Sunday, February 22, 2009

Big Week at the Snail Household...

What a week it has been at the Snail household! First of all, my younger daughter had two award ceremonies this past week. The first was Thursday night, when her middle school gave out sports awards for the all of the fall sport athletes. Youngest played soccer this year and even though her team won only one game (a forfeit!), and only scored one goal all season, they had the most spirit of any team there. I'm telling you - they cheered loud and enthusiastically for all the other athletes and still had lots left for each other. She proudly accepted her very first letter,pin, service bar and certificate. They don't actually have Letterman's sweaters/jackets these days - I guess they use hoodies now to display these things. Oh, and there was ice-cream. And cookies. And whipped cream, cherries, jimmies, chocolate sauce, etc....

The second award came Saturday at the library. The local reading council had a county-wide contest for creative writing and she placed second out of all the middle-school entries. Need I tell you how proud she was to know that she (a mere sixth grader) beat out many seventh and eighth graders? She wrote an action adventure story befitting Indiana Jones. Her story is about cats with laser swords that go to a temple (hidden in a couch) to retrieve the "Golden Catnip". This time she got to read her story aloud, meet a local author and along with her certificate she also got $30.00. Yeah. And snacks/drinks after. What could be better? Oh, and she gets to attend a workshop next weekend with the local author to learn more about writing. That's what. Recognition, honor, food, la vida loca!

Now, the other thing that happened at the Snail household involves my older daughter. You see, she now has an OFFICIAL BOYFRIEND!!! Yes - can you feel the excitement? Did you jump up and down and scream!? You can tell it's official because on Facebook she and the boyfriend's status has changed from single to ...not.... So of course all her friends have been texting all day to say that they saw her new status on Facebook. Let the high pitched squealing begin!

I've tried for a while (she's a junior this year) to understand the current state of affairs of teenage dating. It's not called 'going steady' anymore. First, when two young people are interested in each other they 'talk'. 'Talking' starts with your mutual friends asking each of you if you are interested in 'talking'. Then it moves on to actual talking - via phone, Facebook, texting or even (gasp!) in person! Sometimes people who are talking have lunch together, hang out with friends and may even go on a date or two. There seems to be a lot of 'talking' but so far not much 'steady' dating. Until now. So, while she has 'talked' and dated during high school, this is her first actual, official boyfriend.

I got to meet the not-yet-boyfriend Thursday night. He's a nice kid - tall, smart, polite, good looking. Seems he and my eldest wanted to go watch a lacrosse game. As fate would have it, that was also her younger sister's sports award ceremony and she didn't want to miss that. I suggested they meet up after. Then (amazingly) he offered to come to the sports awards . Which he did -without even knowing there would be ice-cream. He came and sat with us and cheered when younger was called up to the podium. Need I tell you he earned some points with all of us by doing that. You see, my younger daughter is a good judge of character. She has a pretty good feel for people. When my older daughter has friends over, the youngest sizes them up pretty quickly. If she doesn't like you, you're probably not going to last. So I jokingly tell my eldest that if a friend can pass the sister test it's all good.

So that's it. Two awards and an 'official boyfriend'. Does it get more exciting than that?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

100 Things for Your Bucket List

You may have seen the movie, "The Bucket List" - a movie about a couple of guys (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman) who set out to complete a list of things they want to do before they kick the bucket. If you haven't I suggest you do because it was funny and good. I assume the movie was the inspiration for the following meme, which has been seen out and about on the internet. Feel free to copy this list, highlight the items you've completed and add/delete comments where appropriate.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii (want to)
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Bathed in a river (bathed as in bathing suit or bath???)
7. Been to the Taj Mahal (want to)
8. Walked on a glacier in Alaska (definitely want to)
9. Caught and held a snake
10. Spoke in front of a big crowd (it wasn't 1000's...)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Had a whirlwind love affair that broke your heart
13. Found an arrowhead or fossil
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Rescued an animal
16. Ate sweet breads, glands or tripe (in menudo)
17. Seen Mount Rushmore in person (want to)
18. Grown your own vegetables (they started growing...)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (want to)
20. Slept on an overnight train (rode an old steam train in Colorado...)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hiked to base camp on Mt. Everest
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Watched an animal being born
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Learned a foreign language (not too fluently)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (would love to)
29. Seen a total eclipse (partial eclipse)
30. Stayed up for more than 24 hours (not if I can help it)
31. Trained a dog to do cool tricks
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (want to)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors ( far back are we talking?)
35. Seen an Amish community (want to)
36. Can drive a stick shift car
37. Won over $1000 in a raffle or lottery (want to so I can do some of these other things!)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (want to)
39. Gone rock climbing (and repelled over the cliff)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David (Saw a reproduction...)
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt (want to)
43. Been serenaded
44. Visited Africa (want to)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Broke a bone (only a toe bone, but I think that counts)
47. Started your own business (very small and short lived)
48. Quit a job because you were totally unhappy
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person (want to)
50. Been to the Eiffel Tower (want to)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain passionately
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in movie
55. Been in a movie (I suppose home movies don't count...)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China (want to)
57. Joined a prayer group
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia (want to)
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (Sold Camp Fire Girl Candy)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Received flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving (not likely, but I did want to hang-glide when I was younger)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter (pretty sure this would make me sick...)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square (driven through...)
74. Toured the Everglades (driven around south Florida but not actually toured)
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the changing of the guards in London (want to)
77. Broken something extremely expensive (I hope not ever!)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person(and camped under the stars there)
80. Published a book (want to...better get busy though, eh?)
81. Visited the Vatican (want to)
82. Got a tattoo
83. Been to a coffee shop in Amsterdam (want to)
84. Seen the aurora borealis in person (we could sometimes see the northern lights in Colorado when I was a kid- or did I imagine this?)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (catching a fish counts, but I didn't gut it)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Toured the UN
95. Hiked to Machu Picchu (want to)
96. Swam in the Indian Ocean
97. Conversed with someone when neither of you spoke each others language
98. Dirty danced
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Acted in a play

