Total Pageviews

Friday, October 29, 2010

I’ve Gone International!

by Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Passport

I was playing around with my new found STATs on my blog and guess what? I've gone international! According to my "audience" stats, people from all over the world have accidently or on purpose found my blog. I seem to be popular in India, probably due to the Icelandic/India girl who helped me get connected to dial-up. We were on the phone together quite a while. I think she may have told her immediate family because 46 people from India looked at my blog spot, or 23 people couldn't believe their eyes and clicked twice. I think they may have e-mailed their friends in the UK because either 11 clicked on three times or they actually had 33 friends there.

I'm not too hot in Denmark, only 8 page views there. They probably thought I was some kind of medical-menopausal-reversal project for wanna be moms 61 and older.

I only had one page view from Slovenia but I think there is only one computer in that country.

26 people in China clicked on my blog but that may have been from the same household.

All in all, my writing-ego-self-esteem has improved. I'm coming out from under the bed, After all, I'm known around the world! Ha!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

May I Have the Envelope, Please!

By Jody Worsham

All right reserved for birthday candles.

The children and I had been planning my husband's birthday party for a month. It's not every day you turn seventy! We decided to have his birthday celebration at our favorite campsite and invited all his friends and family to join us there. The birthday menu consisted of brisket, potato salad, beans, and what I called the Obama cake (looks good, tastes good, but definitely not good for you).

The day of the party, the children blew up balloons and tied them to the camper awning which was still intact thanks to my previous efforts to hold it down during a thunderstorm (see blog "Hold Down the Fort"). We put up a yard sign announcing the event.

I had found a few pictures of my husband in the baby book his mother had given us. Being the fourth child of seven, there weren't very many pictures of him and even fewer of him alone, mostly his school pictures. I copied the pictures and attached them to a poster board with the caption "Do You Know this Man?" Then we listed several questions. Guests were invited to write their answers on post-it notes and attach them to the appropriate question. Here are some of the results

"How old was he when he got an indoor toilet?" Answers ranged from 7 years to 16 years old. The answer was 22 years old. I remember because all of the future Worsham daughters-in-law did the dance of joy when it was installed.

"How many Dr. Peppers has he consumed in 70 years?" Answers ranged from a low of 49,000 to a million to six more than Campbell. I don't know the actual answer but I wish I had invested in Dr. Pepper stock back in 1945.

"What previous jobs has he held before coming to the college?" Tinsmiths, highway construction, high school teacher, bus driver, all manner of farm work were among the jobs listed. All true.

"How many gallons of water has he pumped out of his pond since he began digging it out seven months ago?" That was easy for the person with a calculator, 1, 250,000 gallons of water which is why most of the wildlife in our area have been using our swimming pool as their watering hole. Hubby had kept the ponds dry.

"What position in college basketball did he play?" Most were surprised that he played college basketball so "on the bench" was the most popular answer. Actually he played forward.

After going over all the remaining questions, it was time for the lighting of the birthday candles and the group picture. I opted not to light 70 candles on the cake because a) there's a fire ban in place and 70 candles might bring out the fire trucks, b) candles 1-5 would be completely burned down by the time I got to candles 65-70, and c) it's hard to find 6 boxes of birthday candles all the same color. I had bought a single "7" and "0" candle for the cake. I brought out the Obama cake but the search for and the #7 candle and the #0 candle did not yield either. At home I had several sets of numerical candles because I could never keep up with the candles I bought, or I was always off one number. Ever the queen of improvisation, I grabbed the envelope from a birthday card and wrote 70 on it and stuck it in the edge of the pan. Everyone smiled, picture taken, however, I did not light the envelope.

Our children and the visiting cousins disappointed at the lack of pyro-technics went back to playing. Our five-year-old and our seven-year-old were introducing them to Slide Down the Dry Bluff. When the dust clouds threatened to add flavor to our cake, I sent them further down the bluff to the little valley below our campsite where they were still in our sight but no flavor was being added to dessert. Later I observed them playing a game that I could only describe as "The Ninja Warrior Palm Frond War, Chase and Take". Being city children, the cousins could take them at Nintendo or any other computer game, but out in a field with no batteries, extension cords, or electronics, my kids were "Masters of the Dirt".

Our youngest granddaughter, age 16 months, wanted to join in on the fun and could have been a formidable opponent had she been allowed to compete, but she had to be content testing out all the lawn chairs. She spent the better part of the afternoon playing "Goldilocks and the Seventeen Chairs". No sooner had she climbed onto one chair, making a face that communicated total dissatisfaction, than she went for another. I think her favorite was the blue chair. She kept coming back to it as a touchstone when comparing it to the other chairs.

When the party tables were folded and the chairs and food put away, the kids declared this the best birthday party they ever went to even without a big birthday candle fire. I hosed the dirt off the children with a water hose and told them to run around the RV park until they were dry.

