Thursday, August 30, 2007

You Scratch My Back …

And I’ll do the following:

  1. Make sure everyone is bandaged appropriately in Thomas the Tank Engine bandaids
  2. Say “poo-poo” a lot
  3. Say “toot” a lot
  4. Say “paint the poop deck” a lot (thank you very much Veggie Tales) and then correct myself by saying, “paint the coco deck”
  5. Snuggle up close to allow the aforementioned back scratching.

Actually, #5 should be #1 because Lordy! Do I love those brief snuggly moments … even if it does require that I claw at his sweet little back.

The discovery of the pleasures of backscratching come at just the right time. Because if he didn’t want to snuggle at night then I might drop him off at a fire station (you know, they don’t ask questions).

But luckily there are moments like backscratch opportunities. And also, Macy & Granddaddy just left from spending three days on child-care backup duty, during which time I discovered that relief from an almost-three-year old is sweet. And if you think I have one picture of any of it then think again. Or if you think that I can’t write an entire paragraph in which every sentence begins with a conjunction then think again.

I have now completed an entire week as a full-time faculty member and it went relatively smoothly. There were lots of strange first-week questions from the students, the top three of which are listed below, because I know that my readers like content that is completely unrelated to Geese:

  1. “Do we have to be here on Tuesday AND Thursday? I thought we could just pick one."
  2. “Can we leave our cell phones on if our ring is a beautiful Celine Dion song like the theme from the movie Titanic?”
  3. “Hello. My name is Magny like ‘magnificent’ and I come from the heavens.” (In response to the prompt, “Please introduce yourself to the class by pronouncing your name clearly and telling us your home country.”)

I love my job.

And next week, the real preschool days commence. MWF 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. And since Macy & G’Diddy left this morning, that means we’ll have to actually cook dinner after work. The very idea.

But I'll spend Thursday afternoons and all day Saturday and Sunday with him. In addition, I have vowed (and so far succeeded) in my goal of NOT bringing home any schoolwork. We'll see ...

Here's what we did THIS Thursday (today):

Built a garage for Ernie's lawnmower:


NOTE: Ernie is the astronaut just below the dinosaur and next to Winnie the Pooh and that half-visible Cowboy.

Knocked it down with a workout ball (half naked):


Life is good. Leave a comment. See you next week ...

The Mother Goose

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Week in Pictures (or, One Author's Laziness)

I'm tired, but we've had a good week.

Today while I worked horrendous hours (8 to 5:30! gasp!), the guys made zucchini quiche.

Making Zucchini Quiche

Mom & John Silliness

This photo is indicative of my life: about 25% me and mostly HIM.


Ye shall reap what ye sow.

Contest Perfect

Beautiful Fruits of the Harvest.

(This is starting to sound like a Baptist Hymnal.)

Best Product on the Market

My Best Friend. If it would only fit better in my back pocket! The following is a list of things you can ruin with wasp spray when you douse your desk with it because one day you looked over and there was a big one angrily approaching your right elbow, just south of the mouse pad:

  • Three pages of your dayplanner
  • The Emergency Contact Card for a preschool
  • Directions on how to enter placement test scores
  • A bag of goldfish

And then I had to suffer the questioning of Husband, who had the nerve to ask ridiculous things such as, "Why couldn't you just hit it with a magazine or your shoe if it was just CRAWLING and not SWARMING (like they usually are -- said under breath)?"

The things up with which I put. I tell you.

And incidentally, you can also kill sunflowers, green onions, and spiders caught in the crossfire. Have I mentioned that I hate August?

ION ...

Here's our pre-night-night conversation from earlier tonight:

JEB: One time, when I was just borned, I was a puppet.

ME: Really?

JEB: Yep, in The Stonecutter.

ME: Really? In a presentation of The Stonecutter? That must've been interesting work for a newborn.

JEB: No. It was CRAZY! (maniacal laughter)

Oh! I've been forgetting to write about his imaginary friends Gordon the Gorilla and Morton the Mouse (individually known as "Gord" and "Mort" and collectively as "The Zoo Crew"). They are a construction team. Their main jobs include moving dirt, jackhammering, getting out the Toolkat (sp?), and using machines such as log skidders or excavators to perform various tasks. Sometimes they go to meetings with Brian and I or to work with one of us. They ride in the backseat. And they always have to be instructed about how to cross the street or behave in parking lots. The newest bedtime ritual involves all three of us lying in his bed talking about what jobs The Zoo Crew did earlier in the day and what's on the agenda for tomorrow. Earlier this week they drove all the way down to Mississippi to use Grandaddy's Orange Kubota Tractor (along with a little New Holland digger) to dig a drainage ditch for one of Macy & Grandaddy's neighbors. Today they helped me advise belligerent Egyptians on the finer points of TOEFL and Michigan Test score correlations. Tomorrow they're braving the heat with a team of roofers who are working on a Habitat for Humanity house.

