Friday, May 30, 2008

I Am What I Read . . .Aren't I?

I have often said that if a psychiatrist ever got hold of my Ipod and looked at the eclectic nature of the music that I listen to, he would render me seriously schizophrenic. The 20GB or so runs the gamut from Gregorian chant to Bowling for Soup, the lute music of J. S. Bach to Pete Seger, the soundtracks to 20 or so Broadway musicals to Emerson, Lake and Palmer's rendition of Moussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, Willie Nelson to Girlyman, and the violin concerti of Telemann to the modern jazz of Oregon. The list goes on, but I think you get the picture. And yes, I really do listen to all of this stuff, admittedly some of it more frequently than others, but it all has its time and place. To a mental health professional, I'm sure my collection of music says a great deal about what lies deep within my soul. All I know is that I like a wide variety of music and Bach is not a good choice on cleaning day.

The selection of magazines that I read is as equally eclectic as the music on my Ipod. They range from Digital Photography to Bust, Newsweek to Hobby Farm, Writer's Digest to Vogue Knitting, and Yoga Journal to Southern Living. You may notice that nothing I read on a regular basis is related to music in general or music theory specifically. There was a time in my life when I read all of the scholarly journals faithfully. I even enjoyed a good many of them. Every now and then I read an article or two in the scholarly realm, but I no longer sit on the edge of the chair in my library carrel waiting for the next issue to be published. Sadly (or maybe not), I am much more likely to read an article about a pop or country star or the latest soundtrack in a mainstream magazine. This may make me a bad academician, but certainly not a bad person!

Like I said, my music collection does not really reveal anything to me about my true self. My choice in magazines does. There are those magazines that are indicative of the things that I am passionate about -- Photography, knitting, writing, cooking. And there are those magazines that are a glimpse of the person that I wish I was -- one who practices yoga faithfully every day or has an organic garden that supplies our produce needs year round. All of these subjects represent places in me where creativity and excitement grow, even the ones where I fail miserably at living that particular lifestyle. There is always hope that someday I will become the person that I think that I want to be. And, maybe not. It is more likely that I will continue on being the person I am meant to be rather than the one I want to be. For me, this distinction is much like the one we all heard as a child -- the difference between need and want.

For some people, TV and movies are the escape to the life they wish they had. For me the escape is through the pages of these magazines. As I look through Hobby Farm I can pretend that I am sitting atop the biggest John Deere tractor they make rather than sitting on the deck watching the manual labor mow my yard on their Cub Cadet. I can imagine that I feel the same peace as the yogi who is looking at me from his warrior pose. I can almost feel the freshly picked blackberries that make their way from bush to preserves in only two pages. I know that if I just made the time, I can make any sweater that I want from Vogue Knitting. In my escape through periodicals, I can be all that I want to be. And you thought that the Army had the lock on that!

For now, I use the information that I can to better the place where I am right this moment and I store away, on little sticky notes attached to my brain, those things that I might need later on. You never know when that article you read about digital manipulation to make your subject's hips look slimmer, or treating brain worms in alpaca, or dying yarn with beet juice, or preparing a five course holiday meal for 100 might come in handy.
I really love my little fantasy world. So if you will excuse me, I am going to go read about Mexican bean beetles and listen to John Coulter's "Even My Henchmen Think I'm Crazy"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wii, Wii, Wii, All The Way Home

I hate it when I fit into a mold - especially a marketing mold. But, that is where I find myself right now. I am the soccer mom to whom Nintendo is marketing its newest piece of the gaming world, Wii Fit.

It is no secret that I am a video game addict. Don't get me wrong, this is not bad or anything. It has saved my sanity and my GPA for many years. As an undergraduate in North Carolina, every night after I had finished practicing and studying, I headed to a local pizza joint to play just one game of Pac-Man or Dig Dug. Because I had played so much, I quickly got to a point where I only spent one quarter a night. And even then, I often left a game with many lives still to go. This habit cost less than $2.00 a week - cheaper than a psychiatrist even back it the early 80's.

