A place for anything and everything that comes to mind.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Have the Need...

...the Need to READ!

I start my TENTH year of teaching tomorrow.  TEN!  YEARS!  This year it is my goal to become the official bag lady of Franklin Middle School.  I will have a bag full of grading everyday.  Teaching reading AND writing equals lots of grading.  I think this year I'll use my Erasmus bag.  

I'll have my purse...of course.  It's packed with a wallet, a coupon/gift card Beatles wallet, usually a camera, a pencil pouch full of pens, markers, and some Burt's Bees, and always my Papa Hemingway Moleskin planner.  That is usually a bright green (seen below) or yellow duffel-like bag with a sling shoulder strap.  You could also probably find a few stray diapers in there.  

This year, though...this year...number 10...I'm adding a new bag to the bundle.  Book.  Bag.  Literally...a bag FULL of books.  I'm pulling a Rory Gilmore.  I've decided I need books...a VARIETY of books to travel with me everyday.  They make me feel safe, protected, and I'll have whatever I'm in the mood for.  I've taken some guidance from Ms. Gilmore by putting multiple genres into the bag, and with the help of my Kindle, they'll all always fit.  I have the biographies (early years Elvis, Monkees, and the 1992 Dream Team), some graphic novels AND a few issues from the new Smallville serial, and being a middle school teacher, I have a young adult novel.  Oh, and did I mention the Stephen King and Back to the Future novelization on the Kindle?  I didn't???  Well, they're in there, too.

This bag is a book nerd's dream bag.  It's like Mary Poppins' carpet bag thanks to the endless possibilities that could be stored on that bad A Kindle.  I may have rough days at school, and I know I'll have great ones, but no matter what, I can always unwind at the end of it with a few pages from one of my book bag's many tomes. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cute Jeans, Flirty Dresses, & 90s Idols..Oh, My!

The Olympics are over, but thanks to Old Navy, there's still reason to watch the tube...and for the second time in history, they have me gunning for commercials.  

I HATE commercials.  There's a reason God invented I wouldn't have to watch commercials.  No commercials is ANOTHER thing the BBC gets right.  (You know, along with the Office, Sherlock, Who, countdown shows, etc, etc, etc.)  Back in June, I found myself not being so hasty to push that fast forward button, because of Old Navy summer's dresses ads.  

Oh, Jordan the Taurus, how I would watch any commercial break for thee.

Now that school is about to start, ON's hitting the commercial airwaves fast and hard with pre-school sales, with a little help from...the ole gang from West Beverly High.

Who WOULDN'T still choose Dylan?  OK, OK...I admit I've matured, I see the appeal of Brandon, but c'mon...I can't deny my 11-year-old self.

So, the next time you're thinking about whizzing through those 'mercials, sit back, relax, take your finger off the trigger and hope another ON gem comes your way.  Maybe you'll even be lucky enough to see the one with Ms. Zuckerman.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What is YOUR Olympic Moment?

Here we are.  The end of another Olympics.  If you've been keeping up with me the last fortnight, you'll know that I'm sad.  But, with anticipation, I will always be looking forward to the next Games.  Perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me concerning the Olympics is when they decided to change the Winter-Summer Games to being two years apart.  That means only two years until Russian Winter Games!  And, guess what, people?  If you think I've been stoked about these hot summer Games, wait until the cold, icy Games of 2014.  

It comes down to this: What will be YOUR Olympic moment from London 2012?  What will be the iconic moment that stands out in your memory?

Will it be a cute-as-a-button wee gymnast, with a smile with enough megawatt power to light a small country, taking home the gold?

Will it be another huge grinner who made Olympic history?

What about a former Illini taking center stage and gold back home?  (Yeah, the basketball was uber boring, but seeing ole Deron so happy with that hardware makes this orange and blue fan happy.)

Maybe it will be the night you became acquainted with a barely legal Brit giving his all on the diving platform?

Or, maybe...just maybe your memorable moment will come from the Opening Ceremonies, and the best one-fingered piano performance in history.

