Writing about the day to day mysteries of life.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Leisure Studies and Irrational Fears

Bachelor's Degree in Leisure Studies

More and more today, leisure plays an important role in all of our lives. A Bachelor's Degree in Leisure Studies provides students with an opportunity to study the phenomenon of leisure in our society. A Leisure Studies Degree Program includes courses that will instruct students to use free time in a productive manner and to professionally prepare individuals to help others improve their quality of life through leisure activities.

What is a Bachelor's in Leisure Studies?

One thing that attracts many students to a BA in Leisure Studies is the adaptability and versatility of what such a degree prepares students for. A Bachelor's in Leisure Studies could cover topics from National Park Recreation to Sports Franchise Management to Recreational Therapy. Everyone has their own pastimes and leisure activities; a BA in Leisure Studies formalizes the study of these human behaviors.

Yes, this is for real!  Think I would qualify for independent study?  This degree has to be funded by the NFL or Anheiser Busch.   I wonder how many Leisure Managers have really been hired by the National Parks Service?  Do prospective employers laugh in their face.  Has anyone met anyone with this as their major?  

It is easy to forget as an adult that childhood is filled with all sorts of irrational fears.  I was terrified of Charles Manson, Ted Bundy and scary movies of any kind (actually still am).  I was afraid of snakes in water, botulism and putting my feet on the floor after dark - I never got up to pee.    I was reminded of all this by the kids.  Ned couldn't fall asleep last night, due to worrying about Big Foot taking him and the cat.  I asked him why Big Foot would want the cat, but he isn't very clear on this.  Today, Ellen was talking about making someone drop into a dunking booth or tank.  Ian was horrified, because it would be full of pirhanas.  He informed us they are often full of them and people get eaten.  Hmmmm?  Ellen is afraid of all sorts of things and we have to have her door closed at the exact same place every night.   I have found it is almost impossible to predict what the kids have on their minds.  

We went and saw "Toy Story 3", what a well-made movie!  I have to say that I cried at the end, no spoilers from me.   I wish all the movies were that good.  It has a great story and characters and didn't rely on the crass jokes that kid's movies use routinely.  It was just an all-around wonderful movie.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mosaics and the June Quilt

For awhile yesterday the kids were quiet.  When I called up to see what they were doing, they replied "mosaics."  This is a kit with a picture on it and you stick little foam squares to the corresponding colors.  Seemingly harmless enough - Ned, of course, with help from Ellen.   As you can imagine, the house has these little squares everywhere. Skinny little boy back does not look good with a tattoo!

I worked on and finished my June quilt square - whoohoo!  I had decided on a lemonade theme last week.  We have been drinking a lot of homemade lemon and limeade, very refreshing on these hot days.  I received a Starbuck's gift card at the end of the school year and took the kids for treats on Sunday.  The window of Starbucks is a glass with ice, strawberries and mint tumbling in, I knew that is what I wanted to do.  Here it is!  

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mixellaneous and Nedscapades

Hurt No Living Thing
Hurt no living thing
Ladybird nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper, so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat,
Nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep
-Christina Rossetti

I made a video of Ned reciting this poem, and I don't know how to put it on the post.  This poem fits Ned to a tee with his love of nature.  I will truthfully say that he really tries to hurt no living creatures, except me.  I really think he is trying to do me in.

Today he asked if he could swim and I said yes but he had to wait five minutes.  I am not feeling well and wanted to change out of a sweater and pants to sit by the pool.  I came downstairs and could tell he was not in the house, he is usually really good about this.  I went out to the pool and only saw the raft.  Right next to the raft and almost under it I saw this little white head floating in the water.  No movement at all.  I was on the edge just getting ready to dive in when he pops up and shouts out BOO!  I was so mad!  I was so relieved!  I was so mad!  I didn't yell, but really let him have it and made him apologize to me.  When we came in, I explained why that was so wrong.  That kid!

Ellen received a save-the-date package for a Bar Mitzvah in NOV.  It is quite fascinating to book this far in advance.  It makes me wonder how many Bar Mitzvahs she is going to be invited to this year.  The "card" is so much a thirteen year old boy sense of humor.  I have been listening to whoopeeing all afternoon.