I was the one who two hours before I got married was at this very pizza joint playing one last game as a single woman. This game fix made me feel much better than having my nails or my hair done. Since this time, I have continued to play games. There have been periods in my life where I dedicated more time than others to game playing, but I have always had a game to turn to to relieve stress and anxiety. Most recently, it is Zuma. I must say that unlike some, I do not have this, or any other game, on my phone. This activity is restricted to the privacy of my own office on my own desktop computer. Some things never change. It is usually late at night, after all the day's obligations have been fulfilled, that I click on "that" button for just one late night encounter with a game.

That all changed this weekend. I bought Wii Fit, the game that Nintendo hopes will draw the mother of the family into the gaming world that dad and the kids have enjoyed for so long. It worked. I am hooked. I am not sure why because this thing talks ugly to you. It tells you how much you weigh, what your BMI is, whether or not you are overweight, and what your "Wii age" is.

I'm OK with the weight thing even if it says that I need to lower my BMI two points. I am even OK with the fact that It tells me I have balance problems. (I tend to allow more weight to be carried by my left side than my right). But I can't deal with this "Wii age" thing. The program asks you your age and your birth date, nothing too personal, and then it has you perform some basic balance and agility exercise. Based on all of this information, it calculates your Wii age. It told me I was 50. In the big scheme 3 1/2 years is not that big a deal, but 50?!

On my second day of training with this lovely piece of software, I discovered that you can recalculate you age every day based on how you improve. This isn't so bad after all. It is the only place where as the days pass, I actually get younger.

Seriously, this thing is way too much fun. I spent most of yesterday working on one of the balance games that simulates slalom skiing. I was going to get through all 10 of those gates before I quit. And I did. I also did the ski jump, a light jog through the park, some step aerobics, and learned some new yoga poses.

I don't know if the three or four hours I spent playing these games yesterday is the best way to spend that kind of time, but I can say with confidence that this is the best $90 I have spent in a long time.

I'll let you know how old I am tomorrow.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What I'm Doing On My Summer Vacation

As the end of every semester approaches, I always have great plans for what I will do with "all my free time" when I no longer have to go to school, grade papers, prepare class discussions, etc. These plans usually include cleaning house, reading the stack of "To Be Read" books, gardening, sleeping, watching the stack of "To Be Watched" movies, and doing the New York Times crossword puzzle every day - even Friday.

I am three weeks in to my vacation and here is what I have accomplished:
  • No cleaning. In fact, things have gotten worse because I had a writing deadline for Spirit of Knitting. Here is a partial accomplishment. Spirit of Knitting is at the printer. Once it has been mailed, I will take credit for having accomplished something.
  • I have read half of a murder mystery that amounts to nothing more than brain candy. I should have finished it, but I haven't. I have also read the cartoons only in several back issues of the New Yorker magazine. The stack of unread books has remained untouched.
  • I did plant some flowers yesterday though the four bags of mulch that need to be spread in the flower bed are still resting comfortably in the driveway. I will get to that tomorrow, or the next day, or the next next day . . . When I said gardening, I really meant planting some vegetables, something that would eventually result in food for me. That has not happened. And, now, I am thinking of fall crops. Perhaps all is not a total waste. I'm sure the rabbits will eat well on the flowers that I planted.
  • Sleeping . . .what the heck is that??
  • I have watched three whole movies and I did not fall asleep during any of them. This may be an all-time record! None of these flicks were great works of cinematic art, but I must admit that I did enjoy them. Like the half-read murder mystery, they too are best categorized as brain candy. I sense a theme here.
  • I have done, or at least attempted, the crossword puzzles every day. I must confess that I failed miserably at Friday's puzzle this week. Perhaps if I read and watched anything that stimulated my brain in a positive way, I could make it through Friday as well. Oh well, the summer is young. There is still time to work on my brain power.

