. Christmas of 2008 in my family will forever be remembered as the Christmas that Dad tried to melt the ice in the driveway with a crab burner so Grandma and Grandpa could get their car out of the driveway. Thanksgiving of 2009 has officially been labeled "the Thanksgiving of the Coiled Crap Hound". I can't wait to see what Christmas 2009 will do... but it's not bloody Christmas yet! I mean, come on people... you just wore yourself out over one holiday! Give yourself a little down time before launching into the next one, why don't you?

I propose a two-week non-holiday period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Also that'll give me time to get my son's birthday celebrated and not have him have to deal with Christmas getting all over a day that is supposed to be about him.

So in closing, yes, I do wish you a Merry Christmas... but not for another couple of weeks, all right?

November 28, 2009

Much too young to feel this old...

That red-headed chick was working the self-checkout at Safeway again today. The Chamaco and I were going through the line, he was buying something with the $2 I had just given him for helping me return cans, and I was teaching him how to use the self-checkout machine thingie. And that girl came up to me again (she has spoken to me before) and this time she asked, "Is he your kid?"

"Yep." The Chamaco replied for me. Which I guess gives me some credibility.

The look of surprise on her face was one I have seen before, and she said in awe, "You don't look old enough to have a kid!"

Shrugging and going about my checkout, I said, "I'm twenty-seven and he'll be eight in a bit over a week."

"But you don't look twenty-seven!" she protested. "And I think I've told you that before."

"Yes you have, lady, but you telling me that doesn't magically make me the nineteen you think I look," I thought but did not say.

There are two times of year when I get a little cranky about my age. One of them is when my birthday is approaching. The other is when the Chamaco's birthday is approaching. Unfortunately the two events are only about three months apart, so just when I get over feeling old because of my birthday, it's time for his.

If you want to be technical, no, I'm not old enough to have a kid who is eight. Because that would mean I had him when I was 19, and that would just be... oh, wait a minute. I did have him when I was 19. And technically I could have had him much sooner... I mean, a friend of mine in high school gave birth when she'd been 15 for a week or two. So really, speaking in the strictest of biological senses, I am more than old enough to have a child who is on the verge of turning eight. But every time I have to add a year to his age in my head, I feel about two years older myself.

It doesn't help that he's now old enough to be capable of reminding me verbally how young I'm not. One day while we were driving in the car, a Seether song came on the radio and the Chamaco asked me, "How old is this band?"

"Well, they started in 1999, so about ten years old," I said. Because this is the sort of trivia I know about Seether.

"How about Nirvana? How old is that band?"

I thought a moment. "I'm not sure when they started, but I think they ended in 1993 when Kurt Cobain died. So at least 16 years." (And boy did that make me feel old.)

With an air of frustration, the Chamaco asked, "Do you know any bands that I'm older than?" Having to admit that I couldn't think of one off the top of my head (that both of us would know) was kind of sad for me. I felt ancient.

That being said, I know I don't look my age. People I meet and ask to guess my age usually guess somewhere around 19. The good folks down at Bi-Mart card me to buy fireworks every July (for my non-Oregon friends, you have to be 16 to buy fireworks here). And most people, upon meeting me and my sister together, assume she is older (she is eight years younger). Still, sometimes I feel like a real dinosaur. I'm sure it's something psychological. But the good news is that I'll be 37 when the Chamaco graduates high school. If I avoid having any more children maybe I'll get to have another go at that being a teenager thing that I never really did the first time around.

In unrelated news, I talked to Smiley Dick today, which is something I try to avoid. I couldn't help but notice two things... he has shaved off all his hair, and he was smoking a cigarette. I was surprised by both, because he is fond of his hair and he had led me to believe that he quit smoking. So I asked him, "When did you start that up again?"

"This?" he asked me, waving the cigarette about. "You're presuming that I actually stopped."

"Well, yes, because you told me you had quit," I pointed out.

"No more so than you'd quit eating chocolate," he said.

I refrained from pointing out how retarded of a statement that was for a few reasons. First, I didn't want to continue the conversation. Second, I don't actually eat chocolate hardly at all. And third, most people aren't addicted to chocolate, thus they don't need to "quit" chocolate, and nobody notices if they don't have chocolate for a month or two and then they start back up again... and as excited as he was when he "quit" smoking, you could tell it was a big deal to him. I don't expect to get a text from him telling me that he's "quit" eating chocolate. Also nobody thinks it odd if a kid starts eating chocolate when he's 11 (other than maybe it's weird he didn't do it sooner). But one of the things I'm getting really good at with Smiley Dick is learning when to just smile and walk away so I don't have to have these arguments which will make him shake his head at me in that despairing fashion of his, as though I am just so unbelievably stupid because I cannot grasp his higher-level wisdom.

There's a reason we're divorced.

Song o' the Day: "Bitter Taste" by Three Days Grace. (In honor of S.D. Go look up the lyrics.)

Quote o' the Day: "Something awkward just happened in my kitchen!"
"Just so you know, Damian and Mindy are in bed. He's showing her how to use the force."

Really I should have switched those two around, because the latter quote was what led to the former. :-)

November 27, 2009

Creation appreciation...

And a big thanks to "Barney" for reminding me of this hilarious term that I haven't heard in quite some time.

I read an article once about how Church of Christ lingo sounds odd to non-members (I wish I could remember where I read that and what terms it said were odd). And I am just imagining to myself a conversation in which I try to explain to Wong the meaning of the term "creation appreciation" and how ridiculous he will think it is. I'm giggling now just thinking of it (but then, this often happens to me when thinking about Wong, because he happens to be one of my favorite creations to appreciate).

So anyway, following up on the spirit of Thanksgiving, I've decided to provide an illustrated list of my favorite creations to appreciate... with the exclusion of Wong, because he doesn't like to give me pictures of himself. (If you're reading this, cariño, know that you're only left off the list because you like to torment me by not giving me pictures. So there, butt-head.)

Creation #1: Shaun Morgan
Now here is a creation I could appreciate all day.... This particular creation is appreciated quite a bit on my bedroom walls. And then there's the green guitar, the voice, the sense of humor.... it's not all about looks, you know!

