Category Archives: #humor

Will You Die in Quicksand today?

I was a sheltered child.

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I carried an umbrella inside a lean-to, within a bomb shelter, surrounded by a castle fortress, guarded by a moat filled with ravenous alligators, and I had the Sword of the Lord by my side.

I was carefully sheltered from racy television shows such as Happy Days and the Dick van Dyke show. Of course, we watched Emergency! religiously every week so my off-the-charts fear levels were amped up every week, 500cc of wringers lactate notwithstanding.  It is a wonder I made it out of childhood intact in any way, shape, or form.

The natural world was also presented as a terrifying place. Fish bones could easily choke and kill you. Creeks contain holes you can inadvertently step in and instantly drown. And everybody said there was quicksand in the creek next to my house.

(Apparently the 60s was a decade when there was a popular tv trope wherein people would sink in quicksand. The more they struggled, the deeper they sank.)

In spite of all this sheltering, somehow, under my umbrella, in my lean-to, in the bomb shelter, in the fortress, behind the line of hungry hungry alligators, with Sword of the Lord at my side, I saw a depiction of this deadly quicksand on some tv movie.

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OMFG. Poor siouxsie.

Turns out, fish can be eaten fairly easily without causing death. Holes in creeks are almost never large enough or deep enough to swallow you whole and kill you. Happy Days and the Dick van Dyke show weren’t quite as bad as I was led to believe, and quicksand? I laughed this morning when I read about it on Wikipedia.

Quicksand’s not even dangerous.

Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Blog at Catblog Readership Level

My blog is about 5 years old. When I began, Blogger allowed me to set up a sort of distribution list so that certain people would receive my posts via email. A sort of reverse subscription system. In five years, I have had small spurts of growth, but have basically maintained a very small readership and even smaller commentership. So, I am an expert at this topic.

Here, without further ado, are the Top 10 Ways to Keep Your Blog at Catblog Readership Level

1. Post occasionally, with gaps of months between posts. That way, anyone who has been lured in by your wit and wisdom will fall away in the interim because there are many, many other shiny things to see.

2. Don’t post about current events. That way, your blog will not get found in the search engine for anyone searching for the hot topic of the day.

3. Remain uncontroversial. Just be your sensible, conscientious, non-swearing self in your posts and see your loyal readership appreciate you.

4. Write about stuff personal to you that doesn’t have really any connection to many other people. That way, you’ll be able to avoid that “niche” that might increase visitors, readers, and comments.

5. Be boring, as far as the virtual world sees things. Don’t have any extramarital affairs; don’t kill anyone; don’t boldly go where no [wo]man has gone before.

6. Really be concerned about what you write in case your parents or your children read something that they will find scandalous. This keeps things nice and safe.

7. Don’t drink a weird green smoothie (almond milk, kale, spinach, protein powder, crushed ice) while you post, because that is just weird. Not trendy at all. Get with the program.

8. Channel the spirit of Eeyore while you type and as you consider your blog overall. Poor Eeyore is just pitifully thankful for the slightest amount of attention. Consider this interaction between Pooh and Eeyore which I brazenly cut-and-pasted from

“Good morning, Pooh Bear,” said Eeyore gloomily. “If it is a good morning,” he said. “Which I doubt,” said he.
“Why, what’s the matter?”
“Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it.”
“Can’t all what?” said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
“Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush.”

9. Review non-mainstream books and movies that gave you all the feels but don’t transfer well to the bloggerverse of readers.

10. Finally, use a picture of your cat as your avatar. This keeps anyone from looking at you and laughing, or admiring, or feeling they can connect with you.

So, la la la, here you have it. All the things you should not do! And in the words of my very favorite Pooh character, TTFN!

