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February 2007
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April 2007

Emma on Idol

Top 10 Performance Critique by Emma, age 8.5:

LaKisha - She improved a lot.

Chris Sligh - Compared to last time, I think he went down a little.

Gina - That song has crescendos in it. That's when it gets louder and LOUDER!

Sanjaya - Hey, I thought it was going to be the guy with the wavy hair!

Haley - Besides the one crescendo where she got a little bad - that was good!

Phil - It's probably not his best performance.

Melinda - I liked it, but I think that she didn't improve that much from last week. She sounded the same as last week.

Blake - I don't think he improved very much.

Jordin - I didn't like it very much. The outfit doesn't go with the song. All the other ones were better.

Chris R. - I thought he was somewhat different. I actually don't know what to say about that performance.

Emma's wrap-up thoughts: Best of the evening: Gina. Going home: Jordin. On Sanjaya: I just didn't like his hairdo! On her favorite: I'm a Blake fan . . .but I like Elliott a little more!

What? Just because Elliott's CD is always playing in the van? That has NO influence. Sheesh. She just has excellent taste, is all.

It's Spring Break around here, resulting in all sorts of scintillating activity. Karl, for instance, made a paper clip chain out of 300 paper clips. He molds it into shapes, like people and dogs, and then calls his grandmother on the webcam and tries to show it to her. Oh, and he's been cramming himself into a medium-sized cardboard box with an ingenious rubber band/Crayola marker locking system. We've taped up the box a few times since it's pretty much Hulk clothes at this point. The best, though, has been when he IM's me from the other side of the fireplace. Conversations like this:

KARL: can we chat now?

ME: I just found your CD's in here. All the music ones. You want to come get them?

KARL: OK I'll be there in 5 seconds

Which is a bit of an exaggeration, because I'm pretty sure you can make it from his computer to mine in about 3 seconds if you don't dilly-dally.

Emma, meanwhile, has kept herself busy with playdates, soccer practice, American Idol and screaming in frustration at her Gameboy.

Good times.

RKQOTD (Emma: Karl, I think when you grow up and become an inventor you should make a car that runs on trash so that way our world wouldn't be so filthy and people wouldn't litter. Karl: Yeah. I could make it so you could throw away your trash from inside the car and it would go straight to the engine. Emma: Good idea!)


Oh no she dih-un't!

Oh yes, she did. Kitty drudged up a year-old Idol fight on ELLIOTT DAY!!!

How DARE she! With friends like these . . . well, you know.

You can read the whole slap fight by following the link to Kitty's Blog, but to sum up, Kitty sent me this "photo comparison" last year about this time:

Elliott_and_tumnus She made the rather unkind observation that Elliott resembled Mr. Tumnus, from The Chronicles of Narnia, which is ridiculous because Mr. Tumnus is playing some sort of mythical pan flute (or maybe trimming his beard with mythical pan shears - can't quite tell) and Elliott is singing into a microphone. Sheesh. No comparison whatsoever!

In the same spirit, I shot back my own photo comparison of her favorite contestant, back when he was known as Chris Daughtry and not DAUGHTRY!!!!!!!!!! (Hey DAUGHTRY, quit yelling at me!)

Mr_clean_daughtry_2 I mean, SPITTING IMAGE, no? (A more appropriate modern-day comparison might be Britney Spears, but I'm sticking with Mr. Clean)

I was super-nice about it when Chris got booted before Elliott, too. Very sympathetic if I remember correctly.

Which made her blog post even more uncouth, especially on Elliott Day. Hey Kitty, did you see that Elliott's little indie album is at #3 on iTunes and #5 on Amazon? Gosh, that little faun must be able to SING or something! Whoda thunk it? Oh yeah, ME!!

But let's not dwell on score-keeping. I like DAUGHTRY when I HEAR HIM on the RADIO - he's very TALENTED and I always THOUGHT SO. (Wow, thanks, The-Artist-Formerly-With-A-First-Name, I really enjoy capitalizing!)

I just liked Elliott better, that's all.

