Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Ice Cube Tray: Half Full or Half Empty?

Honestly, in this hot weather, with the central air turned off because we can't afford it, and the ceiling fans raising a little bit of muggy breeze, much like Rick's Café Américain in August, is it too much to ask that when I reach into the freezer for a tray of ice cubes, that it be full of ice cubes, and not half-full, or even completely empty? I'm not a violent person, but an empty ice cube tray when it's a hundred degrees outside and 99 degrees in this house, really makes me angry.

We do have an ice maker in the freezer but it hasn't worked since that fateful morning a few years ago when we awoke to ankle-deep water in the kitchen and Niagara Falls in the family room below. The plastic water pipe had burst in the night, and we've never had it repaired. At first, we could never remember its existence until we wanted some ice, and then we couldn't afford that, either.

Hence the three Rubbermaid ice trays which I empty and refill at least twice daily, and which I grumpily and very bitchily DEMAND be full every single time I want ice.

Last night, I wanted ice and the tray was half full/half empty (pick one; I don't want to offend either optimist or pessimist; you all know how thoroughly PC I always boast of being) (Yeah, right; like I care about being PC. . . .) (Bite me.) (Sorry, being iceless makes me mean.)

So my question is, who did it? I want names. WHO DID IT?

I want the names of the guilty! I want them NOW!

Oh, wait. I think it was me. The phone rang as I was getting some ice last night and, um, I got busy and, um. . . . oh poop.

Never mind.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:30 PM | |

Monday, July 30, 2007

BlogHer? It Was FANTASTIC!

BlogHer is over, and I'm back home. I had such a wonderful time, I don't know where to start.

Registering people is a wonderful way to meet people. I'm volunteering again next year.

The conference was well organized, efficient, staffed by very nice, competent people, and just generally a very good conference. I've worked many university conferences and something always went horribly wrong. Not so with BlogHer. Oh, sure, there were a few glitches - nobody and nothing are perfect - and I have a few suggestions for next year - nothing major, just little things people brought to my attention while I was sitting behind the registration table- but all in all, it was the best conference I've ever attended.

I can't speak for all of the sessions, of course, but the ones I attended were great.

There is no way even a huge buffet will please everyone (whine whine whine, picky whiners!) but in my humble food-loving opinion, the only thing missing was a huge ice sculpture. I think the food was great! It was beautiful to look at, too.

Suggestion: Keep the rooms well-lit - bright, even. Otherwise, we can't read each other's nametags. The pre-conference party was so dark, it was scary to try to walk through the room, and people might have wondered about me if I turned my little flashlight on each person's perky boobage nametag. Lights, people. But perhaps some people prefer a very, very dark cocktail party; I am not familiar enough with cocktail parties to know. This is not really a complaint, ok? Party on. My little group had fun pretending to be washroom attendants and handing out towels to people.

I shall write for a moment about the schwag. Freebies. Dear hearts, the BlogHer schwag was fantastic! The bag itself was awesome, and its contents were GREAT! There will always be complainers, unfortunately; even when someone is handed something that is FREE, someone always finds fault. To those people I have this to say: (sound of loud razzberries) (Okay, so I don't know how to post a sound. Use your imagination. I'm sticking my tongue out at the fault-finders and giving them the raspberries. Loudly.) The BlogHer schwag far surpassed any loot I've ever been handed at a conference. I loved it. LOVE IT! Usually, conference schwag is pretty much junk and coupons, but not at BlogHer. We're talking serious loot here, folks.

Oh, and how about those AOL bags? Were those not the best tote bags you have EVER SEEN? I will use mine constantly. They're perfect for your laptop, if you own a laptop, which I don't, but I wish I did, and if I ever actually get one I have the perfect tote in which to carry it. . . .etc. In the meantime, I'm going to use it to lug my books and tests to school. Perfection.

That vendor room. . . . I felt like a little kid at the 4-H fair, filling my Marsh bag with freebie after freebie. T-shirts, pedometers, back massagers, books, manicure kits, retractable ethernet cords, magnets, brochures (good, helpful ones, not stupid ones) samples, puzzles, dvd's, candy, mints, those gorgeous Yahoo paper clips. . . and more, more more. Free ice water, free hot dogs, free pretzels, free, free, free! Complaints about 'free?' Shut up.

Suggestion: Next year, have a baggage check. Bloggers who had to check out of their hotel rooms Saturday morning had to lug their suitcases all over the conference. NOT a complaint, just a suggestion. I have no complaints. I loved it all.

