Thursday, February 28, 2008

My Original Sin

Desperation leads to desperate actions. After multiple bribes, systems, threats, promises, nagging days dictated by the timer, pull ups and readings of all the annoying books about learning to go…in three weeks, my son turns four.

Up to this point, he had refused to become potty trained.

I am sure when he becomes an adult, if he is so inclined, he can write a tell all book about me. In it, he can detail my certifiable insanity. In my defense, it’s not like I haven’t put in my time.

But I admit it, this was a new low, even for me. I know this isn't Parent Magazine approved.

I told him he couldn’t turn four if he wasn’t potty trained.

I told him it was against the law to turn four and not be potty trained. They’d revoke the birthday license and confiscate the cake and everything.

My son has been wearing underwear ever since.

While I refuse to celebrate until we go two days accident free, a tiny part of me is jumping up and down mentally at merely the possibility of potty training finally taking hold. It has been 1445 days of diapers for this guy alone.

For the record, I also refuse to repent as long as it’s working.

I suspect at the very least, I've committed a venal.
Wonder what I could say to motivate his sister…

For more humor that does not endanger the immortal soul, try!

Latin Class

This is an older piece I wrote and since this week has been demanding, I'm digging into my folder of unpublished pieces. Enjoy.

My parents made me take Latin. They explained it would help with writing, with my understanding of the English language, and look really good on a high school transcript.

They also took it when they were teens.

Most people who took Latin lament that the language is dying and few high schools offer it as an option. Most people who took Latin secretly enjoy the fact that they know something that most of the world does not, but used to in the good old days. Most people who Take Latin, do so because of the Most People who Took Latin.

My father said to me as I protested, “Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.” translated "perhaps this will be a pleasure to look back on one day."

I’m still waiting.

Latin I was a one hour class after lunch a posteriori: "from what comes after" when my teen age brain was at its most stupefied. It also was in the old building that seldom had working air-conditioning, which in Southeast Texas meant you had to funnel through the fog of a full belly and sleep inducing heat and humidity to conjugate the most basic of verbs, amo (to love).

My argumentum ab inconvenienti: an appeal based upon the hardship or inconvenience involved, never seemed to move the teacher to exonerate me for falling asleep or failing to do my assignments. Highlights from that first year of classes include the mass evacuation three days in a row because of prank phone calls to the principal’s office about loose poisonous snakes in the hallways, Roger’s exploding coke –he put alka-seltzer in the can, and the break up of Carol and Chris mid way through the semester.

Most of the girls really liked Carol and hated Chris. Chris was one of those insufferable types that would argue with the teacher about whether to use the past perfect or the past when translating a particular sentence. My teacher had a phrase for those students who argued that level of nuance, they liked de asini umbra disceptare: "to argue about the shadow of an ass."

The lowlights of Latin class included my attempt to translate sentences from the Aeneid without the aid of a dictionary in a fluency quiz. Halfway through the thirty minute test, I stopped trying to write sentences and just translated each word individually so that the teacher would at least know I knew what the words were. Her comments back to me on the paper: parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus: "mountains will be in labor, and an absurd mouse will be born.” meant she knew I was sorta trying, but the results were less than impressive.

When I translated it, I thought mus was moose. Aparently my knowledge of the flauna of Ancient Rome was as accurate as my knowledge of the language itself.

Like most of the participants in this chosen course, I was a draftee, a victim of a prior generation’s infatuation with inflicting the same pain on the future as had been done in the past. (Now because I’ve had Latin I can tell you that the prior sentence would be put in the Future Perfect if you were expected to translate). I was just hoping to make it through the two required years with a B. When I tried to shorten the sentence to one year, Dad said, “quae nocent docent: "things that hurt teach." I translated that to mean “No.”

The Second year of Latin, one gets to tackle Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars. It was a significant educational moment when I finally understood what our teacher had been yelling at us during role call each afternoon was, loosely translated “Sit up straight and spit out your gum!” She would also say, olet lucernam: "it smells of the lamp,” meaning I had done the work in a hurry and last minute. It’s hard to object when 1) you know what she said and therefore know she’s right or 2) if you don’t know what she said, it also proves she’s right.

Fast forward to today and my son is in high school and here I am in the role of the parent, thinking, “You know son, Latin looks really good on a high school transcript.” But so far, I have restrained myself from actually making the suggestion that any of my children consider this course of study. I’m afraid they’ll ask me for help. If so, they’ll come away from my tutorial thinking, ne Aesopum quidem trivit: "he has not even thumbed through Aesop." If any of them do decide to take on this subject, I hope and I pray, they does it in loco parentis.

Oh, and just in case my Latin teacher is reading this, “Amo, Amas, Amat, Amamus, Amatis, Amant.”

for fresher takes on humor than a riff on an Ancient Language,!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Toddler 100% Proof

For all the talk of how one has to make a house safe for an infant, the reality is steeper than a newbie parent can possibly bear. Alas, those veterans out there know it well, a baby needs no padded walls or toilet locks, no latched drawers or bundled cords in plastic yoyo shaped discs.

Two year olds however, require a ruthless and systemic streamlining of the hearth and home to prevent maximum property devaluation from occurring before said toddler reaches the age of reason or the domicile is condemned.

Rules for Toddler Proofing a Home.

1. Ban writing equipment. As of this moment, all pens, markers, crayons, pencils, paint brushes, nail polish applicators, lip sticks, high lighters, sharpies, white out, paint, India ink, mascara and glue are officially illegal. They may not be purchased. They may not be borrowed. They may not be accidentally brought home in one’s purse or briefcase or backpack. Older children in school will have to complete their assignments either before coming home, or using blood, which will discourage excessive use and make it highly unlikely that the toddler will seek to imitate his or her older siblings.

Please understand that these precautions may not protect your walls from toddler creativity entirely. I just found my daughter drawing on the window with a bannana. Which brings us to rule two.

2. All food shall be placed at a height of 60 inches or higher to prevent scavenging. This includes traditional foods thought to be the preferred choices of toddlers, like multi-colored gold fish, Oreo cookies, apples and juice boxes, and some items that most adults would consider at the very least, unusual; free basing Maple Syrup, eating a stick of butter like a candy bar and grabbing whole fists of ground beef before it’s cooked.

3. Car keys are fun. They make excellent experimental objects for sockets and those plug plastic covers? They pull right off. Keep keys in a box on the top shelf of the cabinet or be willing to suffer the embarrassment of being awakened on a Sunday by the annoying car alarm going off that turns out to be yours.