When Teri came and stayed with us one time, she did something I would never do in a million years.  I wish she would come again and do the project all over.  She gathered all the un-sharpened pencils and sharpened them.  I am now using pencils with no points, because of course they have not been sharpened since then.  She patiently sat and sharpened pencil after pencil, I need a smidge of this patience, at least enough to sharpen the two dull pencils sitting next me.

The kids and I always discuss what we do if we win the lottery, since we rarely play our odds are even slimmer.  We have been keeping a list and I decided it is truly uninspired.   We need to think bigger.

Lottery List
go to Disneyworld, every conversation starts with this one
new carpet in the family room
give 1/2 to Teri, according to Teri
buy a Volkswagon Beetle
buy a beach house
open a quilt store

I had a True Blood party last Sunday night for the season premier.  I read that five million people watched it.  It is a funny, violent, foul-mouthed, raunchy show.  It is what Twin Peaks would be if it had been made now and on cable.  Here is a picture of dessert and wine.  Notice the bleeding heart plant in the background, Maddy had fun picking that out with me.

Today is a couch day, so this is what I have looked up on the internet. Having all this information at your fingertips is staggering if you really think about it. Not just information, but up-to-date information. Of course I remember very little.  Here is the list:  quolls, numbats, poisonous cane frogs, yapok, Lisa Bonet/Lilakoi Moon, Keren Woodard, Andrew Ridgely, deep-friend pickles, simple syrup, right/wing left wing origination, Dorothy Parker, leopard moths and the Royal Ascot- fascinators, royal weddings.  

Ellen and I were listening to the radio and the host was asking "what do you do first thing in the morning?"  Ellen shouts out, "that is dumb, of course, I open my eyes first."  Well yeah, duh!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oscillations and Cardinals

I got some new sod over the repaired septic tank.  The yard guy admonished me to water religiously, he has even checked in on me.  I put out the the only sprinkler I have, the kind that goes chechechechechhhhhh.  I have cheched the house, the driveway, flooded a portion of the yard, but not really watered the sod area.  I seem to be sprinkler challenged.  Yesterday at Target, I bought one of the oscillating sprinklers and dratted if I can get it to oscillate.  It just waters in an arc, which is better than the other sprinkler.  I want it to oscillate only because it says it will. 

There has been a cardinal playing in the sprinkler for the last few days.  I think it is the mate to the crazy window-banging cardinal that is driving me mad.  I went out to take a picture and of course he wasn't out there.  This time I am going to la-di-da announce that I am just moving the sprinkler, but have the camera hidden.  That way I will catch him unawares and get a truly spectacular picture.  I can hear him trilling out there, I am off!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Changing Five to One

I am changing my five column slightly.  On Monday I start a new dose of chemo and I don't know how I am going to feel.  Past indicators may mean I am wiped out.  I know I won't have five "interesting" things to list.  I am just going to list one daily accomplishment.  I use the word accomplishment loosely, often doing a load of laundry is accomplishment.

Several blogs I read have fun posts, that show what is on their design wall every Wednesday, or new projects on Thursday, etc.  I wish I could do that.  I have had the same project on my design wall for at least six weeks.  I worked on it for a few minutes this morning. I realize my June quilt will be coming due soon and once again I have no ideas.  Ellen suggested Dutch Wonderland, which is a June highlight, but not inspiring me to creativity.  I may have just gotten inspired......... by my glass of lemonade!

The Cloud AtlasI just finished reading "Cloud Atlas" and overall liked it, but found it confusingly odd.  It was to have the element of mystical, but I felt it was used at times of transition.  The story was compelling, but didn't flow well.

I am now reading John Irving's book "Last Night in Twisted River".  I hope it is good, his last three books have been stinky.   I am also still reading "The Lacuna".  I like the book and love Barbara Kingsolver, but it just isn't riveting.  I can put it down, without a desire to pick it back up.  I  know I will finish, I just don't know when.   My next book purchase will by "Silo" by Leif Peterson.  He is a friend from college and I really enjoyed his first two books, "Catherine Wheels" and "Normal Like Us".
Silo: Samantha Riley Saves the Planet (Volume 1)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Snack Bar Points

My greatest invention has been "snack bar points". SBP's.  For all good deeds, good behavior and general helpfulness the kids get points to buy treats at the pool. Man-oh-man have they been good.  Ellen got points today and said, "yes, now I have enough to get a cheeseburger." 

