Sunday, February 27, 2011

Public Service Announcement

I realize that most of you will not actually watch this, so here's a quick summary of the most salient points:
1. Everyone should pitch in to avert a crisis that concerns us all.
2. People should have the right to collaborate, debate and negotiate in situations where their livelihoods and areas of expertise are effected, or when problems without clear solutions arise.

This has been a public service announcement. We now return you to the self-centered inanity that is The Smaller Adventure. Thank you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Very First

Just in case you're keeping a chronological list:
The very first blog post I wrote for this blog was this one:
That was back when I was adorable. Look how cute I was!
I wrote a blog before this one about a trip I took with McAdams to Montana.That was the birth of the magic. My very first favorite picture from that blog was this one, entitled "Holy Shit House, Batman!"
I was modest back then, and put asterisks between the 'S' and the 'T' of 'shit'. How cute is that?!

My first kiss was in a closet at a party, with a guy from my seventh grade class. "So," he said, "do you wanna?" I said ok - I was trying to be cool about the whole thing, not over eager or desperate, you know, but then I blew it and admitted, "I don't really know how." He said nothing, but I felt him move in the dark and his lips found mine, and then our mouths opened, and we kissed - French kissed! - very tentatively and experimentally, and then people banged on the door and said clever, sophisticated seventh grade things, like "OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHH! Y'all Frenched!", and then it was over. I still know that guy, though I haven't seen him in a long time. I think he's gay, but probably I have nothing to do with that. I should call him and tell him that the first kiss was weird, but real nice, and thank him for not telling everyone that I didn't know how to go to first base.My very first favorite song, I think, was "Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat and Tears; at least that's what I've been told. I heard it on my dad's record, back when he was a hippie, and oh, how I danced! The first song I remember really liking all on my own was either:
I still love it! Historically accurate rock rules!
Or maybe it was this one:

Oh, just listen to my love sound! By the way, The DeFrancos were Canadian. That's just another little fun fact I offer you here, on this blog, free of charge. Anyway, this just proves that I have always had impeccable taste in music, and you should think that I am wise, discerning and urbane. Think that now, please.
Thank you.

I had my very first ladies only February 14th dinner party this year! I called it the Vagintines Buffet, and it was a great success! Eat your heart out, people who have dates!

My first favorite poem was this one:

I eat my peas with honey
I've done it all my life
It makes the peas taste funny
But it keeps them on my knife.

Oddly, the author is unknown; you can bet if I'd written that baby, my name would be all over it!

The very first time I understood the meaning of the word "sexy" was at an Aerosmith concert. I was twelve or thirteen, and I was smitten with Steven Tyler, even though he was so wasted he literally fell over under the weight of a ridiculous fur coat he was wearing, and the concert was unanimously voted "Worst of the Year" by our local music critics. What can I say? The heart wants what the heart wants. I wanted his huge, leering fish-mouth, gold floor-length scarf, and bored-looking, chain-smoking guitar player. Grrrr. I've had a weakness for musicians with addictions that look at me with abject boredom through squinty eyes ever since. Whether or not a man can actually remain upright is overrated when it comes to matters of the coochie-coochie, n'est pas?
Speaking of coochie coochie* ...
The first time I ever understood the meaning of the word 'sex" goes a little something like this...

Mama came home from school and shrugged the heavy book bag from her sagging shoulder. Then came the slow process of shedding the armor she wore against the cold: the peeling off of the gloves, finger by finger; the wool hat releasing the damp hair beneath; the unwinding of the scarf, over the head and around, over and around, enough to make you dizzy; thick coat, button down sweater, pullover, and finally the elegant figure of mama emerged, like a delicate bird that had landed uncertainly in the living room. Only her belly looked incongruous, as if she had swallowed a beach ball. Where had she found a beach ball, here in the middle of a Wisconsin winter?

“You asked me where your sister came from, and how she got in my stomach. Those are good questions. I got you a special book from the library today. Shall we make some hot chocolate and read it?”