If any of you have not yet discovered the fabulous Vicki of Outside In, by all means click over there immediately, for she really is as wonderful as she seems. She opened her home to Belle and me, and Michelle of ShellyNoir (Michelle of Seattle) (henceforth referred to as Sparky) (I know she didn't set fire to Vicki's kitchen on purpose, but it did still stink when I got home that night) and her home is like something from a magazine. Ask her about all those mirrors in the downstairs bathroom, and that absolutely enormous cat in her sink. The entire house - just simply lovely. Classy and elegant. I did not know Michelle before this weekend, but now I do, and I count all that time lost when I did not know her. She's great. She's also got pictures.

MommaK came over and had lunch with us today, and she's wonderful, too! Such a beautiful woman, inside and out. She's one of the "inventors" of the "Perfect Post Awards," and is responsible for a lot of the unity and friendship among bloggers today.

Amy Sedaris was at BlogHer this year, as one of four panelists on a crafting panel. She crafts the same way I do: with things she finds around the house, mostly. I've been a Sedaris fan (both siblings) for years, and meeting Amy was genuinely thrilling. For me, not for her; heck, she sees gushing old women all the time. She knows how to deal with them, too: she's nice to them. I bought her new book for myself, and then while I was in line to have it autographed I remembered that my Tumorless Sister is a huge Sedaris fan (both siblings) so I changed my mind at the last minute and as I handed it to Amy, I said, "I was going to buy this for myself but then I decided at the last minute to give it to my sister instead, because she's such a huge fan of yours." Amy laughed and wrote, "Diana, your sister Jane is driving me crazy" on the flyleaf. It was perfect. Merry Christmas, Tumorless; I can't wait that long so you're getting this the next time you come down to visit me. Incentive plan. Oh, and "Surprise!"

Amy and I are now best friends had another laugh together when she commented on someone's huge stack of one-dollar bills and I said they were for tipping the male strippers at the cocktail party later that night.

To the very nice blogger who looked somewhat thunderstruck at the insinuation that she might roll a dollar bill into a cigarette shape, put it in her mouth, and tip a male stripper with it in ways that our mothers know nothing about: I do apologize.

To all of you who might wonder where I picked up such a notion: never you mind.

I learned many useful things and had TONS of fun, the likes of which I hadn't experienced since college, but the best part of BlogHer, for me, was meeting so many of the wonderful people I've been 'reading' for so long that I feel I actually know them. And now, I really do.

Yes, sometimes a dream really will come true. BlogHer was that for me.

I think the only thing I regret about it is not getting my picture taken with my idol Yvonne. Maybe next year, Y?

Grace, my darling, I missed you terribly.

Now, I wonder where BlogHer will be held next year, for if I start salting back a little each month, maybe I can go again!
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:32 AM | |

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Eternal Friendship, Wonderful Friends, Chicago, Waiting, and Cat Turds

This time tomorrow I will be sitting with my wonderful, beautiful, fantastic friend Vicki, and I'm so excited I can't even type properly! I've been looking forward to meeting her for simply ages and this will be too cool to even imagine ahead of time. Whenever I try to think about it too seriously, my mind flips upside down and goes all junior high on me, and I'm pretty sure I'm hearing giggles and squealing and I fear the sounds are coming from me. . . .

The beauteous Grace was supposed to be one of us, but she is not able to attend BlogHer after all, due to a death in her family. Grace, my darling, we will all miss you terribly. (I hope she can feel all these hugs I've been sending her direction for the past week.) Bless you, dear friend.

I really should be packing, but I can't until the laundry is done. I'm going to bake some bread for my lovely hostess, but I can't till the house cools down a bit more, for the night.

I did change the kitty litter, so when the Mittenless Kittens step into the pan to poop, all three at once, there will be clean litter to paw over the side and all over the floor.

I really need to buy better quality litter pan liners. When I picked up this latest bouquet of turds, the bag split and my feet were pretty much buried in. . . them. Honestly, these three kittens are like three little Skittles machines: take two steps, release a rainbow; take two steps, release another rainbow. . . . etc. I go sifting in the litter box at least twice a day (and you thought I hated ALL sports!) but even so, it fills up faster than I can sift. Anyway, I washed my feet, so don't go picturing anything TOO gross. . . .

I am a fair driver, discounting the fact that I can't see squat, but because I tend to be very "stick to the speed limit," Belle is doing the driving.

That reminds me, I need to burn some cd's so we can sing along, really loudly, all the way up to the Windy City.

Hey, BlogHers, that really large dowdy woman who is helping with registration? That's me.

Question: How does one pick up a pile of damp kitty litter and about eight pounds of turds, assorted colors and sizes, that've spilled all over the floor? (Item: you have a broom but the dustpan has apparently run away.) (We're talking AFTER you've removed your feet from the worst of it and brushed the few dry particles off. . .)