4. Consider installing a close circuit TV and an ankle bracelet. Why? Because toddlers do 16 things in the time it takes an average adult to pour a cup of coffee. Your watch just went into the pewter pitcher in the lower cabinet, the one you use for special occasions, meaning you’ll find it on Mother’s Day when you go to put some orange juice in a pretty container.

5. Explain to older children it is unjust to use the fact that they are living with an essentially non civilized entity with opposable thumbs, to their own advantage. The two year old did not mess up your room or strip the bed or leave the toilet scrubber in the middle of the room. Okay, maybe that last part, but own your own mess. Even SHE can’t have done all of this.

If you impliment rule 4, you can even produce evidence, though as I said before, sometimes one cannot bear that much reality.

6. All liquids stored in the house, be they ketchup or water, Windex or shampoo, will be tripple sealed to prevent a "help yourself" mentality that has lead to more than a few moments of hyperventilating on the part of Mom. They will also be stored out in the garage.

Drinks served at meal time will be in sippy cups for all family members. This will prevent any unfortunate run-ins with electronic equipment that does not like liquid. No exceptions. You know, Cabernet with a touch of ice does surprizingly well in a plastic container.


Take lots of pictures of her when she draws her arm entirely purple with the one marker left in the house, or when she stomps on grapes in the kitchen. This impossible stage fortunately is blessedly short, and you’ll want proof for when she has two year olds herself one day of why you can just listen and laugh.

Editor’s Note: These six rules were compiled from the antics of seven different children going through the stage of being two. Cupie Doll, a.k.a. Miss Chief, it wasn’t just all you.

for more sentient fun, try!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Next Saturday, You're On You're Own

“Mom, there’s nothing to do.”

“We could go to a museum.”

It doesn’t matter that they’ve been to the Air and Space Center countless times and loved every trip to the Natural Museum of History and spent hours poring over exhibits at various Civil War battle grounds, the answer remains as timeless as it is predictable.

“That’s boring.”

It puzzles me as a adult, for I know the same answer would have escaped my lips at their age every time and yet I know I loved those places with their well done dioramas, ancient texts, odd collection of buttons and tools and jewelry, I loved them, I loved them, I loved them, and so do my children.

And yet here are my own progeny fighting against what suspiciously feels like an “educational” field trip instead of a weekend treat.

Nevertheless, the gauntlet has been laid down, and I have given my marching orders. They said they were bored, so I’m going to entertain them. “Get in the car.”

Like opening a book that I tell them is good, they grudgingly pile into the van.

“Will we get lunch?”

Not wanting a direct mutiny on my hands, I agree. The kids spend the entire duration of the driving time to the museum discussing what they will eat and how much money they brought for the gift shop. “Museums are only fun if you get souvenirs.” My son explained. I smile and pretend he’s right.

Sure enough, the planes hanging from the ceiling, the uniforms behind the plastic casing and the actual rock from the moon they can touch sufficiently shock and awe even my jaded oldest into the wide-eyed-this-is-the-greatest-way-to-spend-a-Saturday-jazzed-by-everything kids that I know them to be. For an hour, all is bliss as we peruse “Women in Flight,” discuss past history of aviation and even reveal a touch of personal history, our own friend that happens to be a pilot in the armed forces.

As hunger pains rear their ugly heads, the glow of the museum fades just a touch, but the onsite Museum McDonalds cures all, even growly attitudes from an eight year old sulking that he couldn’t purchase the $89.00 Lego kit of the Space Shuttle.

Munching on french fries, the kids examine their treasures, plastic planes, stickers, a coloring book and few models and magazines. It takes considerable adult pull to convince the kids not to start assembling their planes in the restaurant.

Like any sensible adult at an education excursion, I throw out an open ended question to facilitate further insight and discussion. We adults are boringly predictable that way. “What did you like best at the museum?”

“The French fries.”
“The Lego Shuttle I couldn’t get.”

“The IMAX movie of Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix which we could go to if you bought tickets.”

“I mean,” I start breathing deeply, trying to avoid becoming annoyed, “of the things we saw.”


"The Shuttle.”
“The Big plane that was the Fastest in the World!”
“I still want to go on the simulation. It looked cool.”

Trying to ignore the technical answer by the eleven year old, after all, she did “see” people waiting in line for the simulation ride, I throw out a different line of thought. “Did it make you think about what you would like to do when you grow up?”

“I’m going to be a pilot when I grow up.” Says my five year old daughter brightly.
“I’m going to be an astronaut.” My son has to up the ante.
“Oh yeah, I’m going to pilot the Space Shuttle to the Space Center.” says one of his two older sisters, trying to win.

“Well, I’m going to run this museum so I can test all the planes.” says the other.

Everyone looks at her in silent envy. “No fair. You got the good job.”

Maybe next week, I’ll let them be bored.

for transfat free non stop excitement, try!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama Sneezes as the World Watches

In a recent stump speech in Texas, Obama paused to blow his nose and people applauded.

When asked about her nasal passages, Hillary sniffed, "Sure I could use a hanky in public, but being more experienced at these things, I consider a nostril full of substance to be more compelling."

The crowds that amass at Obama's every stop in his campaign for the Democratic Nominee have reported finding long lost kittens, an absence of rheumatism, and spouts of spontaneous literacy in foreign tongues.

"It's incredible." said one gasping fan as she slurped down a Boston crème. "He's like the chosen one. The one we've been waiting for. His midi-chlorian count must be off the charts." She added in a low eager hopeful whisper, "I bet he even has the lightning shaped scar somewhere."

More seasoned veterans of the political junket remarked on how the ground seemed to be erupting with wild flowers wherever the charismatic candidate walked.

CNN reported that the used hanky had been posted on EBay and was currently holding at a bid of $24,000.00, with all of the proceeds going to charity. The anonymous bidder did leave a note indicating that if he was so fortunate as to win the auction, the DNA residue would be given over to science in the hopes of cloning a future Obama for posterity.

Meanwhile, the Clinton campaign must answer questions about campaign discrepancies in financing that include $1,300.oo for Dunkin Donuts alone. Rumors that Obama zealots raided the Clinton campaign for breakfast supplies to feed the 5000 that showed up for his speech in Houston, have so far been unconfirmed.

"At least my vampiric minions aren't pure zombies." the once and future Presidential Candidate, queen of the Night snapped.

