Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dear sister,

Challenge accepted. 

your wondering-if-we-suddenly-turned-Brittish-based-on-that-last-post?-sister

gifting The Element

Hi sister,

'Twas really great to see you these last few days. PecanMama is still here (and still sleeping) and I'm thoroughly enjoying one of the few days of the month that I don't have to work by doing one of the things I love most: organizing. And whilst so doing, I started sorting out holiday gifts I've gotten together so far. And whilst doing THAT, I wanted to share with you something so completely awesomely perfect for one member of our family ... but then I realized he might possibly intercept our note-passing from time to time. So I halted, and instead, I present you with:


It's called, "what to gift to The Element." And it's composed of this: We all know he likes gadgets, specifically gadgets that make easy things more complicated. (Oh, that's not how he would describe it? Well then let me ask you this: why does it take 3 minutes and 25 different buttons to turn on PecanMama's television???)

The duel is thus: to find a most ridiculous, seemingly unnecessary gadget that he will find indispensable to his daily life. A tricky balance, methinks, but I do believe I've gotten it just right this year.

You'll have to wait til the 28th to see what I found, but in the meantime ... what can you come up with? Come on, I know you spend hours searching the internet for science-y things ... you have a built-in advantage. (At least for this year!)

your gift-giving, Nutcracker-decorating, but-not-quite-yet-listening-to-holiday-music sister

ps - Oh, and what I got was only about $5, so I'm not talking big expense-y here. Just little bits of quirk or bizarre. Bonus points if it lights up. (Not sayin' anything, just sayin' ... maybe mine does.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

oh, Wednesday

Dear sister,

I was going to write you a post about the Monday-blahs, but then Monday came and I just felt so blah-y that I never got around to writing anything down. Then Tuesday was pretty blah too. And now it's Wednesday, and guess what? Still blah.

I think living in someone else's house and teaching someone else's lesson plans and making someone else's food is starting to get a little bit ... frustrating. So I'm trying to focus on the little bits of positive that I can pull out of all this. As I told my chester-tree-hopper the other day, hey - at least I'm still wearing my own clothes.

And while I was trying to figure all this out, this happened at breakfast with StrongDad:

Me: This is turning out to be a really long week.
StrongDad: Hey, at least it's Thursday.
Me: It's Wednesday.
StrongDad: Huh. Really? Huh.
Me: Yep.
StrongDad: Well, I'm way ahead on work then. That's good.
Me: And I'm not.
StrongDad: How do you get this little butter thing open?
Me: I don't know. You pull the little tab thing.
StrongDad: Mine doesn't have a little tab thing.
Me: You can stab it with the knife.
StrongDad: You think it would be easier than that.
Me: Here, you can have my fake butter thing.
StrongDad: Do you really think they're fake butter?
Me: I don't know.
StrongDad: So it's really Wednesday, huh? How did that happen?

your at-least-I-won't-be-teaching-this-time-next-week sister

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dear Sister,

Part of my job at the internship is to troll various websites and look for "emerging science" or "cool fix for a hot planet"s. Also, part of my internship is trolling the internet pretending like I am looking for "emerging science" or "cool fixes." 

Awhile ago, there was a Weekend Update where Seth Meyers reported on some recent study about how linebackers in football are obese, and the joke was that it was done by researchers at "the university of my eyeballs." 

I'm sure you can see where this going...

This weeks edition of studies from the University of My Eyeballs:

Obese Adolescents at Greatest Risk of Becoming Severely Obese Adults

Home Exposure to Tobacco Carcinogens High in Children of Smokers

Company errors, complacency preceded oil spill: panel

Okay, now, really people? 

In other news, there does not appear to be any Veggie Tales long underwear or apparel. However, I have a sewing machine. So, this is not over. 

Okay, that's all I've got today. 

your sister 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

who v. how many?

Dear sister,

(This post will be interspersed with outtakes from SuperTiger brother’s senior photo shoot this past weekend, even though you’ve probably seen them all on facebook. Oh, and they have nothing to do with the content of this post. Not saying anything, just sayin’ …)

Election confession: I didn’t vote. I know, I know. When I turned 18, SuperTiger Brother wrote me a birthday card that just said, “Happy Birthday – don’t forget to register to vote!” And I did, that year. And then I’ve voted shamefully few times since then … it bothers me every time. But when you move every 9 months or so, as I seem to do these days, it’s hard to remember to change your voter registration each time … along with your license, vehicle registration, insurance garaging, cell phone, bank, and credit card addresses, and on on, and so on …

I think our country’s leaders, the ones who want us to vote, are making the same mistake I often make in teaching. They’re asking “who” instead of “how many.” Try it some time with a group of teens: ask them “who has the answer to #4?” and you’ll get the few, the proud, the courageous raising their hands. The others, the ones who know but don’t care, can’t be bothered.

For some reason, asking “how many have the answer?” generates a much larger response. Maybe because it somehow makes you feel that the response is obligatory, instead of optional, since the question is looking for a head count and not a volunteer. Or maybe because they’re not used to hearing that question and it wakes them up. Who knows. Either way, sometimes I think our voting system might want to try asking "how many" sometime, instead of the usual "who?"

Anyway. I was thinking about this, and I was watching the “Rally to Restore Sanity” (since working 7 days a week makes it hard to travel anywhere these days …). I’ve been to two different marches in Washington D.C., both to protest the war, and both times I was struck by the same impression that the point of the rally was not actually to make a statement, or send a message, or even to change anyone’s mind. The point of the march was simply to march – and the point of the rally, to rally. In other words, what was great about the experience was the feeling of community, of being surrounded by like-minded strangers coming together from across the country, of solidarity and unity and vocal, visual similar points of view. A call to answer the question "how many" instead of merely "who."

Thinking of rallys, and of solidarity, and of the fact that I owed you a post, I was watching the rally with a notepad at my side, jotting down my thoughts on a minute-by minute-basis so I could share them with you later. It started out like this:
11:55 – how do I get the TV to turn on?
11:56 -- (ring, ring) why doesn’t SuperTiger brother ever answer his phone?
12:02 – oh, there we go.
12:03 – are they having mic problems? why is every one running around behind the drum set?
12:14 – Did John Legend just take his cell phone out of his pocket as he sat down to sing?
12:16 – (ring, ring) Hi SuperTiger brother. No, I just wanted to know how to turn the television on. No, I got it. No … well, yes, I am related to StrongDad.
12:17 – is my cell phone ringing again?
12:18 – oh, no, that’s part of the song. that’s … weird.
12:44 – Hi, Bode. Oh – ok, okay, okay .. Ok, good dog. Lie down. No – no, lie down. Good boy..
12:58 – They’ve managed to make our national anthem sound amazingly like a contemporary Christmas carol.
1:05 – Huh, I really wish I could talk to Ella right now. I mean … oh, wait.
1:07 – (ring ring) Hi Ella!
And yes, that was the point at which I realized I could just call and talk to you. Which means this is the end of the blog post, because you know what happened from there.
your sister