How to be a Kick-ass Mother of Actual Children

First, you have to acquire some children of your own. You may adopt, foster, or give birth to your babies. Make sure they are yours. Having one more child than you think you can comfortably handle will be the thing that absolutely demands the best you can give. At times, it will demand MORE than you can give, which in turn increases your abilities. Sometimes it takes awhile for the abilities to increase. Ask me how I know. 🙂

Believe in what you are doing. This includes discipline, nutrition, healthcare, social development, education, religion, exercise, and love. It’s really awesome when you can be consistent about these things, but there is also value in being open to learning new ideas and implementing them judiciously. I recommend that if you want to change the type of bread your children are eating, that you NOT angrily throw out all the Wonder bread and then present them with seriously firm whole wheat bread at dinner, homemade or not. 🙂

Do what you believe in. This requires you to make more effort than you want to, go places, put the mittens and coats and snow pants and boots on all the little hands and legs and feet, drive to places you haven’t been, notice what is around you and teach your children “in the way.” Every minute is an opportunity to teach your children, but you must be intentional about this. I remember once we went to a local greenhouse to draw a picture of a bird of paradise plant. Just for that reason.

When my 4 big kids were little, I didn’t even own a cellphone, let alone stare at it for minutes/hours at a time. I have one little kid left, and he knows all about mommy’s phone and how much she likes to use it.

Delight in your children. Celebrate their joys. See the world through their eyes, and share their excitement about the small things. One of my favorite memories is of shucking corn with one of my children on our back porch. Apparently, he was just putting some facts together in his mind, because as we pulled the shucks off, he said in a reverent yet excited voice, “Mommy, I wonder what is inside here!”

Keep some tangible records of your experiencesMake memories together doing things, and take pictures of what you do. Make some of your records old-fashioned things like notebooks with handwritten memories in them, Again, no cell phones back in the day, so while it is very easy now to take photos of every single moment of our lives, it is important to be intentional about how we preserve memories for our children. I managed to attend a popular scrapbooking home party one time, but never managed more than a couple of scrapbook pages. I’m actually glad about that, as I have come to understand the value of having less “stuff.”

Apologize and ask for forgiveness. No parent ever does it all right. Think of the most perfect parent you know, and then realize that their children are still going to have issues to work through as they grow and develop. That is just the way life is. Asking for forgiveness is one of the most important relational skills I know about. Saying the words, “Will you forgive me?” is POWERFUL. Granting forgiveness to someone who is asking genuinely is POWERFUL.

Learn about natural consequences and let your children experience them. In my opinion, this is MUCH, much harder to do these days. We are all basically on record for everything we say and do. So, this one may need some thoughtful consideration of how to implement it in our digital world. But, trust me; when you fail to do this; when you fail to let your children fail in a safe way, you are not doing them any favors.

Have a good primary relationship, ideally with the father of the children. I know, I know, kids are growing up just “fine” coming from divorced homes. But there is something brilliant about modeling a relationship for children; a relationship that includes mistakes, forgiveness, joy, laughter, tears, anger, and figuring out how to deal with irreconcilable differences (because every single relationship has them). I realize that there are situations where divorce is necessary. I’m just saying that whatever the relationship status is of the parents, make it a good one.

Stay current with trends, language, media, and habits of the generation of your children. It keeps you young, for one thing. For another thing, it can be easier to communicate with a child when you understand what a “meme” is, or when you know what kind of clothes most of the kids are wearing, or when you stay somewhat abreast of slang!

Believe that you are a kick-ass mother. My first baby was born in 1993, and from 1993 to about 2006, I felt I was doing a great job as a mother. From 2006 to about 2013, I felt more and more like a failure, partly because I had unrealistic expectations about what the word “teenager” means. See, I had only my own teenage experience which was alarmingly bereft of rebellion and acting out. Turns out, not many go that route.

What would you add to this list? 

I’m firing my inner critic

Dear Sir or Madam:

It has recently come to our attention that you have elected yourself to be the critic of our life. We believe this appointment was tacitly agreed upon by us quite a few years ago. You were able to stay undetected for quite some time, as we were already convinced that you were right. The purpose of our letter today is to let you know of some upcoming changes in regard to your role as self-appointed Critic of me, myself, and I, and our creative output.

Your role as critic has been carried out with brash aplomb; with brusque equanimity; with bold commentary, and without a scrap or iota of compassion. Your one-dimensional approach has been exhausting to us, but unfortunately seems to be what you actually thrive on, much like the Monsters of Monstropolis did when they used the fearful screams of children to power their city.

