Friday, April 30, 2010

The FRT and the Mom Jeans

It's time to get serious about fitness.  The reason I'm out of shape this time is because of my rotten tooth.  One little tooth can really drag a girl down.  I have to stop saying "rotten tooth" because it's grossing me out, but I guess it isn't an exaggeration, it is a tooth and it was rotten enough to have a root canal.  I suppose I could call it my formerly rotten tooth.  Or I could just stop mentioning it at all (stop screaming "PLEASE DO!"  I can actually hear that.)  I'll just call it the FRT for short.  (Formerly Rotten Tooth) 

The FRT really took a lot out of me, and sure, most of it was pure hypochondriac drama brought on by the 8 year old inside of me that runs my life, but still.  When my whole face hurt I didn't have the energy or motivation to exercise.  Actually, on the realm of excuses-not-to-exercise that I've had in my life the FRT is more substantial than many of the others, most of which were some variation of, "Don't wanna." 

It's Friday, so it is casual day at school.  When I was getting dressed, the pile of pants in my closet literally squeezed out a pair of jeans from the middle and I thought it was a sign that I should wear those today.  I got them at a garage sale for 50 cents and they still had the tags on them!  They were from the Gap and they are men's jeans, but that's okay, I can live with that for 50 cents!  Judging from the style they must be from the 80s but if they are I don't know how they've retained their vibrant blue color over the decades.  They're not blue so much as they are BLOOOOOOOOO!!  And the waistline goes almost to my rib cage so it's kind of like I'm wearing a girdle.  They take about ten minutes to unzip because the zipper is so long.

They are ugly. 

 my pants actually go a little higher than these

But 50 CENTS!  For Gap Jeans!  Never worn!

Wearing them seemed like a good idea this morning but by this afternoon I couldn't wait to get home and change into my old dirty, stretched out, expensive, fat jeans that respect the muffin top and don't squeeze my intestines until it sounds like I'm smuggling a flock of pigeons in my guts. 

I got the Jillian Michaels DVD 30 Day Shred and I think I'll start using it. Not today, (because it's Friday) but soon.  I think I will actually try to do the entire 30 days in a row and see what happens.  Also, I'm going to start watching what I eat and try to eat healthier.  Not tonite, (because it's pizza night) but soon.  I also promised Kira we would get a Frappe from McDonalds, so probably not tomorrow either. 

Or maybe I'll just throw the ugly tight jeans away. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I almost died from...

I read a post today at Sara's Organized Chaos about how she's sure she will die of a brain tumor, or breast cancer or an aneurysm.  She has good reason for believing these are the things she will die from (Sorry for validating your fears, Sara) because she has family history and crazy headaches.  She made me think about my crippling case of hypochondria and be thankful that I don't have any actual symptoms of dying of the things I'm so sure I'm dying of.  The following is a list of things I am sure I've almost died from.

1.  Cancer - When I was little I couldn't sleep because I was pretty sure I would die of a fast-acting cancer before the morning. 

2.  Teen pregnancy - I thought I was pregnant pretty much every month since I've first gotten my period when I was 11.  Sure, I wasn't sexually active at all, but I thought since I physically had the ability to get pregnant, I probably would in some obscure way and then I'd die of embarrassment and humiliation.  There's nothing sadder than a pregnant 13 year old who has never had sex. 

3.  AIDS - When I first heard about this in the 80's I immediately thought I had it.  Again, without being sexually active, or an intravenous drug user (except for that one time I tried heroin behind Mr. Movies)(Just kidding, Mom and Dad!), or a promiscuous gay man.  It was a crippling fear even though I knew it wasn't that contagious unless you swapped body fluids with someone.  I bought the book The Coming Plague and read it religiously and marked passages and basically scared myself almost to death with AIDS and all the scary diseases around the world.

4.  Ebola - I read about that in The Coming Plague too.  Yikes.

5.  Hanta Virus - Again, thank you The Coming Plague.

6.  MRSA - Every time I get a cut I get MRSA (in my mind).  I'm really good at fighting it off.  (so far)

7.  Trench foot - I think I broke my foot once because it hurt for a long time and I thought it was trench foot. It wasn't. 

