Sunday, February 28, 2010

The writer

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The writer is Sara. She’s in second grade and already pulling in the writing award. And, she is one of the kids representing the school at an elementary school writers conference at the local college next Saturday.

So, maybe she’ll be the big writer in the family – as long as it is not an autobiography about her insane childhood (If she’ll use part of the earnings to buy me something nice, then it’s fine).

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kites!

It was weird that we were the only ones taking advantage of the wind by flying kites today. Maybe it was the 40 degree temperature keeping everyone else away? We risked wind burn and pneumonia to get out and give the kites an early first run this year. Even my brother-in-law and sister-in-law risked their health and common sense to join in. It was all good. We ended the day at the cold playground by heading directly to Baskin-Robbins.

I may warm back up in a couple of weeks. Did I mention that the snow is coming back in the forecast also?

It even looks cold.

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Lindsay doesn’t realize that an angry buzzard is attached to the end of that string.

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Sara was hoping to snag a small plane flying in to the airport.

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Awww, somebody twisted up the string on their $3 Camp Rock kite into a wicked knot!

bethany

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reading: The Accidental Tourist

I’m going to try to be better about sharing what I am reading here. I’m not sure why I don’t usually do so. Maybe after I start, I will realize why I don’t. Here it goes.

I finished The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler last week.
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For some reason I’ve always wanted to read it and I got interested in it again after seeing Up in the Air in December. It took me a while to remember to go to the used book store and buy a copy. I also had such high hopes for this book that I bought two other Anne Tyler novels even though I had never read anything of hers before.

I was not disappointed. Anne Tyler writes in a way that allows you to really have “buy in” with the characters and the story. And, in the same manner I recognized some of my own traveling behaviors watching Up in the Air, I found myself identifying even more with Macon Leary as a fellow reluctant traveler. When you travel for work because you absolutely have to, I think it makes you want to be home more and work to make the required travel as quick and painless as possible. She captures that perfectly – right down to the book you travel with that you use to keep out of unwanted conversations (though the mp3 players is good for that now also)!

I am certain I would not have appreciated the book if I had put down the Atari joystick and attempted to read it when it came out in 1985. I also never saw the movie that came out in 1988. I did watch it immediately after finishing the book. William Hurt is a great Macon Leary. Geena Davis as Muriel was another perfect choice. I really like Bill Pullman and he was a good Julian but the character was not exactly the same in the movie and I felt that Kathleen Turner was just a bit too stiff for how I expected Sarah to be. I guess over all I missed a lot of the depth of the book but it’s hard to expect all of that when it is condensed down into 2 hours.

It’s a wonderful book and I am glad I finally read it. I am looking forward to reading Breathing Lessons by her. And, I will be doing that once I am done with Fletch. I’ve always wanted to read Fletch and I’m already quite a bit in. It is really fantastic so far and it makes me want to go back and watch the movie again.

Once I am done, I’ll give my report.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Too much internet

This is the time of year that many give things up for Lent. I don’t follow this practice but it does make you think – what are our priorities and what should be give up or cut back on in order to improve our lives?

For me, that is easily the computer. I spend all day working on the computer and I’ve watched how being “connected” has creeped into all aspects of my life. It has replaced a lot of the time I’ve saved from not watching so much tv and it is always present due to my ever-present Blackberry.

Enough is enough. I’ve decided to make a conscious effort to cut down on the internet/Twitter/Facebook time, as follows:

1) No internet surfing in restaurants. The random Twitpic is OK and necessary to document my exciting life.

2) No internet browsing or Twitter from when we all arrive at home until when the kids go to sleep. I’ve gotten really bad about surfing around the net and accomplishing nada.

3) I’ll still block out some time to write on the blog – especially if sudden inspiration hits. As you can tell from the last two days of inactivity, inspiration is becoming rare. My blog is my outlet. Without it I would probably just walk around Walmart in my pajama pants talking to myself.

Last night was the first night. After dealing with the world of homework and observing a kid vs. kid game of Bingo, I spent some time reading a magazine and listening to the Zune (which has no browser and wireless connectivity is disabled).

It was good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lights Out for Light Bulbs

I did it. I replaced the traditional light bulbs in both bathroom fixtures with the new CFL’s (Compact Fluorescent Lamp).

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I didn’t do it to save the world. I did it because 5 bulbs burn incredibly hot and it is really bad in the summer when you need a cool shower after a couple of hours of mowing. Also, the old-style bulbs seem to blow out over and over again.

Supposedly, 4 of these uses the energy of 1 old one and they have a rated life of up to 11 years. I’ll let you know when the first one blows out.

