Thursday, January 30, 2014


Today was revolutionary war day.  The elementary schools are invited to participate in lectures by interpreters from the period around the revolutionary war.  They get to hear about what life was like during this time from people who reenact the characters, doctors, politicians, war heroes.

We were told months ago about this event and that we needed to have a costume ready.  Emma Jane wanted to make her own.  We went online to look up the directions for a mob hat with is the bonnet that the women wore of that time period.  The instructions for this are a great math experiment.  She needed to make a pattern from paper so she cut a circle from newspaper using two pencils and a piece of string tied to the distance of the radius of the circle.  Once she had her pattern cut out then she used it to cut out two white circles of fabric from a $5 twin sheet that had become a toga for this party blogged about here.

She also used the sheet to sew her apron without using a pattern.  I helped with the sash top stitching on the apron and showed her how to gather but she did the rest herself.  Emma Jane took a class at Owl and Drum, a local craft and fabric store.   They showed her how to make a skirt without the need for a pattern.  She took her measurements and figured out how much fabric she needed and added enough for the seam allowance and the elastic waist band.  She stitched and ironed the skirt in about 40 minutes.  We decided not to sew the shawl but to just fold the fabric so that we could re purpose the fabric after today.

I am so proud of what she has accomplished.

Yesterday, when she was picked up from school, she was really run down and felt terrible.  When she called me at work she told me she thought she was getting sick.  She was in tears.  She was so afraid she would miss today and not get to ever wear this costume she hand crafted.  I was so sad for her.  But she went to bed at 3:00 p.m. and stayed in bed almost all night.  The next morning she woke up ready for the 1770's.  Ready to play stick ball and rebel against the mother country.

On the way to school she was in character.  She was outraged about the taxation without representation.  She was upset about the tax on tea.  Why should we be sending all our money back to mother England?  She thought that having a King was rubbish and that the people should elect a proper leader.  Hold elections!  (Next thing you know, she will want to vote!)

There was an energy in the air this morning.  The fifth grade class was coming together.  The camaraderie that bound them in their costumes was wonderful to watch.

Such great expressions.

Here are the gentlemen.

Here are the ladies.

And the whole group.

I think they look so amazing!  I love that our kids get to participate in this wonderful day and am so glad that she didn't get sick.

Is it just me, or she giving me the look?  The "Mom, you can stop taking pictures now" look.

There is this question they ask you on the gifted and talented identification survey when your child is a wee youngster.  "Does your child attempt to do challenging things that show a level of understanding beyond their age?"  Then the next question is something like "Do they stay on task with a dogged determination, often foregoing fun in order to complete a project to perfection?"

The answers were always and continue to be "yes" and "yes".

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Dallas to Tulsa

If you haven't read about my trip out to Philadelphia here, it is a prerequisite for reading this post.

On my last leg home from Philadelphia, I found myself sitting next to the most precocious 10 year old girl from Ft. Worth.  Her name was Tabitha and she was traveling alone to Tulsa to see her grandmother.  I was sitting on the aisle of a three seat row.  When she arrived for her middle seat, she immediately introduced herself with confidence and charm.  Then she said, "My daddy wants me to show you where my epi-pen is."  I asked her what she was allergic to and she explained that she was allergic to peanuts and that was when I found out that the nice lady to her right, by the window, was an EMT.  She was going to be in good hands sitting between a mom and an EMT.

She called her dad just before take-off to report that she was on board and between two nice ladies and that we had been informed of where her epi-pen was.  Then she dutifully turned her cell phone to airplane mode.  Some time after take off she decided to work on her homework.  When she pulled out her math homework, I did a double take.

Please notice the second word problem.

I had a small internal freak out moment when I saw that on my flight home, palindromes were making an appearance again.  Then Tabitha asked me to explain it to her.  So I started in the simplest of terms...Bob, Anna, Racecar...

That is when the woman on the other side of her who is the EMT leaned forward and said,

"A man, a plan, a canal, Panama."

My mouth dropped open, I stared at her in disbelief.  I stammered for a few seconds and she thought that I didn't understand, so she said it again and started to explain that it was a palindrome. 

When I recovered the gift of speech, I tried to tell her that the exact same palindrome had been uttered by me on Monday on an American Airlines flight and that I was feeling like I was being punked.  Poor Tabitha.  The gibberish that ensued.  The palindromic nonsense!

I did finally resume helping Tabitha with her homework.  I also found out that the woman's name was Heidi and she was from Indianapolis.  She is visiting her best friend who is trying to get into the medical school where I work.  She knows all about simulations and has participated in quite a lot herself.  I can't remember how the conversation turned to polyunsaturated fats, but I quickly realized that she knew a lot about Chemistry and that brought us to her recommending that I buy a coffee mug with a caffeine molecule on it.  I explained that I already had one.  But she knew about the website  She knew about the website!  I told her that I had purchased my BeEr glasses from there.  Heidi and I could definitely have been good friends.