8.  Rickets - I might have rickets right now.  

9. Ovarian cancer - Because there is no reliable screening to catch this disease early, I'm pretty sure I have it.

10.  E.coli - Got a stomach ache?  OMG it's got to be E.coli! 

11. Milk leg - My friend Pete told me about this disease.  It's when a pregnant woman gets deep vein thrombosis in her legs.  I didn't know about it when I was pregnant, or else I would have diagnosed myself with it.  I think I had it when I was on the pill too. 

12.  The bends - In high school I once had a contest with a friend to see who could stay at the bottom of the ten-foot-deep pool the longest, just holding our breath.  I won.  But then I got the bends.  I fought hard and beat it. 

13.  SARS - Our friend Tom bought a stuffed animal for our kids from Hong Kong.  He said kiddingly, "Watch out, it has SARS on it!"  It really did.  I got a very mild-to-no case of it. 

14.  Ankle sprain - I fell down the last two steps at our house because I was concentrating very hard because I was holding a scissors and a needle and I didn't want to fall and hurt myself.  So I fell and hurt myself.  It was the worst ankle sprain in the history of ankle sprains. 

15.  Childbirth - Watching my stomach grow until it was the size of a beachball, knowing the whole time this huge thing had to somehow come out of my body.  I was sure I would die.  The babies were huge too, but I lived THANKS ONLY TO MODERN MEDICINE!

16.  Wisdom tooth pain that really turned out to be abscessed tooth pain/suicide - The tooth wouldn't kill me but the infection probably would have.  If I had to live with the pain for one more day I would have killed myself.

17.  Bear attack...

This is getting tedious.  Let's just sum up by saying I've dodged a LOT of bullets.  The list would be shorter if I wrote about what I'm pretty sure I won't die of: 

1.  prostate cancer,
2.  brain tumor. 

I don't know why, I'm just not that afraid of brain tumors.  I'll have to think about it some more and work myself up into a tizzy.  What are you irrationally afraid you will die from?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Poor Jesus

I saw a picture the other day of a statue of Jesus and he was standing next to a cross, sort of resting his hand on it casually and gazing off into the middle distance like he and the cross were watching their kid's soccer game or something.  Is that not just a tad creepy?  Two thousand years after this man was brutally murdered, we honor him and his memory by using the very device used to torture and kill him as his personal symbol. If he's real (another post altogether) and is watching us from heaven, I bet that totally freaks him out. I bet he'd much rather we associated him with the fish (props to all the Jesus-fish people out there, but why only on the cars?). Or how about the wine into water?  That would make a cute necklace charm; Jesus standing between a pitcher of water and bottle of wine saying "TA DA!"  Much more pleasant.  Or I'm sure a jeweler could fashion an image of Jesus walking on water.  (That's just cool.)

When he's looking down at some little Catholic girl getting her first crucifix necklace as a confirmation gift, I bet he looks at it and thinks, "Yeah...I remember that day, that was literally the worst day of my life," and sighs, sad.  The Catholics make him so sad because of the ridiculous detail that they put into every crucifix hanging on millions of living room walls (and guest rooms of the not-quite-as-pious Catholics) complete with the blood from the lance-poke, lest anyone forget that after he died his excruciating death, he was stabbed in the side, just to add insult to injury.

Ouch, thanks for reminding me - Jesus

The Protestants don't make him quite as sad as the Catholics because they don't show him gorily hanging on the cross every chance they get, but boy do they have some huge crosses in front of their churches!  I think we can all agree that an unoccupied cross is an ominous cross (especially for Jesus).  I bet if Jesus was driving around a small town in his hybrid car, he would come around a corner of a progressive church built in the 70's and he wouldn't know it was a church because it doesn't look like a church, and then all of a sudden he would see the enormous red cross in the entrance and get startled and say, "Jesus..." and keep on driving. I bet if it was instead the water/wine image, he might stop in to say hi.  Of course, then he'd see the communion ritual and he'd ask someone what they were all doing and we'd hear him say, (a little too loudly for church) "They're eating WHAT?"

And if that's not bad enough, what about this?

Morning, Jesus!  Hungry?

