Monday, July 28, 2008

By Special Request

I should be working on my query letters and revisions, but that's not as much fun as writing the book was so, thanks to my darling friend Lin, who reads this blog but refuses to comment, here is my list of ways to hide the nerdiness. Hopefully you will all find this helpful.

Please comment, Lin. Please.

Step 1. and this is the most important one - get some GBF's (Gay Best Friends). These unfailing barometers of coolness are the best tool in hiding your inner nerd. The nerdier you are, the meaner they need to be though, or you might fail in your venture. You need someone who will not hesitate to tell you if you step over any lines. They are also handy when getting dressed and buying shoes (I love you B.)

Step 2. Do not, and I repeat, do not, ever mention in polite company the fact that you:
  • read the Twilight books
  • read the Harry Potter books
  • listen to podcasts on these subjects
  • listen to podcasts
  • have a great affinity for opera and classical music
  • used to want to be a backup dancer for Michael Jackson
  • are writing/have written a book (until you are published and successful)
  • Think that Nip/Tuck is the best show ever
  • are going to see Journey in concert this weekend
  • think that youtube is God's greatest creation, besides red wine
  • write a YA blog

Crap, I have totally screwed up this step. Oh well.

Step 3: Do not drink too much in public due to the fact that it loosens your tongue and you may, like me, screw up step 2

Step 4: Always erase your Internet history. You never know when someone will borrow your computer to check their facebook page and find out that you've been frequenting

Step 5: Always wear high heels. Unless you're a dude. Or you're working out, because that's just tacky.

Step 6: Stop quoting lines from A Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice, and Jane Eyre at your husband when you feel like you need a little romance in your life.

Rinse, and repeat steps 1-6. Feel free to print them out and tape them to your refridgerator next to your signed photo of the Jackson 5. When you get the hang of it let me know, and I'll give you some more homework. Good luck!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Ramona's World

Um, this book is undoubtedly the most awesome Ramona book because it was published during the grunge phase, which was undoubtedly the best years of my life. No, Kurt Cobain is not mentioned, but Beezus does have a totally awesome outfit. It’s a little strange to read this one so soon after Beezus and Ramona, though because it was published almost 40 years later.

We start with Ramona chillin’ with her new sister Roberta, and are the Quimbys Hispanic? I mean, their daughter’s names are Roberta, Ramona, and Beatrice. These are all names of people related to my gorgeous husband, and he es de Mexico. Anyway, as usual, Ramona is superpsyched about school starting. She is nine and will be starting the fourth grade. I think this is the last Ramona book. I’ll have to check. Ramona gets to the bus stop first on the first day of school (that’s an awkward sentence, too many firsts. I’ll have to work on that). Ramona has a conversation with the neighborhood crazy lady, then Howie arrives, already eating his lunch so that he won’t have to carry it. Howie, that is the height of laziness. The crazy lady yells at him not to drop papers and orange peels on her lawn and to keep off the grass. Howie, used to her antics, is unperturbed. Crazy people are awesome. There are a few of the in my book WHICH I JUST FINISHED! Sorry, I’ll get off that in a couple of weeks. It’s just exciting right now. The usual cast of characters is introduced; along with Howie there is Danny (Yard Ape) and some other kids from her class. The girls are all comparing the calluses they got from playing in the park that summer and Ramona’s are the biggest. Awesome? Stupid Susan of the blonde curls is there and we are treated to a flashback of why she and Ramona do not like each other. There’s a new girl whom Ramona introduces herself to. Her name is Daisy. Ramona is greeted on her way to class by her old teachers, who are undoubtedly cursing the bland year they have ahead of them now that they are deprived of Ramona’s awesomeness. Ramona’s new teacher is named Mrs. Meecham, and she doesn’t seem to have much of a personality beyond having a serious hard-on for spelling and writing in cursive, both of which are things I don’t like. Ramona is cool with the cursive thing, but she thinks learning to spell is a waste of time, since most of the time people can figure out what you’re trying to say even if you spell a word or two wrong. Word, Ramona. At lunchtime Daisy sits next to Ramona and it’s clear that they are going to be good friends. All in all it’s a good first day. Oh, and Mrs. Quimby is reading Moby Dick for her book club and when Ramona asks what it’s about she says, “It’s about a whale that bites off a man’s leg,” which makes me laugh a little. You’re stupid, Mrs. Quimby.