Answer: You're probably better off not knowing how I did it, but I'd be interested in knowing how YOU would have done it. Come on over and show me.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:35 PM | |

Don't limit a child to your own learning, for he was born in another time.

Regarding any educator at any level, in any capacity, and in any kind of economic region, who is not making an effort to be extremely computer-savvy. . . . shame on you.

I know first-hand what kind of travesties can occur when an administrator doesn't know anything about a computer, and I think it's disgraceful to be in this business and not know what the students have known for years, even the tiny ones. It would be difficult to respect an "educator" who was, himself/herself, not educated in the very necessary "today" and "tomorrow" skill of simple computer literacy. Holy scheisse, what are some of these people THINKING?

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn." --Alvin Toffler

"It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry." --Albert Einstein

"Prejudices, it is well known, are most difficult to eradicate from the heart whose soil has never been loosened or fertilized by education; they grow there, firm as weeds among rocks." --Charlotte Bronte

"In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." --Eric Hoffer

"There is no greater crime than to stand between a man and his development; to take any law or institution and put it around him like a collar, and fasten it there, so that as he grows and enlarges, he presses against it till he suffocates and dies." --Henry Ward Beecher

"Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war." --Maria Montessori

"Too often we give our children answers to remember rather than problems to solve." --Roger Lewin

"The joy of learning is as indispensable in study as breathing is in running. Where it is lacking there are no real students, but only poor caricatures of apprentices who, at the end of their apprenticeship, will not even have a trade." --Simone Weil

Oh, and by the way, don't try to use the excuse that you're "too old to learn new tricks." If that is really true, get out of our schools NOW. You are no longer needed there.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:24 AM | |

Monday, July 23, 2007

My Personal DNA Test

I don't often do this kind of thing, but I adore Monty and she did it so naturally I have to do it too because she's one of my idols and I imitate her whenever I can.

And for a complete description, there's this.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:13 AM | |

Sunday, July 22, 2007

CVS Pharmacies Really Dropped The Ball with "Deathly Hallows"

I find it really funny that the local CVS is adamantly denying that they sold Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pretty much all day Friday in complete disregard (or ignorance*) of the directive, and then, when word got out on Friday morning, had the gall to declare, most indignantly, in a newspaper article that day that the rumors were absolutely untrue and that they did indeed abide by the rules, completely.

Oh, local CVS, give it up. I was there. So was my friend Cathy. We were BOTH told by the clerk that "someone opened the box this morning and we've been selling the books all day, and now we're out." Besides, all the people who bought their book in the middle of the afternoon know the truth, too.

Bad move, Bedford, Indiana CVS. Just admit it and take the consequences from Scholastic.

As for the Bloomington, Indiana CVS that only ordered six copies of the book and sold all but one of them to a gaggle of giggly teens who came running in at the stroke of midnight and pretty much said "tough beans" to the people who had been waiting for an hour or more for the clock to strike 12:01. . . . you suck.

Bad PR moves, CVS. Bad marketing. Bad customer relations. Bad CVS. Bad choice of employees. Bad policies. Bad handling of the truth. Bad bosses.

Especially, bad bosses.

Note to the young woman at the Bedford CVS who had the balls to tell Cathy and me the truth: You rock. That had to be humiliating, and you could have tried to cover it up like your bosses did the next morning, but you chose to tell us the truth and I appreciate that. I hope you still have your job; people who tell the truth often pay severe consequences for it, especially when the big bosses decide that lies are better for the corporate image. Note to the bosses: wrong.

*Ignorance is the worst of all possible excuses for anything.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 7:12 PM | |

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Seriousness of My Book Addiction

Once I learned that Amazon wasn't going to deliver my Deathly Hallows book until Monday, I knew I had to buy one off the shelf at midnight. There was no way I would fight the crowd at WalMart, so I decided to buy the book at CVS, because at my age I practically live at the pharmacy anyway. The handful of coupons I had from CVS would have meant Deathly Hallows for about six bucks, in fact.

I got to the pharmacy at around 11:20, wrote a check for a million dollars for legitimate drugs, and sat down to wait for 12:01, the magic hour when all things shall become known. The store was deserted except for me and my friend Cathy, whom I hadn't seen for a long time and with whom I offered to share my coupons. We sat there together on the Old People chairs in the prescription section and chatted about our kids and how cool we were not to be at WalMart waiting in a long line.

At 11:45, a very embarrassed clerk came up to us and confessed that CVS had been selling the books ALL DAY and they were gone. We'd been waiting for naught.

I was upset, sure, but not as upset as the CVS manager was going to be when Scholastic found out what the store had done.