Gord and Mort are a lot more active than my I.F., Beebobba. All he did was wear plaid pants and pick his nose.

Wow. I had more in me than I thought! Now I think I'll collapse. Until next week ... ONWARD and UPWARD.

p.s. We've got a REALTOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Joanna, Marilyn, and Fruit Flies

Before I get to all the women, let me just say ... that stupid bragging I did about how great it is to use compost in your garden has come back to bite me in the butt. Here begins the first anecdote.

In order to collect the compostable material in the kitchen, we first just used an old bowl. Then my friend Mamabird gave me a gift certificate to Gaiam which I used to buy a nifty little countertop compost bucket. I boasted about it to everyone … all about how it has a filter and a snapping lid (much better than that old bowl) and all of that. But so much for organic agriculture in your backyard: We have got fruit flies trying to eat the dish soap. Apparently you have to be humble AND concerned about the environment at the same time.

Fruit flies will attack by the way. You’d think that something smaller than a pinky fingernail clipping and equipped with wings would choose the “flight” vs. the “fight.” WRONG. If you attempt to clap-kill a fruit fly (which, by the way, you should always do about an inch above wherever they’re hovering), they will fly at your eyes. I never should’ve made my students read The Metamorphosis. They didn’t understand it anyway. Have you ever tried to explain the differences between conscious, unconscious, and subconscious to a group of 17 low-intermediate, non-native English speakers? Well, it can make you a little SELF-conscious (and crazy and sorry that you ever attempted to further their critical thinking skills).

Apologies, I’m not making smooth transitions, am I?

Well, speaking of students (how’s that?), now is the time of year when all teachers start having those nightmares where your mouth (or, alternately, eyes) doesn’t work and all the students are cheating and talking on cell phones and citing Wikipedia for research on “The Pros and Cons of Reincarnation.” Last night I woke up Husband by screaming, “TALKING! Stop it! TALKING is when your mouth is moving and sound is coming out!!!”

And now’s the time for me to integrate the words in the title into the actual body of this post.

Recently, we have moved on from “the high school song” (“Taking the Long Way” by the Dixie Chicks), “the woo-hoo song” (“Celebration” by Kool and the Gang) and “the get-down song” (“Get Down On It” also by K&tG). Now we are into “Joanna” (also by K&tG). It’s been on repeat in Suzie Q. Subaru since early this week. He calls it his song: “Play my song, Mama … Jo-ANNA … I LOVE YOUUUuuuuu!” And since it’s a lot better than “Booty Booty Ya Ya Ya” by Laurie Berkner, we’ll take it. I just bought a new Dolly Parton Greatest Hits album at the local used CD store, and when I suggest that we listen to “Islands in the Stream” or “Jolene,” he replies, “Too bad, Mama.”

Oh be careful little ears what you hear.

And speaking of the used CD store …

They also have used videos. Kids’ videos. Like “Jay Jay the Jet Plane,” “Bob the Builder,” “All About Road Construction,” and other popular titles. So he picked out the latter after a long 15-minute selection process with lots of deliberation between the two of us (The Dad was conveniently off listening to some potential additions to our music collection). I gave JEB a dollar and he went to pay for it. Then he needed nine cents for tax and I only had a nickel and two pennies. So, we had to interrupt The Dad, who had at that point stopped listening to Things We Would Never Buy (not even for a dollar), and had begun his search for a Michael Jackson greatest hits album.

Oh! The pride of a 2.9 year old holding a video on the topic of road construction.

So proud was he that he marched over to a life-size cut-out of Marilyn Monroe and said, “Hey. You wanna watch this video with me?”

I nearly wet my pants (which isn’t all that uncommon even when I’m not hysterical, but still).

In other news, I have found a coupla new discipline tools of late. First there is the phrase, “I’ll turn off the road construction video if …” and second there is The Online Behavior Problem Solver at You just choose an age, then a problem area (e.g., “potty talk”), and BOOM! You get an entire article written by EXPERTS on whatever particular challenge you are facing. If it weren't for experts, I know a certain Goose who would probably be in state custody.

And FYI ... potty talk is totally normal and has nothing to do with the fact that, for a while, you, your husband, and a 14-year old laughed hysterically at the phrase "POO-POO" when said in various contexts at the dinner table and otherwise. Until the preschool teacher "Miss Mary" laid down the law. Then it became unfunny.