Ramona is superstoked about school but her enthusiasm quickly wanes when it becomes clear that the only thing the kids are going to learn this year is how to spell. Seriously, folks. There is no math, no reading, no social studies. There is only spelling in this book. Mrs. Quimby tells Ramona not to use the word ‘stuff’ so often. Conflict is building, folks, and we’re only on Chapter 2. Beezus is babysitting a lot, and she keeps speaking French, which is annoying, mainly because I know what it’s like to have to ask for a translation every few minutes, and it sucks. Speak American, Beezus. This chapter was a little pathetic. The next one is awesome, though.

Daisy invites Ramona over to her house. Ramona is stoked because all of her friends in her neighborhood are boys and because she gets to ride the bus to Daisy’s house, which will be a new experience. Daisy has a big house and a dog named Mutley and a cat named Clawed. Daisy has just moved to town, so her mother is unpacking boxes when they arrive. Daisy’s brother, Jeremy, whom she calls Germy, is awesome and funny and in Beezus’s class at school. Jeremy calls Daisy Fence Face because she wears braces. Sorry, Germy, you fail. Germy is a much better nickname. Ramona and Daisy watch Big Hospital on TV (pretty much General Hospital, from what I gather, which is funny because I wasn’t really into soap operas when I was nine, but Ramona seems like she’d be pretty accelerated in her TV watching skills. After Big Hospital is over they vacuum Daisy’s cat. They vacuum Daisy’s cat. They vacuum Daisy’s cat. Sorry, that was just too good of a sentence to only type it once.

Daisy and Ramona start spending pretty much every afternoon at each other’s houses. One day, however, Daisy has to get the bands tightened on her braces so Ramona is chillin’ out max and relaxin’ all cool and all at the house with her mom and Roberta. Beezus bursts in with an actual personality for once. Some girl in her class is having a dance party – WITH BOYS! Sa-weet! Can anyone say, ‘Seven Minutes in Heaven?’ Beezus is all fired up but nervous because she doesn’t know how to dance and she needs new clothes. Mr. Quimby can teach her, so there’s one problem solved, and she heads off to the mall. She returns later with a head scarf on like an old lady. We find out why a moment later when she shows Ramona that SHE WENT AND GOT HER EARS PIERCED! WITHOUT PERMISSION! Jesus, Beezus, when did you get ball implants? She ends up not really getting in trouble, which isn’t very fair, but Ramona is glad because it means when she gets older she can get her ears pierced, too. Word.

Here comes the most awesome chapter of a Ramona book ever. Ramona and Daisy are at her house not vacuuming the cat and Germy won’t let them have the TV because he’s busy watching sports, so they head up to Daisy’s room to play dress up. I loved dress up when I was a kid. I would have been in heaven if I was friends with Daisy because she has tons of dress up clothes. She and Ramona start putting together some awesome outfits, finally ending up as a princess and a witch. Daisy The Witch says she’s going to put Ramona the Princess in a dungeon, which doesn’t worry Ramona because she doesn’t see a dungeon anywhere around. Daisy has a few tricks up her sleeve though and opens a crawl space door in her closet. Ooh, Daisy you’ve been holding out. My friend and I used to go in her crawl space and smoke cigarettes and think nobody could find us. Anywho, Ramona is not very excited by this idea, so there is a struggle. They fight. Paris falls. Please don’t try to understand that. It was a dare. However, you should enjoy the musical stylings of the Knopler brothers whenever you can. Mark’s voice makes my hiney tingle. Anyway, actually it’s Ramona who falls – right though the insulation in the crawl space and the ceiling of the living room below! She manages to catch herself before she falls all the way through but is in a total panic because she’s wearing a dress and her underwear might be showing. Um, Ramona, you just fell through a ceiling. I think you have bigger problems than a little panty flash. Germy has to come up and pull her out and she’s pretty cut up, but the upside is that she has a very dramatic story to tell at dinner with her family that night.

