Friday, July 31, 2009

Victor Kiriakis's daughter

At times I think my little sister looks a lot like Jennifer Anniston. I used to think I looked a lot like Brad Pitt. Oh, wait a second. That wasn't me. That was Karen after a bottle or two of wine -- we had an arrangement.

Either way, I know Rachel has been a "friend" of my sister, Casey, for years and I imagine Sean and Jacob will be watching reruns today on their way to the Jersey Shore.

Well, today's post is inspired by Jennifer Anniston and sort of by my sister Casey. See, Anniston once said, "Quirky is sexy, likes scars or chipped teeth. I also like tattoos-they're rebellious."

I have a chipped tooth (and a gold one). I'd like to have a sleeve of tattoos. My sister has a tattoo.

This blog is sexy...because, like Justin Timberlake, I'm obviously bringing sexy back. And it's too sexy for this shirt. yep.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


The restaurant my friends and I used to frequent when we were in high school is no longer. Carmella's Italian food where we would eat, do laps, and socialize has become a funeral home run by Newcomer.

Although I tried to find copies of the Newcomer commercials that air in Central, New York, I failed. Those of you who were fans of HBO's Six Feet Under will remember a series of episodes when their death parlor was pursued by a national, funeral chain that commercialized the death industry. Local commercials remind me of this and their advertisements for assisting an "end to life" are fascinating. In fact, I could label them quirky.

So, today I post a symbolic lily to contemplate my ol' stomping ground and the macabre reality that it is now a place for sadness, prayers and hope. Perhaps one day I will meet Maude there.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Salt City

Quirky as it is, one of the items I missed most while living in the South was Salt Potatoes. They are a staple in CNY summer dining and last night, at my parents, my father browned a few on the grill with a few Hoffmann Hot Dogs. It couldn't get more Syracuse than that, especially since I put some Dinosaur BBQ sauce in the baked beans and also had an ear of corn.

Yesterday, it seemed like the first real day of summer. So, summer food we did.

It hit ninety degrees and the pools were open. If I didn't still have this head cold, I probably would have jumped in. But, hey! Where was Isgar with a plea to go get icecream? Isgar, you're slacking.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pixar & Cupcakes

It's Sean-Man's third birthday! Happy Day, little man. I hope the cupcakes are delicious and everything goes your way, today.

I'm posting my favorite Bud Luckey Pixar Short (and bought the collection for Sean's birthday). This should be a quirky song to get all our Tuesdays going!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

ha choo

God Bless Me! Ragweed must be blooming because I spent my weekend with a quirky July cold. My nose has been running for two straight days and this causes my brain to shut off. I can barely keep one eye open at a time. Even while I cleaned my refrigerator yesterday, I sneezed like a mad man. Maybe the moldy cheese didn't help. I need sleep.

It's one thing to have a cold in the winter, but something completely different when it hits a summer day where time is better spent in chlorinated water and with an ice cream sandwich. Instead, I feel like a giant commercial for NyQuil.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scotch and Margaritas

Last Friday, our Say Yes site took summer campers to the downtown art festival to share an afternoon of being outdoors, artistry, people watching and culture. The rain shower that met us upon arrival gave way to a decent afternoon. It was amusing to see the faces of artists when our group arrived with 100 6, 7, 8 and 9 year olds.

One of the highlights of the day was when a group of kids were listening to a mariachi band of four guitars. As they did this, a posse of three bag pipers came from behind. The fusion of the four amigos and the windpipes made for an awkward sound and I said to my counselors, "I'm suddenly picturing chihuahuas in plaid skirts and craving a margarita with scotch.

It seems rather obvious that someone needs to create quirky bagpipe salsa music. I can't believe no one has thought of that before the Syracuse art festival. The only thing that would have made the moment better would be an accordion.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Porkity pork pork

One of the bonuses of living in Syracuse is the taste of Gianelli sausages during summer barbecue. They make a mean link and I've devoured my share.

