Friday, December 21, 2007

7 Things About Me

Marcia Ward tagged me for the "7 Things About Me" meme.

Rules of the 7 things Meme:
1) Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2) Share 7 facts about yourself.
3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Okay, here go the 7 Things About Me, Like them or not:
1. Commercials can make me cry.
2. I was 30 years old before I got used to my height.
3. I'm surrounded by men. My husband and I have six sons. (No daughters.)
4. I really want a passport for my birthday. (Even though I don't have immediate plans to go anywhere, I still want one... just in case.)
5. The ickiest job I ever had was cutting hearts and livers out of turkeys.
6. I really like sparklies, I mean anything that sparkles makes me say, "ahhh!"
7. I can say the ABC's backwards.

We're Starting from Scratch
Wanderer in a Strange Land
VioletLady at Home
Under Construction
TigerSue's Jungle
Traci Abramson
The Bennett Family

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sing It With Gusto

Bob and I just got back from the obligatory elementary school Christmas program. There's nothing wrong with music, but it's easier to take while I'm working on something else. Life seems to be all about multi-tasking these days, more's the pity. But we were being good parents, going out in the cold, dark night to see our son sing a Christmas song.
While waiting for the 3rd grade's turn, we were delighted to hear "Blue Christmas" belted out by a bunch of preschoolers that couldn't have been more than knee-high, clutching paper guitars and swaying in their neon plastic sunglasses. Their voices filled the college gymnasium with energy, happiness, and enthusiasm. Bob even put his book down to watch and listen. Several chuckles from the audience punctuated the lively performance.
I had expected to merely endure the program with good grace, but with a beginning like that, I couldn't help but smile through the whole thing. Thanks to a bunch of elves in disguise, my Christmas season was better than before I braved the dark and cold.
So even if you don't have little ones in it, go see an elementary school Christmas program. It will be worth it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Tin Can Pie

It looked heavenly, a soft yellow lemon filling crowned by a thick cloud of meringue. It wasn't hard to choose that slice of pie out of the apple, pumpkin, and chocolate cream sitting on the buffet table. I reverently lifted the slice in my hands, holding tight to the plate to keep the confection from floating away. Oh, yeah, this one was worth the calories.

I carried the slice back to my place at the dining table. I set it down at an angle worthy of a Southern Living magazine front cover. Then I settled myself in my chair and picked up my fork. I watched the tines descend to the point of the pie, the perfect place to start eating. The crust broke easily, promising a tender offering of pastry. I lifted the bite up from the plate, my tongue tingling in anticipation, my mouth opening just enough to let the pie slide inside. I closed my mouth around the tines of the fork and pulled the utensil free. Then I began to chew.

Instead of closing in bliss, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. The soft pie in my mouth sent out waves of flavor so metallic, my tongue cringed. If there was a garbage can by my side, I would have made a donation. Although the texture was all wrong, mouthing that pie was like chewing on a tin can. Augh!

Only because of 49 years practice, my ingrained table manners forced me to swallow that first bite of pie. It remained an orphan in my stomach, destined to digest alone.

What had possibly gone wrong with that beautiful piece of pie? I can't imagine. The mystery will go with me to my grave. One un-mysterious thing is the lesson of that strange Tin Can Pie. You can't know what something (or someone) is really like inside just by looking at them. You don't need to take a bite out of them, but you can carry them around a bit and probe them with words instead of a fork. Someone who may look like a mud pie dropped in the gravel and scooped back onto the plate may prove to be the sweetest friend you've ever had.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Swimming Sideways

