Friday, July 31, 2009

The Girl (Detective) Has Gotta Go!

I am a book fiend! There are books all over our house and if you ever look at the sidebar you'll see I'm usually barreling through 3 or 4 at any given time. My girl, on the other hand, is a reluctant reader. Not the classic definition of such though--when pressed she reads a full grade-level plus ahead of where she is in school. It's the pressing part that's the problem.

She'll occasionally pick up a book and read for pleasure, but the times are few and far between. When she does it's usually something digestible in short bites (kid's magazines), something way below her reading level (Dr. Seuss), or something that is all pictures with bite-size chunks of text (graphic novels or the Dorling-Kindersley nonfiction books).

These are all good, legitimate choices that have their time and place. That place, unfortunately, is not homework reading. She's in a charter school and last year in 2nd grade most of their assigned reading was done in class. She still had to read 20min a day at home--which she fought us hard on. Since the checklist from the teacher only had signature boxes for Mon-Fri she refused to read most weekends. Homework reading, though needs to be up to her level, i.e. chapter books; books that put the pictures in her head, not on the page.

She started school this past week and the homework battle began in earnest on Wednesday night. She CAN read longer works, she just doesn't want to put forth the effort and has yet to meet a skill-appropriate book that made her WANT to read. In desperation I spent my lunch hour yesterday consulting the children's librarian at my favorite library branch. I grabbed some of ~everything~ she suggested I try and several things she didn't and carted them home.

One of the suggestions was, unsurprisingly, graphic novels, which I enjoy, her dad loves, and I've reluctantly given her in an effort to get her to read ~something~. I grabbed this one:

because, like many of us, I grew up with the spunky girl detective--funny how the idea of a female character named "George" is no longer the oddity it was when I was young... Gawd I'm easily distracted.

As much as I love the original Nancy Drew, the books are a bit dated these days, even by my standards. Jay wouldn't even understand what a lot of the things ~are~ because the references are so out of date. This seemed like a good way to introduce her to a favorite character from my childhood.

While she was showing off the bounty of books I brought her to her dad, I started flipping through the above to see how badly the girl detective was mutilated. It was a bit vapid and shallow (sadly, this is somewhat expected in books aimed at girls these days) but basically harmless. I was going to put it back in her stack when I saw this:

Oh hell no. I showed it to Raidman and even he was annoyed by it, "you are father, eh?"

I tossed that sucker back in my bag and took it out to the car to return to the library posthaste. As much time and effort as I know goes into lettering and inking graphic novels this is, to me, an unforgivable oversight.

That and my girl has trouble with apostrophes. For the last six months she's been creating plurals by adding " 's " to nouns. I think I've finally broken her of the habit, but it's taken months and this sort of thing will not help.

The girl detective had to go.

In case you're curious, she did pick a book and read it (mostly) willingly last night and tonight. Sadly, it was this.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


J has a friend over, a little girl who spent the night last night.

I confess, this is one of my favorite of her friends.She has just as strong a personality as my girl and won't let J run everything. Also, she's more rambunctious than most of J's friends, and, frankly, I think my girl needs rambunctious 'cause heaven knows her Dad and I are anything but.

These two girls in combination create more mischief in 24-hours than my house sees all week most of the time, and I wouldn't have it any other way (so stop wigging Crystal! It's fine, really, I even like it!).

While walking by J's room earlier I decided to open the door and assess the damage to improve the upstairs air flow.

Imagine THIS:

Only where it has chains and chairs, there were scarves (shut UP Candy!). Where it has people there were small stuffed animals tied into the scarves. Where this has a big pillar and lots of mechanical stuff I don't understand in the slightest, the girls had the ceiling fan. Thankfully on LOW, but still.

I just stood there with my mouth hanging open for a couple minutes---then yelled the girl's whole name and instructions to come upstairs, "RIGHT NOW".

I ~wish~ I'd taken a picture before I lost my temper and made the girl take everything apart.

"But mom... it wasn't ~my~ idea..."

