Happy Birthday!

Hard to believe, but ten years ago today a little book came out that changed the face of children’s literature and book publishing forever.  I must admit, I didn’t even read it until there was a sequel, and of all people was inspired by hearing Rosie O’Donnell wax rhapsodic over the protagonist on her now-defunct daily talk show.

As a lifelong bookworm, I was thrilled that there was something out there that got children interested in reading again, and that a book had been written that not only had kids begging their parents to take them to the bookstore but also was a work of art that didn’t speak down to the kids.  There is nothing more insulting that children’s literature that doesn’t inspire you to think, encourage creativity, and stir imagination.  Drivel that meets these three categories are the reason why many kids hate reading–my own brother included.  But this little book not only changed that, it also allowed reading to become a family affair as it was just as enjoyable for adults as it was for their children, and as battles over who’s turn was next in the rotation reached a frenzy I know of more than one family that ended up purchasing more than one copy.

Better yet, as the sequels kept coming, the voice of the protagonist kept aging.  Reading the final installation is a different world from the initial introduction, as the writer smartly assumed that the readers were growing with her books and that things could evolve and get more intricate, detailed, fanciful, and complicated.

So here’s to you, Harry Potter, and may your Sorcerer’s Stone always bring good fortune to those that read it.  And also to the author–may JK Rowling be known as not only the richest woman in England but also as someone that took the chance that someone would enjoy reading about an eleven year old bespectacled scrawny kid and how the misfit and friends was the one that saved the world.

Shocking news!

This just in from the Associated Press:  Barack Obama’s race might be a deciding factor in this November’s election.

Ya’ think?! Cracked me up.  Like it has never been noticed until now.  It’s a new discovery!  Barack Obama is not 100% Caucasian male!

When I first saw the article title I thought it was going to be a Dave Barry-esque slam on today’s voters and how something so trivial serves as the deciding factor rather than the actual politics.  But now, it’s legit.  Here is the article in its entirety, just so I can go back and laugh whenever I want a chuckle over the intellectual shortcomings of American voters:

Continue reading

A little awkward….

So I got home today from running errands, weekly hospital visit, borrowing a vacuum (not one but TWO blew up on me on Sunday).  Anywho, normal errand sort of day.  Get home, my jeans are wet, so I take them off to dry.  Before I can get dressed in comfy loungey-type pants the phone rings.  So I am sitting in my den chair, crosslegged on the phone.  Hang up the phone, and before you know it there is someone ringing my doorbell.  Nobody ever rings my doorbell.  If you know me, you either have a key, call, or come straight to the back door.

It was my lovely next door neighbor who speaks about eight words of English–and “Hello, Kelly!” are two of them.  He was very nicely bringing me a piece of (junk) mail that had been delivered to his home instead.  Only I’m sitting in my chair, in plain side view of the front door, pantsless.  No way am I gonna get up and walk over, but it’s hard to tell someone that doesn’t speak English to just leave it on the front doormat.

Yep, awkward.

Seven Years Ago Today

I was sitting at my desk, working like it was a normal Tuesday.  Two days prior I had returned from a trip to San Francisco and Carmel Valley, where my cousin and I flew to visit my brother while he was training.  I was still trying to play catch up for the week, and was swamped with paperwork.

The phone rang, and it was my boss’s son.  He asked if we were ‘watching this on TV’.  Not knowing what ‘this’ was, I said no.  He explained that the first plane had crashed into the WTC.  In between the time the phone rang and the time we found a TV, the second plane crashed.  All work, in essence, stopped for the day. I had a boss who had a sister and a cousin that worked in those buildings, he was freaked out.  Another boss had a sister that worked on the 45th floor of the first tower struck.  She had a doctor’s appointment that morning, and had not gone to work yet.  I had a sister (stepsister) that, until September 1, had lived in lower Manhattan and had extensive contacts with those that worked in those buildings.

Then the news that a plane hit the Pentagon.  With a brother in the military and many friends in government work, I was freaked out.  That one bothered me a bit more.  I have friends that live on the Hill.  I have friends that live across the river and could see the building smoking. Finally, the news of a plane diverted by heroic passengers to crash in Pennsylvania.