So what the heck have I been doing? Much of my time has been given to the theater. I was the prop master for DCT's production of To Kill A Mockingbird, though this was a relatively simple show. Mostly I have been helping to clean out the prop deck at the theater . . .not such a simple job. The things that make their way to a theater's prop deck are a little scary. It has become a game to try and figure out in what show some of the bizarre things were used. There is cause for concern when nobody knows. I think we have the "heirlooms" from many attics and garages in Denton, the contents of which were not useful to the owners and are no more useful to us. I have developed quite a relationship with our great big trash can. We have made many, many trips to the dumpster together.

This is one of those jobs that really is no fun. However, when we are done, the results will be well worth the time and effort. Imagine being able to find the props you know we have, because you bought it two or three shows ago.

I do have some help in this endeavor. Several others who often work as prop masters and a few other gullible volunteers are helping. The theater has also been given several people who are doing "community service" So here I am spending my summer, voluntarily I must say, doing the same job as several people who are doing "time". When I think too hard about this, I realize there is something very wrong with this picture. All of the volunteers are quick to admit that they are doing community service, but none has said, and we have not asked, what they did to be sentenced to the theater. I'm not sure that I really want to know.

We have several more days of work ahead of us. Hopefully there are still some of those who must do community service around to help us. I wonder just how serious your infraction has to be to be sentenced to this?

Tomorrow I am going to work on my commitment to sleep. I will not set an alarm and I am going to turn the dogs off. Oh wait, I can't do that. I guess I will just threaten to take away the Frisbee and all of their rawhide of they intrude on my sleeping late. Then the crossword puzzle and maybe some laundry. And then again, maybe not.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Question About ADA

"The Americans with Disabilities Act gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in public accommodations, employment, transportation, State and local government services, and telecommunications."

The above is a brief statement about what The Americans with Disabilities Act is intended to do. On the surface, it is a noble plan. In reality, does it really work? I don't think so.

The visible acts of compliance deal only with one disability - mobility impairment. There is no shortage of handicap parking spaces around. And, park in one of those without that blue tag and you are guaranteed a ticket with a hefty fine. And all public restrooms are required to have at least one handicap equipped stall. Again, beware of the lady with the cane if you are in "her" stall. Never mind the fact that all the others were full when you entered the restroom. Then there is preferential treatment in the lines at amusement parks. Why do those in wheelchairs and their accompanying parties get to move to the front of the line? They are more comfortable than those who have to stand in line because they can. Stores have to be arranged so that the aisles are wheelchair accessible. I do realize that all the shelves are not reachable from a sitting position.

I do believe that mobility impaired individuals need special accommodations in certain situations, but they seem to be the only ones who get it. Let's talk about those with vision and hearing problems. Aside from the braille on the lid of your cup at McDonald's and on elevator signs, how often do you notice accommodations for individuals with such disabilities?

There are special tables in restaurants for those in wheelchairs. How many times have you seen a large print or Braille menu in a restaurant?

Churches must follow ADA accessibility requirements for seating people in wheelchairs. How many times have you seen a large print or Braille bulletin? Have you seen someone signing a sermon recently?

How about ordering at fast food restaurants. The counters must be low enough for someone in a wheelchair to reach but the menus are not readable by someone who is visually impaired.

Have you been to a theater production that offers large print programs or offers sign interpretation of the show? Probably not, but there are special places reserved for those in wheelchairs.

I did some checking on why such accommodations are not required to make public places more accessible to the visually impaired. Basically it comes down to the fact that if there is someone around who can read you the menu, or the price tag, then the institution or business is not required to provide materials to you. Lets get real. It is hard enough to get your ice tea refilled in most restaurants. Do you really think your server is going to read you the menu?

One of the funniest things I think I have ever seen is the screen that pops up on ATM machines that says, "If you would like to proceed hearing voice commands, press Enter now." What dumb ass came up with this? You would have to be able to see the screen in the first place to "press Enter."