I saved the posters and post-it note answers. I was about to throw away the "birthday candle" when my husband said "May I have the envelope, please?" He took the envelope, pretended to open it, and takes out a card and read "And the winner is….me". Ok, that will get him at least 20 more birthday parties and kajillion more poker nights out.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Spit Rods

By Jody Worsham, Oct 2010

All rights reserved for membership in the NSA (National Spit-wadders of America)

In an effort to infuse our raised-on-the-farm heritage into my five-year-old and to insure that this historical school boy past time continues, I decided to teach him the manly art of spit wad shooting.

Now, as a teacher, I stand totally against spit wadding. If you have ever had to scrap spit wads off a black board aka chalk board, aka green board now known as a "white" board, you know that only Cheerios soaked in milk and sugar is harder to scrap off. Cheerios in milk and sugar is the forerunner of super glue. Still the boy needed to learn. Spit wads aren't the problem; it's the people who spit them and there is a time and place for everything, even spit wadding.

The time and place appeared simultaneously as we were waiting in the car for his sister's violin lesson to finish. We had made our prerequisite stop at McDonald's so we were equipped with the needed supplies: straws, napkins, and a very moist mouth. To keep him entertained, ok and me, we first had target shooting. We blew the paper coverings off the straws. The contest was based on distance, velocity, and aerodynamics. I won.

Having retrieved the straw jackets, we progressed to spit wadding. I showed him first how to tear off a bit of the paper straw jacket and chew it into a nice soggy wad. Now judging from his t-ball days (a few months ago) I knew he was directionally-challenged. To protect his fragile ego and bolster his self-esteem, I went for the ancient African Pigmy Blow-gun Technique. We retrieved our straws, tore off a piece from the paper straw jacket, placed the straw in our mouth and positioned the wad correctly, and let loose with a heavily saliva loaded wad. Bull's eye! He hit the windshield dead solid in the center. He was ecstatic! His Dad would be so proud. I beamed. Once a teacher, always a teacher I

Nothing breeds success like success. He continued tearing, salivating, wadding and blowing with ever increasing accuracy. When his sister reached the car, he demonstrated his new found skill by hitting her right between the eyes with a good wet one which immediately started WWIII.

After negotiating a peace treaty and reiterating the appropriate time and place, we headed for home. There were still mumblings coming from the rear seat. The nine-year-old had long ago mastered the womanly art of spit wad dueling. I think she was just waiting for a worthy opponent and one had been found.

Two minutes out and at the first mile marker, the peace treaty was broken and WWIV began in full force. It was only seconds before all napkins and sacks were decimated and the two children looked like they had some new kind of chicken pox. I pulled over with hazard lights flashing. "No more spit wads. The war is over and I am the victor!" I screamed. "Who's Victor?" whispered the five-year-old to his sister.

We drove on in silence past the three mile marker when suddenly "ping". Loose gravel? Ping! A petrified mosquito? Ping…! A glance in the rear view mirror revealed straws to their mouths but no evidence of white wads anywhere. As I turned into our drive-way and parked, the children bounded out of the car, each with a straw and a cup of ice. Ping! Ping! Ping ping ping!! Mouth Gatling guns spitting out ice wads.

"Hey Daddy", yelled the five-year-old, " Guess what! Mama showed me how to make Spit Rods." The ice pelting continued as both children headed for cover behind the frog condos in the sand pile.

"Spit rods?" quizzed my husband.

"So he didn't get the name right, but check out his accuracy. He's headed for the pros."

"If he doesn't head for the principal's office first."


Monday, October 18, 2010

The Two Dollar Concert

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for hearing aid

When the three-year-old and her brother came to live with us, I learned early on that her favorite game was "Playing School." She would line her dolls and stuffed animals in a row and "teach school." Sometimes I would find the baby in his baby carrier facing the wall away from the "teacher." "He is in time-out. He forgot to use his inside voice," said the "teacher.

later, in kindergarten, the dolls took on the names of her classmates and I observed her again mimicking her teacher. One particular doll, "Jesse" was always in time-out. As the year progressed I heard Jessey's name screamed over and over. I'm sure Jesse will appear on the FBI's most wanted list sometime in the future, but in kindergarten, he seemed contented to just torment his teacher. i often wondered if this was the first year for the teacher or just the first year with Jesse.

Over the years I've learned to rely on the school activity at home to find out what was going on in their classrooms. no need for conferences, just observe the children playing school.

This year the nine-year-old went to a new school. With added activities, there was less time for the children to play school since they were so busy being in school. If I had any worries or concerns about what was going on in her classroom, these were laid to rest the afternoon of the $2 Concert.

That Saturday morning began with what I thought was the worst pounding headache I had ever had. The "headache" was the early morning fifty-gallon barrel concert being rehearsed in the yard by the two children. They had gotten up early so as not to miss any play time. They informed me that later on my husband and I would be invited to a concert, but first they had to practice.