My son, Brian, got himself a couple of cute little pacu fish, no bigger than a dime. I bought Brian a fourteen gallon aquarium to go with them. You could hardly see the little guys in all that water.
But then something happened... Brian fed his pacu pair. And they grew. A lot. Those darling little punctuation marks turned into candidates for deep sea fishing. They probably measured about a foot long each, but they wouldn't hold still long enough for us to make sure. One thing we were sure of was that their tank was too small. They'd flick their tails and bump their noses on the glass, then execute a tight about-face and flick their tails once to find themselves bumping noses on the opposite pane of glass.
So we got them a bigger tank. But now the question arose, how are we going to move them? They wouldn't fit in any net that our pet store had, and Brian nixed the idea of a fishing pole and bait. What to do?
Big brother Zackary came up with the solution to scoop the fish out with a plastic gallon jug. It seemed the perfect solution for everyone but the pacu's. Once Zack cornered one and scooped it into the pitcher, it thrashed and fought like a maniac. After a startled pause, Zack finally poured the fish into the larger tank, where it promptly lay on its side and flipped its tail, swimming crookedly across its new expansive home.
The fellow's friend got the same treatment and acted the same way, we don't know if it was peer pressure or what. They both swam sideways, back and forth, back and forth, for several minutes. Bored of waiting, and without any signs of synchronized swimming moves, I left the room. The next time I checked on them, the fish went spastic, swimming like the water was on fire. (Well, you know what I mean.) So I turned off the aquarium light and left them alone for awhile.
Now the two are in fish tank heaven. (No, they didn't die.) They can flip their tails at least four times before bumping into the glass wall. They're swimming straight, and they can even go up and down if they feel like playing submarine.
I think that a lot of us swim sideways when we're thrown into a new situation, even if it's for our ultimate good. It feels like we're in someplace too big, too different, too scary. But soon enough we'll gain a clearer perspective of where we really are, and realize that we can go faster and further than we ever have before.
I say, bring on the big fish!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Just a MOM

(This isn't mine, I could only find the name "Anonymous" on it, wow! that "Anonymous" is some writer! I think this really puts priorities in perspective, so I'm sharing!)

A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.
She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.
"What I mean is," explained the recorder, "do you have a job or are you just a......?"
"Of course I have a job," snapped the woman. "I'm a Mom."
"We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation, 'housewife' covers it," said the recorder emphatically.
I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself in the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised, efficient and possessed of a high sounding title like, "Official Interrogator" or "Town Registrar."
"What is your occupation?" she probed.
What made me say it? I do not know. The words simply popped out. "I'm a Research Associate in the field of Child Development and Human Relations."
The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and looked up as though she had not heard right.
I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words. Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written, in bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.
"Might I ask," said the clerk with new interest, "just what you do in your field?"
Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice, I heard myself reply, "I have a continuing program of research, [what mother doesn't) in the laboratory and in the field, (normally I would have said indoors and
out). I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family) and already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities, (any mother care to disagree) and I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it). But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers and the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money."
There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she completed the form, stood up and personally ushered me to the door.
As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career, I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3. Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model, (a 6 month old baby) in the child development program, testing out a new vocal pattern. I felt I had scored a beat on
And I had gone on the official records as someone more distinguished and indispensable to mankind than "just another Mom."
Motherhood! What a glorious career! Especially when there's a title on the door.
Does this make grandmothers "Senior Research associates in the field of Child Development and Human Relations" and great grandmothers "Executive Senior Research Associates"? I think so!
I also think it makes Aunts "Associate Research Assistants."
May your troubles be less, your blessings be more and nothing but happiness come through your door

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


This isn't mine, it's a passalong, but I agree with it 100%! (I did a search for the author, but didn't find one. Whoever you are, AMEN!)

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can and quickly. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an "eggnog-aholic" or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it!!!! Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello???

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin and mincemeat - have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips: Start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO what a ride!"

Monday, November 12, 2007

Penguin Turkey Tails

My youngest son, Michael, loves to decorate for the holidays. Halloween was all cobwebs in the trees and fright masks on our porch bear. Once Halloween was over, we went looking for thanksgiving decorations. Know what? They are sorely lacking, at least in our neck of the woods.
But that didn't stop us, no, sir. In our search we found some little penguin yard stakes, the kind that light up. We bought them, took them home, and set them up in our front yard. Michael got busy and taped long colored feathers to their black and white behinds. Ta-da! Their turkey disguise is complete. Once Thanksgiving is over, we'll pluck their tail feathers and voila! We'll be all ready for Christmas.
Gobble, gobble, Ho-Ho-Ho!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

By Gum! Bazooka to the rescue!

