Thursday, July 29, 2010

13 Thoughts on Project Runway

  1. Tattoos appear to be mandatory  on both the models and the designers
  2. I thought models are supposed to be pretty - some of the woman walking the runway look a little rough around the edges.  Make that very rough
  3. What's with the ties? 
  4. The facial expressions of the judges are priceless
  5. Judging from the commercials Project Runway thinks all their viewers are Moms with Kids.  Don't they know that Queens love the show too?
  6. Some of the designers really need to wash their hair. A comb wouldn't hurt either
  7. One of the designers might have an eating disorder.
  8. Why does Lifetime TV think women are obsessed by dust bunnies?
  9. Best comment of the show  "She's a pole dancer in Dubai"
  10. The judges are BRUTAL tonight.
  11. How did some of these designers ever make it to the finals in the first place? 
  12. There is some serious groveling going on among the designers.
  13. Why am I, who has no interest or affinity for fashion fascinated by Project Runway?

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

The House O' Stuff

One of my favorite sources of inventory is Estate Sales.  Remember how your mother always told you it was rude to snoop in other folks closets and cupboards?  Well, at an estate sale you're encouraged to disobey your mother!

Today's sale was one for the record books. The sign up sheet went up the day before & I stood in line for hour in hopes of getting in on the first wave.  It  paid off - I got in on the first pass at 8am.  I  called uncle at 11 when my eyes couldn't take it any longer. By then the line was  up to  person 180 and the folks still standing in line were facing an average wait of 2 hours. 

The home was a large, run down mansion in a very expensive part of town.  It was chock a block full of stuff.  The former owner was a hoarder, but not just any old hoarder, he was a hoarder with money.  Lots  and lots and lots of money but unfortunately he was not the most discriminating of buyers - at least when it came to books.  He bought many, many, many books but the bulk of them came from Half Price Books.  Still I managed to unearth a treasure or two among the flotsam and the jettison. 

His real passion was Hispanic Art,  toys , toy cars, models, cameras, vinyl records  & clocks.   Every room was packed to the rafters with toys, models both assembled and unassembled and every available surface was covered with clocks and cute pop culture kitsch.  Those areas aren't my forte so I pretty much left it to the myriad of toy collectors and resellers.  I did manage to score 2 big Harry Potter Lego sets. 

He loved Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings and had just about every tie in ever made.  Nobody could figure out where he he slept or ate or "lived".  There was not one easy chair, bed, reading lamp  or kitchen table in the place.  Even the bathrooms were so full of stuff that they couldn't be used for their original purpose.  Maybe he didn't live in the house - perhaps he just used it to store the stuff! 

Normally at an Estate Sale it's pretty easy to get a picture of "the dear departed" based on what they leave behind.  That wasn't the case at this one.  I knew he was a "he" and I'm pretty he was gay and suspect he was in his 60s.  It was actually a very sad sale - all those piles and stacks of "things" lovingly collected over a lifetime were left behind to be pawed over by strangers.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

13 Things I'd Really Like to Be Eating...or Sipping

1  .A hot fudge Sundae from Marble Slab
2.  Crisp, hot French fries
4. Onion Rings from Sonic (they make them by hand)
5. Creme Brulee
6.  A Cheeseburger in Paradise (no mayo)
7.  Real hot chocolate made with real milk and topped with real whipped cream
8.  A glass of dry sherry
7.  Brie on crusty French bread with an apple on the side
8.  A big bowl of Pho
9.   Vietnamese Egg Rolls with mint and lettuce
10. Chips and green sauce
11. Potato chips with Liptions Onion Soup Dip (comfort food!)
12. New York style cheesecake
13. Southern Fried Chicken

And what am I really eating?  Carrot Sticks.  It's just not the same. 

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The Library Lunch Club

A comment I left on Blue Skunk Blog ( one of my favorites)  prompted a question about my Library Lunch Club.  This isn't the first time I've been asked  so I'm heeding the call of the universe and writing up a blog post.  I first  wrote about it in 2007 when it started  but it's been tweaked quite a bit since then. I don't agree with all the tweaks but I try to be a team player.

First requirement is a Principal who is more interested in students & reading than in having a library with a pristine carpet. Second requirement is a librarian with a high tolerance for noise! 

Membership is open to 4th & 5th graders.  It used to be limited to 4th graders but once the 4th graders moved on they insisted that the club come with them.  Membership is tried into reading.  

We're an AR school so it's pretty easy to figure out who reads and who doesn't.  The top 25 4th and 5th graders, AR point wise are automatically members.  The membership changes on the first Monday of every month - that way those who read have to keep reading!  I figure it's a good life lesson - just because you're on top doesn't mean you don' t have to work to stay there.

I also include any 5th grader with straight As and an occasional child who is making great strides in either academics or behavior.  We have high mobility and I keep an eye out for new students who are avid readers and invite them also.  Much to our amazement it's a popular reward for students on a behavior contract.  I've been known to hand out an invite to kids because "you're a neat kid".  Hey, it's my club - I can ask who I want!  

Teachers have found the club to be an excellent "carrot" - as in "If you keep forgetting your homework you are out of the club".  It's proven to be an excellent motivator when it comes to getting 10 year old Hispanic males to read. This last school year the majority of the members were boys. 

The students bring their lunch to the library (most of our kids are on free & reduced lunch).   They sit 5 or 6 to the tables and they don't have to sit with their class.  That's a big perk since they must sit by class in the cafeteria. They also get to sit at tables and chairs, as opposed to the pigs at the trough style of eating that is normal in many school cafeterias.  It takes them about 10 minutes to eat and then the fun begins.

