Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Brain Squeeze

Here's a picture into my little brain. (Hang on, tight -- you're going for a ride!)

No subbing again today. It's getting to be pretty bad. After working on some laundry, playing on the computer, working on a job cover letter, and watching The View (for my dose of "What is crazy in the world today), I headed off to run some errands.

I've decided that what I need is a new purse. I used to have a backpack purse that I loved to death. I could have kept it for longer, but thinking that it had seen better days, I passed it along to Kathleen and bought a new purse last year that has shoulder straps. I don't like it. At all. I like it so little that when I go anywhere, I transfer my purse items from my work tote (my wallet, my cell phone, my sunglasses and my keys) and just carry it all in my hands rather than put it in my purse.

This morning, I walked out the door doing my usual mental check list. Doing anything mentally rather than working off a physical list is always detrimental to me. I just don't have enough memory space in my brain, I guess. So, I walked out the door, remembering that 1) all the doors were locked, 2) I had mail to put in the mailbox, 3) I had library books to return and 4) my wallet, cell phone, sunglasses and keys were in hand. All set, I shut the door behind me and opened up the garage door. I got my keys and saw, to my dismay, that I had brought Keith's truck keys instead of my van keys. This was a problem. Keith's truck was with Keith at work. Keith's truck keys did not have the HOUSE keys to get back in to get the VAN keys. I was locked out of my house without even my car keys. It was 86 degrees.

I checked all of the doors -- front, garage door and basement door. Sure enough, I had locked up everything nice and tight. I checked where we used to keep a spare house key before Keith changed the locks -- the key could still work for the basement door providing I hadn't locked the upstairs door leading into the house. Nope. No key there either. Coming back up the hill from the basement, I checked Keith's truck keys and saw the extra VAN key attached to it. But did I then say to myself, "Oh, the van key! I can drive off to do my errands and come back home when the kids (who have keys!) get home from school!" Nooooooooo, I said to myself in a rather indirect manner, "Hey, there was an extra van key at the van dashboard. I wonder if it's still there!" I then took myself over to the van (which is always unlocked when it's in the garage) and started looking for that extra key, not even connecting it with the fact that I HAD AN EXTRA KEY attached to the Keith's TRUCK KEY! Good grief!

I searched for about five minutes for that extra key on the dashboard before giving up and figuring I must have taken the extra key into the house earlier -- seeing as it's not the wisest thing in the world to keep an extra car key in a car! I sat in the van for a few more minutes, then got out to search that area where we used to keep the extra HOUSE key -- before I put it back in the house -- seeing as it's not the wisest thing to keep an extra house key in the garage either! It still wasn't there.

It wasn't until AFTER I had searched for the house key a second time that my brain finally crept up on the little fact that I had the extra van key attached to Keith's truck key. Bing! I stood there in the garage looking down at the key chain: Keith's truck key, Kroger card and extra van key. I stood there for another full minute realizing my idiocy! Argh!


If I'm like this at 42, how will I be a few decades from now? (By the way, I literally had to get a piece of paper and do the math to figure out if I was 43 or 42.) Yep. And I'm looking for a job, people. Hire me. My brain doesn't work too well, but I love to play Spades!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

See you at the pole

This morning, I took Keri Lynn and Kristofer to the annual See You at the Pole. School kids all over the nation meet once a year at the flag pole in front of their school to pray. One of the teachers led the event. Several youth pastors came. One pastor led music. The principal was there along with a half dozen teachers. And there were at least 50-70 kids. We sang, the student president of our FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) read scripture, and we prayed. It was beautiful. I was proud to be a part of it and glad that our country has the freedom to do this.

It's so very hard to stand up for Christ in a sinful world. As I stood with the students, I prayed that they would stand up for righteousness, protect those who cannot protect themselves and seek purity.

Today, I do not have a job again. Sigh. I'm sending out resumes again. It was hard for me to deal with the fact that people weren't falling over themselves to hire me. : ) This time last year, I started making inquiries and went from one dead end to another. At least this year, I'm sort of employed with the subbing, but I really need a real job, a 9 to 5 type job. And those are pretty hard to find these days, especially in a small town. Everyone hears about the same job opportunities and everyone fills out the same applications and stands in the same lines. I think I need professional help to get a job.

Kathleen printed out some fliers and, along with Kylie and Erin, went off to get some business of their own.