I don't know about you, but it looks like I've got a lot to do! I may have to live a really long time...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kitty Fix

It had to happen sooner or later, although I was hoping to avoid it completely. Alas, my little cat, Rafik, went into heat a couple weeks back and what an experience that was! You haven't lived until you've experienced a cat in heat. I had hoped to avoid this by having her fixed before she reached this point of maturity, as I had our first cat. Looks like I waited just a bit too long this time. Should have stuck with January like I originally intended.

Now Rafik is normally quite an affectionate kitty, but she was tarting herself out like nobody's business! She was rolling around on the floor in a come-hither fashion, making 'sexy-cat' sounds for our older cat(also female) and for us. She purred and meowed and carried on, crying pathetically at night. I actually felt somewhat sorry for her as she seemed confused by her own behavior. She just knew that she really needed something from someone around here and she couldn't figure out what 'it' was or understand why we were all avoiding her. It was pathetic, really! Thankfully the weather was quite cold at the time so she wasn't able to spend time out on the balcony. I don't even want to think about how much worse this would have been if male cats had started prowling around. She was quite good with her seductive maneuvering and I'm sure no male cat could have refused her charms!

As soon as I realized what her crying in the night and super-friendly behavior were all about (it may have taken ten minutes), I called the vet and made an appointment to have her girly parts removed. They quoted me an exorbitant price, told me her current condition could last up to 3 weeks, and then set an appointment for a couple of weeks out. I knew I couldn't stand her randy behavior that long so I called around and discovered Animal Aid, a local shelter that will provide the procedure for a lot less money and, equally important, could take her in a couple of days.

We got up on the appointed morning and she went happily into the carrier, apparently not remembering any previous trip in it. Once we got in the car and started driving she was less happy, and when we arrived at the vet she became most anxious, due to several dogs in the waiting room. Poor baby. When I went to pick her up later that day she looked like hell! Still drugged and horrified (her - not me), we made our way home where she crept out of the crate and under the bed. It took some time and coaxing to get her to come out, but eventually she did.

By the next day you would never have guessed anything bad had occurred. She was jumping up on the furniture and wandering around seemingly pain free. Even better, she hasn't chewed or bothered with her stitched area at all. Wouldn't it be nice to bounce back like that after surgery? She will go back next week for stitch removal and in the mean time she is back to her affectionate (but not randy)self!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Happy Valentine's Day!

I really couldn't let the week pass without one final post about valentines, and nothing says Valentines Day like cherubs! Although, I'm not really sure just why naked, winged babies constitute the epitome of love. Hmmmm. Ok, having wings would be cool. Babies can be really cute and loveable. Going naked...well, that could be a good thing or a bad thing! But put it all togther and this is what you get:

Ok, so they aren't all naked...these little sweeties have on robes....and check out the musical ability!

Butterfly wings - now that's stylish!

And why settle for one cupid when you can have four to multiply the love?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Hey Valentine! Be Mine!

Today children all across the country will take valentines to school for their classmates. Many will include candy - especially the quintessential conversation hearts. No matter how valentines change over the years those pastel conversation hearts have remained a popular treat. Below you'll find some sweet treats for you, my readers:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sweet Sentiments

I just love an old fashioned Valentine, don't you? The artwork, the sentiment, the beautiful lettering. Flowers and birds got a lot of use in these tried but true designs.

What's sweeter than a pair of doves, dropping their love notes into a heart shaped mailbox?

What about a flower be-decked car to take your loved one for a ride?

"Peony symbol of Happiness Sublime, Wilt thou be my Valentine?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Behold, the Courtly Troubadour

Valentine's Day is coming up so I thought I'd kick off the week by paying tribute to the Troubadour, for what's Valentine's Day without a love song?