Hot Cross buns? Sick!  Making the torture device of the savior into a delicious pastry?!  If poor Jesus was executed in the 21st century instead of the first, people 2000 years from now would probably be eating Hot Gas Chamber buns, or Hot Electric Chair buns, or Hot Noose buns (If Jesus lived in Washington or Delaware).  Hot Noose buns would probably be the easiest to make.  Not as easy as Hot Cross buns though.  That's easy for the baker and terrifying for Jesus! Win, win huh, Christians?!  Every Hot Cross bun is a veiled threat from the little blue-haired Lutheran ladies in the church kitchen after Easter services:  "Keep saving our souls, Jesus..... or else."

If the worst day of your life was immortalized in an image, what would it be and wouldn't you get tired of seeing it everywhere?   How about that time you puked on your desk in seventh grade?  That was pretty bad.  How would you like to see billions of people wearing that image around their necks?

Think about it.

My guess is that 600 and some years after Jesus's death, the prophet Mohammed saw the gory crucifixes and ominous crosses everywhere and said, "You know what guys, when I fly this magical winged horse of fire up to heaven;  no pictures.  In fact, no images at all, ever."  (He hated having his picture taken, just like my mom does.)  Then he said, "Hey, step away from the horse.... What do you mean, 'he doesn't have wings,' sure he does.  They're just tucked in right now.  You can't see them when they're tucked in.... Well, he's not on fire RIGHT NOW, he doesn't do that until it's go time, and obviously, it's not go time yet.  Just get away from the horse."

In retrospect, Jesus thinks that whole scene was a good move on Mohammed's part and wishes he did the same thing, if only to save himself 2000 years of the heebie jeebies.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Last night Mitch came to bed several hours after I went to bed. He quietly crawled in, admiring how beautiful his wife is while she sleeps (Mitch, you were), snuggled up behind me to spoon and settled in for some sleep. Just as he was dozing he says he heard the loudest, most disgusting fart in the world, apparently from me although I'm pretty sure people can't fart in their sleep so he probably dreamed it. What strikes me so funny is the dialogue that went along with this experience. Here it is:

(quiet lady-like sleep/dream fart)

Mitch: (jerking awake and almost hitting the ceiling) JESUS!!!!


Mitch: You just ripped a HUGE one in your sleep! GEEZ!

Me: No I didn't, I think I'd know. You're dreaming, go to sleep. Geez Louise!

Mitch: I did not dream it, and it stinks! Now I'm wide awake! JEEsus!

Me: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.......

Mitch: ..... Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last Will and Testament

Tomorrow I am having the most difficult and traumatic root canal anyone in the history of the world ever had, and I feel I should be prepared, so I am writing my will here for all to see, in the likely event that I die of dental-phobia.

1. To Mom and Dad - you can have my bird. Be nice to her. (Mom, that means DON'T let her free in the woods behind your house.) You can also have my dog. She's very sweet. She also gets worms a lot. Watch out for that.

2. To my sister Amy - You can have my Dr. Quinn memorabilia which includes my autographed picture of Dr. Quinn, Sully and John Schneider, and my DVD collection of every single Dr. Quinn episode and movie, and all the Dr. Quinn paperback books.

3. To my sister Beth - You can have my floppy straw sun hat and Kiwi scented sunscreen dauber. Both are good for the prevention of the dreaded "freckle 'stache. You can also have everything I've ever crocheted and all my yarn. Rent a U-haul.

4. To Grandma Zetta - You can have the teacup that you stole from Worcester College for me. I will no longer have to blackmail you for stealing it, because I'll be dead.

5. To Kira, you can have my iPod which I know you love so much that it will do much to ease the distress of losing your mother. Please, make sure I'm dead before you get too excited though, because if I pull through somehow, you do not get it.

6. To Sam, you can have my computer. Again, don't get too excited until you're sure I'm dead.

7. To my friend and fellow blogger, Anne - You can have my blog if you will agree to write a comprehensive and glowing obituary for me when you get over the initial shock of my passing. The username and password are in an email draft that Mitch will send you when he is able to pull himself together enough to crawl out of bed and continue with the business of living (probably several months). Feel free to use the outline of the obituary I wrote for myself (included in the email). Of course it's up to you, since I'll be dead and won't know the difference, but you could make it into a dental-phobia-awareness blog.