The fliers read:

We are the Dog Walkers.
We will walk your dog for your set price!
Call us at _____________

They tried this little idea out in our neighborhood this weekend and within a few hours came back with $20! Good grief! Now the little entrepreneurs are dying to go spend the money!

I've been carefully keeping track of politics. To all of my homeschool buddies in California, does McCain's wife look like Kris E. or what!?!

Here in Georgia, we get to vote early -- I may just run on down to the registrar's office on Main Street and do just that. However, it's kind of fun to be in the thick of voting on Election Day. I can't believe it's almost here. Is everyone registered?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

FIREPROOF Teaser Trailer

This movie, starring Kirk Cameron, is opening on Friday in 850 theaters around the country. Keri Lynn and I are planning to sneak off to go see it sometime this weekend.

I watched an interview on Good Morning America this morning. Did you know that Kirk Cameron made a committment to not kiss any other woman other than his wife, even when acting?

"Well, I guess that kind of puts a crimp in your movie opportunities!"

He smiled and said that he gets to choose top quality films instead, that he'd rather please his wife then make a ton of movies. Since this new movie coming out is a romantic movie, where a man woos back his wife when they are at the brink of divorce, there is a kissing scene with his movie wife. His real wife stands in for her when he actually kisses her. I was so tickled by this and so glad to see a man taking that physical act seriously.

I'll go see your movie, Kirk Cameron. Keep on serving Jesus!

A lazy afternoon after school

Contrary to the start of last year, their first year in public school, the kids are easily keeping up with their homework. Keri Lynn is relatively light this semester, so here she is on a Monday night writing one of her four or five stories that she's got going, AND watching Emma on video.

Kathleen had time to make a little bonnet for Kody. He really loves it. That's Erin with Kathleen -- two peas in a pod.

A tea party

Erin and Molly join Kathleen and Kylie for a tea party. Last month, I treated myself to a box of fruit-flavored teas. The kids went nuts! They love it, too, especially during the cold months. It hasn't gotten cold yet, but it is starting to at least not be so hot! So, they had a little tea party.
Proper Kathleen, stirring her tea, pinky out
The centerpiece was created by Kathleen.

The proper use of kitchen items

Yesterday, I subbed in a high school special ed. class. TA's were in and out for mandatory meetings, so the kids were off of their regular routine. The kids were all mobile and maybe a little higher than Keva's level. They worked on writing or arranging letters for their names, depending on their abilities.

I monitored a game of kitchen picture bingo for about an hour while the teacher stepped out. It was just me and six kids. I wondered if we would all last that long -- four young men and two young women -- playing bingo. I needn't have worried. One of the girls pulled out a picture of an item and the rest put a marker on the matching picture of their bingo card. We'd talk about each one. That's where things got interesting.

"What is that?" I asked.

"A blender!"

"What do we put in a blender?"


"We do not put rocks in a blender! You all are silly!"

Seeing where we were going with this, I asked, "What is this?"

"A refrigerator."

"What do we put in a refrigerator? A cookie tray? A person? An elephant?"

They burst into laughter. We all just cracked up. I'm hoping that no one went home that night and stuffed a little brother or sister into their refrigerator just for grins.

"Here's an ice tray. Does this go in the oven?"

Hahahahahahahahaha. I was funnier than any SNL skit. I rocked!

One boy hung out toward the back of the room deciding he was too cool to participate, but he started laughing, which egged on the main instigator of the whole laugh fest.

"Reggie," I asked, "What does the microwave do?"

Reggie pantomimed his hand getting slammed into the microwave door and cooking while he pantomimed hollering in pain. Typical high school humor. Very hilarious. Everyone thought it was great.

"That's disgusting!" I cried, which made them laugh more.

"Okay, what about this spatula? Is it for banging people over the head?"

"No, Miss Jackie. We do not use it that way," said the girl originally leading the game, and the only voice of reason.

Reggie thought that a spatula should be used exactly that way, though, and so did the rest of the boys.

We were barely able to get through all of our kitchen items before our hour was up and the teacher was back to take everyone to lunch. We had interesting scenarios for hot pads, cookie sheets, mixing bowls and toasters.

When I left that class to go on to a different class for the afternoon, I got a lot of high fives and secret handshakes that made them all laugh harder because, above all, I'm really not all that cool! But I am funny!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Konner is in the paper!