I hope you've had as much fun as I have.  Another Games in the history books and my memory banks.  Thank you, Olympics, for bringing the world together...even for the briefest of instances.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Olympic Memory #5

1996.  Atlanta...before it got HOT.  And, back to the gymnastics arena we go.  Oh, you know EXACTLY where I'm headed.

Of course I held my breath with the rest of the nation as Kerri Strug prepared for her second, and final, vault for the United States' first gymnastics team gold in history.  The gold all hinged on this last vault.  At one point, there was no doubt that USA would take home that coveted team gold, but everything started to fray at the edges.  After her first miscue, I steeled myself in our living room, halfway covering my eyes, like you do at the scariest of horror films, and I held my breath...

Of course I cheered when she landed but then in the same millisecond, began to cringe and feel her pain as I saw the deep hurt seethe across her face.  She did it, though: she brought home the gymnastics team gold to the host nation.  

All that went with Kerri was, and still is, legendary: Her cute lil 1996 short bob; her sweet, high-pitched, verging on annoying voice; and of course, Bela Karolyi.  One of the most legendary coaches in the history of gymnastics became even more so when he rushed to the side of his fallen star that night and then later carried her off the podium, with the gold around her neck.  However, as time goes by, I begin to remember less of fact and more of fiction.  Who can feel me when you glance upon this gem???

Yes, SNL was there to gently poke fun at the young Miss Strug (for her legendary features I listed above), but seriously, folks, you haven't really made it until you've been parodied on the longest running live comedic sketch show.  So, with the help of Chris Kattan, Mango himself, we as a nation knew that gold medal Olympic gymnast, Kerri Strug, had truly arrived. 

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Olympic Memory #4

You probably knew I'd get around to them.  If you're smart, I mean.  You should know that this gal couldn't do a gallery of Olympic memories without THEM.

They are the stuff of legend.  They are the best team in history.  They are wrapped in mythos, grandeur, and dare I say it, hype.  Pomp and circumstance probably should've been their theme.  

They are the DREAM TEAM.

11 professional basketball players and 1 epic college legend.  Mixed together, shaken well, and poured in time for the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona.  I can't say much about them that hasn't already been said.  

I just [Kindle] purchased Jack McCallum's historic account of the team, aptly entitled Dream Team.  It's the first sports book I've ever purchased, and it is excellent so far.  To be honest, I don't remember watching them much.  I remember the hype, the build up, and EVERY young man I went to school with talking about them.  The games were boring: winning by 40, 50, 60  points.  The games they played were walks in the park for them.  In fact, for all of their greatness, they killed within me my joy and passion for supporting professional athletics.  So full of themselves (MOST of them), so many feelings of entitlement, and the constant talk of "the greatest team of all time" made them an eyesore of those Games for me.

But, the mere mention of them bring back memories of NBA players before bling and body art.  It brings back memories of the NBA before it was just a business.  It brings back memories of my early 90s Bulls.  So, in the end...I guess they are alright for a trip down memory lane.  Oh, and the pictures of them cannot be beat. 

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Olympic Memory #3

We're going to travel back to 1988 again in the ole DeLoreon to discuss two Olympic ladies.  One participated in the Seoul games, and one inspired the Olympians, and millions watching at home. 

Flo.  Jo.  Florence Griffith Joyner.  I was completely taken aback.  I've never been much of a track and field fan, even through all of my Olympics watching, but I was smitten with her.  I was 8 1/2 when these Games aired, and my young girl fashion sense was in awe of this bold, blazing runner.  Her awesome fly away hair.  Her sweet one-legged suit.  Oh, and how could we forget her nails?  Outstanding.  I was more impressed with her fashion...true...for this is what stood out to me, and it still does to this day. 