Driving into work yesterday, I followed a Gianelli sausage truck. I had watched a documentary on the Weather Channel about the floods of Iowa and how many pig farmers lost their stock. The images of Wilbur swimming through muck to climb on stock piles of sand haunted me instantly, as did the mountains of pig carcasses floating in the rivers. The floods were horrendous and I felt a pang for the swine.

Then I saw the Gianelli logo. A quirky pig in a tutu, dancing happily on a semi. The irony of a porker in a ballerina outfit pulled up way too high stuck with me. I don't see how a pig could be happy that it might become a sausage. My mind wandered to my days of being a vegetarian and I reminisced about the pros and cons of such a lifestyle. Our canine teeth are evident of our meat-eating ways, but the art work we create to represent such delicacy is what has me thinking. Sausage. That's my post for today.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

summer in the 80s

When I was little, I used to have a Huffy, banana-seat bike. My sister, Casey, had one, too, and Cynderballs had a ten-speed. For fun, we had a pair of leather, strap on roller skates that we could put over our sneakers. They made our feet vibrate and when you took them off, you always felt like the legs were asleep. Often, we'd tie a jump rope to the back of a bike and played water skier on Amalfi Drive. Being pulled by a banana seat bike was a great past time.

I am thinking of our quirky games this morning and wishing the three of us had the energy to ski around Cherry Heights once more. Carefree. Innocent. Youthful. Alive.

Here's hoping summer memories are being created by children in Central, New York, today.

when rabbits howl

I apologize if this comes across as demented. I don't think it will. After a twelve hour day at work, my mind is in a strange place.

When I got home, I went for a long run. I moved slow because I needed my mind to unwind. It was a good run, but when I turned onto my street I stirred a rabbit eating grass into a hopping tizzy. The problem arose when a mini-van was plummeting down the street. The rabbit leaped onto the pavement in front of the van's tires. The woman slowed down and the rabbit did a 90 degree turn and made it back to the side of the road safely. The woman driving the mini van looked terrified and I gave her a thumbs up with a smile. We witnessed luck. She crossed her heart and exhaled. The rabbit lived.

Yet, the event caused me to stir in a quirky frenzy of meaning and purpose.

This morning, the first thing I did was google rabbit road kill to find an image for today's post. This was a bad idea. Don't try this. We live in the best of times and the worst of times. We are a sick species.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Spanish rain in July

I was thinking about Eliza Doolittle yesterday for two reasons. One, it was raining. Two, I listened to a group of teachers discuss teaching grammar to students who acted as if English was a second language. They debated if teenagers could learn "proper" English or if it was too late. One teacher reminded them of cultural sensitivity and didn't like the way "proper" was culturally aligned with one group of kids and "uncultured" with another. The truth is, even in jolly ol' England, the linguistic war is a part of the power battlefield. Language is power. Those who know the game of formal English have tools that will allow them access to different lives. The reverse is true and we need to keep all languages in mind when discussing what it means to communicate. Personally, I'd hate to be in a world of Professor Higgins. Yet, they exist. The rest of us are in their petri dish being studied as imbecilic speakers of the English tongue. Knowing they are out there is a good way to be cautious, indeed. I display the quirky song to note that G. Bernard Shaw was a genius.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

M&M Trivia

Because I don't stop and buy M&MS, I think about them. I also look up random trivia to fix my chocolate desires. The following is quirky, useless information that you can file in whatever cabinet you store such knowledge:

M&M's were invented in 1940, one year into World War I.

For 11 years, from 1976 to 1987, there were no red M&Ms; this is when Bryan was four years old all the way until he was fifteen.

Blue M&Ms were introduced in 1995. That was the first year I lived in Kentucky.

There are 340 million M&M's produced daily.

M&Ms were taken along on the first space shuttle voyage in 1982. M&Ms are also part of the permanent space food exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute's National Air & Space Museum in Washington DC.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Time after Time

I am thinking about time today. In particular, I'm thinking about whether or not I live by Mr. Keating's famous recollection of Carpe' Diem from Dead Poet's Society. Even though I try to embrace everyday to suck the marrow out of life, I wonder if such an approach keeps me from missing out on other lives I might lead.