Beezus’s rocking dance party is finally here and this is my favorite part of the book. She comes downstairs wearing a long skirt, a pretty blouse, small hoop earrings, and HER HIKING SHOES! OMG! I love it. Beezus, you’re awesome in this book, but only in this book, so don’t go getting a big head. I totally used to wear long skirts with my green Doc Martins. Ooh, I rocked the grunge phase. Can we go back to it now, please? Things are uneventful until Beezus gets back from the party. Ramona has been very worried that her sister will be disappointed, so she comes out of bed to hear all about it. Beezus is wearing makeup. Apparently the whole ‘dance’ part of the party didn’t happen – the boys wouldn’t even come into the house, so the girls gave each other makeovers and took food out to the boys. Beezus had a great time busting out of her jello mold and she quickly goes back to being lame.

One day at school Yard Ape drops a note on Ramona’s desk but it’s confiscated before Ramona can read it. That’s OK, Ramona, I can tell you what it says:

I like you. Do you like me? Check one;
Maybe so.

Ramona still hates spelling. Beezus tells her to grow up and Ramona says ‘I am a potential grownup” which is funny. Just hitting the highlights here, folks. One day Ramona and Daisy are reading the paper and start reading the ads aloud in funny voices. They come across one which says: You J.K. Barker people really know your stuff. I shoulda come here last year, and I’m gonna come here next year. Ramona and Daisy decide that you shouldn’t put words like ‘shoulda’ and ‘gonna’ in ads and, being smarter than your average fourth grader, guess that someone at the J.K. Barker agency wrote the ad, so they write a letter:

Dear Tax People,
There are no such words as gonna and shoulda which you put in your ad. You set a bad example for children who are learning to spell. We think you made up the letter yourself. There are better words than stuff.

Awesome. A week later, Ramona gets a letter from the J.K. Barker firm in the mail. This leads to what may be the funniest exchange ever in a Ramona book:

“’Ramona, are you having problems with your income tax?’ Mrs. Quimby asked, behaving as if she were serious even though she was joking.
‘Oh, Mother. You know my allowance isn’t that big.’” HAH! I think this may be my favorite Ramona book ever.

Ramona and Daisy were right, someone at the agency wrote the ad. He’s totally busted. Ramona and Daisy take the letter to school the next day to show to Mrs. Meecham, who is duly impressed.

Roberta is growing up and starting to have her own personality. One day Ramona is feeding her and Roberta is not really feeling what Ramona is throwing down – strained peas. Word Roberta. I wouldn’t eat that either. She ends up spitting peas all over Ramona and the throwing food all over the floor. Ramona is distressed. The next day is picture day, and Ramona is no longer distressed. She dresses up and looks super-cute. The photographer keeps telling the kids to say ‘cheese’ until Yard Ape asks if he ever gets tired of saying that. Come to think of it, he does, so the next time, Ramona’s turn, he says ‘Say peas.’ Ramona immediately thinks of Roberta spitting peas all over her and scowls just in time for the shutter click. The photographer is a jerk and won’t do a retake. Oh, Ramona. That really sucks.

Ramona wants to cat sit for Daisy’s cat, Clawed, one weekend when they are out of town. Her parents actually agree, and Clawed comes in with a large amount of paraphernalia including a kitty condo, cat food, a litter box and litter, and some other essentials. Beezus is all shy around Germy. Aw. Clawed is kind of a pain in the neck. He won’t stay in the basement, he sleeps on the couch, he doesn’t like his water bowl so he drinks out of the toilet, and all in all is not a very good houseguest. One afternoon Mrs. Quimby asks Ramona to watch Roberta while she drives to pick Beezus up from a friend’s house. Ramona is stoked, because this means she’s a grownup. I would have asked if I’d get paid for it, but I was a bratty kid. Roberta eats a magazine and Clawed coughs up a hairball. The Roberta gets her head stuck in Clawed’s kitty condo. It’s pretty much a total disaster but Ramona geniuses her way out of it and all is well.

The school pictures arrive and Ramona is distraught about hers. She doesn’t want to show them to her family, but of course Beezus AW’s hers for awhile so she ends up getting busted. The Quimby’s think they’re funny and Ramona is insulted. Then it’s Valentine’s Day. Woot! I love V-day. My darling husband always gets me a caramel apple from the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and a bottle of wine. I close myself in the bathroom with them and don’t come out until they’re both gone. Very romantic. In Ramona’s class, store-bought Valentines are for regular people and homemade valentines are for awesome people. Ramona makes Daisy’s, Janet’s and Howie’s. Sadly, she runs out of store bought valentines before she gets to Yard Ape’s. Not wanting him to get the wrong idea, she gives him her scowling school picture instead. Girl, you started playing games early. When she gets to school, she finds that Yard Ape made her a Valentine. It says: If you are eating peas, think of me before you sneeze. Signed, Yard Ape, President. Apparently he is the president of awesome because that it the. best. valentine. Ever.