Cathy and I looked at each other and sighed. What other book-selling business in this town was open at this hour, besides WalMart? It's not as if we had a real bookstore anywhere close by, more's the pity.

The grocery store.

So we met at Fudz Plus where there was a large table heaped high with Deathly Hallows, covered and sealed tightly with transparent plastic. The mound of books was guarded by a very nice clerk who was counting down and reporting every two or three minutes, and at the stroke of 12:01 she tore off the plastic and stepped back. Most people were at WalMart being trampled, so the dozen or so of us at the grocery store made our purchases within two or three minutes, grabbed some bread and a sack of potatoes, and went home. I set up shop at the kitchen table (I do not read on cushions; I prefer a straight wooden chair. Yes, I know I'm a freak. ) with popcorn, leftover potato salad, about eight cans of Diet Coke, informed the universe that I was not to be disturbed, and began. I did not stop reading until I finished.

Later today we'll be driving about two hundred miles north, where we'll meet Hub's family for dinner (it's the half-way point for all of us) and where I'll hand the book over to my three beautiful occasionally-borrowed Michigan children who are champing at the bit* to get their hands on a copy.

We take our Harry Potter very seriously. Very seriously indeed.

*Yes, it's "champing at the bit," NOT "chomping at the bit." I take my idioms very seriously, too.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:05 PM | |

Deathly Hallows: No Specific Spoilers, Just Unbridled Emotion

6:37 a.m. and I have finished.

Heartbreaking, uplifting, scary, further heartbreak, more heartbreak, cool, wow, NOOOOOO, say it isn't so, heartbreak, heartbreak, wow, mystical, please no, lovely, oh PLEASE no, why, why, why, heartbreaking.

And most satisfactory. Yes.

Two deaths my ass.

But yes, most satisfactory.

I'll try to get a few hours' sleep if I can stop crying inside my head. And smiling. And crying.

One more thing: I knew it. I was right, too.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:37 AM | |

Friday, July 20, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: No Spoilers From Mamacita!

It's a little past 10:30 p.m. but I have no plans for sleeping any time soon. In a little while, I'll be driving to town and buying Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and to say that I'm greatly anticipating it would be an understatement indeed.

I have the book pre-ordered from several places: Amazon and Scholastic, to name two. But the email I got this morning from both of these fine companies, informing me that my books will be delivered on Monday instead of on Saturday, has forced me to drive all the way to town in the dark of night, because the truth is, I can't WAIT until Monday.

There are several reasons why I can't wait until Monday, one of them being that by Monday the spoilers will be abounding and I don't want any spoilers. Another reason is that I don't want to be the last person in my reading circle to have read it; it's peer pressure. Did I mention that I don't want to run into any spoilers? NO SPOILERS!!!

But the main reason why I can't wait until Monday to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is more basic than any of those. The simple truth is, I can't wait until Monday because I simply can't wait.

I can't wait.

Yes, I am a Harry Potter fan, far more obsessed than any 12-year-old kid you'll ever know.

I can't wait until Monday because I can't wait.

I'll be up most of the night. Please don't call me until morning.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:40 PM | |

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

When The Teacher Is Wrong, Pt. 2

When my son was in the first grade, his teacher came up to my classroom and confided to me that she was worried about him because when he was shown a picture of an ironing board, he did not know what it was.

I told his teacher that it was understandable. He'd never seen one in his life.

Stupid teacher.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:41 PM | |

Monday, July 16, 2007

Fly Me Off The Handel

Well, now, let's have a bit of musical whimsy, shall we?

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 9:52 PM | |

Sunday, July 15, 2007

. . . When The Teacher Is Wrong, Pt. 1

My experiences with teachers have not always been positive. Sometimes I wonder how I ever decided to become one of them; then, of course, I remember Dad saying something about how if I didn't declare a major and actually stick to it he was going to cut me off, blah blah blah, and suddenly an education degree started looking pretty good, not to mention easy, and please, teachers, don't start in on me for saying that because we all know it's true, more's the pity. At least, back in the seventies it was true, for it was the era of "If you don't want to take math or science, you may substitute something else and have it count," which explains all those diverse endorsements sprinkled all over my teacher's license.

I hated math, so I took PE. All the science labs were at 7:00 a.m., so I took School and Community Health and Advanced Expository Writing. Astronomy and Geology both met at night, so I did take them both, and I LOVE them to this day. LOVE them!!!!!

Yes, I was a true academic, through and through.

I did sign up for Advanced Mammalian Physiology one semester, although it did have a 7:15 a.m. lab. I had a perfectly good, logical reason: My boyfriend was in that class. I went into it with no prerequisites, no interest, and half-comatose because it was so early in the day.