Thirty seven years have seen my left foot move before the right food. I've been around the world, appreciated a teaching life, met several challenges, approached a life of learning with zest, read many books, written many words, ran abundant miles and walked even more. I tip toe through the roses and stop to smell the daffodils. I seek new experiences at every chance I get. But I wonder, does this get in the way of living the best life? While I do this, do I miss out on that?

I began thinking about this yesterday while pulling in an eighteen inches bass on Oneida Lake. I love being on water and feel totally centered floating along the tide with a fishing pole in my hand. Yet I wonder, if I took different roads, might I already have a home on a lake and a motor boat of my own? Will the choices I've made within the dropping hour glass sands actually be counterproductive to accomplishing what I've set out to do?

I haven't a clue, but this is the way my quirky mind works. Like the sands in the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.. How do we ever know we've made the right choices as we sojourn through one lifetime?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I felt like a Kermit Post

So I looked up the Muppets Take Manhattan and had memories of seeing this movie with Peter Boy and his sister Elaine at Penn Can Mall. I also recall being picked up by their mom, Stephanie, and for some reason she ran over one of the parking lot islands and saying, "whoops." We all laughed.

America could use a new Muppet movie, no?

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I admit it: when Luna Lovegood wore her lion hat to the Hogwarts dining hall and her special glasses in the latest Harry Potter movie I applauded. Why? Because she represents everything quirky about living life and walking to the beat of a different flautist. Brown School students exist everywhere -- even at Hogwarts.

Go Luna!

Friday, July 17, 2009

A tale of pillowcases and opportunity.

Anything can happen when one opens a Sue closet. See, we're having a mini Olympics with students today and were in need of eight pillowcases for a pillowcase race. I immediately thought of closets at my mother's house and hoped to find a good eight to donate to the sporting event.

After a short time, we narrowed it down to 45 pillowcases found on a shelf that were no longer needed. Of course, we had to sort 186 towels into dust cloths, laundry and throw-aways, but we also found the loot we needed.

It is always a quirky endeavor to sort through the items we hide out of site, but such efforts can be lucrative, indeed. I kept reminding my mom that this was only one closet in one American home and if we kept going, we might be able to find enough pillowcases to enter the universe into a pilowcase race.

Thanks, mom!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Always Looking on The Bright Side of Life

Another long day. And when I got home, I lost my cell phone. I thought I had it with me at the grocery store, but I didn't. I came home looking for it and couldn't find it anywhere. So, I returned to the grocery store and they didn't have it. I stopped at my sister's and said, "Call me in ten minutes."

I came home and heard my quirky ringtone coming from a basket next to my sofa. The cell phone fell in the magazine basket. I now have it and I thank my sister for letting me hear my song when I returned home and finished my manic search for a phone that wasn't lost. Always look on the bright side of life...


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Work

This could have been drawn today by one of the students at Roberts! Say Yes!

With the long hours, the constant reconfiguring of paperwork, the scheduling and creation of safety and protocols for summer camp, the work we've all been doing has been stressful. My calves hurt from running to one end of the school to the other trying to get work done.

But yesterday, everything was put into perspective. A little girl going into first grade was sitting sullen on a set of steps. I sat with her and after a little while, she began to tell me why she was upset and why she refused to participate in a dance class. It was because of another little girl who was bullying her, she said.

I went into the room to get the bully and to begin peer counseling. When the tyrant came to me after I called her name, I had to chuckle. The girl was a tiny creature and just a wood least 1/4th the size of the upset girl in the hallway. I played my coaching role and the bullied girl explained how upset she was that the bully cut her in line while walking from the swimming pool. Together, we came up with a plan to resolve budging in line which now utilizes a peace symbol.

Here I was at age 37, sitting on the linoleum floor creating treaties with elementary school girls. It was a quirky reminder in an extremely busy day of how important it is to take every situation seriously. The bully thought she was in serious trouble. I wanted to give both of them a dish of ice cream and sing an Elmo song.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A clean tub

It's the little things in life that makes us happy. For me, it was having a clean bathtub brought to me via Soft Scrub. My wet toes truly appreciated the white porcelain and bleached aura that greeted me yesterday morning when I got ready for work.