Creation #2: Perttu Kivilaakso
Because cellos are sexy, cellists are sexy, and cellists who play metal music and beat on their cello with the bow and run about the stage holding aloft an instrument with a 2 foot spike on it are triply sexy. Also Perttu can rock the top hat, which is one of those difficult hats to rock. You must be a real man to wear the top hat, otherwise the top hat wears you.

Creation #3: Cristiano Migliore
Sense a pattern developing? Long haired foreign musician types seem to do it for me. Anyway, this one's Italian (the previous two were South African and Finnish, if you're wondering), he's a guitarist, and I really don't care that his nose is that big. (Sister-sibling and I were discussing this subject in the car earlier. She is opposed to Italian noses.) Note, that's a seven-string guitar he's holding. The guitar is also quite sexy.

Creation #4: Brandon Lee
Sadly, this is the only creation on my list who is actually dead now. Still, The Crow is high on my list of favorite movies, mostly because this guy here plays the part well.

Creation #5: Batman (the Terry McGinnis incarnation)
This is mostly a bonus creation, but I love this character. He's not bad looking for a cartoon guy, but the sense of humor is the clincher. I like the way the guy thinks. Also the new batsuit is way cool. The Chamaco and I have been watching a ton of Batman Beyond lately (someone needs to get me the second season for Christmas... hint hint!).

Creation #6: The CTG
Yes, he has a name. No, I won't mention it here. No, I do not have a picture (more's the pity). But he's married anyway. Still, he's often the highlight of my Wednesday mornings. Nothing wrong with appreciating God's creation a little, right? :-)

Song o' the Day: "Breath" by  Breaking Benjamin. Yes, I'm on a Breaking Benjamin kick.

Video 'o the Day: Today you get a two-fer. Look here and here. Both of these make me ridiculously happy.

November 26, 2009


I think that must be British for "Happy Thanksgiving", but it's hard to tell some days. ;-)

(Note: "Hiohhhhhh!" should be read as sort of a ninja yell. I have a sound file but I don't know how to add it to the blog.)

So, Thanskgiving... commence the obligatory blog on stuff I'm thankful for.

1. Wong, in all his "hiohhhhhh"-ing British silliness.
2. My large, crazy, extended functional/dysfunctional family.
3. My larger, crazier, even more extended functional/dysfunctional church family.
4. The spiders, for staying out of my bathtub until after I'd showered today.
5. Having a house with heat this winter. I'm loving it.
6. Humans with deranged minds... I'm thinking mostly of the guys who made "Monty Python" and the guys who made "Eating Raoul" here.
7. My coworkers (especially Lorena, who always makes me laugh) and my "other 17 kids", for helping me not take life too seriously. ("Soy un tiger! Rawr!")
8. Seether, Nirvana, Lacuna Coil, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, and all the other purveyors of the loud stuff that keeps me going from day to day.
9. The makers of Diet Coke.
10. The CTG, for making my Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays a bit more bearable.
11. Eleanore, for the best turkey I've ever had at lunch yesterday. You rock.

November 24, 2009

Blog not moving after all!

It didn't take me real long to figure out that I don't like WordPress that much at all. So I shut that one down, and now I am back here and plan to stay. :-)

Had the Chamaco's conference today. Academically he's fine. Behaviorally... he's seven. His teacher and I discussed our plans to secure his coat to his body with a staple gun. No, just kidding, but I got the impression that his teacher was about to consider something drastic. She suggested sending him to school without it and letting him freeze, in that sort of "I'm joking but I wish I were serious" way. Who knew a kid could be so obnoxious with a coat?

Most shocking to me was the fact that he had perfect attendance this trimester... 54 out of 54 days, he was in class like a good little monkey. I don't think that's ever happened before.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get to have a nice chat with the CTG tomorrow morning since I haven't hardly seen him in a couple of weeks... sad! This having a life thing does not leave much time in my schedule for stalking gas station attendants.

And for those of you who missed the announcement over on the other, short-lived blog, I am back on Facebook in a limited sort of way. No games, no silly time-wasting survey things (unless someone is in the hospital and I'm killing time in the waiting room or something, maybe)... just I post a status message, read yours, then I go buh-bye. Don't invite me to join your mafia, 'cause I won't. Nor will I tend your farm.

Song o' the Day: "So Cold" by Breaking Benjamin. I highly recommend seeing the video for this song here if you missed it because you didn't read the other blog. I do love a good music video, and this is one of those cool ones that sort of tells a story but leaves a lot of unanswered questions. (Like, what did that dude do to get into this situation?)

Bonus Song o' the Day: You get an extra today since the other is actually yesterday's and was posted on the other blog. Today's song is actually "Without You" by Three Days Grace. It's from their new album that came out in September called Life Starts Now, and it's actually a very good album. And I like the cover art.

November 22, 2009

Blog Moving...

So, the whole colorful cast of characters (Wong, the CTG, Caveman Fred, Emo Steve, etc.) and I are moving to a new blog site I'm trying out for a while to see if I like it better. If I don't, I'll be back. You can follow our adventures on the new blog at:

Go there. There's a good link to a music video. And there'll be more good stuff later when I'm awake, I promise. Oh, also a news bulletin of interest to at least four of you will be posted shortly.

November 19, 2009

Teenagers need soccer!

(Note: Those of you whose eyes glaze over when I talk about languages - I'm looking at you, Wong/Muffinhead - should skip down to where you see the asterisks. There's cool stuff after that point and I'd hate for you to miss it because your eyes have glazed over.)

So today I was down in the basement of the SR center and I saw a pair of posters on the wall... the English version proclaiming, "Teenagers need calcium!" (why we have this in a preschool, I'm not sure) and its Spanish twin, "Los adolescentes necesitan calcio!" And I burst into hysterical giggles, because I'm a language nerd.

Perhaps I should explain.

"Calcio", which means "calcium" in Spanish, also happens to mean "soccer" in Italian (though it does mean "calcium" as well... I'm sure that would be confusing if we made an Italian poster to go with the other two).

For those of you who are curious (probably none of you, but oh well), the Italian name for soccer, "calcio", comes from the verb "calciare", which means "to kick". "Calcio" in Italian is also a noun in the sense of "a kick", as in "I gave him a swift calcio in the rear." I find this a bit less sensible than Spanish, which calls soccer "futbol" (foot + ball... not that complicated).

