|Posted by Tara Bilby on April 7, 2013 at 8:30 PM||comments (0)|
Social Media sites start as one thing and turn into something completely different once they gain popularity. Take facebook for an example: it used to be a great place to connect with friends, now it is a great place to post pictures of a woman's uterus. The newest site that is beginning to change is instagram. Selfies have always been around, but Instagram has encouraged more of them recently. You can't get on instagram without seeing a selfie of someone. And then there's Snap Chat, which was basically created for selfies, especially the raunchier side of selfies. Believe it or not, selfies are changing the world. Thanks to selfies more pictures are taken in a bathroom then anywhere else. There are a lot of different types of people when it comes to selfies and I will list them below....
A Selfie Newbie: A new and confused person entering the world of Selfies..
The Ally Tucker's of the web: The Ally Tucker's of the web
hate despise selfies and will announce their disdain loud and proud.
That one dick would be someone who fits in this category.
The selfie taker who thinks a guy is going to be happy and turned on seeing 100 photos of her on their phone, most of these include cleavage. If it doesn't include cleavage, the guy will go from satisfied to annoyed very easily.
The Belieber: This group of people are very loyal Justin Beiber
fans stalkers. They do everything Justin does. If Justin takes a selfie... they better take a selfie too.
The duck face selfie: this category fits the majority of selfie photographers. The majority of women today believe that if they pucker their lips like a duck they become instantly more attractive.
A skill that they're teaching their babies...
The "I work out, have muscles, and think that taking a picture of me showing that will get me women" selfie:
Tip for guys: Selfie's like those above are not cute. Buy a puppy or something and use that as your prop, not your 10 pack abs.
The Drunk Selfie: doesn't need an explanation
Disclaimer: I'm not 100% sure the above girls were drunk when they took their selfies and posted it online... but I sure hope they were.
Selfies of "The Older Generation": These our elders, who have learned to embrace selfies the best way they can
Selfies have come and with the advancement of camera phones, selfies are here to stay. Get with the times. If the selfie of the grandmother and her granddaughter doesn't make the ally tucker's of the web appreciate the art of selfies, then nothing ever will.
|Posted by Ally Tucker on January 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM||comments (3)|
|Posted by Kristen Geil on January 9, 2012 at 4:00 PM||comments (0)|
After two failed attempts, I finally achieved a Chicago Public Library card this week. It was a process, to say the least. First, they were closed on Jnauary 2nd (I was not aware that this was a federal holiday). When I returned, they wouldn't let me because it was within a half-hour of closing (lazy much?). Finally, on the "third time's the charm" try, I GOT IT! That coveted laminated sheet of plastic that allows me to check out five items for my first month and thirty after this trial period. The responsibility is a burden, yes, but I will try my best to bring honor and glory with my library card and its power.
With the card burning a hole in my pocket, I headed to my favorite section of the library in hopes of finding a book worthy of my FIRST CHECK OUT: the "New Arrivals" section. One book in particular caught my eye--
I had read about this book in a magazine or online somewhere, and I had been intrigued at the book's premise and background. The author, Chris Van Allsburg, will surely induce readers to nod slowly and murmur, "Oooooooh, him..." He wrote our childhood favorites The Polar Express, Jumanji, and The Wreck of the Zephyr. We remember him most for his detailed yet slightly eerie illustrations, and his penchant for an unexpected twist.
This book, The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, stems from an earlier Van Allsburg work, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick. This book (if that's even the proper term for it) was a collection of 14 images, each with a title and single line of text on the opposite page. The premise is that author/illustrator Harris Burdick dropped them off at an editor's office one day, with the promise to deliver the complete manuscripts of each picture book if the editor liked them and decided to purchase them. He never returned, leaving the detailed illustrations and dangling captions floating in a sea of mystery. Fans were invited to mail in their own stories to go with the images, and they responded in droves.
"Another Place, Another Time"- If there was an answer, he'd find it there.
Fast foward to 2011. Van Allsburg hand-picked fourteen acclaimed authors and assigned each of them one of the image/text pairs, giving them the opportunity to write their own story as accompaniment. A choose your own adventure, if you will. Authors include Louis Sachar, Stephen King Jon Scieszka, Gregory Maguire, Lois Lowry, and Chris himself.
"The Seven Chairs"- The fifth one ended up in France.
