Monday, July 25, 2005


I was randomly reading through some Blogs. I stumbled across this, and is made me laugh out loud. I might just try some of them! Perhaps you should too and then blog people's responses!

15 Things to do at Wal-Mart For no Particular Reason

1. Get 24 boxes of tampons and randomly put them in people'’s carts when they aren't looking.

2. Set all the alarm clocks inhousewaress to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. Make a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the restrooms.

4. Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone, 'Code 3' in toys . . . and see what happens.

5. Go the Service Desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on lay away.

6. Move a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. Set up a tent in the camping department and tell other shoppers you'll invite them in if they'll bring pillows from bedding.

8. When a clerk asks if they can help you, begin to cry and say 'You're only doing your job, you don't really care!'

9. Look right into the security camera; use it as a mirror, and pick your nose.

10. and 11. While handling guns in the hunting department,
dart around suspiciously, loudly humming the "Mission Impossible" theme.

12. In the auto department, practice your "Madonna look" using different size funnels.

13. Hide in a clothing rack and when people browse through, say "PICK ME!" "PICK ME!"

14. When an announcement comes over the loud speaker, assume the fetal position and scream "NO! NO! It's those voices again!!!!"

(And; last, but not least!)

15. Go into a fitting room and shut the door and wait a while; and, then, yell, very loudly, "There is no toilet paper in here!"

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Grammar Lessons

I will keep this anecdote brief.

Today, I was in children's church. Not because I teach, but because I watch Miguel play drums for their worship time. I always seem to get roped in to helping with things such as bathrooming, walking kids to get a drink, and behavior management. None of which I mind, honestly! Today was no different. I found myself up front, helping the kids play a game.

The object of the game was to take words on index cards, from a verse and put them in order. So one kid had the word "Blessed," one kid had the word "God." and one kid had the word "are the" etc. I imagined that all of the kids knew their monthly Bible verse, and perhaps practiced it at home? Well, this is how the game went....

Two kids quickly took charge and blurted out orders.

"Hey, Tommy, you have "Blessed" and it starts with a capital "B" that means you're first!"

"And Timmy, you have "God." and it has a period at the end. That means you're last!"

I am not quite sure how "my team" managed to win the game. But they surely know that any word that is capitalized (other than proper nouns, etc) goes first in a sentence. And surely any word that has a period after it goes last in a sentence!

* For comedy sake, I really wanted to include the real names of the kids!! But let's just say, these kids are members of a well-known blogging family!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Patient First

Monday started like any other day--excited kids, sleepy staff, and a million things to accomplish. I am teaching summer school (ESY) to 6 students with severe disabilities. I love my job. Well most days.

This week's summer school theme is "beach and water." I had some new and fun things planned for our Monday morning reading time. I'd adapted a book called "water, water, everywhere," a Baby Einstein book. It became not just a book about water, but a book about playing with water, smelling different "water" things (like soap), blowing bubbles and other sensory activities. I knew the kids would love it!!

As it turned out, one of my students decided she did NOT want to go to reading. She would NOT love Baby Einstein. She would NOT interact with the water activities. She WOULD sit, stand, run, and throw things in the hallway for a grand total of 60 minutes. That's 60 minutes of staff standing close enough to control her, but not close enough to give her feedback or attention. That's 60 minutes of being short staffed in the classroom, and 60 minutes of torture for all involved. Mikel, as we'll call the student, had a behavioral protocol that involved planned ignoring. Because her behaviors (bad ones) are intended to get attention and control, she was ignored every time she ran out of the room, or threw things across the floor. OK, so this isn't exactly shepherding a child's heart. But as much as I'd love it, I am not allowed, by law, to spank my children. I do from time to time tell my students I'll spank them. That's as I look over my shoulder to make sure no one is listening or watching!