I don't know about your house, but around here, tape is a luxury. Trying to find some when you need it is like looking for gold in the Mississippi River. Sometimes, though, you really, really need tape, and nothing else will do. "Hold still, Junior, and let me staple this note to your forehead."
Bob and I are headed out for a craft fair, and our teenage sons are staying home to take care of our pets, watch movies, and eat absolutely everything in the house. Since I'm the family's designated rabbit tender (no one else wants the little long-eared darlings), it wasn't too surprising when my 16-year-old admitted that he doesn't even remember we have pet rabbits until he's outside and sees their hutch. So I had to post a list of the things the boys needed to do while I was gone. I couldn't have my Netherland Dwarfs shrink away to nothing. So I wrote a list to tape on the door, but WHERE WAS THE TAPE? I looked in several places, everywhere, in fact, except the place where the tape was. What could I do? Staples don't work on a metal door, and I couldn't think of another place obvious enough for the all important note.
But then, just as I was about to scrawl the essential reminders on the wall in lipstick, I saw the bowl of old Halloween candy sitting on the refrigerator. What was this? Bazooka bubble gum? Oh, yeah!
I chewed a piece until it was pliable, then pulled it apart and glued the two upper corners of the note to the front door. Not only is the note in plain sight, it has a natural teenage attractant smell. I mean, what kid can resist bubble gum? (No, I don't expect there to be any leftover Halloween candy on our return.)
Hm. I wonder if rabbits like bubble gum?

Monday, November 5, 2007

May I Sit Here?

I was only looking for some human company at a craft fair when I carried my bowl of soup to an empty table, then glanced at the next table where a lady was filling foam bowls with soup from a quart jar for her two sons. I had opted to buy a single bowl of soup, not only to help the fund-raising dance troop that was selling it, but to help my empty stomach as well. "May I sit with you?" I asked the woman.

She looked up, her blue eyes round with surprise. Then her face softened into a slightly crooked smile. "Certainly," she said. "I'm Kathy."

"Thank you. I'm Shirley." I set my soup and breadsticks down and pulled up a chair. Just then, her husband, Kerry, came to the table with a loaf of bread from the food counter. I introduced myself. The first thing he said was, "Would you like some bread?"

I indicated my stiff breadsticks, which didn't look nearly as fresh and nice as his thick fluffy slices. "I've already got some," I said. As I ate, I found that if I dipped my breadsticks in my soup, they were more palatable and really quite filling.

My dinner companions and I talked about where we were from, how we enjoyed the craft fair, and what we did. I never expected Kerry to make me cry. As a home health nurse, he told me of a 106 year old man he'd taken care of for eleven years. "You get attached to them," Kerry said. "It's hard to see them go." His voice wobbled, and he picked up a napkin and dabbed his eyes. He went on to mention a pair of brothers with muscular dystrophy. "They depend on me," he said. "I get them up, get them washed, dressed, and fed. They can't do any of that for themselves. The older brother, well, when he turned 20, he said to his mother, 'I'm not a teenager any more, Mom.' That made her cry, because neither of her sons were expected to live past 20."

"How old is he now?" I asked.

"Twenty Four. He likes to listen to music. It's all he can do to push the button." Kerry made his hand into a claw shape. "He gets as close to the stereo as he can, then he reaches out and pushes at that button as many times as it takes to turn the stereo on." Kerry made jabbing motions with his clawed hand, then shook his head. "He loves music. He's an amazing kid."

I stared into Kerry's eyes. "I'm so glad you care so much for them. They're lucky to have you."

Kerry's eyes filled with tears that escaped his eyes as he said, "I'm lucky to work with them. I love my job. It's just so hard, because I get attached to them."

Things were getting misty, and I blinked. Things seemed so much clearer now. For the past few weeks, I'd bemoaned many facets of my life, a life that now bloomed as a spectacularly blessed one. What a selfish outlook I'd been harboring. Then along came this saintly man, caring for people who would die without help for the simplest tasks, things that I took for granted every morning. I blinked again and said, "You make such a difference in the world. And you've just told me what I desperately needed to hear. Thank you for letting me sit by you."