The book was filled with pictures made from figures cut out of brightly colored construction paper. It was called Where Did I Come From? We spread the pages across our laps, warm and filled with the taste of sweet, curled in on each other like the leaves of a cabbage. I smiled. I was happy and ready to begin. “Your Mommy and Daddy love each other very much,” she began, as I fingered the picture of a smiling, dark haired man, holding the hand of a pretty blonde lady…

I think I am about to embark on some firsts coming up in the near future. Normally, change scares the heck outta me, and I resist it like kitties resist the shower. Try it. They resist real hard. But many of my firsts have been great, and if it weren't for them, there would never have been seconds. Bring it on, life! I ain't afraid of you!

*Charo pronounces it "cuchi - cuchi". Two free fun facts in one posts! Damn, this blog is good!

Monday, February 21, 2011

I'm free to do what I want, any old time

By the way, I am aware that many of you hate these sad-sack political posts.

What do I care? This blog is free! You get what you pay for! If you don't like it, shut the front door!*

*I'm trying to be less profanity laced, on account of the cocksuckers who make the rules believe that teachers don't have freedom of speech. Oops.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

You Don't Need A Weatherman...

Man, oh man. We are living in some strange times, right? I guess every generation has occasion to say that, and probably more than once, but it's so bizarre how you'll just be going along, living life, and all of a sudden the road that you're traveling becomes some bizarre Escher landscape, all fragmented fractals and tessellated tangents. Things are completely falling apart and being reformed, almost simultaneously. Chaos versus new order, indecision seems the most secure option, hope looms large while being scattershot by snipers. All over the world, people are committing to change and possibility, even if that promise is eyelash slim. One estimates how hot the fire blazes, and then dives headlong out of the frying pan. People desperately cling to new found faith; faith that the system will work or will topple; faith that we are doing the right thing; faith that if we accept and obey, everything will turn out all right; faith that there is a plan.

I hope everybody will be ok, and everything will right itself eventually...

Hmmm. Que sensitiva, right? I can't let struggles halfwafy across the world get me down, right? I need to buck up soldier!

But then I think about what's up in my own country. First there's Detroit, which has been deserted by almost everyone who has the means to hightail it out of there. The city has massive unemployment, and is being sucked ever downward by a continuing spiral of debt, mismanagement, crime, and lack of opportunity, much like residing in a low-flow terlit. What was once Motown and the heart of the automotive industry that symbolized the American spirit of freedom, self-reliance and ingenuity, is now the poster child for the United States' Most Likely To Become A Third World City. Detroit just announced that it was going to CLOSE 50% of its schools. Excellent idea.

In Prichard, Alabama, city workers, who have for years sacrificed big bucks from their monthly paychecks in order to save for their retirements, are being denied their pensions - since 2009, when the city ran out of money. How are those people supposed to live?

In my own city, 3,100 teachers are going to be fired while our superintendent draws one of the highest paychecks in the nation. School administrators say that those who are allowed to keep teaching will have to prepare for salary cuts, unpaid furlough days and classes of 35 or more students. What will become of all those kids who won't be able to get even the most basic education? What will become of all of us when the illiterate and unconscious inherit the earth?
In the meantime, legislators are pushing a bill to allow college kids to carry guns, saying it will make the campuses a safer place. That's just great. A bunch of tripping frat boys with weapons... I've seen that movie!

The thing is, teachers didn't cause enormous budget shortfalls. Neither did the cops, clerks, firefighters, secretaries, cafeteria workers, nurses, bailiffs, construction workers or janitors that keep things relatively safe and running.

It's hard not to point fingers. The targets seem so obvious, and I am growing to hate them. It's hard to keep hope. It's hard not to cry and to get up and go to work in the morning. It's hard not to drink too much. It's so very easy to give up.