When I was a girl we belonged to a club and the highlight was the snack bar.  The snack bar at Paradise Valley made milk shakes.  I remember sitting with friends discussing the latest episodes of the Brady Bunch as we sipped our shakes.  When we had a "fancy" family dinner in the clubhouse, we could have orange juice mixed with sprite.  I always ordered shrimp.  Shrimp was the ultimate fancy food, just under lobster, which we were not allowed to order.  I had lobster once on a birthday, very special. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lost Dog and World Cup Soccer

I spent two hours this morning wandering the neighborhood looking for Riley.  The gate was wide open and no dog to be found.   He is totally deaf, so it does no good to yell. I am hoping that I don't have poison ivy or ticks.  I was getting quite frantic, whattayano, there he was standing at the gate.  He wasn't chuffing, so I am wondering if I somehow overlooked him the first time through the yard. 

I was listening to misc. news about the World Cup and realized once again how ignorant I am about geography.  Lately the kids have been cracking each other with "jabuti" and I kept getting mad at them.  I just figured they were doing urban potty talk of some sort to make me crazy.  In fact there is a country named Jabuti/Jabuuti/Djibouti in Africa.  There is also a turtle with the same name-FYI.  A few weeks ago a quilting friend from South Africa said she was going to cheer for Jabuti, I thought she also was joking around.   I should have taken the time to clarify this point.  I have to say, Jabuti just lends itself well to the same kind of ridicule that Uranus gets. 

I hung another "bundle" and couldn't get the kids interested in making anymore.  I had to clean up all the junk so we could use the kitchen table for eating a meal (one of my sumptuous, slavish feasts).  They aren't bored enough with summer to be excited about crafts with Mom - YET!  I am persistent....... or nagging depending on who you ask. I can't really blame them for not being interested in my projects, they have been having a great time swimming, playing lacrosse, baseball and throwing water balloons.  When Ellen was three she would always say, "ahh, this is the life."  She was right about that.

I LOVE simple syrup.  I am off to make a home-made glass of lemonade with lots of ice and mint from the yard.  For True Blood tomorrow night I will be making black cherry mojitos (reminds me of Vegas and girl friends), so come on by for a bite!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fourteen Men and an In-between week

In case anyone thought my life was boring, I wanted to let you know that today I showered with fourteen men............and a wookie.  "Laugh it up fuzzball." 

One of my favorite noises is the sound of Legos being shuffled around in a big box.  Ian and Ned have been doing a lot of Legos, since summer vacation has started.  Legos make a distinct noise as you move the bottom pieces up to the top.  The little accent pieces are always on the bottom.  Ian has been pulling up instructions from the internet and building complicated pieces.  He has to sift through all the parts to find just the exact piece, it really requires a lot of patience.  I think Legos might be my favorite kid (and grown-up) toy.

This week is a lazy week.  I am somewhat in-between projects.  I am somewhat in-between books.  We all seem to be in-between getting out of school mode and into summer mode.  Yesterday, we had a perfect day at Dutch Wonderland.  Today we are all just hanging.  My neighbors brought over chocolate chip cookie dough and  made cookies.  I have the best neighbors.  We are lazy daisies and it feels good.  I am going to hang my next "bundle" when I get up enough steam to drag out the ladder.  I really need to vacuum, large clumps of fur are every where.  I am sitting out by the pool drinking a Diet Coke, tipping the scale closer and closer to full-on summer relaxation.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Minimalism and Me

Just out of college I got a job with a Knoll dealer in San Francisco.  I loved learning about design, furniture, textiles and art.  I was drawn to modernism and minimalism.  I loved the ideas of the Bauhaus movement and Phillip Johnson.  The clean lines and  strategic placement of one piece of furniture was quite appealing.   I live in a modern house, but have always wished for a wrap-around porch with a big swing. 

In my heart of hearts, I am far from a minimalist.  I love clutter, cutesy little items and just generally stuff.  I was fooling myself into being something I am not.  I am most comfortable surrounded by overstuffed chairs, full bookcases, home-made knick-knacks, books - lots of books, crammed closets and cabinets, blankets and towels, overflowing junk drawers and crowded desks, brightly colored pillows, endless Christmas decorations, spice jars, photos and frames, art on walls and craft supplies.  I love the promise of what might be in a closed container. 