The last chapter is Ramona’s birthday. She wants a party in the park and a bowl of whipped cream instead of a cake. Her mom talks her down to a cake with whipped cream frosting, which sounds weird, but whatever. Ramona invites all her friends and Susan, because her mom makes her. Stupid mom. The boys are playing at the park and when the girls see them they squeal and hide under the table cloth. Hah. Ramona blows out her candles and her mom serves the cake, but Susan refuses hers, saying she brought an apple instead. Um, Susan? You’re stupid. When some body offers you cake, you eat it. That’s one of the first and most important lessons I ever learned. Susan explains that there might be spit on the cake from Ramona blowing out the candles which causes a ruckus and a conversation about germs. Apparently Susan’s mom read a book on being healthy and it said that you shouldn’t eat cake when someone has blown candles out on it. Sounds like a pretty lame book. The girls end up being kind of mean to Susan, flaunting their cake-eating – ness and Susan bursts into tears. Everyone likes her more than Ramona, Susan only got store-bought Valentines, and her mother expects her to be perfect every single minute. Oh, Susan. That sucks. Susan ends up eating a little piece of cake and Ramona decides that maybe Susan isn’t that bad after all. Yard Ape tells Ramona happy tenth birthday and Ramona says ‘Zeroteenth.’ She is a teenager now, which means this probably is the last Ramona book, and we have

The End.

Don’t worry though, because I just found two more older books. We’ll still have our weekly Ramona recap.

Oh, and this was a very musical blog today, so I’d like to direct your attention here where, if you close your eyes and ignore your prejudices, you will find something very beautiful.

Um, I finished my book

Just wanted to AW about that a little bit. Now all I have to do is revise it, tease it and sell it for a million dollars. Whoohoo!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ramona the Brave

Fortunately for all of us, my local used bookstore got two more Ramona books in, so we don’t have to resort to The Mouse and the Motorcycle just yet. Ramona the Brave was one that I really loved growing up, but this time around it didn’t seem like much awesomeness happend. Who cares, though, becaise it’s the book that spawned the name for this humble blog!

We open with Beezus and Ramona walking home from the park. Beezus is furious, and Ramona is thrilled because for once she got to stand up for her big sister. When they arrive home, Ramona hurries into the house to tell her mother what happened. Apparently while they were at the park, some big boys started calling Beezus ‘Jesus Beezus’ and brave and virtuous Ramona hopped off of her swing and preached them a sermon about not taking the Lord’s name in vain. She then capped it off by sticking her thumbs in her ear, sticking out her tongue, and wiggling her fingers. Word, Ramona. You could give Oral Roberts a run for his money. Anyway, Beezus is angry, not at the big boys as Ramona had assumed, but at Ramona for embarrassing her. Ramona feels awful because she meant to help Beezus, not hurt her, and they come up with a plan to call Beezus ‘Beatrice’ in public. All’s well that ends well.

Next chapter, we have Mrs. Quimby going on mysterious errands, dressing better, and getting a haircut. Somebody’s having an affair! Sweet, Mrs. Quimby, I hope he's rich and good looking. Beezus and Ramona are left home alone, and while Beezus goes to her room to read, Ramona sits at the kitchen table to draw a picture of the cat on the can of cat food that Picky-picky eats. She’s working in different mediums – both crayon and pencil, which I think is pretty forward thinking, until she realizes that her red crayon is missing. She goes into her room to look for it, and it’s broken on her bed. Beezus, the unfeeling jezebel, sat on it and broke it, and feels no guilt. She and Ramona get into it, and Beezus tells Ramona to grow up. Ramona shouts ‘Can’t you see I’m trying!’ and I feel sorry for her. Ramona lies down on her bed to look at her book of African animals, and scares herself a few times with a picture of a gorilla. Beezus gets mad because Ramona keeps looking at the gorilla and then slamming the book shut. Shut up, Beezus. They start fighting again, and Beezus says, and I kid you not, ‘Shut up, Varlet. Yonder car approacheth. Our noble mother cometh.’ At this, I laugh so hard I almost *but not quite* pee my pants. Mrs. Quimby comes in as they’re yelling and says that she understands why they fight, because sharing a small room is too hard for the girls. She informs them that they are going to add a small bedroom on to the back of the house. The girls are thrilled, especially Ramona, because when they ask who gets the new bedroom, Mrs. Quimby says they’ll trade off every six months (ugh. Too much work.) and that Ramona will get it first, since Beezus gets everything else first. Whoot! This small victory, plus the idea of having a hole in the back of the house, sends Ramona straight to cloud nine. Whatever floats your boat, Ramona. Oh, and Mrs. Quimby got a job, so now she’s liberated. Word.