After an hour, I'd had enough. I went out into the hallway to relieve the staff member on duty. We took turns waiting Mikel out. Surely she'd comply, given enough time. Right?! As stubborn as a little girl can be, I'd be more stubborn. I'd wait 2 hours if it meant getting her to listen. Then it began. Mikel started yelling "NO!" at the top of her lungs. She ran down the hall and grabbed a roll of toothpaste. I could only imagine it was meant for my head. As she pulled back her arm, ready to throw, I grabbed her wrist. I gave her, what we special educators like to call hand-over -hand prompting (more like forced compliance) to enable her to follow the direction. She now needed to pick up all of the items from her hygiene bin and come to class. As we began picking up the items, Mikel started kicking, scratching and screaming. Scary, you say?! NO! I forgot to mention that Mikel weighs all of 40 pounds max. I grabbed her wrists, continued "helping" her clean up her mess, and off we went to the classroom. At the time, I felt a few scratches, but nothing significant. No harm done.

As we sat in Circle Time, I realized I was bleeding. That little terror had drawn blood. Off I went to get examined by the nurse and to call Hopkins for instructions. My Tetanus booster had expired. I needed a shot. A shot. A shot, just for a little scratch from a child way less than half my size. After work, I headed to Patient First. Never been there. Never want to go again. The nurse gave me my shot, and I was forced to wait for the doctor's exam. He came in, asked what had happend and asked to see my wounds.

I turned over my wrist and showed him the scratches. To that, he laughed. Laughed. Right in my face. "Is THAT what brought you here?!!" "Your work made you come in for THAT?!"

I walked away humiliated. Humiliated, but vaccinated against scratches from any other crazed student that decides to scratch me.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

slather it on

After rereading everyones blog tonight about five times, I decided to tell yet another beach story! This one goes way back, probably15 years. It does not include any of my single friends, nor does it include any of the people previously mentioned in my blog.

Let me set the stage.

I grew up with the Brown family (names have been changed to protect the oh so guilty). They were more like my family than friends. In fact, I can recall Uncle Jack threatening, and probably following through with, spanking both my sister and me. We often ate dinner at their house (Tacos!), attended birthday parties, Christmas celebrations, and every other possible event was a shared family experience. When I was barely able to walk, much less swim, we'd spend our summers at O.C. together.

One summer, perhaps around age 10, I went with the Brown family to Indian River for a day trip. It was going to be great. I was with Hannah, my grown-up friend. We'd spend all day on the beach, get a nice tan, get dressed and trapse the boardwalk late at night (ok, so 8 pm seemed really late to me at the time!). As we got down to the beach, Yogi (that's the mom) reminded us to put our sunscreen on before we did anything else. Hannah immediately pulled out baby oil. To help us tan more quickly, she said. Of course I wanted a nice tan, what girl didn't?? Sign me up. Bring on the baby oil, I thought. Do I burn? Of course not, I said. So I slapped it all over Hannah, and in turn she slathered it all over me.

We decided to lay out all afternoon. Who needed the water, when there was sun to be had?! Somehow, I forgot to turn over onto my back. So, the backside of me saw the sun all day long. Periodically, we applied more baby oil, just to stay nice and shiny.

As the day wore on, I was excited about the thought of having a nice, beautiful, dark tan. Our time at the beach was over, and off we went to the bathhouse. I remember standing in the water, wondering why it hurt so much. Why couldn't the water touch my legs without seering pain? I quickly ended the shower, got dressed and headed back to the car. As I did, Hannah walked out. I screamed at the bright red backs of her legs. As I tried to walk further, I could barely bend my legs. My knees hurt so badly. Getting into the car was my idea of what Hell must truly be like. Burning without relief in sight. Both Hannah and I could not bend our legs enough to sit in the back seat. We had to carefully sit with our legs stretched out across the seat, making sure that the backs of our legs barely touched the seat. Each bump in the road brought little cries of pain from the back seat. The pain, and redness endured for at least two days after the beach.

No matter how wonderful my grown-up friend Hannah was in my eyes, my FRIED legs served as a reminder that Hannah was NOT to be trusted ever again! I learned one simple lesson, Baby Oil should never be used for anything other than oiling babies.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sweet and Spicy

Here is a new found recipe that Miguel LOVES (as do I!). I think it was originally from Jo Powell. Erika McKee was being creative with this recipe and added the cream cheese, which is how I first had them. However, I hear this recipe was originally made without the cream cheese. I am sure it's delicious either way!