Okay. Long and windy backstory completed, here's why I recommend picking up this book. First, if you read half as much as I did, you should recognize the partial list of authors above and immediately feel a wave of nostalgia for The Stinky Cheese Man, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, and the Anastasia series. I miss reading kids books, and The Chronicles of Harris Burdick puts a grown-up twist on a childlike premise.
A grown-up twist, you say? Why yes, these stories may be written by children's authors, but I would hestitate to say that they are for kids. Each has a slightly menacing undertone and an eerie underlying message. For example, one of my favorites so far is "Strange Day In July," in which Sherman Alexie writes about quirky twins who invent an imaginary triplet with the sole intention of plaguing their family and schoolmates- only to have this invisible triplet turn the tables on them. The stories are gripping and thought-provoking, often concluding with a surprise twist. They are short stories as the genre is meant to be read.
Plus, how cool is van Allsburg's idea in general? I love that he chose some of our generation's favorite authors and gave them free rein to use their imaginations. True, it kind of sounds like an exercise in a community college creative writing class, but the results are fantastic.
Best of all, I know that Tucker's Tales readers are busy people without a lot of free time on their hands to devote to understanding and remembering long novels. Since Chronicles is already conveniently broken up into 14 separate tales, you can easily pick up the book for twenty minutes at a time and then put it right back down. With The Chronicles of Harris Burdick, van Allsburg reintroduces the short story as a viable, enjoyable reading option, and I hope that other authors follow this trend.
READ THIS BOOK!
|Posted by Kristen Geil on November 23, 2011 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
It's been awhile since our last consumer's report, but with the holiday season fast approaching, I figured it was time to start the topic rolling again. However, I am of the firm belief that you need to treat yo' self before you can properly buy gifts for other people. You know how in airplane safety videos, they always tell you to put on your oxygen mask before you take care of the little kid next to you? Yeah, it's like that. Buy things you want for yourself first, and then get the second-best options for all your friends and family.
So with that angle in mind, here are the things I am treating myself to this holiday season.
I'll admit, as with most things, I am late jumping on this bandwagon. A middle aged man from the Southwest making meth to support his family? Wasn't that basically the plot of Weeds but without Mary Louise Parker being the kingpin hottie? My dad tried to explain why the show was so great, but I was still indifferent.
However, one Sunday afternoon while wallowing in the misery of losing my wallet the night before, I spent the entire day watching Netflix on my couch. Parks and Rec Season 3 ran out, so on a whim I watched the first episode of Breaking Bad.
But I just wasn't that into it.
Troubled at the thought that I was immune to quality television, I asked a few friends, who reassured me that the season started slow but around the time Walt (the main character) shaves his head, "shit starts getting real." Three weeks and 27 episodes later, I can safely say I get it. Besides the obvious action and adventure associated with making and selling meth (ever seen a decapitated head on a tortoise?), the characters are compelling in asshole-ish ways- I just want to smack them a lot of the time. Breaking Bad is a frustrating, gasp-inducing series, and I urge you to join me on the bandwagon.
Still, the fact that the main character reminds me of my dad creeps me the eff out. Jack Geil, seemingly mild-mannered, but really a secret meth cook and hard ass? I can totally see it.
This advocation comes from a tip I got on Tumblr, saying that if I liked hip hop at all (which I do, a lot), I should check out Childish Gambino. It's a Pandora station well worth your time, folks.
Wait, you may be thinking. That nerd looks familiar. That's because he's actor Donald Glover, from the NBC Thursday night comedy Community. I'll be honest, I don't watch the show- is it worth a view?- but I believe Glover is going to be infinitely more successful as Childish Gambino (a name he found through a Wu-Tang Clan Name generator- how awesome is that?) He's similar to Kid Cudi, Lupe Fiasco, and Mac Miller, but his voice is definitely more unique- a little cracked, like he's still going through puberty (it's not annoying, I swear). His beats and instruments have a tangibly heavy feel to them. While his early mix tapes relied on traditional rap cliches (girls, booze, and cars), he's graduated to more personal subject matter like alcoholism and heartbreak. His latest CD, Camp, came out November 15, and it's definitely worth the legit download on iTunes.
I chose to feature this song just for Ally Tucker and the fact that I know she will appreciate the line "You can kiss my ass... human centipede."