I think that as individuals we have come a long way in how we interact with those who are disabled. Most people are not defined by their disability. But out in the world, we have a long way to go. We have made progress for those in wheelchairs. Let's do some of the same for those who are visually and hearing impaired.

I will have to give the gas companies an A+ on making their signage readable for the visually impaired. I can see that posting of $3.72 from way off. However, this is not much help to me since I can't drive because I am legally blind. I would much rather be able to see the menu next time I go out to eat.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What's The Value?

School is almost over for Erin and she has been working on ways to occupy her summer days. She will go on two mission trips with the youth group from church - one to Abbyville, LA, a community still dealing with devastation from hurricane Katrina and then to Mexico on an environmental trip (at least that is their story and they're stickin' to it!).

Lat Saturday evening the youth group sponsored an auction to help raise money for these trips. A good while ago , the youth director asked me if I would knit something for the auction. I agreed without hesitation. I have knit teddy bears for other church fundraisers and they have done reasonably well. I wanted to do something different this time; I decided on a felted bag because I thought it would appeal to a greater group of people than the bear.

This is the Booga Bag made from three skeins of Noro Kureyon. The Noro colors are beautiful and though the bag pattern is simple, it is fun to make. As is usual with an auction, they always want to know the value of an item to place on the bid sheet. That is a tough call with handmade items of any kind. This bag uses about $25 in yarn plus the time to make it. we decided that the value was $85 - $25 in materials and $60 ( 4 hours @ $15 per hour) in labor. That seemed fair to me though deep down I was thinking that no one is going to pay that much for this bag. Surprisingly, it was one of the first items that was bid on and it saw a lot of activity through the evening. I believe the bidding opened at $15 and when all was said and done it sold for $65. Not bad.

The bag was bought by an adult, but there was a little girl, maybe 10, who wanted it really badly. Sadly, the price quickly grew beyond what she could spend. I felt bad because this is a youth event and the kids should be able to participate. Though it is helpful in the fundraising process for the bids to go high, it does leave some people out. Because I felt bad for this child, I asked her what she had to spend on the purse. I told her that if she would donate that amount, I would make her another purse. Deal! So, the above picture is actually bag #2 that will be delivered to its new owner tomorrow at church.

So now I have contributed twice the yarn and twice the time. The problem with the twice the yarn part is that the second purse had to be made with exactly the same color as the first, and I had no more of that yarn left. So, I had to make a trip to the yarn shop. They had three more skeins of the yarn that I needed, and two skeins of really cool sock yarn, one blues and the other oranges, some cool new fuzzy sock yarn, and a few patterns. I will not confess here how much I spent on this little adventure. Suffice it to say that this second bag cost me much more than the $25 in required yarn.

Then there are the socks that were auctioned. I also agreed to knit a pair of custom fit socks. Again we went through the value deal. How much is a pair of handknit socks worth? Because I am terrible at placing a monetary value on such things, I finally smarted off with the value as being "priceless", and that is how the bid sheet read. I had asked that the minimum bid be $5o, but that didn't happen. The socks sold for less than the felted bag. Go figure. However, it was a child who wanted the socks so I was happy.

We also made a Dog Basket to be auctioned. It was a collection of goodies that any pampered pooch would enjoy. I was feeling pretty good about my participation in this event. I knew that if the kids didn't raise enough money for the trips that we, the parents, would have to pay for our kids to go so this was as good a way as any to get the job done.

But, my participation did not stop with the contribution of auction items. Then there was the auction itself. I could just sit there and watch everyone else having fun holding up their numbers and beating out their "pewmates" for great fun and food opportunities. One of the things being auctioned was the privilege ?? of being Rector For A Day. For some reason, Erin really wanted this and for the right price, she won it. I'm sure she will enjoy her day as head honcho. It will be interesting to see how the rector enjoys sharing his throne with a fifteen year old girl. It could be a humbling experience. Erin also bid on having lunch brought to her and three friends at school every week for a month by the youth minister. A great deal for Erin but not so good for the youth minister who has to drive 50 miles to feed her at school.