So let's just update the photos with their looks a year later. I'm sure they've both taken their fame and hired some stylists to really improve their looks:

Elliott_now

Elliott! Looking SHARP! Love the curls and the smoldering look. Mmmm.

Daughtry_now

DAUGHTRY! Love, uh, the new name? Facial hair looks a little shorter and is that a new beauty mark above your right eyebrow? That's HOT!

If you want to see Elliott's new teeth, curls, and soulful yumminess, go watch his video. Nuff said.

Elliott's Video - Wait for You

The album is really good, by the way. You can preview the entire thing at AOL Music - but you've got to buy it from iTunes to get Whiter Shade of Pale as a bonus track - and you'll want it. Good stuff.


They happen in 3's

So Evelyn has this theory that bad things happen in 3's. She has all sorts of anecdotal evidence but I wasn't truly a believer until last night.

It started, as many things did, with that first blizzard several months ago. You may recall that John's car got messed up when he was pulled out of a snow bank. The body shop kept his car for around 6 weeks. That's right: SIX WEEKS! It was awful. He bummed rides to work, I took shuttles to the airport, we lived with one vehicle, like animals! (A Christine reference that will come into play later. Foreshadowing, so good at the foreshadowing!)

Now without going into all the minutia of the events conspiring to create BT#1 (Bad Thing #1) I'll just do it with bullet points:

  • John usually parks on the street.
  • One day he noticed that the body shop, in addition to taking twice the amount of time to fix our old car that it takes Ford to build a new one, had neglected to put the front license plate back on.
  • John parked in the driveway one night after picking up his license plate, so as to be closer to the tools required to mount the license plate.
  • There was an extreme sun glare the next morning.
  • I didn't know that John had parked in the driveway.
  • I was running late and needed to get Emma to school, pronto.
  • I backed the van out.
  • I heard a crunch.
  • Yikes.

The passenger side mirror, while not broken, was hanging by a thread (What? A metal car thread? Is that like a chicken cob?) as I faced the not-so-pleasant task of telling John, recently scarred from a lengthy out-of-car experience, that his car was a little, well, slimmer.

That conversation didn't go well.

The only duct tape we had was white, so he's been driving for a week with a glaringly white duct-taped passenger mirror. I think the property values in our neighborhood went down a little. Maybe I should consider some do-it-yourself window tinting or a cardboard sign that says "Plates Applied For".

I also had to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as Tod, our 3-doors-down and across-the-street neighbor said to me one morning; "Hey Karen, I'm parked on the street down there - is my truck going to be OK?" And then laughed merrily at his own wit. Hilaaaarious!

Which brings us to yesterday and BT#2. Here is my Rube Goldberg recipe for syrup of ipecac:

Tell your daughter to open the garage door on a windy day so you can pull in the garbage cans. After she does this, the wind will make it hard to close the house door so she'll slam it. This will cause the bin of birdseed that's on the shelf near the door to topple over, hitting the folded luggage cart that is also on the shelf. Both will fall from the shelf and while the birdseed will make a huge mess, it will do no damage. The luggage cart, however, will hit the hood of the 1-year-old van, creating a gnarly dent that even takes some paint off. Look at the van and vomit. Repeat as necessary.

I didn't actually vomit, but I felt like it. I called John to tell him that I'm hell-on-vehicles right now. I'm envisioning a rather expensive dent repair and re-paint of the van hood. Did I mention expensive?

This was all happening among another crisis of epic proportions: our cable went out around 3 pm yesterday and didn't come back until the wee hours of this morning! When I told Emma she seemed a little bewildered:

Emma: No TV? No Internet? What should I do?

Me: Try reading a book.

Karl was equally bewildered when he got off the bus:

Karl: Mom, I have just a little bit of homework. I have vocabulary words to define, so I need to use Dictionary.com.

Me: Our cable is out. We have no internet or TV.

Karl: How can I do my homework then?

Me: They make these new-fangled things called DICTIONARIES! They're actual BOOKS with pages and everything. You don't even need electricity.

Karl: No kidding?