Cookies within Cookies
The ultimate in treat yo'self decadence... cookies within cookies. It's exactly what it sounds like. Simply use a muffins tin and stuff cookie dough in the bottom of each cup (you may want to line each part with cupcake liners for easier exit). Then in the middle section, place the already baked cookie of your choice- I prefer Oreos or Peanut Butter Patties. Then top it off with another layer of cookie dough. Bake, pair with a cold glass of milk, and eat on the couch with your pants unzipped, and TREAT YO SELF. If you're feeling extra nice, bake some for your friends and family and treat them too.
Watch the Cradle blog
Ever wonder what it would look like if someone used pictures of babies to illustrate lyrics from Watch the Throne? Yeah, me too. Luckily this blog has surfaced to answer any and all questions of what a baby dressed as a lobster would say if they were in a rap video. Bonus points for the Full House reference.
Side note: I love the Internet and the way it immediately hops on any pop culture band wagon to form some obscure, niche blog that will only be hilarious for about two months but is amazing nonetheless. Another favorite of mine: animalstalkinginallcaps.tumblr.com. God bless you, Internet.
|Posted by Kristen Geil on September 19, 2011 at 5:55 PM||comments (0)|
Let's be honest with each other: UK football is not going to be fun this season. You know it, I know it, and that other city 70 miles west definitely knows it. Accept it.
While it may sound tempting to wallow in self-pity for a few weeks and reminisce on the past few years when UK was a semi-decent football team, I have another suggestion: devote the previous energy you would have spent caring about UK football to caring about something that we're a lot better at.
I don't know what this book is about, but it seems fitting.
Tailgating has many perks: meeting new people, eating good food, getting an attractive sunglasses tan, and most importantly of all, having enough fun to not care about your sucky football team. Here, I offer our readers a guide to how to tailgate so successfully that you'll forget we even have a football team.
It's working for Rich.
First, figure out what kind of tailgater you want to be. How involved do you want to get? A die-hard tailgater will have a staked out spot, a canvas canopy, oodles of food that somehow manages to stay fresh all day, and a high-definition television with its own satellite dish. Usually, this tailgater is a seasoned veteran, maybe a little further removed from the college age, with more experience in how to organize and prep this social event.
Let me be clear: I am not this tailgater.
I am of the second type of tailgater variety. I am a Wanderer, or, more bluntly, a Moocher. I arrive at Commonwealth Stadium carrying a plastic Kroger bag with snacks and liquids, ready to seize the day. Before, I have sent a mass text to possible host candidates: "Hey! Where are you tailgating today?" From there, I have mapped a mental route circling the stadium of what tailgates I want to hit. Depending on time of day and what meal I need to eat, I flit around the parking lot until my full stomach and empty bottles tells me it's time to enter the game. I highly recommend this type of tailgating.
Once you have figured out what type of tailgater you are, it's time to pack your necessary supplies.
While it's vital to be prepared, it's also important not to load yourself down with too much stuff. Remember, other people will cover you. For example, this weekend when tailgating for the UL game, I accidentally grabbed red Solo cups on the way out of the house. Obviously this would not do, so I asked some strangers if they had blue Solo cups I could borrow. They did not, but they DID have some blue masking tape that we painstakingly wrapped around my two cups. A bonding experience and a correct-color cup all before 2 pm!
Along the same lines, make sure you leave your house dressed appropriately for a long day. You are only allowed to wear your team colors. No exceptions. Comfortable shoes are a must, and sunglasses as well. Sunscreen is advisable; as decades of spring breakers can tell you, drinking alcohol doesn't offer sun protection. Layers are crucial for warm days that turn into cooler nights.Make sure you're representing your team well; while it may be acceptable for other fans to wear flat bills and trashy t-shirts, we as UK fans are above that. If we can't have dignity in our football team, we can at least have dignity in our apparel.
DEFINITELY not this.
She knows the drill.
Now it's time to actually tailgate. Basically, tailgating is hanging out, outside, before a certain event. How you pass the time is up to you! Along with eating and drinking, it's traditional to partake in some sort of game to pass the time. Cornhole is always popular.
This weekend, I saw some new game with a frisbee and a beer bottle on a pole; each player has to have a drink in his hand, and throw the frisbee to try and knock the bottle off the pole.
Bocci ball and croquet may appeal to the classier tailgater, while beer pong should be offered at the more festive gatherings.
Recreational dancing, of course, is always encouraged. Who recognizes this guy?
Some tailgates with televisions may have the channel turned to a pregame show or analysis. Do not watch this. It interferes with the larger goal of emotionally distancing yourself from UK's football team. It is, however, acceptable to watch other college football games.