Except when said with a Parisian accent.

And that, folks, is all. Bravo to you for lasting this long.

See you next week, and click the picture above to see a couple more.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dixie Chicks vs. Kool & the Gang

The guys won tonight. On our way home from the mall he said, "I wanna hear the 'high school' song." (That means, "Please play "Taking the Long Way" by The Dixie Chicks.) So I put it in as usual. And then he said, "No, I'd rather hear 'Get Down'." (That means, "Please play 'Get Down On It' by Kool and the Gang.") So of course I complied and stuck in K&G's greatest hits.

"Celebration" is first. I thought I could fool him. Then I hear, "Not that song. The other one. The 'get down' one." Luckily his new school has music class on Fridays.

Safe in the cocoon of Dadda's banky

Here he is safe in the cocoon of "Dadda's banky." One morning he got up and stripped (his usual routine). After procuring his apple juice, he demanded the Backyardigans video. Which was fine until the combination of cold A.J. and nudity rendered him chilled. I suggested clothes. He counter-suggested "Dadda's banky." He won.

Next ...

He pooped in the potty again yesterday after an incident wherein his father made him change his own stinky self. The director of his new school told me that they'll change him the first time, but any subsequent poopy pants are the responsibility of The Pooper. So Husband decided it might be good to get him used to that idea/practice at home. And after that he pooped in the potty one more time. But today there was nothing (neither pants nor pot), so who knows?

As you know, the first time he did it, he promptly said, "Now I can play soccer." As if we were gonna immediately fax an APB to all the local preschool soccer leagues. We don't have a fax machine. We don't even have fast internet. But earlier this week Brian did call the closest preschool soccer league and -- to his dismay -- discovered that it's already full. Tears, people. And not from John. Fortunately, he's not actually old enough, so it ends up not being our fault for waiting so late ... he has to be ALREADY three and thus, spring soccer it is.

Otherwise, it's just hot. Have I ever announced publicly how much I hate the month of August? I was once 9 months pregnant in August. But that was easy. It's so hot here that cicadas drop dead out of the trees. There are so many bugs inside and outside of this house that entomologists would PAY to live here this month. And truth be told, I don't mind insects (or arachnids). I really don't. I can deal with the spiders in the laundry room and on top of the hot water heater and the cobwebs in between the bannister and the stairs. I just taught an annotated version of Kafka's The Metamorphosis for crying out loud. And as a side note ... don't hot water heaters seem so ridiculous during 104 degree weather?

It's the wasps. I'm just never gonna get over my absolute terror about wasps. Sometimes we'll be walking in from the car and Brian'll say, "Please don't scream and flap your arms and then hide under my shirt." And I'll say, "Don't you think that if I had any control, I would refrain?" I mean, I realize that it's not exactly attractive. It's not a matter of realizing it's ridiculous and just willing myself to do better. It really is a phobia (though self diagnosed). It's called spheksophobia. It ruins my crazy drive to garden. I stand out there with the hose in one hand and a can of foaming wasp and hornet spray in another, praying that The Goose doesn't inadvertently walk in front of me and get doused. Because that has happened.

Now he just says, "Why you screaming?" And I try to play it off: "Oh, it's just mama being silly about those silly wasps. It's so silly for Mama to scream about those silly bugs. They won't bother me if I don't bother them. It's just silly. Silly." And he'll just look at me and say, "Where's my sprayer?" So I give him the water bottle sprayer that Brian uses when he makes bread. And he sprays everything in sight. Dirt dobbers, fireflies, moths, drainage pipes, zinnias, capri pants. And even though I'm standing there watching him spray water directly on bright red stinging insects and watching them just fly away without even thinking twice about stinging, I still cannot deal. I see one, spray poison wildly into the air, and then run -- arms flailing, screaming -- into the house where I hide behind the screen door. Because you can still shoot that stuff through a screen door. And it really will go quite a few feet (though not as far as the bottle claims).

In other news ...

We're here 'til Halloween and then FAST INTERNET BABY! Actually, that was one of the perks of the hotel-room-sized studio apartment awaiting us in Istanbul. It had wireless. But for every pang of "OH NO!" that I feel, I get 20 times more, "PHEW!" emotions.

And I think that's a good sign that I made the right decision.

So that's about it for tonight. Thank the Lord for guilty, indoor-with-AC pleasures like spill-proof bubbles in a carpeted room.




Thursday, August 02, 2007

Poo Poo

'nuf said.