Obama walked into the crowded room to chants and swoons and screams of pure joy. The phenomena of his presence caused one MSNBC correspondent to acknowledge, "Rome could burn and people would come to hear him fiddle."

Play on Obama, play on.

For more insights on who to vote for, this is probably not the place, but given the state of things, it might be more amusing, try!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Self Reflection Corrections upon Being Reviewed

The humor blog people have spoken. I have been reviewed.

My stories are too long.

“Too many notes.” Said the Emperor.
“Just cut a few and it will be perfect.” –lines from Amadeus the Movie in case any of Hillary’s people are reading this and want to accuse me of plagiarism.

So I’m off to read Emily Dickenson and Ernest Hemingway.

She wrote short poems.
The guy wrote short sentences.

They liked periods.
They were famous.

You have to read these folks in High School.
They were and are respected authors of note.

The trouble is, neither of them ever was very funny.

Emily Dickenson made Adrian Monk look like a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader for Extroverts. I remember one episode of “Saved by the Bell” where some female –(does it really matter which?) explained that every Dickenson poem could be set to the tune of “The Yellow Rose of Texas.” It kind of ruined my chances of taking Emily Dickenson seriously, though that may have been a side effect of having watched an episode of “Saved by the Bell.”

“Because I would not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me…”
I could just hear the banjo in the background.

Reading poetry like Ginsburg’s “Howl” and Robert Lowell’s stream of consciousness stuff, I always felt reminded of my own shallowness. Being reminded that one is an inch deep is not fun. So I complained, “How come there aren’t any happy poets?” I mean, Sylvia Plath committed suicide and so did her husband. The plurality of poets we studied were sensitive cool people that drank wine and coffee and water from the tap. They thought serious thoughts and never laughed, though they might snicker at something mundane or pedestrian.

Like banjo players and bright colors and Texans.

So when I got to college, I was an English major without the “cool factor.” Like being a member of the literature “Pep squad,” instead of the cheerleaders…or band….or drill team. At least I was a major in the subject, so it wasn’t like I was in the flag corps, or a twirler.

I had to read "To Have and Have Not." It made as much sense as the movie.

I remember reading “Bartlby the Scrivener” in junior year.

Maybe it was immaturity on my part, but I never saw Bartlby’s “I would prefer not to.” As a cry for help or an indication of the deep depressed feelings he harbored. In humor, you can say, “I didn’t get the joke.” and everyone understands that humor is subjective and thus open to interpretation. In serious literature, there isn’t any equivalent, “I didn’t get the gravity.” It’s just presumed that any failure in comprehension rest with the limitations of the reader and not the writer.

In this case, that was probably true, but even 22 years later, I feel no compelling need to revisit the work to figure out what I missed.

I also remember that every junior that tried using that line "I would prefer no to." to get out of writing a theme on the story was told “No.”

The highlight of that English class section was watching Greg Brady star in the film version as Gingersnap. It was his one attempt at “serious acting” and that was comedic in its own weird way. One could wonder…what would come next…Greg Brady as Johnny Bravo as…anyone in a Faulkner novel. Such a feat would render Faulkner even more incomprehensible than it already is, at least for me.

Maybe I’d get the great ones better if I took up banjo and worked Hemingway's story to the tune of Gilligan’s Island…mememememememe…ahem.

“You can Call Me Ishmael….

For I hunt a big white whale…

He took my leg

Now it’s a peg!

And here’s my tragic tale…”

Alas, I remain a happy poet. My angst is insufficient to my muse, oh, the woe...

Editor Husband: "Hey Sherry, Melville wrote Moby Dick and Bartlby the Scrivner, not Hemingway."

"Holy Cats! You're right. I'm so embarrassed....
Okay, maybe more of my problem with literature rest in my own wee brain than I thought."

for serioiusly good humor, try or! Short. Pithy. Clever. Fun. Probably more Accurate.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Exercising Futility

Yesterday: Alarm at 5:00 am. I know I said today I’d go to the gym first thing but this is an unhealthy hour. I need sleep. Experts say getting enough sleep helps you lose weight. So I’m going to listen to the experts. Sets alarm for 6:15. I’ll do a workout video in the morning and hit the gym after lunch.

6:15 snoozed to 6:30… Okay. We’re on a Diet. No fats. No Fried anything. No Sweets. No Chocolate. No Caffeine, No Alcohol, No unhealthy anything. What is there to eat in this house…almost nothing.

8:15 am Breakfast. I….need…food. Cereal. Healthy plain bran flake cereal I’ve let sit on the shelf for months is the only low sugar option available. I’ll start good. I’ll be good. Hmmm…taste bad…taste like it’s stale…I’ll fix that…with fruit. Lots of fruit….and milk….and orange juice….who knew eating healthy could taste good….why haven’t I started this before, this is easy….it’s still chewy and stale, but the fruit helps.

Morning room sweeps and dishes and laundry carry us through the next two hours without a mishap except for the two handfuls of M&m’s I gave myself when the toddler went to the potty and I handed out rewards.

10:30 am…Food….I need food….can’t have food until 12…the kids want second breakfast. I fixed them frozen waffles and sipped my diet coke with lime virtuously. I just need to make it to 12…

11:00 am. Double toddler accident below the beltway. Ate a fistful of M&m’s to sustain morale.

11:40 am I’m supposed to wait until 12…what’s 20 minutes…the time it will take me to make the food, so it will be ready by 12, when I get to eat….tuna…with onions and celery and tomatoes…peppers…and just a tablespoon of mayo…hmmmm. That looks REALLY dry. Maybe little more, NO. No. no. I’ll add a healthy fat, some olive oil…just a drizzle. Okay, that looks much better. Mix it up, on toast…a pickle, an apple sliced up and maybe a big glass of milk. That is a virtuous lunch. It needs a little something hot though, maybe some soup…soup is healthy….and I’m going to the gym so it will be okay, I can count the calorie credits, they’re all good calories…

1:00 pm Need to go to gym. Too full…wait until later…let kids watch PBS…feel vague guilt that I’m not putting on fitness workout video for all of us to enjoy or at least try.

1:15 Pottying success and I grabbed a diet coke instead of eating M&m’s. Yeahs all around. Can’t find shoes to get them ready to go to the gym.

1:30 Still can’t find shoes

1:45 Found 3 shoes…still need one more.

1:55 found three other shoes, none match.

