Thursday, August 31, 2006

Busy week

First week of school. The classes are pretty good, but oy! The work!

Already we have 2 pages due Wednesday in Children's Lit., a quiz on Wednesday in Religion, and LOTS of reading to do everywhere.

I'm liking my Biology professor very much. She showed us a scene from Monty Python & the Holy Grail to discuss the scientific method. She's also talked about stomach acid, and tons of other good stuff. I'm going to try to introduce her to my Communications prof. from Spring term. I think they'd get along well.

Tomorrow I've got a 3-hour lab starting at 0830, and I'll be trying to get into a Hawaiian Dance class in the afternoon (fulfills the Gen. Ed. requirement for global understanding, and sounds like fun!)

Muffin Man is sleeping peacefully on new rocket-ship sheets. He didn't want his blanket to cover them (but we tucked him up anyway after he'd gone to sleep).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Review - This is Chick-Lit

A couple of months ago I was contacted by BenBella books, did I want a free copy of a book they were publishing? Needless to say, I did. And they sent it to me.

This is Chick-Lit is a response to Random House's 2005 release, This is Not Chick-Lit, which Lauren Baratz-Logsted thought was insulting. What's so bad about Chick-Lit? And, actually, the lines drawn between Lit and Chick-Lit seems to echo the lines drawn between WOHM and SAHM. And y'all know how I feel about that.

The short stories in TiCL are well-written, often funny, occasionally sad. Most of the women in the stories share a common trait: a lack of a fundamental self-confidence. For most, that self-confidence is found by the end of the story. They are stories "by, for, and about women".

My favorite story of the group is Two Literary Chicks, which starts with college aquaintances bumping into each other on the street. They had met in a writing class years before and each despised the other's writing then. The meeting, and what happens to each of them because of it, rings true and is written lovingly.

One story goes into Stephen King territory. The Third Eye is a strange and eerie telling of the consequences of ill-considered plastic surgery.

Another one, Meeting Cute, has haunted me for the last few days.

These stories have been written especially for this book as a response from the Chick-Lit world to the gauntlet thrown down by the literati. As an olive branch, each author also included her favorite Serious Female author. I can see that during my next vacation, I'll have a ton of reading to do.

WDW in Pictures

Here are 3 bloggable pictures of our trip to WDW. MM is the one in the white Gilligan cap. I'm in the big brown Holly Hobby hat.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Home again, home again.

We spent the morning at the pool. MM demonstrated to us that, yes he could too dunk his head underwater without shrieking so he could so ride the water slide into the pool. "Well," we thought. "He did LOOOOOOVE Splash Mountain." So we let him slide (wearing a life vest and with MS waiting at the bottom to scoop him out of the vortex of swirling water).



Repeat 8x. (MS and I switching off who got to slide and who stayed to catch). Turns out that we never actually need to catch, he did great.

Back to the room to finish packing. Took the shuttle to the airport. Flew home. MM slept for the last hour of the flight (murmuring "Do it again! Do it again!")

At the home airport we did something clever. We split up. MM and I went to get the car while MS got the luggage. We swung by to pick him up and ZOOM! we were outta there.

Dropped MS off at the library for a meeting and MM picked out some books and a movie and got his very own library card (I'm so proud).

Home, ate dinner, and read two of his library books (Mermaids, and The Magic School Bus Gets Cold Feet). Tomorrow he'll get chapter one of Mary Poppins.

He's back at school tomorrow and I'm back to school on Monday (Research Methods, Religion, and Children's Lit.)

Oh, and I really loved both The Golden Compass and Despereaux. I can't believe there are so many good children's books I never heard of before! Now I'm starting on The Story of the Amulet which I also never read. Inexcusable, since I loved 5 Children and It, and The Phoenix and the Carpet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

WDW Day 3, Pt. 2

Back at MK, ate dinner at the Plaza Restaurant. The club sandwich w/ potato salad is good. The steak sandwich is meh. Ate dessert. Edy's Ice Cream. I'm surprised it's not Blue Bunny, since they have some Disney branded flavors.

Prime Time Cafe wins hands down as best meal of this trip. We'd have loved to have eaten again at the SciFi Diner (ate there last time we were down here) but we didn't opt for the park hopper this time around.

Rode not one, not two, but three! rides! between dinner and the parade. Pirates of the Caribbean (no wait!), Aladdin's Magic Carpets (loved 'em!), and the Jungle Cruise. Splash Mountain is still winner and champion.

We saw the parade and MM was just astounded by the lights, the characters, and the music. He just loved it to pieces.

Went right back to the bus afterwards and watched the fireworks as we were driving away. They were beautiful but we were glad to be watching them from the bus.

Tomorrow we'll pack and then spend a few hours in the pool before we get on the bus for the airport.

Muffin Man doesn't ever want to come home. "I wish we could stay at the Magic Kingdom forever."

