Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sad News for Children's Literature

Stan Berenstain, half of the famous husband-wife team behind the popular "Berenstain Bears" series, died over the weekend. He was 82 years old.

I grew up reading the books, and somewhere in Mom and Dad's storage room, there is a box of old "Berenstein Bears" books. I loved them growing up, and Mom loved reading them to me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Woohooo!! It's Back!!

You might recall that back in July, my beloved six-month-old Vivitar digital camera died on me--right in the middle of my friend Donna's Hen Night. Nothing I did would make the little red light turn green, and eventually, even the red light refused to shine.

At the time, Derek said, "It sounds like it had a bad motherboard in it, maybe." Considering it had always been a bit on the picky side, I was inclined to agree.

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to sending the camera off to Vivitar with a letter basically asking for free First Aid for my camera. Wasn't sure if I'd get some help or a big "Screw you, lady." in reply. But lo and behold, a few minutes ago the doorbell rang and Dad could be heard calling from downstairs, "To Megan, from Vivitar!"

Yes, my friends, my little digital camera is back. They replaced the main board (Derek gets 10 points for calling it!) and sent it back to me--with batteries! So my camera is back and working properly. Cross your fingers that the little guy continues working because it takes GREAT pictures. And I won't have to rely on one-time use cameras, or borrowing Dad's digital (which, frankly, doesn't take as great quality pics as my Vivitar).

The Picture-Takin' Fool Rises Again!!

Sunday, November 27, 2005


A few minutes ago I heard a loud crash downstairs, followed by my cat bawling hysterically.

My first thought was, "Oh dear, there goes Mom's Christmas tree..." My next thought was worry that Millie had hurt herself. Then I heard Dad exclaim, "There's a pup!!"

Turns out there was a fat little beagle on our back deck!

He gazed at us with soulful brown eyes, and wagged his tail. He didn't have a collar on but looked well-fed and happy enough. We let him do his thing and he left our deck after a few minutes.

I looked out the front window and saw a couple walking along the street. Dad went outside and indeed, they had been looking for their dog. They are visiting a neighbor and had let the little guy out to do as nature intended before he wandered off.

I'm used to seeing deer as I drive through the neighborhood, and raccoons eating from the bird feeder. I love watching the squirrels climb in their little box for peanuts. I have come to expect these things but today is perhaps the only time I'll see a Beagle on the back deck, gazing in and making Millie's tail puff up to the width of a baseball bat.

P.S. We don't have fenced in back yards up here, that's why all kinds of creatures can get right up next to our house.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Always Low Prices

and sometimes low-class.

You know, I like shopping at Wal Mart as much as the next person (I'm more of a Target gal, but I do find good deals at Wally's, too), but there are times when I wonder what the hell the leaders of this company and its stores are thinking.

Mervyn's yesterday was busy, but people were generally in good spirits, and I saw very little impatience in customers. They waited patiently in line, wished me a happy holiday season, and didn't get their panties in a wad when we ran out of the $6 flannel sheets and $12.99 Memory Foam pillows. They just accepted it as, "I wasn't here early enough," and let it go.

There is no way on God's green earth that my store would have allowed its associates to throw products in the air for the mosh pit below to wrestle for. In every way, we set up our products so that they are easily accessible, easy to find, and our aisles are wide enough that people can get through without shoving, falling, etc.

We had managers everywhere, and the head manager was pushing product out all day. There she was in her nice suit and (adorable!) pumps, pushing cartloads of product out of backstock so our customers could get the things they wanted from the ad. She was helping associates at the wrap desks (registers) and generally overseeing her store so that things ran smoothly.

I had customers tell me, "You guys are great--Wal Mart only had 10 of those laptops they advertised, and most people didn't have a chance--you have a LOT of the product you advertised."

You know, I'm not all that excited about working retail, but I am glad I work for a company that runs things with a little bit of organization and thought to how people are going to act in these situations.

Hearing the reports about some Wal Mart stores and the fights and craziness (click here for a video that makes the jaw hit the floor), I was really glad that if I had to work the retail madness of Black Friday, at least I was in a store where people weren't throwing punches and creating mosh pits.

Diary of a Shopgirl

3:00 (a.m.): Alarm goes off. Shopgirl rolls over in bed, groaning and testing her sore throat. Thanksgiving was lovely, except for this horrid cold she's got, and now she has to pay her dues.

3:20 Shopgirl climbs from the shower, grabbing the towel rack for support and blearily reaching for a towel.

3:25 Shopgirl's drugs (a Claritin and a few aspirin) are kicking in, and she is awake enough to put her contacts in without poking an eye out.

3:30 Shopgirl heads downstairs to the kitchen, where a plastic-covered bowl of dry Raisin Bran and a plastic-covered cup of hot cocoa powder await her ministrations. She sets the kettle to boil and pours milk on her cereal, scarfing it down while standing up.

3:40 Shopgirl heads back upstairs to the bathroom, steaming cup of hot chocolate in one hand and visions of a warm bed making her question her sanity.

4:00 All coifed and made up and dressed in comfy work-casual clothing, Shopgirl heads back downstairs and steps into the garage.

4:05 Shopgirl must drive her parents' car today because her own car has a doctor's appointment at Bremerton Mazda. She adjusts the seat and mirrors to accomadate her short frame and sets off through the neighborhood--the sleeping neighborhood. Not even the nocturnal creatures seem to be out.

4:20 Safely out of the forest and across the Hood Canal Bridge, Shopgirl finds herself on Highway 3, Southbound, heading towards Silverdale and the Kitsap Mall.

4:35 As she approaches Silverdale and her exit, Shopgirl is astounded by the number of cars out on the road at this unthinkable hour. Normally this stretch of road might have 4-5 cars; today it has dozens.

