Pageviews past week

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"If We Could Talk to the Animals: Interview with Llamas"

As part of our continuing effort to raise the general consciousness of mankind here at Rancho Downsize-e-oh, we're taking a moment tonight to interview our resident llamas. Rest assured that no animals were harmed during this interview as spelled out in codes regarding this sort of thing.

Madhadder: Good evening Obama and Dalai. Do you mind if we take a few moments of your time for a few questions?

Obama: Oh most assuredly. Dalai?

Dalai: I think an interview would be very soul cleansing!

Madhadder: You've been at Rancho Paradisio about 3 months now. How do you find the accomodations generally?

Dalai: Satisfactory all around actually. You know I'm in a delicate condition. I appreciate that this place is quiet, abundant with edibles and water, and large enough to get up a good gallop if the urge strikes. We adore the man in the blue coat who brings oats and num nums every day.
Running water! Brrrrrrrr Lake is pleasingly chilly. We appreciate that the natives have attempted to replicate many Peruvian characteristics such as the thin air and freezing temperatures. Very thoughtful, in deed.

Obama: Yes, quite so. We do have one complaint about the Shih Tzu, however. He has muscled his way right into our evening grain and pellet ritual. I can't imagine our digestive systems bear any resemblence to his, however! Surely that is resulting in some nasty intestinal gas! Tonight he (pardon me for being graphic) relieved himself on our hay!
Madhadder: hmmm...yes, well, what are your plans when the new baby arrives in May? Are you considering birthing in?

Dalai: We've discussed that, yes. Obama seems to favor that. I'm a little nervous about his lack of experience. I'm assuming that many neighbors are well acquainted with birth and can stand at the ready! You know we llamas give birth during the day. That should increase our chances of being able to summon help should we get into a quandry.

Obama: Righto, Dalai, my love.

Madhadder: Tell us a little about your background. Have you always lived on a farm?

Dalai: One would assume that of llamas, I suspect. Actually I have a great grandmother who was a circus star. She, of course, came directly from Peru. Thank heavens, my grandfather sought a somewhat more stable life for my mother. She and my father met at a llama auction in Montana and were both brought to Idaho as sheep nannies. That's the life I was born into, and believe me, I'm loving the break from sheep!!!! Nasty bleating little creatures one and all. Fences mean absolutely nothing to them!

Madhadder: And you, Obama. Tell us a little about your past.

Obama: I'm a Harvard man--well actually a Harvard fraternity Mascot man--Alpha Chi Omega 2002-2006. I fell into that rather oddly if the truth be known. I answered an ad in the personals in the London Times. Apparently they needed someone to accompany them to football games, add ambience to the fraternity house, and participate in a few "harmless" gags. But as they say, "It's all fun 'til someone gets hurt!" During a midnight panty raid on a bordering sorority house, I tripped over a bicycle lying on the lawn and fractured my tibia. Fortunately one of my housemates had connections here in Idaho. They offered me a decent severance. I bear no ill will.

Madhadder: Fascinating! How do you feel about the current state of things economically and socially?

Obama: And there you are striking a raw nerve! You can imagine my concern that my name is going to be associated with EVERYTHING happening nationally and globally since the recent election! I mean, REALLY! What are the chances that another Obama would surface so prominently???? Actually I bear no ill will for him either and would love to meet Barack, Michelle and the girls. Perhaps we'll send a birth announcement. It would improve llama relations dramatically if the new president could bring in a few llamas to graze on the White House lawns. Don't you think?

Dalai: Of course, Dear. Llamas generally speaking are pacifists. Living as close as we do to nature we appreciate the power of cycles to bring about change albeit slowly. We do have one word of advice that has served our species well for centuries which perhaps we could pass on: Keep the food chain short! It makes for a kinder more gentle planet.

Madhadder: What are your hopes for your new baby?

Obama: Now isn't that sweet of you to ask? Isn't that sweet, Dalai?

Dalai: Yes. We can only hope for our child what thousands of llama parents have hoped for their children for centuries: well-shaped hooves, nice lashes, and the good sense to come in out of the rain!

Obama: Let me add something to that. You may have noticed my striking coloring and Dalai's exotic white coat. Indubidibly we hope to carry on good coloring. Bloodlines are so important, you know.

Madhadder: Yes, I'm sure. Is there anything else you'd like to address before we end this?

Dalai: Why yes.
We've heard some rumors that we'd certainly like to investigate. Word on the street has it that the caretakers of Rancho-Make-a-Profit-O are going to anesthetize us and de-fleece us next summer! Can you shed any light on that????