WDW Day 3, Pt I

Woke early, ate cereal in our room.

Ran off to Magic Kingdom (we were still late for Little Ones Magic Hours). Rode Stitch's Great Escape, Buzz Lightyear, the tram.

Rode in the nose of the Monorail (got stickers!) to go to a character breakfast at the Grand Floridian (Mary Poppins, Alice in Wonderland, Wendy from Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, and Tigger). The omelets at the GF are delish.

Back at Magic Kingdom. Did the Mad Tea Party, Indy Speedway, and went into Mickey's Toon Town Fair (saw his house, Donald's Boat (the fountains weren't working), Goofy's Barnstormer - MM LOVED IT!, and played in the play area (where we saw well-behaved 3-year-old quintuplets. V. cool.))

WDW tip #5: If you see something going wrong at WDW, do let a supervisor know. They will most likely give you some fast passes good for any ride at that theme park. We saw some grown-up goof-balls cutting the line for Goofy's Barnstormer by Climbing! Over! The! WALLS! And even though we let the ride operator know about it while! it! was! happening! she let them ride anyway. Another family backed us up when we were talking to the supervisor about it and we all got fastpasses.

Rode the train to Frontier Land and used our fastpasses to ride Splash Mountain. This was MM's favorite ride of the whole day, maybe even the whole trip. Walked back to Main Street, buying a Micky-shaped ice cream on the way back. Hosed down MM and then left to go back to the hotel for a 2-hour nap.

We're going back again in a bit for dinner and the parade and maybe the jungle ride.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

WDW day two

Hotter than yesterday, I actually broke down and bought one of those shpritzy fans.

We did Snow White's Scary Adventure (all), Dumbo (MM & me. Boy Howdy does that MM ever like heights!), Winnie the Pooh (MM & MS), met Tigger, played in the Pooh playground, met Ariel, played in the fountain there, Peter Pan's Flight, lunch, Haunted Mansion (mistake...nightmares), Merry-go-round, and finally Mickey's Philharmagic (excellent! really the best thing of the day aside from meeting Ariel).

Then we came home and took a short nap (interrupted by said nightmare), ate a popsicle, went to the pool, and went to dinner. MM was in bed by 8:00 but was still awake at 8:40 because of "scary eyes" he kept seeing. He was sound asleep at 8:45 after I promised to come to bed by 10:00 and turned the clock to face him. Please note, I have not kept my promise but I will go to bed after I finish typing this.

So WDW tip #4: don't assume that just because your 4-year-old loves Snow White's scary adventure and loves the scary parts of both the Snow White movie and the Curse of the WereRabbit, that he is ready for The Haunted Mansion.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The rest of Day One

MM woke up at 4:25 and made it to the motorboats just in time. They had a blast. I got pictures.

We went to dinner at the Prime Time Diner (at MGM, the wait staff won't bring you dessert if you haven't finished your dinner and they remind you to keep your elbows off the table). We had a really great dinner and MM fell asleep pretty much as soon as we got back to the hotel (well...first he brushed his teeth and whatnot...).

Tomorrow, we're going to the Magic Kingdom. We've decided to spend two days there rather than go to any of the other parks. This is based purely on the sheer amount of stuff to do there and the three hour nap MM took today.

KLee: We're staying at the Coronado. We chose it because it's the only mid-priced hotel with suites. MM is sleeping in the other room as I type.

WDW tip #1: Make dinner and lunch reservations in advance. Preferably before you even get here. Especially if you want to eat at Cinderella's Castle. This whole week was booked by the time we got here Sunday. We learned our lesson, though, and now have reservations at other restaurants for lunch and dinner for the next two days.

WDW tip #2: Read these tips from Chris. The only qualifier I have is that if you have 2 kids or less and you're not particularly on a budget, you should stay in the park and not have to deal with driving.

WDW tip #3: The Coronado has a marina which has foam life jackets. They will let you keep one for your whole visit if you're staying at the hotel, so you can use it in the pool, too.

Oh! I forgot to tell you!

At Dulles International Airport they now have two security lines.

One, the one we were in, is for everybody. The other (which was empty) is for First. Class. Passengers (AKA Premium Passengers).


You can now pay your way into a shorter security line.

Our tax dollars at work.

WDW Day One

Arrived yesterday, spent time in the pool. Muffin Man had a ball!

Today we went to MGM. Saw Muppets, Little Mermaid, Back Lot tour, Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground. Got to meet lots of characters! Ate lunch and came back to the hotel. MM went right to bed for a nap and has just refused to wake up 2 hours later. When he finally does wake up we'll go for a boat ride on the lake if the boat rental place hasn't closed (it closes at 5:00).

Otherwise, maybe we'll go back to the park or just go swimming.

We've got lots of pictures, including some bloggable ones. I need to thank KLee and Chris for your great suggestions.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Gone to WDW, see y'all Thursday.