8. And finally, to my loving husband, Mitch - you can have all the candy I've hidden throughout the house. I'm not going to write down where it all is because in case I pull through, I don't want to have to find all new hiding spots. You'll just have to find it. Good luck, and look diligently because some of it is perishable. You can also have everything else of mine not on this list to give away or keep at your discretion. Oh, and you are to NEVER remarry, or I will haunt you ("till death do you part" means your death.) And make the west wall of the living room into a shrine for me, complete with altar and candles. Also, make sure that "Ballroom Blitz" is played at my funeral.

Goodbye all, and thanks for the memories!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


My kids will hear those two words approximately 50,000,000 times in the next six months.  It is finally so nice outside that there is no reason for them to be inside, especially since there are several months of the year where spending any significant amount of time outside results in the loss of fingers and toes.

We live on a ten acre wooded lot but for some reason the kids spend most of their time outside on the driveway or on the road.  It drives me crazy and makes me want to move into an apartment.  So then I find myself screaming more specifically.  It goes from "GO OUTSIDE!" to "GET OFF THE DECK!" to "GET OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY!" to  "GO DOWN THE HILL!" to "GO IN THE WOODS!"  and then they reluctantly and pathetically stand in the woods getting bit by mosquitoes until I find something to do besides nag them.  Later they drift back to the house and come in under the pretense of "going to the bathroom."  (Yeah, right.  You can do that in the woods too, kids.)

Actually, I kid; they are pretty good sports about being outside 15 hours a day.  Kira will soon start catching birds by standing quietly near the bird feeders and slapping them out of the air, and Sam has already started taking garbage out of the burn pile to hoard in the hopes of someday assembling a fort.   It's just that I get so used to being a childless person in the spring and summer when they are outside so often, that when they come in for meals and bedtime, it's a bit of a shock and they cramp my style of peace and quiet and having things that are clean and in their proper places.   For example, while I'm trying to write this, Kira came in the house, sat down next to me and asked me, "Mom, which one of your toes is your least favorite?"  (it's a hard question and unpleasant to think about.)

I think the  most annoying part of them going in and out of the house in the summer is the sound of the door opening a kajillion times a day.  I now understand why my mother would latch the screen door shut when my sisters and I went outside.  If we wanted to come in we had to have a good reason.  There was a bathroom right by the door, so if that was the reason for coming in, she would wait and then relatch the door when we left.  I thought that was so mean when I was a kid, but now, Mom, I totally get it.  Luckily for my kids, our screen door doesn't lock.  

Friday, April 16, 2010

Eighth Graders

This is the second day of subbing for eighth graders.  These are some of the best eighth grade classes I've had while subbing, but still, they are soooooo mean and obnoxious.  I am convinced that the 14 year old human male is the meanest living being on the planet, right above the Honey Badger who loves to eat beehives, scorpions and porcupines (troublemakers).

Nature's eighth grader

This is what I mean:  Yesterday during MCA testing, which is a big deal and has to be administered the same way throughout the state, the boys did everything they could to make it difficult.  Every day of testing the administrator is supposed to read a set of instructions to the class.  No exceptions!  It's like miranda rights or something.  I had to do it, but regardless of telling them that I know they'd probably heard it before, and please just listen patiently because I had to read it; after every instruction there was a different boy who said, "We've heard this before," and then there were a series of laughs from the other boys. 

They can have candy and gum during the test.  The school actually gave them each a piece of taffy and every time my eyes were off the class, I could see from my peripheral vision, taffy wrappers flying across the room.  Many of the kids had their own gum.  I can see now why teachers don't let kids have gum.  I bet I heard 25,000 impossibly loud snaps of gum yesterday. 

During the MCA test, when a student finished a section, they were supposed to raise their hand and I was supposed to come over and put an orange sticker sealing the section off.  There were a few boys who would raise their hands and then when I came over with the sticker, they would say, "I'm just stretching."  Then they'd do it again and again and again.  Why?  Just to be annoying, that's why.