But I can't. I get so angry. I'm really frustrated and beaten down. I am depressed and despairing, and I don't sleep well and I feel like I'm getting old. But I can't give up, give in, get out. Not yet.

Revolution is in the air. I dunno. Maybe it's time.

Like I said, I hope everyone will be ok...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

VD 2011

"Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, well, that's all I'm after
Whenever you need me,
I'll be there.
I'll be there to protect you,
With unselfish love, I'll respect you,
Just call my name,
and I'll be there."

-Micheal Jackson

What exactly were you expecting? It's Valentine's Day, the corniest holiday ever!

Still and all, what's not to like about love, right?

Happy VD to everyone! I send you a gift of love that I hope you'll spread around, just like I have been, ever since a particularly confusing Texxas Jam in the 80's!

"There are four questions of value in life: What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same ...only love."

Don't hate just because that's a JOHNNY DEPP quote! Who expected that? Not me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


My niece is turning six this month. What a great year! It's full of surprise, too. When I was six, I realized that I was going to keep getting older, forever. At the time, that was a good thing.

I also figured out that I would never have an older brother. That made me sad.

When I was six, my front teeth were too big for my mouth. They still are, kind of. I have bunny teeth and shark mouth, which is an odd combination.

My sister and mom were my best friends. Again, still true.

Sometimes, just for fun, I wore a long, red-checkered dress with an apron thing that had an applique of Holly Hobby on it and a Little House On the Prarie bonnet to school. I looked like this, only with bunny teeth and shark mouth:

It was a phase.

I loved to read when I was six. My mom and I read Charlotte's Web together, and then a book about the Holocaust called the Upstairs Room. Hmm. This says a lot about my personality today...

On vacations, we went to Texas to visit my grandparents. I played with my cousins, and one of them had a go-cart. We would vroom up and down the alley, and then later pile into the bed of my uncle's truck - we don't need no stinkin' seat belts! - and go to 7-11 to get a Slurpee, which was something my mom wouldn't let me have at home. One time on the go-cart we drove into a passing wasp, who stung me right under my eye. Once I got heat stroke from riding around in the back of the truck in the 1,000 degree (farenheit) Texas heat.

Great times!

Here's what my aunt said about six:

I lived across the street from the school and I started the first grade in September (no preK or Kindergarten for us, we just manned up and learned it all in one year!)

Reading, wRiting & aRithmetic , and it was taught to the tune of a hickory stick, they could spank you if you were bad. I never got spanked. Others did.

I went to school with my older brother and lots of cousins and everyone in the neighborhood went to the same school.

I had crazy curly red hair and my mother made all my school clothes. She sewed all summer for my wardrobe. It was not extensive or creative. It was functional.

My Mom starched my petticoats (until they cut your naked legs) on the weekends and hung them out on the clothes lines to dry.

My brother had stretchers that they put in his jeans to make a crease. Laundry had its own life!

I had skinny feet and needed good shoes (my father didn’t enjoy that!). We got ONE pair per year. Period.

I had lots of playmates and we played after school and after dinner until dark. No homework until you were older. Maybe the 3rd grade and not much at that.

I loved my box of Crayola’s and never pealed the paper off or broke them. I was so happy when I moved up to 16 from 8 colors.

My favorite color was Burnt Sienna and that was a big step on the color wheel.

We did not have TV or even a clue about TV. We listened to the radio. We took naps. We read books. We wrote in tablets so our handwriting improved.

I had the chicken-pox and nearly clawed my skin off. And Measles also. No shots for us. Just endure and survive.

We had the first Polio vaccine and we took it in sugar lumps. Yummy, but very edgy.

We had only little white children in our schools, and celebrated Christian holidays only.

I bit my nails. I had bird legs and looked like a stick figure. It was all part of a journey that we all took together.

I still have lunch and talk to those kids that were with me in Miss West’s first grade class at James B. Bonham.

We are still on that journey that began at age 6. It was a great adventure, and amazingly enough it started 60 years ago!