A few other rules of thumb to keep in mind: Tailgating (especially for those night games) is a long day. Pace yourself. Stay hydrated, take breaks to sit down, and snack throughout the day. Although drinking yourself into blissful oblivion to deny the sorry state of UK football is desirable, your death is not.
Stay classy, UK.
|Posted by Kristen Geil on August 9, 2011 at 11:10 PM||comments (0)|
Editor's Note: This was supposed to be published, oh, around a month ago. Please excuse inconsistencies whenever I mention what time or day it is.
Are you there readers? It's me, Kristen.
(Not actually me)
Sorry for the recent slacking in blog posts, but what can I say- it's summer and I'd rather be playing outside. Sorry I'm not sorry.
This past weekend, however, I did something a little more exciting- I packed up my mom's Highlander and with my heterosexual life partner riding shotgun (hey Layson!), I drove to Chicago and moved into my glamorous new downtown apartment. Not going to lie, I felt pretty grown up... except for the fact that I was wearing a neon "SPRING BREAK 2011" tank. Bygones.
Anyway, with a whole weekend to move in, shop, explore, and go to Lollapalooza, I had plenty of opportunities to get acquainted with my new city. In a nutshell, I think I'll like it. My goal for the weekend was to be a human sponge, absorbing tips and tricks for how best to blossom in Chicago. I'm just waiting to burst from my small town girl cocoon into a beautiful big-city butterfly.
Being a sponge, exotic flower, and butterfly all in one weekend was exhausting, but I managed. Here's what I learned:
DO: Explore your city in a "long hair don't care" outfit.
Example: After moving my stuff in my apartment (which miraculously took all of 30 minutes), Layson and I realized it was a gorgeous day and we wanted to play outside. So we went for a long, rambling walk all around the beach and Navy Pier. Right off the bat, we had an "oh, duh" moment. As in, "Oh, duh... Chicago is a lot bigger and more fashionable than Lexington." Swarming around us on the streets were lots of men and women dressed to the nines- even the workout attire was designer. What were we wearing?
Cat tank top, but with black running shorts instead of those pictured above
This tank top, but with neon yellow running shorts.
We looked GOOD.
After getting over the initial slight cringe at maybe sticking out from everyone else, I realized- LONG HAIR DON'T CARE. This is MY new city, I actually really love the tank I was wearing during my first impression, and if Chicago wasn't going to accept my 90s-esque fashion sense... well, screw it.
Also, since I don't know anyone in the city yet it really didn't matter what I wore because probably going to notice. So there's that too.
DO: Drink champagne while unpacking and putting together furniture.
I don't really feel like I need to justify this. It's just better.
DON'T: Develop a highly contagious disease on your first night in the city.
Before dinner Thursday night, I noticed my eye was a little red and achy. I did the responsible thing and exchanged my contacts out for glasses, but there was a little voice in the back of my head warning me of what was to come. You see, as gross as this is (maybe even late night confession material), I somehow have a horrible tendency to get pinkeye. As in, I have had it multiple times in childhood and twice just during college (once during a New Year's eve celebration in Nashville and once at a fraternity formal in Canada two days before leaving for a month long trip to Greece. I have some sense of timing).
Sure enough, I woke up the next morning with the scarlet "I," and immediately hustled Layson to the Urgent Care Center 30 minutes from my apartment (I had researched it the night before just in case). Diagnosis: mild pinkeye or possibly peri-something something.
Luckily, this story has a happy ending because my illness cleared up quickly and in time for Lollapalooza (more later). Also, silver lining- I now have a local Walgreen's and I know where to go to the doctor in case of an emergency. All things I would have needed eventually, but would have appreciated not having to deal with on my first full day in the city. So take heed and use antibacterial soap often before a big move.
Side note DO: Talk loudly on the subway about how you have pinkeye. Everyone around you will immediately jump backwards and give you much more personal space, which is never a bad thing.
DO: Have some really fun event planned as a reward for all the hard work associated with moving.
In our case, it was a Sunday ticket to Lollapalooza, a large music festival smack in the middle of downtown Chicago with 90,000 music fans wandering around. People were DECKED OUT in any type of outfit or costume you could imagine, and Layson and I immediately looked at each other and said "These are our people."
Having Lollapalooza to look forward to made the whole weekend much more exciting than if we were just moving. Plus, it was a good way to get to know one of the city's signature events.