The kids had two hours to do two sections of the test.  All the eighth graders in the building were testing at the same time and if they had to leave their room to use the bathroom, I was supposed to call an escort to bring them.  I told them before the testing started to go to the bathroom if they had to go.  None did.  During testing 8 boys (no girls) needed me to call an escort to go to the bathroom.  EIGHT.  And they wouldn't make it convenient for the escort at all.  She would come to get one, then when she brought him back she would ask if there was anyone else.  There never was until about five minutes later when she had gone all the way back to the office.  Then another boy would have to go. 

After everyone was done with the test, there were about 45 minutes left of testing time and I had to keep them in the room and keep them quiet.  I gave them a ball and told them to play silent-ball, which is a popular middle-school game.  They couldn't handle it.  They would toss the ball a few times and then one of the boys would rifle it at the class nerd as hard as he could.  The second time a nerd got nailed with the ball I took it away and made them sit down with their heads on their desks. 

I see now why wars throughout history were fought with teenage boys.  They would drive the adults crazy to the point where the adults would find a reason to start a war and send the boys off to fight it.  Did you know that Alexander the Great's father sent him away to school to learn from Aristotle at the Temple of the Nymphs when he was 13?  And knowing what an enormous burden Aristotle was taking on, King Philip, Alexander's father, agreed to rebuild Aristotle's hometown of Stageira, (which Philip had razed) and to repopulate it by buying and freeing the ex-citizens who were slaves, or pardoning those who were in exile. 

Aristotle asking Alexander if he's really done with the section of the GCA test, and not just "stretching" again.

That's almost a fair trade for tutoring an aggressive 13 year old boy and his friends, but Philip got the better deal.  My guess is that when Alexander was about 15 Aristotle was fed up, regardless of the deal with King Philip, and said something like, "Hey Alexander, the Thracians said you are gay," which, knowing how homophobic every teen boy is, made Alexander fly into a rage and he left to beat the Thracians down.

Alexander the Great, history's meanest eighth grader

I think the "Support Our Troops" idea is relatively new.  I would say it started about the same time soldiers had to be at least 18 to fight.  At 18 they are just starting to come out of that unbearably irritating part of life, and we'd be sorry to see them hurt or killed.  Before that happened I think the overwhelming feeling about the support of troops was, "Meh...whatev."

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Your toilet is all wrong, did you know?

Mitch is always sharing little factoids with me and most of the time they are outrageous lies, but every once in a while he gets me with a whopper of truth that is so unbelievable that I call him a liar and then I feel bad when I research it and find out it is true.

Like the time he told me there was a cow at the University of Minnesota that had a window in its side so you could see its insides at work.  I didn't believe it.  Come on!  Who would?  But it was true.  There really was a cow at the U of M with a window in its side.  How did I find out?  Mitch's brother Mat told me it was true.  Mat told me that there was also a pig at the U of M that had gloves in its side so students could stick their hands inside a live pig and feel what the organs and insides are like.  He was totally convincing.  He said the only problem was that when the pig got gas the gloves would shoot out like arms.  Then Mitch and Mat both cracked up laughing and I knew it wasn't true.  Then Mat said, "But the cow is true," and I believed it, because I was too exhausted to be skeptical.  They wore me down. I have been telling people about the cow with a window for years, but when I looked it up for this post, I can find nothing on it so now I'm doubting if that is true at all.  I'll have to talk to Mitch about this.

Anyway, the cow/pig with a window/arms is not what this post is about.  Mitch's factoid today was that Americans are sorely lacking in muscle development because of our toilets.  I said, "What!" in sarcastic disbelief.  He said squatting is a much healthier way of going to the bathroom, and in many parts of the world this is how people do it.  Yeah, right.  They don't have toilets?  Puh-lease.  So I looked it up.  I found this site and it turns out he's right.  (god, I hate that so much)

I really had no idea about this phenomenon of squat toilets in other parts of the world. Look at the pictures I found:

Amazing.  This is a picture of a public toilet in Japan.  See, it's true!
How do you use it, you ask?
I'll show you:

Well, I won't personally, but this guy who kept his pants on and his back turned for our little demonstration will.  See that squat?  That's apparently a better way for you to go.  It develops your leg muscles and it's better for your intestines too. Things tend not to get so "bunched up." (Although accidental stall walk-ins would be horrible for both parties.  You can't really reach out to hold the door shut and say, "Occupado!"  when your back is turned and the door swings out.  You'd just have to sit there and beg the intruder to shut the door, which I'm sure they would right away because who wants to see that?)

