Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Would you like me to seduce you? Is that what you're trying to tell me?

Put this in your pantry with your cupcakes:

Kristi's Not-Quite-As-Good-Girl Guide to Movies of the 1960's

Let's start at the top, shall we? The Graduate is all things holy in terms of moviegoodness. Not good like, I can't wait to tell my Sunday School teacher about the good movie I saw last night, but good like, I can't believe Mike Nichols made this and then made Wolf 23 years later. Can't be the same guy. The plot, for the uninitiated, is that a college graduate (duh) hooks up with one of his parent's friends. And the mama Robinson has a cutie pie daughter who happens to be the graduate's age. Hilarity ensues. Let me say that I'd give away some kids to be as hot as Ann Bancroft is in this movie. And I bet Will wouldn't stop me. I'm just sayin'...

This is the one to put in your Netflix cue right now. Do it. DO it.

Breakfast at Tiffany's
- As with Saturday Night Fever, I had a completely different expectation for this movie than what it actually was. For this reason I refused to watch it again for several years. And then I said, "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's" and you said, "Yes, I remember the film. And as I recall I think about 15 people are going to hate-mail Kristi for putting this song in their heads." And you say we have nothing in common.

Audrey is de-lovely, even if the movie is a little de-dark and de-pressing. But watch it anyway. If nothing else, you can get a brief glimpse of why everyone went crazy for Truman Capote for about 10 minutes.

Charade - Question: What do you get when you put Audrey and Mr. CaryGrant in a movie together? Answer: Valhalla. Literally. There were millions of Viking ghosts who didn't get into Valhalla until production on this movie was complete. It's complete heaven. Nothing dark, other than a few murders and some sexy sexy banter between young Audrey and Mr. CaryGrant. And not many men pushing 60 can pull off the sexytalk like he does. I'll do a whole dissertation on Mr. CaryGrant someday. Believe you me. I will.

The Apartment - Now we have a case of lousy expectations being turned upside down onto their hineys. I'm not a fan of Shirley MacLaine, what with her teeny tiny eyes and crazytalk about new aginess. Blah. And then Jack Lemmon, who's just too animated for his own good. No one knows who I'm talking about, right? So anyway, I rent this movie starring people I don't care for because The Apartment always shows up on best comedy of all time lists. Right up there with Some Like it Hot, which should have been retitled Some Like It -Not! Hee Hee.

But I watch it and the movie turns out to be quite good. Shirley is not only charming...she's actually pretty! in this movie. And Jack...bleh...still too wackjob to be believable. But you might disagree so rent it and find out.

Judgement at Nuremburg - If a. you are a history freak, or b. you love excellent acting, or c. you like the courtoom drama movies, or d. you are a college student realizing you have a test on the Nuremburg trials and you forgot to study, then this movie is for you. Spencer Tracy is in this movie. Spencer who? you ask. Spencer TRACY, the greatest common-guy actor of the 20th century! Why am I the only one who knows who Spencer Tracy is? Why am I yelling? Yes, I swear I'm not an 80 year old former movie starlet posing as a young hip blogger! I may be 30, but my soul is Spencer Tracy's age. That's about 106 by my estimates.

Dr. Strangelove or .... Too long a title. Must finish post.... Very very clever spoof of the nuclear age. And some of it's not that funny considering the state of things today. Peter Sellers...I haven't seen many things with him so I can't do a self righteous rant about how great he is. But he's great in Dr. Strangelove. Great times 3 because he has 3 different parts in the movie. Beat that Mike how-many-times-can-I-use-my-Scorttishhh-accent Myers.

Cool Hand Luke- Don't remember much about this movie. All I remember is Paul Newman. This one's for the ladies. That's all I can say before my husband locks me in the closet (insert nervous laughter here) I'm totally joking. Will's great.

2001 Space Odyssey. I didn't get this movie. At all. Not even an itty bitty bit. But you should watch it anyway so you can marvel at the special effects that were a kajillion years before their time. Then google the title to try to get some meaning out of the wasted hours you put into it.

Frolicking Family Fun:

The Sound of Music - Oh my blog. My girls are singing these songs to death right now. I honestly didn't think it would go over well with them...I was tragically mistaken. Still, it's a good movie.

Mary Poppins - Close your mouth please, Michael. We are not a codfish. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Summer Magic - Hayley Mills in her last cute enough to be considered cute film. Precious Mom and I sing all the songs with my kids when we get together. Precious dad joins in. Sarcastic dad pretends he can't hear us.

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad World - This is a great, great, great, movie, movie, movie, for 7 year old boys who think madcap chases are funny. I bet I could stick him in front of an old Benny Hill Show and he'd die from a laughter-induced heart attack. Or a boob-induced heart attack. I better keep him away from Benny Hill...just to be on the safe side, side, side.

Ich bin finished. I need to go to bed.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Good Girl's Guide to 70s Cinema

A long, long time ago, way back in the '90s, I decided it was time to grow up. I'd spent my entire life watching Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals and it was time to step into the world of adult cinema (not porn). So I made a concerted effort to watch all those movies that had won all those awards and become a movie sophisticate.

From this experience I learned 2 things:
1. I am a prude. and
2. Movies of the 1970s were not made for prudes.

Movie makers hadn't quite figured out that shocking does not equal high quality. And for some reason, the 1970s were full of the most inappropriate, perverse scenarios you can think of. Thus we have Jodie Foster and Brooke Shields flaunting their pubescent stuff as little girl prostitutes. Ewww. A few movies into this, I gained enough self knowledge to assert there are some movies my virginal little eyes should never see: Deliverance, Clockwork Orange, Pretty Baby, Taxi Driver come to mind.

So for the modest girl with a puritanical world view, I present the following:

The Good Girl's Guide to 1970s Cinema

I begin with the mothership of all things inappropriate, The Rocky Horror Picture Show. This was my first venture into movie dirtiness. I'm at the height of whatever inkling of rebellion I ever possessed in my life. I rented Rocky Horror with a smug recognition of how sexy I was being...look at me, I'm dirty. Yeah...I felt dirty alright. And sick to my stomach. See my Ronald McDonald post below to understand how I feel about men in make-up. I loved the music and bought the soundtrack. But I'll never watch Rocky Horror again. No matter how much I love Tim Curry.

The Wall/Tommy/Anything else meant to be watched while doing drugs - I think The Wall was made in the 80s...but it has the heart of a 70s movie. You know I'm big fat scaredy cat when I spend half the movie with my hands over my eyes. So I don't like to be disturbed by psychadelic cartoons...what's wrong with that? Tommy....there's beans and Ann Margret and pedophiles and's a wonder I didn't actually self-destruct while beholding such nastiness. Maybe it's my severe prudishness, but I don't even think these movies are clever. The Monkees Head was alright, I guess. Then again, I always had a thing for Mike Nesmith.

The Godfathers - Believe it or not, I like the Godfathers. My attention span couldn't handle it in high school, but as an adult I enjoyed the first two of the trilogy. Unfortunately, Will and I decided to have a Godfather marathon the weekend before I went back to work after my maternity leave with Juliet. I didn't know you weren't supposed to quit nursing cold turkey. Nobody told me. So to this day I associate The Godfathers with extreme pain and engorged boobs. Maybe I shouldn't have told that story.

Annie Hall - I think Diane Keaton is adorable. Woody Allen...ehhh, not so much. And usually I'm all about wit over good looks. But Woody's just creepy after the stepdaughter affair thing. So I watched this and kept thinking, "Run Diane! He's a freak!" Thanks, but no thanks.