I had a Miss West, too. I loved her. She let me choose my spelling words right out of the dictionary.

I'd like to give my niece an illustrated booklet of people's six year old memories. I think that would be a cool gift. What do you remember about six?

This is Nikki Sixx. He has nothing to do with this post, but this is what he looks like when he shouts at the devil.

Blizzard 2011 Rages On...Yay!

Click here to see this image if you have old eyes and it's all too tiny as is:
Words and pictures by Grant Snider

Conversation between teachers in BSISD on eve of possible snow day:

Veteran Teacher: Say, there! What's in that enormous rolling suitcase you're dragging?

New Teacher: (huffing and puffing) Grading. Since we may have a snow day tomorrow, I thought I'd try to catch up on some of this at home...

VT: Oh, right. Have I told you about my grading system?

NT: I don't think so! I'm always interested in "best practices", though! Will you share it with me?

VT: Sure! What I do is, I get all my papers together and divide them by class and period, being careful to vary which one is on top...

NT: Clever! I like this already! That way I can look at each class with fresh eyes!

VT: Right! Then I open the trunk and set the papers in the back half, right corner of the trunk...

NT: So they will be less likely to shift out of order! Practical! It's so great to have a mentor teacher!

VT: Indeed! Then I leave the trunk open and drive to happy hour. Any of the papers that have ideas in them that are weighty enough to keep them from flying out into the universe get 100 points!

NT:! Neat! I'll try that method after I put all the new vocabulary up on the word wall and make some foldables to teach the students about the Age of Reason...

NT thinking to self: Crazy old teachers! They should all be forced to retire! I can't imagine thinking number grades aren't the end-all measure of a student's worth, or that it is even remotely possible that teachers or administrators can just "make grades up"! Meaningless grades...impossible!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Legal Retraction, Beiber Infraction

After being notified by a concerned citizen that I was treading on slanderous ice, and following exhaustive counsel with my team of legal experts, I would like to fully retract all areas of my previous post regarding Justin Bieber, especially those passages in reference to any nocturnal admissions of any female, be she chaste, of questionable morals, or of unparalleled skankitude, into any room of a hotel, motel or Holiday Inn. And also, please disregard any references to the size or dimensions of his weenus, or his alleged weenus; the truth is, I cannot state with any certitude anything about said wingwang or lack thereof, as I would not like to be construed in anyway libelous or even unkind to the boy star. Or his willie.
Furthermore, if rumors of his mafia-like,vindictive, litigious handlers turn out to be true, let me clarify; I was not even writing about the fair-haired phenom Justin Bieber! Not at all! I know that the post said that's who I was talking about, but that was just a typo. You can't sue me for not proofreading, right? Hell, I don't even bathe! I was actually talking about someone you don't know; she's not famous and not even a boy. Her name is Justine Beiber, and sometimes I just like to write about her Beiber beaver. Is that so wrong?
So anyway, what meant to say is, I have a friend who works at a hotel, and he said that Justine Beiber stayed there and hired a ho. Apparently, she was interested in a prostitute with windswept, Beiber-blown hair. Several people (may or may not have) showed up, even some celebrities (or celebrity look-alikes, or not even celebrities at all. Some of them may or may not have worked at Starbucks. I don't know, and I have no malicious intent.) Here are some pictures allegedly taken on the ho-cam at the ho-tel:

