And Then I Stepped in Gum . . .

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cheater Blog, or How to Find Me Using Google

I've been meaning to do this for a while, because I find it so amusing my own self. One of the features of SiteMeter, my site tracking software, is that you can find out what links people followed to get to your site. Since this is a personal, not-very-often-updated blog, I'm always surprised when new people find their way here. (Hi, new people!) And being inveterately curious, I wanna know how they got here.

An awful lot of people get here through searching in Google or Yahoo or some other site. Few of them are probably actually looking for me, and sometimes I see queries that I could actually help with, had I known that's what they wanted, but which aren't really addressed in the blog. I feel especially bad for the person who asked "what does j l b matekoni stand for," since I was being coy and didn't actually say what it was in the blog -- I mean, I knew the answer and could have helped that person, but alas, we were two electrons passing in the ether.

Anyway, I thought I'd post some of the search strings here. I'll eliminate the obvious and repetitive ones, like "jennifer morgan" or some variation. But maybe you, my loyal (?) readers, will find these as amusing as I do. So here goes, in no particular, though roughly chronological, order [my comments in brackets]:

what does j l b matekoni stand for
i stepped in gum [quite popular -- 7 instances]
james barbour Broadway
"permanent marker" "writes on anything"
How to pronounce Ramotswe Matekoni
roped babysitter [yikes -- I'm not sure what this person was looking for, but I'm sure he (?) didn't find it here]
j [seems like a lot of sites would fit this category]
Who met Santa in "The Little House on the Prairie"
"tearjerker songs" top 10
kids blog "over my knee"
compound miter saw "how to use a compound miter saw" [I felt badly that I hadn't included instructions for this]
freelance work
stallone.macho [Spanish Google]
LEON CZOLGOCZ [Mr. Czolgocz is surprisingly popular]
brie roofing [to top your water-table-cracker house? I had actually misspelled "Bree," the character on Desperate Housewives]
"lani diane rich" [she's popular, too]
"How to use a Compound Miter Saw" [again, I regretted not being a how-to site]
is brie on desperate housewives the mar
carseats on school buses
flaming bag of poop, arson [this, I actually wrote something about]
Lynnette Fromme case
bleah yum [from French Google]
to persuade gum OR che
what is gum made of exactly for science fair
gum statistics -brush after eating
hot booty shorts [can I set this person up with the babysitter guy?]
trefoil shaped cookie cutter
springtime phenomena 2004
"and then" japanese movie 1985
jennifer gum
how many kids died by checking gum
Why do dogs vomit and then immediately eat the vomit [that's a good question, isn't it?]
"Saturn Roadside Assistance"
My pictures of girls flashing at Mardi Gras 2005
maytag washer ruining my clothes
"To kill a mockingbird" + "being a democrat"
gum in washers
speeches on gum
tunics for 8 year olds
book "everyone has gas"
clay soil amendment
Lynnette "Squeaky" Fromme
Giuseppe Zangara [boy, I'm glad I included all these names of assassins in my blog -- sorry, all you kids out there researching term papers or planning anarchic attacks, I'm of no help -- just a Sondheim fan]
tearjerker songs (UK)
"what college students eat"
m y l i t t l e p o n y f a ?%e [from Yahoo! Japan]
"Scott Bryk" [hey, if that's Scott Bryk who used to live in Bellevue, NE, when he was a kid, drop me a line. If it's the Canadian Scott Bryk, never mind -- I don't think I know you]
elmo cake decorations
leon czolgocz
target Hi-5 April 23 2005

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Well, It's No Day at the Beach . . . Oh No, Wait . . .

Today, in an effort to actually do something during Katie's Spring Break, we planned for an Outing, or Expotition. Our chosen target: The Beach. Now, understand that we are not beach people. I, a redhead, sunburn under a 40-watt lightbulb, as my dad is fond of saying. I don't like swimming in water that has dead things in it. And I'm not terribly fond of sand. Dave feels pretty similarly, even though he spent part of every childhood summer "down-nee-oshun" in Ocean City, Maryland. So even though we've spent the last 13 years (longer for Dave) within shouting distance of the seashore, I can probably count on one hand the number of times we've made a trek to the beach.

Still, you can't deny children these adventures, can you? So we packed up sunscreen, flip-flops, sandals, and towels and headed for . . . Target. You thought I was going to say the beach, didn't you? Well, ultimately we wanted to hit the beach, but one towel was AWOL, the kids had outgrown their beach shoes and couldn't find their sunglasses, Dave's trunks had mysteriously disappeared, and I wanted a floppy hat. And a mochaccino light from the Starbucks in Target. So. An hour (and another stop home for dry clothes for the kids to change into, the camera, and the map) later, we were headed to Dauphin Island.