Saturday Night Fever - Who else expected this to be a fun little polyester romp through disco? Me too. So after fully immersing my 16 year old noggin into the world of drugs, backseat sex, suicide, abortions and all-round depravity, I actually liked the movie. Once I got over the shock. And this is after I conclude that there isn't a single character in the movie that I actually like. Except maybe the priest brother.

Rocky - Now we're getting somewhere. For a simple minded girl like me, this is perfection. Little did I know that the entire plot and many of the scenes were concieved 20 years before in Brando's On the Waterfront. Including, what is in my mind, one of the sexiest scenes of all time, the one with Rocky and Adrian and the kiss against the wall. You know what I'm talking about. That's hot. So I don't know why I can't turn off this movie. And a new one's coming out. Cue the trumpets...I'm on it.

Star Wars - Never cared for Star Wars as a kid. And then I watched it a few years ago and I was like, What the crap? This dialogue sucks! This whole movie sucks! This whole franchise sucks! Millions and millions of grown men are completely wrong. Then I watched it again this summer with my 7 year old son. Now I get it. I soooo get it. This child is still making fighter thingys with his legos and drawing pictures of Luke and Darth Vader. And asking me all kinds of questions to which I have no answers. Now I get it.

French Connection - Gene Hackman, car chases...BORing

Chinatown - Jack Nicholson gets a knife in his nose. No thanks.

One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest - I liked this. I liked the crazies.

Dog Day Afternoon - Disturbing.

Network - BORing. And Faye Dunaway gives me the creeps.

Last Picture Show - Yes and no. Cybill Shepherd is gorgeous in this movie...and perfect as the pretty sex-starved high school debutante. So, of course, I didn't relate to her character at all. On the other hand, the preoccupation the West Texas town has with football is downright uncanny. So...yeah, it's a good movie. Even if it's just as a picture of small town life in Texas.

American Graffitti
- My heavens, I love this movie. No really, it's up there with It's a Wonderful Life and The Royal Tenenbaums. George Lucas is forever redeemed in my eyes with American Graffitti. I can't really discuss the movie without getting sentimental about my own courtship with I'll spare you. Let's just say this is easily my favorite movie of the 70s. Killer soundtrack. Beautiful cars. Roles of a lifetime for Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss and Shirley and the not-cute girl from One Day at a Time.

I'm thinking there might be only one reader who actually appreciates a movie review post. And that one reader doesn't usually comment so I'm expecting some cricket chirps and bullfrog ribbits after this post.

It's a'ight. Just wait until I do a review of favorite slapstick comedies of the 1930s and readership is going to go through the roof!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Not an afro. Not yet a Jheri Curl...

Hoping to score points with my part-time employers, I volunteer to man the Daily Bee booth at the county fair on Saturday. This is my first small town fair...I'm thoroughly enchanted. Who knew people actually give out ribbons for best tasting muffins and what-not? No ferris wheels, no roller coasters, just cows and sheep and handicrafts. The whole affair smacked of was adorable.

As I sit behind my little desk with my knitting, my library copy of The Hours, and my cynical big city brown eyes, I can't help but notice how a good portion of the Idaho population could be interchanged with a good portion of the Texas population and no one would know the difference. FFA boys with dark colored jeans and skoal rings, big belt buckles, county fair queens with their little tiaras and Ropers....I'm starting to feel at home.

Just as I begin to tally the potential Texans in the crowd, I'm met with an unexpectant shock, nearly plunging me into a full on -reach-for-the-prozac-anxiety attack.

Three words: Ronald Freakin' McDonald.

Now, we all agree that clowns in general are never amusing and should be hunted for sport. At the very least locked away in a clown prison heavily guarded with guns and electric fences. This is understood. Nazis are evil. Clowns are less evil but harder to look at.

So I see this shock of red hair, garish white paint, bright yellow jumper....I duck my head. For some reason yet unknown to me, maybe some repressed childhood drama, this fast food icon makes me queasy. Ronald McDonald is creepy enough, peddling his "Happy Meals" to small children, trying to stay hip through the decades. But a non-clownish man impersonating Ronald McDonald is absolutely revolting.

To begin, the costume is dingy. The dinginess evokes some kind of homeless Ronald McDonald squatting in an alley, cigarette in one hand, bagged malt liquor in the other. His raspy voice telling tales of his rapid decline..."It was the Hamburglar that did us in. That bastard embezzled millions..."

The hair...on tv it's just some amorphous red mass....not an afro, not yet a jheri curl. In person it's just a scarlet nest of nastiness. I'm reminded of grandmas getting their hair set so they can't wash it again for a week. Once more, I'm compelled to look away.

Yet even with diverted eyes, I can't escape his terrifying voice.

This particular Mickey D pretender never attempted a clown-like voice. Why make the effort? So he's walking around, trying to interact with children and adults alike, painted up like a clown hooker, gruffly addressing fair attendees with a "Hey, how are ya? What'ya got here? Far out."

Far out. I tried to be polite when he asked about my booth. "What's this...the paper? I don't live here but if I did I'd get one from ya," he said in his man-voice. Good gravy, is Ronald McDonald flirting with me? Have I hit the low point of my womanhood? A dingy, gruff, middle aged clown-man winking at me with his painted eyes?

Excuse me while I stick my naturally red head in the oven.

Part of me hoped this freak wasn't actually affiliated with McDonalds in any way. I'd like to think the manufacturers of my crazy delicious quarter pounders with cheese (no pickles, no onions, thankyouverymuch) wouldn't knowingly send this hideous monster my way.

But it appears they did. And now I have to take a scalding shower to wash off the clown stink.

Friday, August 25, 2006

For a little motivation...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Like to hear it? Here it goes...

San Antonio natives are fully aware that 100-and-something year old sportscaster Dan Cook coined the phrase "it ain't over until the fat lady sings." I especially know this because we are close and personal friends with this guy, weather personality extraodinaire Bill Taylor. (Like that? Like how I dropped the celebrity-bomb in the middle of my blog? Guess what? A former member of En Vogue lives in my house in San Antonio...we've got superstar connections all over the hizzle. I'm thinking of buying some skinny jeans and great big sunglasses to prove I know famous people. And a well publicized eating disorder isn't completely out of the question).

So if a sportscaster can coin a phrase, why can't I? Am I right? How hard is it? You put some words together, use them, and get millions and millions of other people to use them. So I'm trying some new catchphrases out...let me know what you think:

When did you get so fat? You used to be cute but...geeze, you look like crap.
Skank I ain't, I whore no more.
You look like you just sold your soul to the Devil.
That tastes like poop on broccoli (actually coined by Juliet).
Your teeth are too Duff. You should get them redone.
Give that baby a suckerfier (Ava's contribution to lexicon).
What chu talkin' 'bout, bastard?
I may be trailer trash, but at least I'm 'Merican.
I may be trailer trash, but at least I know my baby daddy. One of my baby daddy.
I may be trailer trash. Yes. I am trailer trash.
I pity the mentally defecient!
Slinkies! (This is to be used when figuring out an important clue in a mystery).
Zada zing, zada zoom! (This is to be used by surburban mobsters of Italian origins.)
Konichiwa, cowboy! (stolen from 1980s/1990s come-to -Texas commericals, not used nearly enough).
No dammy, no dammy, no dammy! (This will be used when I launch my new gameshow , Dress Your Duck).

So...I think this is a good start. I'm quite on my way to immortaldomnification.

Peace out. Word to your mutha.

True stories of amazing parenting....

Otherwise titled: We'll be lucky if none them kill us in our sleep.

A few months ago:

Ava: Daddy lost his hair because he was a bad boy.
Me: What? Did he tell you that? Wiiillll!!!
(confronting Will)
Me: Did you tell Ava you lost your hair because you were a bad boy?
Will: Yeah...that's funny. Now she'll be good so she won't lose her hair. (Smirky smile on his face)
Me: Nice. What do we tell her when she sees her first chemo patient?