I placed my hand over his in farewell, said goodbye to his wife and sons, and, walking on my own legs, my flexible hands obeying every signal from my brain, I went to throw my soup bowl away.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Big Red Riding Hood

I admit it, even though some people (those with little imagination, I'm sure) look at me funny. I just love Halloween. I can't help it. I love dressing up, I love decorating with pumpkins and funny faced ghosts and old used crime scene tape (from our police officer son.) I laughed when two of our sons laid on the grass and outlined one another with white spray paint. Now don't give me the blood, gore, or slashers. That's not Halloween, that's horror.
Last year, I dressed as a baked potato. This year, I pulled out a long, red cloak that my cousin, Judi, made for me a few years ago. When I first saw the hem dragging on the ground, I told her she should shorten it.
"Oh, no," she said. "Long and sweeping is much cooler."
She was right. I once wore it to Hogle Zoo, and a guy from a group of bikers against child abuse sang that Little Red Riding Hood song, complete with wolf howl, as I walked down the sidewalk. When I walk free of anyone within ten yards of me, I'm safe. If I try to join a group moving down a hallway, inevitably, someone steps on the flowing him of my cape and threatens to garrote me. Very fitting for Halloween, I'm sure, but not my style.
I carried a basket covered with a cloth. Many people guessed I was Little Red Riding Hood. Close. I was Big Red Riding Hood, off to visit my grandchildren. I handed out several goodies as I went to work at the Alternative High School, and later at the elementary school Halloween parade.
I just love Halloween. Maybe it's the candy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Don't Swallow Your Harmonica

I'd never seen such a tiny harmonica. When my father-in-law put it to his mouth, I thought for sure that if he hiccuped, he'd be playing "Auld Lang Syne" in his sleep with every snore.
After a rendition of "Oh My Darling Clementine," he said, "Amazing, isn't it? I can play a song with just four holes."
"That is amazing," I said. "It's also amazing that you can keep hold of it. You could use that thing for a tie tac."
Dad lifted up a slender, silver chain that draped down from the end of the tiny harmonica. "Do you see this?" he asked. I nodded. "I keep it on this chain in case I accidentally swallow it. Then I can pull it back up."
I had to laugh. It's good to have a plan.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Who's That Crippled Lady Yellin' At Me?

It was supposed to be a fun ride, a clever way to lose a few extra pounds and get in shape. I never thought it'd be mistaken for a wheelchair. It's my new Tadpole EZ rider recumbent tricycle. Yeah, that's a mouthful, and if you've ever been on one, it's a sweet ride. I rode my sister's in Idaho Falls last summer and fell in love. I determined to get one... some day. Some day came sooner than I planned when I found the squirrely little buggars offered at an inventory reduction sale from a bike shop in Colorado. After extending my line of credit, I ordered the trike to be delivered to my house, even though the Fly Bike Shop wanted it delivered to another bike shop. Well, guess what? We don't have one in our town. Apparently, unless the little amphibian is put together by a professional, the 90 day warranty is void. Well, from where I'm standing in life, 90 days is not long enough to worry about. Besides, my nearly 14-year-old son was eager as all get-out to put the bike together. He's got quite a mechanical mind, so he read the book (which didn't have instructions for our model anyway) and started fitting things where they belonged, or looked like they belonged. You can learn a lot through trial and error. We recruited our neighbor, Doyle, to help with the project, and he said it looked like we had our machine upside down and backwards. Still, he was helpful and patient until Dad came rolling in to the rescue and put the chain on...twice. (The first time the trike would go forward only if you peddled backward. Thrilling!)
As soon as it was rideable, my sons were in line. They rode it into the night, even taping a flashlight to the front frame so they could keep on riding on the dark streets. I had to wait until today when they were all in school to get my turn. As I was tooling down the street, I saw my old 87 year old neighbor in his yard, so I called, "Hi, Roger!" and pedaled toward him. He slid his hat back on his head and looked at me in frank surprise. "Well, hello," he said when he recognized my face underneath my floppy sunhat. "I wondered who was that crippled lady yellin' at me."
I laughed. "Does it really look like a wheelchair?"
"More than it looks like a bike," he said.
After my ride, my thighs were burning. I could have used a wheelchair. I don't remember ever having such a fun workout.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Boxed and Ready to Sleep

