Friday, January 19, 2018

All Little Blue Bunny - All the Time

This post was written on Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

 Early dismissal meant more time for Little Blue Bunny to get in trouble.  That guy!

First there was the bread pie crust experiment.  D and I actually did that but LBB tried to stick his nose in the filling - pumpkin butter.  (It needed a little something.  Like maybe real pie crust.)

We took the crust off a slice of bread and rolled the slice out flat.  Then we lined a small custard cup with the flattened bread.  We added egg and milk mixture to the already sweetened and seasoned pumpkin butter and stuck it in the oven.

While it baked, we washed the dishes and here's where Little Blue Bunny ended up.
He needed a bath.

Then, Nana reminded Dulci of the time Little Blue Bunny thought putting an addition on the house would be nice since his family lives on a window sill.  BUT after dragging the scrap lumber, the hammer, the nails and the, YIKES! saw from the garage, his Mom called him because it was dark.

Well, in the morning, the paper guy thought he was supposed to deliver a paper to the apartment - no one lives there - just us - and he tripped over all that junk and ripped his new designer jeans on the saw!!!  I had to pay him a lot of money.  (THIS IS A FICTIONAL STORY.)  D wanted to know if it was really true and when I told her it was just a story she got into the spirit of things by insisting that it happened (wink wink) the night she slept over.

NEXT, D is perfecting her balloon blowing skills but she discovered not too long ago that those little foot pumps you get with air mattresses work GREAT! for blowing up long skinny balloon sculpture balloons.  We decorated three snakes and then D decided they had to EAT LITTLE BLUE BUNNY.  I did argue for clemency.  And she countered that he was just a toy and it was all pretend anyway.  So, he got gobbled up and put in a grave with the word RIP on it.  D did that.  I folded a piece of paper for LBB's grave and then she wrote "Rip!" on it.  "Because it's a grave", she told me.  Where does she get this stuff?  I mean is this what they teach in first grade these days?

Well, all right then.  You want the snakes to eat LBB.  Then he can be a ghost.  I grabbed some cheesecloth that I was going to discard anyway and made Little Blue Bunny into a ghost and then we ran around scaring each other for a while.   D turned into a ghost.  I turned into a ghost and Gramps got scared - a lot.

Next, she grabbed my apron strings and pretended I was a horse and she was on a sulky or wagon and off we went.  I got some active exercise today.  Little Blue Bunny sat on my head and told me where to go and D shouted "Go!" and "Stop!" Luckily, we have a house that has a circular traffic pattern.

I did not mention the Lincoln Log building episode where we acted out Chiles' Play's (see how I work that in everywhere) version of little Cabin the Woods.

What else did we do?  I mean we had almost 3 hours.

Oh, the pie!  I dropped it right side up into the drawer under the oven. Not on purpose. But the custard - made from the same recipe - was edible but not great.

They are calling for snow tonight.  When will I ever have time to do book reviews again?

 SNOW DAY on Wednesday, January 17th, 2018.  I can't remember what we did!



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Little Blue Bunny is a STAR!!

Yep.  He truly is.

Yesterday, in a panicked attempt to get everything done RIGHT NOW, Dan and I tried to take a lot of photos for the Chiles' Play CD.  LINK TO COME.  Seriously!  Here.  And again, at the end of this post.

!!SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION!!!  LISTEN!  DOWNLOAD! SHARE!  (The downloads will cost you but honestly not by much.) https://chilesplay.bandcamp.com/album/i-can-make-it-myself

We took photos, and more photos, and yet more photos.  Dan is a perfectionist.  When he produces a CD on Bandcamp, he wants illustrations for every single track.  He wants them to have something that ties them all together; a style, a visual, an embedded phrase.  He makes himself crazy.

I understand this.  Ask the people I worked with.  I had BIG ideas whenever I produced a program and I wanted things done a certain way.  Luckily, Dan and I can step out of the way of each other's obsessions.

Here are some photos.
 




There are five more but I think Dan must have taken those.  This is not what the finished products look like because Dan has one of those clever "fix up my pics to look awesome" apps.

Do you want to see the finished photos?  Do you want to hear some superlative kids' music??  Here is the promised link to Chiles' Play.