Then there is the group acting lesson and the Wii. No, we did not buy a Wii. We already have one. The youth pooled their resources to buy it for the youth center. It was neat to see all the kids come together and buy something that they will share in a community space that they are creating. The amount of money that each kid could offer didn't matter. They all worked together to come up with what they needed to be the top bid.

When all was said and done, the initial $25 in yarn for the first bag was nothing. I probably spent enough money to send the kid on a month long vacation in Mexico or Europe or maybe both. What the hell! I had fun making the items and participating in the auction. I also enjoyed seeing the happy people who won the items we contributed. Maybe the value of handmade items is measured in smiles rather than dollars. And, smiles are priceless.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Toy

I have a wretched cold and way too much work to do but I did manage to find a few minutes to play with my new camera. I am a little more comfortable with it today than I was last night, but I still have much to learn.

I am supposed to shoot a run of To Kill A Mockingbird on Wednesday night. Between now and then I need to decide if I am confident enough to shoot with my new camera or should I use my old one with whom I have a good history. Decisions. Decisions.

This is the very first picture that I took. I managed to find the on button and figured out how to focus at least a little.

Moving objects are hard especially when you have no idea what you are doing!
When feeling defeated, turn to Erin. She makes a great subject for any photographer!
Spencer thinks he makes the best model. I'll let him fight it out with Erin.
Hopefully I will get better with practice. I would be happy to practice all day but the subscribers to Spirit of Knitting who are waiting for their spring issue might get a little upset. I will try to remember 'Work, then play."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

Life tends to place a great deal of emphasis on "firsts". Though I don't really remember it, I'm sure my first Mother's Day was a monumental occasions. When I was pregnant with Erin, Mother's Day began a nine month period of tossing my cookies. And over the years, each of the girls as made me gifts at school, many of which still occupy places of prominence in my office. But this Mother's Day may be the best yet. I think this is because the girls are now old enough to figure out their own expression of how best to acknowledge dear old mom. They both did an awesome job this year.

Brooke called home during the day on Friday to say that she had just mailed me a package but it would not get here until Monday. I assured her that Monday was fine. However, we got home from running errands on Saturday and her package was on the porch. It was about 3:30. I had taken about two steps in the door and the phone started ringing. It was Brooke who was excited because she had just tracked her package online and the status was 'Delivered at 3 pm.

I opened it to find this.

It looks like a mandala. Aw, how sweet. Brookie is meditating on her mommy and she created this beautiful image. Well, sort of . . .
This is actually a giant ferriton molecule. And, it is a very thoughtful gift. For nearly five years, I have had to have IV iron infusions because my ferriton levels are ridiculously low. Brooke decided to send me a little reserve iron. It was accompanied by a note touting her peculiar sense of humor. I love this kid! She also sent a batch of homemade peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies, (I know, I am supposed to be sending her the care packages with the cookies. What can I say?), and a mix tape created especially for me. I must confess that I have not listened to it yet but she guarunteedme that I would be entertained. I don't know about feelin' the love, but definitely entertained.

Erin also made me an awesome gift. She has lived with a knitter long enough to know that I can never have too many bags. She made these bags for me.

Because we enjoy listening to music together, they all contain song lyrics from country music and Broadway shows that we love. Any time I need a little cheering all I have to do is read the message on the bags and know that I am loved. Erin said that they are all in different colors so that I will have one to match any outfit. That's my girl and I love her!

Mike and his sister went to Florida to visit their mother for Mother's Day. The was a much overdue trip. I know it made this Mother's Day extra special for his mom as well.

He and Erin consulted in advance and he left me this:

I was shocked! Erin had a vested interest in me getting a new camera - she now gets my old one. I have to admit that I am not sure that I am smart enough for this one. I did not have a chance to take it out of the box until this evening and then the battery needed to charge so I have not played with it much. I read through the manual just enough to feel really dumb. For this reason, Erin took the pictures for this post. Maybe I'll feel smarter tomorrow!