This summer, Konner went with a group of kids from church to visit our shut-ins. You got to love small town newspapers. This is probably the fifth or sixth time one of the kids has had their picture in the paper!

Tacky Day

Kathleen and Kylie are getting ready to go to the Coweta County Fair -- whoo-hoo! -- with Erin and her family. It's the first night and the first time any of our family has gone. I'm hoping we'll all go later on next week when my headache has dissipated. Anyway, Kylie is getting her stuff ready right now. And this is how our conversation went:

"Mom, can I get a Vitamin C?" (we've been passing them around like candy lately)

"Um, sure."

"And can I bring some cough drops?" she holds up the bag I keep next to my bed.


"I'm also going to bring a pair of clean socks in case my socks get to stinky." She stuffs them into her cute little red purse.

"Um, okay," I say, "But what are you going to do with your dirty socks once you put your clean ones on? You're not going to put them in your purse, are you?"

"Yeah, that's why I've got the zip-lock."


And off she goes, fully prepared, to the fair.

Today, I subbed at Kathleen's school in Kathleen's grade. Seventh grade Literature. I didn't have Kathleen, but I had quite a few of her friends. I panicked a little at the beginning because not only did I NOT have any lesson plans from the teacher or a roster to take roll, but -- even WORSE! -- I forgot my riddles! Eek!

I grabbed one of the other literature teachers who helped me make up a lesson plan. She happens to be Kathleen's literature teacher and also goes to our church. She was invaluable. Then, I got started on my day. The kids were fine. Everything went fine. I remembered a riddle that worked especially well earlier in the day . . .

I told them, "Are you ready for a violent riddle?"

They were all over violent riddles.

"Okay. A woman shot her husband, put him under water for five minutes, then hung him. Later on, they both went out to dinner. How was that possible?"

If you want the answer to the riddle, you'll have to check in the comments section of this post.

The little kids and Kathleen and Keva were all home by the time I got home. Keri Lynn and Kristofer followed shortly thereafter. They had an especially interesting day in that it was Tacky Day today. Kristofer is KING of tacky. He says that he's been practicing all year. Kathleen says that he'll be perfecting it the rest of the year. Keri Lynn tried to be tacky, but just wasn't making it. She just can't do it! Here, see for yourselves . . .

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Mean Librarian strikes again

I went to the library to pay fines. Why I do this to myself, I don't know. Why I can't seem to get anyone but Mean Librarian to help me, I don't know either. It's a conspiracy.

"Would you please print out a list of the books I still have out?"

"Sure. Do you want to renew them too, so you'll stop incurring the fines?"

"Yes, I would," I said through a fake smile, thinking to myself, "No, Mean Librarian, I want to keep incurring fines forever and ever! Urgh!"

"That will be $20."

"$20 even?"

She didn't even answer. I pulled out my wallet to bring out a $20 bill. I had just been to Rite Aide where I'd gotten $40 cash back, only apparently the cashier had forgotten to give me my money and I'd forgotten to ask for it. Luckily, I had my checkbook handy, so I dutifully wrote out the check, doing my usual joke about doing my part to support the library. A joke that, as with anything I said, fell flat as a pancake with Mean Librarian.

Then, later, I checked out some more material. And surprise, surprise, Nice Librarian said with a concerned frown, "It says here you owe $10 in fines."

"But I just paid all of my fines. $20--"

"She glanced toward the back toward where Mean Librarian is sitting, "Don't worry. I'll take care of it."

I'm really confused about the whole Mean Librarian thing now. Either 1) Mean Librarian charged me less than I owed and forgot to change it in the computer or 2) Mean Librarian made a mistake and didn't see all of my fines or 3) Mean Librarian is out to get me and was going to let the items that I hadn't returned yet continue to incur fines.


I don't know. All I do know is that I have a receipt from Nice Librarian that shows that my slate is once again clean. Yippee!

When I got back home, my head was achy and I wasn't feeling well. I think I'm coming down with a little something still. So I canceled my Monday walk with Stephanie and decided to get dinner going on time for a change so that we could all get to bed by 10:00 -- that is my goal -- and here it is 9:41 already and I'm happily typing away. Sigh.

Anyway, we all had dinner together at the table with the TV off. It was nice to sit and chat. Konner came in late from Chase's house. Keith was still at work. Kathleen ate at Erin's house. So, maybe it's more accurate to say that some of us were eating dinner together.