Yea? So what? If you take part in, or do nothing to stop, something that you KNOW will get you in trouble, it's your fault. Teaching the kiddo that she is responsible for making sure her friends know our house rules is proving to be one of the hardest lessons to teach her and I can't seem to figure out why. I didn't yell at J's friend. By the time it was cleaned up I was giggling about it (and part of me was wondering why *I* never thought to try that!) and running out to the den to tell her dad all the details.

Oh, and I confiscated all items used to create this in-room carnival ride, except the fan, for a week.

PS --- For those of you who asked regarding this tweet from Thursday night:

Ignore the date, I always forget to reset the camera clock when I put in new batteries...

Yes, I really did paint the mirror in the girl's bathroom blue. I told her if she tries to tamper with it it will be repainted an opaque black. And if that doesn't work I'll just take it down.

I am really, really tired of how much time she wastes staring at herself and posing in the mirror. If it was a new thing it'd be different, but she's been like this since she was 4.

On the plus side, she was dressed amazingly fast & had time to eat breakfast at the table on Friday morning.

Swing Ride image courtesy of Stock Exchange.

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Living Color aka why you should just pay the colorist and not pretend you can do it yourself at home

Let me start by saying that I strongly suspected this was a bad idea when I started, and I did it anyway.

I have very, very dark brown hair. It is not black, but it is not any of those fun colors like golden or auburn. It's just brown. Really, really brown.
my natural color
In high school I wanted to be a redhead and took to coloring it myself. I even went so far as to upgrade to semi-pro products--Hello Sally Beauty Supply!--to get the lightening I wanted before covering it with red dye. This (bad!) habit carried on into my 20s. Which means when I met Raidman, I looked like this:

Yes, that's my other half, the cute one grinning on my shoulder. This picture* just doesn't do the color justice. I looked like a 20yo female version of Carrot Top with straight hair. And yet, he married me in spite of my insane (and badly dyed) hair color. That's L O V E people.

*There's one of those goofy Internet stories about how I acquired this picture, but I'll save it for another time.

I've been playing with funky hair colorants for a year or so now (blue, red, magenta, etc). All temporary because I'm a chicken. And disappointing. My hair is so dark most of them don't show up, or they're visible, but only to me because I'm looking for them.

About the only thing that does show up is the temporary hair makeup (think neon-colored mascara and you've got it about right).

Monday I hit on the ~brilliant~ notion (can you taste the sarcasm here?) to use a highlighting kit to lighten the hair I wanted to make funky colored. That way the color would show up. In my defense, this part of the plan was sound.

The part about me applying lovely streaky highlights that I could then Punky Color in a rainbow of shades as the mood hit me? Less sound. My recipe for disaster involved incredibly thick hair, an utter lack of hand-eye coordination, and the mistaken belief that anything that promised to lighten my hair could also be "demi/semi-permanent."

This is me fresh from washing the product out of my hair. I went to cry at Raidman about the result. He came after me while I was blowdrying it with the camera or you would NOT have this shot.

Actually, looking at it again, I think it looked better wet. Like all hair, it lightened as it dried. :-( Ligtened MORE I should say.

So my head looked like I'd spilled bleach on it. Crunchy looking orangey-yellow all over the place. Since I couldn't really afford to call in sick over a (granted, Extremely) bad hair day, I tried to fix it in the most non-damaging, non-permanent a way I could think of. Bring on the red mascara!

Yea, I tried to down the screaming yellow (think yellow lines on the highway here) with a red mascara wand. It kind of worked. I still looked like a bleach accident, but I looked like one with multi-tonal color. Enough to make it look like I mighta done this to myself on purpose.

Trust me, in Austin, that's all it takes. Living here, even the librarians didn't look at me funny when I was at the library Wednesday afternoon looking like this:

In my defense, this picture is a quite a bit warmer than the actual result. One of the things I lost in my computer switch in February was my photo-editing software, so you get what you get and you don't throw a fit. And no, I had NO idea how spotted that mirror was--the lighting is not all that good in there. For those of you who worry about such things, the mirror is now clean :-)

The moral of this story?

That $6.99 highlighting kit is probably going to cost you a LOT more than that. My stylist, Jennifer, will be telling me just how much more tomorrow afternoon at 1pm. New pics after, I promise.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

I'd love to, but...