And if all that is not enough, BK is making me a new couch afghan.

Harley tried to show her love as well. She brought me about six inches of a snake who had an unfortunate encounter with the lawn mower. Needless to say, hers was not the favorite gift! Adidas brought me nothing. In the dog realm, he wins.

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Higher Education

Well, I have made it through another semester. As of 11:17 yesterday, I am a free woman - until I start getting all those complaints from students who are not happy with their grades.

"Why did YOU GIVE ME a C?"

"It was a gift. I could have given you the F you deserve."

"I was not failing your class."

"No, not until you turned it the paper of which 80% was copied and pasted from Wikipedia."

"But I worked hard on that paper. It was eight pages long."

Yes, but there was not an original thought in it."

"This isn't fair."

"Well, neither is plagiarism."

This is just one scenario. We'll see how it really plays itself out. Fortunately, this type of situation does not come up too often.

Though most schools on the semester schedule are done for this academic year, my beloved older child, who is on the quarter system, has another five or six weeks of school. This is midterm for them. More importantly, it is U Chicago Scav Hunt weekend. This event is held every year on Mother's Day weekend. I think this is so all of us can sit around and wallow in our great success as parents. Knowing that our children are willing and able to participate in this exercise in creativity has to make a mother's heart sing.

Scav Hunt began at 6 am on Thursday morning. At 6:13 am I had two emails from Offspring 1 - one wanting to know her blood type because each Scav Hunt team had to have someone of each blood type donate blood. The rarer the blood type, the more points the team earned. She also wanted JCL (Junior Classical League) ribbons and trophies from high school - confirmation of a long standing record of nerd status. Since those preliminary emails, we have had a conversation about whether or not I knew a disgruntled bee keeper and if I had any suggestions on how to construct a pipe with which you could blow bubbles and smoke at the same time.

Many of the Scav Hunt items require a great deal of creativity; others require stupidity, and still others just require balls - literally and figuratively. Today's call featured the status of the wicker phallus that they were building. (She has promised to send pictures.)

Because the scav list aims to have something for everyone, the college aged knitter is not left out.. Knit something useful out of plastic grocery sacks and demonstrate its usefulness. I suggested to my child, who does knit, that perhaps she could knit a condom for the wicker phallus. I suspect that both would be equally useful.

Reading the list is quite amusing even if you have no intention in actively participating. Offspring 2 did a dramatic reading in her Biology class on Thursday morning but was cut short because the language of the academy is not suitable for high school ears.

I have included the link to the complete list. It is not too late to help the team!
2008 List

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Whose Responsibility Is It?

About ten days ago, Erin and I went shopping for a dress for her to wear for Confirmation, which took place last Sunday. Dress shopping is not a happy experience for any of the girls in our family. It is unpleasant for both Brooke and me because we don't wear dresses and because any occasion that requires a dress is usually not one that we will enjoy. Erin, on the other hand, doesn't mind wearing the dresses, it is just difficult to find one that fits her correctly.

So, off we go to the mall. The first few places we looked yielded absolutely nothing. Just as I was about to start panicking, she found one that she liked and that fit. We bought it. She now needed matching shoes, another thing that makes me break out in hives. So, we made our way to another store. Just because we could, we looked at dresses there as well. The pressure was off; now we could just look for fun. Erin did not find another dress she liked. She found two and they both looked great. I'm not sure what I was thinking with that night, but the next thing I knew we were standing in line paying for dresses two and three of the evening. My rationale was that it is hard to find dresses for her so buy them while you can. The only problem, they too required shoes!

When we got home that night, Erin tried on the dresses again with the shoes and accessories that she convinced me were necessary. She discovered that the security tag had not been removed from one of them. My first thought was that those things are a waste since obviously we made it out of the store without setting off any alarms that would cause mall security to descend upon us. Upon reading the print on the tag, we discovered that it was an ink tag. If we tried to remove it, the dress would be instantly covered in black ink and would be ruined.

