Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blockbuster Spirit

As I mentioned earlier, it's Spirit Week at work which means lots of fun artsy stuff on the walls (and ceilings... and floors...). This year the theme is blockbuster films. Each high school class gets a locker hallway to decorate and each there they surprise me at their talent. This year, I wanted to share their talent with you.

Harry Potter (Frosh Hall)

I particularly love the Hogwarts House shields and the very scary Dementors. Harry and Draco look like they might be participating in a Pokemon tournament.

Pirates of the Caribbean (Soph Hall)

The Sophomores were the most humorous of the bunch, I think, with quotes from the movie plastered all over the place. The pirate ships actually have cannons sticking out of them and they hung little cannonballs from the ceiling so it looked like it was firing on a ship across the hallway. The kraken actually has tentacles coming out of the ceiling. And the pirate by the Wenches bathroom is missing his rum.

Shrek (Junior Hall)

The Juniors must have a talented artist in their class. I loved the portraits of two of my favorite characters--Donkey and Puss In Boots.

The Lord of the Rings (Senior Hall)

Senior Hall usually has the most intricate displays--this year was no exception. There were swords hanging from the ceiling (even a properly created orc sword!), a glowing eye, and a lava spewing Mt. Doom. I was especially fond of the maps of Tolkien's world.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In Celebration of the Ox

Tiny ice pellets
Make clicking sound on the deck
Snow and ice mixing

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Weird Charms

Saturday we had two items on our agenda: visit the Verizon store to look at cell phones and see the movie Inkheart. Critter will be moving to our wireless plan next month and to say that she is looking forward to a new phone is an understatement.

The Verizon store was packed and my claustrophobia set in immediately. I did my best to push it aside and browsed the twenty models that they had, figuring out that, really, none of them are good for my fat fingers. After thirty minutes trying in vain to write simple text messages, my thumbs froze up and refused to continue. We did find a few models that might work between the three of us but futher research is definitely warranted. I had too many people in the store tell me that they had the model I was currently handling and they hated it. Critter texted her friends and they would report the same about a different model. It seems everybody hates something about their existing phone.

We gave up and drove across the street to the mall and bought our tickets for the movie. The mall has been remodeled and has a new 20-screen theater as well as several new restaurants. CrafterKat left us in the food court to buy some sushi.

Critter, fingering the dangling beaded charm on her existing phone: Omigosh! I forgot to see if the [Verizon] enV phone had a place to hang charms from!

Me, straight-faced: Hmmmm. Well, you might have to keep your existing phone then.

Critter, shocked: NO! No. Nooooo. No. (pause) No. Noooooowah. (pause). No. And....No.

Inkheart was a fabulous movie and perfect for a lazy afternoon. When we finished, I bought Critter some pizza while CrafterKat visited the ATM. She had a huge slice of pizza which took two hands to manage.

Me: You know, I thought you wouldn't want pizza since you ate that all the time while the school cafeteria was being remodeled.

Critter: I always like pizza.

Me, trying to impart something educational into our dining experience: You know, in New York, people eat their pizza by folding it in half so they can eat it with one hand.

Critter, taking another bite: Well, at school, I would eat the pizza with a knife and fork. And then the kids would call me weird. And then I tried folding it in half. And the kids would call me weird. And then I would eat the toppings off of the pizza first and then eat the crust. And the kids would call me weird. So then I would eat it with both hands like them. And then I told them that that way was weird.

Me: Well, I'm glad you like the pizza.

Critter, taking another bite: I like eating pizza because it makes my nose scrunch up real cute when I eat it.

I had to laugh. It was really cute.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Winter Spirit

One of the benefits to having an office located in a school is that you get to be around all the student decorations and art work. Winter is one of my favorite times because we get the yearly Hall of Presidents at the elementary school and Spirit Week at the high school. The last week of January, each school class chooses a theme and decorates their hallway lockers accordingly. We've had music halls dedicated the 60, 70s, 80s, and 90s, and lots of blockbuster movies. Voting doesn't begin until next week but I thought I'd share some of the brilliance of years past.

The Fantastic Four (Year of the Superhero)

The X-Men

The Wizard of Oz (Year of Books)

Next weeks themes revolve around blockbuster movies. I hope to have pictures next week.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Box Without Hinges, Key or Lid, Yet Golden Treasure Inside is Hid

For a couple of days now, JewelGeek’s boss, EvilPXE, has been regaling her with the intricate details of one of life’s biggest mysteries… how to properly boil eggs. Seriously. Apparently there is great magic in the process. When done well, the hard boiled egg will peel easily, rendering its succulent egginess eagerly to the awaiting connoisseur.

He shared his expertise whenever he started peeling a new egg. After 45 minutes, JewelGeek asked how many eggs he had.
EvilPXE: I have six. I eat three at a time.

And on the next day…
EvilPXE: See, this one has just a little bit of moisture on the inside of the egg and that just makes the difference.

JewelGeek doesn’t even like eggs. They make her gag. I’m pretty sure these last couple of days rank right up there with root canal for her…

A quick search on Yahoo turned up several thousands of pages on hard boiled eggs, recipes, and "how tos." I especially liked some of the photos. One came with a warning: "Do not touch the boiling water." Priceless.

This is my favorite. So, this is for you, JewelGeek, for quietly suffering the boiled egg soapbox. It's called "Egg Chase." Love ya'.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Where's The Beef?

For New Years, my mother, the Social Butterfly, came up to the Rose City to do Christmas with us. She recently got a new computer, though, and discovered that her old printer didn't work with Vista; I took her out to find a new one. As we approached the mall, I pointed out different stores in the area.