4:40 Another shopgirl lets Shopgirl into the store. "See that woman in front? She's been here since 3:30!!" she tells Shopgirl. Shopgirl replies, "It's crazies like that that drag us out of our warm beds at the crack of dawn..."

4:45 A bleary-eyed Shopgirl punches in her 8-digit employee number on the time clock at work, and heads over to Fine Jewelry for an early morning Pep Talk/ Team Meeting.

"Drive credit!" cheers one boss.

"Bah humbug," thinks Shopgirl.

"Encourage sales!" enthuses another boss.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," thinks Shopgirl.

"If there are any fist-fights, call me over the P.A." says the head of assets protection.

"If there are any fist-fights, I'm ducking for cover," thinks Shopgirl.

5:00 The lights come on, the Muzac starts. The doors open and the store floods with people frantic to get to the personal DVD players (only $99.99!!). There are four people at Shopgirl's wrap desk in Home Fashions--one for each register. Now the fun starts.

6:00 A whole hour has zipped by. No fistfights, not too many cranky customers. Shopgirl vaguely wonders how things are at Wal Mart. Thanks God she wasn't that desperate for a job.

7:00 Shopgirl gets her first break. Stuffs her name badge into her pocket and makes a clean getaway to the break room. Enjoys 15 minutes of being off her feet and staring into space.

8:45 "Lunch" break. The store hasn't brought in the pizzas yet, so Shopgirl has her second breakfast of the day--a couple slices of homemade bread someone brought in, a Mr. Pibb, and a Payday bar. Calls her parents, realizes Mom is in store. Spends 10 minutes or so chatting with Mom before going back to sit down and vegetate.

12:00 Early Bird Special is now over. The store is still busy but much quieter than the last 7 hours. Shopgirl has one hour and forty-five minutes left. Her feet start to hurt.

1:45 Time to go! No one has to mention to Shopgirl that she's now free. She says her goodbyes and runs to the break room to clock out.

1:50 Shopgirl calls her parents again, as they took their car while hers gets a brake-oscopy (lots of things need checking when a car hits 30,000 miles). Rain is pouring down as she steps outside, looking for them.

2:05 Shopgirl and parents arrive in Bremerton, where Rosie Protege awaits with a clean bill of health. Shopgirl climbs into her car and heads back to Silverdale to deposit her paycheck at the bank and head back...

2:30 Mervyn's, to do some shopping. She buys herself some new bath towels, a pretty pillow for her bed, and a couple of Christmas ornaments.

2:45 Shopgirl walks wearily into Barnes and Noble for a book fix. She buys four trashy romances and one Bill Bryson book. Happy, she gets back in her car and heads back to Port Ludlow.

3:15 Shopgirl pulls into the driveway of her home, almost 12 hours after she left to go to work this morning. Once inside she showers the sweat off, cuddles the kitties, and has dinner of a BLT and some soup. She then sucks down a life-saving pot of tea, before heading off to bed to read a trashy romance at about 6:30.

Saturday morning Shopgirl, who's cold is actually worse now, crawls out of bed and watches on the news about the craziness at some Wal Mart stores yesterday. Is once again thankful that she does not work for that company.

She heavily medicates herself, then sits down to work on school stuff. Tonight, she's once again off to Silverdale, for a 6:30-11:30 shift.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

From My Table to Your Table

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

So Much More Than Turkey

I never really knew how much Thanksgiving meant to me until I left the States. Every single Thanksgiving in my life, I had been at Mom and Dad's house, helping with meal preparations, setting the table with linen napkins and Mom's good silverware. For many years while I was growing up, Thanksgiving included my grandparents. When they were gone, it was the four Coopers, until 2000, when Aaron brought Susanne and we met the woman who would become his wife.

It has always been a memorable holiday, and one I enjoyed, but I never really thought of it when it came time to name my favorite holiday.

Last year found me spending my Thanksgiving not in front of the TV watching the Macy's Parade but in my classroom; business as usual. I told the kids about Thanksgiving, and a bit of its generic history.

They seemed interested, but it's not really on their radars. It was on mine, though. I was missing my family.

But I had learned in England that when you can't be with your Family (the people you share DNA and a name with), then be with your family. That is, the friends you care about, who support you and care about you.

And I had family last Thanksgiving, for sure.

For starters, Summer arrived on the day itself, and we had a lovely reunion for a few days before she went to Spain.

And on the weekend, when I had a bit of time to devote to cooking, I made a Thanksgiving feast for Kathy and Derek (with a bit of help--Derek made fabulous stuffing and Kathy made a to-die-for pumpkin pie). We ate in the dining room instead of the kitchen. For Kathy and Derek, it was a nice meal that they didn't have to cook themselves, and an insight into how important Thanksgiving is to Americans. For me, it was a chance to celebrate the holiday, and to overcome some of the homesickness I was feeling.

It's amazing how much can happen in a year. So many memories--good and bad. I am thankful for each and every one, though, as they enriched my life and made me a stronger person.

So I find myself this year with Family again. We'll miss Aaron and Susanne but Mom and Dad and I will be together with friends. I won't have to work, but will sit at home watching the Macy's Parade, after a comfy lie-in.

So many things to be thankful for...I have a network of friends spreading across the country and even across the Atlantic to England. I will be thinking of each and every one of you as I give thanks tomorrow.

So, may the turkey be just right, and the mashed potatoes plentiful. May the stuffing be flavorful and the cranberry sauce sweet. May you be surrounded by people you love, and may all your wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving come true.



Monday, November 21, 2005

Guess What?

I'm not a criminal!!

Yes, folks, my fingerprints have indeed been cleared by the Washington State Patrol and the FBI. This is a huge step, because it means I can get a teaching permit in this state. Fantastic!!

So it seems all systems are go. A huge relief, because I'll be able to sub and will soon (after Christmas) be able to leave retail behind for a while.