What is weird is how they come on sort of dim and “warm up”. It reminds me of turning on the lights in a school gym. There is also a hum as they warm up. They do end up being pretty bright and stay relatively cool. Each month I plan on replacing the bulbs in another fixture – a ceiling fan at a time – until everything is changed out.

I’m not doing this because of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. I’m doing it so I can stop changing bulbs all the time! And, I think it is weird that Cuba banned the old bulbs 3 years ago and we’ve still got until 2012 to buy them. Are we going to let Cuba win?

I do expect to see Al Gore run into the Livermore (California) Fire Station #6 on the last day of 2012 with a big hammer. It is there that you’ll find the world’s oldest working incandescent light bulb. It has been lit for about 109 years. There is even a live cam here.

I recently took this picture for your viewing pleasure:

bulbcam

Monday, February 15, 2010

Another day of the white stuff

I’m glad it was President’s Day. I didn’t have to take anyone to school or work and I avoided getting out onto the roads which were an icy mess.

snow fun

The snow was nothing more than a fine powder but we let the kids have a little fun out in the freezing cold.

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I thawed out the car in preparation for tomorrow. I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be school.

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Tonight we’ll catch up on some of the recorded shows from last week. Tomorrow – live, streaming curling at the Olympics!! Yeah!

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday! Finally!

I admit it – I really enjoy the Winter Olympics. I like them more than the Summer Olympics. And, I watch curling. So, there.

Canada proved it was even more awesome than we knew by bringing in Batman to play at the Opening Ceremonies:

batman

Unfortunately, I was watching the live stream of the luge practice today and saw the horrible accident live. It was unbelievably scary and I could have done without seeing that. That is a grueling sport – one split second error and the absolute worst could happen.

I’ll stick with curling. You don’t see any people dropping the stone on their foot. There may be some broom mishaps. That’s about it.

I did get drug to “Valentine’s Day” tonight and I was pleasantly surprised. Sure, you knew exactly how it was all going to play out in the first five minutes. The completely oblivious seemed surprised by two “pairings” that happen at the end. I won’t ruin it for any completely oblivious that happen to read this.

Stay for the credits to hear Julia Roberts reference “Pretty Woman”. The 20 of us that still remember “Pretty Woman” got a good laugh and all the 15 year old’s went “Huh?”.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An entry a day

I declare the long national nightmare to be over. I’m not talking about “The Jay Leno Show”. That ended last night.

I am referring to my experiment of trying to write a blog entry each day. I got on a bit of a roll at the start of the year and I started fooling myself into thinking that an entry each day would be A)attainable B)sustainable C)original.

It comes down to one fact: I’m not leading the most exciting life here. A typical day for me is trying to keep the kids from driving me nuts, trying to keep the cars running, not yelling at anyone at work no matter what crazy thing they’ve done (“I thought I could fix it and pulled out all the wires before I called. You think it was just unplugged? (Long pause) Whoops.”) and marveling at the ever-increasing amount of gray hair that is taking over my head.

I’m getting down to the point where my main themes seem to be “I feel lousy” and “Here is the unhealthy food I ate today”. Are these the things the kids are going to want to look back on? Probably not.

So, I am letting myself and any of you who bother coming here or are getting bombarded by my Facebook feed off the hook. If nothing witty or interesting happens tomorrow, I won’t force myself to sit down and write just for the sake of writing. I will use my allocated disk space on the Blogger servers for good and not just filler.

But, if you really are interested in what I am eating for lunch and if my knee arthritis is flaring up, you can always follow me on the Twitter.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday

Winter has certainly got a grip on us this year. The snow is becoming a regular part of life. It did not stick around long but the threat was just enough to close schools today. And, now the wind is howling and it is bringing back the bitter cold that we had escaped for a couple of weeks. We’re going to be so ready for spring when it finally arrives.

I feel a bug coming on. I can’t describe it – I just feel “yuk”. Maybe I will sleep it off tonight.

We interrupt this blog entry for another important message from eBAY:

ebay important message

I think I am just worn down. Hopefully Wednesday will be an improvement.

Monday, February 8, 2010

So tired…

…of snow.

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Looks like another night where it might miss us or it might not. Since the schools here have weather-related phobias, the kids will probably be out again tomorrow.

Oh, and I didn’t take the sleeping pill Saturday or Sunday night. So, I basically tossed and turned all night. I guess the choices or either the sleep coma or the restless night.

At least we have new “Chuck” and new “Big Bang Theory” tonight.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2 80’s movies for a Lazy Saturday

It’s one of those cold, cloudy days where you just want to sit at home in front of the TV. I didn’t get to do that most of the day but I did manage it this evening when everyone went to a birthday party. (Our kids know too many other kids and they seem to attend at least two birthday parties a weekend. This is becoming quite expensive. When I see my wallet emptying in the toy aisle, I sometimes wish that they had been more like me and had very few social skills.)