While raising sons, I’ve discovered that each one has their own style. It does absolutely no good to take one boy and try to stuff him into his brother’s mold. If you persist in the attempt, they tend to yell a lot, because it’s not a good fit.
When my seven-year-old, Michael, showed delight over a huge cardboard box left over from an oversized printer his Dad ordered, it didn’t surprise me. It actually brought back memories of when I was a kid. I found a cardboard box on our front porch. No one seemed to want it, so I cut a doorway with a bread knife and forced a chair into the narrow end. It was a child-sized chair, and a tight fit, so in hindsight I realize that the box must have been narrow enough to ship a card table. But at the time, I didn’t care. I sat there in my own space, my own castle, for what seemed like hours.
Now think about your own childhood. You haven’t forgotten those racecar apple boxes, have you? Orange boxes work, too, as long as you pop the bottom flaps out. Holding the rectangle car up around your waist, you’d run around trying to smash into brother and sister cars that wove equally erratic paths around the yard. It was even cooler if you drew headlights and doors on your box. Once I even managed to turn a picture of an apple on the side of my box into a doorknob.
Now I was the Mom, and Michael asked if he could sleep in the box that night. Why not? It was no worse than camping. I figured he’d get tired of it after a night or two.
I figured wrong.
After he’d slept on a pile of blankets in his box on the bedroom floor for three nights, I got him tucked in his bed and started reading a story. After a couple of minutes he said, “Mom, I’m cold. Can I sleep in my box?”
Of course he could.

Monday, October 15, 2007

YIKES! I've been tagged by Don "Fast Fingers" Carey!

Four jobs I've had:
  1. Swimming Pool concessionaire
  2. Cutting hearts and livers out of turkeys
  3. Writing my boyfriend's name in the dust on top of high cupboards... (otherwise known as summer scrub crew)
  4. Playing saxophone in a musical duo with my sister dubbed "My Sister and Me." (Then she went and had triplets, and our career went down the drain with the dirty diapers.)
Four places I've lived:
  1. Haddon Heights, NJ
  2. Manti, UT
  3. The amazing Triads (student housing) in Logan, UT
  4. one magical summer in Boston, MA
Four movies I love:
  1. Sphinx
  2. Naughty Marietta
  3. Japanese version of "Shall We Dance?"
  4. Spirited Away
Four movies I'd like to see:
  1. Hawgs
  2. Hairspray
  3. Get Smart
  4. "Gold" series (My novels made into movies!)
Four favorite foods:
  1. Pizza
  2. Popcorn (cooked on the stove top, not the microwave mumbo jumbo)
  3. Watermelon
  4. Pumpkin Cookies
Four weird things about me:
  1. I imagined Elvis bouncing little pink pigs off his knees so I wouldn't cry while singing a hymn at my Dad's funeral. (Well, one of us sisters had to do something to carry the tune, and my Dad was such a tease, he still is, I'm sure, and I know he loved it!)
  2. I like to sleep with a dog bed pillow on my stomach.
  3. I make up my own patterns when I sew clothes for myself. (I won't tell you how many of them end up in the Thrift Store.)
  4. I don't mind if my boys play in the mud. (I only have sons, six of them, all wonderful and all muddy!)
Four places I'd rather be:
  1. Backyard swing
  2. On a recumbent bike, racing around the streets
  3. On a four wheeler, racing around the streets
  4. Someplace tropical
Four people to tag:
I don't know! Who's been tagged? Who hasn't? And how do I do this, exactly? I'll just push some buttons and see how it goes.

  1. Girl in a Whirl (what a cool blog name!)
  2. Lords of the Manor (cute little people on there)
  3. Living In Spin Cycle (I can relate... and it even has music!)
  4. Mind Muffins (Oh, my, the picture on the site was priceless!)

Teachings from an Aloe Vera

It was a funny looking thing. Dark green leaves, fat with healing juice, stood straight out from the little pot of soil as if they’d been electrified. The luscious round stalks soared up until the tips collapsed into brown, limp strands, sagging over the edge of the pot like burnt Christmas tinsel.

It was all my fault. I’d meant well, but a long Indian Summer lulled me into a false sense of security, and I left the little aloe vera plant on the porch too long. It liked being there at first, stretching its crown of green toward the un-window-filtered sunlight.

Then, all of a sudden, it was cold one morning when I stepped outside in my sandals. I stared at my aloe vera in disbelief. Brown dreadlocks covered its icy green face.

Was I failure as an aloe vera owner? Was the Aloe Vera Welfare Service headed for my doorstep?

I scooped up my frostbitten charge and smuggled it inside, looking both ways for blue ribbon gardener spies. There was no one in sight.