"But Sarah," you ask, "I'm American and have never gone in a squatting way unless you count that time I went in the woods because it was an emergency and I pooped on the strap of my overalls, and that was a bad experience I would not like to repeat, thank you very much. Besides, I can't really squat anyway unless I totally remodel my bathroom, right?"  Wrong!  You could get one of these: 

This is called "Natures Platform" and with it you can climb up to your pot every day and work those leg muscles.  Wouldn't that be better than stupid Jillian Michaels and her 30 Day Shred?  

Here's another model of a squatter.  This one is in France.  Where's the toilet paper, you ask?  Well, I don't know.  I don't know where the toilet paper is.  I really hope it's somewhere.

This is such a common international phenomenon that places with toilets like the lame one you use have to put these signs up so happy people with well developed leg muscles and non-bunched intestines won't step on the toilet seat and dirty it up with their shoes.

Aren't you glad Mitch shared this with me today? 

Guess what this is

Mitch and I were making out in the kitchen this morning (no we weren't) and he noticed something on the ceiling.  He said, "Is that a chrysalis?" so I got a chair and looked closely to see what kind of animal was now making nuestra casa su casa (that doesn't sound quite right [that phrase is all about the pronouns, isn't it?])  It wasn't an animal, it was a lemon seed.  It stuck to the ceiling by a little bit of pulp and the pulp had hair in it.  This little lemon seed says volumes about what a wild existence we have here in nuestra casa.  What could we possibly have been doing that would cause a lemon seed to get rolled in hair and flung up to the ceiling?  Believe me, it's not fit to write on the internet!  But it was fun!  (actually, I like a little slice of lemon to liven up my diet coke in the morning. [breakfast pop]  That's the extent of the lemony wild fun we have around here.  I don't know how the hair got in it, or how it got flung.  I'm blaming Kira.)

This makes me think that people might be on to something with all their *spring cleaning*.  Maybe I should jump on that bandwagon.  Step one: take lemon seed off the ceiling.  Step Two:  flick the remaining pulp off said ceiling.  Done.  That was easy!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Bowling Sucks, but Target Rocks

Our special-spring-break-activity for today was bowling and it was a FIASCO.  Turns out Kira is not the gifted bowler she thought she was after getting near perfect scores on the Wii.  Those pesky real-life balls are HEAVY.  And she is not a gracious loser.  I wasn't even beating her, I was just doing my best, which is poor, but she was enraged and teary every time I knocked a pin down.  I wanted to take a picture of her cute little face full of bowling angst, but she wouldn't let me.  We played one game with the bumpers down and here's the score in the middle of it:

Then we played one with the bumpers up and strangely enough, we weren't much better. 

So we decided to call it quits after that because it was NO FUN.  We got in the car, and had a loud dance party, and then went to Target to soothe the savage beast in both of us.  Ahhhhh Target, you're so wonderful.

When we were checking out I saw Kira watching the cashier, who was very androgynous-looking.  I actually saw her looking for clues that would lead her to the conclusion as to the gender of the clerk and was SO HAPPY she is old enough that she knows "are you a boy or a girl" is not a question people like to be asked.  I saw Kira look at the name tag.  It was a name fitting either a boy or a girl, so that was no help, then I saw her look to the person's chest for boobs, but that was also inconclusive, then Kira noticed the huge engagement ring on her finger and that seemed to settle her mind.  When we got to the car she told me she couldn't tell if that was a boy or a girl.  I admitted it was a bit confusing, and that when I see people like that I wonder if anyone ever looks at me and wonders if I'm a man or a woman.  Kira said, "Huh... yeah, I wonder." 