Surprisingly, I did pretty well at first; and then, a full week AFTER drop-and-add was over, we had our first lab. We were each given a live frog and told not to give him a name.

It was too late. I have always anthropomorphized everything (ask my kids!) and my sweet little froggie was named Prince Charming the very moment I lifted him out of the box and made him my own, because he looked exactly like the Frog Prince in the Classics Illustrated, Junior, comic book I read in second grade, which, by the way, I still have.

My instructions were to spread-eagle Prince Charming in a corkbox, pin down his little hands and feet, and make an X-shaped incision on his little white tummy. We were then instructed to fold back the four triangles of skin, observe his beating heart and inflating/deflating lungs, aim a fan at him, and time how long it took the internal organs to stop functioning.

I walked out and never went back. I walked out with Prince Charming in my pocket, and I set him free in the River Jordan, the gorgeous big creek which flows all over the IU campus. A raccoon probably ate him, but that's still a better fate than death by having your internal organs exposed to the gush of air from a fan and having the whole ghastly thing timed.

It was too late to drop the course, so even though I was actually passing the tests, I failed the class because my labs were all zeros.

I have never regretted that decision.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 11:56 PM | |

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Oh, Children Dear? Are You Coming Down Today? Mommy Has A Little Chore For You. . . .

Way last May I bought four flats of red and white impatiens to put in the planter Hub built around the huge shagbark hickory tree in the front yard. It's been beautiful, these last few years. Absolutely beautiful. Impatiens thrive in the shade, and this was the perfect spot for them.

This year? You guessed it. Over two months later, the four flats of red and white impatiens are still in the flats. I went out to water them again a few minutes ago, put four flowers into the ground, and came back into the house.

What's the matter with me this summer? I have no idea.

But I hope it passes before the impatiens die, or it's too cold to plant them at all.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 2:13 PM | |

Image Problems

I have a lot of trouble with self-image; when I look in the mirror, I don't see reality. At least, I HOPE I'm not seeing reality. Because, if I'm seeing reality, I might have to drive off a cliff.

I've poked fun at this image before, but underneath the giggles and the shame of poking fun of this probably very nice woman, is the intense fear that I really do look like this, or might at some point in time look like this.

What if I look in the mirror some day and really do see this? What if I someday own a muumuu? What if I wear it because nothing else on the face of the earth will fit? What if I someday own those socks? And go out in public wearing them? What if I deteriorate to the point that I go out wearing stuff like this because, at that weight, it doesn't really matter because nothing will ever look good anyway? I don't want that image in the mirror, or in my mind, to be me.

I might have a few body issues.

Sometimes I can get that image out of my mirror, but it's replaced by this one. Would I really ever expose those thighs to the light of day? EVER, under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES?

I might have to hire someone to go to the gynocologist for me, because there is no way under the sun that I would ever expose any of that to a poor unsuspecting doctor, and I wouldn't believe him/her that anybody on the face of the earth has seen worse. I don't want to be like the immensely obese guy on Scrubs who had to go to the zoo to get an MRI.

Why is she eating? I want to knock that plate of food out of her hands.

The person I see in the mirror is so alien to me, I sometimes have to back up a few steps and look again, always in horror, and wonder how it could have happened?

Dear Lord, don't let my insane personal image problems ever come true. . . .

The reality is bad enough.

My thighs used to look good.

Oh holy scheisse, I almost posted a picture of them right here on this blog. I swear, I almost did.

Not as they are NOW. I wouldn't do that to you. Ick, ick, ick, I don't even wear shorts in public now. I just won't subject the universe to it; I love the world too much and I would never make anybody see that. My thighs would uglify the planet.

No, not NOW. I mean, THEN.

You know, when I looked like me.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:21 AM | |

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter. No Spoilers.

I saw "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" tonight after class. It was good.

All of the Harry Potter movies are good. I watch them far more than a woman my age should want to watch them.

The new one is good. Too short, as are all the other Harry Potter movies, but good.

The books are wayyyyy better, though. Unbelievably way better.

Those Hollywood editors who eliminate things, and those Hollywood directors who condense the movies down because they don't think anybody would want to sit through a six-hour movie? MORONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Analyzing my emotions on this subject quite professionally, I can truthfully say that I HATE YOU!

Would I sit through a six-hour Harry Potter movie, edited and produced and directed by smart people who didn't leave anything out?

Oh HELLZyah!!!!
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:31 AM | |

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pop Can Tabs Can Kill You

Old habits die hard. Back in the middle school, my students were putting pop can tabs in a big bottle to donate to the Ronald McDonald House. Each classroom was competing with the others to see which one got the party at the end of the year. The room with the most pop can tabs was the winner. Since my students had the teacher who drank the most Diet Coke, we were far ahead of the others. Yay, me.