Konner went running off after dinner leaving his plate at the table. I stopped him before he could get too far.

"Konner, tell me you're sitting here at the table eating your food, only you're invisible. That's why the plate is still here."

I looked over at Keri Lynn, "What am I going to do to help the little kids remember to take their plates to the sink?"

"Murder them?"

I grinned. This is Keri Lynn's pet peeve, that no one seems to be able to take their dishes to the sink.

"That might be a little drastic," I said.

"Beat them? That way they'll NEVER do it again!"

It turns out that I didn't have to resort to violence. Konner took his plate to the sink.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Kylie has leaves on her head

I get the biggest kick out of conversations with my kids.

I was making dinner the other night, and Kylie came up to the bar for a chat.

"Mom, am I too young to get married?"

"Um, yes, Kylie. You're too young to get married. You need to be done with school. Your husband needs to be ready to support you so that you have a place to live. And most importantly, remember that your husband has to love God with all of his heart."

"Uh-huh," she replies congenially, having heard all of this many times before. "Does the boy have to ask the dad for permission to marry? Can he ask the mom?"

"The boy asks the dad, which is like asking the mom and the dad together."

"Does the girl ever propose to the boy?"

"No. The boy always asks the girl, but usually they've talked about it and they've both agreed that marriage is something they want to do."

Kylie ruminated over this for a while, then apparently felt safe to confide something to me, "A boy likes me at school, but we're too young to get married."

"Oh, well, how do you know he likes you?"

"He put leaves on my head and he's always teasing me, the way boys do to girls when they like them."

"And did you tell him that you're not going to be dating any boys for a very long time?"

"I don't know if he for sure likes me, but don't worry, Mom, I'm not getting married right away."

"That's good, Kylie."

And off she went to her next order of business. How did she get to be 10 already?

More Eli froggy stories

"Okay, Eli, you want another froggy story? Who should be in it? Cletus? Okay. Bosefus? Of course. What about Eli? Should Eli be in it, too? Good.

"One day, Cletus and Bosefus were hanging out. They decided that they wanted to throw a birthday party for Eli. A SURPRISE party! Shhhhh, don't say anything!" Big smiles from Eli as he listened. "So Cletus and Bosefus invited everybody they knew -- Eli's Mom and Dad and brother and sister, G (of course!), and all the rest of the family, Miss Jenna, Miss Kelly, and Miss Jackie -- is that okay, Eli? Can Miss Jackie come to the surprise party? Good!

"Cletus and Bosefus made a cake. What kind of cake? Carrot cake?" BIG frown. "Vanilla? No. Chocolate? I agree. They decided to make them into cupcakes. No? Okay, three-layered tier cake. And ice cream. And what to drink?"

Here Miss Kelly chimed in from across the room, "Eli loves soda."

"Oh! Soda! So everyone got ready for the big surprise. Shhhhhhhh. It's a secret! Eli came home on the bus after school just like usual. The bus pulled up to his house and he rolled right on in, totally unsuspecting. When suddenly, out from behind all of the furniture, everyone jumped up and yelled "SURPRISE!"

"Eli was so surprised and pleased! Everyone had a great time. They ate cake and ice cream and drank soda. In fact, they drank and drank and drank. And you know what happens, don't you, Eli, when everyone drinks soda?" I put my hand on his chest, "The soda goes down into the tummy and forms bubbles. And if you drink a lot of soda, the bubbles start getting bigger and bigger until suddenly you start floating in the air.

"That's exactly what happened to Cletus, Bosefus, Eli, Miss Jenna, G, Miss Jackie and everyone else who was drinking all that soda. They went up, up, up into the air. They just floated around. And do you know what they started to do?" Pause for dramatic effect. "They started to play Human Bumper Cars!"

This is when things really picked up in my silly story. I demonstrated Human Bumper Cars on Eli's chair.

"They started bumping into each other." WHAM! I'd hit the side of his wheelchair and Eli would burst out laughing. It was the best! WHAM! Big guffaws! WHAM! Couldn't get enough of the idea of all those people floating up into the air bumping into each other. WHAM! Until finally, they started burping a little and the soda bubbles died down, and little by little, they all came back down to the ground with a THUD!"

"More!" Eli cried.

