Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Un projet beau et tellement utile que l´on se doit d´accomplir.

A project so beautiful and useful it must be completed. . . this is the translation of the title of this post and I am writing about my short story that may turn into a book that I for certain want to get put into Women's Day or Home Journal. My main character has come to life and wants a gratuitous sex scene with his wife. I wrote one and I can't get it right. I am NOT inhibited. That is not my issue. Can these scenes be written intelligently?

I did something very stupid this morning. My friend Danille called. I said, "I was just thinking of you! I was out in this -30 weather and I thought about how much I miss watering and feeding my dad's horses in the early mornings before school. The cold air, the warm mash, getting the hay all over me as I flaked it off. . . "

She said, "REALLY?"

I recited some poetry thinking that I sounded wise and learned. (I'm giving my Frazier smile to you all as I reflect.) She said she had prayed about who to call (ruh-roh!) and was so glad she called me first. She has the flu that is going around that lasts three days and she, younger than me has arthritis flaring up in the bad weather. She'd talked to Tiger about coming back out tomorrow to stay with my kids while my husband returns to work on Friday-- could I possibly stay over the weekend? Her husband and kids are gone until Sunday. This woman is so nice that I can't refuse. Her arthritis debilitates her. She is a dedicated horse woman, the kind of person who should be cloned.

She wired me gas money (I'd not accept it if I wasn't so strapped after Christmas) and I went out immediately to feed and water the beasts. Guess what? I do not miss feeding my fathers' horses in -30 weather! I miss the memory of feeding and watering them in -30 weather! I took my portable massage table over to her place and set it up and gave her a 2 hour long massage. She was in tears-- she hurt like hell and the massage was pushing gunk out of her joints and muscles.

I'm leaving in a bit again and may stay. I don't like New Year's Eve because I would like to be celebrating with champagne and lobster. I love my children, but it's been so long since I got dressed up to the nines and looked beautiful in a skirt that shows off my long legs. My husband is happy with the kids and they will probably play Monopoly or Risk and the little kids will have some crafts. I'm grateful to go over there and pass the evening without fanfare and just study my texts and wake up early. She needs a special diet when she has the arthritis and HAS to eat even though she wants to curl into a ball and not wake up til it's over. I do not envy her.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

And it gets better. . .

A few hours after I posted my frustration, I put on some Tom Petty and made lunch and the kids started playing Monopoly and the little kids played with Leggos at the table. It's a funny thing with them in that when one talks to me and I respond, they all want to say something or get my attention!

What can be a mass of children squabbling and yelling one minute can be a sea of calm the next and I remember why I didn't want to stop having them . . . then Mitten the kitten knocks down the Christmas tree.

Tiger came home this evening to see a good friend from high school. She had dinner with us and gushed a million stories. She is funny as she has so much to tell us of her friends. It saddens me of the bad choices her friends are making, but so far she seems to be doing well.

I made an appointment to see the dentist in February. I so much hate seeing the hygienists. I always shut off my phone by calling my kids to call Darrin if anything goes wrong-- he's usually home, then these idiot women think that I shut it off so I can talk to them while they have sharp instruments in my mouth and hover 12" from my face! I am paying for my visit-- why don't they get the customer service aspect? Any time I close my eyes they have panicked, "She's relaxing!" (I did not floss for decades because of the lectures, then I saw a cute actor pretending to be a dentist talk about bacteria and the importance of flossing and I've not missed a day since!) Today the receptionist noted that I was supposed to have seen the dentist as a follow up to my last cleaning and asked why I waited. I could have mumbled that I was busy but I did not-- I told her why. She was laughing, she knows people who hate seeing the dentist but she said that no one had ever been so perfect at explaining exactly what got to them. She is having a guy work on me which I happy about-- male hygienists usually go in to this as a career because they are GOOD at working on patients, not as I am often told by women, "Because I wanted kids and I knew it would be a great part time job!" Whoo-hoo. I'm also wearing my IPod so I can chill out.

The Wind is Dying Down (Finally)

Winter break is always too long. We spent a fortune on presents and the weather has been bad, and I am stuck inside with my kids over the break. This is not a bad thing because I love them, but their interactions with each other have me wondering why they like not being in school. I get them organized with art projects and Cloud shrieks at her brothers, "Moooom! Tell Guy to stop bothering me!" Cloud communicates in shrieks and high pitched sounds. Guy, with speech impairments, starts speaking a mile a minute and I am saying, "WAIT! No one is in trouble!" Usually the fight is over something ridiculous. No-- all the time, 100% of the time, the fight is over something ridiculous.