Since this was not the dress that Erin intended to wear to church the following Sunday, I figured that getting the tag taken off was not an immediate emergency. I finally got around to taking the dress back to the store today. It was still on its hanger and in the long bag with the store's name displayed prominently on it. I walked in to the nearest checkout counter and explained my tale of woe to the unfriendly clerk.

"Give me your receipt."

"I don't think I still have my receipt."

"How do you expect me to do anything about this if you don't have your receipt?"

"It was the failure of your employee to remove it at the time of purchase."

"Those things happen. I still can't do anything without a receipt."

"If that is the case, you are going to be dealing with one unhappy customer. Is there a manager I can speak with?

"I'll see."

The clerk then turned and spoke in almost a whisper to what I assume was a manager. I suspect she was saying something about the bitchy woman who was too stupid to hold on to her receipt just in case some incompetent sales clerk neglected to remove a security tag. Truthfully, I really didn't care what she had to day about me. I just wanted the damn tag removed so I could move on to more important things, like a cup of coffee.

The clerk finally hung up the phone and turned slowly around giving me one of those looks like a teacher gives a student when the student is asking for mercy because the dog has eaten his homework - again. Very laboriously she put the dress's tag on the little gizmo that releases the tag safely and gave it the magic pop while simultaneously lecturing me on the importance of keeping track of my receipts. Why did I need to keep my receipt? The dress fit and we had no intention of returning it for a refund. I had no need to retain the receipt. So I didn't. I refrained from giving her an equally annoying lecture on the necessity of brains and manners in the work place.

AT the point in the morning that this all took place, I had had no caffeine and nothing to eat so my energy reserves were low. I decided that I had wasted enough time with the Nazi clerk so I left. As I sat in the car fantasizing about the imminent cup of caffeine, I found myself wondering why it is my responsibility to take precautions in case of the incompetence of store clerks. I have enough to worry about. I don't need to save every single receipt just in case. I can't even manage to keep track of the ones that I need to get reimbursed for show props.

This is not my responsibility!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Happy Babies

"I don't have to sting anyone, do I?

"Life is fun among the flowers!"

"Do these antennas make my cheeks look big?"

"Snug as a bug."

"Mom loves me. She loves me not. She loves me."

"Watch my face, not my stinger."

"Of course I'm precious."

"Okay, Mom really doesn't like killer bees."

"Still life."

"You may remember me. I stepped out to make a phone call. Yep. Mom wants the picture."

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hi, Mom. I'm On Candid Camera!

Most teachers from preschool through elementary school are all faced with the same task at this time of year - creating a memorable Mother's Day project for their students to give to their mommies. Middle schoolers and high schoolers around here are too busy taking the #*!@ TAKS test (the state of Texas standardized test) right now and besides, many of them think that parents are stupid and are unworthy of a present. So, those teachers of older students are off the hook on the Mother's Day thing.

I was asked by a friend to help her provide gifts from the kids at her school. It seemed easy. All I had to do was take a few pictures. I love taking pictures; not so much "portraits", but these were to be of babies and everyone knows that babies do not pose. It is all candid camera with them. What my friend was hoping for was some spring looking Anne Geddies type pictures - babies, flowers, lady bugs, and bumble bees. Sounds cute, huh?

I took pictures of about thirty babies under the age of two. For the most part, it was fun and the wee ones were cooperative. Then there were these few . . .

"If you think my mommy will like this, I'll play along with your silly game. Personally, I think you all are nuts!"

"Help! Get me out of here! There are bees in these flowers."

"This is our first Mother's Day together. I really want to give her real flowers!"

"My mommy likes killer bees."

"You want me to do what? Can I call my mom and make sure this is what she really wants for Mother's Day?"

Now I know why many of the pictures that Anne Geddies takes are of sleeping babies.

I did manage to get some really cute shots, some even of these same little ones. Stay tuned for some of those.