Tonight while channel surfing, I stumbled upon “Moving Violations” on the Fox Movie Channel.

It would be kind to say that “Moving Violations” is not that good. The star is John Murray – the younger brother of Bill Murray. The creators of “Police Academy” are to blame for this one. It is funny. It’s probably even funnier because it is so terribly bad. It is also somewhat tasteless but unbelievably tame by today’s standards. I bet I saw this movie at least 10 different times on HBO. I spent a lot of time in junior high watching bad movies over and over.

From 1985, here is the trailer for “Moving Violations”:

 

If watching the trailer made you want to see the movie, you need serious mental help – probably some type of pills. Also, you can watch the entire movie on YouTube in 9 minute chunks, starting here with part 1:

 

Second, from 1986, there is the classic “One Crazy Summer”. I finally found this on DVD a couple of weeks ago at Wal-Mart. If you own “Better Off Dead”, you must own “One Crazy Summer”. Savage Steve Holland (who more recently has worked on all kinds of stuff for Disney and Nickelodeon) wrote and directed both movies. Both are completely twisted - “Better Off Dead” is just a bit better. And, another Bill Murray brother is in “One Crazy Summer” – Joel Murray. The Murray family just owned the 80’s, didn’t they?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Lazy Friday

time passages

I couldn’t think of a better picture to go with today than Al Stewart somehow distorting time and space on the back of the “Time Passages” LP from 1978.

Today was one of those distorted days. I took 3 doses of sinus pills before I dulled the rain-induced sinus headache. I tried the Big Mac Wrap at McDonalds and liked it even though they will probably find remnants of it in bloodwork I have when I am 65.

This was a Friday that didn’t seem like a Friday. There was so much happening this week that yesterday felt like Friday and today felt like punishment. I woke up at 5:30AM and really thought it was Saturday morning and that I could go back to sleep until the cruel 6AM alarm went off.

Tonight, I stuffed myself miserable at Cracker Barrel. I came home and the kids took over the TV and bored me to death. I just fixed cup of coffee #3 for the day and I am going to retire to bed and read an old-fashioned obsolete paperback book.

Now I’m just hoping we don’t get enough snow tonight to make the next two days miserable.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Sleep

I think that my sleep pattern has been completely altered from a mix of 6 years of hotel rooms, 2 young kids, 1 needy dog, and getting older. There are rarely good nights of sleep- mostly, there are bad nights and not so bad nights. Monday was a bad night but closer to what the norm has become – getting up almost every hour on the hour. On the bright side, the dog can go out over and over and there is nothing more productive than answering emails and reading Facebook at 2AM or 3AM or 4AM.

Tuesday night, with one of these, I only got up once and that was due to the dog needing to go out.

sleep aid

I’ve travelled with the Tylenol PM in the past since sleeping in hotel rooms really messes me up (especially the first night) but Tylenol kills my stomach. So does spicy food and too much coffee. Did I mention that I am getting older?

At least now, instead of not being able to sleep, I can just live in fear of becoming addicted to sleeping pills.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Slump Day

So, day 6 of snow-inflicted confinement is the day where everyone finally gets on each others nerves to the point of wanting to run down the street screaming. I think I’m actually a bit beyond that point. Consider that I work at home, so we’ve all been together with the exception of brief relative-provided respites since last Thursday. The kids argued on and off all day long and this was one of the busiest days I’ve had in a while. Coffee was not enough to get through this one. All you can do is throw your hands in the air and hope for a better tomorrow!

I almost made it without hitting the insanity limit but the Lebanon Special School District really messed up my plans by cancelling school again for today. I took vacation yesterday expecting that it would be over. We’d goof off and today they would go back. But, noooooooo. I guess the desire to keep city and county school calendars in sync overrides the common sense that clear roads=school.

Maybe it is not all their fault. I think mother nature has really messed with administrators heads. We rarely see snow here now. Back when I was in elementary school, we had snow all the time. One year we had to go to school on Saturdays and almost until July because we missed so much. And, we went to school on every single day we could get there. If there was one half-way open lane in the road, school was open. Today, built-in snow days are rarely used so they take every chance they can to close it.

At least it’s not supposed to snow again until Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How I Spent My One Day Vacation

Waffle House.

Wal-Mart.

Tooth Fairy.

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News that school would be closed again tomorrow.

scream

Monday, February 1, 2010

School is closed again – must find a place to hide

School is closed AGAIN tomorrow! C’mon, people! Sure, there are still icy patches – big deal! If I can make it to Kroger, certainly everyone else can make it to school.

What did we do today…

The kids made another snowman-

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I spent some quality time with the biter-

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And Lindsay did an impression of how the kids stress me out but I still love to work!