I think the most amusing thing is when she complains that he is LOOKING at her. My comment to "just ignore him" falls on deaf ears.

Basil is almost 10 and he is a bright ray of sunshine in my day. I don't expect him to be a little saint. Basil was born a turkey, but he has some sweet moments. He's smart and he's driven. During these breaks, he knows that I get stressed out. The other day Cloud was having a fury over being asked to set the table-- she does everything, you know-- and I told her to drop and give me 10 push-ups for her comment. (Push-ups are my favorite punishment because they are good for them, they don't hurt, and they make them take a minute out to think. It's also cute when Starshine or Mudd come in and offer to do some. The person in trouble can't help but smile at the comic relief.) Basil walked in and asked if he could make the salad while I made the rest of dinner. Cloud was furious with him and muttered at him when she came into the kitchen to get the silverware and subsequently did 10 more push-ups. (She is going to be built like Arnold Schwarzenegger if she keeps her sassy comments!) Basil enjoys working outside with my husband when he shovels the driveway and basically takes initiative. Cloud and Guy do not. I do not worry about Basil driving-- the kid will remember to change out his oil and put gas in his car, and if he gets stopped by a policeman, he will be courteous and polite.

The other night my driveway was glaciated. The wind had packed snow around my SUV up to the door handles and it was a solid pack of snow from my door to my SUV. My husband asked the boys to help him out. Cloud started whining when he asked her if she wanted to go out and he said fine, but that she needed to fold a load of clothes. She was happy for this because it was windy and said she was glad to be in. I was wrapping up dinner and had the little kids. They came in 45 minutes later and Cloud had been watching TV. I put hot chocolate out for the guys and the little kids. Cloud asked why there was none for her. . . I told her that as soon as she folded the one load of laundry that she could have some. O the drama! "Dad always lets the boys work outside! Never ME."

Me: "Drop and give me 10."

Cloud: "MOOOOM! You are so unfair."

Me: "OK, 12."

More arguing and I kept going up and we got to 22. Then she jabbed my math ability. "Then I can start counting by 10's!" She did more push ups.

I feel like I have to walk on egg shells with her. This will be a long next 6 years with her. All my complaints about her I wonder if my parents felt the same way about me. My mom says I wasn't as bad-- but I figure skated and was in bed at 8 each night to get to lessons at 4:30 most school days. (I wasn't good at figure skating.)

But you see-- this will pass. Erratic actions and mood swings on her part will give way to sweetness in 20 minutes if I hang in there and don't get mad back. I do yell, but I try to be like a PE coach and not raise my tone, "You are about to get push-ups. Keep talking like you are and you will do 10 push-ups before you do this task."

My main concern is having the little ones mimic her thinking that it's just a tool of communication.

This isn't easy-- and I laugh because people used to upset me saying that girls and boys were different. Girls are differrent from each other! Each child is different!

The wind has died down and I will be getting the kids out to the hill to sled today.

My birthday is in 12 days. I wish it wasn't so close to the break. This makes me feel old. Guy turns 11 this weekend-- now THAT makes me feel old. We have four birthdays this month. My husband gets paid a few days after my birthday so we will celebrate after that.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Favorite Part of the Big Holidays

Dinner has been long consumed and now my husband and kids are playing in the living room and dining room.

Yesterday Tiger couldn't make it in and wanted to bring a friend. My house was not dirty, but cluttered. We went into high gear. Darrin had been tired and on the computer most of the night but had to put some toys together (I got the kids a puppet theater and they spent most of the day on it) and he did that, got toys out of boxes and engineered getting various toys put into stockings while Cloud and I vacuumed and baked. Of course what I'd made a few days ago was consumed before last night so I was starting from scratch. My pie crusts weren't rolling out right so I made cobblers and everything turned out OK.