2:00 pm Having found a pair of slippers that match, I could technically make a go of it, but child care ends in thirty minutes, wouldn’t be a long enough work out to be worth it…I’ll go at 4…

2:30 Load car of kids sans shoes for school pick up, find other four matching shoes in car.

3:00 pm pick up kids from school, Girl Scout cookie orders came in today, so our car is packed with cookies. The kids open a box to share as the afternoon snack while still in the car in the school parking lot, I absentmindedly eat a cookie the kids hand me. It’s a Girl Scout thin mint. Thin mints. The thin mint scent is wafting around in my head. The open sleeve of thin mints is within arm’s reach…resist….resist….resist….what’s a serving?…four…I’ll have just one…so that’s what…40 calories….40 calories…puh. That’s nothing…I’ll make it two, that’s only 80…besides, these two are stuck…explain to kids that thin mints are best eaten straight out of the freezer. One child hands me another thin mint, “I don’t want this type of cookie Mommy, you can have it.” Her eyes are generous and happy. If I refuse, they will be sad…I eat the cookie. Other children offer cookies and I decline by chewing as long as possible, when we get home, my son has wrapped two cookies in a napkin as a gift to me, so I eat those two…200 calories… trouble.

Unloading the car takes about 20 minutes…then the phone rings such that homework gets delayed…a few thin mints may have been eaten in the process...

4:15 pm “We have to go to the gym..”
“But Mommy, I need to use the computer to type up my Copernicus report.”
“And I have to make a diorama using clay and a shoe box for tomorrow’s project on the rain forest.”
“Can you read to me?”
“I have to practice this piece for the concert on Friday.”

I realize that my gym bag doesn’t have my favorite gym pants or shirt and the walkman is missing it’s headphones and needs new batteries...and I only have AA and it needs AAA…I need to repack this…so it goes in the corner to be dealt with later.

5:30 pm Homework is finished. Music is finished. Thin mints are finished. How did that happen?
“Hey Mom, What’s for dinner?”
Making a mental note to skip dinner, I fire up the pot of boiling water, put the meatballs in the microwave and begin making a salad.

6:20 pm Dinner is on the table. It smells great. Maybe I’ll serve myself…sensible portions.

7:20 pm Time to get people bathed and starting on bed routine.

8:30 pm Kids are mostly in bed…time to do dishes and put away food.

9:27 pm…with interruptions and phone calls and retucking in of three separate kids, plus the discovery of an older one in the back basement reading comic books on the sly, dishes are just now getting done.

10:00 pm…I could go to the gym. It’s open until 11…but I don’t want to go out this late…alone….and I’m tired…I’ll start tomorrow at five thirty --five was too early. I’ll get up and do a DVD –the 21 minute workout, right at six, that way I’ve got a jump on the day and won’t have cut into the schedule by more than 15 minutes….and I won’t have to worry about what I’m wearing or if I have headphones…just the other sleeve of thin mints in the freezer.

For more humorous work outs, either try or the new humor magazine by humorist for people seeking something to laugh at on the internet other than the lastest celebrity trainwreck, try The NEW AND EXCITING!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Less Sun Fir Mi Sun end Muy Doughtr

With all due apologies to Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, I present the Preamble of the Constitution of the United States as read by spell check but with no proof reading. (Hint: Read aloud).

Wee the papal of the Untied Stats inn odor too forum am ore prefect onion, is tab lush just ice, ensure dome stick an quilt it ye, pro video four the come on deference, prom moat the gene rail well fair and see cure the bless sings of livery two hour selves and oar post era tea dew or dame and is stab blush this Con is tuition fir the Unit Estates of America.

Okay. Perhaps it is a bit of parental overkill on my part, but I wanted to illustrate to my children why:

1) Spelling counts and

2) Proof reading matters.

We don't want another incident of the "Dairy of Anne Frank."


P.S. Your three day break is over. Get to work on those reports!

U kin tri fir mer aditead wrks ov murth!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Real Twelve Passenger Van

When we got to eight children, we had maxed out the Suburban.

The only way we could journey as a whole family was to take two cars or violate state and federal law regarding passengers and seat belts. Note to any HSA or Feds reading this, we of course always took two cars. Safety First You know.

So we have been in the market lately for a 12 -15 passenger van.We've looked at the two makers of such vehicles available for non-commercial use. The cars are basically a large fishbowl on a truck frame. They get zero points for style. They come in only mayo wonder bread white.

Fresh from the factory, they do not have DVD players or rear heating controls or extra head rests, leather seats or even cool push button mirrors to maneuver and adjust. The bell and whistle possibilities include a luggage rack and running boards. Just in case I wanted to make driving in a garage and parking a wee bit more difficult.

They also do not come with a finance package like zero percent interest.As a result, our desire to purchase one of these is also the equivalent of a shot gun wedding fiancé. Hey we're getting where you point that thing.

I understand how the Republican Party faithful must feel.

John McCain.

He is the twelve passenger van of candidates.

Having no resale value before you even drive him off the lot, there is no sex appeal in a 12 passenger van. The car is old before you even buy it.

No one says "Wow! Nice car."
They do however notice you are driving a large marshmallow brick shaped vehicle. It's awkward, it lurches. Hair pin turns are not advisable.

Buying a 12-15 passenger van is a utilitarian decision at best. No one wishes they had one just like it.

Being polite and reasonably kind, people will try to express approval about the purchase of such a car. “You needed it for your family.” “I bet it makes errands much easier.”

And we will mumble yeah as we covetously stare at all the cool cars we can’t drive because we need to buy this one. We could have had a Ron Paul or a Huckabee or a Romney or a Rudi…but this, this is what we needed…for the good of the party.

When you add in the fact that the financing for such a candidate isn’t great, you start wondering if maybe we should get a trailer hitch so we can tow a convertible type Vice President for date nights so we can maintain the illusion if only to ourselves that sometimes, we’re cool.

That, or I need to get a commercial drivers license and buy a stretch hummer limo.
For non utilitarian humor on all subjects, try!

Valentine EKG Vital signs

The kids came home from school February 14th.

I thought I was home free.

I had helped make four recycled cereal boxes into Valentine Mail bags.

I had artfully decorated 24 chocolate home made cup cakes.

The day before, I had purchased each child their favorite candy to tuck in their lunch box and assisted with over 120 cards to ensure everyone in every class got one.

Thursday, they would have a special assembly, where the Principal would willingly hug a monkey, as payment for the kids having collected 3,500 cans of food for the food pantry program run by the Church on the same grounds.