Really the ones who don't make sense are us Americans. (And that sentence.) Where do we get off calling it "soccer" when the entire rest of the world is pretty much calling it "football" (or at least nouning a verb related to kicking)? I mean, even in German - one of the weirder languages I've been exposed to - the game is called "Fußbol". (That weird B thingie sounds like an S, for those of you who don't speak German.)

And now for an end to the lingustic maundering and a beginning to me saying something slightly meaningful.


This afternoon I spent some time under an umbrella with a three year old girl that I don't particularly like. Sure, she can be sweet when she wants to be, but usually if I come home from work wanting to shake a child, she's the one.

It bears mentioning that we were indoors. Sitting on the floor. Under an umbrella.

"It's raining really fast!" she said to me. And she looked up at the umbrella, the and in the light filtering down through the ladybug pattern I could see that she had that look in her eyes... the one that adults don't get anymore unless they've been doing hallucinogenics. It's that look little kids get when they're seeing something you can't see. For her, it really was raining fast in that room.

"Wow, looks like it's raining pretty hard," I commented. "Is it making lots of puddles?"

"Yes," she said. "And mud. You better get on the chair so your butt doesn't get wet."

I got in the chair. Her hugely pregnant mother scowled at me for the ease with which I got off the floor. And the little girl climbed in my lap and held the umbrella over our heads, and together we watched the rain.

November 18, 2009

Stuff you learn from three year olds....

Probably I've made mention of Yeymi before. She's one of my favorite small people. She does not speak English, per se, though she is learning rather rapidly. This being the case, she tends to stick pretty close to me as I am our center's designated speaker of español. She is also hugely introverted... when we go to play outside her first impulse is to sit down at a table and watch everyone else with those big brown eyes of hers. We're supposed to try to get them to interact with others, so usually it falls to me to get her away from that table, which is fine. First I taught her to go down slides... the first several times I had to hold on to her all the way down. (Good thing the slides are short, 'cause tall I ain't.) Then I had to promise to catch her at the bottom, and even then she would hesitate a good long while at the top, deciding whether or not she really trusted me to catch her. Then she started doing it by herself. Then she wanted to climb up the slide, but she kept slipping and many, many times exclaimed, "Me voy a caer!" (I'm going to fall!) So I had to teach her to use the soles of her shoes rather than her knees. And now she climbs slides. And now we're working on the monkey bars. And that is all well and good, but I taught her something way cooler today.

All our kids  have a journal, and their name is printed across the top of every page. The instructions we give them every day are, "Write your name any way you want, and then draw a picture." Some of them don't actually write their names, but some of them are three so that's okay. Yeymi is a very young three, and usually she just draws pictures. Then yesterday at journal time I was sitting next to her and I asked her if she wanted to write her name and she said she didn't know how. So I held her little hand in mine, she held the marker, and I guided her hand to make the letters. And it dawned on me... She's been sitting there all these weeks staring at those letters, and no one has showed her how to form them. As adults, we take writing the letter Y for granted, but when you're three that's kind of a daunting letter, getting all those lines to connect up right, and she's got two of those suckers in her name! And then what about the lower case "e"? And the "m"? (She was all over the "i", though... that one was easy.) It never occured to me that she might just be sitting there waiting for someone to come along and guide her... "Okay, this is how you do Y..."

So today we get out the journals and the very first thing Yeymi does is look at me and go, "Ayúdame!" (Help me!) So I sat down by her and held her little hand in mine again (she is so tiny!) and we did one page with me guiding her hand to make the letters in her name. Then she said she wanted to do another one, so we turned to a clean page and this time I held her hand but I didn't guide her. I was just reassuringly there. And she made the Ys by herself. I had to help her a little with the "e" and the "m", and she did the "i". And she said, "Quiero hacer otro!" (I want to do another one!) So we got a new page, and I held her hand but didn't guide her. And she did the whole thing. The "m" and "e" were a little funky, but not at all bad for being three years and five months old. I could recognize them. And she wanted to do it again. And the next time I didn't even hold her hand and she wrote her name. And she ran off to play (because by that time everyone else was done), and I'm sitting there looking at her little book thinking to myself, "I just taught a kid to write her name."

And so I put the date on the pages she did and put the book away and wondered where she went. Usually she likes to do puzzles (she's a pretty smart little kid), and I expected her to be there, but no... today she was at the writing table, marker in hand, busily writing away. I'd never seen her at the writing table before... usually those four chairs are pretty coveted and she's not pushy enough or big enough to fight for one. I asked her what she was doing and she said, "Estoy haciendo una carta para mi mamá, porque ahora sé escribir." (I'm making a letter for my mom, because I know how to write now.) So I left her to it and moved on to make a train with Angel, and pretty soon Yeymi was there tugging on the hem of my shirt. She just wanted to inform me that she had finished the letter and put it in her cubby to take home, and I said okay and she started playing with trains.

So later I went and peeked at the letter in her cubby because I'm nosy. She had put a few scribbles and a drawing on her "letter", and without looking at anything had done a pretty good approximation of her name at the bottom. And I was thinking to myself, "Man, what is her mom going to say when she sees this? The kid's been in preschool for all of two months and today she brings home a 'letter' with her name written at the bottom. Her mom's gonna cry." And I almost wanted to cry, because my little baby (all 17 of them are my babies) had gone in one afternoon from thinking she couldn't write her name to believing she could write a whole letter to her mom.

It makes me wonder... how many doors would open up to reveal whole new worlds for us, even as adults, if rather than just putting a task in front of us and saying "do this", someone would take the time to sit down and guide us once or twice before letting us fly solo.  Would we also go from thinking we'd been given an impossible task to believing we could do above and beyond the task before us?

And I wonder how often we get impatient with people who are struggling to do something they've never been properly shown how to do. Maybe that chick who can't get your order down right at McDonald's is struggling because she was never given a proper tutorial on that touchscreen thing... I used to hate those. Especially since the management kept moving things around. You'd learn where something was and then one day it wouldn't be there anymore, and nobody would have told you where it had gone to. Or you're a dinner hour worker normally, and then they ask you to come in and work breakfast and they get annoyed with you because you don't know where anything is on the stupid touchscreen. (Have some pity on your fast food workers, people... the job is beyond sucky, especially at McDonald's.) And I know a lot of the parents at our center were baffled at first by the sign in/sign out book. There'd be a line of increasingly impatient parents forming behind the one mom who was hesitating, trying to figure out where she needed to write what, and finally I'd go over and ask if she needed help and she'd nod, and I'd show her, and then try not to smile as the two parents behind her watching over her shoulder realize that they've been doing it wrong (quickly, yes, but still wrong).