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

Cherry Peppers (in a jar found in the Italian aisle)
Cream Cheese
Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Slices of deli style turkey meat

1. Slice enough hunks (roughly 1/2 in x 1 in) of cheese to have one per pepper.
2. Slice the turkey meat into one-inch strips, again, one strip per pepper.
3. Wrap one hunk of cheese in one strip of meat.
4. Set aside.
5. Cut out the stem, and de-seed the peppers.
6. Take a small spoonful of cream cheese and stuff it into the bottom of the pepper. Do NOT fill.
7. Place the turkey wrapped cheese hunk into the pepper, until it rests in the cream cheese.

These are best served cold.

It seems like an odd combination of tastes, textures, and scents. But if you can move past all of those "issues," you'll find a pleasantly sweet and spicy appetizer. It is an appetizer that we've eaten with every meal possible. It doesn't "go" with every meal possible, but we like it that much!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The colors of fall

In the fall of, hmm, I don't remember what year (2000??), Emily Sleeman, Danielle Jones, and I took one of our infamous trips to the beach. Before I tell our not-so-funny story, a little history is necessary.

I had been meeting with Sharon Lilley and some other girls for a Bible study. I was explaining that I was heading to the beach the coming weekend, and wanted some fun ideas. Sharon's wisdom immediately kicked into gear. It started like this...."back in my day, I did some crazy things at the beach..." I should have stopped her right there. I said I wanted FUN, not CRAZY?! Anyway, when Sharon was about my age, she took regular trips to the beach with Mazy Ranneberger (that's trouble!). One such trip, they put together a basket of goodies, including some hair dye. She suggested that we might try dying eachothers hair, just for fun, but nothing to dramatic, blonde highlights perhaps?

In an effort to bless my friends, I put together a basket of stuff--Reeses Bites, Chocolate covered pretzels, a chickflick, and of course the hair dye was front and center. Once at the beach, I revealed my creativity. The dye was a big hit. We had to do it later in the weekend. Our luck. It rained one day and there was our chance to experiment. Instead of dying our entire heads, we decided to attempt blonde highlights. Danielle was first. We spent hours pulling strands of hair through that annoying cap thing. We applied the solution and waited. Directions were followed religiously. At the appropriate time, we washed her hair. There it was, perfect blondish, orangish, redish highlights. She looked incredible, as usual!

Then it was Emily's turn. We decided the cap was too much to mess with, so, like the pros, we whipped out some foil (doesn't a good hairdresser use foils and not those stupid caps anyway?!). We wanted to look blonde and babe-a-licious, not frosted and scary! We slathered on the solution and used the foils just like we had seen. Halfway through Emily's dye job, we rinsed a section off, to find her hair was NOT blonde and beautiful, but orange and a little skunk stripe like. Horrified, she ran upstairs to rinse her hair. She rinsed and rinsed, but the orange wouldn't fade. It was permanent.

Then it was my turn. Did I refuse since Emily's hair turned out less than perfect? NO, of course not. I couldn't let those two girls have all the fun!!? I thought that perhaps mine would turn out like Danielle's. I dutifully sat under the foils, waiting for what seemed like an eternity. All the while thoughts of zebras, skunks and freakish punks ran through my head. "ding, ding." The bell rang and I walk upstairs to meet my fate. I refused to look in the mirror until it was all rinsed out. And then, there they were, my very own zebra stripes. Just what I had always never wanted. I was an orange zebra.

Danielle sat quietly, surely reveling in her triumph. Emily and I...well, we complained for a bit, hated Danielle for a bit, and then decided to make the most of our adventures and take a lot of pictures to mark the disaster. If I ever find the pictures, I'll surely scan them in for your viewing pleasure!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bike Shorts

My memory seems to think that this adventure happened the same beach trip that Lyd and I poopoo-ed parallel parking. But in reality, it most likely was another trip. The story is a true one, though parts of it sound fabricated. I promise, it did happen, despite my lack of ability to remember exactly when.

Lyd and I were driving home from the beach in the same Dodge Shadow as our last adventure. This time, she was driving. We were on the way to Conowingo; I lifeguarded there during the week. In order to make it to work on time, we took a short cut through Havre de Grace and ended up on Harmony Church Rd. This was before the time of guard rails on that narrow road.