Ramona and Howie are playing brick factory, which is a game that involves getting old bricks and pounding them with rocks until they crumble into smithereens. Awesome? Suddenly, the men who are going to build the room come and Howie and Ramona spend the afternoon pestering them and generally having a grand old time. When the men leave for the day, Ramona goes to where they’ve poured the concrete foundation and draws her special Q with ears and whiskers in the wet concrete so the room will always be hers. Progress continues, and soon it’s time for the highly anticipated hole in the side of the house. That night, Beezus and Ramona have fun scaring each other and talking about all of the things that might sneak in through the hole – a ghost or a gorilla without bones, for example.

Now it’s the first day of school, and Ramona is totes stoked because she’s going to tell about the hole in her house during show and tell. Ramona makes her own bed so that her mother can be liberated, and sets off for school. She is reuinited with Davy, her crush from last year, in the playground, and she thinks about how small the Kindergardeners look. Most of her 1st grade class were in her Kindergarden class, and Ramona, unfortunately, seated next to her nemesis, Susan of the Spring Curls. Ramona desk has her name taped to the front, and she quickly adds her special decorative Q to the end of her name. Her teacher’s name is Mrs. Griggs and she is lame and boring. Ramona gets to tell the class all about the hole chopped in her house at Show and Tell. Unfortunately the class laughs at her and doesn’t believe her. Howie, the douchebag, doesn’t back her up because technically they didn’t chop a hole in her house, they used crowbars to pry some siding off. Methinks someone is jealous of Ramona’s awesome Show and Tell story. Ramona yells that she’ll never play brick factory with Howie again, and Howie shrugs it off and says that he’ll come over and take his bricks back. When Ramona gets home, her mother drags her off on some boring errands, and when they return Howie, sure enough, has already taken his bricks back. I hate you, Howie.

Blah blah blah, Mrs. Grigg sucks, and Beezus has a crush on her teacher. Ramona is doing awesome in reading, but Davy is an undiagnosed dyslexic, so Ramona tries to help him. Unfortunately, Mrs. Grigg thinks that Ramona is not keeping her eyes on her own work, and Ramona keeps getting in trouble. Um, Mrs. Grigg? You have a kid who is reading words backwards in class and you haven’t noticed yet. Maybe if you kept your eyes on your own work and left Ramona alone you wouldn’t be such a deadbeat teacher. Proving once again that she has tunnel vision and is probably dissatisfied with her life, Mrs. Grigg assigns them to make paper bag owls. When Susan, who has no imagination, copies Ramona’s owl, Mrs. Grigg praises Susan’s owl. Ramona can’t tell that Susan copied her because then she’ll be called a tattletale, so, unable to deal with her catch-22 situation, Ramona balls up her owl and throws it away. Ramona’s distaste for Susan grows, and mine does too. I know in one of these books they end up being friends, but I don’t think I’ll ever forgive Susan. Parent’s night is that night, and Ramona doesn’t have an owl to leave on her desk, so she crumples up Susan’s to even the playing field a little bit. Susan, of course, tattles, and Ramona runs home so fast that she falls down and scrapes her knees. She tells her mom when she gets home and Mrs. Quimby cleans her wounds and tells her how brave she is. Ramona doesn’t want her mom to know that she’s not brave – she’s scared because she did something bad. There is, however, some good news – the new room is finished and Ramona gets to sleep in it tonight!