I'm so excited about this that I'm going to...sleep.

Hey, I woke up at 4:00 yesterday to be at work by 6:00. I'm still recovering...



Saturday, November 19, 2005

Meg Reviews Harry Potter


It's a foggy Saturday morning, and I have a five-hour shift this afternoon at Mervyn's, but for now, I can relax a bit and drink my hot chocolate while I review Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

If asked to describe this movie in one word, I would have to say, "Fantastic!" And it was. Book Four had to be hard to write into a screenplay--it could easily have been a 4-hour movie if they didn't cut a few things here and there. The most noticable cuts are, of course, no Dursleys, no Pompous Percy, no Gary Oldman (except for the face in the fire) and no Julie Walters (a shame, because I love Mrs. Weasely).

Still, I can forgive these cuts because they are not the most important part of the story--there's a lot of meat to cover with the TriWizard challenges, the Yule Ball and Teen Angst, and, of course, the return of the Death Eaters.

I'll get my pithy complaints out of the way first:

Girl Sobbing on Stairs

This just doesn't strike me as very Hermione-like. After the ball when she and Ron fight, the tears in her eyes were a surprise to me. I've just checked the book and sure enough, she doesn't cry. She's certainly pissed off, but she doesn't cry. And she storms off in the book--she doesn't sit on the stairs and cry and throw her shoes around.

That said, I can understand that they had to interpret her for the film. This is just the director's interpretation of what a normal teenage girl would do after a fight with a boy she has a deep-rooted crush on. But Hermione has never been a normal girl, and the tears seemed a bit over the top to me.


In the book, there's all this lead-up to the three tasks of the Triwizard Tournament. The movie follows along quite nicely. We see Hagrid showing Harry the dragons, then Cedric giving Harry a clue about how to listen to his golden egg. Then there is absolutely no lead-up to the third task. It just kind of crops up out of nowhere, and that disrupted the flow a teeny bit for me. But really, this is such a small complaint.

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! No, It's a Hungarian Horntail!

The Harry Potter movies are wonderful but all of the directors seem to like adding huge actions scenes where they wouldn't normally be. For example, in Prizoner of Azkaban, Harry and Hermione went for a wild ride in the Whomping Willow, which does not happen in the book. And in this one, Harry's dragon in the first challenge breaks loose an chases Harry all over Hogwarts. They go slipping and sliding and tumbling all over the towers of the castle. Harry holds onto a window ledge for dear life.

All very exciting and dramatic, but also unnecessary, really. The scene was dramatic enough when the dragon was still chained up and Harry got in under it to get the egg. Didn't make sense to me to change it that much.

But again, this is just a pithy complaint.

Enough complaining, though. Here's what I loved:

1. Teen Angst

These kids were so REAL! They could be any of the teens I've encountered in my teaching career. Every little "bloody hell" from Ron...perfect. The moment when Harry calls Ron a git...perfect (git, by the way is a term I started using in England because a friend of mine at the school was always calling the students, "little gits"). The way the students tease and torment Harry with the "Potter Stinks" buttons...perfect.

The Patil twins were excellent in their, "Why, oh WHY did we come with these two goofballs?" expressions. Cedric was perfect in his Big Man on Campus, Noble Hero-type role. Cho Chang--adorable. Though her Scottish accent threw me a little.

The group of giggling girls that follows Krum around and the way the gals start eyeing Harry is great. They're definitely growing up, and the hormones are brewing faster than any potion a wizard could devise.

And when Harry spits water all over himself? Priceless. Priceless. Priceless.

The Best Minor Characters

Ginny. Fred and George. Moaning Myrtle. Neville.

I'll start with Ginny. The little gal playing her is adorable! And I love her character in the books, anyway, especially as they progress and she becomes more and more confident. She didn't play a huge role in this book and movie, but her little one-liners and zingers were great comic relief. I'm so glad they didn't play down her role in the movie.

Fred and George. Rowling surely put these two in the books to counter the sadness and drama. Every story needs a bit of comic relief and I'm so glad the director kept these two active in the movie. They give that needed punch of humor. I'm just fond of the whole Weasely family in general, though, except, of course, Percy. Who isn't?

Moaning Myrtle. As played by the excellent Shirley Henderson (remember Jude, best friend of Bridget Jones and crying girlfriend of Vile Richard? Yep, same actress), Moaning Myrtle is annoying, naughty and hysterical all at once. Poor Harry! Just trying to have a peaceful bath so he can hear the clue and he's got a horny ghost trying to sneak a peek at him! Too funny.

Neville. Mark my words, this kid is destined for great things. Ever since he had the courage to stand up for his friends in the first book, I have had a soft spot for poor Neville Longbottom. It has only grown as I've read the books and seen what happened to him in the past and the courage he displays later in the series. He's another character I'm glad they didn't play down in the movies. His reaction to the Cruciatus Curse and his knowledge of Herbology are important to the story, of course, but more than that, he's just such a great character. He's the nerdy, akward little boy who's going to turn into a hell of a grown up. I love an underdog!

The Pensive

I just have to add that when we first see Dumbledore taking a thought out of his head and putting it in the Pensieve, I had a feeling of deja vu. But that's impossible--we haven't seen the Pensieve before this movie. Turns out I had that feeling because that is EXACTLY how I always pictured it in my head. Excellent.

New Characters and Old Friends

A lot of these were vastly underused--we never see how truly bad Karkaroff is, or how lovely and enticing Fleur is. Krum doesn't have more than a few lines that aren't grunts, and Rita Skeeter is just a minor annoyance instead of the huge trouble-maker she was in the book.

Madame Maxime is definitely funny, though, that whole eating-out-of-Hagrid's-beard scene was a bit disturbing.

