"In this economy" is the new "in bed."

Remember how, when you were young and all, you used to say, "in bed" after reading your fortune cookie, and snicker? Oh, that is so out. The new thing is to say, "in this economy" after everything you say. Yep.

It started at home, I think, after shoe shopping at Payless, and encountering a salesgirl who assumed we were newly down and out "in this economy." Like money had just been no object before. She told us the history of Payless Shoe Store. She was very enthusiastic. She wouldn't let us buy anything, because they were going to have a sale on Tuesday, and, you know, in this economy...

When we got home, we couldn't stop saying it:
"I think I'll have another slice of pie... in this economy."
"Yeah, I'm really hungry in this economy."
"The weather is awfully nice in this economy."
"Good thing, in this economy. What with heat being what it is in this economy."

Then, phase two began. I branched out. I started saying it to random people in public. I find that it takes on a different meaning, depending on context:

...at the grocery store,
"I'm buying potatoes- in this economy." [that's all we can afford.]
"Oprah's put on a few pounds in this economy." [rich bitch- buying all that food!]

... in the elevator,
"I'm going up to the twelfth floor, in this economy." [what with all the lay-offs, guess I'll jump off the roof.]

... at the doctor's office,
"Baby's sick in this economy." [how to pay the doctor bills?]

That's Phase 2, saying the phrase to strangers. Phase 3 is when you can actually get other people to say it. It's fun! I got a lady at Farm and Fleet to say it. Such a feeling of accomplishment, in this economy.

I know, I know. I shouldn't joke about such things. In this economy, especially.

Try it! You'll like it!

Memories of Bubble Wrap

Well, it turns out I won't get to be an art teacher tomorrow, after all, because Little Z. needs me to stay home. She's got some sort of wicked cold and a fever. Thanks for all of your suggestions, though! They were very entertaining.

Ms. von Hathor's suggestions reminded me of these old friends of mine in Pueblo, Penny and Tamara. Penny and Tamara were thirty-somethings who both worked at a bike shop. I went into the bike shop one day, when business was slow, to purchase a bicycle tube. Tamara and another employee there had packaged Penny (who is very petite) completely in bubble wrap. I'm not sure I said that correctly. Penny was just bubble wrap with a head sticking out of one end, little feet out of the other. There was no Penny, really, just this giant mound of bubble wrap, taped together, which Tamara and some guy were rolling around on the floor of the bike shop, to pop all of the bubbles- because that is just SO MUCH FUN! POPPING ALL OF THOSE BUBBLES! OH_MY_GOD!

Penny was just laughing and laughing. They had actually hidden her behind the counter, when they heard a customer was coming, but then they propped her up on her little feet sticking out of the bottom of her bubbly encasing when they saw that it was just me.

Penny and Tamara. Bubble wrap. You heard it here first.

The rolling in glitter and cardboard robot comments made me think of that.

Art Teacher Substitute, Again!

I'm going to substitute for the elementary school art teacher again on Monday! They called and requested me. I feel so special. I get to see the budding artists again. Any activity suggestions? What would you do? Her lesson plans last time were useful, and also very flexible, so that I don't need suggestions, per se, but it would be interesting to hear from you.

Unexpected Cleaning Tip

This is titled, "Unexpected" because, if you've visited me, you might not expect me to be giving out cleaning tips! No that I'm a complete slob, but cleaning is not a number one priority for me. However, that being said, I cleaned the ceiling fan in the dining room a few days ago, and I am quite proud of my method. Normally, I dislike cleaning the ceiling fan, because all of that dust goes all over the room, and then you have to either put up with a dirty room or clean the rest of the space, too. No worries anymore! This last time, I just got a pillow case wet, stood on a chair, put each blade in the pillow case, and pulled a pillow case slowly over each fan blade. All of the dirt stayed in the pillow case! Then I washed the pillow cases in the washing machine. I polished the fan dry with a wash cloth, and voila:

a clean ceiling fan, without messing up the rest of the room.

Zelma would heart this reading poster!

This one is featuring one of Z.'s favorite characters, The Pigeon:

You can't quite make it out, but the book The Pigeon is reading is titled, "How to Drive a Bus," which is hilarious if you've ever read, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" by Mo Willems. (Or, perhaps, if you've ever heard the title, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus," and put two and two together!)

I also like the placement of this poster in nonfiction. The Pigeon is advertising how-to books!

Art Teacher Substitute

I was an elementary school art teacher today. I just let them draw pictures. These are my two favorites, both from *kindergarteners:

The artist admitted to being **inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night." I like how he simplified it while maintaining its essence. I also like how the moon has morphed into a spiral in the kindergartener's version.

And I'm not sure if the second figure in this next budding artist's work is a sweaty fish with hair, or a fish-like person with sweat, but it is suh-weet, in my opinion:

The colors on both were better in person. My cell phone isn't the best. Aren't the pictures great?

* Five-year-olds (or five-and-a-half-year-olds, as they like to point out).

** Very very unpretentiously and innocently admitted that he enjoys that picture, which was one of the prints of great art hanging on the wall.

I heart Reading Posters: Salma Hayek

I wouldn't be all that into this one, except for look at the book she's reading.