"Dolphin Island -- does that mean we'll see dolphins?" enthused (there's no other word for it) Katie as we planned the route. "No," I explained, "it's a different kind of dauphin -- d-a-u-p-h-i-n."

Well, that's what I get for being snotty. We actually did see dolphins! I was pretty amazed. I mean, I was kind of joking with Dave about standing on the beach (actually much too cold to go into the water, unless you're an insane and hyper 6-year-old) and looking out for fins (dah-DUH, dah-DUH), when I actually saw some about 100 feet offshore. Dave took some convincing, but he eventually saw them, too -- two or three of them, playing in the water. You could see them arcing up out of the water and spouting through their blowholes, and I even saw one come all the way out of the water. It was just incredible -- I've never seen anything like it before.

The beach was nice too -- clean, beautiful sand, not too crowded (of course, that could be because we didn't get there until 3:30). A little chilly and a stiff breeze (I think we all got a little windburn), but overall, we had a fun time. Katie loved romping in the waves, although she has no beach savvy, and god help us if we ever take her to a real beach with waves and everything. Ian had a ball pretending to be "Captain One-Eye" the pirate, digging for treasure ("Hard work!" he said) and essentially throwing sand all over the place. Dave and I just have sore legs from walking all over the sand. But it was a good family day, and I'm really glad we did it. Maybe I should plan more outings like this. Or maybe I should just wait until I recover to think about that.

Here are a couple of pics: Katie and Ian and all three of them. (Sorry, no dolphins.)

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Parents of the YEARRRRR! borrow a phrase from my virtual writer-friend, Lani.

We just realized, as we were putting the kids to bed, that tomorrow is Easter. Whoops! No baskets set out (by kids -- we'll take care of them tonight), no anticipation, and worst of all, WE FORGOT TO DYE EASTER EGGS!!!

I feel awful. It's true that I've been frantic doing taxes and bills and trying to squeeze actual work in around helping Katie with a cross-stitch project (and rethreading the needle literally every 3 minutes, but she did finish it in two days and she's oh, so proud of herself). I mean, really, what's next, forgetting Christmas? We will go ahead and dye them tomorrow (I have the eggs and everything), but I guess ol' E.B. won't be hiding real eggs this year. Probably for the best, given the state of absentmindedness around here, but geesh! What horrible parents we are! Maybe we *do* need to start going to church, if only to get the holidays cemented properly in our heads!

I even had to send Dave -- at 8:15 p.m. -- to the grocery store for the ham and asparagus for dinner tomorrow. Aiyiyi!

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Invites Are Done

It took almost all afternoon, but the invitations for Katie's birthday party are done, cobbled together from screenshots of the Flash games on, clip art, and Word. Kate desperately wanted a My Little Pony party, but she wanted to invite her whole class -- seven girls and four boys. And the sanctioned invites say, "Hey, Pony Girl!" on them. Talk about exclusionary. I mean, it's hard enough to plan this party without making the favors and the games too girly. So I made our own.

Speaking of which, Dave and I were wondering why they don't make boy My Little Ponies. Surely Ian's not the only little brother who would like to join in the pony games. (We have bought him his own ponies here and there, but it'd be nice to have some more "masculine" ones. Maybe one with a dinosaur or an insect as a "cutie mark.")

Hasbro's also missing a bet in the franchised cake decorations area. I mean, Bob the Builder and Strawberry Shortcake have their own cake pans and icing decorations. The current plan is to use Wilton's castle cake pan and decorated it as the MLP Celebration Castle. Katie's assured me that she will "help" by instructing me on coloring. Boy, that's a tantrum waiting to happen, I know. I was hoping that we'd find some MLP icing decorations so we could make ponies' heads stick out of the castle windows, but no such luck. Ah well, I'm sure it will be close enough.

I know I tend to go overboard at these parties, but see my entry on planning Thinking Day for my Daisy Girl Scouts. I just can't stop. I have managed to talk myself out of making homemade stick horses out of scrap fabric, yarn, and PVC pipe for each guest, so there's one point for simplification.

Now we're headed out to an arts and crafts show. Cross your fingers that I won't get "inspired" to do some other cockamamie craft project. I have enough on my plate as it is!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

"Fond" Memories

Day 1 as Sole Maintainer of the Asylum:

The inmates are trying their best to drag me over to the dark side, and I am trying my best to resist. So far I am succeeding, having worn them out with physical labor and set them in front of the (purely educational, of course) television. Who knows how long I can hold out, though.