Since I started working here, I've started seeing the world through the eyes of a three or four year old in little glimpses. I'm taking field trips back to the time when you could just decide that you were going to be Ariel for the rest of the day, when a red wagon could be a bus, and when a climbing structure was a pirate ship... when learning to spell your four-letter name was a HUGE accomplishment (I'm thinking of another one of my three year olds there... Cloe was forgetting the L for a while). And suddenly I'm remembering back to a time when I used to spend entire days making myself Ninja Turtle costumes out of crepe paper and scotch tape and probably driving my mom bonkers. I remember when a windstorm knocked over our apple tree in that nice, pulling-half-the-roots-out-of-the-ground fashion, and once the tree had been cut away and only the tilted over stump remained, the stump became the "turtle van" and the hole where the roots had formerly been was "the sewers".

I miss those days big time. But now for the confessional section....

I suffer from chronic overactive imagination. I played those "let's pretend" games well into my teens. Then I went from acting everything out to just playing out the scenes in my head. That nearly drove me nuts, though, so now I write it down. I have scores of half-written epics on my hard drive... characters I invented, played with for a while, and then got bored with and abandoned. There is always a story going on in my head during any moment of the day in which nobody is actually speaking to me or demanding that I do something, and it usually gets written down in the evenings. Even now, as an adult, I suffer from a very shaky grasp on "reality" and sometimes for me the fantasy/reality line is a very blurry thing. This is why I don't like to watch movies. I don't need someone else's fantasy... I've got plenty of my own. In some ways I'm a three year old functioning as an adult (at least I think I'm functioning as an adult, but due to that fantasy/reality problem, I'm never completely sure). And now I throw song lyrics at you:

Don't bother pretending I seem fine
I like that I'm a mess
I can't stand much longer in my head
But it's not time for a bullet yet...
("So-So Suicide" by Finger Eleven)

November 17, 2009

Bragging on my kid....

Tonight was "Family Math Night" at the Chamaco's school, which I wrangled to get out of having to go to work tonight so we could go to. Turned out to be a very positive thing.

Aside from getting free pizza for dinner, the Chamaco played a lot of math games and won raffle tickets. Then he participated in the second grade math competition and kicked serious butt!

Okay, yeah, I know... they're kids, it's all in fun. But let me say this: Given a sheet with 100 addition facts to do in 3 minutes or less, my kid can do them all in about a minute and a half and only missed one problem (probably carelessness from going so fast). He was pretty excited, though, and he won a $5 gift card to Blockbuster. And then later one of his raffle tickets got drawn and he was given a $5 gift card to Safeway as well. So he had a fantastically thrilling night and he's already plotting what he's going to buy.

As for me, I had agreed about a month ago over email to participate in something called a "Quiz of the Obvious", which I was told was something where they asked you questions that seemed like the answers were obvious but they really weren't. Among the other adults competing were the school principal, a few teachers, and a handful of parents. There were 10 questions. I got 9 of them right, and that was enough to win. Second place got 8 (go you, Bjorn!). So I'm supposed to be getting some sort of prize too (probably a gift card) but silly math specialist guy sort of forgot and gave my prize away as a raffle prize, so he said he'd get it to me later. Fortunately the school knows where to find me. The questions were things like, "Which of these sentences is correct: 'The yolk of an egg is white' or 'The yolk of an egg are white'." The answer of course being "neither, egg yolks are yellow." Stuff like that. Two of the parents accused me of being "a teacher or something", and after the quiz kept calling me over to explain to them the correct answers of the questions. It was fabulously Molalla.

So anyway, thank you Lisa for letting me wriggle out of doing childcare at Sandy Ridge/Estacada's Family Night tonight and go do something meaningful with my kid instead. :-)

November 16, 2009


Just a short thought this morning.... has anyone else noticed how we are "anti-" everything anymore?

I mean, start with your hand soap, which I'm pretty sure is anti-bacterial if you live in the United States (and probably other parts of the world too). Speaking of things that are anti-bacterial, likely your dish soap is, your toilet/bathroom cleanser is, and any sort of spray cleaner you use to wipe down surfaces in your kitchen is likely to be anti-bacterial as well. Because heaven forbid that our spoiled American immune systems should have to work by having to cope with any of those harmless bacteria (and do they really think you're going to be down there licking the inside of your toilet bowl or what?).

I got some new soap for use in the shower the other day that is not only anti-bacterial, but also claims to be loaded with anti-oxidants which will "help protect my skin against damaging free-radicals that have been shown to be a cause of cancer". I sort of missed the sixties, but I thought the worst the free-radicals were going to do was get you stoned/pregnant. Nice to know they've apparently progressed on to causing cancer... I'd hate to see them unemployed like everyone else. Fortunately, they apparently hate the scent of cranberries. Speaking of which, I got two bars of that soap out in the shower... one lower down for the Chamaco, and one higher up for me. Our entire bathroom smells like anti-oxidant cranberries, and it's the first thing you smell when you come up the stairs. I guess there are worse things.

And then there's that word, "anti-oxidant". "Anti-" is a standard prefix in English generally accepted to mean "against" or "preventing". "Oxidant", however, looks more akin to "oxide" and "oxidization", which are fancy words for "rust". So following that logic, an "oxidant" would be something that causes rust. Therefore, I fully trust that my anti-oxidant soap will prevent my skin from rusting. Thanks, Dial! I was really worried about that skin rust. (Cancer is not a bad thing to avoid either.)

Then there's all those cool drugs you can take nowadays... anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, anti-inflammatories, anti-acids, anti-histamines, anti-podeans... (I just threw that last one in there to see if you were paying attention. An "antipodean" is someone who lives on the opposite side of the earth, and I've heard the term applied to Australians.) But really, what are all our depressants, psychotics, inflammatories, histamines and acids going to do with themselves now that we're all so violently in contro and throwing pills at them right and left? I know a few psychotics, at least, who are going to be standing in the unemployment line.