"So they decided to play some games, since they were having so much fun. No? No games? Okay, they decided to swim in the pool? But Eli, you love to swim in the pool. They ate more cake? What did they do, Eli? Did they drink more soda? Oh, okay. They drank more soda, and pretty soon everyone was floating back up in the air. Floating, floating, floating, until . . . WHAM, they started running into each other again. Human Bumper Cars!"

Oh, yes, those human bumper cars were a BIG hit.


"Well, the party finally did finish. Everyone had a great time, but Cletus and Bosefus didn't quite want to go home yet. They wanted to go to the grocery store." Big lip. "No grocery store? But they needed to go buy more soda! Okay, so they went to the grocery store. Each frog had a cart and Eli had his wheelchair, and the grocery aisles started looking might tempting. So they started racing down the grocery aisles like the crazy ones they were." Squealing sounds, moving Eli's chair back and forth, corner turns, acceleration. It was great! "Bananas were flying everywhere. Cans toppled to the ground. People were falling. It was a mess!"


"But Eli, it's time to get ready to go home! We'll do more stories tomorrow."

And we both had to be content with that because who doesn't love a good froggy story!

Annie and Keva

Keva's bus driver, Kelly, has been driving Keva to school for three years now. Annie, her youngest daughter, rides the bus home with her, too. I've watched her growing up. She and Kylie have become friends and have had sleep-overs together.

So, above are pictures of Annie and Keva at her last sleep-over at our house. Annie knows all about Keva from years of bus experience! She was so sweet with her. Aren't they having a great time!

Catch up time

I've been negligent with my posts. Things have been busy, but today, I have a little catch-up time. Catch-up time is important!

The kids had several parties to go to over the weekend, Keri Lynn did some night driving, big kids helped in a fundraiser luncheon after church, choir practice, and I tried to take it easy holding back a cold. Several of us have been holding colds at bay. We're a little stuffy and tired. I've been popping vitamin C like crazy!

Fall is starting to show, if not in the weather, but in little splashes of leaf color change. It's still pretty hot, too. Mid 80s, and humid. We've gotten very little weather from all of the hurricanes, but big thunderheads come billowing past us overhead and go rain in other areas.

Last week, I was ridiculously pleased to pay $3.48 for gas, but -- as you all are painfully aware -- that was short-lived. We're now at about $4.07 or thereabouts which is probably still less than a lot of other parts of the country.

And how about the Palin Phenom! If ever anyone wondered about media bias before, they should take careful note now. The Charlie Gibson interview was amazingly bias. He was trying desperately to make her look bad, but she managed to answer questions with ease and grace. "Well, Charlie, that was in fact a very appropriate action . . . " etc, etc.

Politics have been fascinating to me for a long time, but never more so than they are right now. There is a huge moral divide. The left wants God out and big government in. The religious right wants to keep God in and big government out, as has been the foundation of our government from its very beginnings. I'm not crazy about McCain. He's too moderate. However, the reason Republicans are so fired up about the ticket now is that Palin is very conservative. We finally see an opportunity for our voice to be heard! Whoo-hoo!

I believe that the more the media continues to try to bash Palin, the stronger she's going to look to more Americans. The Republicans definitely have the momentum and the Democrats are shell-shocked.

Another thing that bothers me is that a lot of Christians seem to like to stand back and let it all happen. We don't speak up about what is going on. We don't talk about the issues that concern us and the world. We don't like to "get involved." I think this is wrong, especially in America, where supposedly the government IS the people, and last time I checked, even "religious" people are included with the people, despite what the elite left might think.

So what do you all think about the election? What issues matter to you? How do you feel about the Palin phenomenon? Are you going to vote? Who will you vote for?

Eli and his froggies

Eli with Miss Jenna, his beloved teacher. They get on well together. Can you tell?
Here I am with Eli who is undoubtedly expecting another froggy story any minute.
Miss Kelly with Eli. Kelly worked with Keva last year for the last few months of school. Keva loves Miss Kelly and, as a result, I love her, too. She's got a big heart.

I subbed in a middle school special ed. class for two weeks until they found a sub who could do the lifting that is needed. I've subbed in Jenna's class before, so I knew about half of the kids already. I was especially pleased to see Eli.