Dave is in Baltimore for four days, and I am playing single parent. It's not a role that either of us relishes, and there are many points racked up by the parent playing the role, no matter how long a period it lasts. So good, I have justification for going off in April for a fun girlfriend weekend. But in the meantime, I have to get through four days.

We started off pretty well. We went to the library's annual book sale and made out like bandits. Well, I did -- and there's no way that I needed more books, but who can resist 25-cent paperbacks? -- the kids only got a couple each. Katie kept gravitating toward the board books for some unexplained reason, griped about the chapter book I insisted on getting for her (Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon), and then proceeded to read a third of it on the way home. Ian got some "Mo-mo" (Elmo) books and a Bob the Builder, so he's happy. I couldn't face the nonfiction section, which was not at all organized by category, so I didn't get anything for Dave. Too bad.

My most brilliant idea during the sale was to have the kids sit under the folding tables while I browsed. They were out of the way, so they wouldn't be trampled in the crush of people, and they had fun playing stable under there and reading to each other. So the trip was a success all around.

From there we headed to Lowe's. It's 75 degrees and sunny today, and I have spring gardening fever. Our front gardens, done by the landscaper when the house was built, are an atrocious mess, and boring too. And besides, what better thing to occupy your kids than gardening with them on a beautiful spring day.

Ha! I hear you laughing now. The thing is, all Katie wanted to do was plant things, and there was a lot more work to be done than that. Dead plants and weeds had to be dug up, and then an attempt at soil amendment was made. I'm sure I did it "wrong," but I wanted to try to do something to break up the clay. (I never thought I would complain about dirt after gardening in the rock-strewn sand of Long Island, but this stuff down here is weird. Red clay that comes up in clumps and stains your skin where it comes in contact with you. I just hope the plants can figure it out.) And all that stuff is fairly backbreaking work by yourself. It's made worse by small children running around, stepping on the flowers, patting down the dirt, and getting underfoot trying to "help." I'm afraid I may have lost it a few times, though they did both get their chance to dig in the dirt and plant things -- eventually. I get through these types of things by maintaining a glimmer of hope/illusion that the recollections of these activities will somehow transmogrify themselves into fond memories of "quality time with Mom" instead of the nightmares of frustration and whining -- mine and theirs -- that I know them to be.

Anyway, one of the front gardens is planted and half mulched. I seriously underestimated our topsoil and mulch needs, and I think I need to return to Lowe's for 4 bags of soil and 12 bags of mulch. Good thing we've got the new van. Tomorrow is supposed to be another glorious day. Let's hope we all survive it.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A New Obsession

Ian (26 months) has become obsessed with our Baby Mozart and Baby Bach videos. When he first watched them, sometime around a year ago, he was so enchanted with the dragon puppet that he still says that dragons go "Bleah!" But it's been a while since we popped them into the VCR.

Now, suddenly, he's asking to see them all the time. He comes up to me and tells me he wants the "baba zhoh" (baby show) and rocks his head from shoulder to shoulder, using his made-up sign language for "music." Yesterday he saw the two shows a combined total of five times. Five times! This morning, it's only 10:25 and he's watched them three times. The Bach and Mozart concertos are actually competing in my brain with Hi-5 songs for earworm supremacy.

I'm torn about this. Sure, it's not good to plop the kid down in front of the TV for all that time. But it's true that during these shows he tends to watch less and play nearby more. And supposedly classical music is good for the brain, right? Plus, he gets a real kick out of identifying the objects in the videos, and is adding some words to his vocabulary -- "Bach" and "orange" among them.

I don't get this whole toddler obsession with repetition. I can't hardly ever want to see something more than once, though of course I probably did, since it's a normal phase of development. But things get old to me very quickly. When Katie was watching Sesame Street regularly, I used to celebrate with a joyful dance whenever the new season started, as by then we'd seen the same shows about five or six times. Come to think of it, I wonder how much I was able to indulge in my obsession for repetition when I was a small child. It was, of course, the age before VCRs and DVDs. I vividly remember that shortly after we got our first VCR, which my mom bought with money she saved through rebates and coupons (a big deal at the time), my little sister was hooked on Alice in Wonderland, and watched it over and over again. (In fact, we used to just start it near the end to fool her into thinking she'd watched the whole thing so that we could have the TV back -- oh, we were mean.) I guess I had a similar thing for my LP of Pete's Dragon -- so much so that I entertained my parents on hour-long drives with recitations of the movie to my little brother.

Anyway, I'm about done with the Bach and Mozart. It's driving me a little it batty. I guess I'm a Philistine, after all. Maybe I should track down a copy of Pete's Dragon . . .