Madhadder: I can neither confirm nor deny that. This is Madhadder with Obama and Dalai Llama direct from Rancho-Take-a-De-Fleece-and-Run-i-O. Back to you, Katie.

Inspiration From Hollywood

Anybody up for listing these movies in order?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dear Lurkers,

I know you're out there! How? Because Everybody knows way too much about me to NOT be reading my blog! My librarian, fellow Toastmasters, parents of my students, churchmates! Actually lurking is an honorable activity...NOT!!!!! Show yourself! Be heard! I'm thinking of starting a "Lurker of the Week" contest. All you'll have to do is post a comment, have your name put into a hat, and wait for Lady Luck to pick you out!!! You guys remind me of my seventh graders who won't share outloud their daily journal entries. Weirdest group for that ever--usually I have to limit the number who can share. So I fixed them! One day I had hidden donuts behind and under my desk. Then when I asked for volunteers I said, "OK, is that all? The volunteer window is closing!" You can imagine the pandemonium when I waltzed behind my desk and started handing out donuts to the brave readers!!! Oh, I was smitten with glee! So now they know I might randomly pull out a cake or cookies or anything...and they volunteer. Random rewards. I love 'em. Lurkers, you MAY be rewarded for appearing. Just maybe.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blessed Are the Cheesemakers

Paco was a good boy, so I brought this book to him from Denver. He has had a bit of a cheese making itch for a while now. I find him poring over websites, salivating over cheese-making supplies, and generally chomping at the bit to make some cheese, darn it! We're low on things to milk at the moment, but that doesn't mean that a goat might not appear this spring! Given half a chance we'd take in a yak too. I've been passing his saurkraut crock on my trips back and forth cleaning the cellar yesterday and today. It is ripe!!! Today he interrupted my email reverie to inform me that IFA (that's a sort of farmer's Wal-Mart) has Rhode Island Reds for $50 for 24! Then I saw him out perusing the chicken coop where I'm currently storing Christmas decorations. Something tells me eggs are in my future...
We here at Heritage Farm are counting down the days until Mr. Sun comes out, melts the white stuff, and warms up the ground so we can move on with things here!!! The little old ladies at my literary club last night warned that more seeds have been sold in the month of March than the rest of the year combined! Great, now we have a seed scare as well. But as for this cheese--once we go into "full production"--be forewarned that Paco doesn't stop at cheese sandwiches! Oh No! He pulls out his French cookbook and you'd better wash up for dinner! Raclette!!! mmmmmmmm....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Every First and Third Thursday at 6:30 A.M.

You may not have heretofore suspected that we have an underground movement here in Brrrrr Lake to take over the world. No, we're not meeting in the basement of the hospital to pursue mutant virus production or to draft subversive letters to government heads. We are very quietly conquering our public speaking phobias one by one speech by speech. Once we gain mastery of them we will rise up phoenix-like and having conquered our inner demons then be ready to take our place as tomorrow's world spokespeople. That or just continue having a heck of a lot of fun. And you thought I was just sleeping in the mornings...

Slow News Day

The complete and utter lack of luster for this day (so far) has forced me to dip back into my photo archives. Behold Thomas' new in-laws! And a couple of outlaws you may recognize from our side too. A smashing group, no? Everybody deserves kids like Thomas and Season! DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT model any future teaching careers after mine today. The majority of my 7th graders are off on an Honor's Society fieldtrip to the "big city". They'll probably return with body piercings and a new vocabulary. We here (left to hold down the fort) raided my Muppet bank and went to the market for penny candy! So there! Take that honor students!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Winterized Hole

KA-CHING!!! Chalk up another picture perfect weekend in our favorite getaway. "Winter, spring, summer, or fall....all ya gotta do is call, and I'll be there!"

It's challenging to take Paco seriously in his "DigEm" hat--it brings out the dragon in him. What you CAN'T see is the naan and basil hummus he made and packed in for lunch. We have this new awesome flat cast iron flatbread pan he was trying out. Do not confuse THAT day with the one when he brewed up a crock of homemade saurkraut because cabbage was on sale. And I am a mere mindbender...

Oh and this bear was getting a bath in Albertson's too. I think I heard an audible "A little lower and to the left", but I could have been mistaken.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Go figure...

Happy St. Paddy's Day!!!!!