DON'T: Get overwhelmed
Moving from Lexington (especially Transy) to Chicago can be adequately represented by this graphic.
Big fish, little pond --> Little fish, big big big pond.
BUT, it's really not that bad. Over time, little fish, you will find your little section of the pond that most suits you. Until then, have fun swimming all around the big body of water (but always with a buddy, as Patti Geil would like you to remember).
Also, if anyone can get me a job waiting tables or something in Chicago, hit me up. Poor fish, expensive pond, not desperate enough to sell my eggs... yet.
|Posted by Ally Tucker on June 12, 2011 at 12:20 AM||comments (0)|
I WAS IN AN ACCIDENT WHEN I WAS 4 WKS (2005), I BECAME DISFIGURED. I HAVE A FURRY WILL TO SURVIVE & I AM COMPLETELY HEALED. I REQUIRE MEDICATION DURING THE DAY TO KEEP MY EYES MOIST. I WILL ALWAYS LOOK DIFFERENT BUT I AM IN NO PAIN! I HAVE SEEN 10 VETS AND THEY CAN ATTEST TO THAT! IM A HAPPY KITTY AND HOPE TO HELP OTHER HUMANS FEEL JUST AS GREAT ABOUT THEMSELVES AND REALIZE THAT NOT EVERYONE LOOKS PERFECT AND THAT IS OK. =^..^=
Sleeping, drinking milk, fast gallops down the hallway at 2am, sticking my face in any round object (i.e. duck tape roll, bowls, pots, pans, salsa jars)
If being Facebook friends with Chase is not quite enough, worry not...she has a blog as well.
The Facebook page is interesting, but the blog really gives you a more in depth look into the life of Chase.
For example, Chase likes to dress up for holidays:
Also, Chase has fans who send her gifts, such as portraits...
|Posted by Ally Tucker on June 8, 2011 at 8:00 PM||comments (1)|
|Posted by Kristen Geil on May 25, 2011 at 12:50 AM||comments (1)|
So I graduate this Saturday.
Peace out Transy.
I honestly haven't been thinking about it too much, but it started to hit home this past Sunday with my last sorority event ever. I know it's not surprising that people leave town and move on after graduation, but our class in particular is getting out like Lexington's on fire. I have friends leaving for Washington DC, Boston, Thailand, New Zealand, and Louisville- all within one week after graduation. Would it kill you all to ease me into this separation a little bit?
Today, however, I faced one of the hardest goodbyes I will have this week: I ate lunch for the last time in the Rafskellar, the campus sandwich/wings place.
Layson, eating alone.
I can't lie, when I first came to Transy I absolutely hated "The Raf." The lines were outrageous, and at the time I preferred the greater variety that the cafeteria had to offer. Plus, the sandwich lady was super slow and super grumpy.
But this year, a perfect storm of magical events happened to make the Raf my only lunch destination. In fact, I ate every lunch there except for one- Thanksgiving lunch in the cafeteria (and I regret that decision).
(Not an actual picture, but my meal was as uninspiring as this one)
As you old Transy grads can tell from the picture above, the Raf got a glamorous makeover. I like sitting in the booths with just one or two of my friends rather than navigating the crowds and lunchroom politics of the caf. Also, I started to realize that the cafeteria food is gross.
But most importantly, Eugene started working the sandwich line.
(Not actually Eugene)
I'm not really sure how our friendship started or how we got to casually chatting. But over this year, it has become something that I look forward to each and every day. For those of you who know Layson and me pretty well, you know that we can generally make conversation with a wall. Well, this skill is probably what first got us talking with Eugene and his sandwich-making sidekick, Miss Tammy. From our lunchtime conversations, we know that Eugene is a big sports fan (albeit a Louisville and Miami Heat guy- only bad thing about him, I swear) and that his favorite music is jazz, with a little bit of rap thrown in. We've learned that he's a huge supporter of Transy sports and makes it a priority to go to basketball and baseball/softball games. We know that he lives near Transy and he likes going to Thursday Night Live. He loves hearing about all of our adventures and supported us all throughout our Amazing Race audition process, constantly telling us he would watch the show if we were on there.