This morning we woke to listening to the kids in the living room getting into their stockings and telling each other to be quiet! We put a few puzzles in and got a few extra winks. We got up and soon the living room was a sea of wrapping paper. Calamity Jane was thrilled with her new pony (a little one in from a toy store, not a stable) and the boys were quickly engaged in their Leggo sets. Cloud-- I have no idea what gets into her. Everything was about people not paying attention to her! She was happy with her clothes and games, but it was soon, "You bought the boys cool sets and forgot about ME and now you are only playing with THEM." I combated her by responding to her only with chirps of joy, as if she were saying sweet things.

We went to church and it was packed. We only took Calamity Jane because Peaches was sick and the others, wanting to stay home and play, would have never been ready on time had we made them go and claimed they were also sick with what Peaches had. Our priest wanted everyone to sing and told us in a church meeting a few weeks ago and a few of the ladies told Calamity that she sang well. To Calamity Jane it is a personal responsibility to sing in church. I told her that she could stay home if she wanted but she said, "Mom! It is important that I sing! Gloria is expecting me there!" She arrived and went up to Gloria and stood with her and it was sweet.

As we left the church, Tiger let us know she'd be later than expected with her friend and I was glad when she showed up that she came. Her friend is beautiful and knows a lot of people in the Valley. She was probably overwhelmed by us, but I hope she comes back with Tiger.

Tiger's boyfriend is a sweetheart. They've been dating for a few years and I like how he treats her. He wore a Santa hat and brought in presents later on in the evening. The younger kids climbed all over him and were very happy to see him. I don't know why he is not overwhelmed but he is not. He says he loves coming over! That made me happy.

Now. . . my birthday is coming up. I don't like birthdays. It's an extra expense, and they stress me out because I DO CARE about them. I want to get boudoir shots taken. I have been getting them done every few years since I was 19. I won't get them on my day-- it's too close and I need to buy from the post-Christmas sales. I want to buy a fuzzy robe and slippers and at the end of my session, pose like that with a cigarette dangling from my lips! I think that if I make a calendar for my husband, that will be my June pose for it! I don't like my 19 year old shots as much as I thought I would. They are definitely pretty, but they are not confident like the ones from when I was 36 and had just had a baby 3 months before. My mom says that I am not yet in the prime of my life and that my 50 year old poses will be amazing. I am liking this. I'm not talking about skank here-- these poses are always a blast and I put a lot of thought into them. My husband spends a great deal of time cracking up a them. I in fact SNAGGED my husband with a portrait after he broke up with me. I was really sad when we split up so I sent him a picture of me in hip waders, a garter belt, funky hat with lures all over it, and a fishing vest. Nothing "nasty" was shown, it was a perfectly normal picture and I showed it to my mother. I wrote, "Some women use beauty to get a man, but I just use a lure."

Christ is Born! Glorify Him! And Have a Blessed Nativity!

Today we celebrate Christ's birth. As much as I planned for something simple, everyone thwarted me! My husband sat for most of the night on the computer and I was ready to cry-- all of my baking had already been consumed and I had more to cook. Tiger was in town, sick, and then called to let me know that a friend is bringing her over at noon and is leaving at 4, can I please make them pancakes? I've been studying Judaism and annoyed as I was, I thought of the commandment to be hospitable, so I just put cleaning on my list. My husband went into high gear after the kids went down and put some stuff together and even got the laundry hall made tolerable. (We don't have a laundry room. It's in a hall and laundry goes there.) He put together a puppet theatre and I bought bunches of puppets for the little persons.

Mitten chased Pageant Princess up the tree and it fell over. All was OK-- but it was funny. Mitten was a bit surprised.

I'm tired.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

About the Topic of Prisons. . .

I really wish that with the need of our prisoners to reduce recidivism rates that one of the wives of some of the recent Alaskan politicians who've been sent to federal prisons would get off their fucking lazy asses and form a political action committee. They could mobilize the families of prisoners to form a group that votes and then grab the attention of politicians who write laws and establish the rights of prisoners and make their voices heard.

One of my husbands' friends is married to a guy who was a corrections officer in Michigan. With the recent budget cuts, a MAXIMUM security prison has no armed guards around the perimeter of the prison! The prisoners know this. The ones who want to go in and never go back and not perp on one another are at the mercy of the prisoners who are there to stay. They have no recreation programs and they have to depend on volunteers. Look, I freak out at my female yearlies and couldn't even get through the last one and went home in tears. When I go into a prison, knowing that I may be subject to a search if they suspect anything, I am terrified. This isn't a volunteer job for pansies. You can't get a lot of volunteers in this. For governments to have the attitude of cutting the prison funding and hoping they can get "free" help from the community is sick and wrong. But then. . . who do you cut help for in the face of budget cuts? The elderly? School kids? Medical care for the working classes? This is why this vulnerable population needs representation.