Have a heart... don't be an anti-psychotic. Lots of psychotics are merely misunderstood and are in dire need of loving homes. But be sure to have your psychotic spayed or neutered, because you wouldn't want that thing breeding!

November 15, 2009

Public apology...

Hey, so yeah, turns out Barney's an A.D.D. kid too and saw a shiny thing and just sort of left the conversation hanging at an awkward point. Sorry Barney. :-) I love you, you love me, right?

The brand new stupidest thing anyone has ever said to me....

This must be a red-letter day! You guys get a new alias to guess at, and I got to marvel once more at how dumb my fellow humans can be sometimes. Aren't we lucky? :-)

Meet Barney, so named because he is often in the company of many children (but without the creepiness of having a giant purple dinosaur head). Barney came up to me this afternoon and said, "So we were going to invite the Chamaco to (other kid's) birthday party, but you're not on Facebook anymore." (Naturally I have left out Other Kid's name, because that would make Barney readily identifiable.)

I wasn't sure I had heard him correctly. Of all the stupid reasons! Okay, first off, that sounded kind of like a diss. "You're not on Facebook anymore, therefore your kid isn't cool enough to have at our kid's party." Or maybe, "Since you're not on Facebook anymore, it was too inconvenient to contact you to ask if your child could come to our child's birthday party, because phone-dialing/emailing would have been required." And probably it's more a case of the latter, which is equally retarded and here's why: I know Barney has a cell phone. He's always carrying the thing around. Phones call people, and I do believe that Barney's particular phone does internet as well. His phone likely emails people. Secondly, my phone number/email address are readily available in the church's phone directory, of which everyone received a copy at the beginning of the year. I pointed out to Barney that they have these things with buttons on them called phones, which can be used to contact other human beings, and of course he pulled his out to show me that it in fact does not have buttons. It has a touchscreen. So does mine. I can still call people. Nice try though, Barney.

I remarked upon this before in my now-defunct MySpace blog (that blog in fact was the beginning of my withdrawing from MySpace/Facebook), but I want to know when humans (in particular Americans) got so afraid of not being in constant contact with the rest of the world 24/7. I'm only 27 years old, not old by any stretch of the imagination, and I can remember a time when all phones had buttons. Furthermore, all phones were stationary objects attached to the walls in your house. Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet (ha ha!), email didn't exist (for that matter, neither did Facebook and MySpace), we listened to music on these rectangular pieces of plastic called "cassette tapes" that we shoved inside a large box called a "cassette player" or a smaller, portable box called a "Walkman", and if someone called your house and you weren't home, the phone would just ring there by itself until they got bored and hung up. And they called back later if they still wanted whatever they wanted the first time they called. And surprsingly, the planet kept chugging along in its path around the sun, spinning merrily away on its axis with a 35 degree tilt, and we actually found ways to keep in touch with the people we cared about. Sometimes we sent letters. On paper. Via a system called "the United States Postal Service". (Speaking of them, I bet those guys really wish you still remembered how to do that, because they're hurting for business.)

But back to my original point, there is absolutely no reason on earth that Barney couldn't have gotten a hold of me if he'd actually wanted to. Be real here.

And then someone else came up to me asking if I'd add her again as a friend on Facebook because her Facebook crashed and she lost a bunch of her friends and I told her I wasn't on Facebook anymore and the look of shock on her face was priceless. And then I had to explain to her why. *sigh* Kids these days... So I'm going to send out some emails here in a bit to people who seem to have found it fantastically hard to contact me without Facebook, and if you're reading this because you got one of those... congratulations! You remembered how we used to do stuff prior to Facebook!

Probably I'm too young to be this nostalgic, but I kind of miss the 80s, and even the early 90s. My family got internet in 1996, and it ate Caveman Fred not too long thereafter. I still remember that fateful afternoon when Caveman Fred came home, tossed me an envelope and said, "Here, I got this from the phone company. It's called internet. Install it and make it work." (Like most kids born after 1980, I heard things like that a lot from my parents.)

Seriously, though... if Facebook and MySpace are what is representative of society today, I withdraw my membership. There's more to life than Mafia Wars and FarmTown, people! (Hey Wong! Does that statement earn me a spot under your rock?)

November 13, 2009

Brokeneck Baby....

So today I got to spend 7 1/4 hours in various trainings for my place of employment. I put trainings right on the same level as meetings.... horrid. A few interesting things did come out of it, though.

The CORE trainer for the CDL classes is a former bus driver of mine. She was telling about her experiences driving a route in the MRSD fondly known as the "route from hell", and I asked, "Hey, was that my route?"

"Route 11?" she asked.

I nodded. "Sawtell Road?"

"Yep," she said. And as we discussed the years in which she drove the route, which corresponded roughly to my sixth and seventh grade years, I realized I did in fact remember her, but she looked much younger in my memory. Which I suppose is understandable, since it was 16 years ago. I probably looked younger then too. I told her, "This is how you would remember me." I then proceeded to put my headphones on, cover my head with my hood, and hunch down in my seat, making myself appear to be nothing more than a black blob. I told her I usually would sit as close to the front as possible. She said she didn't remember me. I told her that was the idea. I vividly remember trying very hard to be invisible on that bus. It's good to know it worked at least some of the time.

Later in the afternoon I got to go to a first aid class, which was pretty much exactly the same as every other first aid class I've taken except for two things: The trainer and the Brokeneck Baby.

The trainer was a man who in this blog I shall call Busdriver Bob. Busdriver Bob has a mullet. But not just any mullet, mind you. His is business in front and a drunken party in back. What I mean by that is that the back is long and pulled back into a ponytail, except for this little halo circle of hair around the base of the ponytail that is short and curly. I'm not sure what look he was going for, but he missed. By a lot.

And then there was the Brokeneck Baby. Since there were eight students in class today, we were divided into four pairs and each pair was given an "adult" CPR dummy and a "baby" CPR dummy. I was paired with Robyn, and Robyn and I got the Brokeneck Baby. All the CPR dummies have the heads that you can tilt back and lift the chin so as to practice opening the airway. Our baby, however, had a head that lolled oddly to the side and had a black piece of metal sticking out through its rubbery flesh. It also had a bit of black metal sticking out of the side of its left leg, but that was covered up by the little red pair of shorts it wore and not nearly as disturbing as the broken neck. Robyn and I tried valiantly, but we decided that the Brokeneck Baby could not be revived. The adult dummy, however, went on to make a full recovery and will no doubt be used in other classes in the future.