For days the forlorn plant sat on the windowsill above the kitchen sink, reminding me of my failure to keep it safe. I knew I should trim off the dead ends, but I didn’t trust myself. Not then. What if I’d killed it? What if it wasn’t all the way dead, but just nearly, and if I took scissors to its traumatized extremities, I’d kill it for sure?

So, I hurried in and out of the kitchen on my endless errands, casting guilty glances at my transformed plant. Finally, I noticed that part of it was still stubbornly green. So I took the scissors, hunched my shoulders, and did what had to be done.

Now the little guy’s got himself a spiffy new ‘do. He looks like a child all ready for Sunday School. The fresh ends of his blunt haircut glisten like rain. His round leaves soar upward and end in horizontal slants.

It’s hard to remember him in his saggy state. I don’t even want to.

And do you know what? That little aloe plant doesn’t even remember his dead ends. He’s ready to soak up the winter sun through kitchen window without a single thought for what went wrong last month.

We could learn a lesson from this little guy. When we make a change for the better, let’s let all the old stuff go down the garbage disposal. We certainly don’t need to retrieve whatever gets ground up down there. I don’t know about you, but I value my fingers too highly.

I hope you do too.

Hey, that green spiky ‘do with the blunt ends might not be such a bad look after all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Mystery of the missing Halloween globe

We have a Halloween globe in our front yard with flying styrofoam bats and light up ghosts inside. Since it's October, we have it out on the lawn with stern faced jack-o-lanterns. One morning we all left for the day, and when we came home, the Halloween globe was missing. I questioned everyone in the family, but no one admitted to knowing anything about where it was.
I was incensed! Who would steal a Halloween globe right off our lawn in broad daylight? Heart pumping with indignation, I got a long piece of paper that fit across the front of our house and wrote in big black letters: "God saw you take our Halloween globe. Is it worth your immortal soul? BRING IT BACK." When my husband, Bob, saw the sign, he took it down because he thought it was a bit extreme. Our teenage son, Zack, said that anyone who would steal a Halloween globe would just laugh at my sign.
A few days later, our youngest son, Michael, asked me to open the gate to our small side yard so he could get his bicycle. When I did, I stopped and stared in disbelief. There, mashed against our fence, was the Halloween globe. How did it get there? Someone said it must have blown over the fence, but the fence is made of solid wood boards, and it's taller than me! Weird. So I patched the tear in the plastic bubble and set it up in our front yard again. Whenever I come home, the ghosts flutter above the flickering flame inside, circled by swirling bats, stubbornly silent about the mysterious details of the dis-apparition of the Halloween globe.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Why Energetic Children Should Not Have Alarm Clocks!

When he was six years old, my youngest son begged for an alarm clock. I figured it would be a passing fancy. What does a six year old need to get up for, except to pee, and there’s a built in alarm clock for that.
For a while, it was a novelty. He made it ring over and over, moving the alarm indicator and then the watch hands to enjoy another full minute of clatter. I asked him to close his bedroom door.
One early summer morning I even heard the distant “dingaling” of his alarm clock and climbed up the stairs to turn it off. Michael lay with eyes closed, mouth slightly open, obviously dreaming of a drawer full of silverware doing the hokey pokey.
Even when his room fell silent, he didn’t stir.
Definitely a passing fancy.
But when he turned seven, something happened. He came into my room at 3:30 am. Thinking he’d had a bad dream, I instructed him to go to the bathroom before he got in bed with his dad and me. I didn’t want to risk his internal alarm clock failing to wake him up when he reached critical bladder mass.
It was only after he finished the night with his feet in my back and his hard skull doing its best to knock me unconscious that I found out the truth.
He’d purposely set his alarm clock for 3:30 a.m. “I wanted to get up earlier than anyone,” he said.
The next night, we talked about him not setting his alarm to go off so early.
“But I still want to get up before everyone else,” he said.
“Dad goes to work at 6:00 a.m. so why not set your alarm for 5:30?”
He grinned and set his alarm.
And was up at 3:30.
This time he didn’t come into my room.
He had a bath.
And played on the computer.
And watched a movie.
He forgot to eat until I got up at 7:00 and offered him breakfast.
And he went to school happy.
That night, we all got ready to go to the high school to watch his big brother play basketball. Michael wasn’t sure he wanted to go. “I might fall asleep.”
You know, Michael, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Not So Clever Credit Card Trick