Friday, January 12, 2018

3 Things I Did With My Week

Thing 1.  Dan helped me create a Bandcamp site and I posted my story, "Ambrose's Gift" up there.  Check it out. 
https://karenmaurer.bandcamp.com/releases


Thing 2.  Played with D - A VERY MUCH LOT!!!  Delayed NYE overnight on Saturday and Sunday, early dismissal on Monday and a 2 hour delay on Tuesday.  Thursday was the same old schedule.  Yesterday, Little Blue Bunny and I mysteriously switched voices.  D's cure for that was very simple.  We (Little Blue Bunny and I) had to smoosh a big pink balloon between us and kiss over the top of it.  It WORKED!! 
LBB in the NYE photo booth

Thing 3.  Worked with Dan on our Chiles' Play CD, "I Can Make It Myself", which will also be offered on Bandcamp, very, very soon.  We did hope to get two more dragon stories recorded but time ran out.


About Dan:
Our time together is running out, Dan and I.  He goes home to his boys on January 21st.  They need him.  And he needs to be the best dad he can be.  Also, he has teaching jobs in Japan.  Here, he would have to go back to school, spend money and time, as his boys grow up without him.

My youngest brother is a good man.  I hope things go better for him in Japan.  I hope we continue to work on our crazy songs and ideas.  He got me to do so much more this year because he made everything so much more fun.  

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

This thing called Gender

Some people will tell you, there are TWO genders - only TWO ways of being.  How could that be? There have been billions of people born on this earth since people started being.  How could they all fit into TWO categories?  That's like saying there are only TWO types of music, or only TWO sports that anyone should play; or only TWO foods that everyone should eat.  It's like saying there are only TWO ways to be spiritual or only TWO branches of science with any merit.

I say be who you are! (Unless you are someone who has to hurt people, then, I say, get some help.) There are a billion ways for people to be.

I also say that I heartily approve of books that gently, and with good humor, introduce different ways of being - the ways that fit the "general consensus" and the ways that don't.

(You saw this coming!!!) Books like the LUMBERJANES: Unicorn Power by Mariko Tamaki.  Book review time!

Tamaki's book is a middle grade novelization, an addition to the Lumberjane graphic novel franchise created by BOOM! Studios.  I, alas, have never read the graphic novels. NOTE TO SELF: check these out of the library stat!

Tamaki makes her slant of gender acceptance a little obvious in the first few pages of her book.  But once we get to know all the campers in Roanoke Cabin and meet a few unicorns, the reader just keep reading.  AAMOF (As A Matter Of Fact) young readers won't notice much of anything - slant wise - except the long complicated name of the Lumberjane camp, and the titles of the badges which are rather punny. (I am not a young reader. I notice slants.)

ADVENTURES!!! and Excitement in many of its glorious forms, result in the ladies of Roanoke embarking on a quest to help one of them earn a coveted medal.  Not all five girls are good at these jaunts, and at least one of them wishes she were anywhere else.  But the most important thing that Lumberjanes learn is FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX.  Also Unicorns! and a rather peculiar unicorn characteristic that other stories about unicorns have failed to mention. Let's not forget the importance of weather as fodder for conversation! 

Friendship to the Max, everyone, and this friend wants more Lumberjanes.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Tempests and Slaughter

Remember this book?? That I got when I returned from our vacation?  I FINALLY finished it.

Once I was able to put aside all the holiday distractions, I jumped right into the book.  Several times, I thought that I should stop reading and let you know what was going on.  At one point, Pierce describes how the main character feels as he enters inside rock to help manipulate it.  Pierce is brilliant at this kind of description.  She makes you believe that the character is really experiencing elemental magic.  Elemental Magic is the magic inside things that make the world, water, air, earth, rock, plants, animals.  Well, that's how I understand it.  I almost stopped reading just to share THAT with you.

Then there was a short interchange between the main character, Arram, and his roommate, Ozorne, that might foreshadow future difficulties.  The interchange comes fairly early in the book.  I wanted to tell you about it and wonder with you just what it might mean.  I can't say anything else now, though.

Let's talk about Arram.  He's eager, curious, and fascinated by his own Gift and the Gifts of others.  He's a little slow to understand relationship politics.  That makes him more lovable.  He's genuinely kind and that shows up in the very first few pages.  Adventures "happen" to him, usually because he tries to do something new.  He never forgets a kindness. He greets each new experience with excitement. And, he has tremendous power.

His best friends are Varice, a quick careful girl, who loves kitchen magic (Elemental Magic in many forms) and Ozorne, the "left-over prince".  They meet when Arram enters the University at the age of not-quite 11.  They are together during most of the book except at the times that Arram's power is used by his teachers to perform necessary tasks - or when Ozorne is called to the palace for royal events - or when Varice works in the kitchen to earn money for her future.

I hope that Pierce will give Ozorne and Varice each their own volume.  It is obvious at the end of this book that there is so much more to be told.