These are just superficial likes and dislikes, though. Eugene genuinely cares about us and our well-being. He knows our sandwich orders by heart. He serenaded me with a jazzy rendition of "Happy Birthday" on my 21st. Before we went on spring break, he gave us a serious "Be Careful" speech that sounded like it could have come from my mother. He asked us for a souvenir too, which we gladly brought back- a red baseball cap, which he wears from time to time. In perhaps the most "single girl" moment of my life, I made him a Valentine declaring that he "wrapped up my heart" or some other horrible sandwich pun, and he proudly displayed it behind the counter for a solid month. When he found out that we were graduating this year, he actually got really upset and for the past couple weeks has made us promise to come back and visit (which I will gladly do). Whenever he's seen me dressed up from my usual Norts/T-shirt Raf attire, he's complimented me with a "You look real nice today." And his face lights up when it's our turn in line. No joke.
It's not just me who loves him. Judging by the amount of "Bye Eugene! Have a great summer!" I heard at lunch today, I'm pretty sure every Transy student to frequent the sandwich line feels this way. At Greek Family Feud, he was one of the five who made the list for "Faculty/Staff Member You Want to Call Mom/Dad," and for good reason. Eugene may have a gold tooth, but he also has a heart of gold.
So that's why I'm naming him a Lexington's Best Kept Secret, although I guess it's more of a Transy's best kept secret. Layson and I said goodbye to Eugene today and were lucky enough to get a picture (it was Eugene who insisted on the stairs for a classier pose than behind the sandwich counter).
We'll see him at graduation where he'll work the reception, and don't be surprised if I introduce him to my family. Eugene, I love you and I'll miss you next year.
|Posted by Kristen Geil on May 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM||comments (0)|
(Great 80s movie, by the way)
Like many other teenage girls, babysitting was my first foray into the world of gettin' paid. I have firmly come to believe that, rather than actual birth control, babysitting is the best and most effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
For the past couple years, I've been babysitting one family regularly, and it has been during this time span that I have come to realize that Kids. Are. Bizarre. If you doubt that for one second, watch the following video that has made me LOL multiple times after viewing:
Conspiracy theorists claim that this is actually Layson Griffin as a child.
While the kids I babysit haven't been playing with dead squirrels, persay, I have definitely witnessed them poking a dead mole with a stick (their cat had killed it, which I'll touch on later). As with any new people you meet, for the first few months I babysat these kids, they were nice, polite, well-behaved, and didn't let their freak flags fly. Gradually, however, they got a little too comfortable with me, and now I have seen their true selves. While they're definitely still sweet and obedient most of the time, I'd just like to share (vent?) a few of the geunine WTF moments that come with the job description.
As any babysitting veteran knows, the first osbtacle to overcome when the kids get home from school is snack time. Snack time for three kids is no joke, especially when the youngest is in her picky phase.
No, not just "peanut butter with the crusts cut off and sliced diagonally" picky. Like, square pretzels only, not the regular shaped kinds. Ritz Crackers over Wheat Thins. Two slices of bologna only (which is easy to set out, but as a vegetarian I cringe a little every time I have to get the slimy meat out of the package). If all else fails, a cup of shredded cheese. The middle girl isn't too bad. The only trouble we've had is when she started requesting bananas with peanut butter and requiring that I spread the peanut butter on the bananas myself, a "medium amount ONLY," not too much or too little. Fine, Goldilocks. I have learned. The oldest boy is my favorite at this time of the day because he gets the snacks out himself, leaving me only to assemble them. I do find it a little strange that his favorite food is frozen corn- yes, still frozen- but hey, makes it easy on me. With months of practice under my belt, I have fine tuned my chopping, spreading, and assembling time to less than 10 minutes total. That's impressive.
From there, it's break time, where they get to watch television until 4 pm. Usually during this time I catch up on Words With Friends, Newsweek, or way back in the day when I still had it- homework. If it's sunny, I sit outside. If all else fails, I watch "Martha Speaks" with them (an educational show about a dog that talks- vocabulary words out the wazoo) or take a cat nap on the couch.
When the opening theme song to Arthur comes on, it's time to turn the TV off. While the oldest two start their homework, I head upstairs with the youngest to change into play clothes, because she's scared to be upstairs by herself. This is when I start to appreciate the creativity of children. Getting dressed is a very deliberate process. She asks me whether or not something matches, and puts great consideration into her hair accessories. Some days, she throws it all to the wind- like the day two weeks ago when she donned a red long sleeved shirt with a Christmas tree on it only to layer on top of it a short sleeved purple ruffled shirt. Gaga, watch out.