Sexy, right? I would have paid extra for any of these hirsute harlots. I especially like the one who may or may not look like a lady whose name rhymes with "Godzilla Porker-Gnomes", on account of I like how eager she is to show off her Beiber-do. Beiber-do-me-right, right?! Yeah, she wants me...I mean, she wants Justine. Anyway, according to my source, who may or may not be a figment of my imagination, Justine went for this guy, the uber-hottie Baby Boy 87 Zevran Sierra, a sim-star in his own virtual universe:
Grrrr! Baby Boy Zevran looks like a sweetie, but he's a real nasty minx! In the Smelly Pages, which is a listing of all things stanky, B.B. Ate Sev-Zev, as I like to call him, is described as "... a suave young boy with windswept hair. He had brown eyes and brows which made him looked [sic] perpetually frightened and scared." Dang y'all! How hot is that?! Sounds kind of like a man-child we all know who is comin' atcha with a new 3-D biopic, on screens in a theater near you later this month, right? But it gets better still; BB87z has an identical twin, Baby 86 Giovanni Sierra! Double my pleasure, double my fun! Can I get a discount if I double my order? (Seriously, you must check this out! I didn't know things like this really existed!

Anyway I digress. And change font. My point is: Threes of people read this blog every day, and it has been made clear to me that I should watch my virtual tongue. I do not wish to be hurtful or unkind to anyone, even if he is a star, or if he is twelve (but built like an eleven year old), or if he pays for sweet, sweet love. It's none of my business, and I don't want to perpetuate myths, lies or rumors.

But really, I have nothing better to do. I'm bored and snowed-in. So I'll probably speak ill of someone again, because I'm not really a nice person.

Please don't sue me.

And also, I don't take back anything I said about that douchebag Custer. He had it coming.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Zippity-zeke! My oh my, it's a wonderful week! The BSISD just announced that we would have another snow day! One snow day is a precious gift, to be savored and relived throughout the year. Two days is unprecedented glory. Three snow days... I can't even begin to describe the joy I feel right now. It's like a unicorn in a tutu, or a porpoise dancing on a cloud made of rainbow mist. With chocolate. And valium. Valiums. (Vali-yums! Yes, please!)

Don't get me wrong; I feel badly for the rest of the states. I know it's vicious cold, and people don't have power, or live on the streets, and there is snow suffocating the city, with no real way to dig out, and trapped, and frostbite, and icy danger, and misery everywhere. Poor, poor Chicago! Are you OK, Oklahoma? Coldorado, I feel you! Do you feel ConnectiCUT off from the rest of the world? Poor babies, everyone!

The nightly news keeps me in a state of awe and fear. Only one inch of ice can equal a TON of weight on a power line! Yikes! This is the seventh storm since mid-December, and there's more to come... Zoinks! Wind can blow you down and ice can cause you to TOTALLY LOSE CONTROL in your car, or even on foot! Shizowie! So horrible and scary! But...

right now I am so happy I could pee all over myself! No school! Yayyy! School sucks! Boo school! Yay, no school! Woohoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

These snow days haven't been like the snow days of yore. (Here's what I wrote last time there was a snow day, which was way back in yore:

For one thing, it's cold up in here. My house is old, weak and full of crevices - much like my body, actually- and is therefore unable to keep in the heat and keep out the chill. Blizzard brrr comes in through the windows, carpets the floor, and wraps itself like an icy cloak around my shivering shoulders. I have on tights, sweat pants, double socks and two sweaters. I look like a wool sausage, but it's frosty in the living room. I could turn up the heat, but in my city the companies that control warmth are imposing rolling blackouts to conserve energy for the rich Superbowl fans who clog the hotels and bars like so much greasy hair in a big, suckhole drain. I don't want to call attention to myself, so I keep the heat at below-the-radar levels. Smart, right?

Also, I don't feel so well. The flu is going around -not to mention the TB - and I'm afraid I may be standing on the the corner of Puke and Rhea; believe you me, I don't want to cross over! My nephew was sick on Monday, and my niece is ill now; it seems like just a matter of time. So far I'm ok, because I'm sticking to my routine of rigid denial; I know this isn't really the flu, just allergies, but if I succumb for just one moment, I'm afraid snow day will turn into sick day, which is UNCOOL, FOOL!