Oh, and the other fun thing about the baby dummy was that we got to tear its face off. Because each of us had our own personal, sterilized rubber face to put on the baby dummy. First you had to shove the plastic "lung" back in its skull cavity through the little hole, then you had to fit the "face" on top of it, and then practice breathing while covering both the mouth and nostrils and no doubt if this were not a drill you'd be getting baby boogers in your mouth. 'Cause babies gots mucho boogers... even the unresponsive, non-breathing ones. The adult dummies just had a nose and mouth that came off and the rest of the face was hard molded plastic.

Speaking of which, one of the dummies revenged me... no doubt for cracking its sternum during the chest compressions. But we were supposed to be practicing the Heimlich, which was difficult since the dummies weren't made for that and were actually quite solidly plastic about the abdomen. While I was holding the dummy close and trying to save it from choking my jamming my fist into its diaphragm, it got its vengeance by flipping its heavy plastic head back (remember the open airway thing?) and clocking me right on the bridge of the nose. I may actually have a black eye tomorrow... it was a pretty solid hit. Still a little tender. Nobody noticed that event, though, and I didn't say anything.

Last detail - it was flippin' cold in that room. The thermostat was set at 66 and it was locked, so we got to freeze in there for 3 1/4 hours.

November 11, 2009

Situational updates...

I haven't had anything happen to me recently that would cause me to say anything profound, and I've been busy with mind-numbingly boring things not conducive to creative thought, so I figured I'd just hit the highlights of the last couple of days lest someone should wonder if I died. (This goes double for those of you who attend the same church as me and might have noticed that I rather stealthily did not attend this evening.)

FACTOID #1 - My dad (hereafter referred to in this blog as Caveman Fred, due to his tendency to joke about how he misses brontosaurus steaks) had surgery today to correct achalasia, which as I understand it is when your esophagus is not straight like it's supposed to be, but is instead all twisty and baggy and it makes it difficult to swallow things. Like food. So anyway, he had the surgery, so far as I know he's doing okay and he'll be out of the hospital Friday, but he's on a pureé diet for I think four weeks... he gon' be skinny!

FACTOID #2 - I've been told I'm teaching my own English class Saturday. Ugh. Five weeks... Next term if I teach, I want something other than beginners. I am still not real pleased with the situation there, but I'm now thinking it has more to do with certain people who can't make up their minds than it does with the class itself.

FACTOID #3 - Speaking of classes, I'm head teacher again tomorrow. Nancy's going to a funeral which doesn't start until 1. I wanna know who the heck has a funeral on Thursday afternoon anyway? So it should be a long and very tiring day, which will followed by Friday, a day that promises to be even longer and more tiring. Friday, you see, I have a 4 hour training from 8-12 as part of getting my CDL, then I have another 4 hour training from 1-5 (first aid). So if I drive real quick, I might get back in time for Damian's bus, which generally drops him off here at 5:45-ish. Yay.

FACTOID #4 - Working all the time kinda sucks... it is taking me ridiculously long to finish Guitar Hero 5. Still not even half done. But with parent/teacher conference season upon us, I am translating an increasing amount and will be interpreting next Monday and Tuesday after work. And my primary employer has been kind enough to supply me with lots of things I can do at home and/or on Fridays... I want my freakin' Fridays back, people!

FACTOID #5 - 3 plants repotted... so far none have died. Freaky!

FACTOID #6 - I'm feeling very warm and fuzzy toward Wong lately... bless his little English Muffin heart. ;-) Less so toward Emo Steve. Haven't had time lately to chat much with the CTG, which saddens me greatly, and have been mostly managing to avoid Smiley Dick... score! I think that covers all my aliases for the day.

FACTOID #7 - I have been blessed/cursed with a child who doesn't believe me when I announce that for my next trick I shall need music and dirt. Then he acts all surprised when I walk in with a bag of dirt. Silly Chamaco.

FACTOID #8 - Killed an organism that was growing in the floor in the backseat of my car today. I think it started life as mold, but it was mutating horribly while feeding on Cheese Nip crumbs and Capri Sun.

FACTOID #9 - I was hoping not to have to resort to this, but I'm now moderating comments after somebody tried to use my blog to sell Nikes. If your comment is, you know, a real comment, I'll leave it alone. I'm very opposed to spam advertising, however.

FACTOID #10 - I'm taking out the music player. Instead, I'll just put down on every blog a song I think you ought to run off and listen to if you get a chance. Today's pick is "Supermassive Black Hole" by Muse, which I loved a lot more before the lunch lady called it "that song from Twilight" and told me it's the song playing when the vampires are playing baseball. That kind of ruins it for me, so I'll probably have to wait a while before listening to it again. You might like it, however.

November 10, 2009

3's and 9's...

(Smile if you got the obscure musical reference there. Getting it would probably require either too much time spent playing Guitar Hero III or an extensive knowledge of Queens of the Stone Age. Either way, pat yourself on the back.)

Anyhow, as I made mention of yesterday (or two days ago, if you want to cruelly point out that it's 1 a.m. and I'm not asleep yet) I went through Damian's room and cleaned it out yesterday (or the day before. Whatever). What I did not mention is that under the table in his room I found one lone domino, nine dots on one end and three on the other.

What, you ask, is at all significant about a stupid domino? Well, in and of itself, nothing. I left the domino on the bathroom counter because I was in a hurry to leave for church, and the bathroom counter is my usual transfer point between upstairs and downstairs. Mindful of my grandma's admonition to "make your head save your feet", I generally stockpile things that need to go up/downstairs in central locations, and take the whole pile whenever I think of it. The "to go downstairs" pile is on the bathroom counter, because that is a place I'm likely to visit during the day.

