28 May 2009

Bee time!

Hey, what better way to revive my blog than with fresh, current material, such as... commentary on the Scripps National Spelling Bee! (This weekend is going to be live, y'all - just wait until you see my posts about Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The International Classic Arcade Game Championship. I'm serious.)

I had the idea to liveblog this event, and maybe play along by trying to spell the words... but they're like, really hard. I couldn't keep up with these kids! While I'm still trying to wrap my mind around whatever jibberish Dr. Jacques Bailly is saying, the kids are all... "H-Y-D-R-A-R-G-Y-R-U-M!" and "G-Y-A-S-C-U-T-U-S!"

Ooh - one of the words is "blancmange." Much like these Bee kids, I have known, and known how to spell, this word since middle school, but not because of studying and cramming. I learned it the same way I learned a lot of things about life - from Monty Python. "They mean to win Wimbledon!" (Part 1, part 2.)

Hmm there are only seven spellers left now, and only one of them is a homeschooled kid! This surprises me... I guess I was hoping to see more Rebecca Sealfons. There aren't too many characters among the spellers this year: a class clown, a really laid-back little dude, a bunch of sharp but otherwise ordinary kids. I don't have a favorite this year...

Now the spellers are dropping like flies! Who's going to win the ridiculously huge silver cup!?

"Menhir," there's another one I know. Thanks Asterix... or rather Asterix's friend and menhir delivery man, Obelix. So far I have been able to best middle school-aged children in the spelling of TWO whole words! And only because I knew the terms as pop culture references... yesssss I feel like a champion.

Hey, someone won! This year's competition was pretty sedate, so I'm finding it hard to muster up a great deal of enthusiasm. To steal a joke from C./Adam Sandler: "Phoresy"? More like boresy.

Tick tick tick...

People don't really get ticks where I'm from, unless maybe you're out camping in the wilderness, way off the grid somewhere. I've never actually heard of someone I know getting a tick on them, so to me it was just some jokey affliction, kind of like scurvy - no doubt real, but not really something to worry about. This is the modern age, after all!

Note that I said it WAS a joke to me. This weekend, C. and I walked along a nice, wide, maintained nature trail with some friends of ours, Matt and Miki. We went down a short side trail to the beach, and I probably brushed against some foliage ONCE... fast forward a few hours when I was washing up in our friends' bathroom. I looked in the mirror and had a train of thought something like this: "AHHH there's a spider on me - wait no it's just some bug, I'll brush it off - why won't it... come off... AHHHHHHH IT'S IN MY NECK!"

A tick was in my neck, feasting on my blood. I tried to telepathically communicate, "I NEED that blood, you jerk! I'm using it." The tick continued quietly sipping away.

First we tried unsuccessfully to drown it with rubbing alcohol. It wasn't working, so I lay on the couch feeling awkward while C. and Matt rushed to - The Internet! - for advice. Matt and Miki were optimistic about pulling it out with tweezers, while C. wanted to heat the bug up with a lighter. An open flame, next to my alcohol-soaked neck. Was I concerned my head would go up in flames? Yes.

But my neck had dried at that point, so I let C. get to work with the lighter. Based on Matt's narration of the events, I think he was having some success, but then the tick burned up and died. Tweezers were employed, and then I was tick free - until I went back to the bathroom to finish washing up, and I found ANOTHER ONE in my hair. I squished it before it could tap into me. NOW I was tick free.

So now I'm just waiting... 3 to 32 days after being bitten, to see if I have Lyme disease. Fingers crossed! Sometimes I feel like the Northeastern United States is out to get me. I've transplanted here, but I'm not taking, and am being rejected...

27 May 2009

Sammie's Outdoor Adventure

My long Memorial Day weekend started out with Sammie running away! Spoiler alert: he came back. I was out on the back porch hanging laundry to dry (I'm trying to give up using the dryer as much as I can this summer - you're welcome, The Earth), and I had propped the screen door open, thinking that Sammie is too skittish about literally everything to want to venture out. I didn't even see him take off... but after a while we determined he was gone, and then C. and I had an anxious night of searching for him with flashlights. We went to bed, and there were no pointy little feet stepping on us, and it was sad.

We hung signs around the neighborhood the next day. I kept calling him from the back door throughout the day - mostly "Sammie," but "Samuel" too, so he would know I meant business. In the evening, after a whole day of roughing it in the out-of-doors, Sammie decided it was time to start meowing back when I called him. He's skittish, but he'll "talk" back to me, and is sometimes pretty chatty, which I'm glad for. And the promise of wet food helped to lure him back inside. I suspect he didn't leave the neighbor's backyard the whole time, hiding in an extensive pile of stuff.

Soon as we got him back, he suffered the indignity of a bath. As I poured water down his back and soaped him up, he tried talking to me again, this time with what sounded exactly like the word "Noooo!" wailed over and over. Sorry buddy, you smelled funky. So glad you are home!