I haven't taught there for almost four years now, but I still save pop can tabs from force of habit. I tear off the tab before I ever begin to drink, because once thirty years ago the tab came loose as I was drinking and I choked on it and panicked because, you know, DEATH BY POP CAN TAB? It happens all the time! So I tear it off and put it in a glass bowl in my kitchen, and then I drink the diet coke.

When the bowl gets full of pop can tabs, I dump the tabs into a big trash bag.

Tonight, the bowl was full, and I realized that I had yet another big trash bag packed full to the very top of pop can tabs. It's the third since I quit.

I'll be on the main campus this fall, and there are always big bottles in the corridors for people to drop pop can tabs into. I'm going to start bringing a few hundred each day until I get rid of all these pop can tabs in trash sacks taking up all the room in my casserole dish cabinet.

I tear the tab off the can when I drink diet Coke elsewhere, too. Every time I do laundry, the tabs come out of my jeans pockets and get stuck in the dryer filter. I've been known to pick them up off the ground.

Because, you know, every little tab weighs SOMETHING, and it all adds up.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:45 AM | |

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tumorless and Mamacita: The Same Age At Last (Shut Up!)

I am having such a good time lately with my Tumorless Sister!!!! She is so much fun to be with! I haven't laughed so much in years, and she's always incredibly interesting, and knowledgeable about music and books and politics (yeah, she finds me really up on THAT!) and, and, and, well, these past few years, I've "discovered" her anew, and the discovery makes me really happy. We're both teachers, and we've discovered that we have more in common than either of us ever supposed. She still hopes she's not much like me (understandable, completely understandable) but I hope I am at least a little bit like her.

I always have fun when we're together.

Golly, it almost makes me forget all about all those times she and my younger brother tortured me when we all lived at home.

I barely remember how she used to act really stupid, on purpose, in front of my friends and humiliate me. ("This is her house, too.") She was good at it, too; a few of my friends still believe there is something really wrong with her. And all those times she and Bro would watch for me to bring a boyfriend into the house, and plant themselves permanently in the tiny living room, and demand a share of any candy or pizza the boyfriend may have brought. . . . ("Jane! Shame on you! You share that with your brother and sister!")

I've forgotten all about being forced to take her along when my friends and I would go out quilling* on a summer evening. ("There is absolutely no good reason why you shouldn't take your sister with you!")

I never think about how Mom made me drop her off at school on my way to my first teaching job, which made me late approximately three out of the five school days. ("Don't you DARE leave without your sister! It's right on your way, and she's almost ready!)

Nope, I never think about those things at all. I am just loving her daily, and having a wonderful time doing so.

Thanks for the weekend, Tumorless. I'll see you tonight at Casa Brava, after class. You and our bois had better not start without me!

* Who remembers what this means? No, it's not a craft!
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 3:11 AM | |

Friday, July 06, 2007

Maksim Mrvica

Holy scheisse, this guy is GORGEOUS!

Oh, he can play the piano, too.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:12 PM | |

Mamacita Loves Steak 'n Shake, Especially Late At Night

Did you ever get off work at 9:00 or so at night and think, "Let's go get some supper, even though it's really late and the worst possible time to eat anything, especially if your body clock is already half past mere "fat" and heading rapidly into the "obese," central standard time?

Um, neither have I.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:25 AM | |

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Late-Night Random Playlist, and Salt

BBQ chicken, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, sliced tomatoes, raw veggies, dinner rolls, REAL butter, and a salt shaker* at every plate. . . . wish you'd been here to have dinner with us! We've got leftovers; come on over. We didn't even cut into the watermelon, so you can have some of that, too. I was going to make blueberry pie, because I love to make pies and we picked blueberries the other day and the freezer is full of them, but it didn't get done. Which means, of course, that it still CAN be done. I'd make a pie for YOU.

And now the kitchen is cleaned up (kind of) and I've set my media player to 'random' and I'm just surfing and hoping someone will come online and talk. . . .