The other day:

Ava: Daddy lost his hair because he was a bad boy.
Will: Noooo....I told you I lost my hair because I was a good boy. Why haven't you lost your hair yet?
Ava: Noooo. You was a bad boy. I have lotsa hair. (shows him her hair)
Will: I really lost my hair because I was so smart. My brain got so big and it needed more energy so my hair had to go.
Ava: You was a bad boy.


Will: They're hiring here, Charlie. Go ask them for a job.
Charlie: I'm too young.
Will: Go tell them you're fifteen. They'll believe you.
Charlie: No they won't.
Will: Yeah...just say, "I'm short." And then say, "Don't make fun." They'll feel bad and hire you.
Charlie: No they won't.
Will: Come'll be fun.
Charlie: I'm too young.
Kristi: Good for you, Charlie. Good for standing up to Daddy's peer pressure.
Will: It would've been sweet.

Will: Stop fighting or I'll take off your feet!
Juliet: You can't take off our feet!
Will: Oh yeah? Watch this (does lame removing the finger trick)
Juliet: Thats a trick! (starts trying to do the same trick)

Ava: Mama, will you get me some water?
Me: Only if you give me a kiss. (Ava gives me a kiss)
And a hug (gives me a hug). And do a little dance (starts jumping around like a hopped up midget)
Will: Mama!
Me: What? I like to see her dance.

Me: Out of cereal, the eggs are old, no breakfast bars....cookies for breakfast!
Children: Yeeeeaaahhhh!


Me on the phone: Excuse me? I'm sorry... I can't... Could you hold on for just a minute?
Ava (singing): I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher...
Me: Ava, I'm on the phone. Can you go sing in the hall?
Ava: No! I want to sing Ring of Fire in here! (singing) And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire, the ring of fire.
Me: Can I call you right back?


Me in the mini-van: What do we want to listen to?
Juliet: Video Killed the Radio Star!
Charlie: That one where they say "Don't tell me to smile.." (Beastie Boys, Intergalactic)
Ava: Listen to the Band! (our favorite Monkees song)
Me: Hank Williams, it is then. we keep our bedroom door locked at night.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This is what I would look like if someone stole my nose.

And I were computer-generated. Actually, I'd probably be a lot angrier looking if someone stole my nose. Or I'd be screaming and clutching the bloody chasm where my nose once was.

"Curses upon on you, Nose-Thief! Curses upon you!"

Will's noseless avatar is stunningly accurate. He looks like a hardcore skinhead...which he is, thus the accuracy. Mine would be a lot cuter if he had let me add the flirty eyelashes like I wanted. And my freckles. And trimmed my massive man-shoulders. And while I'm perfecting the cartoon version of myself, I might as well give myself a nice rack and take a little off the hips.

I ought to just get it over with and invest in some celebrity quality airbrushing software. Just you wait 'Enry 'Iggins....I'm going to look hot.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Glorifying Elmo, the mentally handiCAPABLE muppet

I've been saying this for one would listen. During three maternity leaves I would allow whichever children were in the home to watch hours of children's programming while I nursed and slept and counted down the days before I could begin utilizing my daycare again.

So I'd let the little ones watch the same nonsense we let all our little ones watch...Bob the Builder, Dora, Blue's Clues etc. I banned Barney and I banned Teletubbies for obvious reasons. But I was keen on Sesame Street. After all, I cut my tv addiction teeth on Big Bird and Grover and the deaf lady who seemed so nice. So I'd prop myself up and sing along to the opening sequence, looking forward to catching up with Gordan and Maria and Mr. Hooper.

Moving right along, I'd see that Gordan's still there. The lady from 227 never made it back from the world of sitcom. Ok, don't know her...don't know him. I gather Mr. Hooper died many years ago. faces but same concept. I'm still cool with Sesame Street.

And then, half an hour into the show something horrible happened. This obnoxious, high pitched voiced special ed muppet completely took over the show. Now, I was fully aware of the Tickle Me Elmo phenomenon of a few years ago...I knew this annoying character was quite popular. But to put a character who can't speak properly as the centerpiece of an educational program? Come on...this show gets government funding!

This post comes totally out of left field. I had forgotten about my aggravation with Elmo until I read this article entitled Elmo is an Evildoer: The Self-Obsessed Muppet is Destroying All That's Holy on Children's TV.

I desperately don't want the show to go away, so I know they can't afford to run the "Elmo accidentally drank bleach and died" episode. Instead, they need to simply take Elmo and his buddies and give them their own hourlong show for the idiot spawn. Then put Luis, Gordon and the cool Muppets on their own half-hour "Classic Sesame" for the kids who will one day actually contribute to our society.

Whichever of the two shows you watched would serve as a convenient litmus test for the rest of your life. "Which 'Sesame Street' did you watch?" will be code on college applications, Internet dating and job applications. Blue and red states will be divided not by presidential choices, but by Grover and Elmo.

If we can't save all the kids, let's at least save the ones who can master speaking in first-person. The rest we'll use for reality TV stars.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I tried...but I couldn't.

And if I could sell Caillou and his bald-headed-baby-talking self to the gypsies, I would.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

And I proudly STAND UP next to you...I'm going crazytown with Americanism

I am aware, or at least I'm told, there is a world outside the United States. In keeping with my lofty aspirations of being not-uninformed, I occasionally venture outside the virtual pages of People Online and into the virtual pages of actual global news.

Sometimes I get scared. Sometimes I get smug.

Today I am smug.

I'm a patriot. I love our country and I believe the American Constitution is the culmination of the finest ideals in human history. We may mangle it, disregard it, take broad unwarranted liberties with it, but the document itself is as close to perfection as anything ever written. (Can you tell I watched Mr. Smith Goes to Washington last night?) Politics aside, my anarcho-capitalist husband and I, the recently converted Libertarian, can agree that no national entity has ever come close to accomplishing something as glorious as the United States.

True, things are a little bit of a messed up version of awful these days. Our esteemed president lost his mind a few years ago and we've got war monkeys in the White House. Nothing new, historically speaking, but not great. So this is not the post where I talk about why everyone should tear up their party affiliation cards (you know, the one in your wallet next to your driver's license) and join their Libertarians for truth, justice and the American Way. That comes later. This is the post where I say the American Way is not, I say, is not anything to be ashamed of.

'Hold your tongue, lassie!' you're saying. 'We all know Americans are war mongering, barbarian, gun toting hillbillies trying to homogonize the world through McDonalds and Coca-Cola." I'm not going to debate with you, fictional Devil's Advocate in my head, I'm here to point out how the rest of the world...eeeehhh-not so great either.

Case in point, Europe. Europe's my favorite. There would be no 'United States' without the forward thinking European philosophers and clergy who dared to imagine a person's liberty is his own, not the property of a monarch. From French and British thinkers the entire notion of self-ownership was fully developed, until finally Americans committed their notions of freedom and equality to law, at least for the white guys.

Fast-forward 230 years or so. Europeans have a new king. Not the king of monarchy, oh no, that's soooo 18th century. The new king of Europe is 'the greater good'. Individual liberties are sacrificed, sometimes with deadly consequence for the 'greater good.' Taxation is such that I'm pretty sure French citizens actually pay the government for the privilege of working. And where does the tax revenue go? We all know it's not going toward military where does it go?

You tell me.

Scotland's employment rate stands at 74.8 per cent and continues to outperform that of the UK overall and almost all other countries within the European Union.

And you know that 25% of the Scots aren't out on the streets, bag-piping for spare change....they're drawing generous unemployment checks. Subsidized by the guys with the jobs.