Mad-Eye Moody/Barty Crouch Jr. was pretty much as I expected him to be, except for the strap holding the eye on. The little lip-licking thing was definitely effective and creepy.

McGonagal is woderful as ever, as was Snape. He had just enough presence to continue being sinister and unlikeable. I was sorry to see less of Hagrid than in previous movies, but his role in the story is changing now.

I was so glad to see a little more presence from minor characters like Angelina Johnson, Seamus Finnegan, Dean Thomas, the Patil twins, etc. Even if we don't really see much of them, they are acknowledged, and that's good.

And, of course, Harry, Ron and Hermione. The director pulled off the changing chemistry between these three very well (except for Hermione crying on the stairs). The little tiffs and fights, the akward moments, the way they all realize that they are growing up and don't know what to do about it--all of these things come through in the acting.

Little Tidbits I Loved

1. "Bloody Hell!" The way Ron says this always makes me laugh.

2. Draco Malfoy as a ferret. Pricless.

3. Gryfindor Common Room set: Perfect. Exactly as I imagined it in my head.

4. "Put your hand on my waist." "Where??" I was laughing like mad at that bit...

5. ...and, of course, at how the girls all jumped up to dance and the boys sat there looking horrified.

6. Ron's horrid dress robes. Need I say more?

7. Special Effects: Superb, of course.

The Sad and Scary Bits

The opening to the movie was perfect, with the snake coming home to master and the death of the caretaker. It is fantastic that we don't actually see Voldemort at that point--it heightens the anticipation.

Speaking of anticipation, I had major goosebumps for the last twenty or thirty minutes of the movie! It was so well-done.

Ralph Fiennes was perfect as Voldemort. Sinister, creepy, snake-like (and not just because of the lack of nose) and very, very evil.

Harry is awesome in that scene, too. So courageous and angry! The whole scene was beautifully filmed and directed, though, of course, the best part was when the images of the last few people Voldemort killed emerge from his wand and speak to Harry. Any time his parents make an appearance of any kind in these stories is moving, but helping him escape Voldemort again was just lovely and sad and very, very effective.

Cedric--what can I say? I cried a tear or two when he told Harry to take his body back to his family, and when Harry started crying, and again, when Amos Diggory realizes his son is dead.

After these things, the end of the movie seemed a bit rushed. Though I could definitely see how Harry is struggling--which will, of course, continue in the next movie.

Overall Verdict

I loved it. There were things that didn't seem quite right but overall, I loved the movie and can't wait to see it again. There were things that were left out or diminished, but I understand that putting a huge book into a 2.5 hour movie is incredibly difficult, so I can forgive that.

Now...bring on the next one!!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Happy Harry Potter Day!!

Got your ticket? Candy to smuggle in your purse?

Do you have someone to talk to or a book to read while you wait? I know I'm getting there at least an hour before so I can get a good seat.

Are you ready? Huh? Huh??

I am so ready! I've been looking forward to this all week!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Gttn' Outa Hnd...Rly, Ts.

Or, Getting Out of Hand...Really, It Is

What is getting out of hand, you ask? The dumbing down of children the world over.

This is what Pride and Prejudice is reduced to:

5Sistrs WntngHsbnds. NwMeninTwn-Bingly&Darcy. Fit&Loadd.BigSis Jane Fals 4B,2ndSisLiz H8s D Coz Hes Proud. Slimy Soljr Wikam Sys DHs Shady Past.Trns Out Hes Actuly ARlyNysGuy &RlyFancysLiz. She Decyds She Lyks Him.Evry1 Gts Maryd.

Come on!! There is so much more to Pride and Prejudice than that! If I were teaching English (and I'm qualified for it, in case you didn't know that), I'd be asking questions like, "What prevents Mr. Darcy from showing his true feelings for Elizabeth earlier in the story?"

Or, "What happens to make Elizabeth see Mr. Darcy in a new light? What actions does he take that make her see him as a nice man?" Bonus points if the kid knows that this started to come about before Lydia elopes with Wickham.

Points deducted for using chat-speak in the answers.

The New York Times Weighs In

Thanks to Heather for sending this to me. : )

For years, the movies have tried to transform this delicate beauty into a heartthrob, but as "Schindler's List" proved, Mr. Fiennes is an actor for whom a walk on the darker side is not just a pleasure, but liberation. His Voldemort may be the greatest screen performance ever delivered without the benefit of a nose; certainly it's a performance of sublime villainy.

Woohoo! I'm already shaking in my shoes, and that's a good thing!

One Day!!

Admit it, who's going to be a teensy bit scared the first time they show Voldemort? I know I will be, but that's a good thing.

Everyone have their tickets? Cash for the popcorn? Harry Potter glasses? Okay, you don't have to have the glasses...

Well, am I ever tired this morning. I worked 'till 11:00 last night, so of course, my butt is dragging a bit. That's okay, though. Aside from school, I don't have to do anything but sit on my butt and maybe make some French Onion soup today. Oh, and I am on litterbox patrol, since Mom and Dad are in Sacto this weekend.

Which reminds me, I need to get ready for work AND give the zoo its Tuna Time.



Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Eat Your Breakfast!

It's what my mom has been telling me for years--breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. And yet I've never really been a big fan, unless its later in the morning.

However, a few weeks ago I heard a report on the radio that studies have shown that women who eat cereal for breakfast have higher metabolism throughout the day and tend to weigh less overall than their keep-fasting-till-lunch counterparts. I bought a box of Raisin Bran and started eating it every morning for breakfast (except the odd weekend breakfast, when I indulge in a bagel).

