"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A list of occupations every family needs

I've been compiling lists like this in my head for years. Each family (or "family") needs an assortment of professions within their ranks. Here's my list, what would you add?

Computer genius
Hair stylist (cuts and color)
doctor (preferably an orthodontist)
lawyer
construction handyness
car repair expert

Monday, May 25, 2015

When the Kids Are All Grown Up

It's probably too soon to start planning for when the kids are grown up, my youngest is not yet three and we're not even positive we're done having kids, but I want to make this list anyway.

Things I want to do when the kids are grown up:

Get a degree in library sciences
Take creative writing classes
Write
Take photography classes
Take culinary/cooking classes
Learn to quilt
Learn to arrange flowers


So far, that's all I have. What are your "the kids are all grown up" plans?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Extinction

I hate having things I love disappear out of existence. And I'm not talking of extinct animals, or about losing loved ones. This post is much shallower than that. I'm talking about favorite restaurants, foods, TV shows, etc. I remember as a kid loving the nachos at a place called Naugles. Naugles shut down when I was ten. Last year, the best Mexican restaurant ever, the one I've been eating at since I was three, the tiny cafe in my hometown, came very close to closing its doors for good. It didn't and I ate there every chance I got last summer when I was in town (when I wasn't eating at In N Out Burger).  With the current economy in the US, other than the job security of my friends and family, the one big worry I have is that the places I've come to know and love will go out of business. It happened to Borders. Remember how the Twinkie almost went away for good? It used to be that Krispy Kremes were opening all over and now the only one in my parents' county is closed. Last year, in Ohio, we had to drive 45 minutes away for our kids to experience a fresh Krispy Kreme donut. There used to be Kissables, they were little chocolate chip sized Hershey Kisses coated in a candy shell. Gone. I'm not cool with the things that I love going away.

And I know. I said things, but remember, I already said this post was going to be super shallow.

Here's the good news, the way TV and movies are in this digital age, even when a show I love gets cancelled, there's still a chance it won't be gone forever. Boy Meets World came back as Girl Meets  World. There's a new Full House in the works called Fuller House. Arrested Development came back with a Netflix season. Veronica Mars (I jumped on this bandwagon after the movie came out) used a Kickstarter to fund a movie (and then there were two books written, yes, I read them). Last week The Mindy Project was cancelled and just a couple of days later it was picked up as a Hulu show! And, The X-files series ended in 2002, the second movie was released in 2008 and they are now working on a new comeback miniseries.

I'm loving this digital era.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nicknames

We decided to make a list of all the nicknames Little Guy has since he has so many. It's funny because he's probably the least on board with us calling him anything but his name but he's the one who naturally lends himself to having nicknames. On the other side, Buddy has been trying to convince us to call him Fanta for years.

Little Guy's nicknames:
[his name] - the last two letters +ey
Tiny [his name] - the last two letters +ey
His initials
His name backwards (he says he likes this one)
Fritz/Fritzy
Eyebrows Johnson
Fritz the Spritz McGillicuddy, 3rd Earl of Tootington, Heir to the Cheerio Fortune
Donut Thief
Baby Stink Breath
Your Highness
Little Raja
Absent-minded Professor

The other kids wanted me to list their nicknames as well.

Princess Sparkley:
[her name] exchange the a for an e
Eloise
Smelloise
Lou
Consuela
Sweet Pea
Stella

Buddy:
the German version of his name
the Spanish version of his name
Q-ball
GPS
Bottomless Pit
Phil
[his name] + ber
[his name] + by

Squirt:
Cochise
[his name] -the last two letters + ey
[his name] exchange the s for a b

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Electives

The students at the Chinese high school where Jed teaches have a huge assortment of nonessential-type classes to pick from. At first this shocked me because my experience with students of Asian ancestry in the United States was that they were focused, over-achievers when it came to academia and that type of person didn't seem to be the type who also took dance and art and chorus and German and gender studies classes. I expected these students to be completely focused on maths and sciences, mainly. The group of teachers who arrived with us included several PE teachers, a dance teacher, several language teachers and a couple of music teachers. There are also Physics, Economics, Chemistry, all types of maths and English teachers as well as a bunch more I don't even know about.

Discussing this with Jed the other day, I realized I don't even feel like I had the opportunity to take an elective in high school. I was on the "college prep" track. This meant I took English, science, math, history, and a foreign language each semester, all four years of high school. That's five classes in a six class day. For the first two years, I was also required to take PE. So for two years, no electives at all. Here are my classes, to the best of my poor memory...

Freshman:
English
Intro Physical Science
Spanish 1
PE
Algebra 1
Geography/Health


Sophomore:
English
Biology
Spanish 2
PE
Geometry
World Civilization

Junior:
English
Chemistry
Spanish 3
Geometry (I had to retake 1 semester) and then the second semester Child Development
Intro to Trigonometry/Algebra
US History

Senior:
English
Oceanography/Marine Biology
Spanish 4
Economics (1 semester) and then Criminal Justince/Pre-law
Algebra 2
???

See, no room for a fun elective. And, as I remember it, this the "college prep" track. I had to have four years of English, four years of math, four years of science, two years of PE. I think history (beyond the first two or three years) and a foreign language (beyond one or two years) might have been my electives.  Child development was an elective and I only took it so I could make a doll out of a five pound bag of sugar and carry it around for two weeks. I remember my sister doing that in high school and I had been looking forward to it for years.

But otherwise, where's the fun in that?! Even when I got to college, when I had to pick an elective from a list of qualifying classes, I almost always picked the English option (and I was an English major). Aside from two semesters of beginning guitar and two wasted semesters taking "effective study habits" and "career development" or something (not sure why I took either of those classes), I didn't take any fun classes in college either. Well, fun outside of my major. I took creative writing, literature & film and young adult literature... all of which I loved. But no extracurricular type classes. I feel like I need to enroll at a community college with my kids in a few years and just take fun classes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Changes in Photography

As I was out walking today, I saw students from the high school where Jed teaches out around campus with fancy cameras around their necks. I didn't actually see any of them taking pictures, but they were wandering around, looking, trying to find something to photograph for an art assignment. It got me wondering why I never took an interest in photography in high school.

To begin with, I'm not even sure my high school had photography classes. The only time I was aware of photography as a thing in high school was the handful of school newspaper photographers. I'm not artistically inclined, so I didn't go anywhere near art classes in school. But photography, that's the type of art I could embrace and maybe even be good at. I had a camera. A nice camera. But not a "photography camera," just a point and shoot camera. 

Then I realized something. When I was in high school, photography was a very different art form then it is today. It didn't involve computers at all. You had to have a dark room and chemicals and hang the photos to dry after you developed them. There was no screen on the camera to let you know if you'd gotten a decent shot, and if you didn't get a decent shot, all the time you spent developing the photograph was for naught. This. This is why I wasn't involved in photography back then. I have no interest in that sort of thing. I mean, it seems cool. I like the image created for the type of person who would be interested in developing photos. The same type who would have a bike with a basket as her means of transportation. I wish I was that person. I'm not.

So that is why I'm an extreme amateur when it comes to photography. I recently replaced my broken, maybe seven(!!) year old Nikon Coolpix camera with a newer, more expensive version of the same camera. I'd wanted to splurge and get a "photography camera," but then I realized I needed to wait until I could also enroll myself in a bunch of classes to teach me how to use it. Then... then I'll wander around with a fancy camera around my neck looking for stuff to photograph. I'm adding it to my list of things to do when the kids are a little more grown up and I have more time. That happens, right?
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