So the Scottish are bragging about their low 26% unemployment rate...good for them. You think our homegrown democrats are liberals? Oh hhooo haven't seen liberalism, baby, until you 've looked at Europe. This is a continent where they're embarrassed to lock up criminals, wouldn't want to offend the criminal's self esteem. A continent where French students went crazytown and rioted over the prospect of being fired from their future nonexistant jobs. Same country, different rioters: these guys feel disenfranchised so they torch some daycares, churches and hundreds of cars and businesses. French authorities waited a full week before declaring a state of emergency. Wouldn't want to get in the way of the kids expressing themselves, you know. See a pattern here?

The heady notion of "rights" -- and especially the notion that your rights over-ride other people's rights, when those other people belong to some suspect class called "bosses" -- is an all too familiar feature of modern welfare state notions. Thomas Sowell

The Europeans have muddled 'rights' with 'privileges.' But I digress. This post is about America, not Europe. Wait...that's not true. It is about Europe. Because they think we're the backward ones. They think we're cruel for limiting our unemployment subsidies and not giving new mothers a year of paid maternity leave. And then they wonder why their economy is going to hell in a cheap pleather man-purse.

The lesson here is you can't have it both ways. You can't promote the economy while handing out free goodie bags to everyone in inconvenient circumstances. And if you go for the goodie bag approach, don't be surprised when you run out of bags and your destitute masses start torching you and your good intentions.

I'm a big fan of the American Way. Not crazy about war. Not a fan of the current administration. But the minute Hilary and her gang start trying to make us into Europe Part Deux, me and mine are taking a slow boat to Dubai.

I know that Europe's wonderful, yet something seems to lack: The
Past is too much with her, and the people looking back. But the
glory of the Present is to make the Future free,— We love our land
for what she is and what she is to be. Henry Van Dyke

Beats Lee Greenwood.

Friday, August 18, 2006

You're sure about that? Really? Think that's gonna work?

"I always thought you were the bad boy!"
"OMGosh! No way! I thought you were the bad boy!
"This is sooo funny! Hey! Remember when used to think of new ways to trim facial hair?"
"I totally forgot about that! That was sooo fun! We should totally start that trend up again."

I'm taking cheap shots today. It's my last weekday before school starts and I'm feeling snarky.

Our Blessed Patron Saint of Excellence in Motherhood, Dina Lohan, thinks she's got a great idea.

She says, "Lindsay's friends call me the 'white Oprah (Winfrey)' because they all come to me with their problems. I'm like the mom of these kids in the business. I love to talk. I have a talk show in the works..."

I'm picturing how this would work out:

White Oprah: you think I look fat in these jeans?
Nicoleritchie: (blink blink)
White Oprah: Seriously...we should hang out, right? We have sooo much in common. I'm cool, you're cool. We both know Lindsay...
Nicoleritchie: Somebody promised me a free miniature puppy if I agreed to do this. Where's my puppy??
White Oprah: You go girl! You so crazy!
Nicoleritchie: (gone)

In other psuedo-celebrity news, Nicky Hilton is launching her own line of hotels in South Beach. I don't know where South Beach is but I'm sure my pasty self wouldn't be wanted there. So she's launching this huge endeavor, right? So you'd think she'd hire-oh I don't know-maybe an architect or an engineer or even a jr. high art student to come up with some preliminary models. Nope. CLICK HERE. UH-UHHH. That fool used pink posterboard for her collage representing her hotel. Her collage. Collage. Pink. Posterboard. I'm pretty sure I tried to pull something like that off in high school and got a C. Pink. Posterboard.

Courtney. Courtney, Courtney, Courtney. There's nothing funny about drug addiction. So I'll skip that part. There's a whole lot funny about bad plastic surgery. Francis, on the other hand, looks awesome. That girl's got the sympathy of the world.

So K-Fed is making his first public performance as a rapper closing the Teen Choice Awards. Here's what he says:

"I think I'm going to go for the Oh-my-God factor. That's what I'm aiming for."

Here's my tip: Don't show up. If you're going for shocking, that'll do it. If you must come, I suggest you do a Vanilla Ice/Snow/Everlast medley. And then close with a tribute to Eminem, just so you're keepin' it rrrealll. If you insist on singing your own songs, I strongly suggest hiring David Copperfield to do a mass hallucination trick, convincing the audience you're Mike D. from the Beastie Boys, 'K-Fed?

That's all. No more snarkiness for a month. I swear.

This is how we do it.

Harrisons do it like nobody does. (This is how we do it.)

Let's get some homeschoolin' up in here. This is my back-to-school post, in case you weren't sure why I was quoting 1990s West Coast rappers (west siiiieede).

To spare you post after post of minutia, I thought I'd bundle it all up in a second blog. So if you couldn't care less about how I plan on spending my school year, you could just sit back and read some of the HI-larious posts below.

But if you're just a tiny bit curious how we try to pull this off, please click here. You'll want to start with the post at the bottom and then move up. Also know that this is our 2nd year of homeschooling, but our first year with multiple kids participating.

So if you see something that needs clarification, or prompts more questions, PLEASE let me know. I'll answer anything. For real. Anything.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

I have a guest blogger! Please be nice to the guest and listen to his advice. He is very smart and understands many mysteries which confuse my noggin'. The following instructions teach how to set up a page that will make your life easier than heck. Also, this particular guest finances my luxurious lifestyle so be sure to read every word and take it to heart.

RSS is one of the coolest technologies that is available to the average web user. Many people have not heard of it, or don't understand it very well. I hope to explain what it is and how it can help you keep track of your favorite web content.

First, let me explain what RSS is. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. It allows the user to collect feeds from various web sites. These feeds notify the user when new content has been added to a site. You may have noticed this a feed icon orange and white logo various places on the web. This shows that a website has an RSS feed available. So, if you subscribe to these feeds, you will be notified of any new content through your feed reader.

In order to keep track of these feeds, you will need the help of a feed reader, or aggrigator. There are many options available, and they range from stand alone applications to web pages. One of the easiest to implement is the Google Homepage. If you have a Google account, you can click the Personalized Home link from the Google home page. There are a few ways to add content. You can add content to your web page by clicking the Add content » link in the top left hand corner of your Google Homepage. This will give you access to hundreds of feeds. You can also click any button. Alternatively, you can use the "Add by URL" link next to the search bar. From here you can paste any feed link address. Feed link addresses can be obtained by clicking on a a feed icon feed icon. Copy the web address and paste it into the URL section. has a feed reader available as well. You can follow the same guidelines to set it up.

This should get you started. You'll be able to keep track of a number of feeds at once, with your reader notifying you of updates.

Oh no she di-int.

Oh yes she did.

With Sharpies.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Little bit of Ava, whole lotta crazy.

Me: What did you do to your face???!!!
Ava: I wanted to wear make-up like you.
Me: Lookin' good, baby.
(Oh...this was the day I was in full camo gear for neighborhood war bad)

Ava: Did you know God makes people out of dirt?
Me: Is that how He made you?
Ava: No.
Me: How did He make you?
Ava: He sent his son, Jesus to earf and then He made us.

Me: What else do you learn in church?
Ava: I learn snacks, and teachers, and tanks..
Me: Tanks?
Ava: Tanks, and bears. I know the Cubbies' motto. It's 'Jesus Loves Me.' Just like the song. They teach me that. They don't teach me how to tap dance. I need special shoes to tap dance. (leaves room)
Me: Ava??
(crickets chirp)

Ava: I love going to marijuana class!
Me: What did you say??!!!
Juliet: She said she loves going to her AWANA class.
Me. Oh. That's what I thought she said.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

God bless you, Wikipedia.

Everyday hundreds and hundreds of people ask me, "Kristi, how do you teach kids to read?"