Salma Hayek reads about Frida Kahola! Yay!

of Road Trips and Reasons to Enjoy Facebook

Maybe ten years ago, B. and I drove from Pueblo to Durango, Colorado, and we got kind of goofy somewhere around Alamosa, and we started making up songs. It all started because I was claiming that my name wasn't really that weird, if you considered that some of my high school classmates had names like "Alyosha," "Mira Wonderwheel," and "Buffalo Forest Cave." This led to some speculation about married names, and then we started singing a song, which went like this,

"Buffalo Forest Cave, Buffalo Forest Cave/
married Mira Wonderwheel, /
and now she's Mira Wonderwheel-Cave..."

The song went on and on. The more we drove, the sillier it got. We had them with a myriad of children, all with richly unique, hyphenated names like their own.

A few years have passed, now, and all of those high school people have really faded into distant memory. I began to think I actually made some of them up, like just for road trip entertainment or something. I really wasn't sure if they existed anymore. And then came Facebook. And, just yesterday, I became unduly excited when I made friends with- you guessed it- Mira Wonderwheel! She does exist, and looks exactly as I remember her. [Please don't hate me! It's all in good fun!]

But, alas, she is not Mira Wonderwheel-Cave. Not married at all. So, I guess there's still hope for our dream for them, isn't there? The world is nothing if not a a vat of steaming potential for unlikely dreams to come true.

Things I Blame/ Credit President Obama for

These tortoises are at the zoo:

I do not blame President Obama for them. They are there, indifferent to him, and quite cool besides!

Substitutes really live off of other people's sicknesses, and feigned sicknesses. I do blame President Obama, at least partly, for my lack of work as a substitute teacher recently. In this bastion of liberalism that is Madison, Wisconsin, everyone is so full of hope and sunshine and love for life in general that they feel healthy, happy, motivated, and they don't call in sick to work! Which leaves little old me with not enough to do, and not enough to pay the day care, which charges whether I get a job or not.

The upside of the situation, however, is that I've started putting my eclectic craft projects up for sale on Etsy.com. If you don't know what Etsy is, let me fill you in. Etsy is kind of like ebay, only it's all hand made stuff. You make your own stuff and sell it at your own store there. It's very easy to use, so far. I bought a bunch of Christmas presents there. I also noticed, when I bought stuff, that a lot of stuff other people were selling were things that I could have made, if I had the time. When I don't get sub jobs, I have the time now.

It remains to be seen if anyone cares to spend actual money on my creations!

Memories of Spam

This blog entry got me thinking about my memories of Spam.

Memory Number 1:

I was a young adolescent, visiting my Uncle Dennis in San Francisco. (Today is his birthday. Happy birthday, Duncle Ennis!) I think he was between roommates, for some reason. There were no women around, anyway, which was a bad omen, because all that he had to eat was... you guessed it... Spam. This was unbelievable to me, and I thought he must be joking. But he was not. That's about all I remember, except that there seemed to be a lot of cats around, stalking his flat.

Memory Number 2:

It was 1992 and I was an exchange student in Sweden for my last year of high school. In the Swedish "gymnasie" school, your English class was sort of like your home room. My English teacher, Eva (they go by first names there), thought it would be nice if I would share an American snack with the class. Which left me in a kind of conundrum. What food was quintessentially American? I didn't want to do hamburgers, because McDonald's had already made it to Sweden, even in 1992, so that would be old news. I wanted to do something truly special. So, I had my stepmother, Jean, ship me some Spam and Saltines.

I made little Spam sandwiches and served them to my English class. Many of my classmates took me quite seriously, and critiqued my snack as though it were real food. Others, however, had seen this video, and broke into a little Viking song. But I was truly found out when someone asked me, "Aren't you going to have any?"

"Well, um, no."

The lights, the lights!

The little red lights on the side of my house tell me the future. "How many weeks are left of winter?" I ask them. "Blink me an answer."

Okay, yes, this is weird, but is it really any weirder than asking a groundhog?

Movies that are like oatmeal: "The Seventh Seal"

This is one of those movies where you don't actually know what is going on a lot of the time, but it's like fun to just be along for the ride. It's Swedish, of course. Basically, this guy is playing chess with Death (Death as in, the dude whose name is Death who comes and escorts you to the netherworld). The title is from the book of Revelations. The Plague is going around. There are these players who entertain people, actors, and the play itself is sort of symbolic of our lives, etc. The main actor has these "visions" of Mary and Jesus, etc. I have always loved this movie. Though, I realize, I'm not quite sure what it's about, except maybe redemption. That Igmar Bergman was a real crazy genius, in my opinion.

Here is the scene when the knight (did I mention there was a knight, and it's in the Middle Ages) the knight challenges Death to a game of chess. Death arrives to claim the knight's life, and the knight says he isn't ready. Death is like, yeah, that's what they all say. The knight suggests a game of chess first. "I hear you're really good."
"How do you know I'm really good at chess?"
"I've seen you in paintings and stuff. You may be good, but you're not as good as I am."
And thus begins the chess game which lasts the whole film.

Death is one bad ass dude.