A few nights ago, I saw the same statement in the latest edition of Glamour magazine, so I decided to do a bit of research. Here's the info I found:

Breakfast appears to act as a wake-up call for your body's metabolism, stimulating it to burn more calories. A study conducted by Wayne Callaway, M.D., associate professor of medicine at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., found that breakfast eaters had metabolic rates 3 to 4 percent above average, while breakfast skippers had sluggish rates, 4 to 5 percent below average. That means that in the course of a year, breakfast skippers will "conserve" 10 to 15 pounds of body fat, explains Dr. Callaway.
I find that I don't mind the Raisin Bran, I'm not as hungry when I get to school (which means I avoid buying the crap for sale in the staff room), and by the time I get home, at about 1:00, I'm ready for a nice, healthy lunch of soup and salad, soup and sandwich, or salad and sandwich. Often I eat enough at lunch that I only need a small salad for dinner.

So eat your breakfast!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Twelve Years?!?!

I ran like hell as fast as I could outta Chico after five years. I eventually want a master's degree, but I can't imagine spending twelve years in college, and putting off graduation.

And having a Significant Other who was in 4th grade when I started college. Talk about Peter Pan Complex! To each their own and all that but I still think he's mad.

"If I wanted a job, I would have graduated."
-johnny's response to a job offer by National Lampoon

Well, Johnny, I have a job, and it's time for me to schlepp on some makeup, dry my hair, and get going. My kids are depending on me!

Have You Bought Your Ticket Yet??

I have!!

I'm getting very excited about this movie, can you tell? ; )

I bought my ticket online the other day, for a 4:30 showing on Friday. It's a good thing I bought it, 'cause the 3:00 and 7:00 showings were sold out already. Bring it on!!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Potty About Potter

Some little clues and bits of trivia about the wonderful Harry Potter series...

I always wondered about how wizard children are educated before they go to Hogwart's.

I don't know how accurate all of these are, but it was fun. If #50 is true, well, very interesting.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I'm Supposed to be Working on Lesson Plans...

...but I couldn't resist taking this little survey I found.

You scored as Hermione Granger.

You're one intelligent witch, but you have a hard time believing it and require constant reassurance. You are a very supportive friend who would do anything and everything to help her friends out.

I don't seem to have a lot of Slytherin in me.

Sunday Morning

Ramblings coming out of the Pacific Northwest...

This just may be the sexiest voice I've ever heard...

He's sexy, he's fabulous in the movies, and he can keep an entire theatre audience on the edge of their seats for long periods of time. One little tilt of his head or quirk of the brow and the sold-out audience at the Old Vic is laughing hysterically.

Yes, I'm talking about Kevin Spacey. The man who brought us Verbal Kint (The Usual Suspects), Lester Burnham (American Beauty), Michael Lynch (Ordinary Decent Criminal--my favorite of his roles) and many, many, more wonderful roles, is now gracing our tellies with his smooth-as-chocolate voice in Honda commercials.

Work, Work, Work

With the holidays coming, business is booming in retail. Every year I read the headlines about the season being the best or worst in consumer interest in a long time. Blah, blah, blah. Anyone working retail knows that even when consumer confidence is at a low, the stores are still over-crowded, hot, and BUSY. I had a five-hour shift yesterday and I was pretty much chained to the register the whole time.

I have a blessed day off (Hurrah!) and then I have three nights in a row this week (Mon, Tue, Wed) before getting a couple of days to relax--and to see the premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

The great thing about working is, obviously, the paycheck. I bought the most adorable pair of shoes yesterday, along with a couple of tops, some new panties (ooh la la!), and a pretty Christmas candle holder for Mom.

Home Alone

That'll be me this week. Mom and Dad are going, going, back, back to Cali, Cali. They leave Wednesday and will return on Sunday. Which means I'll be all alone in a big house, surrounded by lions and tigers and bears and peeping racoons.

I know I'll be just fine, but it is a little disconcerting knowing that you're all alone in a big house, possibly with someone watching. Even if that "someone" is a small furry creature, it makes me nervous! Fortunately, we have nice neighbors who are on hand if I need to reprimand Rocky for spying on me.

Even better, my room is upstairs, and my bathroom has no window, so no one, human or not, can see me getting dressed or showering.

Kindergato Update

I haven't talked about them in a while. They're still adorable, still busy, and they think they own the place. In other words, they've settled right in and made themselves at home. We adore them.

Both recovered quickly from their operations. Duchess is finally getting her tummy fuzz back. I get her on my bed most nights. I feel two soft little thumps as she jumps onto my bed, then I hear her purring from about 3 feet away as she approaches for her rightful due: ear scratches and adoration. She's a doll.

Bella is a bit more reserved but I often wake up to find two teeny tortoiseshells curled up by my feet. Last Friday, I had Millie on my chest, and the kindergatos on my lap. It's a good thing I didn't need to pee.

Oh, Good Grief

Disclaimer: I am not prejudiced againts people who practice Islam. Most of them are peaceful, law-abiding people who find murder and mayhem just as reprehensible as I do. I just have a huge problem with people who practice the extremist version of Islam. They have murdered thousands of Americans and they even struck my beloved London, so I don't feel I have to say nice things about them.

Now they're saying that Elizabeth II is one of the "severest enemies" of Islam.

The culture of hate these guys promote is getting ridiculous. The Queen is a figurehead. She doesn't run England any more than I run the United States.

Someone please find these guys a new hobby.

Enough About Them...

Harry Potter opens in FIVE days!!! I found this quote from an article about Harry Potter and Puberty:

"It seems like we work on these movies for years," she says. "You'd think that we'd start to get bored or that the shine would wear off. But a few weeks ago, I saw the trailer for this movie on TV. I was literally filled with excitement all over again about the fact that I'm a part of it." Emma Watson (Hermione)

High School Kid by Day, Mr. Mayor by Night

I love Google News. You can find all kinds of great stuff. Amid all of the articles about the Queen of England being an enemy of Al Qaeda and all the latest politcal brouhaha, you often find these wonderful little snippets of news that make you smile.