Eli is blind with a condition similar to cerebral palsy. He can move his arms and legs but has very little control over them. He can say a few words like "more", "Hey!", and "home!" But most of the time, he communicates with a wide array of facial expressions. like an extended lip for displeasure and a big smile for "YESSS!" He also makes froggy sounds. His favorite books are a series of froggy books. He can make his own froggy sounds and says that he has frogs in his belly.

On my third day in that class, I asked Eli how many frogs he had in his belly. Through a series of questions, I found out that there were three. I then wanted to know if he had named his froggies. It turned out that apparently he hadn't, so we set about finding names. His beloved teacher, Miss Jenna, came up with the first one, "Cletus." He loved that name right away. We figure he liked it because it's a good redneck name. So the other TA, Miss Kelly, who works in the class suggested "Bosefus" for another name (I'm not even sure if I'm spelling that one right, but there you go!). Eli loved that name, too. The third frog remains unnamed. Eli can't decide.

I thought about those froggies on my off time. I knew that Eli loved his froggy books and was thrilled with his own froggy names, but now he needed his own froggy stories.

So, the next morning, while I fed Eli breakfast in the school cafeteria, I asked him if he wanted to make up some stories about his froggies. They had names, after all. Wouldn't it be great for them to go out on an adventure. He thought that was a GREAT idea.

So our conversation went something like this:

"Eli, what kind of story do you want to make up? An adventure story?"

Big lip.

"Okay, how about a funny story?"

Big lip.

"A scary story?"

Big smile and a vocal response, which is rare for him.

"A scary story? Are you sure? You're not going to have nightmares, are you?"

He assured me that he did indeed want a scary story.

"Well, what would be a scary start to our story?"

His teacher, feeding on of the kids down at the other end of the table, put in that perhaps Cletus the frog would be in a scary dark wood. Eli heartily agreed. So that's where we began.

I said, "One day, Cletus was lost in a scary dark wood. He could not find his way home. He was hungry and tired and scared."

I looked at his expression. A HUGE smile. I was on the right track.

"A woodsman came upon Cletus, and the woodsman wanted to catch the frog and make frog-leg soup for supper!" I noticed that the smile had increased, "Eli! You don't seem a bit sorry that Cletus is about to become frog soup! Here you are in the cafeteria eating your honey-bun as happy as can be and Cletus is running for his life from the woodsman! What are you going to do about it? Are you going to rescue him?"

Big lip.

"No!? You're going to let him be frog soup?"

Big laughs and smiles and arms waving around excitedly in the air.

"Well, guess what, Eli . . . Cletus did escape from the woodsman anyway! He ran away, escaping just in the nick of time! He ran so fast, that he ran right into his house! He was SO HAPPY to be back home! Aren't you relieved?"

Big smile.

"Oh, good. Now we need to go back to the classroom. Would you like some more scary froggy stories later on today?"

Huge smile.

So thus began our froggy stories. Cletus and Bosefus began a life all their own.

I'd come up next to Eli as quiet as I could. I'd sit down and a huge smile would spread across his face.

"Eli! How did you know it was Miss Jackie? You are so sneaky!"


"More what? Froggy stories?"

Big smile.

"Do you want another scary story?"

The lip.

"No, okay. Adventure? No. Silly story? Oh, okay. A silly story. That's going to be hard for Miss Jackie, but Cletus and Bosefus are pretty silly. How about the time that they got lost in those woods again. You remember those woods where Cletus escaped from the woodsman? You do? Good. Well, those silly frogs got lost in the woods AGAIN. They hopped and hopped and hopped until they came out into a big desert."

Lip is starting to come out. I can tell he's not so excited about the story line. I'm not sure where I'm going with it either.

"Um, well, the frogs were hopping along in the desert and getting hungry and thirsty and dry. So. Thirsty." My voice started to crack and get frail with sheer despair. It did no good. Eli cracked just a little smile at my despair but was getting a little bored. "Well, then they found an oasis! And they splashed and swam and drank all the water they wanted! Cletus and Bosefus were very happy! You like that, Eli? Do you like to swim?" So I did some pretend splashing and swirling him around and I could see memories of his own fun times in the pool right there on his face.

"The frogs had such a good time at the oasis, that they decided that they would open up a restaurant there. Every desert needs a good restaurant! What kind of food should they serve there, Eli? Steak? No? Shrimp? No? Pizza? Definitely not, okay. Fish? Okay, fish it is. Shall we make it fish and chips? Okay. The frogs made a ton of money in the restaurant business. So much money that they were able to buy their very own company jet.

