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Archive for January, 2008

Movies

This was a movie weekend. We spent yesterday evening and this afternoon and evening watching the movies from NetFlix that had accumulated. I like the whole NetFlix concept. They arrive fast and easy, in the mail. With a queue established, I only have to update it once in awhile. It is sooo easy.

With the writer’s strike, we’re getting tired of reruns on TV. However, we’ve also discovered some other programs, other than the ones we usually watch. (We’re not even adverse to turning it off, putting on music and reading.) Several months ago we decided to downgrade our Comcast service. There wasn’t much reason to keep the expensive channels, since they were the ones we watched the least. However, I miss the weather channel the most, yet, I can always go to the computer to check that. I realized one day at work we were talking about the people on the Weather Channel as if we knew them. “Evelyn Brown is back from her maternity leave.” “Cheryl Lemke has a new hairstyle.” A soap opera without the silly drama. It is like having friends come in to your house to discuss the weather. After all, weather is important.

By the same token, we like to go to the theatre to see films too. Right now there are several that we’d like to see. It’s just a matter of getting up and going. We can even go during a weekday afternoon, which is fun. It’s still feels a bit like playing hooky. Sitting there with the huge screen munching popcorn is great too. I can’t drink those huge sodas they want to sell you. I would miss part of the movie running to the restroom.

I’ve also converted Bruce into staying and watching the credits. I’m often interested in where films were made. Did you know that in “Braveheart” Scotland was played by Ireland? I am also amazed at how many people it takes to produce a film. Dozens and dozens!

When I was growing up in Illinois in a small town during the 50s, the movie theatre was the place to be on Saturday afternoons. If mom gave me a quarter, it cost 18 cents for the ticket, which left 5 cents for a sack of popcorn and two cents for two licorice sticks. Boy, snacks and a newsreel, a cartoon and previews and even a “short” (like a cliffhanger adventure series) then the feature film. What a bargain! I was out of mom’s hair all afternoon. I’m sure she considered it money well spent.

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Today as I drove down the street I noticed a car with this written on the back windshield: “Mom ur the best”. I don’t text message but I assume this comes from that format. My first thought was “Oh no, another reason for people to screw up words.” There are plenty of people who still don’t know the difference between you are and you’re as its contraction. Over and over, I see sentences like “Your invited to a party.” Nope — You are/you’re invited to said party. Your is a possessive as in “Your car has a flat tire.”

Another one is its versus it’s. Pronouns do not — I repeat — do not ever, ever use apostrophes to make possessives, only nouns do. “The printer has used up its ink.” It’s means it is as in “It’s going to rain.” Again, it’s a contraction. (Did you get that?) Remember you don’t say or write his’s or her’s or their’s. They are all pronouns. Therefore, for the same reason you don’t write it’s and expect it to be a possessive. Which way in a sentence does it make sense? Say it to yourself. That’s the test.

While I’m on my soapbox, between you and me, here’s another one. Between is a preposition. Between you and me is a prepositional phrase. Always has been, always will be. Prepositional phrases can come at the beginning, middle or end of a sentence. They modify. That’s their job. They are not the main subject; they don’t contain the main subject. Therefore, don’t say ever — ever — “Between you and I, we aren’t that far away.” We is the main subject, aren’t is the main verb. The object of a preposition is and always be in the objective case. I is subjective, it does the action. Me is objective, it receives the action as in “Give it to me.” You don’t give it to I. Right? Just because that phrase is at the beginning of the sentence, it is and always will be prepositional.

People hear someone like national newcasters, say it wrong. Then, they are copied because we think they surely know the correct way. The error is perpetuated. So when Katie Couric says “Between you and I, we should switch places” know that is not correct. (Who would want to change places with her anyway? smile. . . )

Last month I happened to look at the want ads. There were six ads for German shepherd puppies. That breed herded sheep, right? Only two of the six spelled shepherd correctly. The blood bank here in Augusta is Shepeard Blood Center. It’s named after someone. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen that name used for the occupation or the dog breed. Shepeard is not shepherd. I would be reluctant to buy a dog from someone who couldn’t even spell the dog’s breed correctly. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people see the want ads. Yikes!

One day Bruce and I saw this message on the door of a Waffle House. “Your invitated to a party!” Huh? But, if you attend a gathering at my house, “You’re invited to a party!” Hope you have a good time.