But if the new mayor of Hillsdale, Michigan starts letting his grades slip, I think they oughta have a recall.

Gotta Dash

I have big plans for the rest of my Sunday. I'll start with a hot shower, followed by lunch and NASCAR. My attire for the day will be some new jammies, warm socks, and a fleece blanket on my lap. I might accesorize with Millie or a kindergato. I plan on working on the new book of Cryptic Crosswords I bought a few days ago. This evening I'll work on lesson plans.

May your Sunday be as restful as mine.



Thursday, November 10, 2005


Gah! If the news about Paris Hilton bugged me, this just downright pisses me off.

I thought God is supposed to be benevlolent and forgiving. Oops, I forgot, that's only if you give Him money, if you're to believe Pat Robertson and his cohorts.

Well, if Dover has a natural disaster, I'll be there (if not physically, then financially) to help them pick up the pieces, like any good Christian should.

Whatever happened to Love Thy Neighbor?

Why? Why? WHY???

She's not pretty, she doesn't DO anything except party, make bad movies, worse albums, and stupid TV shows.

So why did I have to click on this link? It only pissed me off.

From another article:

"Out of nowhere he just guns it and slams into this commercial truck right in front of him," says's Harvey Levin.
"Then he seemed startled and then kind of gunned it again and came within inches of striking a person, then gunned it a third time and made a clean getaway," Levin continues.

No one was hurt. While the LAPD eventually caught up with Paris' Bentley, no citations were issued, no one was given a sobriety test and no incident report was filed. This despite (the non-driving) Torriero clearly being heard to say on the video, "I'm the only sober one."

Hilton is then seen blowing a kiss to onlookers and police. Before she leaves the scene, she says, "Thank you, officer. We love the police."

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Twenty-Seven Years Old and I've Seen it All

I'm laughing so hard I have tears in my eyes.

Order one of these today! I can see the benefits, as my mom and I have discussed the possibility of putting this year's Christmas tree on the deck outside the living room window to prevent Cat-astrophic incidents by the kindergatos.

According to the ad, this is an "age-old European tradition." Never saw it in England, that's for sure!

Damn, I'm running across so many funny things on the Internet these days...


One of the best memories I have from London Semester is one of the first memories I made.

My Chico State cohorts and I arrived in London on a cold Tuesday in January. That Thursday, we saw the musical "RENT." I didn't expect to love it or hate it, I just went along because I love theatre and wanted to get to know some of the people I'd be spending the next four months with.

I was floored. I absolutely loved this musical--the story, the characters, the music. I remember Jen and I sitting next to each other, bawling at one point, and me whispering, "Do you have any Kleenex?"

She had only one tissue, so she ripped in half so I could dry my eyes, too.

I was excited when I heard that a movie of this wonderful musical was being made, though I did wonder if anyone would be able to transfer the magic that is "RENT" on stage to the big screen. It seems they just might be able to. I found that the movie version has it's own spot at MySpace. It shows a couple different previews and both absolutely gave me chills.

It opens a week after Harry Potter. I'm there!

Well, That's One Idea...

I can't see myself needing one of these any time soon, but it is one creative way of trying to save energy.

I find that a sweater usually does the trick.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit

The more you eat, the more you toot.

The more you toot, the better you feel
So eat your beans for every meal!

Found this link in another blog I read and it made me laugh out loud.

It's not so much the news that there is now a fart-less bean (kinda takes the fun out of it, doesn't it?) but the fact that it was discovered by one Dr. Leaky, who also developed a handy-dandy "fart-ometer." He calls his beans "social beans," and one is probably to assume that these are beans you can eat on that first date with a hot guy.

Good news, indeed, for all of us.

Quote of the Day

I am reading about the riots in France on the BBC News web page. It is an interesting and tragic situation.

I came across the following quote, emailed to the site by a reader:

I am an immigrant from africa and i have lived and worked in 4 different countries around europe. I have never had any problems with the local people. have made the effort to become a part of the system,i didn't try to change it. my advice to to all imagrants in europe is learn to live by the laws of the land you live in as you would expect the people who come to your original country to do so.
we are guests in our host nations.

Alex, Florence Italy

I just thought that was worth sharing.

Monday, November 07, 2005

It Was, I Suppose, Bound to Happen...

Millie fell today.

Apparently, after I left for work, she was playing around with the kittens upstairs. Dad was in the kitchen when he heard a huge crash. He turned around to see that Millie had fallen from the ledge upstairs.

She seems okay. She immediately ran under Mom's antique sewing machine, then upstairs to hide under my bed. So no broken bones.

They checked her out as soon as she'd let them near her and she doesn't appear to be injured. Her eyes aren't dilated, which is apparently a sign that something is wrong. By the time I got home she was curled up on Mom and Dad's bed, and seemed just fine.

Needless to say, I'll be watching her closely for a day or two.

My poor Millikins...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

12 Days!!

I guess there was a huge premiere in London (if I were still in England...) this week and the movie is getting rave reviews from fans who've seen it.

I know that one week from this Friday, I'll be there with bells on!

Speaking of Harry Potter, I found an interesting site today, about the fate of Albus Dumbledore.

I found it quite interesting. Of course, I love speculating about Harry Potter, and what will happen in Book 7.

Good stuff.

In other news, I got a bit of a surprise from USAA yesterday (my auto insurance carrier). That surprise was a couple hundred bucks, a refund because I cancelled one policy I was carrying with them (an overseas driver type thing--just in case) and am going to be on Dad's for a month or two until I can take on my own policy again. I suppose I could have applied that couple hundred to a future policy but really, I need the money now.

That's gas for my car, the adorable tweed jacket at J.C. Penney's, a few new pairs of pants. I really, really need things I can wear to work (both jobs).