JewelGeek: Have you been to the mall since they put in the new stores?

Social Butterfly: No, I try to avoid any mall at Christmas time. But I do want to go to the grub steak place.

JewelGeek: Um... Which restaurant?

Social Butterfly: Grub steak! I want to eat there sometime!

JewelGeek, with visions of grubs and steaks in her head: Um... I don't understand...

Social Butterfly, getting more animated: Grub steak! Grub steak! You said that you and CrafterKat went there and they had really large portions!

JewelGeek: Claim Jumper?

Social Butterfly: Grub Stake. Claim Jumper. Whatever.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas

...we got more snow.

Or at least it seemed that way. As Inigo Montoya said, "There is too much. Let me sum up." CrafterKat and I braved the snow for snacks at Trader Joes. We then stocked up for the winter storm the weekend before Christmas. We made $100 chili. Eventually. The power went out. And then we got stuck in the snow. Critter tried to meet up with her friends, to no avail.

By Monday, after several hours of digging out driveways, we measured and had well over a foot of snow in the yard. Attempts to drive out in the Mazda were entertaining at best. One short trip to Fred Meyers had us completing a 180 spin into the oncoming traffic. We made it home with only slightly upset stomachs--the roads were so rutted with snow and ice it was like riding an old wooden roller coaster with very little padding on the seats.

Tuesday, Mr. GoGoGo, LaLa, and the Queen Matriarch arrived. And got stuck in the same spot on the driveway we did. A couple of good pushes and they were able to pull in to our garage. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday shoveling more snow out from the driveway and listening to branches crack under the weight of the snow.

The Renaissance Man, Golden Poet, and their two boys came over for dinner. In honor of the Jedi Racoon's tenth birthday, we had Dominos pizza and played Apples To Apples. One of the funniest exchanges occurred when the Jedi Raccoon was judging. He had the word "cuddly" and wasn't sure who/what were on the other cards. It was his job to choose which of the other cards played was closest to "cuddly".

Jedi Raccoon: Well, what's Flipper?

Renaissance Man: Well, he was a famous dolphin or porpoise.

Jedi Raccoon: How are dolphins cuddly?

Renaissance Man: Well, he was a big TV star a long time ago. I used to watch that show and Big Ben when I was a kid.

Golden Poet: Really? Big Ben? In London?

JewelGeek: Gong! Gong! What's that Big Ben? You say little Timmy has fallen down the well?

Flipper didn't make the cut...

For Santa's visit, I made CrafterKat's new favorite cookie--Chocolate Peppermint Crisps. The big man liked them. So did everyone else!

Chocolate Peppermint Crisps

1 c. butter-flavored shortening (I used Crisco's new butter shortening)

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 pkg (12 oz.) of York Peppermint Patties

1 t. vanilla

2 - 1/3 c. flour

1 t. soda

1/2 t. salt

On low heat, melt the peppermint patties. Stir occasionally. It will be a gooey mess! If you made $100 chili, use one of your new non-stick skillets!

Cream together the shortening and sugars. Add the the eggs, soda, and salt. Sift the flour and add it to mixture. Add the melted peppermint patties until well-combined. The dough should be rather buttery and will stick together well. Put the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into one inch balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cookies will spread and be quite thin. Remove them from the sheet when they are still a bit bendy--they will crisp up in the next five minutes. If you like chewy cookies (like me!), eat them right after they get out of the oven; otherwise they will remain crispy and are good dunked in coffee or milk.

We considered having Christmas dinner on our deck but in the end we begged a ride from the Renaissance Man who was able to maneuver the side streets much better than we were in the old Mazda. We had a lovely Christmas dinner complete with pie and too much laughter.

Saturday after Christmas enough snow had melted that we were able to assess the damage. Tree limbs were down in several yards or were bent back at impossible angles.

We discovered that a light had been left on in the Tink Tank--our mini van's battery was dead. The car tent it was housed in had collapsed under the weight of snow and ice, denting the mini van's hood.

It's now New Year's... We figure we had at least thirteen inches of snow and ice Christmas week.

Winter Break is over and school is supposed to start on Monday. I hope it does... We've got another inch of snow on the ground this evening...
With all the running back and forth, not knowing if the snow will stop or get worse, it's been a bit like The Coats' version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Enjoy!
Editors Note - 1-5-09: We really enjoy The Coats and the video below doesn't quite do them justice. If you have a chance, visit their site and listen to some of their Christmas songs (30 sec. snippets).
Critter just stopped by to watch the rest of The Coats video and said, "What? You didn't do Straight No Chaser's version?" I've added that video clip, too.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

There’s One Born Every Minute

After our brief respite at the hotel, we dug out the car in the parking lot (another 4 inches) and made our way back home. We got 20 feet from the garage door before one of the tire chains spun off. Despite the earnest assistance of Critter and JewelGeek, I admitted defeat and called Renaissance Man to rescue me. With his experience, it took about 15 minutes to put on the errant chain and drive in to the garage.

So now it is Tuesday. Mr. GoGoGo and Lala are braving the roads and coming up from Eugene (finally) for Christmas. I promised them I’d dig a better path in the driveway for them. When I got out there, I found this.

Our neighbors, for whatever reason, decided to try and drive out last evening, and got stopped by the 18+ inches of snow and ice in the driveway. Oh, and they don’t have chains on the car. Nevermind that chains are required on all streets in the area. I’ve dug all around the car, and sprinkled sand. Will finish digging up to the street after a quick break. Then I’m going to call my brother to come help, and go wake up the neighbors to get the blockade cleared out.

I swear, snow brings out the idiots.