Furthermore, I have been wasting my time! I have been so non-productive during this special unforeseen break that even I am ashamed of myself. I haven't changed out of my pajamas in three days. I wake up only to take naps. Instead of reading all of the fantastic books I have stacked up near my bed, I've been catching up on TMZ and drunken Hoda Kotb. Instead of exercising, I've been watching The Biggest Loser and eating cheese. Every day before I go to bed, I say to myself, "Tomorrow, things are going to be different." In fact, I said that last night. And yet today, I:
* Had a dream that I was hanging out with my good friends Alec Baldwin and Justin Bieber. Turns out, we're not as close as I thought we were, because they started making fun of my stereo (do people still call them 'stereos'?) and then said I wasn't funny. Bastards.
* Woke up and spent 45 minutes on the computer trying to find a joke that would put Baldwin and Bieber to shame. Spent an hour watching Mitch Hedberg clips I have already seen.
Mitch Hedberg. Never not funny.
*Called McAdams to tell her I was lazy. She too has snow days, and was already on her second Bailey's Chai Latte. I told her about Baldwin and Bieber, and about how this friend of mine works in a hotel, and Justin Bieber allegedly stayed there. Apparently, the Biebster had a late night visitor whom my friend knows as a frequent visitor of hotel patrons, if ya know what I mean... a frequent paid visitor of hotel patrons... let me sing it for ya, just to make sure it's clear: Justin Bieber had a ho, doo-dah, doo-dah! Somehow, this got us talking about Bieber wiener (McAdams: "But, he's ten, right? It's gotta be tiny!"), which, as I'm sure you can discern, is not the type of conversation a person has to make herself feel better about wasting her time.
*Found two dry, scaly places on my leg when I was putting on my socks. Either I have a touch of the eczema, whatever that is, or I'm turning into an anaconda.
*Made an enormous vat of soup to replace the enormous half-vat of soup I just had to throw out, because really, how much soup can one girl slurp?

*And...that's about it. For the whole day, up until now.

Still... even a wasted snow day is better than no snow day. And I've been given a second chance! Really, tomorrow things are going to be different! Yay, snow day!

Here is a picture of Atticus Shaffer, adorable star of the ABC comedy "The Middle", when asked to estimate the size of the Bieber baton:

I think he looks a lot like David Sedaris, world famous author, commentator and funny man. They have the same teeth.

Here is a picture of Sedaris imagining Justin Bieber's monkey, but not really feeling bad about it:
Special BONUS for all those men and women out there working on the electricity lines during the Great Snowstorm of 2011:

Thanks, and don't cut my power!

IPM 2011

Oh, boy! It's International Poetry Month again! Check it out: I f you go to this site, you can read a different poet every day. Today's poet is brilliant! I love her so much! Go, go, click that thang!
Here are two poems to whet your whistle:


Gale warning hail warning
Sky sifts high drifts
Finding bright blinding white
Snowball snowfall
Moonscape snowscape
Fostbite dost bite
Rococo swirls Hot cocoa curls
Icy glove spicy love
Huddle in cuddle in
Rock salt Clocks halt

Barbara Reiher-Meyers, copyright 2006

It Was So Cold
Paris, February 1986

The horses on the carousel refused to budge.
Notes of music froze and
shattered with prismatic finality...
The mimes couldn't change their expressions.
When a bread truck overturned and
baguettes were suspended in mid-air
pigeons were afraid to leave their roosts for the feast.
Women in expensive fur hats could not retract icy stares.
Rats went skating on rivers of frozen dog piss.
Double busses refused to straighten out
continued running in circles indefinitely.
Terrorist bombs exploded in s l o w m o t i o n
allowing everyone to escape harm.
A fountain in the Place Edmond Rostand became
a crystal pineapple inhabited by eskimos.
A Norwegian with a pickax broke off pieces for souvenirs.
Outside Paris waterfalls retreated back into mountains.
God Himself became an irrelevant ice cream vendor
slowly scooping a ball of lemon sherbet
from horizon to painted horizon.

©1986, Whitman McGowan