1. Flavor of the Week - American Hi-Fi
2. Symphony in C - Cake
3. Lullaby for a Stormy Night - Vienna Teng
4. Medulla Oblongata - Dust Brothers
5. Anthem - Leonard Cohen
6. Cello Song - Nick Drake
7. Hit on the Head - Gomez
8. What Makes You Happy - Liz Phair
9. LaBamba - Snuff
10. Defying Gravity - Idina Menzel
11. Magic Toenail - Brak
12. My Old Self - Wide Mouth Mason
13. Flight of the Bumblebee - Yo Yo Ma and Bobby McFerrin
14. Swete Sone - Medieval Babes
15. La Vie en Rose - Louis Armstrong
16. Amazing Grace - Five Blind Boys of Alabama
17. Greensleeves - Enya
18. Roses From My Friend - Ben Harper
19. Casey/Once Upon A Time - Mandy Patinkin
20. Mille Cherubini in Coro - Nana Mouskouri and Andrea Bocelli

The Fourth of July used to make me really sad and depressed, because it meant that summer vacation was almost over and it was time to start planning for the new school year, but now?

I don't have to do that any more! Besides, which, I really do love this job, whereas I was only fooling myself about my previous teaching gig. Sometimes, when one hasn't ever done anything else to earn a living for one's entire life, one doesn't even know what else one is capable of doing.

Aren't you glad we don't have to use the pronoun "one" all the time, when writing an essay? Because, you know, it really gets on my nerves.

One really can teach an old dog new tricks. You want proof? Come on over.

*I don't use salt except for corn, green beans, and french fries, but when we have corn on the cob, we tend to fight over that shaker. So I give everybody his/her own. I have one for you, too.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:13 AM | |

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Mamacita's Fourth of July Rerun

From July 4, 2006. I'm really tired; please forgive the rerun.

There are many things that are wrong, in this country. Many, many things. Open a newspaper, listen to the news, all we hear about are the things that are wrong. We SHOULD be hearing about them, too; if we don't hear about them, we can't work to make them right. One of the many things this country does do right, is allow its citizens to talk about what it does wrong.

Making wrong things right is what we do here. It's what this country was founded for. We'd still be a British colony if it wasn't important for us to work hard to make wrong things right.

Any time more than four people get together for anything, one of them is going to want to do wrong. It's the responsibility of the other three to help that one person do right. But it goes deeper than that.

It's the responsibility of the other three to help that one person WANT to do right. Doing anything without understanding, and against one's will, isn't progress of any kind; doing anything without understanding, and against one's will, is a kind of slavery. Uneducated people sometimes have to be dealt with in this way, and that is a shame, and that is entirely their own fault, too. Everyone has access to education in this country. Some schools are better than others, but any of them will at least teach a child to read if that child lets it. And whether or not a child lets it is the responsiblity of the child's family, and a family that does not allow the school to teach its child to read is a bad, bad family.

This country has always valued education as the means to promote the understanding that would help a person realize that. It used to work, too, until education was forced to include things that the family unit is supposed to teach and provide, as well. We are fast becoming a welfare state, and that is a definite downgrade from being an education state.

And why is the family unit not providing what it is supposed to provide, these days? Most families still are, but many families prefer to mooch off the government rolls. They have chosen to give up their independence and become the permanent poor relations, supported by those citizens who do still work. This was supposed to be a temporary fix, and people are supposed to be just a little bit ashamed of being in this position. Welfare is supposed to be a somewhat embarrassing short-term episode in a person's life, preceding a wage-earning job. We've removed the 'embarrassment' thing in the name of self esteem, and that was a mistake.

But you really don't want to get me started about the 'self-esteem' movement. Which, like most movements, is full of the same sort of fecal matter.

Every day, more and more people join the welfare rolls, and for many it's not the temporary helping hand it was meant to be. For many, it's a way of life. Some people believe that the welfare way of life is a right, and other people SHOULD be supporting them, sometimes forever. No. Temporary help, yes. Permanent? Absolutely not.

An uneducated, or undereducated population is a dangerous thing. It quickly becomes a parasite, not an asset, sucking the lifeblood out of resources that really ought to be aimed elsewhere.

Ronald Reagan, who was not perfect either but then neither are any of us, said "We should measure welfare's success by how many people leave welfare, not by how many are added." He was right.

This country was founded by hard workers. This country has as one of its foundations, education for the masses. It's there, for free, for anybody who lives here to take full advantage of. To become an adult in this country and still not know how to read and write and support oneself is a disgrace, and that disgrace is not the country's disgrace, it is a personal disgrace.

People made this country, people who wanted freedom and independence and education for everyone. We must never lose the desire for any of these, for if any one of them is lost, all is lost. At the same time, as free and independent and educated people, we must not forget to take care of those who honestly and truly can not care for themselves. It goes without saying, which means, of course, that it must be said.