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You’ve probably already experienced this. You just didn’t know it had a name! This is what Bruce named what happened to us earlier this year.

Last September I said, “Let’s paint the master bedroom.” I was tired of the plain white walls and the ivy wallpaper border. Time for a change. I had thought long and hard about a new color. Something more contemporary and darker. Mocha is what I call the new color. It looked great after two coats. However, the dark stained, sagging bi-fold closet doors looked even worse next to the new walls. So Bruce changed them to white solid bi-fold doors. Next to them, the dark stained hollow core bedroom door was awful as was the bedroom door that led to the master bath; out they went, to be replaced by solid white doors. But, of course, there are two doors in the bath, next to two other doors as they go down the hall. Five doors later, they looked wonderful. With those white doors, Bruce decided white crown molding would be perfect. Up it went. By now, we had to re-do the master bath. Down came the very difficult would-it-ever-come-off wallpaper. Out with the old linoleum. We also painted the bathroom mocha and added white crown molding to match the bedroom. The new floor took professionals two days to fix and finish. But, it was gorgeous. Whew!

Okay, while we were at it, and the house was torn up anyway, the 28 year old carpet in the living and dining rooms really needed to go. So we picked out new carpet and had slate tile put down by the front door and the fireplace.

Six weeks later we finally finished. The house looks great — nicely rejuvenated. Bruce did ask that we not watch any HGTV for awhile. Those fix-ups take only 30 minutes, don’t they?

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Shopping, Rain and Pets

Last night the weatherman said it might snow today. Because that is so rare here, we’ve been sitting here waiting, almost. It’s been raining all day, a cold, drippy day. The pets are rather put out on rainy days. The cats go from door to door, hoping it’s not raining at one of them. They want to go out, thank you. It should not be raining! It messes up their fur. They spent a long time getting that fur just right!

We discovered that our dog, Ginger, who acts like rain might actually melt her fur, slipped up. Yesterday I bought her a new leash with matching harness, a snappy red color. She thought she was so important that a walk, in the rain, was no problem. She strolled and sniffed and thoroughly enjoyed a trip down and back to the mailbox. However, to go out to potty is different. She gives us that look, as if to say, “Excuse me, are you going to hold an umbrella over me?” We also found out she doesn’t pull while she’s wearing the harness. It’s all in the look, I guess. Important looking dogs are well-behaved.

I also got her a new bed. The old one, a basket type, didn’t look comfy even for a dog. Since we’re been finding her solidly snoozing while up on our bed, right smack on the pillows, I got her a nice fluffy bed, essentially a big pillow. Wow! Again, a successful purchase. She dove right in and loved it. At one point I looked over and she was on her back, all four legs straight up in the air. One happy dog.

While at the pet store, I also picked up a squeaky toy for her. It’s a ball with feet, that makes a loud squeak when squeezed. With this item, Ginger was totally unimpressed. She gave us a look that said, “Huh? I’m supposed to do what?” The orange ball thing is in the corner waiting until David and Darlene come next and bring Koga. He is one ball-chasing long-legged dog who will appreciate its fine play-filled attributes. No doubt Ginger will wear her new harness and sit sedately and watch.

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Coffee Time

We are a two coffee pot family now. It seems weird, however, we really needed more than one. Two years ago my cardiologist said I had to give up caffeine. I hate to admit it, but as soon as I did, I started feeling better. I love coffee so much I have a pot with a timer. I want a cup in the morning as soon as my feet hit the floor. Bruce, good guy that he is, dutifully drank the decaf until recently. We dug out the small 4 cup travel pot we have and I fixed two kinds. However, finally at Christmas when the weather got cold I wanted more than two mugs a day. So Bruce bought another pot — decaf in the white pot, caffeinated in the black. Bruce is even more of a coffee-holic than I am. We keep a small jar of instant in the glove box of the car for him for those times when we’re “stranded” without a pot in sight. A cup of hot water and he’s good to go again.

As much as the taste, I think the smell of coffee is one of the main attractions. When I was still teaching, Friday was coffee day for my seniors. We called it a “senior privilege.” It was a great motivator — they guarded it well. In a school with grades 6 though 12, it was something they got to do that the younger students didn’t.