Later I'm going to teach Kira what "fishing for compliments" means and show her how to properly respond to someone who is doing it. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Great Lakes Aquarium

Kira and I went to the Great Lakes Aquarium today as our daily special-spring-break-activity.  I haven't been there in quite awhile and I really like it.  They took down the seahorse exhibit (darn!) and are in the process of putting up a new exhibit that will open in May.  Here are the highlights from today:

We watched this duck mercilessly chase all the other ducks and birds in the aviary.  He is a Golden-eye and he was hilarious.  Even the female Golden-eye didn't want to have anything to do with him.  She would actually fly out of the water and jump over him if he came near her.  They can really swim fast and we could watch their feet under the water.  Super cute!  Kira thinks they were probably playing tag and he was it.  Looked more like Mrs. Goldeneye was saying, "Call the Police!" rather than "Ha ha, can't catch me!"

 I love the aquarium because it's a great attraction for Duluth, it's beautiful, and educational, but I have to admit it really makes me hungry.  All those big fat delicious fish close enough to grab.  MMmmmmmm....

You can feed them Trout Chow (I'm not even kidding) and they have learned to come right to the top to get it.  You could literally just grab one out of the water.  I see this:

And I think this:

Guess what we're having for dinner?  Just kidding.  (I had fish for lunch)  But I seriously think that the aquarium could make TONS of money if they sold smoked fish in the gift shop.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who thinks they look delicious.

Kira's favorite thing at the aquarium is the touch pools.  You can stick your hands in a shallow pool and pet sting rays, you know, the thing that KILLED Steve Irwin.  Yeah, you can let your little children pet them.

There is an aquarium worker that stands close to all the children and when they stick their little hands in the water she yells,  "DON'T TOUCH THE TAIL!" if they get too close to the tail.  I asked what would happen if they touched the tail and she told me that the stingers are cut off, but they grow back like a finger nail (ewwww) so there is a little tiny barb that could give a frightening little poke. They feel really cool.  Like velvet.

There is another pool that you can stick your hand in and pet a sturgeon.  The sturgeon is an ANCIENT fish.  They were around before there even were great lakes!    The ones we petted were fairly small, only about a foot long, but we saw some bigger ones in the big tanks that were around five feet long.  HUGE AND SCARY.  

Kira also liked this bird:  

He was part of the Amazon Basin exhibit and one of the workers took him out of his cage to show us.  He loved Kira.  He kept putting his foot out to her because he wanted to go to her, but because he has a beak that is powerful enough to break a broomstick, they don't let the little children hold him.  Kira would have taken him home with her if she could.  I was charmed by him too, but after I saw how large and splattery his poop was I didn't think he was all that great. 

Tomorrow: Bowling!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Fever

It's turning out to be a beautiful spring, and I'm obnoxious with spring fever.  I want to do something wild and reckless and stupid.

Not this:

But maybe drugs!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Break

Today Kira (who is on spring break) and I went over to Wisconsin to see if they had any chicks at Dan's Feed Bin.  If you don't know it, Dan's Feed Bin is the greatest store in the world.  It's the poor-woman's petting zoo.  Today they had several varieties of chicks in huge tubs that Kira almost forced me to buy.  Seriously, she was bullying me and I almost gave in.  (Don't tell her that.)  They had doves, a tuxedo cat, some parrots, some parakeets, a guinea pig, and some canaries.  They also sell veterinary medicine to farmers.  Every time I go in there I contemplate buying penicillin in bulk for when we need it.  It's super cheap when you buy it for a horse as compared to when you buy it for a human. 

Then we went out to lunch at Culvers and had our usual:  burger, cheese curds and custard for dessert.  (my heart hurts)

Then we went to the animal shelter (the other poor-woman's petting zoo) and petted some cats.  Oh my god, it stunk in there today.  It was just so gross.  Kira said it smelled like Subway when they were making sandwiches with feta cheese.  Yuck.

We walked through the dog part of the shelter and there was a dog there that was so cute and so sweet I wanted to get in his cage with him.  I reached for the latch and Kira said, "What do you think you're doing?"  I told her I wanted to get in there and pet him good.  Kira was being all responsible and told me she thought that was a dumb idea and not to do it.  Kira told me that!  I did it anyway.  The dog went nuts.  It was so excited to see me that it was jumping all over the place.  It was huge.  The door slid shut behind me and latched.  I was locked in.  Thankfully Kira had the sense to stay out.  I told her to open the door for me.  She stood there without moving and said, "I told you not to go in there."  I said, "KIRA, OPEN THE DOOR!"  and she did.  It was quite a task getting out without the dog.  He was super strong.  Kira didn't help at all.  She just kept saying, "I told you," over and over.  Annoying.  Here he is:

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

The kids will never be too old to decorate eggs.  Sam made some in his own likeness. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter Dinner

Ever since the kids were really small, in an effort to NOT raise serial killers, we have always told them that they need to be nice to animals, and only kill them in self-defense or for food.  For example, if you kill a frog for the fun of it, be prepared to clean it and eat it.  If you kill a sparrow, be prepared to pluck and you better hope they have good breast meat.