They would then have Valentine's parties with cake and goodie bags, cards from all their classmates and a running of the Peanuts special. I figured, all was right with the world.

I mean, nothing says Valentine's day like the Principal of a school hugging a monkey and enough chocolate to coat the entire school, all in one day.

Alas. I knew nothing of how the day should be celebrated. I only knew my kid heart...if I had been at school, would have been satisfied and then some.

Around six, I discovered one unhappy Valentine. My eight year old son sat sulking, unable to voice his great disappointment with the whole holiday. He had eaten his starburst, looked at the cards, completed the puzzle his teacher gave, and done his homework. His face was red and his eyes holding back tears. "I hate Valentine's Day! It's a stupid holiday!"

Utterly bewildered, and at that moment, feeling more pressed for dinner than my son's psychological state, I tried being rational. "But, you saw a monkey..."

"It's stupid." he sulked.

So I tried a different response.
"It's not really a holiday made for kids sweetie. It's really more for couples, like me and your Daddy." I showed him the roses I'd received.

"We didn't do enough." he humphed.

Letting aside the desire to scream about what? which took considerable love on my part, I asked, "What would you have us do?" Visions of the Principal having to walk a tight rope over live lions came to my head.

He wanted a fancy dinner. I happened to have a pot roast which, if sliced properly looked like steak --that's what he called it and that's what I said I was serving.

He wanted us to tell each person why we loved them.
The Mom in me approved. This did not seem impossible, so I pulled out the red tablecloth and the good china and he felt comforted.

So we tried to sit for dinner and each tell what we loved about another. One kid tried to be clever "I love her because she's not stupid." and it got her sister mad. And rightly so. I had a spoon I used as gavel. Judge Mom would solve this.

The toddler spilt her orange juice causing a giant mess and forcing me to call a brief recess, as I sponged up the floor and wiped her down. In the meantime, the other toddler wolfed down his food and ran off to change back into his dinosaur costume.

My oldest two, buzzing from chocolate and other sweets and a semi-non academic day complete with lower primates started fencing with air epees. The dinner had been eaten and the five year old was huffing as they hadn't gotten to her yet.

Reassembling the crowd with the promise of desserts, we tried again. But the karma was off and no one was listening and when one brother refused to say something nice about one of his sisters, the one who ate her valentine candy in front of him and it was his favorite, without sharing despite begging, he got ugly. It got ugly. I got tired. I yelled. I lost it. The Judge Mom had lost her judgement in that moment.

The sentimental one who wanted this whole deal started to cry and I knew I mistrialed in motherhood at that moment.

Now I felt so lost it was hard to speak. Here I had broken a holiday but good. There was a hard silence as all the children looked at their mother who was searching for words and feeling drained and frustrated. But the very same son pointed out this was why we needed Valentine's day --and with a hard hug, he reset the table mentally. He even brought me diet coke.

The older ones heard him and sat down. Even Dino boy came back.

So it wasn't perfect and it wasn't my finest, but it was his. And next year, we'll celebrate his style of Valentine's day.

I'll be funnier later. In the meantime, try

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

From the Bottom of My Heart

By mutual agreement, all children ages 7 and up through 8th grade shall not be subjected to the cruel indignity of having to express affection or even friendship to their entire class via Red papers and chocolate candy hearts.

Every year, it is the same. We go to the pharmacy and the boys spend most of their time hoping Mom will grant them a “get out of jail Free” moment and not require they address 31 “Be My Valentine” or “You are My Friend” Spiderman cards. One year, I thought I had solved the problem by printing labels that said “Happy Valentine’s Day from” that we could just slap on Hershey bars. It would have worked if his younger sister hadn’t started in on central supply.

The consequence was a late night for both of us as we cut and pasted paper hearts for all the kids and he moaned over the fact that his Valentines were the very worst. “Why do we even have Valentine’s Day?” he grumbled.

Now I could have given a historical or theological answer at this point, but instead I flipped the conversation. “Why do you think we do this?”

“So girls can figure out who they want to marry.” He growled. “I’m never getting married.” And to prove he was serious, he lay down on the floor, arms and legs extended, playing “Dead dying dog,” from a bad silent movie.

I get six to eight year old boys hating all those hearts and flowers, but even worse is coping with sixth grader girls. “Mom, the only ones left are really creepy. Do we have to do the boys?” Suppressing the desire to whoop as a parent, again, I offer the option of home-made valentines and explain, the purpose of the day is to show our friendship and affection for each other, to go out of our way for people we otherwise take for granted. She listens and we resort to index cards with taped M&m’s and red heart stickers.

The kindergartener of course is absolutely in love with the whole concept of the day. She thinks we should wear red sparkly things 365 days out of the year and immerses herself into the process of adding additional glitter to each and every card. The amount of sentiment expressed by her alone is enough to send the boys scrambling for a star wars video, as if to sponge the sugary heartfelt enthusiasm of one so enamored with Cupid from their collective psyches.

After shepherding four children through the hazards of giving for the occasion, I still had preschool to manage. Twenty Valentines later, even I felt slightly overdosed on the color red.

Little did I know, I wasn’t done yet.

“Hey Mom?”
“Yes son?”
“What are you going to get Dad? You know, to go out of your way to show affection.”

Now I love my husband, but the sentiment meter on my psyche was reading “E.” Truthfully, I hadn’t given it a moment of thought.

“Well, I’ve been kind of busy…” I started weakly.
“You mean you Don’t have a gift for HIM?” my daughter rounds on me. A mutiny began. My five year old looked broken at the prospect of her OWN Mother having failed the Romantic test.
“I thought I’d try for a baby sitter.” I scrambled.
“And?” My sixth grader pouted, dissatisfied.
“And maybe get him a book and a CD.” I’m improvised, adding hastily, “Maybe opera, something we don’t have.”

Eying me with collective suspicion, they set their minds, “Get your purse.” My oldest ordered. “Sis, you load the others, I’ll get the baby. Mom needs to go shopping.”

And so it came to pass that my husband got a Red Propane Bar-b-que grill and coupons for some gourmet steaks this year. When he opened his present, he said, “Honey, this is really….unexpected.”

“Well, you know Mom,” my son offered. “She’s a Very thoughtful kind of person.”
Happy Valentine's Day!
for more sentimental heart moving humor that's full of thoughtfulness, try!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Breaking the News that Needs to be Fixed

Every day, I check the news via the internet.. it's hard to beat the real stuff.

For extra humor, guess the fact from fiction.