You’ve done your job quite thoroughly. I recognize that you have been attempting to keep me in my place; to prevent Tall Poppy syndrome from arising, as it were. However, your insistent words of caution and unrelenting words of criticism are no longer welcome, and indeed are decidedly unwelcome. All of us are just as Tall Poppy as we are, and do not need the likes of you and your cohorts to cut us down. Have you even ever looked at a field of Poppies? Have you ever considered the beauty that is in every one of those poppies? Same things applies to people, dude (or dudette).

Although yours is a familiar voice, Critic, I will be listening closely for it to creep into my consciousness. That familiarity has rendered me insensate at times and unable to dispute your comments because they have simply oozed into my awareness. Your observations entered just below the level of my conscious awareness, right in the tender spot where I feel my life. No more. Believe that I will be paying attention so as to be prepared to respond to you immediately; to tell you in no uncertain terms to get lost; stop talking; cease and desist; STFU.

Your most-used refrain seems to be all the things I shoulda woulda coulda done; denigrating, minimizing and ignoring what I DID do, overlooking the brilliance of the try, the power of the step. Perhaps you feel mighty when you point out my imperfections. Perhaps you feel in control. Perhaps you don’t know any other way. Perhaps I’ve had enough.

To borrow a phrase from Matthew Kelley, Critic, I’m perfectly imperfect. I do not embrace your equating imperfection with being defective. I learn from my mistakes, Critic, every attempt, every failure, every step — even the backwards ones.

Your most beguiling trait is your ability to take something that has some truth in it and twist that morsel into a weapon. No, Critic, you are no longer welcome. You shall be as children of old; seen, but not heard.


If you wish to hang around, listen and observe and learn something, I’ll allow it, but make no mistake: comments will get you banished from the area.

Aside from that, you’re outta here.

Sauce on the Side — Restaurant Review

I used to know a kid. He grew up and opened a restaurant in St Looey called Sauce on the Side. I lost touch with him, but thanks to the wonder of Facebook, I caught up with him about 15 years after I’d last seen him. While it’s true I don’t live anywhere close to St Louis, we traveled through there recently. My official title was “Excellent Restaurante Finder,” since Driver, Navigator, Teenager, and Are-we-there-yet-er, were taken.

I phoned ahead. OF COURSE. The answer threw me off. All I heard was, “Hello?” Don’t businesses say the name of their establishment usually, to keep the caller from saying, like I did: “Is this Sauce on the Side?”

Thought I’d go ahead and place our order to pick up in an hour, when we’d be driving through the city. They thought different. “Um, can you call back closer to the time?” Maybe they didn’t have the electronic ability to mark an hour for any future time? Almost always agreeable and willing to accommodate, I agreed with a laugh. The guy had made me laugh early on by telling me he would write “Andale! Andale!” to speed up the order. (We would later find out how ironic this was.)

In 30 minutes, I called the hello guy back. He needed to put me on hold. Actually, he needed to put me on HOOOOOLLLLLLLD. Three minutes later, I called back thinking maybe my call had been dropped. I called back — TWELVE TIMES. Each call went to their voicemail, which says, “don’t leave an order on here, buddy. call back.”

Finally, I reached them and placed our order. Thanks to the wonders of electronic navigation, we cruised right downtown and found a parking place in front of the store. We went in and I told them I was there to pick up an order for Susan.

This started a veritable “who’s on first?” comedy of errors. That’ll be $39, he said, and handed me two receipts. One for me to sign, one for me to keep. So far, so good. But THEIR copy of the receipt said $42.65, and my copy of the receipt was for a completely different order and had been signed by Brandon. I inquired about the difference in the price, and mentioned that Brandon’s receipt really wasn’t mine.

The young man (let’s call him Dude) was clearly mystified. Apparently, they had had another order for another Susan, which was further confusing this terribly bemusing situation. So, Dude called another guy (aka Fuzzy Hair) over to investigate this huge mystery. Of course, in any case of mystification, the confusing item must be restated at least 8 times. Dude and Fuzzy Hair needed a third guy to come and powwow with. Crewcut, who I suspect was management, came in and authoritatively cleared everything up. But this process took approximately 10 minutes.

Remember I had called ahead.

We proceeded to wait for about another 15 minutes in the store. The order was originally supposed to take 20 minutes. So, from the time I called in, it had now been about 40 minutes. Well, we weren’t in a big hurry, so we were ok with it.