Now about the setting: Carthak is the biggest empire in the Islands.  It is a country where the royal family, the nobles and the wealthy control everything.  Slavery still exists and makes Arram very uncomfortable because his small country or principality has outlawed slavery.  There is cruelty in this book - and political wrangling that sets the stage for future adventures.  The times approximate the Roman Empire with the addition of magic.  The country is tropical - no snow!

The Magic in this book includes spells, threads, potions, chants (although the chants are not shared with the readers) and the magic of animals, the elements, the lesser gods and goddesses, tribal magic, elemental magic - and the various jealousies and rivalries that exist among all these magics.   IT'S AWESOME!!

And the Crocodile God... read the book.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ready for Christmas???

Last Minute Christmas Gift Alert!

I have found the PERFECT (where are the little jingle bells stickers???) book for every one who can safely turn pages - from 4 to all grown up.  I    AM    SERIOUS!

This Book Is a Planetarium by Kelli Anderson will intrigue absolutely anyone with a soul. (OK, I can think of one soul owning person who will not be that excited but, other than that character..)  This pop-up book (which is why the reader must turn pages safely) transforms into SIX (6), yes, that's SIX different tools.  You use your cell phone's flashlight app to power the planetarium.  There is a stringed instrument inside, a spiralgraph, a speaker for your tablet, a decoder ring and a perpetual calendar.

I have the book right here on my desk, still wrapped in plastic.  As long as it stays wrapped, its promise is intact.  I will open it on Christmas day.  On New Year's Eve, I plan to gaze at the stars.



 Meanwhile:
The Squirrel family and their snowy friends are stationed at the window watching for snow - or elves - or jingle bells - or anything Christmasy.


But not Little Blue Bunny.  He had to write his letter to Santa.



He thought of some other stuff he wanted.  He wanted a real bunny - because D has asked for one.
He wanted a dragon that can fly without Nana helping it.

On ToyTV, Little Blue Bunny saw a commercial for texting Santa.  You entered SANTA and the text went straight to the North Pole. 
Warning to all toy owners out there: This text action will result in a hefty pretend charge on your phone bill. (Also, it's not true, ok?)

Little Blue Bunny got MY cell phone and sent a text asking for the dragon and the bunny.  AND I got the hefty charge.  Oh, was I angry!  I told my friend, Nutsa Squirrel (LBB's Mom), about it right away and Little Blue Bunny is on dish washing duty until the New Year to earn money to pay me back.

But Wait!  There's MORE.  I got an email confirming the delivery of the DRAGON to my house on Thursday.  The dragon had already shipped.

D flew into action.  She spun around and pooof! shimmer! sparkle! we were in Wizard World.  I was Queen Apple Orchard and D was Princess Apple Blossom.  Little Blue Bunny was Little Blue Wizard, not that he was much help.

Using her Future Ball, Princess Apple Blossom went into the future, found the dragon, cancelled the order and returned the dragon to his den.  A pre-Christmas catastrophe was averted by quick and clever magical thinking.  What would we do without Princess Apple Tree?



I am not at all sure why LBB is in the Christmas cactus or riding the space shuttle we got him.  He's probably trying to avoid doing the dishes.  Wait until he sees what Santa plans to bring him!  I am hugging myself with glee here.

Hey, if I don't post before Christmas, have a great holiday.  All you Hanukkah'ers out there, I hope you had enough latkes and gelt and celebrated the miracle of faith.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Left Behind - Little Blue Bunny

Last year, FlameFly went with us on our cruise to escape winter.  This year, we took Ivan the Turkey - more about that in another post.  We did NOT take Little Blue Bunny and he was not happy about that at all. 

First, he tried to follow us in a boat he made from a Boscov's ad.  Not going to work.


 When he realized he needed water to sail his boat, he filled up the dishpan.  Bunnies are not known for their logic. 


OK.  He wasn't going to catch up with us.  Since he had to stay home, he decided to have fun.
I'm glad I didn't DECORATE the tree before we left.
He is SO lucky that the Eiffel Tower didn't break.

Nutty Romomlia refused to play with him so his climbing escapades were all solo.  Then, Little Blue Bunny got hungry.  FOOD!  Nutty Romomlia followed him in a flash.


A game of hide and seek got a little rough.


Don't worry.  Nutty gives as good as she gets.
Little Blue Bunny suddenly remembered that we hide cameras around the house when we go.  We had proof of his craziness from last year.  So, he hid before we got back.
It took me a half an hour to find him. I had to look out over the dining room from the stairs before I located the rascal.

You see why we don't take him on vacation with us.  I don't even want to imagine what he'd get up to on a cruise ship.  He'd fall over board or steer the ship in circles or jump into the ice cream or trip people on the dance floor or... No!  it doesn't bear thinking about.

I'm just glad he's safe and sound here at home.