When the plane landed, Tabitha and I had successfully finished her math homework, connected on Pinterest, avoided peanut products, and had orange juice together.  Heidi and I had exchanged palindromic nonsense sentences, geeked out over caffeine molecules and gross wounds for medical simulations.  I bid them both farewell and hugged my family after a long five days away.

When I told them about the palindromes on the way home on the flight Emma said, "Mom, you are living in a palindrome."  How very clever she is.  My trip was the same forwards and backwards.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Not So Friendly

Last week after dropping my darlings off at elementary school on a damp and frosty morning, I was stopped at a stop sign waiting to turn right onto a busy street.  Because it was hovering around 32 degrees I decided not to pull out into traffic and wait for a larger break in the oncoming traffic in case my wheels spun out on the pavement.  When a blaring horn came from behind me, it literally made me jump in my driver's seat because I didn't know anyone was behind me and I was not expecting to be honked at for being cautious. 

Well this man kept his hand firmly planted on the horn for a good 8 seconds.  Count with me in your head if you will, one Mississippi, two Mississippi, three get the idea.  It was a long time to be laying on the horn.  I actually turned around in my seat to see if he had passed out against his steering wheel.  But upon seeing him fully upright behind the wheel and using a gesture that signified that his heart and respiratory rate were slightly elevated, I decided I should just turn right and get out of his way.

When I turned right onto the wet street, he yielded instead of stopped at the sign and whipped out behind me.  I thought to myself, uh oh.  After getting right up to my tailgate he merged over to the left lane and got right up nice and cozy next to me and drove for a bit just outside my driver's side window.  I could tell he wanted my attention, so I decided I would grant him his wish and I looked over to see him giving me the exact same gesture as before that alerted me that not only was his pulse and respiratory rate elevated, but his blood pressure was surely up there too!

Satisfied that his message had been received, he then sped up and I am sure he thought that our little conversation was over.  I am sure that is what he thought because he seemed very surprised when I pulled into the exact same parking lot he did just a few minutes later and waited for him to exit his vehicle.  But nothing could prepare him for what came next.

After watching him walk into a diner and take a seat facing the counter where you check out, I quickly decided on a plan.  A plan that would not only make me feel better, but would get my point across.  A plan that would serve an ace, if you will.

I grabbed a twenty dollar bill from my wallet and walked into the diner.  There were about 7 patrons in the diner and the offensive man was sitting alone at the booth closest to the counter, and facing the counter looking at his menu.  When I approached the counter, I was not only in his line of sight, but well within earshot.  I walked up to the woman at the counter and said,

"I would like to buy that man breakfast and a cup of coffee.  He must really need to eat because he just honked at me and flipped me off twice because I delayed him getting here by 8 or 10 seconds.  So let me see if I can turn his day around by buying him breakfast.  I would like to put the other $10 on a tip for his waitress.  I can't imagine that he is a good tipper on a good day but I know for a fact that today is not a good day, so let's go ahead and tip his waitress now so that we don't have to worry about that and let's get this man some food!"

The woman at the counter was looking from me to him and back to me, as if she were being punked.  He never once made eye contact with me.  His waitress was approaching from the back with a pot of coffee as I triumphantly walked past his table.  As I passed her I said, "Good luck sister!"

That was the best damn twenty dollars I have ever spent.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Chicago to Philly

Today, while on a flight from Chicago to Philadelphia, I was sitting next to a man who accidentally spilled his coffee on me.  When he apologized he introduced himself as Eliot, with one L.  I had already surmised his name was Eliot because his Venti Starbuck's cup said Elliot.  But the order taker, what do they call those guys because they are not the Barista, had spelled it with two L's.  I don't know why he thought it necessary to tell me that his name was challenged in the L department, but such was the beginning of a 1.75 hour conversation.

When he told me his name was Eliot, I immediately said "Put Eliot's toilet up!"  I wrongly assumed I would be met with a confused look of someone who only wanted peace and quiet on an airplane.  Instead, I was answered with "I did, did I?"  He then said, "So you are a palindrome freak like me?"

I explained to him that not four days ago, my daughter and I were talking about the very palindrome involving his name.  She said it to one of her classmates at school in the cafeteria line.  They were a little foggy on the subject.  I also explained that when I was in third grade in Heavener, Oklahoma I was writing my name on my paper and I figured out that my name was very nearly a palindrome.  If my last name had an e on the end, if my name were Emily Lime, it would be palindromic.  He asked if I knew the palindrome "Emily's sassy Lime"?  I said that of course I did. 

I felt pretty badly for the guy sitting in the row with us who I found out too late upon landing was flying out to Philly to take the national board exam for which I prepare medical students.  I really could have been offering him some very good last minute advice on the plane (or just really stressing him out).  Instead I was saying things like "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!" 