And everyday I have one simple answer, "Phonics."

Then hundreds and hundreds of people say, "And what exactly do you mean by phonics? Is that the alphabet or what?"

And I say, "What are you, stupid or something? Don't you know anything???"

And then I realize I'm imagining hundreds of people and talking to myself belligerently. I retreat to my bathroom to regroup.

Next time I'm just going to refer them to this article from Wikipedia. For all the hundreds of people who aren't quite sure what is meant by the word "phonics".

Clever McCleverpants can't operate window blinds.

So, after reviewing my posts for the month of August, I'm starting to see a little theme. I am awesome. I read good books if they're less than 150 pages. I plan for the future. I'm homeschooling my kids. I win 2 day battles with small children. I work extra jobs. Babysitting. I can do a cartwheel (that one didn't make it into a post). Who rocks the house? I rock the house. And on top of everything, I write an ultra-successful blog that tens of people are reading everyday. It's hard to be humble when I'm such a model of successful womanhood.

So in an effort to reconnect with readers who can't do cartwheels, I thought I'd make a little list of a few things that I can't do.

I can't get through a day without singing out loud.

I can't get through a day without heroin. I mean Dr. Pepper.

I can't operate simple mechanisms
...blinds are only the top of the list. Corkscrews are 2nd. Alarm clocks are 3rd. The list goes on...

I don't understand technology
. I'm pretty sure there's little midget elves in my computer painting these words on my screen. I put cookies on the desk at night in case they're hungry.

I can't read knitting/sewing/crocheting patterns. I'm condemned to spend the rest of my life knitting scarves for this reason. Scarves for my elves.

I often operate under delusions of grandeur. An idea for a children's story = I'm a bestselling author hanging out with JK Rowling in NYC. A new business idea = I'm Donald Trump, getting interviewed on Oprah explaining my road to wild success. Delusions of grandeur are quite difficult to get over when you never actually complete the original task you thought was so great.

I'm gullible and I can't tell when someone is tricking me. I spend half my life saying, "Really? Are you serious? Shut're foolin' me!" And running away in tears.

I have an aversion to cussing. I never picked it up and I don't like movies or books with potty mouths. If Will says 'hell' or 'ass' I say, "Watch your mouth. I'm a lady." Unless he uses the word 'fatass'. That one always makes me giggle.

I'm just now realizing I'm not going to be a prodigy at anything.

I'm paranoid about my friends hating me. If I haven't heard from you in a while, I think that you and everyone else I've ever known are partying at an undisclosed location, telling stories about how glad you are you finally ditched me. I should probably tell a therapist about this one. That sounds messed up.

I spend way too much time passing mental judgements on celebrities. "And how did anyone ever think Nick Nolte was sexy?" "Nicole Ritchie/Skeletor looks like a freakin' corpse. Someone should cover up dem bones." "Kate Hudson's little boy is the prettiest little girl I've ever seen. He should get a Pantene endorsement." These are things I say to myself during my day. Out loud.

There you have it. I'm as flawed and not-smart as I look in the picture below. And as narcissistic and self-absorbed as anyone else who writes a blog. So I'm off to go read some more books about getting rich and teaching phonics.

Try not to be jealous.

Monday, August 14, 2006

What? Nothing...I didn't do anything...What are we talking about?

If a crazy big eyed trickster came to my house and stood on my porch...this is what she would look like.

Not the cutest picture ever.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Kristi's 75 Year Plan

Second 'Bottle Rocket' reference in a week. For those of you counting.

I have a blue 88 cent spiral notebook. I bought it in January. I take it to work with me on the weekends (more on that later). Let me share some of it's contents with you:

story ideas (someday I'm going to get a children's book published, don't you know?)
investment ideas
the phrase SBA
my name, elaborately decorated with hearts and flowers
the text of birthday party invitations, later typed up on the computer
stock purchases to research
birthday party lists
the word 'tax liens'
a list of these books, which I'm supposed to use as a guide when I go to the library
the phrase 'ebay drop off store'
the phrase 'pay us first'
a 75 year plan to wealth

See a pattern here? In case you didn't catch it, I'm going back to put the pattern in bold. The 75 year plan, by the way, actually only goes into 2008. But it's written in pencil on a blue spiral notebook and it made Will snicker when he saw it.

Here's a story for some background. San Antonio, July 1997. We had been married oohhhh...about a month. Will starts saying things like, "I wish I didn't have to work." And "Working is not for me." Imagine my shock. Imagine my horror. Imagine what I was imagining: My husband is a lazy bones and I'm in big trouble. Big trouble.

Cut to 1999. Will is still working to support us, still complaining. We have Charlie. I've finished school and I'm staying home with our new baby. Will has an idea. He calls it "Auction Banker." The idea is that Ebay customers could use their credit cards on a secure third site, run by us. We'd get a flat rate on every purchase made through our site. He buys the domain name and enlists our friend Kyle to design a page. I start to get a glimpse of a different kind of where we are the owners and not just the workers. I'm intrigued. Needless to say the whole thing didn't work out. And a year later we see someone else offering the exact same service. They called it "Paypal".

I can not tell you the collateral Will earned with me with Auction Banker. First of all, I finally understood what he meant all those years when he said he didn't want to work. He didn't mean 'I'm poor and lazy and I don't want to work.' He wanted 'I'm fabulously wealthy and I don't have to work." Except he would never say 'fabulously'. So everytime he comes up with a new idea (and there have been many) I say to myself...Will invented Paypal. And I try to support him. I might troubleshoot the ideas and ask lots of questions...but I never discourage him from coming up with stuff.

Cut to 2003. Same friend Kyle and his wife, Leigh, previously referred to as 'Precious Mom' tell us they are done with credit forever. They are budgeting to the bare bones to pay off all their debt. Then they're going to take the money previously used on credit payments and invest it like crazy. They have a plan for financial freedom. We don't have a plan. We steal their plan.

2004 - We take 'Financial Freedom' classes at our church and get serious about paying off debt. Coincidentally, we buy house this same year, therefore adding $120,000+ to our liability column. We think our house is an asset. During these years Will toys with several ideas: a truck modification I don't understand, a engine modification that I don't understand but the engineer at our church gets, and a few other things that don't make it off the ground. I say, "Will invented Paypal" and encourage him to keep going.

2005 - We move to Idaho. Lose a salary. Can't sell the house.

2006 -Find a renter. Property taxes go up. We're losing several hundred dollars a month on the house. I get a job on the weekends at the local newspaper. I answer phones and read and write in my notebook.

Summer 2006 - I turn 30. Time is flying and we have done nothing, nothing to create wealth for future security. So over the past month or so I've become a little frantic about the future. The brief flirtation with business ownership gave me a revelation...we don't want to be workers! We want to be owners! (Like how I shouted that?) I look around my posh little neighborhood. That guy owns the flower store. Those guys own the Mexican restaurant. The lady walking with that lady owns the baked potato place (it's called Spuds and it's expensive...don't make fun). They. are. owners. They sail and garden and walk their dogs all the damn day long because they don't have to work.

I've caught the fever. And the only cure is more more money. And cowbell.

August 2006 - I'm reading books and making plans. We are going to approach this as a team. Will's job is to work on his business ideas and come up with new ones. He's also working on a web page supporting 3rd party candidates to break the 2 party stronghold on politics. My job is to juggle the budget so we are paying off debt and simultaneously investing. My newspaper money pays off debt. My babysitting (I can't believe I'm 30 and I just said 'babysitting') money gets invested. It's a plan. I have a list of which debts are getting paid off each year into 2008. I have a list of stocks and sectors I'm going to research as possible investments.