The Quimby parents head off to family night and then to Howie’s parents’ house afterward, and Howie’s old bag grandmother comes over to babysit. She is a total deadbeat and just sits and watches TV and knits instead of having any interaction with the children. Wait, who is watching Howie and Willa Jean? This is very strange. Ramona tries to make conversation with Howie’s grandma and is basically ignored, so Ramona goes to bed early. Ramona worries about what Mrs. Grigg will say to her parents and writes her mother a note saying
‘Come here moth
er. Come here to me.’
Who could resist that? Ramona lies awake until her mother comes home, presumably with a little buzz from the partyin’ at Howie’s house. Mrs. Grigg has told Ramona’s parents that Ramona refused to make an owl for parents’ night and crumpled Susan’s owl. Beezus, who’s at the doorway, says that they’ll start making turkeys next and Ramona is upset because she knows the trouble will just start all over with turkeys. Ramona tells her mom the sad tale of her plagiarized owl, and Mrs. Quimby doesn’t understand why the owl copying episode upset Ramona so badly. Everyone else does, though. Mrs. Quimby says that Mrs. Grigg will expect Ramona to make an apology to Susan, and Ramona is stressed about it. Sure enough, the next day, Mrs. Grigg interrupts Show and Tell to humiliate Ramona, making her walk up to the front of the room and apologize to Susan in front of the whole class. Bitch. Susan smirks and then Ramona adds, in an aside that only Susan can hear, ‘Even if you are a copycat – who stinks!’ Slap that ho down, Ramona!

Ramona starts to get really bored in school. It’s rainy outside, Mrs. Grigg wear the same pea-soup green colored sweater every day (ew, on so many levels) and she has to wear Beezus’ old boots to school because she outgrew her red rain boots. One day, they are working in their workbooks, and there is a picture of a chair with a wrinkled slipcover and two sentences below saying ‘This is for Pal’ and ‘This is not for Pal.’ Pal is a mythical dog featured in their workbooks. Ramona, thinking outside the box, circles ‘This is for Pal’ thinking that Pal’s owner could have put a slipcover on the chair so that Pal could lie on it. That’s pretty smart for a first grader. Mrs. Grigg comes along and tells her she’s wrong without asking any questions and Ramona is upset. And now I’m going to tell you a long story, but you can skip it if you want:

When I was in third grade we had IQ tests done, which I guess is pretty standard. The IQ test had a lot of questions like Ramona’s Pal question, and honestly, if you had any advanced thought processes at all, you were bound to get most of them wrong. One question that I remember in particular had a picture of a clown, a girl with overly long bangs covering her eyes, a chair, and something else. You were supposed to circle the one picture of something that you don’t see every day. Now I don’t know about where you grew up, but in a very small southern farming town with a very big divide between wealthy and impoverished people, we didn’t see a whole lot of the circus, but there were a hell of a lot of unkempt people, so I circled the clown. That was incorrect, and you were supposed to circle the girl with the bangs. Anyway, when we got our results back from our IQ tests, mine was listed as being slightly above that of your average houseplant. So I was taken out of my Gifted and Talented classroom and put into a Special Ed. (at that time EMH) classroom. Seriously. Now, I’m not a rocket scientist, but considering the fact that when I went in to meet my Kindergarden teacher before school started I read her a chapter of Charlotte’s Web by myself, I was not, by any means, going to fit in well in an EMH classroom. My mom, who happened to be the G&T coordinator for our county at the time, threw a shit fit and had me retested with another, more accurate test. It turned out that I was not, in fact, on the same logical level as a fern, and I was moved back into my old classroom. However, for the rest of my grade school career (well, except for high school) I had to put up with teachers and peers insinuating that the only reason I was in the advanced classes was because of my mom. And that is why those kinds of questions are wrong. Thank you.

Back to Ramona.