So he painstakingly looked up all his vocabulary words at the kitchen counter while I got creative with ground beef. I was missing an ingredient for every one of my beef recipes, so I decided to just wing it.

Emma: Why are you chopping up those pretzels?

Me: I'm going to make a meatloaf with them. I'm not even using a recipe! Cool, huh?

Emma: Uh. I'm not so sure about that, Mom. You're a good cook for the stuff in the books, but I don't think you should try making things up.

Me: Oh ye of little faith. It will be delicious! What's not to love? Pretzels - good. Meat - good. Tomatoes - good.

Karl: Can I chop the pretzels?

Me: Sure.

So while Karl was chopping pretzels and I was trying to invent a side item, neither of us noticed Emma finishing Karl's homework! She just sat right down, looked up a word, and wrote out the definition! John asked later if I made her erase it so Karl could do it, which I had intended to do, but the phone rang right about then, so I forgot. And then later I spilled vodka on the paper, so I had to wait for it to dry out. I think maybe the booze smell might distract the teacher from noticing the two different styles of handwriting, though, so there's that.

The booze was essential after the phone call.

JOHN ON PHONE: Hey.

ME: Hi. I'm inventing meatloaf. Emma has no faith. Where are you?

JOHN: Well you're not going to believe this, but I just got rear-ended.

ME: What?! Are you OK?

He was OK. Some lady in a large Focus-dwarfing white truck hit John as he was turning right. The fender is all crunched in and his hatch won't open. When he finally got home I had appetizers and a drink waiting. Not particularly stocked in the drink-making-ingredients department, I had to get creative with peach sparkling water and vodka, but I added an orange slice garnish. Nice touch, huh? I was just full of inventions yesterday. The pretzel meatloaf was delicious! I should totally submit it to a cooking contest, or something.

So that's three bad vehicle incidents in one week. We should be safe for a while. Unless, that is, the cable going out was the start of a new series of BT's. Which is totally possible.

The TV with the DVR was toast. You couldn't tune in a network channel even if you tried. (And I tried) But I happen to own a shockingly-old Montgomery Ward TV that gathers dust in our bedroom, and by moving it to just the right angle, we were able to tune in CBS and watch our Monday night comedies with a moderate amount of snow but decent sound. The kids would pop into the room occasionally and we would be unable to hit pause. We had to watch COMMERCIALS! I had to wait for a commercial to refresh our drinks and then run back upstairs before it started again. These were ROUGH TIMES, people!

And then, like they wrote the episode just for us, came the most brilliant of exchanges on The New Adventures of Old Christine. They were watching American Idol when Richard arrived:

RICHARD: Did you vote?

CHRISTINE: Was that today? Oh man, it's too late.

RICHARD: The polls are open for another 15 minutes. You can make it.

CHRISTINE: But .  . . Idol.

RICHARD: Just Tivo it.

CHRISTINE: No, the Tivo is broken. We're watching LIVE TV, like animals!

And then John and I laughed, and laughed, and laughed, and then realized that we couldn't rewind so we told each other to shut up and pay attention to the show, already.

ElliottLuckily the cable was back on this morning so I didn't miss Elliott singing on Regis & Kelly. His debut CD is on sale TODAY! I got an e-mail from Mary this morning with a subject line of "Happy Elliott Day!" What a good friend! Plus she also informed me that there are at least THREE different sets of bonus tracks depending on where you buy the album! What marketing geniusry! I've downloaded the iTunes version already, but will, naturally, have to purchase all three, cost be damned. Deductible, shmeductible - this is ELLIOTT.

And speaking of Idol, it's on tonight! (In other breaking news: water is wet!) I'm still waiting for Phil to wow me. I really want him to have a "wow" week before being kicked to the curb with the rest of the guys-not-named-Sanjaya. Did anyone see The Soup last week? They did a segment called "The Melinda Doolittle School of Humility" that was PRICELESS! One of these days she's going to realize that she's good and then maybe her inner diva will claw its way out like an alien escaping Sigourney Weaver. And on that day will come a transformation from humble little background singer to Barry Effing Gibb. Upward "thank-you Jesus" gazes will be replaced by eye rolls. Wholesome smiles will give way to smirky audience nods. Her neck will make its debut appearance and "shucks" will be forever banned from her vocabulary. She'll engage in a backstage smackdown with Lakisha where someone will lose a fistful of hair. Oh it's coming. I think that day is coming.