Other than that, I don't have to work at Mervyn's again 'till Friday, and I've got one half day at school this week (Wednesday) and one day off (Friday--Veteran's Day).

Now, I'm off to watch some episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit that I taped on Friday while I was merrily galavanting around Tar-jay.



Saturday, November 05, 2005

One More Thing...

Remember, remember the 5th of November!!

Happy Guy Fawkes Night to my English friends...

It's a Small World, After All (and a Hot One)

First, let me rejoice a little...

I don't have to work tomorrow!!!!

That's right, folks. I have a Sunday all to myself. I get to watch the entire NASCAR race. I get to sleep in. I get to actually finish some lesson plans.


Now, let me separate the kindergatos from their mischief on Mom's sewing table and I'll get on with the main subjects of this blog.

Right. I had a five hour shift at Mervyn's last night. I was happy enough after my blissful Target run (Harry Potter Christmas ornaments!! Alert! Alert!!) and even happier when I started my shift by coming around a corner, into the towel aisle and face-to-face with a very handsome man giving me a wide grin and a chipper, "Hello! How are you?"

I rolled my tongue ever-so-carefully back into my mouth and grinned back. "Fine, and you?"

Humina, humina!

So Mr. Adorable checked out a few minutes later and was ever so friendly and smiley and, yes, I checked, ringless. We got chatting about working and how it can be a bit of a drag, etc. He mentioned that he's had a few weeks off and he goes back on Monday. I asked what he does.

"I'm a firefighter."

I mopped up the drool off the wrap desk with some handy tissue and listened to him explaining that he was out for a few weeks with a back injury. Made the appropriate, "Oooh, poor you" response and smiled winningly. He smiled back.

Whah Scahhhlette, Ah do believe you're flirtin' with that handsome fahrfahter...


The unfortunate thing in all this is, of course, that it's hardly appropriate to slip the guy my phone number when I'm on the clock...who knows, maybe he'll suddenly decide he needs new sheets.

So yes, it's a Hot World...and it's also a very, very small one.

Later in the evening I was ringing up a sale and noticed the man buying the stuff had an accent.

"I have to ask...England?"


"Ahh...I just spent a year there."



"Oh, yes, where in Essex?"

"Burnham-on-Crouch..." I was just about to explain to him just where Burnham is (because no one has heard of Burnham).

But..."My father lived there."

Turns out this guy and his wife lived in Chelmsford for a while, his dad lived in Burnham. He's well familiar with the sailboats and the sea wall and the town itself. I'm well familiar with the shopping and nightlife available in Chelmsford. And now, here we all are, in Middle-of-Nowhere, Pacific Northwest.


All in all, it was an interesting evening.

And now, my friends, I am off to Bedfordshire. I had a late night, an early morning and I was on Truck Team today. Yes, unloading boxes and hauling stuff around. I am tired.

Good night!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Oh, the Bliss...

I'm going to Target!!

Everyone knows by now that Target is pretty much my favorite store on the planet. You walk in, get lost among aisles and aisles of stuff you need (toothpaste, deodorant, feminine hygiene products), stuff you want (books, CDs, DVDs, clothing), and stuff you really don't need but can't resist buying anyway (holiday stuff, cute handbags, junk food). All of these wonderful things at low prices! It's heaven.

My first visit to Target upon returning to the States was a near-religious experience. I swear I heard angels singing as I passed through those fire engine red automatic doors.

My life has been devoid of Target runs for about six weeks now. I have passed it on my way to Mervyn's, gazing longingly at this massive gray structure, the infamous red sign. I have thought of all the wonderful things inside, just crying for me to come in, have a look, maybe buy a few.

It is hell, my friends, pure hell, not having money. Not being able to go to Target (why go if you can't buy anything?).

But today, I have money. Not a lot of money, but enough to waltz into Target and buy deodorant, shower gel, a couple other things I need, and maybe even a book. I plan to give myself plenty of time to stroll up and down the aisles, absorbing everything. My five-hour shift at Mervyn's tonight will be made easier because I get to go to Target first.

I am not this much of a shopping nut usually, but Target is just one of those places I love.

Speaking of shopping and paychecks, I have grand plans for next weekend. I get my second Mervyn's paycheck next Friday and it will be quite a bit bigger than the first. There's a pair of shoes at Mervyn's and a darling tweed jacket (you can dress it up, you can dress it down--perfect!) at J.C. Penney's, both of which have my name on them.

Ahh, retail therapy.

That said, I'll be experiencing some retail hell this weekend (5 hours of it tonight and 5 hours tomorrow--still don't know about Sunday) so if I don't find random stuff to write about in my LPB (Little Pink Blog), you'll know it's because I'm doing any one of the following:

a. Selling towels and sheets and dishes and Christmas stuff.
b. Feverishly working on lesson plans.
c. Watching Saturday's 4 episodes of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (and the two I'm taping this afternoon).
d. Sprawled across my bed with the covers over my head, growling at anyone (human or feline) who dares to disturb me.

Have a great weekend...



Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Old Journal

I've always kept little notebooks and journals. Not so much diaries, but logs of random stuff. Like my blog, but on paper.

I found one just now from the summer between 8th and 9th grade, and let me tell you, there's some funny stuff. Like the following (misspellings, bad punctuation and all):

To whom it may concern:

I am a thirteen year old girl who just may, one day decide to be an Air Force pilot. My father was in the Air Force, and, I think he was saddened to find his only son didn't want to enlist.

I want to be around planes and bases. I have a great interest in them. But, as a female, I feel that I wouldn't be trusted as a pilot for my home countrie's Air Force. This makes me angry. Because even though I don't like war, who does? Some men have been to weak in combat, and its these men that fall.

If I enlisted in the Air Force, I'd probably get some "weak" job. In America, all men are created equal. Shouldn't that go for women, too?

