Archive for the ‘my crazy American life’ Category

The bed is snoring

November 3, 2012

We have a dog with blocked nasal passages who snores quite loudly; and she likes to sleep under my bed.  Yesterday evening when I rolled over to get more comfortable, it sounded like I had rolled onto a whoopie cushion.  It startled me a little bit, but I’m surprised it didn’t bother Osker more — he was on top of the bed with me, and he doesn’t like snoring — there’s a commercial about sleep apnea that comes on overnight, and he growls in rhythm with the snoring man.


My scrapbook speech

October 26, 2012

Yesterday I gave a speech about the therapeutic benefits of scrapbooking for cancer patients and their caregivers.  I made several demonstration pages to show the different options available for those who take more or fewer pictures and those who feel like spending more or less money and time on their projects.  Here they are:

This is for people who feel too overwhelmed to make all the decisions necessary for making a scrapbook, or who are on a strict budget or who don’t take very many pictures.  It’s a 6×8 slide-in photo album that holds two standard 4×6 photos per page.

This is a picture of me in the hospital in Geneva, wearing the monkey slippers that the nurses loved.  I’ve added a 4×6 piece of cardstock, upon which I wrote the story behind the slippers and the date, and added a few stickers for decorative purposes.  This helps people understand what’s going on in the picture, as well as providing them with a date so they know when the events in the picture occurred.  (I could have added one or two more related photos had I wanted to, as you can tell from the empty photo sleeves.)

For people who do want to do a scrapbook, but who don’t take very many pictures, a 5×7 page with some journaling, a date, decorative photo mats and a decorative border:

For those who would like to put more elements on their pages (either two photos, or a photo, a title, and a journaling box), an 8×8 page:

Or, for people like me who take tons of pictures and like a lot of creative liberty, the most popular and versatile page size (12×12):

(I don’t usually incorporate blurry photos in my pages, but that picture of me and my halo is the only one that was taken.)

And when you have a whole bunch of photos, a 2-page 12×12 spread:

A cover page made with a Xyron sticker machine:


And, finally, a page that I made with the girls who live around the corner (ages 9 and 11):


The card that they wrote for the page:


This is a party idea that my friends came up with — a memory book.  You hold a party for your friends and family, and all the invitees bring one (or more) photos of you or of something that reminds them of you, and on a 4×6 piece of paper upon which they can tell the story behind the picture and (if desired) add some relevant decoration.  This is a photo my friend Lizzie sent in for the project my friends made for me — it’s a picture of us in costume for one of the Russian choir performances during our time at Middlebury.

Another poem I like

October 24, 2012

When I lived in Geneva, the preschool beneath my window had a pet rooster.  It never knew when to stop crowing, and I was often tempted to throw water balloons down on it.

The Complaint against Roney Laswell’s Rooster

Attention, Mister Roney Laswell–Roney,

short for Tyrone, I hear–

the hour your rooster blows,


four, is two too early.

Another two would do.  Go,

speak to your rooster, Roney.


–Maurice Manning

To all politicians currently running for office

October 22, 2012

You can quit paying for advertising now.  Early voting started today, and I’ve already cast my ballot.  Quit wasting my airtime, okay?

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

October 18, 2012

I loved that show when I was in elementary school.  I was sort of a geography buff back then.

So, a puzzle for you: today Mom and I left from San Antonio and made a 5 1/2-hour-long trip.  We drove through Samaria and Trinidad, passed Maine and Palestine, saw a bus full of teenagers from Italy, and ended up in a world capital near London and Paris.

Where are we now?

I don’t usually like toilet humor

October 13, 2012

but I do love this commercial.


October 11, 2012

This afternoon I was watching Ellen on TV, and she was interviewing Octavia Spencer about her new movie role.  Apparently, both Ellen and Octavia are afraid of spiders.  Well, a person dressed in a spider costume snuck onto the stage behind Octavia and tapped her on the shoulder, causing her to jump and scream.

It made me think back to last night.  Scene: It is after 11 pm.  I am in the front part of the house working on demo pages for my upcoming speech on scrapbooking, quite absorbed in my work.  Mom had retired to bed some time earlier, having had a very busy week with very little down time and sleep.  Suddenly:

Female voice: Hi, Sugar.

Me: [scream]

Me: You’re supposed to be asleep!

Mom: I said hi because I didn’t want to scare you.

Me: I think that had the opposite of the desired effect…

Dead Ass

October 10, 2012

This past week I picked up The Best American Poetry 2011 from the library.  Today I read the poem “Dead Ass” by Michael Cirelli, and despite all the reasons why it shouldn’t be so, I loved it and it cracked me up.

Dead Ass

In the bodega, a young girl wearing

jeans so tight she has to use turpentine

to get them off, says to her friends,

Damn, it’s dead ass raining out!

I was enamored.  Instead of cats and dogs,

I pictured donkey corpses falling from

the sky, clogging the gutters.

That’s some serious rain.

The song on the radio said that the po-po was:

“tryna to catch me ridin’ dirty.”  I imagined

Chamillionaire wearing a 20-lb. gold chain

with mud dripping off Jesus’s shiny toes,

Krazie Bone in four-hundred-dollar jeans,

with grass stains on the knees.

In Oakland, the sound there is “hyphy.”

To me, that alien word means gooney-goo-goo.

To me, that word is my dead father’s kiss.

But to thousands of youngsters whose trousers sink

below the Plimsoll line of their asses, hyphy

music makes their bodies dip up and down

like an oil drill.

These words make me feel old, and alabaster.

When I hear something new, it’s like I discovered it

for the first time, like I excavated it from the mouth

of a teenager.  So I dust it off with my fossil brush

and try to jam it into the keyhole of academia.

I am not afraid of dope lyrics, not dope meaning weed

but dope meaning good.  My kind uses scrilla to board

up the windows of shook.

Fo’shizzle, crunk, hella: I place in glass jars like rare moths.

I want to hang them on the doors of sonnets

like a welcome sign to an apartment

I don’t live in.

I LOVED Slinkies when I was little

October 8, 2012

And I still love them now:

Favorite Words

October 6, 2012

When I was a little girl, my favorite word was “starving”. Not because I thought that the sensation of hunger was pleasant (quite the opposite), but because it started with “star”, and that evoked images of pretty, twinkling night skies. I got in trouble for using it one night at the dinner table, and my love for the word waned temporarily. Now it’s back to being my favorite, though, at least in English.

When I was learning French in high school, my favorite words were “oiseaux” and “hérisson” and “ananas”, probably because my teacher loved them so much. They made her (and the whole class) grin when they poured out of her mouth — “un ananananananananas” we used to say. But now my favorite word in French is “kyrielle” — not only does it look pretty in print, but it tickles the tongue when you say it, too.

I don’t really have a favorite word in Spanish, probably because I never really learned to love the language as much as I love French. Although I do rather like the word “osito”, probably because I’m so fond of mine.

And tonight I’ve discovered another favorite word — this one in Hebrew. It’s “kishkush” — such a silly-sounding word, right? But that’s fitting, because it means “nonsense”. I’m busy memorizing stacks of words that have no semblance whatsoever to their English (or French, or Spanish) counterparts, but that one is stuck in my brain for good, no memorization required.

So, what are your favorite words?