Posted in Random

My Life as a Gamer*

I’m sitting here getting ready for my holiday travels, wondering how many games are too many games to pack in my suitcase for visiting my husband’s family in Maryland. The Oregon Trail Card Game? That’s a no brainer. What family doesn’t want to die tragically from dysentery and starvation over Thanksgiving break? Exploding Kittens? Absolutely! Tacocat and Nopestradamus love to travel. The Castles of Mad King Ludwig? Hmm… that one might have to be its own carry-on…
We’ll be seeing my family too, briefly. Even though we’ll only be there a few hours, I doubt the time will pass without dominoes or cards being spread out on the table. After all, it’s just not the holidays without games.

Carie Juettner

(* Wannabe Gamer)

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My husband would laugh at me if I called myself a gamer.

It’s true that I can barely work our PS3 controller well enough to watch Netflix and I don’t play MMORPGs (or Massively-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games for the rest of you n00bs). In fact, I just had to double check with the hubby regarding the correct spelling of “n00b” which I’m certain makes me one. No, in today’s terms, I definitely don’t qualify as a gamer. But the truth is that I LOVE games, and I’ve played them all my life.

When I reach back into my mind for my very first memories of games, I come up with three things: dominoes, the card stand, and the arcade at Richardson Square Mall.

We had lots of dominoes in our house. The adults used them for playing dominoes and 42, a game that all the kids…

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Posted in Halloween, Reading, Teaching

Ms. Juettner is Missing

Today is Halloween, my birthday, and one of my favorite days of the year. 🎃

My school allows teachers and students to wear costumes, and I’ve got a fun lesson planned of creepy stories (like this true one I wrote last year) and creepy poems (like this one by Annie Neugebauer) to share with my classes.

Unfortunately, I’m feeling a little under the weather (*cough cough*) so I’ll be staying home today. My students will have a sub instead…

…Miss Viola Swamp. 😈

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* Happy Halloween! *

MissNelson

P.S. If you’ve never read Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard and James Marshall, get thee to a library and check it out.

Posted in Halloween, Life

Where Cute Meets Creepy

 

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Not everyone loves Halloween as much as I do. I know, it boggles the mind, but it’s true. Some people just don’t get it.

Me? I love all things creepy. Books? Movies? Costumes? Decorations? Urban legends? That tree on the corner that, in just the right light, looks like an old man holding a severed head? Yes. Gimme, gimme, gimme.

But it’s not just the spooky aspects of October that I find endearing. I also love the softer side. Like fall leaves skittering across the sidewalk and a cup of hot tea in a mug with a black kitten on it and a harmless children’s story about murder and revenge.

Er, at least I thought that last one was harmless until I shared it with my 7th graders. They were horrified. (Kids these days… they take things like murder so seriously.)

Here are a few of the things that have ranked high on my cuteness meter this month:

Scaredy Cats

I like to display book recommendations from my classroom library, and in October, I tend to showcase the more terrifying titles. I have one student who turns the scary covers around so he doesn’t have to look at them when he’s in class. The book that creeps him out the most is Shutter by Courtney Alameda.

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Scaredy Dogs

This weekend, Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden hosted a Howloween Party. Uno elected not to participate in the costume contest, but he had a great time meeting all the other dogs and posing with the pumpkins.

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This Guy

This October marks my twentieth Halloween with this handsome panther.

Gink

Seven years ago, I wrote this post about Gink on my former blog. At the time, he was almost 13, and I was feeling nostalgic and worrying about him getting old. I didn’t realize he was only just entering middle age.

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When I adopted this crazy kitten in 1999, I had no idea we’d still be together today, but I’m so glad we are. Gink has lived in five homes with me, and has seen me through almost as many relationships. He definitely likes Hubby better than any of my previous boyfriends. (A cat always knows.) The feelings are only sometimes mutual. (Gink has middle-of-the-night habits that some light sleepers find a bit trying.) Hubby jokes that Gink made a deal with the devil and will never die. I ask you, would that really be such a bad thing?

Cute Things Come in Creepy Packages

I happen to believe that all babies are cute. All of them. So when I saw the tiniest scorpion I’d ever seen in my bathtub earlier this month, I squealed with glee instead of fear and took its picture before setting it free in the back yard.

Come on, how can you not find those tiny little pincers adorable?

The Story That Horrified My 7th Graders

Jon Klassen is a picture book author and illustrator. You may know him from his stories I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat, or you may recognize his artwork from books such as Pax and The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place.

Well, he also has a story in the book Half-Minute Horrors. It’s called “The Legend of Alexandra and Rose,” and it is BRILLIANT. In one page, with one illustration and less than 25 words, he tells a macabre tale AND demonstrates the different meanings of the word “legend.” So clever. So creepy. So (apparently) disturbing to some twelve-year-olds. (Oops.) Here’s the terrifying little tale:

Legend

(One girl was so bothered by it that I told her an alternate version of the story where Alexandra planted roses all over the yard because she knew how much Rose loved them, and Rose was so happy she gave Alexandra the room with the big window. See? I’m not a completely horrible teacher…)

Three More Days…

There are only a few days left until Halloween. It’s time to starch your witch hat and feed the bats and finish digging those graves buying that candy for the trick-or-treaters. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for the cute and creepy creatures lurking in the corners. 👀