-Megan Cooper
Folsom, California
In between my rare journeys into feminist thought, I had the typical journal. I had a crush that summer on Steve, an 18-year-old boy on my bowling league team (yeah, I was in a bowling league for a couple of years. Now I can throw a mean gutter ball but not much else). I listed baby names: Victoria Marie, Myra Lyn, Douglas Matthew and Neil Louis.

I think I was 15 when I came up with Hannah, and that one stuck.

There are various packing lists (I went to NYC with a group from school and L.A. with my bowling league) and to-do lists. There's even a budget on how to spend babysitting money and money I earned helping out at the school district.

And stories. I had all kinds of ideas that never got past general descriptions and maybe a chapter here and there. I was really into an idea about a girl named Victoria (but not Vicki) who's father owned race horses. Victoria would raise a sickly little filly into a champion. It was "loosely" based on a book I'd read. Once upon a time I wanted to be a writer. What happened to that? Well, music was the bigger pull, and there is no doubt that I love music. Now I'm getting back into the writing some more, and that's good, too.

I don't know how many wistful games of "True Love" I played, and how many games of "True Love and Romance Forever and Ever" these games turned into when my "True Love score was too low for my tastes.

The inside cover of my notebook has the following list:

Megan's Book
I (heart) Paul
I (heart) Steve more
I (heart) Steve way more
I (heart) Jason (oh, brother)
I (heart) Chris N.
I (heart) soooo many guys! (the dot on the exclamation is a heart)

One of the funnier pages is a list of strange mixes of words that I made up (or found somewhere). It took me a minute to realize that they are acronyms.

Sam Houstin Institution of Technology
Austing School of Snorkeling
Folsom Underwater Comeback Karate
California's Radical Aviation Program
Denver's Academic Moron

I spelled "damn" wrong.

My musical tastes were interesting, as per the graph I found on one page:

Songs I Like:
Guns n' Roses November Rain, Live and Let Die, Don't Cry
Tom Cochrane Life is a highway

Songs I tolerate:
Jump, Jump

Songs I hate:

The tapes I planned on taking on my LA trip were:

Billy Joel
Cocktail Soundtrack
Mariah Carey
Rod Stewart
Phantom of the Opera
Michael W. Smith

This notebook was filled up between my graduation from 8th grade and my first day of high school. That summer, I transitioned from a geeky kid with acne to a band geek with a clarinet. Looking back on it, I can't help but laugh at myself, at how precocious I tried to be. I could be reading the journal of almost any one of the 13-year-old girls I've taught.

Rocky and the Kindergatos

Sounds like a bad band name. It's actually our new friend, Rocky, and, of course, the four Cooper Cats.

We've had a few visitors lately, Rocky and his (actually, probably her) progeny, we think. There are three of them that come along and get in our bird feeders. We don't mind, but we're also not encouraging them too much.

The funniest thing is how curious Rocky and Co. seem to be about our cats. The curiosity is entirely mutual, as you will see in the pics below.


Who is that masked bandit??

We tried to tell them not to play with their food...

Poor Maggie:

Rocky on the Rocks (behind our house):

I have to give credit to all Rocky pics exept this last one to my Dad. The kitty pics on Mom and Dad's bed are mine.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

"I'd Wear Purple..."

I was throwing some laundry into the washing machine today and suddenly the absolute humor of something that happened at school today struck me and I couldn't stop laughing.

There's a little gal in my 6th grade choir that I will call "Sandra" (to protect the little ones and all that). She doesn't want to be there, along with about half the class. They signed up for art; the school couldn't find a teacher. Such is life.

Anyway, Sandra is a pint-sized Little Miss Popular. She is a natural leader, and if she's not careful, she'll be a natural Mean Girl when she hits high school. When she's good, she's a charming, adorable, easy girl to know. Unfortunately, Sandra has beaucoup issues to deal with. Fortunately, she has a stepmom who is not giving up on her.

But this story is not about Sandra's home life. She is, as I stated above, quite the leader of 6th grade girls. They seem to follow her lead, and she doesn't quite grasp the whole, "Class time is not the time for your little mini-dramas" rule.

Today I had to have a little chat with Sandra and "Molly," her little friend, after class. I started with Molly.

"Molly--Sandra, I'm not talking to you. Wait. Molly, when Sandra was sent out last week, you did a great job. Why can't you behave better when Sandra is here?"

I received a blank look at this and decided to try another tack.

"Okay, if Sandra called you and said, 'Wear purple tomorrow,' what would you do?"

Molly didn't miss a beat. "I'd wear purple!"


"She's my friend!"

"Molly...if Sandra told you to rob the Chevron down the road, would you do it?"

Long pause. "Well, no."

"Right. So why do you misbehave when she does in class?"

"I don't!"

"She doesn't! I don't lead her, she leads me!"

"Sandra, wait your turn. Molly, you were great last week when Sandra was sent to another room. Now she's back, and you're in trouble."

Blank look.

"Well, I guess I'm going to have to call your parents, tell them that their daughter is misbehaving in choir, and only because her friend is."

"Fine. I don't care."

"Okay. Well, I'd think about how much you do because Sandra does it."

I excused Molly then so she could go to her next class, and tackled Sandra one-on-one. Then I spoke to her stepmom on the phone and heard that Sandra is pulling the attitude at home, as well. There's some work to be done there.

What made me laugh later was thinking of Molly's quick, sure response to my question. "I'd wear purple!" It says so much about the age group I have chosen to work with, and how much they are working to find their identity. Some days I question why I went into this line of work (what kind of masochist am I??) and other days I really feel like smacking some of these kids--but I'll save Layla's story for another day. Most of the time, though, I get such a kick out of them, even when they're at their worst.

Let's just hope Molly develops her own identity soon.