Muffin Man is so excited. He can't sit still! Actually, he's asleep now...but all day long it was, "Are we going yet? When are we going?"

We're leaving tomorrow. See you next week!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Books, books, and more books

I love re-reading books I loved reading the first time around.

Which is to say, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is still lovely. I was going to save it for WDW, but I couldn't wait that long. I'll bring The Golden Compass and The Tale of Despereaux instead.

I also read Jennifer Scales and the Ancient Furnace by MaryJanice Davidson and Anthony Alongi. It was on a pile of stuff I hadn't read yet that I found while trying to straighten up the bedroom. It's a pretty good young adult Fantasy genre novel about a girl who finds the changes of puberty to be a bit more dramatic than she expected.

Monday, August 14, 2006

My tv habit

Dr. Who is coming back on SciFi in September!!!!

Currently hooked on:

Life on Mars (BBC America). If you're not watching this, you are truly missing out. It's like Reginald Hill made a tv show.

Hell's Kitchen (Fox). It ended tonight and Heather won. YAY!!! (select that blank spot. It's white text.) I love watching Chef Ramsey yelling at the staff. All the cussing of the Brit Wit show Chef! and all the pathos of Project Runway. Who could resist?

Who Wants to Be a Superhero (SciFi). Silly and campy, but good fun.

Lost (DVD). First season. We're on disc 5. Wow that's a good show. How'd I miss it the first time around?

Mystery! (PBS). Depending on which ones they're airing. Foyle's War is our favorite.

We just caught an episode of another Chef Ramsey show on BBC America. He tries to save failing restaurants from bankruptcy by working with their chefs for a week. If that's a regular show, I'll watch it.

If Gilmore Girls returns this Fall, I'll give it one last shot. But boy howdy, they were really annoying me last season.

Muffin Man's still watching Lazy Town, but he's starting to let go of Higglytown Heroes and Little Einsteins. Oobi's already out. I miss him (especially Grampoo and Inka's romance). Unfortunately, he's been asking to watch The Cartoon Network. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

What are you watching?

A Muffin Man Moment

MM: Daddy? Can I have a new toy?
MS: Not today.
MM: Why not? Can't I please have a toy?
MS: Well, toys cost money. Do you have any money?
MM: Umm...I don't know.
MS: Do you know how you could get money?
MM: No.
MS: Well, we work for money. Would you like to do some work and earn some money to buy a toy?
MM: Yeah!
MS: Okay. Mommy and I are going to weed the garden today. If you help us, I'll give you 50 cents an hour.
MM: Yeah! Let's do it!

I wish I'd gotten a picture of him in his little hat and gloves, going back and forth between us gathering our piles of pulled weeds and putting them in the trash bag. After that, we admired our tomatoes (they'll be ready soon!) and went inside for a celebratory glass of water and a fresh peach from our neighborhood farmer's market (run by our own friend Mr. Farmer).

Later, he took his money he earned! himself! and a dollar his grandpa had given him and bought a (small) toy at the new local toystore (Go Bananas!) He was so proud. He told everybody in the store that he'd earned! the money! himself!

123! 5! 4!

Profgrrrrl brought this Meme out of mothballs. Y'all remember the rules. Nearest book. 123rd page. 5th sentence. Post 4 sentences. No cheating.

To the left of me: Blindfold Game by Dana Stabenow.

"Very big boom." Kyle relaxed a little. "Is that realistic?" "You tell me, Kyle," Hugh said, his voice hard."

To the right of me: Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy From Mars by Daniel M. Pinkwater.

"Absolutely, yes sir, this very day sir," Samual Klugarsh said. "Can I run out and get you som more hot chocolate? A cheeseburger? The contents of my savings account?"

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ooooh, books!!!

Since school let out a week and a half ago, I've read:

Alice in Wonderland (re-read)
Freak the Mighty
The Great Gilly Hopkins
Classic Fairy Tales
Blindfold Game
Danse Macabre

The first 6 are for my Children's Lit. class in the Fall, I'm trying to get ahead of the reading. I'm amazed that I missed reading Holes, Freak, Great Gilly, & Zel before. They are really fantastic. Zel is my least favorite of this group and Holes is my favorite. This is the class where we've been assigned HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I'm taking that one to WDW next week.

Blindfold Game and Danse Macabre have been sitting on my shelf awhile, awaiting a free moment to read something non-school related. Blindfold Game is a thriller by Dana Stabenow: terrorists threaten an American city with a dirty bomb. Really quite good, though I prefer her straight mysteries. Danse Macabre, by Laurell K. Hamilton is...well...basically it's her usual fare: Anita Blake, Vampire Executioner gets it on with her 7 or so boyfriends. Fun and sexy, but not a whole lot of story going on. But you know I'll buy her next one.

