Monday, January 30, 2006

A Whole Bunch of Stuff

Howdy, y’all!

Here are several things I’ve been meaning to talk to you about, in no particular order:

I watched The 40-Year-Old Virgin Friday night, and Must Love Dogs Saturday morning. I thought 40YOV was funnier than I’d expected, and I was surprised by what a “girl movie” it was, even with all the gross boy-type jokes. There certainly is a large degree of belief that must be suspended, but it’s a really fun movie. I laughed like a fool several times.

Must Love Dogs is cute and sweet. We all know how I dig John Cusack (I really think I’d pay to watch him eat his breakfast), and I liked Diane Lane too. I think I’d be a lot more optimistic about love/partnership/marriage if I were as elegant and pretty as Diane Lane. (I’m writing this in Microsoft Word, and Bill Gates and his Grammar Goons think “Diane Lane” is an address. Ha!)


Teddy took some sort of crazy standardized test this weekend. Have I mentioned it? It’s organized through Carnegie Mellon University, and they call it a Talent Search, or something to that effect. Kids in grades three through five who score well on the standardized tests their schools give them are invited to take this test, which is essentially a standardized test designed for eighth graders.

I asked him if he wanted to take the test when we got the invitation thing a few months ago, and I explained that it was for eighth graders, and that it’s my thought that Carnegie Mellon uses the scores more for gathering information than anything else; I told him it would be REALLY hard, but that it didn’t matter. I also told him that his taking this test would be like my being in library school and taking a medical school test—just something of a curiosity.

So he took the test, and told me he thought it was pretty fun, and that he thought he did well in English (grammar/usage), Reading (comprehension) and Science (which seemed mostly to be about reading charts and graphs, according to the boy). The math part, however, presented Teddy with algebra and geometry far beyond anything he’d seen before. He did his best, and didn’t seem traumatized at all, but he did think it was unfair of the test people to present him with letters and symbols (like for pi and those squiggly lines that mean “approximately”) that he’d never seen before. We went to lunch right after, and he drew πr2 and asked what the heck that was all about. :-)

We went to the library after lunch, so I could learn a bit about Federal Depository libraries for my Government Documents class. I had fun browsing through The World Fact Book 2005, which is an annual published by the CIA. Did you know that only about 1% of the US population is Jewish? I’d have thought it was a lot higher than that.

Speaking of Jewish, I took Teddy for a haircut after the library, where he was seen to after the owner finished brushing out the set of a little old lady’s hair. The lady was bent totally in half and used a walker, and was probably about four-foot-nine if she stood straight. She made her way to the lobby area to wait for her ride, and I helped her sit next to me. She explained that her arthritis made it difficult for her to walk after sitting for a while. I mentioned that my mother’s hands are starting to bother her, and that she likes washing dishes because the hot water feels so nice . . . just small talk. The lady, though, proceeded to tell me that she believes she has such bad arthritis because she spent five years in a CONCENTRATION CAMP.

What is the etiquette in this situation? I tried not to look aghast, but I think I looked suitably sobered and impressed, and maybe sympathetic. As if I can IN ANY WAY sympathize with a woman who lost her parents and sister in the Holocaust. I listened to her talk about them, and about sleeping on concrete, and never having shoes—even in the winter—and I patted her little hand and kept sneaking looks at my beautiful, healthy, vibrant son and thought about my pitiful little divorce “tragedy” and tried not to think about how my “misery” can really never, ever compare to something like that.



And finally, because I’ve been having a lot of trouble finding something to really read and enjoy, I gave in and picked up The Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter. I am a complete and total dork, yes. It’s been fun reading, though, even if the writing itself is less than stellar. (Oh, and I think the author is a total homophobe, which comes out in all of her references to Gilderoy Lockhart.)

Here’s something I learned that I am embarrassed to not have thought of on my own: It’s very likely that Harry is a direct descendent of Godric Gryffindor. His parents live in Godric’s Hollow. He’s a Leo. Red and gold sparks shot out of his wand at Ollivander’s when he finally found the right one. Cool. :-)

And here’s something I came up with while reading the book—something the book people haven’t said and so is right now my own brilliant theory: I think Dumbledore might be a phoenix (somehow). According to the book’s quote from the Rowling book about magical creatures, phoenixes are VERY hard to domesticate, so very, very few live among people. Fawkes is dark red; Dumbledore had dark red hair when he was young. Also, Dumbledore was the Transfiguration teacher before becoming Headmaster, yet we’ve never read of his turning into anything like we’ve seen McGonigall turn into a cat.

I admit there are myriad holes in this theory, but I think I’m on to something. Anyone?


Finally, let’s talk about hygiene products. I got a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (the one that’s mild enough to use on babies), and Ted and I have been using it for several days as both a shampoo and soap. It smells clean and wonderful, and my hair seems to be just fine—with no conditioner!

And . . . has anyone ever heard of a feminine hygiene product called the Diva Cup? I bought one this weekend, mostly because of the rave reviews on the web site. Do any of you have any experience with this kind of thing? Just curious.


I think that’s about it. Sorry for the long post, but I am without work e-mail. I’m lonely!