And, what about the divine Miss Whitney?  She was one of my childhood heroes: I was someone who loved to sing, and I was completely taken with Whitney Houston's voice since her debut album.  Her Olympic anthem, One Moment in Time, inspired me to want to achieve greatness, and whenever I hear it, even now, I puddle up at the hope the words bring me.  I am pretty sure it inspired many Olympians that year and those watching around the world.  I played it for my daughter when the Games started last week, and she loves listening to it.  She sings along with it in the car, will burst out the lyrics at random times around the house,  and she loves dancing to it.  It warms my heart seeing her get attached to the music I was attached to growing up...and it makes me cry even more when I hear her sing those lyrics of inspiration. 

Mummy Muck Up #118 (with many more to come)

There's nothing quite as potent and powerful as Mommy Guilt.  

I felt guilty and ashamed when Mommy Milk dried up for #1 at 9 1/2 months, and then when #2 stopped nursing at 10 1/2 months I felt even worse.  I had made it a month longer, but he's probably the last chance I have at nursing, so I wanted to make it at least a year.  Then there's the whole TV debacle I posted about a couple of weeks ago.  My kids LOVE TV.  Oh no, they're going to grow up introverted, numb to human companions, and will only be able to relate to fictional TV characters.  Then there's #2 inability to eat vegetables.  He eats toast, hot dogs, and fruit.  Oh, WHERE did I go WRONG?  I followed the food protocol: wholesome breast milk first, cereal at 4 months, VEGGIES first at 6 months, then fruit at 8 months.  You see, you don't want them to develop a sweet tooth, so you go green veggies first.   

Then there's this weekend...when the fun and calories just slip away.  Oh!  It's Friday night!  How about a lil Papa Murph's?  DONE.  What?  There's a birthday on Saturday?  Sure, have a couple of cupcakes!  Oh, we'll have some tacos-rice for lunch before the birthday sweets, though, cause that's healthier than fries???  Then there's today: Buffalo Wild Wings for a post-church eat, and then WITHOUT EVEN THINKING, I bring home a frozen mango from Paners for them to share as an afternoon treat.  WHAT THE DEUCE!?!?!  Their whole weekend was made of "afternoon treats!"  What am I doing???  I am actively making obese chilluns!  They are going to end up on the couch, comatose from all the sugar they eat!

But, I wouldn't be a good Mom if I just gave up.  I have tomorrow and the next day and the day after that to rectify my thoughtless choices this weekend.  I WILL NOT be defeated!  I love my children, and I will make a healthy start for them tomorrow!...I just have to get over the guilt first. 

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Olympic Memory #2

I thought soul was something inside of you...where you believed in God, and the part of you that lives on forever...oh, and what helps you dance and jive with flava.  The summer of 1988 gave me a new meaning...Seoul is also a place.

The 1988 Summer Olympics were the first time I really sat up and took notice of diving.  Oh.  My.  GOSH!  So much twisting in the air!  The water came at them so fast!  And, I learned QUICKLY the smaller the splash, the better.  It was the water equivalent of the gymnastics I learned to love in 1984: such grace and athleticism was much patience to train and persevere.  Diving was to me as an 8 year old, and remains, simply breathtaking.

Soon, ALL I could talk about was Greg Louganis.  ALL.  I.  COULDTALKABOUT.  He was my new athletic hero.  I was obsessed with his dives and that cloth thing he used to dry himself off.  What was this sammy thing?  I wanted one.  It could soak up all the water off of you in, like, a second.  Oh, and I also wanted to hang out in the little hot tub in between dives.  Now THAT seemed like a good time.

Do you know where I'm going with this?...My little self, sitting on the edge of the couch, waiting for Greg's next dive...and he hit his head on the spring board!  Oh my no!  I was SO scared!  "Will he be okay?" I relentlessly kept asking my mom.  I was so worried.  And, of course, they had to keep showing him hit his head over and over AND OVER again.  If you remember...he was okay.  It was all okay.  He also got to walk away with some hardware of the golden variety, too.  

I was having a time the other night with the synchronized diving.  Joyous.  So awesome.  If I could even be half as good at something as these athletes are at diving, I'd be happy.  

More Olympics memories to come later...I know you're stoked!