Why do we have a 75% or higher rate of recidivism? They need recreational programs and counseling in an environment that is scary! If one of these wives would just stand up and form a group, she'd get criticism, then she'd be heard. (They can't criticize if they don't pay attention to you.)

With federal prisoners, I think it is as bad. Same needs. I also think all prisoners need conjugal visits with spouses so they can yes, have sex. It's a great behavioral stimulation and I think that depriving someone of sex for anything longer than six months is a crime. On Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, sex is at the base with needing water and air.

I'm on a tangent here. If a politician's wife got a support group going, she could also address the needs of many of the spouses struggling with poverty, medical care, child care and all the other evils that families deal with. She'd have to accept that people say stupid and cruel things and persevere. I think that politicians are like pageant princesses-- it's to look like you are doing something while being glamorous. We need politicians with a different mettle, who if they screw up, their spouses are going to take a stand, not fold like a bad hand.

By sticking their perfectly coiffed heads in the sand, the wives are not accomplishing some good that only they have the power and the voice to accomplish. Their husbands already have fame-- it is notoriety, but it can be turned into good. It's not about their spouses being guilty or innocent-- it's about them seeing where things are bad and shining their light to make it better.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Know You're Out There Somewhere

I'm too tired to write ATM-- a flu is going through the house. It's not the throwing up kind. It's chronic back aches! I have to study. I just watched this song and got reminiscent.

My writing prof brought up an idea for where my writing is going. I can't elucidate right now but she threw me for a loop. I'm signing up for a second semester with her. She and I just wrote back and forth last semester, I did a few stories for her, but nothing special. I thought she would fail me but I got an A because she was seeing growth that you are not seeing on this blog-- yet. She says that my muses get to me via various angels they put in my way and that I have the sense to sometimes recognize them. What I hate is how I don't get to write about fun froth. In an age where the economy is going south, I am writing about issues that are uncomfortable that she says society is ready to confront and that I need to write in a Jane Public sort of way. I'm really good at being shallow! Why can't I write about sex starved debutantes and hockey moms? (She said, "Because I'd have failed you. Next question?") Why can't I write a bad Disney movie about a hockey mom who wants to be Vice President? LOL I chatted up a psychologist who says my research will take me to dark places that I don't want to go. (It's not about witchcraft or anything evil on the surface.) I like to eat. I need to be a food writer. I should write children's books. I know my prof is right and that what she said is the right path for me, but I really want to be lite and shallow.

I'm really tired. More later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Little Baby Polar Bear

My husband sent this to me. I found it here and hope you like it!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Republic Windows and Doors By David Cheezem

Republic Windows and Doors
By David Cheezem

Silence is a locked up building with machines
Turned off. Prayer is a cleaned-up corner

of the mind. Silence is not prayer. Prayer
Is not silence. The difference, the difference.

Silence is imposed. Prayer is chosen.
A family must be fed, I know, I know.

Knowledge without power is frustration.
It’s hard to breath in this silence. It’s hard

To pray, to act, to shout, to download
God Save the Queen as a ringtone.

No future no future for you
Silence should be prayer, not despair.

But they ended the strike in a media flury
Fought back the insult, kept the injury.

© David Cheezem 2008


My friend Davis wrote this poem and I like it. I read it out loud and a couple of the kids asked about it. Had I read the article to them, they'd have not cared.

The poem made me think of when I was pregnant with Starshine and my husband's company went under. My husband did not protest-- the memory is one of making me think of how lucky we were. I was two weeks away from the Mrs. Alaska pageant, six and a half months pregnant, and he called and said he just got laid off and that he was applying for two jobs with the state that were about to close and that he'd be home.

We got on to state health insurance-- we'd already been on it as his insurance didn't cover pregnancies. It was good because I needed a c-section. I couldn't get my money back from the pageant and so I just had fun. I got my dress second hand and it was the wrong color for me. The summer was very tight. I was literally foraging in the woods with the kids for edible things and my husband was going to the lake with the boys-- they'd walk and thought it was the greatest thing in the world! I had to go to the food bank because I didn't want my husband going. First, he was out looking for a job when they were open and second, when he was home, it was my excuse to get out of the house!