I had the greatest idea when I needed to go to the store and also needed my morning walk - I'd combine the two tasks. Trouble is, I walk with hand weights and I didn't want the burden of a handbag over one shoulder, so I tucked my credit card in my shoe. (All right, I can hear you wondering how I would carry my purchases home if I didn't want to carry anything. All I was after was an extension cord, and I planned to wear the plastic bag on my back. Yes, you can! Put an arm through one of each of the carrying handles with the bag at your back and slide the handles up to your shoulders. Let the bag hang down like a backpack and walk away!) So I got to the edge of the parking lot and one of my ankle weights fell off. (Inferior Velcro!) I was close enough to the store that I dug in the side of my shoe for the credit card. It wasn't there. I took my shoe off. It still wasn't there. With panic rising, I pulled my shoe on and hurried back along my route, scanning the ground for my lost card. A couple of times a stray turkey feather pretended to be my credit card. I prayed I'd find it, but when I got to my block I knew it was gone. Someone had picked it up, and I needed to cancel it the very second the bank opened. I popped in the front door, popped off my walking shoes, and my credit card popped out of the shoe I hadn't removed in the parking lot! Isn't it awesome when your prayers are answered so PLAINLY? (I just love it!)

Eau de la Snowmobile Fuel

"What's that smell? sniff, sniff. It smells good, like...snowmobile fuel. sniff, sniff. Mrs. Bahlmann! It's you!"
I raised my eyebrows in surprise at the beaming young high school student.
"No, really, it smells good," he assured me. "When I'm out riding, sometimes I get behind the snowmobile in front of me just so I can breathe in the exhaust fumes."
Well, that explains it.
Perfume shopping is one of the least desirable joys of my feminine life. After high school, when I went through my fruit basket phase (Lemon Sunburst body spray, Strawberry Fields essential oil, Peach Delight perfume), I've preferred to find one scent and stick with it. In college it was "Smitty." Then it disappeared from drug store shelves. After some painful, headache-inducing forays to the perfume counter, I finally found "Scoundrel." That was a relief, until they quit making it. There was one with an Italian name that I forget, which is just as well, because they quit making it, too.
"Just go without," my non-feminine husband, Bob, suggested.
I opened my eyes wide at him. "You mean just smell like deodorant?"
He shrugged. "Yeah."
"Then I'd smell like a guy," I said, and launched my next best plan.
I took several small baggies and cotton balls to the department store. I spritzed cotton balls with sample scents and sealed them in plastic so the mixed smells wouldn't assault my poor nasal passages and make my brain ache. I wrote the perfume names on the outside of each baggy, and took my soggy little treasures home. Each day, I tried a different cotton ball behind my ears, on my wrists, and in the crooks of my elbows. Each day I asked my husband and sons if they liked how I smelled. None of them cared, until the day I dabbed on vanilla scent. "Do you like how this smells?" I asked, holding my wrist under one son's nose.
His eyes snapped open, he leaned in toward me and took a big sniff. "Wow," he said. "Are you baking cookies?"
Another son perked up. "Cookies! That's what I smell! When will they be ready, Mom?"
A chorus of "Cookies! Cookies! Where are the cookies?" filled the air.
After I'd baked a quadruple batch of cookies, and eaten far too many myself, I sorted through my perfume baggies to get rid of the vanilla flavor. That's when I noticed that most of the marker labels had rubbed off, leaving me to wonder what smell was in which baggie.
Aw, forget it. I tossed them all in the trash.
Now, without even trying, I've found myself smelling like a popular winter sport. I have six bottles of this scent stashed in my underwear drawer. Ah, well. At least it doesn't give me a headache, and there are worse things I could smell like.
Hey, how's the powder this year?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Black and White TV

Hey, this blogspot business is confusing to a girl who was born in the time of black and white television. I mean, having three TV channels was high times in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. I'm so embarrassed to admit that I have two empty blogs here... and I don't even know how they got there! I wish I knew which magic buttons to push in order to fill them in so I don't appear to be such a Neanderthal Woman. But, hey, I'm here now, and hopefully this will go through. So give me a gold star on my forehead and point me in the direction of blogging lessons!