July 2005


sneaky devilJuly 2007

Couch Potatoes

Well, Chris has come and gone again and left a quiet house behind. I mean, "quiet" is relative, but usually after 8:30ish it's pretty quiet except when Chris is here. This year, one of his more endearing after-hours habits was to practice pick-up lines ... every few minutes he'd say, "Hey Kim! Listen to THIS one!" He is a full-fledged teenager now.

In my opinion, these are his top three:

#3. Chris says, "Did it hurt?" Girl says, "Did what hurt?" Chris says, "When you fell from heaven?"

#2. Chris says, "You remind me of a parking ticket ... you got FINE written all over you."

drumroll ...

#1. Chris says, "Have I seen you before? Oh yeah, I saw your picture in the dictionary next to 'Bah-BLAM!'"

In case y'all don't know, Chris is Brian's former 4th grade student from Flagstaff who is now 14.

Brian & Chris

He comes to visit every summer and does the Junior Ranger Program and entertains my child while I practice my gourmet cooking, gardening, and party hostessing. And speaking of the latter ...

We were going to have a "Going Away" party. We invited lots of people. But then we decided not to go away, but we had already invited and planned -- so, we felt the best solution was just to rename the party. We had a "Going to Stay" party ...

Party Food!

After we pigged out on a delicious potluck of party food (most of which was not actually potluck, but rather, can be described as "A nervous breakdown waiting for Kim to embrace it in all its glory (i.e., an appetizer menu from an article entitled, "Even YOU Can Throw a Party," which I happened upon in one of the latest Oprah magazines. This lovely (and EASY!) spread included ... assorted Spanish olives, a cheese tray (including Manchego, Camembert, and smoked gouda), Anaconda almonds (or something like that), and empanadas with a filling of goat cheese & roasted red peppers. In my opinion, Oprah needs a new editor. Anyone who can use the word "easy" in the same article with any mention of an empanada should be ousted.

But that's not really the point, now is it? The important question is, as always: What is wrong with me?

After the food was eaten ("merely nibbled" is more like it, not that I'm bitter), there was small talk, then Brian's boss left, and then we moved all the furniture out of the living room and had a dance party (which is exactly what Joanna and I used to do every Saturday night of our 7th grade year --- except, of course, when there was a ballgame).

Ernie, Chuck, Emily

Small talk by Ernie, Chuck, Emily. Ernie is so thin we could hardly recognize him!

His parents paid me to marry him ...

Here is Husband and I so wish I could remember what song was playing.


Chris, Casey, Emily, doing the "Cholo" (note: a "cholo," according to Chris, is a Mexican gangsta).


L.A. dancing to "Celebration" (Yes. The one by Kool and the Gang -- we have their greatest hits).

Strange Party Attendees

El Conquistador and the infamous SHANE participating in a sitting-down dance called "Dorky White Wannabe Gangstas."

At one point during the night Brian and I did an interpretive duet to "Just You and I" by Eddie Rabbit & Crystal Gayle, and then L.A. and I clogged barefooted to John Denver. Conveniently, there are no pictures of those precious times.

In other news, I grow flowers, Brian polices possums, and John talks nonstop.

My flowerbed

Unfortunately, I only have a picture of the flowers, not the talking. Nevertheless, I can provide a few choice quotes from the last couple weeks:

  • Mom, what did you gotfor this time? (He means "forgot")
  • Don't do dat door frame! Dass not nice and I don't wanna see dat addatude. (Chastising inanimate objects has become quite the pasttime these days ... like, for example, if he walks by a door frame and bumps his shoulder, then a quote like that would follow.)
  • We needa eat first and then we wash our hands -- it's NOT THE ONLY OPTION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (a nightly pre-dinner ritual)
  • We had a good day ... where did we go-oh? (do the "go-oh" in a sing-song voice)
  • Uh-oh. I needa go poop in a potty. (He did it once! Unprompted! Just ran in there and sat down, but the next morning he went back to the usual routine.) I promised him an all-you-can-eat buffet of fudgesicles if he'd replicate that act, but all he said was, "I pooped in the potty last night. Now I can play soccer." We've been telling him that when he's three and he poops in the potty THEN he can play soccer. I think we should've been more clear about how many times that event needed to occur. Anyway, I've already called First Pres about their preschool athletics program.

The only other thing I have to say about that child is, "Let the bandaid obsessions begin." Currently he is fixated on Backyardigans bandaids. He is only allowed one a day for his knee (which would heal if would stop picking the scab). We're not sure who he got that trait from Amy.


And now goodnight it's time to sleep.