Kudos to Soft Scrub. And Kudos to my older sister who was thinking of me last night and who brought me her own remedy for a dirty tub: Mr. Bubbles and his cleansing sud buds. It was too late for his posse, but I know in the future, when scum arrives, I have the power to destroy it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

So, here's another reality show

Nikki was watching this show the other night and I said to myself, "This combines all my family's loves. So You Think You Can Dance, The Biggest Loser, and if Marlena Brady was a judge, Days of Our Lives." Dance Your Ass of is a weight loss meets Dance Fever show. I don't think I'll become an addict, because I don't have time for a new reality show, but I do know that I'll definitely be moving about my house before my evening run and, most likely, afterwards. Pump up the jam.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


What makes Saturdays memorable? It's brother's-in-laws, inflatable pool toys, a prank to fill a pool with toys, and a p.m. rondevous to Price Chopper to get a cactus left over from the Friday narrative that was missing the culminating event. That's what makes Saturdays memorable.

It's also family, a game or two of cards, McDonald's, and Casey's milk. The rest is written in history.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Something to look forward to.

The arrival is upon us. For those of us who finished all the Harry Potter books, now all we have to look forward to are the movies that do a mediocre job bringing to film what we've created with our imaginations. There's something about the movies that bring back that Christmas morning feeling from when I was a kid. I only wish there were more books. The quirkiest part of the films is witnessing the aging of the characters.

Friday, July 10, 2009

There once was a Friday in Syracuse.

He woke up on a Friday morning very early. He said to himself, I haven't had a real meal all week and he began to think about his beautiful family. How nice it would be to know that during his 14 hour day they were thinking of him and fighting over who would him invite him for dinner sometime this evening.

He looked to his dog, Baby, and said, we can use a really nice Friday night with loved ones. Baby put her head on the table and sighed. She communicated how much she'd love to be picked up on Friday morning and have a day at the pool. He thought, hmmm, if she was picked up, perhaps a bag of his running items could be picked up, too. He left these items at the front door, just in case his story's chapters were true.

Then he thought about Karen who is his mother's friend and who also joined Facebook recently. He wondered if she wanted to provide wine and pretend Bryan was Brad Pitt.

Then he remembered that he saw nice cactus plants on sale at Price Chopper and he remembered how his Aunt Bobbie gave him two beautiful cacti plants when she moved away from Kentucky to Vegas nights. He loved those cacti but because of space issues he had to leave them with friends in Louisville. He had a dream that someone bought him one of these Syracuse cacti so he could remember his bluegrass days. He displayed the plant proudly in his Central, New York home.

He then left for the day and went to work to sing Whitney Houston's I Believe the Children are the Future. He tried to teach them well and lead the way, so they could find all the beauty they possessed inside.

He left the rest to destiny and quirky fate. THE END.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Strange, but True

1. In Tokyo, a bicycle is faster than a car for most trips of less than 50 minutes!
2. There are 18 different animal shapes in the Animal Crackers cookie zoo!
3. The king of hearts is the only king without a moustache on a standard playing card!
4. There are no clocks in Las Vegas gambling casinos!
5. There is one slot machine in Las Vegas for every eight inhabitants!
6. The Mona Lisa has no eyebrows. It was the fashion in Renaissance Florence to shave them off!
7. Every day 20 banks are robbed. The average take is $2,500!
8. The most popular first name in the world is Muhammad!
9. One car out of every 230 made was stolen last year!
12. The names of Popeye's four nephews are Pipeye, Peepeye, Pupeye, and Poopeye!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Making the best use of time