But not this day. This day is Elliott Day. Go forth and purchase!

RKQOTD: (Emma: Hey Mom, a poster in my school says that the computer is one of the greatest inventions of all times but I think our BRAIN is the greatest invention of all time. I mean . . . we can WALK! Me: Well . . . yes . . . we can walk whereas computers generally don't . . . but still, our brains aren't really an invention. Emma: I know. They're a gadget. Me: A GADGET?!! Emma: Yeah. There's another poster that says "The greatest learning gadget is your brain!" Me: Oh geez.)


Banana Fanna

Evelyn watches my kids for me when I'm out of town. Usually it's only a couple of hours after school, but last Friday there was no school so they spent the whole day at Ev's. When the kids told her that it was John's birthday she let them bake him a cake, (no really - she says she only cracked the eggs for them!) plus all of the kids (my two, her two) made cards for him, and the kids hid behind the couch and yelled "Surprise!" when he came to pick them up.

Yeah, she's pretty much the wife he never had.

Today she mentioned that she had played the Name Game with the kids and they cracked up until they were crying.

ME: Did you teach them how to do it?

EV: Nah, they just kept calling out names for me to do. Teaching them would have been a whole other thing!

ME: You speak the truth.

I'm not really sure if there was some sort of subconscious insecurities about my utter ineptitude when compared to the awesomeness that is Evelyn, but when John got home tonight he was greeted with a home cooked meal (with vegetables), a clean kitchen, and two hysterically laughing children trying the Name Game on every word they could think of.

Because I taught them how to do it, that's why!

ME: So it's "Name, Name, Bo Name-with-B" - let's practice that a few times. Mom, Mom, Bo Bom. Exactly! Emma, Emma, Bo Bemma. You've got it! Now we go "Banana Fanna Fo Name-with-F". Banana Fanna Fo Farl. Yes! And then "Fe Fi Mo Name-with-M". No, not "Me-my-mo", Emma, FEE fi fo. Yes, that's right. Try again. Excellent!

And so they learned the Name Game. Because I am huge in motherhood.

We were watching TV when the kids' bedtime rolled around. Karl came in for hugs.

JOHN: Good night, Boo. Make sure you brush your teeth.

KARL: Teeth, teeth, bo beeth. Banana Fanna fo feeth. Fe fi mo meeth. Teeth!

JOHN: Very good. Now get to bed.

KARL: Bed, bed, bo bed. Banana Fanna fo fed. Fe fi mo med. Be-ed!

JOHN: Impressive. Oh, and make sure you take up your remote control truck.

ME: No! Not that!

JOHN: What are you talking ab . . .

KARL: Truck, truck bo buck.

JOHN: Yiiiiiii! Uh, that's enough, Karl. No need to finish.

KARL: Banana Fanna fo -

ME & JOHN: Aaaaaugh! No more! Off to bed, little buddy. 

ME: (after Karl had left the room) You did that on purpose!

JOHN: I really didn't!

RKQOTD (Me: Did you play "Save the Universe" with David today at horse therapy? Karl: Yes, but I didn't save the universe. I missed when I threw the bean bag and then David let me use the Nerf gun but I also missed. And then it was time to go. Me: Oh well, you'll just have to save the universe next time. Karl: Yeah. David is probably back there taking over the world right now!)


Rainy Days & Thursdays

Good morning from sort-of-sunny Oregon! The good news is that it's not raining. Yesterday it rained most of the day, putting a damper (puns, so good at the puns) on our outdoor sightseeing plans. We recovered nicely with a trip to a shopping mall, a leisurely lunch, and then, when the sun came out, a walk-n-shop down 23rd street. Sandy came with me on this trip.