As the early morning pounding turned into early afternoon pounding and rehearsals were not improving their performance, my husband managed to replace the big, log sized drum sticks with smaller branches more in the twig-stick-size range.

By five o-clock the nine-year-old informed me the concert was ready only she had kicked the five-year-old out of the band. We had reserved seats under the tree by the horse washing rack. She said tickets were $2. "Two dollars...for a concert I've been listening to all day?" I said. "Ok, it will be $1 per person since there is only one band member, me" said the musician turned business manager. We bought our tickets and took our seats.

As the plastic barrel boomed (she had replaced the small sticks with even larger tree limbs_ she sang her original song lyrics. I must say they were equal to many of the songs I had heard recently on the radio. The five-year-old, who was not happy about being fired from the band, added his interpretive dance, which was part ballet part karate, to the performance.

The concert lasted one minute. Well what can you expect for $1? Afterwards she passed out a hand printed opinion poll for us to complete.

1. What did you like best about the concert? Should I be honest and say short?

2. What did we do the best? Stayed occupied all day with the need for any kind of negotiated peace treaty?

3. What could we have done better? Used a smaller barrel?

4. What do you think we could do to be better next time? Take up mime?

Of course we were full of praise and filled out the "opinion poll" as any proud parent would.

Later, when my hearing returned, I realized she was using the same evaluative criteria that her school was using. That afternoon she had showed us that she was learning some valuable lessons, and we were again reminded of those same lessons. All creative work is of value and takes many forms. Even a one minute concert requires hours of rehearsal. No work is perfect and art is seldom finished. There is always room for improvement. Economics follows supply and demand even in the arts.

Not bad for a two dollar concert!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Drive-by Wi-Fi

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for possible bail money

Recently my fingerprints were rejected by the FBI for "insufficient ridges", or so they said. I am scheduled to be re-fingerprinted next week so that I can continue to substitute teach. I guess they think I will grow ridges by then.

But I am a little worried about this next time. My behavior of late may seem a bit bizarre or strange to anyone other than fellow writers, mothers with toddlers, or persons with Alzheimer's.

I have been having severe trouble with my s-l-o-w dial-up so I have resorted to hanging out in town at places with free Wi-Fi. I spend a lot of time in the children's section of a local bookstore because there is a table with a plug nearby for my lap top. However, I have noticed the salespeople keep circling by and asking if I need any help.

My second free Wi-Fi of choice is our local McDonald's. Their Wi-Fi connections are fast, they have restrooms, and there is food and drink readily available for long term computer sessions. After visiting there several days in a row, I realized that their Wi-Fi suddenly closes down for no apparent reason and "all unsaved data" is lost. After a few more days of observation, I discovered that there is a two hour limit per "log in" on their Wi-Fi. After having to re-log in twice in one day, I concluded that my visits should be shortened there, plus their Mocha Frappes were beginning to show up on places other than the menu.

Still with no dial-up connections, I have been reduced to cruising the neighborhoods looking for free unsecured Wi-Fi. Unfortunately the neighborhoods with the most Wi-Fi connections also have a neighborhood watch. I think my license plate, "IRA Nitwit" has been reported to the local police.

During my canvassing of the neighborhoods, I have begun to encounter some of the same cars each day. I believe they are experiencing some of the same problems judging from their license plates,"No S Sky", "No-net Jef", and "Tre-B-Gone."

This little Wi-Fi-scavenger-road-rally may actually evolve into some kind of sport for computer-savvy generations to come. I remember playing CB radio tag with my friends when there were no cell phones. This could somehow become Wi-Fi tag.

I can see it now, a new Olympic event. Geek meets Greek. Contestants are given a lap top with a two hour battery life, no USB port, but with Wi-Fi capability. They are dropped by helicopter into a neighboring country currently not at war with anybody. Ok, right now that would be Switzerland. The contestant able to send e-mails from the most Wi-Fi spots with extra points given for the most remote Wi-Fi spot in that two hours time is the winner. This might really stimulate the economy in say third word countries as McDonald's, Starbucks, What-A-Burger, Borders, via to have the most remote Wi-Fi spot in that country.

Getting back to my problem, you may ask, "Why not ditch the dial-up and get high speed Internet?" Ah, would that I could! But like my friend in the blue Camera, "No S Sky", I also do not have a clear unobstructed view of the southern sky. Like the lady in the black truck "Tre Be Gone", I have a forest of thirty year old pine trees surrounding my house. Even to use my cell phone I have to stand in the front yard with a coat hanger in my left hand, my cell phone in my right hand, and my back against the tallest pine tree in the yard.

Until technology catches up to nature, I shall continue to roam the streets in search of free Wi-Fi, drink myself into a caffeine coma from establishments touting free Wi-Fi, or my face appears on the FBI Most Unwanted list.