On my way home from Roberts School today, I picked up Abu and Lossine to get them to Empire Soccer practice after dropping his family off at their brother's apartment. Once I got to them to the field, we learned the practice was canceled, so they decided they wanted to see if they could run with me. They didn't have sneakers, though, so we got footed them with old kicks of mine that were two sizes two big. They did great and reported they never ran so far and it was good training for their junior year on the Varsity Soccer team at Nottingham. With all the quirky minutes of my day flying into managing tasks, it was nice to have running partners for an hour. It's evenings like these that I think about globalization and what it must be like for these Liberian teenagers making sense of their worldly experiences, especially on the roads of North Syracuse, New York.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Because I'm meant to be the Johny Cash of Walmart

When I dream symbolically, I always wake up rhythmically aligned to the world. No, I didn't sleep well last night, but I did have one vivid dream that stuck with me. I was asked to bring the Universe with me to Walmart and help them go shopping. What did the Universe want? Heck if I knew. The first thing I did was push a cart to the music section to find an acoustic guitar. I stood up in my cart and I started strumming the few chords I knew (which were more in dream life than real life). When the moment was right, I also began to sing.

And I sounded like Johny Cash, able to narrate my ballads with a mature poise that captured the Universe's attention. Soon, I had the Universe shopping in harmony at Walmart and it felt great.

See, I'm going to keep this metaphor alive for a while. Teaching is trying to help the Universe to become more lyrical in the cacophony of chaos. I love that work and I'm glad my REM state allowed me to see my purpose more clearly.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Yamamba in Britain, a post 4th of July post

In Japan, there is a cult of young people who tan themselves to appear western and, now in Great Britain, the Yamamba culture is taking hold of British youth. I was thinking about this on the 4th of July in America. In celebration of America's independence from Great Britain, I thought how wonderful it would be if Yamamba youth joined the Crandall posse at the Chubby's 4th of July Celebration. Personally, I think such personalities would add flavor to the mini-mart, ice cream, bar atmosphere on Caughdenoy Road and Clay, New York, could use a little Japanese culture at their local pizza parlors. How fun would a Japanese, British phenomenon be at a local haunt like Chubby's? It couldn't get any more surreal.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Honey "Nut" Cherios

The best part of waking up, is cutting out a mask.

So, Honey Nut Cherios has Ice Age II masks on the back of their cereal boxes. How cool is that? I've been using the mask as my Skype face so individuals don't have to see my ugly mug (remember how the Jetsons had mornings masks for early, video phone calls?). My Skype cover-up for morning face is Tyrannosaurus Bry and his incredible dinosaur impersonations. I nabbed this mask for Sean's imagination and hope he scares his mommy & daddy with it in the same ways I am able to horrify you!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


When I was nine years old, the age of Dylan, I begged to go see Caveman with Ringo Star. The trailer, shown above, caught my interest and I made my parents take me. Cynderballs wanted to go to see Nine to Five with Dolly Parton. When she and her friends were to be dropped off at Penn Can Mall, I was to go, too. My father made me take Casey, as well. I believe this movie was the first movie I ever went to see without my parents. To this day, I have no idea why it never won any Oscars. It's brilliant. A true classic.

Friday, July 3, 2009

In need of Dumbledore's Pensieve

When one gets brain constipation, it would serve well to have a magic wand to pull out the knowledge and memories that are clogging the brain. If only we all had a pensieve to empty our thoughts into - a collective pool of history. Then, we wouldn't have to carry around the sage clog in our head that hinders our minds and ideas. We could take our wand, point it at a temple, and empty out the cinematic narration that has us stuck. It would be outside of us and tangible in liquid karma. If only...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Super Grover

I can do two impersonations. One is Kermit the Frog, but only sometimes. I can also do Grover. I found this last night when I was searching for a quirky episode of Dance Fever, the 1970s version of So You Think You Can Dance. I don't know about you, but Grover's got da moves and would definitely impress Mia Michaels. No doubt.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


This morning, I decided to Google "Quirky" and was pleased to find out that there are 10.400,000 results. This means I can blog for approximately 2, 850 years, every day, on items that are quirky, simply from searching the net. Nice trivia, huh?

Actually, I wanted to post another song, but I decided it was time for a still shot and Wednesday, hump day, seemed like a good place for one. What did we do with ourselves before Google? I haven't a clue.