23rd St. has all sorts of interesting shops and funky fare. I was specifically looking for something for John's birthday tomorrow. I have to tread lightly with this post because he can, after all, read it and spoil the surprise. Suffice to say that at this particular shop, where we were the only customers, and possibly the only customers of the entire DAY, we were met with a frosty reception by the two salesclerks. The clothing was very weird, very thin, and very over-priced. A pair of shorts, for instance, that looked to have been run over by a particularly large semi, were listed at $139. I scoffed, laughed, and was apparently overheard, because as soon as we made the minutest move towards the door the saleslady opened it up for us and stood there waiting for us to leave. She may have tapped her foot, I'm not sure.

We continued up the street, back down the other side, and were eventually successful in another eclectic shop. As we strolled back by the first store I gave Sandy my very best Vivian impression:

Me: Watch me walk in there and be all "Oh hey. Remember me? I was in here a while ago and you wouldn't help me? You work on commission, right? (lifting up my one small shopping bag) Big mistake. HUGE. I must go shopping now!"

And then we laughed merrily and felt very superior, although if either of those two ladies had heard us we would have run in terror. (I'm made from a rare alloy called Afraidium if you will recall.)

Look, we're not in high school. We don't have BFF's or anything silly like that. But I have always felt secure knowing I was Sandy's BFNK . . . (Best Friend Named Karen) . . .

Until now.

Sandy has a new GPS system for her car. She brought it with her, which makes navigating ever so much simpler, but there's a problem. The GPS voice has a name and that name is, you guessed it; Karen. She's Australian. How can I compete with that?! Aussie-Karen never gets lost. Aussie-Karen has a funky accent. Aussie-Karen can find gas stations and shopping malls.

I tried to sabotage Aussie Karen when I could. If she told me to turn right I'd just go straight, resulting in an exasperated "reCAAAculating" from Aussie Karen. I made her recalculate a bunch of times, until her voice started to grate on Sandy and she hit the mute button. Heh, heh, heh. Take THAT, you pretentious pile of genius satellite circuitry!

Oh I jest, of course. We'd be lost without Aussie Karen. No, I mean it. We'd be LOST!

I do have to wonder, though, why things like GPS systems and answering machines come with foreign voices. Does it just sound more sophisticated? Are we more likely to accept direction if delivered with an accent? I have a hard time believing that anywhere in the world they have GPS systems with American voices. I can't quite picture some French dude programming his GPS to sound like Mary-the-coalminer's-wife from Amazing Race.

FRENCH DUDE: Do I turn at zis intersecteeown, Mademoiselle Maree?

MARY: No! Just go straight! Go on! Git!!

And then, for character-accuracy, she navigates him completely in the wrong direction but never owns up to it.

Heh.

OK, I'd better git. We have to get showered and over to the convention center for set-up day. The DollarScrapbooking booth will be even bigger and better than last year, so come early if you're coming!Pink_blossoms_blog_1

I don't have a Random Kid Quote of the Day, since my random kids aren't here to entertain me. So I'll leave you with a shot of a pink blossoming tree I saw yesterday:


Boy Kit of the Month

Funny stuff coming later, but I wanted to throw up the preview of the Boy version of the Kit of the Month:

Boy_junk_album_class_summary_for_kbkotm

So this is basically the same project as the Girl Junk Album but with different colors and embellishments. The retail value of this kit is higher, but the cost is still just $20. You can read all about the Kit of the Month program, including previews and direct links for purchasing, on my website: karenburniston.com by clicking on the Kit of the Month logo from the home page.

If anyone is attending the CK Oregon convention this weekend, I'd love to meet you! Stop by the DollarScrapbooking booth and say hello.

RKQOTD (Karl on the subject of candles: When the flames go orange it's the last bit of burning. Usually it either can't burn because it doesn't have oxygen, fuel or a wick. You can put a jar lid over the top and the candle will go out because of the lack of oxygen, or you can put water on it and the flame will go out but will come back after it's dried thoroughly. Me: You'd have to light it again, though. Karl: Well, yeah.)