Saturday, July 31, 2010

And I See....

Susan was once kind enough to share a link to Dover Publications, which allowed me to sign up for a weekly free e-mail which comes with sample pages. They range from vintage artwork, to puzzles to my favorite: coloring pages.

Coloring pages are the answer to how you tame Summer Program children. If the page has a challenge to it, that's even better. Here's what we did today and it instantly made me think of Titus. :)

The caption reads
"The X-ray machine shows what Gigantosaurus had for lunch.
Draw a picture of this meal."

Well, for once they quit screaming long enough to be creative. Here's a list of what they "drew" in old Dino's stomach. I only wish you could see those illustrations!

The most popular included Bones, Cavemen and for some reason, Chickens. They added water [hey, he needed something to wash it all down with!], then more um...creative ideas. They went from interesting (Rubber Ball, Bread, Dino Egg, Watermelon, Grass, Lizard, Frog and Rock) to just plain weird: a Rock, Tire, Door, Chair, Trash, Trashcan, Water Fountain and a Shirt.

My favorites included vegetables, (Green Beans, Broccoli and Asparagus), Dessert (Chocolate and Cookies) and oddities like Magnets, Balloons and a T.V.. The one which made me laugh hardest was the kid who said, "These are a caveman's pants...whaddya call that?" So an orange loincloth was in the mix.

But the best thing of all was the kid who not only refused to color his Dino green like everyone else, his dinosaur had a different color for every body part. And yes, there was a story. You see, the Dino was very hungry one day and he ate...a Rainbow. And over time, all the colors leaked out into his skin.

Yeah, they do have their moments.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then kindly visit as many 55ers as you can.



55 word stories were quite the challenge for someone who

loathed the phrase “500 words or less”.


Every Friday, her brain’s “Editor function” steadily sharpened.

Thinking harder didn’t mean cutting corners.


She read and commented on other 55 works.

Laughed.

Cried.

Learned.

For a while, it was fun.


Until, defeated by WoRd VeRiFic8TioN, she surrendered.



And sadly, fiction has become reality. I'm giving up Friday 55. I simply don't have the time to "play fair"....which to me means if you post, you should go and read others. And I LOVE reading what each of you writes. But the number of sites which have been forced to choose Word Verification has become too numerous and those @!*# words are getting longer and longer. And yes, I'm tired of having to re-type those stupid words because the squiggly "l" melded into a "t" and I typed an "H". When frustration replaces the reason you came to play, it's time to take your toys and walk back home with a little self respect still in tact.


Oh, I'll probably pop in from time to time. So have a great Friday....EVERY Friday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SPLAT!

Once more, into the windshield.

Before I could enter the building this afternoon, the Summer Program kids had the walls vibrating. The older woman who I relieve handed me forms as I walked in, then winced while instructing me to give them to the kids on their way home. I nodded. Her wince deepened and she seemed to brace for impact. What could be so bad? We only had 2 more days to go.

She stared mutely at the paper in my hand.

It read, "The Summer Program has been extended for 2 more weeks."

Insert every rude word and inappropriate phrase you've ever heard HERE.

No, I didn't say them out loud. But I thought a few.

Is it an omen that the program now ends on Friday the 13th?

Today the kids were the worst yet, as if they'd been main lining sugar and drinking Bull of Red for days on end with no sleep. The more the other worker [newly turned 21 and working on gray hairs already thanks to the kids] and I instructed them to behave, the louder they got. When I announced I WOULD NOT tolerate this behavior for another two weeks, the older ones appeared puzzled. The young worker explained our program had been expanded.

Miss 21 leaves on FRIDAY, as her job is completed. As she was cleaning this afternoon, she looked at me with sorrow and said, "I just want you to know that those evil big boys [ages 13-16] know I'll be gone after Friday. They said they plan to 'Go Wild' on you Monday because they think you'll be all alone."

Problem is, I just might be. That Center's Director is out with back problems and not scheduled to return until mid August.

Insult to injury? The Sheriff's Dept., in an attempt to "make friends" with these future juvenile delinquents they will probably one day arrest, presented the older boys today with a pair of brand new, BIG brand name sneakers for school. So the boys picked up their new sneakers, sneered at me and I could see the wheels turning.

I'm afraid they're in for a new lesson. Never underestimate the determination of one small, over worked, under paid, on the edge woman....no matter how much taller you are then she. Because bottom line is, you keep it up, I write you up and out the door you go. Permanently.

Sadly, for doing the right thing I know I'll be watching over my shoulder and checking the air pressure in my tires for weeks to come.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Some Days You're The Windshield...

...some days you're the bug.

So far this week, I've been both.

Kindly bear with me as I try to straighten out the mess I've inherited called paperwork...all as a result of being appointed Personal Representative of Auntie's estate.

If you love your family, don't die on them. If you truly love them, figure everything out ahead of time and NEVER leave it to the bank to decide.

Sigh.

Map, kindly go have a beer for me, will ya? I'm too tired to start drinking now.

Hopefully we will resume normal programming by week's end. After all, only 3 more days of the evil Summer Program and it's over!