I had two big 30 cup pots with hot water and they had their choice of hot chocolate, mocha, coffee or tea. I bought the supplies and they put 35 cents in the coffee kitty for each cup to cover the cost. Definitely a bargain. It was simple and really not much work. I set it up in the morning; they took turns cleaning up. I think the best part was seeing their faces light up with smiles when they came down the hall and smelled the aroma. “Oh, yeah, it’s coffee day!” Whatever was wrong in their lives seemed to disappear as soon as their noses hit the coffee zone. They would prepare the beverage of their choice, and when everyone was settled down, I proceeded with the lesson of the day.

The first time I walked into Barnes and Noble, I could see books and smell coffee. Oh yeah. . . . It does not get any better than that. I knew I’d be a regular visitor.

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Miss Cellaneous

When the Big Lots circular is the most interesting item in the mail, you know it will be a slow day. Thus, it was also a good day to clear 500 messages from the in-box on my email.

Also, it is cold again. Of course, it is winter, however, since we have had pleasant weather most of the last two months, we’ve come almost not to expect it. I even had to cover the pansies in the porch boxes. The other day, I said to Bruce, when I noticed the number of birds in our yard , “I thought birds were supposed to go south in the winter.” His reply was, “Kathy, this is south.” Duh . . . I knew that.

Earlier today I turned on the TV to find some “late breaking news” release about Brittany Spears. I’m going on record to say I care about her as much as she cares about me. Name recognition? Is that why she is so important? Actually she isn’t. The media creates this interest by repeating it over and over and pretends that the vast majority of the general public really, really want to know. I think I’m an average person and I don’t care. Neither did I want to know anything about Anna Nicole Smith. For heavens sake, she didn’t even know who fathered her baby! Just knowing that fact, is way more than I wished to know, but couldn’t avoid. The news media puts this nonsense in front of us every time we turn around. Other than totally avoid all the news channels, I can only complain and wish and hope they would get over their adolescent fascination with celebrities. I don’t want to know about their immoral lives. It’s sleazy. Come on, grow up, news media. Put on your big boy pants and be responsible. Then your profession might be admired again. Our news should be objective information, not embarrassment.

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Very Classy

The other day I mentioned how I place importance on classes. It’s my teacher mentality and all that. Classes paved my way to career success, so I think of them quite highly.

I am currently taking a yoga class that meets three times a week and two separate American Sign Language classes. Both are activities I’ve wanted to do for some time. So even now, in my retirement, I spend 6 hours a week as a student. Actually, there’s not much difference between teacher and student. It only determines which side of the desk one sits on. With these particular classes, however, no one sits at a desk.

Yoga promotes balance and flexibility, stretching muscles. The older and more arthritic I get, the more I need that. Yes, it’s “work” in one sense, but boy, oh boy, it feels good. It goes beyond exercise. It’s a discipline that I obviously need. I can’t seem to keep my mouth closed when it comes to the goodies so the least I can do is exercise. With the exercise bike, if I get on it first thing in the morning, I haven’t yet thought of any dumb reason to skip it.

Learning sign language is, indeed, learning a new language. It’s not easy. Although, many of the signs are synonyms for one another, there’s A LOT of them. A LOT. Many are common sense. Many are not. Actually, Amercian Sign Language evolved from French Sign Language which might explain some things. For example, Europeans count to three using the thumb and the first two fingers, not the three middle fingers. The signs for x and r seem backwards to me; we’ll blame the French.

My mother and her father and one of her brothers were deaf — hard-of-hearing is what they called it — a euphemism for not totally deaf. Mother missed a lot of information because she ignored many visual clues. That was just part of her own personality. I realized that later in life when I worked for a deaf principal, had several students who were deaf. They functioned well because they paid attention to the visual. My student, Tom, in Hill City watched my face intently. I found I became more facially expressive when I talked to him. I also always got his attention before I talked. I am still astonished by people who talk to the back of a deaf person’s head. (People used to do that to my mother and it made me angry. That’s not playing fair.) My student at Davidson would remind me, “Mrs. Slusher, sit on this side and talk to my good ear.” Lehman was a charmer; most days I wanted to give him a hug. It also didn’t hurt that he reminded me a bit of my David. It was something about his smile. . . .

My point is: yes, we can learn without a class. Reading books are a good example. (Bruce learned to coach soccer after reading a book from the library.) So is a good mentor who simply show and guides. (I needed to watch someone when I learned to knit and crochet.) However, a class is a structured discipline and — Kathy’s favorite adage — we value what we pay for, both in time and money.

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