Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Real Reality: Joplin, MO

An F4 tornado churned through Joplin, Missouri, Sunday afternoon. The destruction is so overwhelming that I can't look at the flood of pictures and videos coming out of the scene for more than a few minutes at a time. I can't imagine what it is like for the people who are living through this nightmare. At last count, 117 people died. Thankfully, all my family is ok.

In the Midwest, spring tornadoes are real reality.

My dad grew up on the outskirts of Joplin. His brother and sisters and most of their families still live there. I spent countless summers at my grandma's house in Oronogo, a teeny tiny map spot about six miles from Joplin. One of my heart memories is the Friday night trip into "town" so my grandma could do her grocery shopping.

This is what's left. http://www.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,2073456,00.html

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fart Face

In case you were wondering, this is what a Fart Face looks like. At least, it is my Ruthie's interpretation of one. Sigh.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ideal Reality Vs. Real Reality: Garage Sales

I'm not big on garage sales. My friends talk about the fantastico bargains they find, but everytime I venture out, I end up disappointed. In my ideal reality, I find fantastico bargains of my own. In my real reality, I find, well, other people's unwanted junk. But perhaps my luck has changed. My neighborhood had its annual garage sale last weekend, and looky at what I found:

Two kids sleeping bags (rated to 45 degrees F), which I've been looking for. $2 each. Mint condition. A ginormous dump truck for my Ruthie. $1. And a Little Mermaid dress-up costume - with sweet high heels - for my Audrey. $3 (usually $20 at Target). I also picked up an armload of books, which we have been enjoying.

Lovin' it!

Tiger Mother or Nutty Coconutty?

I'm fairly selective about the books I read. I usually don't buy into all the hype that surrounds some books, and I rarely read the books that everyone and their brother is reading. I'm kind of snobby that way. I have this weird belief that if everyone and their brother is reading a certain book, then it's probably not that good. I rely on the discerning tastes of my bibliophilic friends who have never disappointed me. At the very least, I wait until the frenzy and froth subsides away. That's not to say that I haven't made exceptions. Here is one of them.
I first heard about Amy Chua and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother on NPR a couple of months ago. I just started reading it this week. Just a few chapters in, Chua had me vacillating between wanting to punch her in the head (Chua REALLY likes herself to the point that it's completely annoying), thinking she may be on to something, and wondering if she was just plain nutty. Regardless, I can't stop reading. I find myself in "horrific car accident, but can't look away" mode.

Absentee Update

Gosh and golly time flies when you're having fun ... and even when you're not. What have I been up to?

Well, I made it to a second round of interviews for a reading specialist position (YAY!). But ... they chose someone else (Not so YAY.) Yes, I'm supposed to feel good about myself because I was one of three finalists and competition is fierce. But the bottom line is, I didn't get the job. In Mari speak, that translates into, "I wasn't good enough." In reality speak, that translates into, "You were great, but it just wasn't the right fit." I'm trying to go with that. Landing the job would have meant a two hour, round trip commute. Everything happens for a reason.

In the meantime, I've been working on a freelance project for the American Society of Baking. It involves reading and editing almost 200 pages of oral presentation transcriptions. From bakery engineers. Very technical. Very dry. Ingredient formulation. Safety regulations. Sodium reduction. My eyes are so dry from staring at a computer screen that I'm pretty sure they are going to plop out of my head at any moment. But, it keeps me busy, and the paycheck will fund my ceramic tile project. 

Said home improvement project was supposed to start today. But, bummer. My tile is on a truck at a warehouse in Alabama. Said warehouse is surrounded by flood waters. We rescheduled for May 31 Not a big deal; just a little disappointed.

Onward and upward!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Keurig Vs. Cuisinart

In my ideal reality, my coffee making god looks like this:
Sleek, sophisticated, graceful, independent. The Keurig gives the impression that one has the freedom to leisurely sip coffee at a sidewalk cafe, soaking up sun, eavesdropping on conversations, la dee dah-ing, not a care in the world. After all, with a gazillion little cups of flavor to choose from, the world must truly be the Keurig owner's oyster.

In my real reality, my coffee making god looks like this:
This work of Cuisinart, a 12-cup coffee generator with a built-in bean grinder, was part of my Mother's Day present. Sleek and sophisticated? I think so. But unlike the Keurig, it's built for coffee drinkin'. This baby gives the impression that one is gonna kick come coffee hiney. Heck to the yeah! (Sorry for the hiney and the yeah. I am really trying to stop swearing. Not that I have a sailor's mouth or anything, but we've had some close calls with the peeps. Nothing says Bad Mom like a four-year-old who swears like a sailor).

Perhaps the best part about this machine is that when the grinder kicks in, it sounds like a helicopter is about to land on the roof. Seriously cool. It makes a person sit straight up in bed. At 4:55 am. Which is when I prefer my coffee to perform its percolation.