This inspired my daughter to take up tap dancing about ten years ago! Hope it at least inspires you to grab some corned beef and cabbage!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"We'll Leave a Light On"

Behold the new French-inspired facelift at the Jackson, WY Motel 6! Would that ALL Motel 6's are receiving the same prescription! One of the upsides of the entire country being bought up by foreigners is that a little of their exquisiteness leaks over into the acquired properties. My Summer 2008 roadmates and I would have gladly traded our stuffy (we ended up flinging the door wide open all night leaving us susceptible to all manner of disgraces) room at the same establishment for this new haute interior with its sleek black accessories, orange walls, flat-screen TV, and light Pergo floor which not only must be a cleaning woman's dream but also inspired some tap dancing when Paco and I visited this weekend. Viva la France!

Life is Beautiful

In the past week I have found myself watching and reading all manner of Holocaust-related books and movies--Devil's Arithmetic, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Milkweed, Downfall, and the Hiding Place. Not my usual diet. I make it a habit to teach the Holocaust at some point every year and have done nearly my whole teaching career--there's a story behind that. I was reminded last night while watching the Hiding Place of this movie and this particular scene. I love it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

"A Man and His Apron Strings...Be Still My Heart..."

If you'll excuse the minor indiscretions in this video clip from "A Funny Thing Happened On My Way to the Forum", it illustrates my point perfectly today--one can never underestimate the value of a good illustrative point via youtube. Since mid-January I have been the "victim" of complete and utter servitude. And believe you me, ya otter try it!! The down economy has misplaced many of the country's men and taken them from the 9-5 grind straight into a prone position on the couch. Some of the female authors of accounts I have read on-line complain of TOO MUCH man lying around with a remote stuck to his hand, playing video games, sleeping in until noon, and generally resorting to cave man gruntings. However...drum roll please...I take my sombrero off today in praise of one Paco who has taken his role on the nation's rapidly expanding unemployed rolls with complete dignity, thrift, and aplomb.
Here is a partial list of his daily activities of the last few months: makes breakfast and dinner DAILY, brings me lunches to school upon request, serenades me on his re-discovered guitar, does all laundry, builds shelves in the garage, sprouts all manner of seed sprouts for eating, mends, vacuums, plans and executes weekend get-aways, does dishes, shops, feeds llamas, de-junks the office, pays bills, chaperones middle school activities, helps neighbors, shovels snow, repairs water heater, grows wheat grass (upcoming blog on that!), walks and attends to Mugsy, sends off Christmas/Valentine's Day/St. Patrick's Day letter, attends the temple, advises local school board on issues, reads entire Harry Potter series for the 7th or 8th time, takes out trash, and researches myriads of gardening topics ALL while maintaining a daily job search both in and out of the country! I LOVE my cheerful and energetic slave clear to pieces...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

"Look Into My Eyes..."

Occasionally time stands refreshingly still--not often. Today I witnessed the SAME hypnotist on the SAME stage using basically the SAME jargon and post hypnotic suggestions that were used on me when I was a junior in high school some 39 years ago. At my side was a classmate of mine who teaches math in the same school I teach English who ALSO sat at the feet of the SAME hypnotist in the SAME school on the SAME stage. (note: I teach middle school in the same building where I attended high schcol.) We reminisced and predicted pretty much 99% correctly how the show would roll forward. This hypnotist, Jack Lithgow, is 83 years old and doing the SAME gig!!!! Unbelievable!! Right down to having a subject grab the curtain as they left the stage! I observed to Mr. Classmate/Math teacher that the guy looked like he'd spent the majority of his years on a horse--he's bow-legged! To his credit the rest of Mr. Lithgow looks great, he still admits to being an avid reader, and he puts on a pretty commendable hypnotism show for a very rapt audience. He made one slip-up--he undid his tie at one point but had forgotten to plant the post-hypnotic suggestion for someone to try and fix it for him. I hope that his persistent presence on America's schools' stages is a reflection of his never-ending zest for knocking out middle schoolers and not a commentary on what the economy is forcing and WILL force people to continue doing...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009


Give me a sewing machine, some fleece, and a couple of dynamite models!! My Denver (HEY!!! Did you hear about the Denver coyotes attacking joggers???? Oh MY GOODNESS!!!! They went right for the jugulars!!!!!) cuddle bugs have RSV, but their hat pictures will show up soon!!!! Heal babies...


I, like many of you, go waaaaaaaaay back with this cat. Hats off today to Dr. Seuss who brought out the kid in all of us.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley