Tuesday, March 27, 2012

California Redux

It's rather gloomy outside right now, coldish and wettish, and even though the nectarine trees are covered in beautiful pink blossoms I'm feeling rather sluggish about starting the day.

So instead I'll show you some of the curious yet amusing things I saw when we were in California.

First of all: street sign abbreviations. When Richard and I first moved to California, I thought CYN was pronounced SIN (Richard the Uncurious didn't wonder at all, sadly, leaving me to wonder on my own about this strange and wondrously weird new word). I wondered regularly why the Americans would have such an odd designation. It also struck me as rather appropriate, just like other oddball Americanisms I'd encountered.

It took me about, ooh, maybe 4 months to discover that CYN was actually the abbreviation for Canyon.

The kids and I were all in convulsions about this store: America's Tire.

Methinks someone visited Canada once upon a time, passing a Canadian Tire along the way, and thought "Hey now, there's a darn good idea for a store name. I'm gonna get me home and start a store just like that one there!"

Doesn't have quite the same ring to it, somehow. But it was highly amusing to the kids every time we drove past it. "America's Tire!" they'd all shriek, "that is SO funny!"

Finally, look at the sunny day in that photo below. Just look at that clear blue sky. That landscape. That heat. I want to be there right now.

But I digress.

That tile work was in front of a Lowe's (a DIY store). I loved it so much that we finally parked in the lot and I walked around it, clicking away madly while the cars raced by me, people occasionally peering out at me, wondering no doubt what I was doing out in the hot sunshine, taking pictures of a row of monoliths perched on the edge of a freeway.
Note to self: never put that stupid time/date stamp function in action again. Do. Not. Like.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Which Sheila Feels Better For Having Spoken Her Mind

There's something remarkably cathartic about studying Julius Caesar with one's 15 year old in one's family room. It's enough to make one feel less inclined to encouraging one's baser instincts and more prone to honing one's rapier wit.

Dear Neighbour,
Your dog - I do desire that we may be better strangers. He is a tedious fool. More of his conversation would infect my brain. And you, you are strangely troublesome. Away now, before I think the better of my remarks!

Yes, Gentle Reader, it is time to get back to better things, in other words, to the garden. In it I escape the troublesome aspects of stupid parents, witless neighbours, and even more witless canines. Woof, I say! Woof!

Monday, March 12, 2012

In Which Sheila Speaks Her Mind...

And wishes she could speak so openly in real life...

Dear Marking Judge,
My kids worked hard this weekend, for the project you judged them on, and in the end the lesson they took away was this: style, however inept, generally trumps over content. There you are, a public school teacher, where scholarly hard work should be valued and nurtured, but what you ended up praising and valuing was cheesy window-dressing. We all watched while the kids who did the best were not recognized, while the ones who made the crowd cringe with their over the top emoting won top honours. You reminded me of the time my daughter brought an S word to kindergarten for S Day and the teacher wouldn't let her use it because it was too hard a word. My daughter was confused, not to mention crushed. Your message would seem to be Don't Aim Too High. Is that really what you want to be remembered for?
I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was.

Dear 4-H Parent,
When you are ready to volunteer for club events, when you are ready to come to meetings with your child instead of dropping her off, when you are ready to show up at club events and cheer on your child, and finally, when you are ready to teach your child that taking on a position of authority means acting responsibly in that capacity, then and ONLY then will I show any willingness to listen when you criticize me for my supposed inadequacies. To answer your questions, yes, I think I AM good with kids. Yes, I think I AM a pretty good leader. I also don't mind spending countless hours of my free time running a group for which I receive no pay, although in light of recent events I'm beginning to reconsider a bit. Can you say the same? Then put up or shut up.

Dear Neighbour,

I know you love your dogs. But your neighbours - all of them - find them oppressive, aggressive, and intimidating.
They also bark too much.



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

California Dreaming

This is where I was last week. I'm going to spare you all and NOT post a shot of what it's doing where I am now.

Here's another one. I never used to like the desert...until I moved to a rainforest. Now I find a certain, um, charm in the desert. Particularly when it's winter in my neck of the rainforest.
And of course we can't forget the obligatory Legoland shot. Yes, we were here too, thanks to someone with some free tickets going begging. Some of us were VERY excited about this aspect of the trip. Very excited indeed.