It was a trying day for everyone.  Nobody wanted to be alone, and everyone wanted to know what on earth was going on.

At the time, my friend Plenipotentiary was a single mother to a seven month old boy.  She, much more so than I, had many friends and family in the DC area and was equally in shock.  We knew the President was going to speak that evening and while neither one of us liked his politics or agreed with a thing he had done since the day he arrived in office, we wanted to hear what he had to say.

We went to a local Irish pub down the street from where I lived at the time.  I remember sitting there, with the baby, all of us having dinner watching the replay over and over and over again on the giant TV screen in the corner.  When George Bush came on, the entire restaurant went silent.  The kitchen staff came out to hear what was said, the waiters quit trying to hustle tables, the college students quit trying to hustle women, and we all–for a single moment–just listened.

I don’t remember what the President said that night, I don’t remember what we talked about at the table.  I can’t say that I became a supporter of George Bush after the events of September 11, 2001 or that I even fully comprehended at the time exactly what had motivated these happenings.  I just remember that in the evening of an event that has turned into a ‘where were you when’ moment, I was with family–both familiar and strangers.  I was with those that were as confused as I, those that were as baffled as I, and those that were as needy as I was that night.  I was with a pseudo-sister, and we drew comfort from just being in the presence of one another.  And most of all, I remember looking at her baby boy, thinking about the world that this beautiful child was going to grow up in and wondering if it had changed forever.

Pluto Rocks!

With full apologies to Jason Kotkke, as I found this on his website.  I thought it was a riot, and yes, he did the right thing!  I have copied in its entirety:

Bringing Pluto back to the solar system

Meg bought Ollie this ball a couple of weeks ago. It’s got all the planets of the solar system on it, plus the Sun. But no Pluto. That’s right, it’s barely been two years since Pluto was demoted to dwarf planet status and the toy manufacturers have already made the adjustment.

It saddens me that Ollie has to grow up in a world where Pluto isn’t considered a planet, although I take comfort that his textbooks probably won’t be updated by the time he’s in school. In the meantime, I’ve Sharpied Pluto onto his ball.

Pluto, back where it belongs

One ball at a time people, that’s how we win.

Quote of the Day

Tough girls come from New York.  Sweet girls, they’re from Georgia.  But us Virginia girls, we have fire and ice in our blood.  We can ride horses, be a debutante, throw left hooks, and drink with the boys–all the while making sweet tea, darlin’.  And if we have an opinion, you know you’re gonna hear it.

Ran across this on a website somewhere, no idea who wrote it, but darn if it isn’t dead on!

Have a great weekend everyone.

The one time I don’t have my camera with me . . . .

So today I was out running errands.  [Since I am unemployed, it’s become a task in efficiency for me–see how many places I can get to with the shortest amount of driving to accomplish the maximum amount of things on my list.  I even made it 3 1/2 weeks without filling my gas tank–a new record!] 85% of the time, I have my digital camera floating around in the bottom of my bag.  I try hard to take photos whenever I can, and when I’m out and about I love especially love taking photos in natural settings.  I’ve knocked on doors so people don’t freak out when I’m in the yard zooming in on a tree blossom or stopped to get the mother goose and seven goslings crossing a six lane thoroughfare, or what have you.  One of the views I love is the juxtaposition of having a tree cluster and a lone bare tree in the mix.  A result of lightning, it’s dead, it’s been stripped bare, whatever–in the right lighting or setting it can be a beautiful combination.

So today I’m driving down the road at 55mph, getting ready to take the exit to get on the interstate, and there is such a scene coming up on the other side of the road.  Beautiful green foliage with some wildflowers underneath at roadside, and this one tree that–while not completely bare–extended far above the canopy with it’s wispy, barren branches.  There was an odd growth on it, and I was trying to figure out what it was while at a stoplight.  When I was able to drive closer I realized it wasn’t a growth, it was a nest, or maybe even a bird.  It wasn’t until I was right up on it (and remember it’s about 30 feet higher than I and on the opposite side of a four lane divided road) that I realized it was a bird.

Not just any bird, but a big fat owl.

We don’t have owls around here.  Or not many of them anyway, and not big ones or ones that appear in the daytime. It was truly a spectacular sight.

And here I am without my camera.