This is why I buy Cover Girl make up. This is why I want to cut our losses with our house and sell it and never mortgage a house again. I don't want to go anywhere for our 10 year anniversary next year. I don't want to exchange gifts at Christmas. I bought most of our curriculum used. I haven't bought a new pair of jeans in almost 2 years. I don't care anymore. I want stocks. I want property. I want real estate. I want to know I will not be working at the age of 70.

Have you thought about these things? I'm afraid some of these posts come across as self righteous drivel. "I'm soooo awesome because I homeschool and I don't use credit cards and you suck because you're not me." This is not my intention. But I do believe the American economy is one big stack of cards, precariously perched on a wobbly coffee table, with two 5 year olds playing tag all around it. It won't last. It's not sustainable. I don't know if it takes 5 years or 30 years but this easy credit nonsense is going to shake the house down.

And I want to be ready when it does.

Hey...wha' happened?

We're going to Texas, baby! Will got a kick-arse deal from Southwest Airlines, saving us about $1000. The catch? Oh, yeah...well, we have to come down in about 2 weeks. Two weeks??? That's right, two weeks. The kids and I will be staying for a whole month and Will is coming down the last week of September. So, if you know me, send an email letting us know the best times to visit. If you don't know me you can send me an email saying 'Congratulations, you rock!' Or something like that.

Remember that time when I alluded to a possible business deal? No. You don't. I never made an allusion to anything. That was in your head and it never happened. Be sure to tell your psychologist you're having fantasies of the Harrisons owning businesses.

Actually, what started as a promising business purchase is not altogether over, although we know we could be on our last legs. An iconic local coffee shop is up for sale at a devastatingly reasonable price. Will and his friend, who used to own a bike shop in Houston, have been speaking with the owners and the local bank about purchasing the shop. All we need is a mere $70,000 in earnest money to secure the rest of the loan from the bank. The boys are being quite resourceful, speaking with local entrepeneuers and what-not, but we also know that other investors have signed confidentiality agreements with the owner and are also pursueing the purchase. The nerve of some of these jokers. Soooo, we're still committed to raising money until the game is up. At that point we'll show up drunk at the coffee shop yelling "We never liked coffee, anyway! You stupid uglyhead poopfaces!"

We start school one week from tomorrow. I have a kajillion things to do to get ready. I hope to post a 'Back to School' very special episode soon. But this afterschool special won't feature any teen pregnancies or cocaine fueled atheletes. We hope.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Read me, Seymour. Read me all night long. Part 3: The final countdown.

Part tres in my trilogy o' literacy. I make no apologies...but I will preface the post by admitting you'll find most of these books on everyone's 'read this to be literate' list. This is because I've purposely used lists of the classics to make my book selections. I'm playing catch up after 10 years of illiteracy, remember? In no particular order. Except for the first one. It's my favorite.

Gone With the Wind - I read this book every year. And every year I say, "Damn you Margaret Mitchell for not writing the sequel yourself." I've never read "Scarlett"...I hear it's crap. So anyway, during the week or so I re-read the book I find myself thinking, WWSD? And I slip into a fake southern accent and swish my hips a lot and say, "Oh Will! You know I'm just a country girl. Can't you get those chilluns to bed without my little ol' help?" And he avoids me until I've gotten all my southern debutante fantasies out of my head.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
- Lovely little story that completely captures urban povery, adolescent female angst and the struggle to make life better. Anyone who actually knows me in person would know why I love this book.

The Bell Jar - This is a must read for housewives everywhere. Plath precisely articulates the frustrations and drudgery that goes into being a housewife. Especially a housewife with a college education. The woman in the story toys with madness and this isn't light fare.

Rebecca - Jealousy! Obsession! Insecurity! A mousy ex college girl marries a wealthy widower. A widower whose dead wife was the model of sophistication and beauty. For anyone who's ever had an unhealthy obsession. Easily my favorite suspense novel.

The Ordinary Princess
- I fell in love with this story when I was 10 years old. (see above picture) The baby princess is cursed with "ordinaryness". Her creamy complexion sprouts freckles. Her fine blond hair turns brown. She prefers climbing trees to princessy activities. Sweet and fun.

Atlas Shrugged - What can I say that hasn't been written a million times over by fawning post grad students trying to save the world? This book falls into the "change your life" category. Dear decadent gods of Hollywood, please don't let Angelina and Brad get cast in this movie. I'll hate you forever if you do. In Frank Capra's name, Amen.

The Grapes of Wrath - Any novel that convincingly paints a portrait of a historical reality is cool with me. This one is as heartbreaking as it gets. And beautifully written.

The Good Earth
- Very simple story of a Chinese farmer who struggles to improve his life. I wish I could spice it up...but that's really the story. The writing and imagery are pretty.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
- I loved this character like I love Scarlett. Calculating, manipulative, yet intelligent and non conforming. And a 40ish dame Maggie Smith stars in the movie version.

The Jungle - Don't read this on a full stomach. And don't read it at all if you plan on eating a burger in the next 24 hours. Do read it if you're a vegetarian and you want more ammunition for torturing your carnivorous friends.

Animal Farm
- I read this in a day. And I'm linking to this post for a funnier review of the book.

That's all for now. You probably can't tell this, but most of the books listed above are shockingly short. I already mentioned my attention span so there you go. Six months from now I'll post a new list with much more intelligent books. You'll be shocked at all the crazy smart books I'll be reading. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and I swear I'm going to actually finish something by Jane Austen. I think my ovaries are actually mad at me for not being able to get through Pride and Prejudice.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I lika the books. Part 2: CS Lewis in the hay-youse!

Butterfly in the sky. I can fly twice as high. Take a look. It's in a book...Reading Rainbow.

LeVar Burton seems like such a nice guy.

If I knew him I'd invite him over to the house to watch Bottle Rocket or something. I'd make some popcorn and pizza rolls. Here's what he'd say when the movie was over:

"Kristi, have you been reading to your kids lately?"

"Oh, LeVar. You know I spend 30 minutes everyday reading to my children." (He wouldn't be able to tell I was lying because he's very trusting.)

"Awesome. I bet you are an awesome mother."

"Yes. I am an awesome mother. More pizza rolls?"

If that wasn't the creepiest pretend conversation, I don't know what is.

Nonfiction - Christian Apologetics
To clarify, 'apologetics' can be substituted with the word 'defense'. These are books that systematically defend the Christian faith against common objections. Some are great and some skim over the tougher issues. But they're all worth taking a look at.

Mere Christianity - CS Lewis is the bomb-diggity-bomb. I love this book. It's a logical, eloquent and effecient philosophical defense of the faith. Easily the best book in this category.
The Consolation of Philosophy - A Medieval defense of the faith.
The Case for Christ/ The Case for Faith - These are both easy to read and answer some tough questions. I emphasize easy to read...these aren't major works of theology but are useful.
Defending Your Faith - Also attempts to deal with very difficult questions. Falls short on some issues, but overall a good book for people looking at Christianity.

Getting to the good stuff...

Fiction: Can't Live Without These Kid's Chapter Books

The Chronic(what?)cles of Narnia - Grandaddy of fantasy literature. I'm avoiding redundacy and leaving this out of my personal fiction list...just know it was my favorite before I started reading it to the kids.
Little House on the Prairie Box Set - Charlie doesn't know that this series is traditionally for girls. So I gave it to him for his birthday.
Amelia Bedelia - The kids don't remotely get the puns but they laugh their heads off anyway. That Amelia is a crazy nut. Literally. She should be locked away before she hurts someone.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Way better than the movie. The movie descends into some psychadelic creepfest. The book is fun and adventurous. Written by the James Bond guy.
Peter Pan - Me: Ava, don't touch's dusty. Ava: Yeah, we only like yellow dust. And there's no fairies in here. This story is so ingrained in her consciousness that she actually looked up and around the room to make sure there weren't any fairies flying around.
Stuart Little - Mouse + little clothes = hilarity.
Mr. Popper's Penguins - Penguins + small children = roll-on-the-floor-and-run-to-the-bathroom-before-you-wet-yourself hilarity.
Treasure Island - (condensed) Pirates, guns, treasure, talking parrots. Charlie couldn't get enough of this book. He still talks about it.
Oliver Twist (condensed) - Murder, street gangs, homelessness...good times. Charlie loved this book so much that he insisted we watch 2 different versions of the movie when we finished.