Ramona is scared of the dark in her new room, and her Animals of Africa book is not helping the situation, because the picture of the gorilla is giving her nightmares. Ramona refuses to tell anyone that she’s afraid because she feels like if she does she’ll have failed at growing up. Aw. She suffers in silence, procrastinating before bedtime, trying to thin happy thoughts, and wishing she was sharing her room with Beezus again. One morning she tells her mother about a bad dream – she was standing by the zinnias in the backyard and something was chasing her, but she couldn’t run. Beezus dream-jacks her and says that she’s had that dream lots of times, and also that she has nightmares about standing in her school hallway in just her underwear. Ramona is bitter that Beezus even gets to have dreams first. She’s in such an ill mood that, when she gets to school, she sits on the bottom of the steps and frowns. She wonders what it’s like to have classes upstairs with the big kids, and thinks that anything must be better than first grade and Mrs. Grigg. Mr. Cardoza, Beezus’ hunka-hunka burnin’ teacher comes by and says, ‘I know who you are!’ Ramona, expecting him to say something like ‘You’re Beezus’ sister’ is not impressed until her calls her by name – Ramona Q – and gives her a big smile. She feels uplifted enough to head on to class.

Beezus loves school and Ramona hates it, especially on the day that Mrs. Grigg hands out progress reports. Ramona goes and hides hers in her underwear drawer, which is a great plan until show-off Beezus whips hers out at dinner. Ramona is forced to go get her progress report, and it’s not so bad, but apparently Mrs. Grigg still has not figured out that Davy is dyslexic, because she makes a comment about Ramona being more interested in other’s seatwork and needing to keep her hands to herself. Shut up, Mrs. Grigg. Ramona is very upset, and understandably so. Her mother, being a total juvenile herself, tells Ramona to grow up, and Ramona responds once again that she’s trying to. Really, Mrs. Quimby? You tell your six-year-old daughter to grow up? That’s good parenting right there. Ramona gets so upset that she announces that she’s going to say a bad word. Mrs. Quimby tells her to go ahead, and Ramona yells ‘Guts!’ about five times. Ramona is shocked when the family laughs at her. Mrs. Quimby says ‘Ramona, what are we going to do with you?’ and Ramona says ‘Love me!’ Aw, poor Ramona. Ramona thinks they love Beezus more than her, and her parents explain that love isn’t like a cup of sugar that gets used up, there’s plenty of it to go around. Ramona says that they don’t laugh at Beezus like they do her, and Beezus says that they used to. She lists a couple of times when she was traumatized by her parents laughing at her and then actually sticks up for Ramona because Mrs. Grigg is kind of a lame teacher. Wow, Beezus. I actually don’t hate you right now. Maybe there’s some redemption for you, after all. Ramona goes into her room and gets her Animals of Africa book and hides it under the couch cushion and, for once, gets a good night’s sleep.

The next day, Ramona is determined that things will be better, so she decides to have an adventure and takes a different route to school. This plan backfires when she is confronted with a strange dog, who growls at her. Ramona throws her lunch box at it, but misses, and as it’s following her, she throws her shoe at it too. She misses but to her dismay the dog picks up the shoe, takes it into the yard, and starts chewing on it. Knowing there’s not a chance in hell that she’s getting close enough to the dog to get her shoe back, Ramona picks up her lunch box and heads to school, one shoe off and one shoe on. She gets to school and tries to hide her shoeless foot by sitting with her leg curled under her, but wouldn’t you know it? Today is the day that Mrs. Grigg finally asks Ramona to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, an honor that Ramona has previously been denied. Do kids still say the Pledge in school? Ramona is busted, but Mrs. Grigg, surprisingly, understands when Ramona tells the dog story. She says that Ramona can borrow an old boot from the closet when they go out for recess, but Ramona ain’t having that. She decides to make a slipper out of paper. When the class goes outside for recess, Ramona goes into the bathroom and gets some paper towels. She then sneaks upstairs to Beezus’ classroom and asks to borrow a stapler. She somehow manages to make a slipper out of paper towels, and this kids’ a damn genius. She heads back down to class. Mrs. Grigg, who was apparently off drinking cough syrup or smoking crack behind the lunchroom, somehow managed to not notice that Ramona was not on the playground, but she is very impressed with Ramona’s slipper. Suddenly, there’s a call from the office – the owner of the dog found Ramona’s shoe in their yard and has brought it to school. Ramona gets her shoe back, all is well, and we have

The End. Which is awesome, because I'm going to the opera tonight! I'm so stoked I can't sit still. I'll post Ramona's World next week!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm so lame

Sorry for the lack of posts, I went on vacation, read the Twilight books, and have a work conference. I swear I'm not deserting all three of my loyal Ramona fans! I'll have a post up hopefully by the end of the week!