Item No. 1: "Music cannot change the world, says Neil Young."

I for one, am so glad we cleared that all up. Here I've been playing Mandy not stop for six days and still, there's been no measurable difference in global warming, world peace or the federal deficit.

Item No. 2: Hilton's Hot Flick Flops!

Fans of Paris Hilton's Acting skills will be sorely disappointed by "The Hottie and the Nottie." Despite hiring a professional detective and enlisting the help of the CIA, FBI and Homeland security agents in the LA area, excessive combing over of the cutting room floor and every back file on the original disc, no evidence of her talent remained to be found. Baffled, the P.I. could only say, "It's like it never was there to begin with." and the investigation remains ongoing.

Not the quite the right spirit for the season of sacrifice and prayers and fasting but then neither is this.

Item No. 3: Bill learns to Chill when talking about Hill...

"Bill Clinton: I learned a lesson"

"I think the mistake that I made is to think that I was a spouse like any other spouse who could defend his candidate," Clinton said, referring to his wife.

Well yes, that he is a spouse like any other spouse would be an error in his thinking I think.

"I think I can promote Hillary but not defend her because I was president. I have to let her defend herself or have someone else defend her."

Can't you just feel the love?

Fact or Fiction? --well, this one is a trick question --it's fact in that it happened. It's fiction because this is Bill talking.

Item No. 4: The Cold Cold Truth...

And from those busy scientists over in Maple Leaf Land...

Fire up the SUV and exhale deeply...

"Kenneth Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, is among those looking at the sun for evidence of an increase in sunspot activity.Solar activity fluctuates in an 11-year cycle. But so far in this cycle, the sun has been disturbingly quiet. The lack of increased activity could signal the beginning of what is known as a Maunder Minimum, an event which occurs every couple of centuries and can last as long as a century." That's right, they fear it's the start of a new Ice age.

What will Al Gore do with this not helpful fact to his cause of global warming truth? Maybe sell short on those carbon credits.

Item No. 5: A Glorious Star amongst the Hollywood Heavens...

Senate to declare Oprah a Goddess.

You never know, it might be tucked in that stimulus package somewhere.

Editor's note: facts 1, 3, 4, true. 2 and 5 are made up but check back tomorrow because things change.

Final note: Probably, it would be best for all concerned if I gave up reading the Drudge Report for Lent.

for humor so good, some of it should probably be given up for Lent, try!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Crank Party Platform, Filet O'Fish, Politics and Hillary Too

It’s Thursday, so I do my weekly Political rant type thing.

I scrapped my Richard Blane for President piece, W.W. R.F. C. D. (What would Rick from Casablanca Do?) because it just wasn't working. Too forced. So here's my stab today at political analysis and satire, all rolled up into one, sort of like eat it, you sort of like it, you know you sound cool if you can say you had it --or in the case of politics, you talked about it, but truth be told, you'ld rather hit the drive thru at McDonalds for a Fish Filet during least then you get fries and a diet coke.(I know you're out there, you closet Filet o'Fish eaters you, that's why they're still on the menu!)

Like the New England Patriots before her, Hillary is in danger of having a perfect season end with losing the Super bowl. And Why?

Because people love new more than old, they want pretty over nuance, and mostly, Hillary has been running on two ideas that do not mesh.

1) I have 35 years experience in policy and politics because I was there during the campaigns and years in the governorship and presidency. By that same logic, I should hang out a shingle, Sherry Antonetti, Attorney at Law. 41 years observing Lawyers make me imminently qualified to handle any legal matters you might have. Of course, there’s the little matter of not having a Law degree or being licensed by the State bar but those are details. I’m really a very good lawyer. I bill a reasonable $250 an hour, prorated by the quarter.

2) I’m the outsider, non establishment candidate, not bound to the Democratic party or its establishment base, even though I helped hand pick the leader of the DNC, am the most senior experienced candidate in the Democratic race and have those 35 years of experience. That’s right, I’m a rebel and a maverick. Did you see me cry yesterday? Wasn’t it moving?

By the same token, John McCain has made his entire career one of ticking off the Republican establishment by cozying up to Democrats, spoiling legislation backed by Republican leadership, rendering the light majority held before the 2004 elections inept and meaningless. Now, he too has chosen to embrace a platform of equally incongruous ideas.

1) I am Republican mainstream. Yeah, I disagree on immigration, tax reform, stem cell research and the role of government in the war on terror, but really, I represent the GOP at its core. Ignore any of those conservative Radio talk show hosts that say otherwise, don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain…the Great and Terrible Oz has spoken!

2) Those youthful indiscressions of my maverick days in the Senate ---I was just fooling you know? Like Dubya’s drinking and Clinton’s sexcapades, they were just things I did then, I won’t have any flaws when I get to be president. You’ll see. It was just, I needed to assert my own voice. Sure it cost the party seats in the off year election. Sure it enabled Democrats and Republicans to super load any bill with billions in pork, but America will thank me for any policies I help shape…eventually, or they should anyway. Humph! Ingrates.

What strikes me most about both these sterling examples of American Politics at its sausage worst, is they both have the same motivation for running and expecting to win. Indeed, pundits have given their reasons as explanations for why they will vote for Candidate HiLIARY or ABCMcCain, their past sufferings make this position something they are OWED. Hill for standing by her cheating man and covering for him during that second administration, and McCain for his years at the Hanoi Hilton and long string of past runs for the office that have failed. Give the Old War Horse his turn. It’s Time for a Woman’s Turn.

Both are saying, not to give them their chance at this is akin to simply not being fair.

And we Americans like to think that we are fair.

So to be fair, really fair, I want a third party. The Democrats have a donkey, the Republicans, an elephant, my party, the Crank Party will have a flying pig as the mascot. The flying pig will land at the government trough and eat all the dollars. Our platform? To give all Three Trillion dollars back! That’s right. I want a real Rebate, proactively of every last red cent. We’ll close it all down and see if anyone notices.

After all, if we’re not going to enforce our laws, be they about campaign finance or borders, why do we need a government? We don’t need to pay our elected officials because after all, they’re so well off they can easily do two or three speeches about how America stinks and it’s all Bush’s fault and net a cool 3 to 20 million from Europhiles, journalists, university types and political sycophants who will just lap it up. I mean, Hillary’s a junior senator and she just lent her own campaign 5 million. When asked where the money came from, Hillary’s eyes moistened and she gave her best warm smile, “You know, I’m so glad you asked that. Being in touch with my feminine side, I just squirreled away the coins from when I’d vacuum the couch over the years and Bill was always so frugal, he’d empty his pockets every night. The money just sort of added up.” She gushed.