Coming favorite adult fiction. Adult, like for grown ups, not adult as in erotic literature. You know you were thinking it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I'm a reader! Part 1: I likes to read.

Believe it or not, I once took a 10 year hiatus from reading for fun. An occasional John (yes, we know, you're a lawyer) Grisham or Michael (how many pages is this technical junk?) Crichton was all I would attempt. Crichton always blinds me with science. But these books gave me great training for spotting formulaic writing, i.e. Dan (guy + girl + running + conspiracy = bestseller) Brown's fun but predictable books.

So what prompted me to jump back into the local library headfirst? A full-on, grown woman obsession with the Harrys. A "I pre-ordered this freaking book on Amazon so I could read it today so leave me alone!" obsession. Will hid Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince from me the day I got it. He snickered as I ransacked the house looking for it. I'm not sure but I think I was in a hysterical heap on our closet floor when he finally handed it over. Bastard.

So there's this 30 year gap in between the Harrys and I have to read something, right? So I started reading like a maniac. I've said before, I will stop reading anything I don't enjoy. I've quit some of the finest literature in world history because my attention span is this ( ) big. I also have issues with identifying with characters who are nothing like me. I think the word is 'empathy'. Apparently, I don't have it. But I've also stuck it out with books that you wouldn't expect a self-confessed prude like me to enjoy. I'm currently reading Lolita. I can't read it with out singing "La la la Lola" in my head. (I often have singing in my head problems...this is nothing new.)

Here is a fun little list of books that I love. Books I love soooo much that I would actually shell out less than $10 to buy them. I'm doing categories because I know that anyone who's reading this is thinking, "There's no way I'm reading this list unless the books are categorized." I'm psychic.

Nonfiction - Politics/History/Economics/Be-Rich-Like-Me Books
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty First Century - Scarier than Steven King.
Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything - Just for fun.
Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - A little dry but fun for history freaks.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad - I read this every year or so. I'm still not rich. I'm thinking of sueing.
The Millionaire Next Door - I have to buy Cover Girl brand make-up because of this book.
Total Money Makeover - Read this if you never read anything again. Except the Harrys.
The Ditch Digger's Daughters - I'm a sucka for success stories.
Uncle Sam's Plantation - A black, conservative woman's view of the state of things. Not for everyone, but I liked it.

Nonfiction - Education Books I Do Cartwheels For
Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids A Real Education... - The title is way too long. But the book is inspirational, for lack of a better word.
Books to Build On: A Grade-by-Grade Resource Guide for Parents and Teachers - Self Explanatory.
Dumbing Us Down - The Hidden Agenda of Compulsary Schooling - This fella's a little on the crazy side, but he was also an award winning NY city school teacher. So take it or leave it.
Marva Collins' Way - I looovvvee this lady. I want to be her. But I'm not.
The Well Trained Mind - This is the book that sealed the deal for me. In homeschooling, that is. I love this book like Whitney loves crack.

Holy guacamole! This is long. It's a good thing I'm breaking this into multiple posts. I'm off to read a little more about dirty Humbert.

Addendum: Humbert is freaking me out. Lolita goes back to the library with her nasty self.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Why you should never, EVER, vote for increased public school funding.

Otherwise titled, "The one where Kristi might actually make a few enemies."

You could skip this whole post and read this. You'll get the same point.

As many of my old high school and college friends (many meaning about 4) have discovered, Will and I have some crazy unexpected ideas about things. Politics, money, name it and we've got our own little philosphy on it. So while some moms are posting cute pictures and funny stories, I'm often speechifying it up with multi pointed diatribes about how everyone should see things my way.

This is one of those posts.

Education. Most homeschoolers have had to do some hardcore soul searching to commit to this endeavor. I won't give the whole story here, but I decided to homeschool when I couldn't get a job teaching here in town. And once I began teaching my own kids I felt gloriously liberated from the nonsense that goes into the public school beaurocracy. So I'm doing my dream job for free. Good for me.

This was an easy decision to make. I had two years as a kindergarten teacher in a low income school under my belt. A low income school where the teachers had several hundreds of dollars given to them to put into their classroom supplies (new puzzles and toys) at the beginning of the year. A school where everyone got a free breakfast and lunch, even if your daddy made $50,000 a year. I could say to my principal, "I'd like to go to this professional development class...can the district pay for it?" Absolutely. And several hundreds of dollars later I learned some new songs about vowels and syllables.

There are many reasons why public schools are falling apart. Write me privately and I'll give you a multi page essay on the history of education and how we got to this incredible low point. (Let's see how many people take me up on that one.) But the main reason, the big, fat, stinking elephant in the room of a reason, is that taxpayers are funding a monopoly. No competition. If someone gave me over $8,000 to educate their kids (the average amount the public school system is currently spending per student) you can bet I'd get those little fools into freakin' Harvard by their 18th birthday. Never let anyone tell you schools need more money. They need competition. They need good management. They need to drop social studies and insert history. They need to drop character ed and teach the kids some freaking geography.

How much longer are we going to get by with American students being the retards of the world?

I never use the word retard. But desperate times call for desperate measures. can't homeschool and private school is out of the question. It's ok. Just keep your eyes open. The word of the day is supplement. I have no judgement for anyone, whatever their education decisions are. But I do offer serious warnings to anyone who leaves it up to the public school system to educate their kids entirely.

This speech was brought to you by a glory hallelujah! article I read this afternoon. The same one posted at the top. And you don't know how hard it was to not write more. I'm cookoo for homeschooling.

By the way, I love teachers. I still call myself a teacher. I am not an anti-teachmite.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sucks to be me.

A few weeks ago I was having a conversation with two of my favorite local moms. One informed me she did the old 'washed the mouth out with soap' thing when her son brandished his first bad word.

Intrigued, I whispered with a giggle, "What did he say?"

She looks over her shoulder and breathlessly whisper-shouts, "This day sucks."

The other mom present gave a slight gasp and says, "Oh no. We don't allow that word, either."

I smile and say, "Really? That's a bad word to you? Really?" And the two moms tell me the same thing my mom used say, the word has inappropriate connotations. So I make some lame statement about how people my age (as if pointing out how young and hip I am is going to make me any friends in the instance) don't have the same imagery when we use the word "sucks". We just mean it "sucks". And there's not much worse than sucking, is there?

So for the first time since I was a teenager, I'm aware of this little generation gap that revolves around a particular adjective (not verb, adjective). But I couldn't express myself well so I bumble around until the subject is mercifully changed. I forgot all about the whole conversation until this morning. I was reading Slate online when I came across this article explaining exactly what I was trying to say a few weeks ago. A Defense of the Word Sucks. Leave it to the super cool hipsters at Slate to explain how "sucks" works in contemporary lexicon.

Two post scripts: "Sucks" is not a word that is actually condoned in my house. But it would get "stupid" and "idiot" status. Not "bastard" or "all the other words" status. (Yes, my children have called each other idiots. It's actually kind of funny.)