We were seriously geeking out over words.  I have a tendency to get really excited about small, sort of niche markets of subject matter.  The periodic table, sailing, palindromes,  and avogadro's number.  Suddenly I started to see myself from the luggage compartment looking down.  I was this girl traveling alone getting way too excited about words.  And then he said it.  "Lager, sir is regal."  We should go out for drinks while you are in Philly.  Nope.  No way.  Even though that was a nice touch with the palindrome and all... "No, it is opposition!"  "No  Sir!  Away! A papaya war is on!"

I have a habit of getting into these conversations with people who have these niche interests.  You can read about Avogadro's number guy here.  I just have a way of sucking people in and I don't realize that I am doing this connecting thing and then I realize too late that I have maybe over shared or been over friendly.  In words, alas drown I.  Perhaps, I would be better served by this one.  I'm a fool; aloof am I.

So, we exited the plane and I said good luck to the medical student and I said goodbye to Eliot with one L.  He did not follow me to baggage claim.  He did not follow me to rental car pick up. 

I was thinking as I drove to my hotel that I must try not to be so friendly.  Ah, but that leads me to a story that happened last week.  A not so friendly story from last week...

For another time...

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lake Oologah

Today we went on a little road trip to check on the boat.  We drove up to our lake and stopped by our marina.  The first thing we saw upon driving down to the marina was two bald eagles.

I did not have my zoom lense with me, so this is the best I could do.   But it was beautiful to watch the pair of them swooping and soaring. 

The girls were excited to be back at the lake.

After we checked on the boat we drove around the lake and over to a place called Goose Island.  We drove down a muddy road that Lucy thought was too bumpy but it was worth the drive.  The wind was howling and the waves were crashing on the rocks.

It was too cold for my taste.  But the girls and Mike were more than happy to explore and hike.

I can't wait for summer!  I would even settle for spring...

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Silver Dollar City

We went to Silver Dollar City with my mom over the Christmas break.  But Lucy kept calling it Silver Dollar Sylvia.  We had a great, but a wee bit chilly, day there.  The Christmas lights were beautiful and they had it nicely decorated for the holiday season.

We were sending selfie's home to Mike who was on call and couldn't come with us.

Here is a selfie that Emma Jane photo bombed.

Emma and I broke away for a bit and rode roller coasters together.  Then we met back up with Lucy and they went in here.

This is the monstrous playhouse where Emma lost track of Lucy.  She came out with this look on her face that I will not soon forget.  She explained to me that she had lost her sister.  We both went in after her and left Grandma to wait where we had been sitting.  I knew that Lucy knew where we were waiting so she would come to us if she had made it out, so I knew she was inside.  But there are about three levels to this monstrosity and 6 or 7 sections.  When we finally found her she was playing in a ball pit getting pelted by soft foam balls from cannons.  I hugged her to me and said, "We found you!  Oh Lucy, you were lost!"  She said, "I wasn't lost Mommy, I knew where I was the whole time."

And since I most recently bragged about Emma, I will go ahead and brag about five year old Lucy.

We were waiting in line for the train and Emma saw this huge swinging ride in the distance.  This was the view.

Emma Jane said to Lucy that she didn't remember seeing that ride last time they were at SDC with Grandma.  Emma said that she wondered if it was new.  Lucy looked over at the ride in the distance and said, "Or maybe because the last time we were here it was summer and there were leaves on the trees and that's why we didn't see it."

Doesn't she look smart with that eyebrow raised?  Smart, sweet girls!

Tree, Behold your Apple

Since she could talk and ask questions, I have been answering Emma's questions with the most detailed answer possible.  Every question for me has been a "teachable moment". 
I have now created a person who answers questions with such detail that I am often struck speechless.

In the car, where all great conversations happen and I need a go-pro camera installed with a steering wheel trigger mount to cue recording, Lucy asked, "Why do camels have fur if they live in the desert?"

While I was pondering a good answer when Emma jumped in with

It gets very cold in the desert at night, so the fur helps keep them warm when the temperature drops.  During the day it also helps keep them protected from the intense sun so that they don't get sunburned.  It also probably helps them to keep their body temperature regulated.  You know Lucy, not all deserts are hot.  In fact the definition of a desert is just a place that gets very little rainfall.  Some deserts are called high deserts and they never get hot.  There is one in Argentina that never gets warm, although they don't have any camels there.    I only bring it up so that you don't go through life thinking that deserts are warm.  They are just dry.

I just kept my mouth shut and drove.  Lucy, as always, remembers everything Emma says and now knows all about Patagonia.

I asked Emma later where she learned so much about deserts.  She said she read about them in a book titled Encyclopedia Britannica Letter D.  I am pretty sure that was a page turner.

A couple of mornings ago when we were near zero degrees, we left the faucets running all night.  She was brushing her beautiful hair and had static electricity on her brush.  When I walked into her room, presumably to wake her up, she was holding her brush near the stream of water coming from the faucet and causing it to not fall straight down anymore.  (The water will become attracted or repelled from the hairbrush.)  She noticed me watching her and said, "Look Mom, the static electricity from my brush is causing the water to change direction."