So I submit all government money should simply be returned. All of it. According to the census bureau, there are 303,389,465 Americans, 76,460,574 of which are children. If the 3 TRILLION dollar budget was divided just amongst the adults –ages 18 and up, the checks would come out to be $13,220.00 each. Talk about a stimulus package!

Don’t worry, we’d only proclaim a one year government fast, but have it happen every nine years as a means of ensuring that the country wouldn’t grow too dependent upon the three branches for its daily livelihood.

Now. Imagine if people still worked their jobs. Now, what if we did this on the State and local level as well, it would be a 7-10K swing when all was said and done. 20 Thou back in your pocket. Imagine.

People could open businesses, pay off credit card debts, open new businesses and hire more workers. People would invest and have enough to manage buying prescription drugs and still eat something better than dog food. They could go to the doctors and pay the copay or even buy private insurance. Nirvana would reign for one blissful year and then we’d have to get back to work and figure out what in fact, we really needed or wanted from our government.

We’d need a candidate though…a flying pig Crank candidate…I nominate ….Donald Trump. Can you imagine the ratings on the Apprentice if he was dealing with Senators?
“You’re fired!”
“But I work for free…”

“You’re still fired.”

for political commentary and unrelated stuff that is just as useful, try!

Monday, February 4, 2008

College Post Modernist Thinking Students declare Disagreement only the result of Ignorance on the part of Others

It happened at the University the other day, when a group of very hip modernists who understood that no truth is knowable but were smart enough to declare anyone who pointed out that such a statement could be perceived as a statement of a universal truth were just being clever, decided that debate itself indicates ignorance, misunderstanding and stupidity on the part of anyone who advocates any “traditional” position about knowledge. (Truth being identifiable, knowable, and even transferable via such an unwieldy tool as language).

When asked if they weren’t simply adopting a Berkley stance, being is perception, they scoffed at such a simplistic understanding of the universe. “No, what we understand is that all information is biased and therefore innately untrustworthy as accurate or even valid. No actual reality can be verified as actual, as 100 people seeing the same accident will each see the accident differently and no one person saw the whole accident.”

Additionally, another young slim woman sipping Starbucks offered, “The consensus of a large group of people in one proximity or even across a nation or over time, is not a validation of a reality, only the result of collective norms, societal pressures and the clumsiness of our own English Language to provide sufficient levels of nuance to everyday observations.”

“But,” offered one hapless professor, attempting to provide a touch of guidance based on his own study, something the students considered inadequate to substantiate his authority on things over theirs, regardless of the extent of his research, “If I hold up an apple, you know it is an apple, and 100 or 1000 people looking at it would know that it is an apple.”

“Hah!” up jumped one of the more gothic looking youths with multiple piercings, his appearance and quick action made the professor startle, something which gave the clever young bohemians present a great bit of glee, “But an alien arriving here would not know it is an apple unless you told them, and a Frenchman would not call it an apple, but a pomme, and someone who never before seen an apple would not know what that object in your hand was. Further, a blind man would not know appleness from your hand holding it, and a color blind man would not know the red quality of that apple, and therefore see an apple as meaning something different than you. You cannot claim the apple would be known to all, because it would not be perceived by all or comprehended by all. We believe all perception is all we can know and that all perception is deceptive in nature.”

“But then you believe nothing is knowable.”

“How do you know nothing is knowable?”
“We can’t know, that would be proving it and that would go against our central thesis.”

“So you can’t even know if anything is knowable? Why learn anything then?”

“Exactly!” the slim girl smiled. The other students nodded their heads in demur affirmation of the professor's sudden enlightenment.

And the professor smiled as his goth student teacher praised how he had finally come to comprehend the ignorance of his own ignorance, the prejudice that prevented him from understanding how to deconstruct everything into meaninglessness. “Now you’re getting it man. Have a Starbucks.” and handed him a Venti Mocha Latte.

For thinking that is even more post modern than the most post modern deconstructionist theories of deconstruction, and humor that allows us to cope with such nonsense, try!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Some Superbowl Commercials I'd Like to See

Just in time for Sunday's Game, my contribution to the advertising world. You can pay me 1 MILLION dollars if you like.

For the new Mini-Van: to make it from a Mom Mobile to a Man Mobile. So what is more manly than James Bond I think? Seven James Bonds!

Picture this: A beautiful woman comes out of the local gourmet grocery store, (note to self, product placement for Whole Foods in the ad), she is immediately abducted by the bad guys on Harleys (Three motor cycles buzz by, one grabs the babe and the others scatter the people as they drive off laughing evilly).

Daniel Craig (the most recent Bond, wants to rescue her, so he hops into his latest acquisition from Q, the M-van). Pierce Brosman is sitting in the passenger side, he is smoothing his hair, waiting for Craig. Daulton leans towards the front to say, “Buckle up.” Craig rolls his eyes and Pierce sighs a bit as Lazenby give his fierce soliloquy look to the camera, “They won’t get far, this is a V-8 engine with a lot of kick.”

They peel off after the motor cycles which are weaving through traffic, the woman screaming. They pull up along side. Connery opens the driver side sliding door, “Nice feature, that.” He says as he grabs the girl and sends her into the back.

Craig hands the wheel over to Pierce and scrambles to the back. He reaches over to grab the guy off the motor cycle, punches him in the car and says, “So is this!” as he opens the other side and tosses the bad guy out. The other two bad guys are taken out by the crashing motor cycle that careens into one, causing the other to flip off of his.

The two older bonds shut the doors and Craig grabs a napkin from Dapper Pierce to wipe his bloody hand. "Don't want to stain the leather seats." He says. Lazenby posits, "This new Q Van has everything." Roger Moore in the back says, “I like the stow and go and removable seats.” As he gives an arched eyebrow to the babe. She sighs in his arms.

"Oh James...."
The rest of the Bonds bust out laughing. Fade out.

Bottled water has taken it on the chin lately, what with scandals about some of it being tap water, so it’s time for some damage control. Here’s my offering for Dasani –Coke-cola’s bottled water of note.

Brandi, you know the babe who took off her shirt in celebration, teaching the world about sports bras? She’s hot, she’sweaty, she’s walking dejectedly down a dark hallway from the stadium. A young 7 year old girl with pony tails, wearing a USA soccer shirt comes towards her, holding a Dasani Water.