We were laughing, singing, talking the whole way. One of us commented how peaceful and quiet the road was; no one ever seemed to pass the other way. A few minutes after our fateful comment, a driver sped towards us. In efforts to not get hit, Lydia pulled over to the side of the road (the side closest to Deer Creek). In the second the car passed us, our car began sliding down the enbankment. The passenger side of the vehicle was over the edge of the road. Only the drivers' side tires remained on solid ground. As I looked out my window, all that stood between me and the river was a steep drop off and a massive old oak tree.

In that second, I was paralyzed. I couldn't scream, I couldn't cry, I couldn't think rationally. My mind went from peaceful to frantic in a matter of seconds. Would we die? Would I die without ever having held a guy's hand? Even worse, would I die a virgin? Would I ever see my family and friends again? If I was going to die, at least I was with Lydia! They say your life flashes before you when you are facing death. And oh did it flash. All 16 years, right there before my eyes!

Then I snapped out of it. Or maybe it was Lyd's screaming that woke me from the daze. We had to exit the car. It continued to slide down the bank, despite our efforts to drive back onto the road. Lydia climbed out of the car first, which made it slide more. I was still in the car and crying. Lydia urged me to climb out as quickly as possible. I managed to climb out without rocking the car too much. We quickly ran to the back of the car--on solid ground. We stood there crying, thinking that the peaceful road would surely be our doom. No one would pass us for days, we'd be forced to walk for help. And where was the closest human being?! Who knew!

A moment later, a car of guys pulled up behind us. They got out of their vehicle, and raced to our side. Ok, so four guys dressed in spandex bike shorts got out of their vehicle and slowly walked towards us. They saw we were distressed and offered to help. Once the situation was assessed for safety, one of the men got into the car and quickly drove back onto Harmony Church Road. It was effortless. Amazing. We were safe, my dad's car was safe, and we didn't die!

Lyd and I got back into the car, still shaken. We drove slowly away, down the exact middle of the road. The guys followed in their car. As we turned onto Rt. 136, we looked into our rear view mirror to wave good-bye and thank you. Much to our surprise, they had disappeared. Gone. Our four men had simply vanished. There was no where for them to turn off, no side streets to exit onto. Nothing.

We started laughing. We realized that our four men in bike shorts hadn't even had bikes on their car. God placed his hand of protection over us that day. We believe his protection and help came from four angles, dressed in bike shorts.

Down the Ocean, Hon

I have been to the ocean twice in the past week. I was reminded of summers past where I spent each weekend at the beach--with a different friend or group of friends each time. However, the summer of 1996 found Lydia and I at the beach each weekend together. We were inseperable that summer. We drove eachother to work, picked eachother up, shoot, even spent the day at eachother's work so we didn't have to part ways! We had some wonderful, and some interesting adventures together. Our weekend trips to the beach were no different.

The summer of '96 was the first summer I had my license; the first summer I was allowed at the beach by myself; the first summer I was allowed to drive to the beach. It was also the first summer I had to parallel park on the boardwalk. Lydia and I drove to the Rehoboth Boardwalk to avoid the crowds in Ocean City. We found a wonderful parking spot, right off the main drag. However, I was faced with a simple predicament--I had to parallel park. I hadn't done that since my drivers' license test, and then I only passed out of sheer luck. I was sure of it.

Anyway, I had to parallel park my Dodge Shadow between a minivan full of people and a tiny sports car. I was so worried that I'd hit the sports car that I wasn't paying much attention to the minivan, in fact I didn't even realize people were in it. I didn't realize....until...I tried to park over 15 times. In and out, in and out. Different approaches, different speeds, different angles. Nothing was working, and I mean nothing. I was so frustrated, and apparently the man in the minivan was as well. Perhaps he feared for the safety of his children and his minivan.

I saw him get out of his car and approach my window. He politely stated that he was afraid I was going to hit his car, and could he please parallel park for me. Being incredibly embarrassed, I exited my car (as did Lydia). I walked onto the sidewalk and almost missed what transpired before my eyes. The man pulled into the spot like an old pro. One shot, one angle, one approach. He nailed it. I was humiliated, but at least we had the wonderful parking spot just off the Rehoboth Boardwalk.

More beach stories to follow.