This post really should have lots of links, but I'm not feeling the linky-love tonight, mebbe I'll update tomorrow, m'kay?

Friday, August 11, 2006


According to the TSA website, baby's bottles are being allowed through security and on the plane, as are laptops, pdas, and cell phones.

However, I would check their site before you leave to go on a trip and print out what they allow. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the screeners don't necessarily comport with what the official policy is.

Hold everything.

Profgrrrrl has a post up about the newest security screenings at airports which brought up a comment which is leading to this post.

How many parents with infants and young toddlers are rethinking their plans to fly with their kids now that no liquids are allowed? I mean, what are they going to do about milk bottles?

Do the math: you get to the airport at least 2 hours early to get through the security check. If your flight is on time and you have the world's shortest flight, that's still an hour in the air. A half-hour to get out of the airport on the other side. Does anyone have an infant or young toddler who's willing to go nearly 4 hours at a minimum without milk? Does this mean only nursing babies can fly?


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lovely week - Now with Bloggy Playdates!

On Monday I went into DC to meet Liberal Banana - who is just as lovely as her picture and just as funny and smart as her writing. We talked over lunch about everything under the sun (that we could fit into her lunch hour).

Today, I met up with Mrs. Coulter and Lyra at Nearby University. And we talked about everything under the sun while sitting in the sun watching Lyra play in the fountain. Oh! The cuteness that is Lyra! She's so smart and funny and athletic. And oh! The cuteness and niceness that is Mrs. Coulter!

Best exchange between MC & L:
MC: May I have a bite of your blueberry muffin?
L: No. It's MY muffin.
MC: Are you going to eat the whole muffin?
L: No.
MC: May I have a bite please?
L: No. It's MY muffin.
MC: Okay.
L: You can have a bite of my muffin, Mommy.
MC: Thank you for giving me a bite of your muffin.
L: Yew welcome. (pause)
L: Thank you for taking a bite of my muffin, Mommy.
MC & Me: (Cracking up)

Next time, I'm bringing Muffin Man along (he had school today).


...for my final summer grades. Three out of four are posted...A, A, A+ (but the plus doesn't count.) The fourth one is the one I'm worried about. I'm hoping I got at least a B. Please, please let me have gotten at least a B.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Stinky Feet

Muffin Man's Land's End sandals are pretty, hard-wearing, and abuse-loving but BOY HOWDY are they ever stinky.

MM has never had a problem with stinky feet before. Not ever. So I know it's the sandals that make his feet smell like a cow barn.

Seriously. Smelly, smelly, stenchy, yucky. Foot odor not even a mother could love.

So today we went sandal shopping and...sadly...found nada. The stores don't seem to care that it is still 100 degrees in the shade. It's Back To School time and that means no more sandals to be found.

Once again, his stinky peyooey sandals are in the wash.

Anyone got any advice on fighting foetid foot odor?

Friday, August 04, 2006


Luau day today in Muffin Man's class.

One of his teachers is Hawaiian and she brought in food and has been teaching the kids to hula. So today we got to eat delicious dishes and watch our kids do beautiful meaningful dances while their teacher said things like, "Okay now! Look at your pretty, pretty shells! Now throw out your nets! Be a fish! Pull in your nets! Look at all the fish you caught! Wave Aloha! Again! The other way! Now be a fish again!"

And I watched my little man dance in his "grass skirt" (streamers on construction paper) and I got all choked up.

Mahalo, KindBeautifulLongHairedHawaiianTeacher.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Bullets of School's Out

  • I have off until the 28th. Yay!
  • Tomorrow: Lunch with Dad, Luau at Muffin Man's school (he's gonna hula!)
  • Saturday: Birthday party for MM's classmate at (groan) Chuck E. (bleah) Cheese.
  • Monday: Grades?
  • Coming up in the Fall Semester: Intro to Bio (plus lab); Children's Lit (HP 4, Alice in Wonderland, Holes, Great Gilly Hopkins, Hobbit, Amulet, and assorted others); Analysis and Interpretation of Psychological Data (plus lab); Research Methods in Psychology (plus lab); and Religion.
  • So far I've spent over $440 on books (used) and will be spending at least $30 more (backordered). Just for this one term.
  • I got my hair cut. I'm now sporting a chin-length bob. Had to get the hair off my neck. It was just. Too. Hot. It'll be easier to grow in now that it's all one length.
  • Still with the pimples. Hate them, hate them, hate them.
  • We went out with friends tonight and their daughter sat for MM. He charmed her socks off and she would like to sit for us again. We are loyal to SoccerPlayingBabysitter, but she's often busy, y'know, playing soccer. So we're going to keep friend's daughter as a sitter too.

And that's it for tonight. More meaningful posts coming soon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Proof (a haiku)

Proof: life is not fair;
I have three great big pimples
And lots of grey hair