This morning I was in the bathroom brushing my hair and the Chamaco was in there brushing his teeth, and the domino was still on the counter. He glances at it and goes, "Hey, twelve!" And it just blew my mind. Here's why: I look at that same domino and I see 3 and 9.... the parts that make up the whole, not the whole itself. And yes, I am a detail person... can't see the forest for the trees and all that. I am most assuredly not a big picture person, I live almost entirely in the here and now, and future planning of any kind - even what I'm doing tomorrow night - is a stretch for me. And I look at the domino and I see 3 and 9. The Chamaco, on the other hand, looks at that same domino and the first thing out of his mouth is "twelve". Not only does he add pretty good for being seven-nearly-eight, but he immediately latched on to the big picture (as it pertains to a rather small domino). He doesn't see the parts, he sees the whole. And now that I think about it, he is generally more date-aware than I am... he's more likely to know what day it is and how many days it is until a major event of some sort.

I thought this would make an interesting psychological test, so I stuck the domino in my pocket and took it to work with me. I told Nancy I was going to show her something and that she should say the first word that popped into her head after "domino", assuming that would be the first one. Then I showed her the domino. She said, "dots". This possibly means she is even less math-oriented than me, though I don't see how that could even be possible really. So later I altered the test and told the subject to say the first number that came into her head, then showed her the domino. She said, "three", and then later confessed she said three because she couldn't remember as quickly how many dots were in that particular configuration on the other end. Someone needs to play more Mexican Train. Or drink fewer energy drinks. ;-)

So, readers, here's my first participation survey of the blog... If I were to show you a domino (not necessarily a 3/9, but just any domino) would you notice first how many dots were on one or both ends, or would you notice first the cumulative total of dots? Go ahead and leave your answers in the comments. Could be interesting. :-)

November 8, 2009

An absence of profundity...

Yeah, that's right... I've nothing at all meaningful to say today. Woo hoo! So here is a brief summary of my accomplishments today.

1.) Was not late for church. Either time.

2.) Ran into my high school principal/English teacher at O.C. McDonald's. Invited her to eat with me and Damian. Damian lost interest quickly, finished his food and went to play in the PlayPlace while she and I spent a long time catching up. She has 3 kids now, who are actually her step-kids. I find that ironic, since she was very militantly single 10 years ago. (And she was the one who taught me that if a guy is attractive, that means he's either gay, married, or too old/young. I reminded her of that, and she laughed. She is also the one who taught me the proper way to kill someone with scissors.)

3.) Found purple flowerpots at Bi-Mart for my polka-dot plants that not only survived in my care, but bloomed like crazy all summer long and have outgrown their original containers. I shall see if I can kill them by attempting to re-pot them. That usually works.

4.) Bought a 2010 calendar. Before January. Usually I buy them after January 5th when they go on sale, but I found one I liked and it was only $6.99 anyway.

5.) Made good on my bad-cop-parent threat (I've told him repeatedly that if he didn't clean the room, I was going to do it and stuff was going to disappear) and gutted Damian's room while he wasn't home. Got rid of many toys that have been lurking in the bottom of his toybox since he was two that he's probably never even seen and will never miss, and rearranged his furniture. I thought he was going to be upset ('cause I would be if someone went through my stuff and threw a bunch of it away), but he seemed rather pleased, came into my room and hugged me and told me I did a good job. Strange child. But that clears the way for new stuff from his birthday and Christmas, both of which are next month. (groan!) (Note to relatives: Buy him small things. Or give him money or something.)

6.) Played Aztec Tribe for a while. That game reminds me very much of the original Warcraft game (back before it was World of...) with the little orcs or trolls or whatever they were that would enthusiastically reply, "Zug zug!" to any command you gave them and then work industriously to build... whatever it was they built. Pig farms or something. Wow, that was a long time ago.

November 7, 2009


Why oh why does the CTG not work on Saturdays? Because if there was a day I needed him to brighten my mood, today was it.

I was doing really good before I left the house. Even my hair was good today. But then of course I stepped outside, the wind/rain ruined my hair before I got to the car, and I just accepted that the messy look is "in" and went about my business.

Without knowing exactly who is reading this (since either nobody is reading it, nobody has anything to say about it, or people simply don't know how the comment button works), I am reluctant to go into specifics about where the morning went wrong. I'll just say that I suppose I should be used to being replaced by younger, prettier, more air-headed women by now and leave it at that. But it put me in a pretty foul mood for the rest of the day, and griping with Paula about the over-commercialization of the holidays was good, but not as good as the CTG would have been.

And so my family had "Thanksgiving" today. My dad is having surgery Wednesday and won't be able to eat solid food for probably at least 6 weeks afterward, so we decided to go ahead and have it so he wouldn't have to miss out. So after English class and my little rant session with Paula, I went up to my parents' house. I was there for close to six hours, which is way beyond my tolerances anymore, apparently. Not only is it really boring, but my dad won't turn on the heat so I was bored and frozen and cranky. Yay.

Finally got home about 8:30 p.m., turned on my own heat so it will get toasty warm in here. Curled up for a conversation with Wong, which would be way better if it wasn't for the pesky North American Continent/Atlantic Ocean separating us, talked to Tyha, and now I think I'm going to go to bed so today will be done, and maybe tomorrow will be better.

Also I'm having a go at growing my own ornamental pepper plant from seeds. I just planted it tonight. If anything actually sprouts, I'll post pics.

November 6, 2009

Aporkalypse (n): The end of the world brought about by swine.

So now I'd like you all to remember back with me a few months to April of this year, when nobody had heard of H1N1 (a.k.a. "swine flu") yet and we were living in blissful ignorance. Yeah, them were the days.

Since then, the human population seems to have gotten collectively stupider. All the world around me is freaking out... "H1N1" this and "swine flu" that and "vaccine shortage" the other. And it seems like I am one of the few left standing who recognizes the wussification of America.

I mean, let's be real here, folks. Pretty much the only thing separating this flu from the flus we've gotten every other year since the dawn of time is that we're aware that this one came from pigs. Is that why everyone's freaking out, I wonder? Some residual Jewish abhorrence of the unclean swine?