I've been reading Jaden's Steamy Kitchen blog intermittently since my Stumble button sent me to THIS recipe a couple years ago. I still haven't tried it, but I made the peppercorn salt and Jaden was nice enough to respond to my comments (as a first time commenter on her blog) when I was trying to figure out if I'd bought the right ingredient at the Asian market.

Fast forward to last month when I finally figure out how a feed reader (Google reader) works and subscribe to the jillion blogs I've had bookmarked forever and never make time to check. I rediscovered Steamy Kitchen, along with Ree's Pioneer Woman site, Housewife Barbie (though Merritt's renamed this again since my last bookmark) and others. Heck, I even found some of them on Twitter (I am sucha twitter junkie!)

Then along comes THIS.

Jaden at Steamy Kitchen is a food blogger, yes, but she's also an all around food pro, with a food column in the Tampa paper, a cookbook author, and does cooking and food guest spots on TV. Sony contacted her about some special food blogger oriented pre-release events they are doing in LA for Julie & Julia this week and wanted to bring her out there to cover it. Jaden can't go, but is picking a guest blogger to do it for her and report back.

Gawd, I'd like to do this. Except I'm not really qualified.
  • I've only read Julie/Julia once or twice.
  • I've never read Julia Child
  • Heck, I don't even ~like~ Julia Child. The few times I saw her on TV when I was a kid she struck me as (a) nigh onto impossible to understand what she was saying and (b) incredibly snobbish.
  • Ummm... I can't cook and therefore wouldn't know how to ask an intelligent question on the subject at hand.
So I did what all underqualified and envious kids do---I forwarded the link to my mom. Who does know Julia (though she's not a huge fan, either, I don't think) and cooks. Well and often. Like I drive an hour each way JUST for the food at my mom's Christmas Party (I used to skip it til I tasted the leftovers one year--haven't missed one since!)

Good Luck Ma!

Friday, July 3, 2009

My Kid Rocks!

Made a new CD for J this week, at her request. She picked all the music that went on it herself. Check out the playlist. My kid is just plain COOL. Though this will probably mean more therapy when she's older...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Whoop it up!

I got to spend a whole day home alone with my girlchild on Monday. Just the two of us.

I swear I did my best to make up for the past 10 months of not being home to give her hugs in the afternoon, etc. We spent most of the day cuddling and doing craft projects--I started a new afghan for my aunt, she made a stepping stone to honor a family cat we had wander off and not come back in 2005. It was lovely.

I have my friend E and her totally cute kids to thank for this day of maternal contentment. Why?

Well, because her kids--unintentionally, and I know she feels bad about this--came to a huge group playdate with a cold that turned out to actually be pertussis (whooping cough). Woulda been awesome for the kids that DID pick it up if the pedi's office had called a little earlier in the day, but oh well.

Bright and squirrely Monday morning (at an hour when I'm not usually dressed!) I was bleary-eyed in my office (@ Mega Corporate America) emailing everyone that I would be out for the day. Take a lesson kids: These are the draconian measures you are forced to if you forget to put your boss' phone number in your cell!

9:20am - Well, 9:08 to be honest. I know it's hard to believe, but I/we were ~early~ for the doc appointment to explain the exposure situation and determine if they wanted to do a culture, etc.
They did not, since it turns out if she doesn't have any active symptoms (J did not) then they can't culture it anyway.

The girl is on UBER antibiotics for a week and the doc told me to take her home, wrote me a note for my boss, and promised if I took her to daycare on Tuesday I would ~not~ be irresponsibly passing on a contagious disease in a location that provides infant care.

Since I never came into contact with E's kids I got the all clear (woot! No Zithromax for me--have you SEEN the size of those pills?). My bud Candy didn't get as lucky -- her dh picked it up as did her niece who is visiting. Basically their whole house is quarantined and taking antibiotics for a week!

I started to go off on a tangent about vaccinations and whatnot, but I gotta go shower and go to work, so this is it for now. Probably a good thing. I'm the grandchild of a doctor, I like vaccs and don't really feel like having the anti-vaccination posse come try to change my mind.