Second, inspired by Angel at Fantastic Simple, I decided I needed some sort of humiliating ridicule in my life. So I submitted Here in Idaho to I Talk Too Much. I anticipate a response of "We hate you and your bastard face! etc. etc." Especially since I'm a mama blogger. But Will wants to see what they think of the template so I humored him. But I definately anticipate use of the word "sucks" in my review. I'm just glad I know what it means.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

No trashy gossip Here. At the moment.

True, I loves me some trashy celebrity gossip. Someday I'm going to stand before God and shamefacedly explain why I spent so many hours reading online junk instead of helping out African orphans.

"But God, we can't all be Angelinas." (As if I'd use celebrity name dropping at the judgement throne.)

"And we can't all be gossip mongers checking out People Online to see what Paris Hilton is wearing, can we?..." Oh snap. God got me there. God is very sarcastic.

So here is a short compilation of articles that have nothing to do with Mel Gibson or Lindsey Lohan. But keep reading anyway.

Scientific Evidence Backing Up the Obvious:
Britney Spears is actually retarded. Just kidding. I couldn't resist. This article discusses gender roles and the chemical differences that propel baby girls toward baby dolls and boys towards firetrucks. Studies indicate that baby monkeys make the same choices based on the whole 'girls have been culturally taught to be nurturers' arguement is out the window. It also talks about how alleged verbal and mathematical discrepancies between men and women aren't as great as we thought. Most moms have known this stuff since the dawn of humanity. It just took some scientists to convince everyone else. Female scientists.

Is This All You've Got?
Not a specific article per se, but a commentary. So I'm feeling liberated and I head over to Ms. online. And I'm struck with the monotony of women's "issues". This is why I can't consider myself a feminist. Because the feminists of America can't stop yelling "Reproductive Rights!" long enough to consider there might be a few other ways to actually help down and out females. Like if the most militant pro-choicers of the world used their energy to organize job training programs, entrepenuerial programs, financial education classes, mentorship programs etc. it's possible there wouldn't be as great a demand for abortions in the first place. Which is something the pro-lifers could get behind easily. And memo to Ms.: if you want to get my attention, don't polarize issues as being "left or right". It's hard to believe, but there are actually some women out there who don't buy the "all the right wing men of the world are oppressing me" thing.

NEA; No Excellence Allowed!

Now here is an instance of the pot (me) calling the kettle (the NEA) black (I was in a teacher's union). But this is out-of-control. Nevermind that the NEA's homepage offers nothing in the discussion of academic education. I can appreciate that the role of the NEA is to benefit public school teachers, not necessarily raise the standards of academic excellence in the public education system. I was a member of a teacher's union because they were there to protect me if I needed protection, kind of like the mafia. Fair enough. But the NEA has also made it their mission to squash any government funding towards private school vouchers. Still...fair game. This is their funding for public schools. Whatever. But here, HERE is where things get ugly. The National Education Association, largest union in the US, urges their members to boycott Walmart because Walmart contributes money towards private vouchers for underprivileged youth. This article discusses the Walton family's obsession with education reform and how they are using their resources to change American schools. I'm not a swearer usually but - Hell yeah! I'd double my shopping time at Walmart for that reason if I could.

I would've done some more but I think my extensive commentary is probably a little too scary for most readers.

Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind...

See those ads at the bottom of the page? Click them. A lot. And I'll buy you a drink in December (if you live in Texas).

Libertarians are all about the Benjamins, baby.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The reason the phrase "wait and see" was invented...

First congratulate me for the fastest master bedroom pack up of all time.

Then congratulate me for my awesome negotioting prowess allowing us to stay in our awesome too-good-for-us luxury home.

Then think about the two statements and laugh at me for being an idiot.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Ch ch ch ch changes...

Everything is going crazy all at once. Here's the dealio:

1. New baby! Not mine! Bro. in law and sis. in law welcome the first Harrison grandchild that doesn't belong to Kristi. Baby Kaitlyn Grace arrived yesterday evening in San Antonio. Happy, healthy and all is well. Will and I are calling her 'Special K'. I'm calling her 'Katie Scarlett' in my head (Gone With the Wind reference). Nobody understands me. (sheds tear)

2. We're moving! We think! Our landlords raised the rent on our poor butts (and rightfully so, we got this place for a steal). So we're looking at moving into a smaller, ghettofied house in a less desirable Sandpoint location. No more pool. No more tennis courts. I feel like MC Hammer. Nothing's final yet...we're just getting ready for the inevitable.

3. Can't give details! Confidentiality agreement involved! Will and a work buddy are looking at buying a local business. It's happening so fast, and it may not happen at all. We're looking at funding options at the moment. Anyone with $50,000 to spare can contact me right away, k? So my next post might be something along the lines of "Everything fell apart...severely disappointed...feel like failures...I'll never leave bed again." But either way, you know I'll be blogging all about it.

4. Room got cleaned! For 5 minutes! I won't post another picture because it's back to pre-clean conditions. But the point is that the grown ups won the round.

5. School starts in 2 weeks! Holy jumpin' Jehosephat, I'm not ready! I'm still ordering curriculum and hello! possibly packing up curriculum. My world is all upside down.

So much for my quickie update. I'm sure I'll have more to say later...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I Think I'm Losing My Mind This Time

This time I'm losing my mind.

Dear God in Heaven above, don't let me hurt my children. Amen.

This is a picture of hour 22 in the "Clean Your Room and I'm not Going to Help You This Time Because You're Just Sitting Around Playing!" standoff. We don't usually let these things go on multiple days...but something about their arrogant assumption that I would come in and do it for them set me off.

So this started yesterday afternoon at about 1 pm. "After you clean your room you can have a popsicle. And we'll go to the park if it's not too late." Several hours later manaically giggling Stinknasty is seen chasing manaically giggling Stinkerbell in and out of Charlie's room while he was finishing up his cleaning. "GET OUT!!!! GEEETTTT OOOUUUTTT!!!!" He screams, fighting back his tears.

"Alright girls...if you can't work on your room, you can help Charlie finish his." So they are forced to help him finish up. And he goes outside and plays on his scooter for the rest of the afternoon. Fastforward a few hours...the girls are still sitting around on their bony bottoms, not cleaning anything. Sad little eyes imploring me to help. By this time I'm nearly in a Mommy Dearest rage so I call Will,

"Bring me a Dr. Pepper on your way home." 2nd Dr. Pepper for the day. Bad mommy.

"Are you ok?"

"Yeah. But the girls are yours when you get home. Grrrrrrr."

Fastforward to dinnertime. By this point I've confiscated Juliet's Texas Bear and Ava's pink blanket, their two most treasured possessions. "You'll get them back when your room is clean." Picture the screaming wails of tortured baby sea lions and you'll hear the noises I've endured for the past 22 hours. We've done time outs. We've done some yelling. We even did a pop on the bottom when Ava defiantly growled "No!" and swiped her sad little arm in my direction.

They ate their dinner last night alone at the table and were sent straight to bed. No breakfast this morning. No lunch until it's done. Some parents would read this and say, "I wouldn't let my kids get away with this. I would 've got them in line hours ago." No doubt you would've. Some would read this and say, "What's the big deal? Just help them and get it over with." It's a matter of principal. They sat there for hours waiting for me to come and help...they even made a bigger mess while waiting. When given a choice between time out and cleaning they actually chose time out.

So here we are. We're actually making some headway as I write this. I'm not helping but I'm instructing from the computer. "Pick up all your Barbies and then come and tell me when they're cleaned up." Then I tell them something else to clean. It's dumb but it seems to be working. The glorious miracle in the story is that I didn't actually lose my temper as I often do in these situations. Neither did Will. Three cheers for us! We're maturing! Hip hip hooraay...hip hip...

Now that's just sad. Alright. I best go check on those bad girls. They probably skipped town while I was writing that last paragraph.

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Kristi From Texas
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