We have a bit of a squirrel problem.  As in there are hundreds living around our house.  They get into the garage, the shed, the lawn mower, the boat.  They drive my dog insane by teasing her.  They devour every bit of bird seed I put out for the birds.  So Sam asked if he could shoot one with his bb gun.  Mitch said, "Sure, if you want to clean it and eat it."  Sam said, "Okay!  If I get it will you show me how to clean it?"  Mitch said, " (sigh)..... I guess."  Then Sam ran off to ready his weapon and hunt.  When he was gone Mitch said, "Well, that backfired."

Sam has been hunting the squirrels for days and I have been rooting for the squirrels because I'm a softy and I didn't really think Sam had a chance to get them with the spring-action bb gun he's got.  I thought even if he did manage to hit one he might bruise it, piss it off maybe, but not kill it.  I was wrong.  He got one this morning so he's proudly waiting for his dad to come home from work so they can skin it and cook it together.  GROSS.  Mitch will be SO HAPPY.  Anybody have any good squirrel recipes?


Thursday, April 1, 2010

How brave are you?

Of course, there are different kinds of bravery and hopefully we are all at least one kind of brave, but think about it generally and ask yourself, how brave are you?  I had that question answered for me one night a few years ago.  I was watching a television show about Aron Ralston, the rock climber who was hiking through a slot canyon in Utah and a huge boulder rolled on him and pinned his right hand between the rock and the wall of the canyon.  He was stuck there for 6 days, with very little water and almost no food, and eventually he had to be brave enough to cut off his hand with his dull pocket knife.

I was watching this and asking myself if I could do it.  Could I really go through with that if it meant saving my life? "Of course!" I answered myself, "and I wouldn't wait six days to do it!"  That's what I was smugly telling myself from my comfy couch when out of the corner of my eye I saw something move.  I thought it was a mouse.  (I'm not afraid of mice.) I looked at it and it wasn't a mouse.  It was a soot covered bat that was slowly and disgustingly crawling on his wings in front of the fire place.  I froze.  I couldn't move.  I couldn't speak.  I tried to call Mitch, but only air was coming out of my mouth.  Finally I was able to squeak out a yell, "HELP!"  The bat heard me and changed his course and started crawling toward me.  I was so scared I don't know how I kept from peeing my pants.  Mitch called down the stairs to see what was wrong, and I was once again rendered speechless because I didn't want to give the bat any more information about where exactly I was sitting.  Mitch ran down the stairs to see what was wrong, saw the bat and said, "Oh geez," like he was somehow disappointed that I was only being stalked by a single (probably rabid) bat and not being attacked by a pack of wolves.

At this point I found my voice and was yelling, "Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Get it!  Please!  Get it!"  I still couldn't move.  I was paralyzed.  Mitch ran back up the stairs and then came back down with a paper plate in each hand.  I had to laugh.  What was he going to do with them?  If he grabbed it with two paper plates, his thumbs would still be inside with the bat.  YUCK!  So he walked toward, me, took off the blanket I was cowering under, threw it over the bat, scooped it up and flung it outside. 

Well, that was humbling.  The show about Aron Ralston was still on and I was ashamed and embarrassed that not five minutes before I was thinking I was brave enough to amputate a limb without six days of agonizing over it.  If Mitch hadn't been there to get the bat, I'm afraid my solution to the bat problem would have been to gather the children and get a hotel room.  I'm not very brave when it comes to bats.

I'm not so smug about how brave I am about cutting off portions of my body anymore.  It would be a hard decision, unless there were bats in the canyon, then I would have chewed my arm off the first night and ran home. 

So, what's the bravest (or most cowardly) thing you've ever done?