It is during this time that Baby Gaga feels the chattiest. About once a week, she asks me to guess her favorite colors. By now, I know the exact order, but I still play the game. "Purple?" "No, that's fourth." "Green?" "No, that's... sixth." "Hmm... brown?" "YES!" Because it's the color of her shoes, obviously. Second favorite color is black. She's an original for sure, and I love it.
We head back downstairs and work on homework with the other two. For the most part, they can get it done on their own and I just have to check over it. On occassion, they have asked me how to do some math problems, and I have to admit I am absolutely baffled. I can get the end result, but teachers today seem to be teaching them the most complicated methods. Like long division- I'm decent at it. But Frozen Corn showed me his in-class worksheet which involved them using squares, dashes, and possibly hieroglyhpics to solve the problem. Directions, too, are usually open to different interpretations, and I just have to give them my best guess. Unnecessary, in my book.
Finally, after homework, it is PLAY TIME. In this sense, I am lucky. The kids don't usually want to play with me. I guess I'm not fun. In fact, today they pretended Middle Girl was the babysitter and the other two were the kids. One fun snippet I overheard: "I'm going to slobber on your laptop!" Great.
They pretty much entertain themselves, and I only intervene if I think someone is about to get impaled with an umbrella or something. Sometimes, however, they like to talk to me. Frozen Corn likes to ask me questions about college, living at school, etc- he's a little more serious than the girls.
Middle Girl has two lines of questioning. The first goes, "Who is your favorite singer?" To save time, I have learned to respond, "Taylor Swift." Immediately, her face lights up and she exclaims "ME TOOOOO!" and launches into a monologue about her Taylor Swift t-shirt, CD, and more. I just have to sit and nod and occassionaly give my opinion as to what her best song is ("Love Story," obviously).
The second line of questioning is a little trickier. It goes, "Do you have a boyfriend?" Let me tell you, I can't think of a more awkward discussion (short of the actual birds and bees talk). See, Middle Girl remembers the last boyfriend I had, and fires questions at me: "What's his name? What's he look like? Did you kiss him? Did you love him? Did he love you? Why'd you break up? Why don't you have a boyfriend now? Do you like anybody? Does anybody like you?" Way to make me feel like a spinster loser, Middle Girl.
I googled "Spinster" and this came up. Maybe I'm not in such bad company after all.
However random some of our conversations may be, I can always count on getting some unexpected compliments from the kids.
Middle Girl is starting to become interested in fashion trends, and will often compliment me on my shoes (she's a fan of the turqoise cowboy boots) or hair. She even noticed when I went to the dentist ("I wish my teeth were as shiny as yours!"). She likes my name, too- "Your name is so pretty. I wish my name was Miss Kristen." I haven't had the heart to tell her yet that Miss isn't my real first name (side note- remember how strange it was to realize that your teachers had first names and didn't live at school? Major shocker for me).
With kids, age is a big issue. There's a big difference between being six and being six and a HALF. Often times, I get asked, "How old are you?" If this ever happens to you, flip the question right back around and ask "How old do you THINK I am?" I have gotten responses from 12 to 32. Last week, Baby Gaga correctly guessed 21, and it was the proudest moment of my day.
As goofy and sometimes difficult as they are, I love the kids I babysit. I will genuinely miss them when I move this summer. I will not, however, miss their animals. Consider the following a mini-Confession.
They have two Cairn Terriers (think Toto from The Wizard of Oz), one of whom has a majorly gross underbite and both of whom pant in the most disgusting manner possible. The dogs are the most demanding creatures I have ever met in my life- and I consider myself a dog person. They have to go in and out every five seconds, they constantly try to jump on me, and they are geuninely the dumbest animals I have ever met. I feel like a horrible person saying that, but spend over five minutes in their company and you too will have the urge to punt them like a football.
Recently, they acquired a cat as well. As anyone who knows me knows, I HATE CATS. This one is semi-tolerable because she's allowed to be an outdoors cat, but she still has a nasty habit of leaping onto the kitchen table and staring at me, motionless, for minutes at a time. It's just creepy.
So, I guess the moral of that tangent is: You can pick the kids you sit for, but you can't pick their pets. Or something like that.
All in all, babysitting is one of the more entertaining parts of my week, usually an ego-booster, and a great tax-free way to earn some cash. They make me crazy sometimes, but I have to admit, I love those kids. *Babysitters Club 4 Lyfe*