Monday, April 27, 2009

I Finally Did IT

I finally did it.

This afternoon, I threw away the twenty or so leftover banana Laffy Taffies that have been moved around to various places in my house since Halloween.

Seriously, I could not give this stuff away! NOBODY wanted it! Why in the world do they even make Banana?!?!

It's ix months and done, Laffy Taffy!

Beter luck next year

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Times Are Tough All Over

From Germany, by way of "Just Too Disturbing for Words":

Some brothels have cut prices or added free promotions while others have introduced all-inclusive flat-rate fees. Free shuttle buses, discounts for seniors and taxi drivers, as well as "day passes" are among marketing strategies designed to keep business going.

Um...yeah. Senior discounts?

(Excuse me, ma'am, here's my AARP card.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Video I Can't Not Post

I'm not a fan of reality TV. Mostly it's just information overload on media-hungry people I wouldn't want to spend five minutes with in real life.

But this video won me over, and I just couldn't not post it.

I love this woman. I hope she becomes hugely successful.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pretty Much the Best Five Minutes of My Life

The other day, I was getting ready to teach my ESL class when a young guy from one of the other classes stopped by. He apparently hadn't gotten the message that his class had been canceled due to spring break. (My class follows my youngest son's school schedule and had spring break the week before.)

I had to tell him, gosh, sorry,. But as I did, I picked up that his accent was French. Turns out he's from Cameroon, and the reason he hadn't gotten the message was that he'd missed the previous week because he's a semi-pro soccer player and had been playing a game.

Soccer? The magic word. Seriously, you don't want to say "soccer" to me, ever, because I won't shut up. And if it is in any way linked to the French language, watch out.

He and I ended up discussing soccer, in French, for the next five minutes, until the rest of my class arrived. Turns out we have a lot of the same players as favorites (both of us partial to French-speaking players of African descent), so we talked about last year's African Cup of Nations, that day's Champions League games, next year's World Cup...

It was pretty much the best five minutes of my life.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Parenting isn't for Sissies

Received from my daughter on Monday, a little over a week after she left for a study abroad program in Rome:

Hey all! Just wanted to let you know that I am safe. I'm trying to leave messages on all mediums available. The earthquake this morning was fatal near the epicenter, but it looks like that was about 50 miles away. I vaguely remember waking up this morning being shaken, but it felt like a dream, so I didn't think it was real until I got the frantic emails this morning once I got to the Rome Center!

The sink sprung a leak last night, and I had to get back to the apartment to wait for the plumber this morning. Hence the short "i'm fine!" emails to Andy and Mom this morning. I love you all! Keep those in L'Aquila in your prayers, it sounds like the death toll has reached 100, and many have been injured and left homeless.


I think I'm probably best at not panicking when I'm trying to keep someone else from panicking.

Years ago, when my oldest two were little (4 and 5 if I remember correctly) and my youngest not yet born, our family was in a train derailment late at night. A few serious injuries up in the front of the train, none back in the cheap seats where we were.

I realized then that you just don't panic when you have two small kids, because your only thought is to keep them from panicking.

So as we watched every single emergency vehicle the town possessed skidding into the parking lot half a mile from where we were, lights flashing and sirens blaring, I gave them a running commentary. "Oh, look. There's the police. They're here to make sure we're safe. And there's the firemen. They're going to make sure nothing catches on fire." (Saying this as we all smelled spilled fuel and had no clue what was going on elsewhere, as nobody in authority was nearby for at least the first fifteen minutes.) "There's the ambulance. They're here to take care of anybody who's hurt."

Later a young Australian exchange student who had been sitting behind us came up to thank me. "When you were talking to your kids," she said, "it helped calm me down as well."

It was only three or four hours later, when they had us safely moved to a hotel lobby at 3:30 in the morning, that I locked myself in a bathroom stall and cried from the stress.

Last Sunday night we got a frightened call from my daughter's longterm boyfriend saying there had been an earthquake in Rome, 3:30 a.m., with collapsed buildings and fatalities.

The phone number that was supposed to reach my daughter wouldn't go through, and news reports were sketchy. At first they were saying, "in Rome," where my daughter was saying. Awhile later, there reports of a collapsed student dormitory.

But denial and the maternal (and paternal, in my husband's case) need to calm and soothe kicked in. Fortunately, this was at about the same time the news started making it clear that although there was serious tragedy, it probably hadn't affected Rome proper, where my daughter was staying.

We (technically my husband, with me tossing stuff in as needed,) talked to Andy, her boyfriend, a couple of times. We tried more than one Rome number -- none of which worked -- and shared breaking news between us. By 10:00 or 11:00 (5:00 or 6:00 Italy time) we'd convinced ourselves that she was fine, hadn't felt it, and was sleeping in on her day off. She would get in touch with us when she could, so there was no reason to stay up. Right?

All of this turned out to be mostly true. And my daughter is safe.

And I've been grateful all week to her boyfriend for keeping me from panicking.

Please pray for the people in and around l'Aquila, Italy.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Does This Make Me Famous?

I was watching a soccer game today -- a national broadcast of my beloved local team, who are taking the world by storm.

At the end, one of the commentators was laughing about a fan youtube video a girl made.

I'm pretty sure the only place this video has been showcased is on my blog. (Not this one -- the sports one I write for.) This means that there's a very good chance that this national sports commentator has been to my site.

This is a weird feeling.

(I hope this doesn't count against my fifteen minutes of fame. Because, y'know, I have plans for those.)