"Brandi?... Brandi?" She tries to screw up the nerve for an autograph, but instead silently and sincerely holds out her water bottle of Dasani as a gift. Brandi takes the water, obviously fatigued. She chugs it down in one long gulp. She then starts to stagger away, and then turns, “Hey kid.” She says, as she takes off her jersey, “Catch.”

Pony-tailed Girl: "Wow! Thanks Brandi!"

Fade out.

And then there are the 20 second spots, where Exxon Mobil is trying to make itself into a “Green Company.” Or at least put forth the image.

On Environment: Mobil/Exxon: We haven’t had an oil spill that destroyed pristine Alaskan coastlines in over 20 years.

On Maintaining Facilities: Mobil/Exxon: We’re better than BP…but not for lack of trying!

On Golden Parachutes for CEO’s : Mobil/Exxon: the middle class’ conglomerrate,only 60 billion in profits last year.

On Price Gauging: Mobil/Exxon: We have suffered recently too, remember gasoline at less than 1.25 a gallon? It wasn’t that long ago.

On respecting people: Mobil/Exxon: We don’t export our extortion to other countries like those other big businesses. All of our exploitation of the worker is done right here in the USA.

Our Moral Center: Mobil/Exxon: We’re less evil than R.J. Reynolds.

And now back to the Super Bowl….GO GIANTS!

for more humor that doesn't cost 1 million dollars per minute, try!

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Lost Story of Meeting Tony

Names have been changed to protect the young –not necessarily the innocent, a true story, warts and all.

Last week I took Jeane, Grace and Thomas to see Tony Melendez, the musician who plays guitar with his feet, as he has no hands. It was in the church at my kids' school. My girlfriends Claire and Susan had brought along their preschool aged children as well, Kobe and Greg.

Claire is a savy mom, way cooler than me and thought to bring tootsie pops for all the children to keep them quiet during the performance. We were all feeling very good, like “proper mothers,” because we were exposing our children to diversity and culture and music and all of that on an ordinary Tuesday and it was free.

Thomas happily sucked on his third tootsie pop five minutes before the concert started. He was strapped in his stroller and I was praying he’d fall asleep. Grace and Kobe were having a bit of a theological argument in the pew, books should be shut and put in the book holder, books should be opened and thumbed through. It was a quiet three year old skirmish, mitigated by tootsie pops.

The microphones were turned on. All eyes were on the small stage that had been set up on the altar, as the classes from the school filed in to take their seats. Members of Tony’s band and family have arrived. The crowd hushes.

Tony comes out and introduces himself. Jeane looks at Tony as he starts to speak. She immediately begins to suck her finger hard and twirl her hair. She does this when she gets stressed. The music starts. People are clapping, singing along and I think, “She’ll get into it, she loves singing.” Jeane continues to stare hard at Tony. We are ¾ of the way back in the Church but she is on the end and has a clear view. She sucks harder. A blister is starting to form. I try to get her to sing like her sister, Grace or her friend, Greg. Kobe is dancing, even Thomas is humming. My girl friends chime in with additional maternal pressure, trying to encourage her to engage.

She violently shakes her head “No.” and I know, in my head, I can feel the tsunami of feeling coming towards me, “It’s going to get worse.” My mom voice whispers.

The first song ends and Jeane begins poking me. “Where are his hands?” she demands. I explain about the same time Tony does to the audience. “He doesn’t have hands.”
“Why not?”
“He was born without them.” I explain.
“Will our baby have hands?” she asks, pointing at my pregnant belly.

She begins holding her hair and sucking harder. A mean thought crosses my mind, to mention she could lose her hand by sucking and twirling but I just pat her back. Jeane puts on her coat. She never wears her coat. She stamps her feet. I ignore it. Knowing we are not leaving, she slumps next to me, still sucking her finger. I stroke her hair. By mid song, my attention has wandered to Thomas, to Grace, to the music, to Tony, and then I look over.

Jeane is in the fetal position on the pew, with her coat over her, covering every inch of her body. I peek under, she has her eyes shut, her finger in her mouth, her hair is a knotted mess and she is shaking. She opens one angry eye at me and pulls the jacket back over her face.

Feeling annoyed and embarrassed, like she is way overdoing it for someone who is five, I pull the jacket off her, stuff it behind me and explain, she is going to sit. She is going to sit up and she is going to stay for the rest of the concert. Clare sends me a concerned mother look and offers to take her out of the building. But I have my back up. I have decided, she needs to be stretched a little and this won’t hurt her.

Jeane sits stiffly for the next thirty minutes, her fingers are red and several knots will have to be cut out of her hair. I don’t care. I feel mad at me and her because the concert has been lost on both of us in the process and I wonder what if anything did Grace get out of this, let alone Jeane. I know Thomas got three lollipops and a nap.

That night, I search the kids’ library for something to help, and find Shriver’s “What’s Wrong with Timmy,” Jeane hangs on every word and seems to be better so I start to relax about the whole thing. I still worry about how to help her with the next encounter.

That weekend, Tony played at the 10 am mass, and Jeane sees him. She does not flinch or even suck her finger, but after she knows it is him, she just stands like a statue for the duration of his meditation song. My older son buys a cassette of the music.

Moving on the next week, I am cleaning up after Thomas has ransacked the girl’s room. Grace is on the bed, playing with her baby dolls and some cardboard musical instruments she made at school. She has a drum, (coffee can), a horn (paper tube with tape and streamers) and a guitar with rubber band strings.

She explains to me as I go about cleaning up, “My baby is playing like in the church.” She moves the doll’s feet to pluck the rubber bands. “I can do it too.” She plucks the strings with her toes. And somehow, everything was better.

Thought you would like to see what I learned today, don’t get so worked up, and everything will work out.

Postscript, this morning, "Jeane" went nuts this morning as only a young adolescent can at the fact that her sister "Grace" took her shirt. Today is a mass day and they have to wear button downs, which Jeane hates to the point of wearing a sour face whenever she must endure such a garment. Having to opt for a long sleeved button shirt as versus a short was beyond her coping ability. She refused to get dressed. A cat fight ensued.

As I am laying down the law about such tizzies in the morning to one, the other slips into the closet and comes back with a short sleeved button down to replace the unbearable long one. All is right with the world and I start looking for her to twirl her hair into knots or a blister on her finger.

for more amusing stories and thoughts that don't get your hair full of knots, try!

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