Being a clutteraholic is made easier with children, stuff randomly appears.  It is fun to get out a wine glass and have a Lego arm inside of it.  We have a lot of one-armed Lego Mans, remember, Darth Vader cuts off Luke's arm? The clutter is monumental right now, because the kids have brought all of their stuff home from school.  I have piles of books, paper, pencils, socks, art projects, back packs and certificates abandoned for summer all over the kitchen and diningroom.  Every last item is a treasure!  So I will sift through it and jam into closets and the back room.  The beauty of all this junk is I can pull it out on a rainy day and the kids will spend hours lining up ceramic skunks. 

The burden of having only one of each thing weighs on my mind.  If I have four plastic schlocky bowls......then who cares if one breaks? Who cares if one of the bowls is taken outside to make a worm habitat?  Who cares if one is filled with Cheetohs and taken to a barbecue, never to return again?  Buying a bulk box of tape allowed Ian to use an entire roll making a paper football/hockey/lacrosse field.  The possibilities are endless.  I have shoved my appreciation for clean lines into a back cupboard, sometime I will find it again.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Difference Between Cats and Dogs

I hit the publish button too quickly.  I wanted to discuss the cat.  I had to take him to the vet yesterday.  Last week I thought I had a spot of ringworm, so I took the cat to the vet.  The cat does not have ringworm (who knows what I had), so I took him there for no reason.  Except, there is always a reason when you are actually at the vet, of course I was behind on his shots.  He also should get his teeth brushed.  It is no coincidence the word cat is in catastrophic.  No way in hell am I brushing the cat's teeth, I need all my fingers.  I don't actually give a rodent's behind that he has plaque, I have enough trouble getting the kids to brush.

You take a dog to the vet and he has general anxiety.  He pees on the floor, looks frantically everywhere to run and hide, is generally confused.  The dog's brain doesn't really make the leap that hey the person with me, brought me here.  A cat on the other hand, yowls cat expletives at the top of it's lungs at you.  I think my cat may have damaged his vocal cords and my ear-drums.  The entire time he is mad, it is spent looking directly at me.  A cat KNOWS you are the ^%$^&*(*^%%$ imbecile that brought him to the vet - he knows.  I got a beady-eyed stare for two hours straight.  He didn't pee on the floor at the vet, he peed on the floor at home.  The gray flash has definitely been giving me the cold-shoulder today!

Combination Plate and Questionable Art

I had insomnia the other night.  It is because I haven't turned on the air-conditioning yet and it is hot.  I am still paying off the oil from this crazy winter and thought I could prolong paying an energy bill.  Alas, we are all reliant on the gas.  Back on topic, I decided my life is like a combination plate.  I love to go out for mexican food, because mexican restaurants always have a combination plate. All that good food is heaped on your plate.  All the varieties of taste and color, it is a party on a plate.  You take the good with bad, often I am over-full or have indigestion.  It is worth it, especially when you throw in the sopapillas!  My life is crowded, loud, busy, messy and often over-full, but like that combination plate nothing is better.  I had meaner thoughts - that someone around me chose to go with a side of tacos.  Now, that is a foolish decision, because you sit there all evening wishing you had ordered the combo. Boring!!

I had an eventful day planned, but have spent it at home with a barfing Ned.  He puked all over the bus, so I drove out and got him.  I did paper work and thought I was getting organized.  Instead, I shredded the wrong pile of papers, but didn't realize it until my bonus check was in tiny pieces.  Nothing like making more work.  I did clean out the refrigerator, a job I had definitely put off too long. 

I have been interested in a project that I saw in the May/June issue of "Cloth, Paper, Scissors", it is called disCO - disintegration collaberation.  The artist is Seth Apter and he is interested in "the effects of age and time on man-made objects."  I made a hanging piece of "art " out in the yard.  I will photograph it through the seasons, to see how it falls apart and looks in different weather.  Ned is not feeling up to doing a project with me, he is on the couch.  I will present Ellen and Ian with the idea when they get home.  Here is a picture of my project.  I want our pieces to hang and be visible from the house.  Seth used a variety of papers and twine, I have millions of fabric scraps at my disposal.  I love color, so mine is more cheesy. 

I am going to put in a plug for "Cloth Paper Scissors" and "Quilting Arts".  These are excellent magazines for a range of art ideas.  I really enjoy my subscriptions!