Tiger had a volunteer gig at a greenhouse for some friends who grew for the REALLY bad off. She got part of my yard in order and taught her brothers and sister Cloud to keep it in good order. She bladed over to a job at a bakery where she was always given unsold items which was how we survived-- the food bank stuff never seemed to go far. Peaches went to see her dad for part of the summer.

Driving into the City was a gas issue. We never missed a trip. Every trip was rationed. I baked bread in the late evening when we needed the heat so we'd not have a hot-hot house in the afternoon.

After a month I started seeing the bank come by to take pictures of our house. That was scary. We were also getting bulk post cards from real estate agents and I felt like I was in a leaky rubber raft with a dorsal fin beginning to circle it and vultures overhead!

I fought my doctor on bed rest-- I hated it. He found me silly and once said, "Do you hate bed rest or do you hate Mat-Su Regional Hospital more?" (Some people have good experiences there; I say that competing hospitals are needed!) I stayed on bed rest but he'd not call it that. The day I was taken off the bed rest that I was supposedly not on was the day my husband was hired by the state. Starshine would still be inside me had they not gotten her out three weeks later.

Anyway-- we had it bad but we knew we were fortunate. Darrin's parents helped us out with a mortgage payment and some bills, but his unemployment was only allowed for three dependents! I worry for the people who are getting laid off across the country because they don't have what we did. We are in a semi-rural area where so many are in cities where it is cold. It hurts to think of families losing their homes and what this does to the kids and the parents.

Monday, December 15, 2008

All she wants for Christmas is her two front teeth!

Calamity Jane showed me some loose teeth last night. They seemed REALLY loose. This morning she kept complaining so I pulled one. . . then the other. Now she can smile and stick out part of her tongue without opening her mouth!

Mudd and Starshine are jealous. Mudd says he's "tellin' Daddy" on me for pulling her teeth if I don't pull one of his, and I laughed and said I couldn't. He changed his tactic, "Can I put a piece of corn in a glass and fool the tooth fairy?"

Starshine was furious that Mudd would lose his teeth before her and that she'd lose her teeth last.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's for Dinner?

A few weeks ago I bought some uncooked tortillas and have found a dozen uses for them. Today Darrin and I cooked together and diced up & cooked some potatoes, chopped up some tomatoes, made refried beans and some scrambled eggs. Darrin heated up the torts on the pancake grill and we dressed the plates and invited the kids in.

Mudd panicked because he didn't have a fork-- all his short life I have scolded him on not eating with his hands and tonight I changed things! I showed him how to tear off a piece of tortilla and use it to eat some eggs and he cried and buried his head in my side!

I gave him a fork but after a few minutes, he decided to try it again and he was soon ripping and picking food up and laughing. It was cute.

The kids loved it and my three boys who have birthdays in January all want it on their birthdays. They said that they love eating with me because they never know what they will get at dinner. Basil said that one of his friends said that his mom makes one of four different meals each night, and Dmitrios recited what they are as he is friends with the same little boy, then they toasted, "To Mom!"

It was a fun meal to make as well as eat.

I tried something that my grandmother said she did during the Great Depression-- I used my potato water that I had used to boil the diced potatoes in a bread for later. Grandma was a chef and she told me when I was 7 or so that you wash out the nutrients so you can use them if you use the water. It is rising well and I expect it to taste good, too.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Straight Talk with Calamity Jane

Yesterday I had to take Calamity Jane with me to my news meeting. We got there late and everyone stopped when she went in ahead of me. She walked to the front of the room and looked at everyone and I came trudging in and introduced her. She smiled and said, "Well, how do you do?" She shook the hands of the people there, then sat in the chair that had been saved for me.

She looked around and everyone was smiling at her because she was so funny. She smiled and said, "Well! You are in a meeting! Why aren't you talking? you are supposed to talk in a meeting!"

My adviser asked what she was supposed to do and she said she was too young and asked for some paper and drew him a picture.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Radio Free Palmer

I am beside myself with extreme excitement. My good friend Kellie Davis has a blog going with her work with Radio Free Palmer. She has some exciting leads and is going off to get the interviews done. This is her blog in testing. . .

