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Comments for Watch Me Grow Kitten
Watch Me Grow Kitten: 12/09/06
Fate put this book into my hands. The Sunday after Thanksgiving we stopped at a rest stop to change Harriet and to give me a chance to stretch my legs as my coccyx was really bothering me. As Sean and Ian were in the restroom and I was bouncing Harriet around, I saw a copy of Watch Me Grow Kitten sitting on the top of a trash can in one of the picnic table shelters. Hoping it could be a BookCrossing release and worried that it would be ruined in the rain storm that had just started, I snagged the book. As it turns out, it wasn't a BookCrossing book, so someone must have forgotten it at the rest stop.
Anyway, Kitten, is one of a series of DK books that cover the life cycle of different animals. Most of these sort of baby animal books seem to cover only that baby animals are cute and that they eventually grow up. This book is the first one I've read that hints at the biology behind making babies and even includes photographs of a pregnant cat and the same cat later nursing her litter of kittens.
Gratitude #9: School Parties:
I am grateful for being able to attend my son's school parties. When he was younger I missed a bunch of them because my old job didn't have the flexibility that my current one has. Yesterday his school had its annual Christmas party which this year included a magic show performed by one of the mothers. She did the usual magic tricks, some juggling and later made balloon animals for the children. Her daughter clearly knows all of her routine and desperately wanted to help her mother perform.
Harriet stayed awake for the entire magic show. She spent half the time watching "Holly the elf" perform and the other half watching the preschoolers as they sat on their alphabet mat to watch the show. Harriet smiled and giggle many times and was clearly having a wonderful time. I'm very happy she's old enough to sit forward in her sling to get such a good view of things.
After the magic show while the younger kids were getting in line for balloon animals, Sean's class retired to the back room for a story. Harriet and I went along and sat on the floor to listen to Miss Sarah read a story about Rudolph the reindeer. It was lovely to sit on the floor with Sean and Harriet on my lap, just having a few minutes to bond and relax.
After the balloon animals we moved to Sean's classroom for snacks. We had signed up to bring cheese and crackers. I chose to bring mini toasts as they are Sean's favorites. It was a good idea and very popular with his classmates. For us tired parents, Sithy made a strong pot of coffee.
The last thing on the agenda was a gift exchange but the kids were tired and probably too young to understand how gift exchanges work. Most children ended up going home with the presents that they had brought to school that morning (including Sean). The idea was to divvy them up by a draw of numbers but it just wasn't going to happen with so many children wanting to see what their parents had packed inside those colorful boxes and bags. So we came home with the blue bag of goodies Ian had gotten: a wood puzzle (zoo animals), a container of bubbles and a packet of lady bug stickers.
Tips for the Tourist (pages 9-10)
As promised in November, I'll be posting my thoughts on specific sections of Divided by a Common Language to discuss places where I had problems with the author's description of American English or customs.
Page 9 starts a section of advice for tourists. Right after the introductory sentence, he includes a bulleted list. The first item says: "A skycap in the U.S. is an airport porter." I have also heard them called redcaps (the term given to railroad porters because of their red caps) and sometimes just "curbside check-in" (because that's mostly what they do). I haven't ever personally used a skycap as I just don't trust leaving my luggage out front like that and would prefer to see it go down the conveyor belt behind the ticket check-in window. As the book notes, tipping is often expected (another reason why I don't use the skycaps on those rare times when I fly).
The second bullet says that a baggage trolleys are called baggage carts. I've heard them called both trolleys and carts. Personally I'd probably call them a trolley. I'm not sure a tourist would need to ask for one by name as the rentals for them seem to be everywhere around airports.
The third bullet is probably the most important. Asking to hire a car in the States would sound really funny (although still be understood). Rent is the verb used universally here. The cars themselves are called rentals (rather than hired cars).
In the first section after the bullets, At the Hotel, the book says "In the U.S., the ground floor of any building is known as the first floor." While that may have been universally true at one time, it no longer is. Certainly if someone speaks of the "first floor" an American will probably think of a floor being at ground level but many modern buildings (hotels and offices in particular) that cater to an international crowd will differentiate between the ground and first floors. The best way to know which floor leads to the outside is to look for the star icon next to the floor when in an elevator (lift). The floor with the start next to it no matter how it is numbered or labeled will have access to the outside world.
On page ten, the section on tips for the tourist ends with a bulleted list of British terms. The first two are synonyms in the United States. Front desk and reception are the same thing; it is also called the "check in desk" or just "check in" for short. The two most different (and apt to cause confusion) in the list are flannel (washcloth or face cloth) and cot (crib). Flannel is a warm fuzzy material (often in plaid designs) and cots are fold up beds used at summer camp.
Included in this list is the term "American plan" which is apparently a hotel rate (tariff) that includes three meals a day. I don't think I've ever stayed at a hotel fancy enough to offer more than just a breakfast (usually buffet style). The breakfast included in the rate is called a "continental plan" or "continental breakfast." It's typically coffee, juice, cold cereal, pastries, fruit and maybe eggs (usually scrambled ahead of time) and bacon.
Oh, and faucets and taps are the same thing in the States. I call mine the tap all time and only use the word faucet when I'm being fancy.