Finally, Fuzzy Hair walked out from behind the counter and began to call out my name in a monotone: “Suzanne, Suzanne.” Pretty much exactly like Bueller’s teacher did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He walked to the left of the pillar in the center of the restaurant, and was walking clockwise. I heard “Suzanne” and assumed it was me. Problem was, I was on the opposite side of the pillar, and also walking clockwise. I began to speed up more and more, but couldn’t seem to catch him! I finally decided to stop, drop, and roll. Or at least stop and turn around.

We had to ask for silverware. Hm, seems like something that should be included in an order which contains three salads. But, I digress. Suzanne and the crew carried the to-go food to the car and began loading back up. Suddenly, Fuzzy Hair appeared next to the car. “Do you have a pen?” he asked. “Did you eat at Sauce on the Side?” (as though we are complete strangers he’s never seen before).

Sadly, the extra chicken we paid $2 each for for three salads was only on one of them, so the three of us divided the two little pieces of chicken into sixths.

The salads were good. The calzone was reportedly good. The location was good. The restaurant decor was cool, although a bit of a mystery.

However, I’m all for letting “art … flow … over me.” The guys were friendly. Overall, it just seemed like they were still working out some of the bugs. I don’t know how long they have been open, but they are opening a second location, so it’s been a little while.

Although I didn’t get to see the guy I used to know who was the reason we even stopped there, I’m glad we stopped. I recommend it, and even more so if you are eating there, and can have them correct anything they leave off.

I love the concept and the energy that clearly exists among the three principles. So, much to commend it. Just don’t walk clockwise around the pillar when you hear your name (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). Stand there.

Suzanne? Suzanne? Suzanne?

5 Things MY Cell Phone Can Do

I got a forwarded email message the other day about “5 Things You Never Knew Your Cell Phone Could Do.” I had gotten it before, but this time I swung by Snopes to see what they had to say. As usual, most of the message wasn’t true, according to Snopes. But I was inspired, none the less. What follows is a list of 5 Things I have discovered, sometimes by accident, that my cell phone can do. Check them out:

5 more things my cell phone can do:

1. When mountain climbing, point the phone at the top of the mountain and press #768#7. The distance to the peak will immediately be reduced by up to five meters, depending on the model of your phone.

2. When driving faster than the speed limit, and you see a policeman, point your cell phone at the radar and dial *#*#*#*#. This will disable his radar machine for up to 30 seconds which is usually long enough for you to blow by him undetected. Be careful when pressing the keys while driving. Higher rates of accidents have been detected among drivers who are speeding AND using a cell phone.

3. If one of the bags of groceries you bought gets left on the bagging stand at the store, when you realize it, depending on how many miles you are from the store, dial #88#(number of miles) and the store will automatically tag the bag with your cell phone number. That way it will be easy to identify when you go back to pick it up. No more having to remember that the bag had a pound of cherries, a bottle of Clorox, 4 pears, and some pudding in it. It is important to get the correct number of miles in the code though. Otherwise, the bag will be randomly assigned to another number which is serviced by another carrier.

4. When you go shopping at an unfamiliar Kroger and the layout is just so annoyingly different, dial the number of your regular Kroger and enter the store number followed by the date followed by #16. For example, 413090408#16. On your screen will be the number of the aisle of all the regular foods you buy, based on the data reserved in the cell phone towers from all the Krogering you have ever done. {Ed note: We tried this! It was amazing to see the aisle number for pretzels come right up on the screen! We didn’t even have to look up to read those stupid signs hanging from the ceilling!)

5. While trying on shoes at one of those “self-serve” places where there are actually clerks but they are awfully hard to get a hold of, in order to determine if “your size” is in stock in the storeroom, enter the barcode, the size and the price, then point your phone in the direction of where you think the storeroom is. If you have the correct type of cell phone (and they almost all work, believe me), and have pointed it in the correct compasss direction, your phone will either ring to signify yes they are in stock, or vibrate to signify no they are not. Shoe salesmen are being trained to listen for the rings to detect customers who are the most worthy of their time, so this is a real time saver.

Please forward these amazing features of cell phones to everyone you know! They work! They do! No kidding!

And this concludes the public service portion of my blgging for the day.

iPods and Water don’t mix

In this picture, someone has cleverly created a tiny aquarium in an ipod looking thing. Yesterday at my house, someone cleverly tried to do the same thing, but that someone decided to just put my U2 ipod INTO the fish bowl on the table.