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Happy Things

This won't go to TMI-- but last night I spent 3 hours massaging my very sick husband. It was NOT sexual. How could that be? Well, he was sick! I already had his bug so I was probably safe and if it comes back, it's from us sharing a bed!

I spent a 45 minutes massaging his feet and fascinated by where callouses have formed and noticing how they look. Then I went to his hands and spent a half hour on them. I did some Thai-type massage on the rest of his body. While I have not been trained in this, I have been trained in partner yoga and this kind of fell into place. He felt great, still sick, but he said he felt better than he had in a while. He woke up feeling pretty good.

I cannot believe how stupid I was to take that massage school-- if I could redo it, I'd go someplace with not one master, but someplace that is owned by a few people, maybe with a board of directors. Did I use anything that I learned in massage school on my husband last night? No. Actually, I don't think that guy taught me much except for the meridians. I cannot believe how insecure I was going there. I knew that stuff and that guy was fluff! I'd have been better off taking weekend massage courses for lay people, but at the time I wanted to go pro.

I had dated a massage therapist in my early 20's and he pretty much taught me everything. The knowledge has been around for thousands of years and there are some basics that just compound on each other and once you learn it, you have the foundation. The guy gave me several massaged and then I worked up the nerve to ask if I could do him, but didn't knwo what to do. He said, "Do to me what you want. If you are soft in an area, I'll think you want to be massaged softly there, too." I weighed 118 pounds and threw all my weight into working on him and kept asking if I was hurting him-- LOL! He explained physics to me and how to use leverage with the floor to get better pressure. After the first time I massaged him, I was out of breath and very tired. I had probably done NOTHING for him, and he wound up giving me a massage and I took a long nap!

Anyway, my husband is not complaining. He says, "It is what it is."

Friday, December 05, 2008

I have skin on my teeth!

We have a term, "He was saved by the skin on his teeth" meaning that someone had a close call with disaster and is OK.

I have been attention deficit with my classes. I am doing 20 things and I am fried with college. I think I've been fried for a while but didn't know it. I have been working on 2 classes through distance ed, plus one at Excelsior that I do not know if I will get to before next year at PFD time. I signed up for a drawing class this spring to help me with a project I am working on and I know the prof will advise me and I will hopefully be accused of being a real artist one day. I love drawing and painting.

In the mean time, my two classes are statistics and a science course. A few days ago it occurred to me in a dead sleep that I needed to apply for extensions on them. I just found out that I had just enough work done in each class to qualify and my deadline was yesterday afternoon. I'd done my wake-up at 2:AM the day before.

I know, the professors reading this are rolling their eyes at a lazy student. My last college newspaper for the semester has been submitted to the printer and I am ready to focus on my other academics. I may well nail my science class in the next month. I have to get one extra lesson in for stats and complete a test and before early January. I'm not worried about it as my husband is pushing me. He doesn't just push-- he likes stats and along with an excellent text book, makes it relevant to me.

Anyway, it's good to be wrapping these up if only so I can give 100% to my drawing class and editing this spring. The prof is really getting into anatomy this coming semester, which I am looking very forward to. I am thankful that my very sweet husband is indulging in my need to take a class.

I just created a really cool card for a friend that I didn't take pictures of, so I need to make another one for someone else and scan it. It's a card, but it looks like a box. I got the idea from watching an Enya song, Anywhere is. . . She opens up a box of clouds and I used time, flowers and the sky in the box. It's pretty cool. I don't know if he is just nice to me about my art or if I am actually good. I think my ideas are better than my execution!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Spelling Bee

My son Basil is going to be in the school spelling bee. He is excited and is now spelling every word in every sentence that he says to me. Fortunately the spelling be is in six weeks and not in six months! The kid is smart, not Einstein brilliant, but he is smart. He'll do well.

When I was his age, there was a girl who for reasons I've yet to understand called me "Stupid." Or "Stoop" for short. In the spelling bee, I made it to the last round. She was knocked out the first round with "thesaurus." She only called me "Stoop" once after the bee and I said, "Who's Stoop when YOU make up other ways to spell THESAURUS, Bridey McDaniels! Can you find a new name for me now?" (Her name is made up-- but she hated anyone saying her full name after that.)