Cheers!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Have you tried yet? Writing an entire story in 140 characters? If so, and you really ought to try for the fun of it, please let Susan know.



Here's this week's illustration.


It was true.
Betsy Ross didn't create the stars & stripes flag.
But after the 3rd drink, she'd convinced Congress little angels had sewn it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then kindly visit as many 55ers as you can.



In the small southern Post Office it was difficult NOT
to eavesdrop standing in line.
Wasn't her fault really.
The greetings were so gregarious.
If predictable.

Trying to tune out,
her ears still picked up that traditional question,
no matter the person's age.

"How's ya Mama?"

Grinning, she wondered if anyone ever asked about Daddy?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Can you do it? Write an entire story in 140 characters? If so, and you really ought to try for the fun of it, please let Susan know.




Here's this week's photographic inspiration.


When you invited me for tea & biscuits, I thought "How kind!"

No, I'm pretty sure Lobster Bisque is served
without a side order of flowers.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Fly the um...informative skies

I'll admit it. The only flying I've ever done was with a neighbor in a small Cessna when I was a kid...and it didn't go well. When we went to land, the guy on the runway was flagging us down and making all sorts of odd movements worthy of charades. I was only 8, my neighbor 9 and her Dad was the pilot. I was short, so I was leaning against the door and she was leaning against me...and the seat belt wouldn't fit around us both, so we didn't use it. Not until we saw the guy on the ground doing the airline equivalent of the Hokey-Pokey [sing along..."and you turn yourself around"] as he ran towards us did we figure out what was wrong; the door wasn't shut completely and it wasn't locked! We'd been leaning against it the whole time. Kid sized bodies saved us, I guess.

The only other time I flew was with my father-in-law in the helicopter he used for crop-dusting. Long story short, it's like putting two folding chairs side by side and placing a cake cover over the top of you. AND he took the doors OFF...so it would be more fun.

Truth is, I've never traveled anywhere where flying was a necessity. But after seeing this plane today on snopes.com, at least I'd be tempted to fly with them because they have a sense of humor. This is one of the planes from the South American airline kulula.




This plane is called the "Flying 101" because the whole plane diagrams what's what. Gotta like an airline which refers to the Captain as "The big cheese". Note to the poets amongst you what's listed below that caption. And who knew the "Black box" was really orange?

For more photos of their crazy paint jobs, go here.

The friendly skies just got funnier.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then kindly visit as many 55ers as you can.


Rounding a corner, the driver spied three dark shapes huddled together in the middle of the deserted country road. Their meeting interrupted, the furtive trio skulked off in different directions, muttering.

“Look pretty guilty to me,” the driver mused as the large, black birds took flight. “No wonder they call you a ‘Murder of crows’.”

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Microfiction Monday

It's time for Susan's Microfiction Monday, where you have 140 characters to tell a tale. Make sure you drop by and let her know you played.

With apologies this week to our Hostess. :)




This week's picture...........


Made to remove spots.
Leaves skin like porcelain.

Wonder if it'll take the spots out of this towel?
I'm tired of hand washing my lingerie.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Can You Dig It?

Hello. I remember you folks. No, I haven't been vacationing. I've been busy this week becoming the "Personal Representative for the Estate of Auntie." Oh sure, she asked the Bank to do it. I can still see her calmly smiling at me, telling me she was doing it for my own good because she'd seen how much paperwork I had to handle when Dad [her brother] died and I was in charge. But now that she has less money, the result of almost 10 years of nursing home care, the Bank felt it would be "morally wrong" to take the job due to their fee system. I believe if you translate that into English it means, "You don't have enough money for us to take our giant fee without the family getting $1.50 each."

If you love your family, don't die. There's too much paperwork.

Of all the items on the list I have to undertake, the one concerning well...undertaking at the cemetery level has been the most eye opening. It's amazing how much money one can spend on such a small piece of earth.

I'm the first to admit I've told Hubby that cremation and a coffee can buried in the backyard would be fine by me. Of course, he'll have to drink a lot of coffee to get a can since I don't drink it at all. Hopefully by the time that point arrives, we'll both be so old we'll just go to sleep and wake up with wings.

I digress. As usual.

The interesting thing about being the person who loves family lore and genealogy, is that I have lots of trivia at my fingertips. Like the fact my Grandfather paid a little over $250 dollars for a "family plot" of 8 graves. When his unmarried brother, whom we lovingly referred to as "Uncle Murray the Bachelor", (as if that was a proper title) died in 1943, his funeral expenses included a new suit for $22.50. Grand total? $325 for funeral AND burial expenses. Of course, the cemetery has to keep making money so they did charge to dig up his final resting place...for $10. That may have been a lot of money that year, but if you ask the two guys with shovels who had to dig a six foot deep hole, they might've argued about that.