Thanks to a bond issue the library has lots and lots of technology toys.  iTouches, ibooks, a Wii, an ActivBoard and two big iMacs.  My lunch time rule of thumb is "if it gets through the filters it's OK by me".  The kids im each other, play games, write on their blogs, check their e-mail and and have light saber duels with the iTouches.  Last spring Justin Biber  made every one of the girls hearts go pitter patter.  They played his video over and over and over again, accompanied by groans from the boys and I who did not share the love.  In between playing with iMovies a couple of the girls run the circulation desk.  The bulk of the  computers are laptops and the kids love to sprawl on the floor and share their discoveries.

When I work with the classes it's real apparent that this extra computer time benefits their learning.  The Library Lunch Club kids have more computer savvy and are much more comfortable with keyboarding.  They also tend to stay on task since they know they have "free exploration" time every day.

Are there any rules?  Yes of course!  The kids have to bus their tables and respect each other and the technology.  I had one incident of cyber bullying last year which I nipped by sending the bully back to the cafeteria.  I've not had one computer broken or vandalized.  All of my mice have their balls and my keyboards their keys.  

And what's my role in this daily 60 minutes of madness?  I prowl around, peek over shoulders, cajole kids to drink their milk, suggest books & websites  and enjoy the happy buzz.  

It works - it's one of the reasons our reading scores are in the mid to high 90s! 


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 13 Things That Always Appear at Estate Sales

Estate Sales in Houston are mostly Thursday / Friday affairs so I can only shop them in the summer time.  Some are Princesses and many  are Frogs but most all of them contain the following:

  1. Chicken Soup books.  Never has so much money been made pedaling banalities. 
  2. Christmas Decorations - they  often occupy an entire room
  3. A Readers Digest Condensed Book or two.  Or Three. Or Four.  Or maybe more.
  4. A couple of community cookbooks
  5. A fur something or another.  That always baffles me - it doesn't get cold enough in Houston  to wear fur in very often
  6. Artificial Flowers - the dusty, plastic type
  7. An angel figurine or two. Or Three. Or Four. Or maybe more. 
  8. Dusters and Mumus.  There seems to be a law that everyone over the age of 60 must have own at least 1 duster.  I hope I don't receive any when I turn 60!
  9. Cassette tapes.  Often the cassette tape player is missing but there is always a stack of cassettes.
  10. China figurines.  Dollar store variety at a low end sale, British bone at a high end. 
  11. A textbook dating back to their college days.  Doesn't matter how long ago it was, there is always at least one textbook.
  12. A collection of calculators (some of which do nicely on E-bay)
  13. Bath sets.  Never opened. 
It's always interesting (and sometimes very sad) to see what possessions people decide to hold on to. 

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Unconscious Mutterings

I'm still trying to get into the blog habit again.  MeMe's might not be very original but they are a useful tool for kick starting the brain. I found there is even a site that collects MeMes - The Daily MeMe.  I'm going to use that next year with my bloggers - I think they will enjoy it and it will help answer the "I don't know what to write about" whine.

This is Unconscious Mutterings by LunaNina - it's a list of word and you type in the first word that pops into your head
  1. Dickens ::  Charles
  2. Collection ::  Library (I work in one) 
  3. Weekends ::  Garage Sales
  4. Travel ::  When???
  5. District ::  Spring Branch Independent School District  (hey, it's where I work)
  6. Vampires ::  Overdone
  7. Peep show ::  Youtube videos of Peeps Candy Chicks
  8. Crochet :: Fussy 
  9. Lion :: Roar
  10. Fetch :: Now What???

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Thursday Thirteen

The Thursday Thirteen was always one of my favorite memes.  When the creative juices ran dry The Thursday Thirteen normally inspired a weekly post.  When it comes to Cyberspace things come and go so quickly and one day it vanished.  It's since reappeared in a different place.  

Of course, now I can't think of 13 things to write about so I'll fall back on .....

13 Things I Did Today

1.  Got very wet - H-Town is being washed away by daily thunderstorms.  Makes me happy I'm off for the summer.  Thumbs down to the former, Thumbs up for the latter. 

2.  Wrote E-bay auctions - it won't sell if I don't list it.  DUH!  Thumbs level

3. Went to an estate sale.  Found a Betty Crocker Red Pie cookbook.  Thumbs Up! 

4. Ate some very good sushi.  Thumbs up (licking sushi rice from said thumb)

5. Had BumbleBerry Pie.  A La Mode no less.  2 Thumbs Up!

6. Ran the dishwasther AGAIN.  Thumbs Down. Actually it should be thumbs up that I have one. And that it works.

7. Did not fold the sheets.  I hate folding sheets.  Both thumbs down.

8. Wrote my required "comments"  for my Book studies by blog that I'm doing this summer.  That will get a thumbs up when school starts and I get to take 2 flex days. Make that 2 thumbs up, one for each day.

9. Wasted to much time on Facebook.  Thumbs down!

10. Season7 of Project Runway arrived on DVD.  Watched it.  Also listed Amazon stock.  That made watching it a Thumbs neutral.  Season 8 starts on July 29th.  Happy Dance!

11. Read a book. Thumbs Up.  It's summer I now get to read again

12.  Thought about culling some clothes. Didn't do it.  Thumbs down

13.  Spent 30 minutes with Mr. Wi Fit.  Thumbs Up, though any good it did was negated by #5.