Katya said...

I agree with your theory about Dumbledore -- that's why I think what happened in book 6 isn't the end of him.

BabelBabe said...

i've been wanting to try one of those diva cups for ages. let me know howt is, ok? although i have many months before i have to worry about that sort of stuff...

that little old lady! ohmigod! how sad! i would not have known what to do either - sounds like i'd have done exactly what you did.

tests, schmests, we all know ted is brilliant.
takes after his mom.

was it you told me that all law libraries have to be federal depositories?

we have paid to watch john cusack eat his breakfast - remember in grosse pointe blank? egg white omelette?

read Motherless Brooklyn. it's really good.

and as far as shower soap stuff - i owe badger bigtime for turning me on to softsoap's milk and honey shower gel. it saoftens and moisturizes and smells wonderful, sorta like the clean beach.

Peg said...

Ditto on the diva cup. I'll be very interested.

I loved the show "Freaks and Geeks" when it was on, so I'm hoping I'll like 40-Year-Old Virgin. I keep meaning to put it on the netflix queue.

Lastly, I would like to believe that you and the old woman were brought together for a reason; for all we know she doesn't get out very much and you were just the person she needed. You gave her a sympathetic ear and you patted her hand (I actually got a bit teary when I read that) and I would like to think that she felt you actually listened and HEARD her. And that's a small miracle in and of itself these days, Gina. You know? It's pretty clear what you got from her in that encounter. I got something, too, and I was only reading along.

Gina said...

I'm psyched about the Diva Cup. Years ago, before I finished nursing Teddy, one of the women's magazines had a coupon where you could send for a free sample of something similar, so I did. It was disposable, though, which was disappointing. It was a little awkward, but cool. And then I never saw them in stores . . . The diva thing is washable and reuasable, so won't make the ton of garbage that the other things do. I'm very excited to try it, and will post about it when I do. (Without being too graphic and gross.)


Yes, Val, all accredited law libraries have to be depository libraries. (Somehow I think there's a suppository-based lawyer joke in there somewhere, but I'm too lazy to try and structure one.)


That little old lady both broke my heart and reminded me to count my blessings. Nothing like being thumped over the head with your own good fortune. Or something like that.

Here's something else about the Harry Potter book: You know how we've heard a million times that you can't apparate on Hogwarts grounds? Well Dobby does! So is it not apparating? What's that all about? And if Dumbledore can appear and disappear at will, as he tells Harry when they're hanging out in front of the Mirror of Erised, then doesn't that mean he can essentailly apparate inside of Hogwarts? Hmmm?

Gina said...

We must have been posting at the same time, Peg. Thanks for pointing out that I may have done something nice for the little old lady--I hadn't looked at it that way, but now that you mention it I am especially glad that I patted her hand. I had been afraid I would seem patronizing, but now I'm pretty sure I didn't.

andrea said...

okay wow i love LOVE the idea about dumbledore and absolutely had never thought about that. what great news! hooray!

remind me next time we hang out to chat with you some more about private schools, teddy, etc. we had some kids take the cmu test last year where i was teaching and a couple of them went on to the c-mites program over there. good stuff.

blackbird said...

I need a class discussion re the Diva Cup.

oh, and, I want to see what Joke thinks of it.

Carolyn said...

Go Teddy! The fact that he remembered the symbols to draw them for you shows that he is brilliant.

Poor little old lady. It appears a sympathetic ear was what she wanted and what you gave her.

I have a friend that uses the diva cup but I never asked her about it. We probably both would have turned red.

I watched "Must Love Dogs" Sunday. Hubby enjoyed it also but not as much as I did.

I hope Dumbledore does come back. That would be cool.

Joke said...

I am both curious and mortified about what a Diva Cup may be. If someone posts on the matter please put something like "Joke, you have been warned."

On that Harry Potter guide thing, I didn't take the author for homophobic, so much as for a dumbass as re. Lockhart.

I get reminded to REALLY count my blessings more often than I'd care to admit. I think you handled the situation admirably--I'd've done no better--and you can just grow just a teeny-tiny shade more as a result. A secret blessing.


Gina said...

The author of the Harry Potter guide also casts aspersions on Professor Flitwick--the squeaky voice, the flicking of the wrist, name itself . . .

julia said...

Interesting theory about Dumbledore. I've been wondering about him for ages, ever since Goblet of Fire. There's a line, when Harry returns with Cedric's body and says that Voldemort is back - paraphrasing, but roughly, Harry thought he saw a gleam of triumph in Dumbledore's eye when he told about Voldemort, but in the next instant it was gone. That line has perplexed me for years and it's made me think that maybe Dumbledore isn't the good guy that he purports to be. I realize this is stretching things and that not many people will agree with me, but why would she put that line in there?

Sometimes I think I'm far too into the Harry Potter books.

I'm interested in hearing about the Diva cup, too. I'd heard about a similar product years ago and all I could think was "Ick, messy."

Gina said...

Julia? I am too emotionally delicate to even consider that Dumbledore isn't just plain good. It's a good idea, and really, really interesting, but . . . please no.