When Granddaddy died in 1974, his funeral cost twice as much but the "dig up the ground" fee was roughly $50. And rather than being a backbreaking endeavor, backhoes were now in use to replace those two guys with shovels. But when his daughter, the Auntie who passed away in May, got her turn to join the family plot, it seems ground got really expensive to touch. You'd think it was radioactive or something. I still can't get over the fact it cost $700 to dig up an approximately 3x7 foot space. You know what the kicker is? A guy at the cemetery told me they don't even go six feet deep any more...they go 4 feet under.

So as I shopped for a monument to place on her pricey piece of final resting place, I was shocked to find out that the cemetery has ANOTHER fee. Even though you are utilizing "land" which has been purchased and paid for, did you know you have to pay for the space the MONUMENT rests on?

Sigh.

No, the fee is cheap. Something like 50 cents a food and most monument bases are 3 feet. It's just the principal of the thing.

So it seems that Granddaddy got the best deal when he purchased those 8 plots years ago, because those same spaces of dirt now sell for $1,200 EACH for adults and $350 for infant/children plots. Would you believe even cremation plots are $350?

Man, the next time the seniors at my center finish a can of coffee, I'm putting that sucker aside for a rainy day. Who knows, by the time I die at 100 (Hey, I had a bet with my Grandma and she made it to 99) coffee cans might cost $350 each.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday...

...Dad.

That's right, Dad was a 4th of July baby who weighed in at a whopping ten pounds. Now as his first born, I wasn't quite that large, but it was evident from all the photos I've been scanning this week that my 8 pounds made a pretty big impact on him. Here we are with the family car, circa 1959. That hand on my back pretty much summed it up. No matter what happened, I always felt like Dad had my back.

Cars played a big part of our relationship as well. I remember standing on the front seat of the family car at the ripe old age of about 3, handing Dad newspapers to toss on a route he took for some extra cash. I thought it was fun...even if by today's standards, we'd probably both have been fined.

I remember Dad would pop the hood on the family car and suddenly, I wanted to know exactly what all those parts were for and how they worked. After my fifteenth annoying question of "But why does it do that?" Dad would sigh and ask why I was so interested in cars only when the hood was up and he had work to do? I would shrug but deep down, I just liked spending time with him, learning something new. The only oath of secrecy I ever took was that I would not, under any circumstances, repeat any of the 4 letter words that Mom would not approve of which only slipped out of his mouth when knuckles met metal. I kept my pledge. Sorry Mom...but he used that Memaw word you hate.

Mom taught me how to drive, but the family joke was that if Dad stood in front of the car and watched me, I couldn't get it to start! Some part of me wanted to impress Dad because I always thought men wanted a son for a firstborn, someone to hand down the family legacy to. I never thought that Dad might be proud of the driver I'd become and wanted to see me off safely. Yeah, if I could ever get out of the driveway.

And I did get out of the driveway, learning life lessons that sometimes involved tears...but never a car accident. Then came the day I dreaded....and it came too early. I had to start driving Dad. To his chemo sessions. It was time for me to have Dad's back.

And yet, on the way there and back, depending on how far along we were with his treatments, we talked. About everything. Hopes, dreams, wishes....for him and for me. Sometimes it wasn't fun, especially when the rides entailed estate and funeral planning. But we still managed to find humor in that too...pretending to add silly songs instead of the hymns he loved. When we were kids, Dad would always tease us with "You done good." I threatened to put that on his tombstone. He smiled. Sometimes I wish I had...even in very small letters.

This morning I woke up and realized while the rest of America celebrates its independence, my independence from Dad wasn't the one I'd expected at this age. With Auntie dying, that means Dad's immediate family is all gone. For the first time in my life, the 4th of July is....different.

But as I ride back to my hometown today to enjoy BBQ with Hubby's family, I will still think the same thing. Wasn't it nice of Dad to share his birthday with America?

Sparklers shall be waved in your honor Dad. Happy Birthday!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday 55

It's time to play "Write a story in 55 words". When you do, be sure to let the G-Man know, then kindly visit as many 55ers as you can. I hope to do more visiting this time!


GOVERNOR GIVEAWAY

Goes AWOL.

Vetoes education programs.
Allows has-been wrestler to shill "education lottery".

Vetoes increase of nation's lowest cigarette tax.
Funds were for health care.

Gives Highest award to Baseball coach...
for winning college world series.

Won't sign budget.
Agencies can't work.

Whines...
job is difficult.

Don't cry to me,
go back to Argentina.



I apologize for being in rant mode. When I got to work this morning, I discovered that my part-time worker can't work for the next 3 days because our Governor failed to sign the budget in a "timely manner" [meaning July 1] and her employment program had no funds left. Yes, this is the same embarrassing dolt who ran off to play with his mistress in Argentina. His idea of a progressive move in a tight economy was to proclaim July 1st "Baseball Appreciation Day" after the College World Series win. It's not a proud moment. And I bet my worker feels cheated for having watched that stupid baseball game.

Fortunately some of his vetoes have been overridden [cigarette tax] because State Representatives have actually found their collective backbone this year and are working to override more of his nonsense right now. I swear a trained monkey could do a better job.

His wife was the lucky one...she got to divorce him. We can't kick him out of
the Mansion until November.