If you're like me, you probably think of a troubadour as some love-struck, renaissance warbler. There's actually a bit more to it than that, as I've discovered and will now share with you. Troubadours actually had 'rules' that governed their writings and there were many genres of songs/poems that they wrote. For example there was the:

Alba: the song of a lover as dawn approaches, often with a watchman warning of the approach of a lady's jealous husband

Canso: a love song, usually consisting of five or six stanzas with an envoi - a short stanza expressing the poet's hope that the poem may bring them some benefit (the beloved's favors, increased patronage, and so on)

Comiat: a song renouncing a lover

Enuig: a poem expressing indignation or feelings of insult

Maldit: a song complaining about a lady's behavior and character

Pastorela: the tale of the love request of a knight to a shepherdess

Salut d'amor: a love letter addressed to another, not always one's lover

Serena: the song of a lover waiting impatiently for the evening (to consummate his love)

Torneyamen: a poetical debate between three or more persons, often with a judge (like a tournament)

The song/poem could be written with religious significance, or as a political attack. The maldit and the comiat were often connected as a maldit-comiat and they could be used to attack and renounce a figure other than a lady or a lover.

Troubadours often performed at court where songs could be used not only as entertainment but also as propaganda, praising a patron, mocking enemies, encouraging wars, teaching ethics and etiquette, and maintaining religious unity.

Of course the more romantic image of a troubadour is of a young man, such as the one above, singing below the balcony of his beloved. Now here's a fellow befitting a valentine!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hey! I'm Stylish!

I was cruising along the internet (that font of all knowledge worth knowing) when I made a discovery: I'm fashionable! That's right, I'm where it's at, hip, trendy, with it. That's me. I'm no Fashionista - I'm a Recessionista! The day of the bargain hunter is here, ladies and gentlemen.

I've always loved a bargain but now getting a deal is considered chic. In fact, 'recessionista', along with 'chiconomics', ranks right up there as a new buzzword for 2009. The art of living well and looking good on the cheap is in vogue and I couldn't be happier. It's not that I don't like nice things and fashionable clothes - indeed I do. But there's something wonderful about getting what you want at a great price. If I won the lottery for example, I would still revel in getting a deal. Not that I wouldn't make some over the top purchases, but I could never give up on finding the best price.

Now, my 16 year old would never in a million years say that I'm stylish. Admittedly I could use some updating from time to time. I do try to stay 'with it' without looking like a 48 year old pretending she's 16, cause that's just plain scary. So it sure was nice to be able to inform her that her mother is trendy. Actually, I see a lot of styles today that are quite like the things I wore at her age...too bad I didn't save it all - she'd have vintage chic clothes.

Woo-hoo! Go me!! For once I'm stylish, and as my younger daughter pointed out, "There's a first time for everything!"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Art Gallery

My girls are creative in many ways. They write fabulous stories, make up songs and create some pretty imaginative works of art. Today I'm going to share with you some of their creations. Let's start with The Crab. My youngest made this when she was in 2nd grade, using styro-foam and toothpicks. She did this while patiently waiting for our food to arrive at a restaurant.

This next piece was made by my youngest about 2 years ago with found items from the junk drawer. He is a robot, and was made to assist Gerbil Thingy - her favorite beanie baby/superhero/plaything. Robot has a head/snout made from a binder clip, one foot is a key and the other is the metal spring from a clothespin. The racket-like object is one of those Easter-egg dippers that finally found a use. Put a pipe cleaner and a bit of junk in a child's hands and this is what you get.

Before you is Fred da Cactus, the newest creation of my youngest. Fred was designed to enhance her notebook, which has a clear pocket on the front where Fred resides, much to the amusement of her middle-school friends. I suspect he came to exist during a period of boredom in class. That's how it is in middle-school.

I present to you, Beavis Maximus. My eldest created this regal sculpture in honor of beloved Beavis during her first year in high school. No, I don't know why. He wasn't an assignment, just something she came up with while hanging out with a friend in the art room after hours. Love his laurel wreath...he even has tiny, little nipples... oh my! She and her friend had many a laugh over this fellow. This photo doesn't really do him justice.

This artwork I shall simply title, Flowers. Eldest created this to hang on her bedroom wall. The colors match her bedding and it's a combination of paint, glued on construction paper, markers and ink. The reverse side is a painting she made that she didn't like. Nothing like a bit of recycling, eh? Again, my photo does not really do it justice.

Last, but not least, is my eldest daughter's 3D Art. Ok, that's not really it's name so much as it's description. This piece was an actual assignment. I like the fact that I can turn this sculpture in any direction and it works! I also like the vibrant colors - most of her work is done in vivid colors.

My collection of the girl's artwork dates back to their earliest creations. I'm sure the collection will continue for as many years as I am around to display/collect/store it! I hope you have enjoyed it too.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Happy Monday

Oh how I just LOVE this song, and the video makes it even better!

It's tough to be a serious hippo...

Have a good week!