It has gone far enough that they are offering a free H1N1 vaccination clinic in my son's school. I think this is retarded. Here's why:

The only people in any real danger from this flu are people who are already medically fragile. Asthmatics, diabetics, people with chronic respiratory diseases/conditions, and pregnant women. The rest of us are going to feel like crap for a week or so, but then this really cool thing happens... you get better. No vaccine required. So if there is, as I am so often hearing, a lack of supply of this H1N1 vaccine, why are we wasting time giving it to healthy children? Why not give it to people who actually medically need to not get the flu first, then maybe the big wussy chickens who are afraid of pig flu can have some of the new, untested vaccine that might have side effects we are not yet aware of. I mean, for crying out loud, people... you act like you've never had the flu before! No, it's not fun, but unless you fall into one of the previously mentioned groups it's not going to kill you.

It's no wonder other countries now believe they can come over here and bomb us. We've been so pansified now that the general population is scared to get the flu. Other nations know that we are now too wussy to cope with a week of feeling icky. Way to be, America.

The Chamaco asked me the other night if I was going to sign that paper so he had to get the vaccine at school. I told him no, not unless he really wanted me to, and explained to him that if he didn't get it he might get sick, but he'd just get better afterward. He said he thought he didn't need the vaccine. That's my boy. A perfectly healthy seven-almost-eight-year-old is exactly the sort of person we need to not be giving the vaccine to. Give his dose to my neighbor, who has emphysema and COPD and is on the waiting list to get a shot at her doctor's office. How dumb is that?

So anyway, I guess my point is that before you go line up to get your Aporkalypse shot, consider for a moment whether you really need it or whether you're just standing in line ahead of someone who actually does. If you've got one of those conditions, yes, go get your shot with my blessing. Otherwise, grow a pair and prepare to cope with some temporary discomfort... it's flu season in America. Just like every other year.

November 5, 2009

An open letter to spiders....

Dear Spiders,

     It must be confessed... I don't like you at all. Although over the years I have made friends with certain individual spiders such as Christina (my virtual tarantula, who scored huge points with me for not being actually a real spider) and Hugo (the "spidermouse" I captured last summer with the intention of shaking the jar violently, but later released into the wild), in general I still pretty much hate your entire "arachnida" class.

     The reasons for which I do not like you mostly start with your legs. First off, there are eight of them. That surely can't be natural. It is even less natural that you can coordinate your eight legs and walk without tangling them up and falling over. But what is really disturbing is the peculiar, wavelike motion you use to accomplish this feat... it is not entirely dissimilar to the billowing, rippling cloak of a levitating dark mage about to unleash a mighty and evil spell in one of the fantasy type RPGs so much enjoyed by Wong. The longer the legs, the more I hate you... among my most hated members of your "class" are what my grandma used to call "lady spiders" (members of the pholcidae family) who have legs many, many times longer than their own bodies and tiny, creepy little pinheads. I have always found the pholcidae to be very creepy.

     Then there's your eyes... you have anywhere between two and eight of those as well, depending on family and species. Not only do you have creepy, beady black eyes (generally speaking, though I have also seen green), but you also can't even all agree upon a suitable number of creepy, beady black eyes to have - or even a suitable arrangement for said not-agreed-upon number of creepy, beady black eyes upon your creepy little pinheads. I do not like the concept of four pairs of creepy, beady little black eyes watching me while I shower, thank you very much.

     Speaking of my shower, that brings me to another reason I hate you... your disturbing tendency to show up at times/places when I am naked. What are you all, a bunch of voyeurs? I mean, I understand your reluctance to mate, guys - being devoured and killed afterward would probably take some of the romance out of it for me too - but sheesh! I'm not even your species/genus/family/order/class/phylum! That's quite a stretch, I'd say.

    I also find disturbing your keen grasp of irony. This was demonstrated to me just this evening, in fact. This is a completely true story. As I was getting in the shower tonight, I was musing to myself how glad I am that I now live in an apartment where everything in the bathroom is bright and white, rather than at the old place where everything was brown and spiders could very easily hide in my shower where I would not notice them. Especially when I have my contacts out, because I have to be pretty much on top of the spider to see it with my contacts out (unless it is a spidermouse). Just as I was musing this to myself (and not wearing my contacts) as I got in the shower and stepped into the water, I notced what I presumed to be sock fuzz floating in the shallow water near my foot. And then the sock fuzz turned around and ran at me, and I jumped out of the shower. Sure enough, it was one of your smaller brethren demonstrating to me his keen sense of irony. I demonstrated to him my keen sense of stay-the-heck-out-of-my-shower-you-beady-eyed-peeping-tom by pouring scalding hot water on him and then washing him down the drain. Serves him right, I say.

     Speaking of spidermice, I have a few words on that topic. Anything with an exoskeleton is bound to be pretty creepy. Anything with an exoskeleton running across my linoleum is worse. And anything with an exoskeleton running across my linoleum that is big enough to make noise when it does it should definitely not be running across my linoleum! Such size-enhanced exoskeletal creatures should also consider staying out of my shower, lest I should pour scalding hot water on their creepy little pinheads.

     Last but not least, I am not at all fond of the art of camouflage as practiced by your kind. And I'm not just talking about brown spiders in brown showers here... I'm talking about the ones of you that actively change color to hide in places I might want to put my hands. Several times over the course of my childhood and adult life I have picked a beautiful flower, lifted it to my nose to inhale the fragrance, and realized that a rather large yellow/orange/purple crab spider is sitting smack dab in the middle of the flower. That's an evil trick, y'all. Snorting crab spiders is not nearly as fun as snorting Pixy Stix (that isn't fun either, though purple snot is interesting). And I shall always remember the time when, as a youth, I was attempting to climb a tree and very nearly put my hand on top of a wolf spider who was at that moment busily engaged in looking like tree bark. The impudent little jerk actually reared up on his rearmost four legs (even typing that is wrong) and hissed at me. I did not actually fall out of the tree, I am happy to report, but I did withdraw rather quickly. If I were still in the tree-climbing business I would find him and pour scalnding hot water on his creepy little pinhead. Oh, and then there was your friend in the shower today disguising himself as sock fuzz. You see how well that worked out for him...

     However, o thou arachnids, it seems that God has put both of us here on the same planet (though I often wonder why Noah didn't just have the elephants get all stomp-happy back when there were only two of you). Therefore, I propose a peace treaty. This is how it works: You stay away from me, my shower, and my house, and in return I shall refrain from throwing books/rocks on you, hitting you with flyswatters, and otherwise pouring scalding hot water on your creepy little pinheads. Sound like a deal?