This raises many questions.

How did he get onto the table?
Was there ever as expensive a beta fish as we have now?
Did he KNOW about this iPod aquarium thing and was he trying to replicate it?
Was he just being two or was there something more to this?
Did you know that you can get water into an iPod far easier than you can get it out?
Even if you shake it?
Even if you suck the water through the headphone jack?

My advice to all of you beta-owning,fishbowl-on-the-table-positioning, two-year-old-badly-supervised-parents out there is this:

Throw away your chairs, so your child can never get on your table.

Welcome to My Kitchen

In the evenings, I usually retire to my bedroom to escape from the sound of the television in the family room. I snuggle up in bed with a great book and my bottle of water and read until Kepler comes in to go to sleep, at which time I go to sleep as well. Am I a party animal or what? (Note that my accompanying photo is also a public service announcement. Am I am civic-minded gal or what?)

Well, last night, my lovely diapered son had one of THOSE diapers and the rest of my lovely family rose to the occasion, bathing him, changing the diaper, fumigating the rooms, etc. which I deeply appreciate. Truly and deeply. They are all great with taking care of Kepler.

This morning, though, as I walked through the kitchen, I noticed they had, uh, forgotten something. How to say this. There was a largish, hardened clump of something. Something that by the looks of it had escaped from that bad diaper last night. (Sorry to all you childless people for whom this is probably incomprehensible).

Don’t worry. It’s all cleaned up and disinfected now. And while we were at it, we pulled the refrigerator out from the wall. I think, maybe from the looks of what we found under there, it may have needed to be done a little sooner. But it’s done now and everything is sparkly and clean and we really enjoyed those raisins. (not really!)

Which reminds me, how is it so difficult for the eaters in this house to get the grapes they snitch from the fridge into their mouth? And the chocolate chips from the freezer into their mouth? Talk about be sure your sins will find you out. Not that either thing is a sin, cause neither is, but I always chuckle when I see the chocolate chips on the floor since I know they (kids, not chocolate chips) all try to be so sly. The darn grapes, though, roll under the fridge, which, as we have established, needs to be moved a little more often. But the grapes do make some LOVELY raisins . . .

Just to finish up here — under the fridge we found the following items: 5 different types of toys, a plethora of pencils, a myriad of markers, a 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, very and sundry bits and pieces of food, and, drumroll please, an envelope from last Christmas.

But let’s focus on the bright side, shall we?

Daddy Gets to Help Fix the Lawnmower

When we told Greg’s parents we had bought this house with its 3/4 acre yard, Greg’s dad’s only comment was a dry, “You’re gonna spend all your time doing yardwork.” Ha! Did we care? Not even a whit.

Fast forward a few years. Cutting the grass with a pushmower takes hours and hours . . . and hours. At that point, between soccer games, work, and cutting the darn grass, Greg’s booked solid all the time. Somewhere in there, we had our fifth child and bought a BIG ‘OL funky lawnmower which would take less time but had the unfortunate side effect of being SO big that no one besides Greg in our family even had the wingspan to reach the handles of the thing. So, no longer could I “help” out by cutting the front. Actually, it was a nice handy excuse to no longer worry about how tall the grass was getting and whether I should, as my friend Stephanie says, “do a little less dui-ing and a little more yardwork.” (As an aside, I must mention that it would be completely impossible for me to do any less dui-ing than I already do. I’m sure you can imagine.)

The BIG OL’ funky lawnmower was purchased from a nice neighbor a couple of houses down from us and has served us well. But as you can see, we had to consult our resident repairman recently due to a mower problem.

“Dad, I think you are going to need to get a new belt here. And it should be good as new. But my opinion is that you are just cutting off your pull start to spite your spark plug by not getting a mower that my big brothers and sisters can use.”

Lo and behold, what should follow Greg home this week but a brand-new (Consumer Reports Best Buy!) push mower.

So, not only did he take the repairman’s advice about the pushmower, he also picked up a new belt for the BOFL, and now we can all mow like the happy family we are.

I think I am still going to pretend like the lawnmowers are either too tall, too wide, or entirely too heavy for me and keep on blogging.