Happy Birthday Tober!
de la par(t) de Manon pour Megan.
I thought at first it was a four-leaf clover for good luck.
Then I took a closer look and guessed "Broccoli taped to a piece of paper?"
It is, apparently, a flower that lost all its petals.
I'm wondering if this is the kind of thing you have to be effusively enthusiastic about receiving as a aunt/uncle/parent/grandparent.
I'm thinking yes.
"Why thank you honey for the dead flower taped to a piece of paper! It's what I always wanted! I will put it on the fridge RIGHT NOW!"
But seriously, I am touched.
So, to the exams next week, apparently I am taking (besides my suitcase full of books)
My four-leaf clover socks that I've had since high school and only wear for times when I need luck
My necklace with a gold-dipped aspen leaf and Alain's and my rings
And my broccoli taped to a piece of paper.
Hey, sometimes you need all the luck you can get. (And it worked last year for the CEIPI)
Adding a new label to my blog: Rugrats
The one I am working on this afternoon is a bird feeder to be hung or put on a pole with a guard for protecting the bird food from squirrels.
In the invention, the guard rotates, so that the squirrels slip or jump off.
So I'm having very amusing thoughts in my head of squirrels being flung off a madly-spinning disk, like some bad redneck game, "Squirrel-flinging contest".
Glad this isn't the topic for my exam next week. I'd be giggling in the middle of the examination room, with all the French wondering what is so funny.
I dislike squirrels. Alain doesn't understand why I dislike the disease-ridden rats with furry tails. I think it is because he didn't spend enough time in Vuhginny.
Come to think of it, French seem to like squirrels in general.
Perhaps it is because there aren't any around.
Past examination topics- a prostrate cancer radiation device, a toilet for grinding up waste, an egg shell breaker, a letter carrier.
Where do they come up with these topics?
Found this on Youtube (warning, do not watch if you like squirrels)
Okay, back to studying with images in my head of squirrels being catapulted into the next county.
The winter uniform (for parades) consists of grey wool pants with black stripes down the sides.
The summer uniform is thin white pants (called white ducks).
Usually in March, (I guess this picture was taken March 23, 2001)
the entire corps of cadets switches from the winter uniform to the summer uniform.
For the seniors graduating in May, there is a ceremony of burning the grey woolies in the sentinel box in the middle of the courtyard of barracks as these pants will never be worn again.
Each cadet has two pairs of these pants, and each senior usually throws in one or both pairs. I think I only burned one pair and kept one for posterity. Actually, I kept almost all my uniforms, which are currently taking up space in my parent's closet.
The entire barracks stinks of burnt wool for about two weeks afterwards.
He was quite a history buff, and used to come every year to give a speech to all the new rats about the history of VMI. (The first week, when we were all sleep-deprived, smelly, and wondering "what the hell am I doing here?")
My first year, after his speech, he picked me out of the mass of dirty smelly rats and called me over. He gave me a pep-talk, of the "you can do it girl!" kind.
He continued to keep in touch, and every time he came over for events at VMI, he would stop and see me, and often take me out to dinner or give me candy. Candy! Real food! And most importantly: The hell away from here for one night!
He was so proud of me for making it through. He called me "Miss Meg" in true Southern style, until I got married, then it was "Missis Meg".
So here is a picture of him, proudly sporting his ring, and me, with mine. (I actually wasn't supposed to be wearing it at this point, as we weren't supposed to wear it until after the formal ring presentation ball that night.)
Miss you Uncle Van.
Anyway, this is a picture of me the following year (a bit more hair). It was such a pain to grow out.
At first, the administration didn't want to let the women grow their hair out. Then they said that it could be grown out, but couldn't touch the collar, and we couldn't use more than two barretts on the sides or one big one in the middle.
Yeah, it is clear that a bunch of military men thought that one up all by themselves. They obviously never had to deal with hair this length, plus taking on and off hats all day long (as you go in and out of buildings). It gets to be a mess. They finally relented and decided we could go with military regulations (gee, why didn't anyone think of this before?!) wherein it could be grown out to any length, but in uniform had to be braided, in a bun, etc. such that it didn't touch the collar and looked okay.
So here I am, my hair a bit blonder than natural, in an awkward hair growing out phase. My uniform (the coattee, used for dressier occasions) also appears to not fit me correctly. The stars are for academics, meaning I had above a 3.5 GPA.
I suppose this picture will get some reactions.
Yep, that's me as a VMI Rat at 17 years old.
As said before, Dad loves my hair short.
After graduation from high school, I had my hair cut short (though not quite as short as this), to get used to having it short before I got it shaved off here.
Actually, I didn't mind it so much.
1) You're not really given time to shower, wash your hair, etc. so it might as well be short.
2) There are a lot more important things than hair.
3) It does grow back.
Some of the girls shaved their heads completely bald, along with the rest of the guys in their company. They all got in trouble and were confined to post until their hair grew back to regulation length. Which was longer for the girls than for the guys, so slightly unfair. But the girls had started the head shaving party, so I guess it was mostly their fault anyway.
It was odd because one of the girls looked rather cute, even with her head completely shaved, while the other just looked like an alien. Fortunately, I think I look at least presentable with short hair. But anyway, see number 2 above.
That's why I'm not too fussed now if I get a bad haircut.
Grandpa John and Grandma Eleanor.
Do I look like my grandmother?
Perhaps the coloring no, but I think the eyes yes.
He called me "toilet brush head" as a baby, and would slam doors so that I would wake up from my naps whenever he came to visit.
(so that he would be able to see me)
She came and lived with us for several years in South America after he was gone.
If we have a daughter, I want to name her Eléonore (at least as a middle name.) Alain says no. We'll see about that.
You will notice that my bangs are very short.
That is the unfortunate consequence of deciding to play beauty salon with a neighbor kid a few days before school pictures. Mom was really mad and dragged me to the nearest real hairdresser to try and repair the damage. It looks like they put a bowl on top of my head and cut around it.
Here is a picture of my beautiful sister Leah and me. This was summer of 2003 or 2004, age 23 or so, when I went out to visit her in California (before she moved to Thailand).
Here is a picture of me and my Grandpa Al (father's father) in his favorite position, lying on the couch, in East Germany early 1980's.
And if anyone can guess what name "Al" is short for, they will get an Official American in Provence postcard. (which is pretty much just a regular postcard from Provence)
Hint: It starts with Al and is not Alain.
Well, I guess majority has it. I was going to go with option 3, but then figured I would just be wasting my time copying out the questions and answers, as everyone would just skip over them anyway.
The answer to yesterday's questions was:
B- 20 years from the filing date of the European application.
(In case anyone was dying to know)
Here is a picture of me, about age 10, and our dog Sunny (short for Sundance Kid) - male golden retriever. Taken in our yard in Ecuador.
(and no fair comments re. who is who?, or snipes about dogs and their masters looking alike)
Option 1) Pictures from my life with comments
Option 2) Patent law question
Option 3) Both!
Option 4) Neither! If you don't have anything interesting to say, don't say anything at all.
Please vote in the comments section.
PS: You might get stuck with patent law anyway. In which case, I really do hope most of my readers come back in March when I return to the regularly scheduled program.
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