"The frogs decided that they needed to go on a trip. They were tired of the restaurant business. They needed to go to the mountains! No, don't like the mountains, Eli? Okay. The beach? Yes, I agree, too much sand, and they've just had all that time in the desert. What about the lake? Frogs love lakes. No? I know, they'll travel to China! They'll go participate in the Olympics! You like that? Good, good. So off our frogs went to Beijing, to the Olympics.

"But guess what happened! Their plane got caught in a storm! And they were swirling around," here I jiggled Eli's wheelchair around, which he thought was terrific, "And the lightening and thunder came down," and here I attempted to make lightening sounds and made his wheelchair rumble. Whoo-hoo, that was fun! "Only, the plane couldn't take it and guess what happened then!"

CRASH, BANG . . . "The plane went crashing to the ground! It was terrible! Cletus and Bosefus barely escaped with their lives. They hopped right on out of there, but they noticed that their pilot was still inside! So they hopped right back in and pulled the pilot out just in the nick of time before the plane exploded into great balls of fire!" Here I made all kinds of noisy explosions and shook Eli's chair some more, which of course, he thought was great! Luckily, the rest of the class didn't think we were too odd making all that noise.

"More!" Eli said.

I wiped my forehead, "Well, okay, so Cletus and Bosefus hopped over to the nearest house and called 911. An ambulance came," cue siren sounds, "And took the poor pilot away to the hospital. Cletus and Bosefus looked at each other. They still wanted very badly to go to the Olympics, so they bravely hopped another plane and off they flew!"

"More!" Eli said.

"They arrived in Beijing. They got in line to register for the Special Frog Olympics . . . What? No frog Olympics? What about the regular summer Olympics? Yes? Okay. What event should they enter? Track? No. Gymnastics? Oh, I know! Swimming! Frogs are very good swimmers. That sound okay, Eli? Great! So, off went Cletus and Bosefus to the Water Cube. And guess who they were swimming against? Michael Phelps! That's right? Do you remember him, Eli? You do? Good.

"Cletus and Bosefus got onto their swimming blocks next to Michael Phelps. They waited for the gun to go off. Three, two . . . ONE! BANG! Splash, they went into the water. They swam and swam as hard as they could. They were neck-in-neck. It was going to be a close one . . . Who won, Eli? Did Michael Phelps win? No? You're kidding! But Eli, he's going to be so disappointed that he didn't win a gold medal. He's an American icon! Okay, okay. Did Cletus win? Okay, Cletus got the gold, Bosefus got the silver and Michael Phelps had to settle for bronze. Sigh."


"More later. You crack me up, Eli!"

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labor Day Weekend

We had a nice Labor Day weekend. On Friday, I went into Target's portrait studio to apply for a weekend job. I have a interview on Thursday for what I hope will be a pretty interesting job with some interesting opportunities to learn a new skill and to move up quickly into management. Last week, I wasted a lot of time and gas going to a Kirby vacuum cleaner workshop, hoping to maybe get a job selling vacuum cleaners. It turned out to be a scam, but I did learn a lot about the $2,000 Sentria, if anyone wants to know.

Substitute teaching jobs have been very sparse, still. But over the weekend, I got a call from a special ed. teacher, where I've subbed before. Only she's in a new school this year. I've got the job for the week, and maybe even longer, because they're short a teacher's aide and apparently there's a hiring freeze going on. We'll see how it goes. If I don't have to lift any kids, that should be fine. The last special ed. class was pretty physically demanding.

On Saturday, we had Keith's friend, Carol, come for burgers on the grill. She's been battling cancer for three years now, on her own in Atlanta, away from Los Angeles family and friends. Keith has been faithfully going over to take her to treatments and shopping as she needs it. She calls him her son and enjoys an occasional visit to our family.

Then, today, we were invited to the Klusendorfs for a swim in their community pool and hamburgers and hot dogs. You can never have enough hamburgers. I just saying. Especially when they're grilled. The younger kids swam and the older kids and adults talked and played a card game we just discovered. It's called Rage, which makes it sound a little bit like some demented drive-by shooter's game, but it's not. It's kind of a cross between Uno and Spades. A lot of fun with a lot of different levels of play.

Tomorrow, we'll be off and running again.