Those who are able-bodied and able to work, should work, for to take charity when one is fully able to do without it, is a shameful thing indeed. No job is too menial if one is truly determined to do what is right. And what is right, is to support oneself. Any honest job is a good job if one has no job at all. Some of our immigrant ancestors were doctors and lawyers and teachers back in the old country; they came here and took jobs as janitors so their children could have the benefits this country offered. And since their children learned to speak the language, their job horizons were brighter than those of their parents. It is still so, today. Those who educate themselves, have more options. Those who learn to speak the language of the majority, have more options. That is because they deserve more options. They deserve them because they EARNED them.

People who take charity when they are perfectly capable of getting off their bums and getting a job, are to be despised for the societal leeches that they truly are. For every adult who uses welfare money to buy cigarettes, there is a little child somewhere NOT getting milk because there wasn't any more money. The degradation of these adults is earned of their own free will, and they deserve every bit of the disgust they receive.

This country has a lot of faults, yes. Those who like to list them, one by one, on a regular basis, and yet do nothing to help fix them, are one of the faults.

There are many people living here who claim to hate this country, and who work to bring it further down. There are people living here who rejoice in the streets when bad things happen to this country. I suggest that those people leave and leave now, and live elsewhere and see if any other country would put up with their whines and violence and gleeful reactions when others get hurt.

Those who insist on living here, yet reject the education, the opportunities for supporting themselves, are not true Americans. They are parasites.

Yes, this country has many faults. I defy anyone to name any other country who would put up with some of yours, or mine.

Freedom. Independence. Education for the masses. Rights. Responsibilities.

That is what we are. Take advantage of them, if you have the guts and the brains and the heart and the decency. Ignore them if you don't. That's the freedom part.

Understand that the hardworking educated population is getting very tired of supporting those who choose not to work, choose not to be educated, and choose to not behave themselves properly. We are also very tired of supporting anyone who does not understand that the right to swing his fist ends where the other person's nose begins.

And those who claim their rights had better be prepared to stand up to their responsibilities as well. You can't have one without the other, and keep either for long.

This country has learned many lessons; slavery is gone, discrimination is legally gone, although many people still have some lessons to learn (EDUCATION! DECENT FAMILIES!). Europeans came here to an already populated country and took over, without regard for people who had lived here for hundreds of years and already had well-established civilizations. Think how you would feel if aliens landed in spaceships and took over this country, completely disregarding your prior claim to your home and demanding that you leave immediately so they might build their culture on top of yours, and labeling and treating you as some kind of violent savage if you protested and tried to defend your property.

The point is, we made, and make, mistakes. Big ones. We must use our educations to help right those wrongs, and help the nation aim for other and better goals. Learning from the past is what educated people do; dwelling on the past, not so much.

Aristotle said, "Educated men are as much superior to uneducated men, as the living are to the dead."

Those who care only about themselves, are not much good in any other circumstance. People who become accustomed to getting something for nothing become pretty much useless, too.

We must all get up, get to work, get cracking, get learning, get smarter every day. When we stop learning, they might as well bury us, as Lucy Maude Montgomery once said.

Nowhere in the world is there any other country as free as ours. Nowhere else can everybody be educated. Nowhere else can we all go where we want, when we want, wear what we want, say what we want. . . .

In some countries, even if you have the money you still can't have some things or go some places; it's all about social levels.

If I said we didn't have social levels here, it would be a joke, because everybody knows that we do, even though we're not supposed to. But here, our social levels are much about education and behavior, not who your daddy was, or wasn't. Unless you're a Kennedy, of course. (joke)

And after teaching at the college level for four years, I would have a very hard time indeed believing someone who tried to tell me that they couldn't go to college, nobody would take them. I might have believed that before, but not now, not now that I know about all the incredible opportunities available for EVERYONE.

In this country, we have equality of opportunity. Opportunity does knock, but you have to be smart enough to answer the door when it does, and to recognize it for what it is when you see it. That's the education part.

Everybody gripes about the state of the nation. You do, I do, everybody does. There's a lot to gripe about. But I honestly believe that there is even more to rejoice about, and be grateful about, and to appreciate.

I am proud to be an American. God bless America.

Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 1:17 AM | |

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Perfect Post for June 2007

I've nominated Ms. Cornelius, whose blog "A Shrewdness of Apes" is one of my favorite daily reads. Her post "The Downside of Love is Loss" is a beautiful tribute.

Thank you, MommaK and Lindsay, for creating this opportunity to share the Literature of the Blogosphere with each other.

A "shrewdness of apes" is a collective noun, of course. Collective nouns are but one of many ways we affirm the fact that we are a whimsical culture and that we love to laugh. Many collective nouns also affirm the fact, so often overlooked, that language is a musical thing, flowing and overflowing with beauty, logic, and fun.

Click on over and read Ms. Cornelius's post "The Downside of Love is Loss." You'll be glad you did.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 10:27 PM | |


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