Trav'lin' Along There's a Song That We're Singin'

Posted on 6/28/2011 07:07:00 AM
Caterpillar:  "Hey, Momma, I got a great idea!"

Me: "What's that?"

"Why don't we make our car into a band and get all our family in the car and drive around and sing music and we can paint the car?"

"Who's that, Momma?"

"Never mind.  Where'd you get this great idea?"

"I just thought of it in my head."

"How would we paint the car?"

"We could use those finger paints that we have in the kitchen."

"OK... what music would we sing?"

"We could sing songs that I wrote at school."

"Gotcha.  But what are the songs you wrote at school?  Can you sing one for me?"

"We could sing I'll Love You on Wednesday, But I'm Not Gonna Love You Next Week."

So basically, what you're gonna need to be looking for is a Partridge Family Tribute Band driving along in a finger painted Subaru and singing country music.  We should be easy to spot.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 6/27/2011 03:57:00 PM In:
Things I learned from my talkative travel companions this weekend


Why I didn't finish reading my book even though I spent eight hours on a bus this weekend

  1. Based on the relative decibel level of most people using in-ear earphones to listen to their iPods, any new government health care program had better start covering hearing aids soon or our next great generation will be needing to learn sign language to communicate with each other before they're fifty.
  2. A cast on your arm turns out to be a pretty good conversation starter. (Much to the dismay of everyone else on the bus.)
  3. "An apple has more caffeine than a cup of coffee."  So if you already had three cups of coffee today, better say no to that apple the stranger on a bus offers you.  (Wait, no it doesn't.)
  4. "In Mexico, if you order a hamburguesa, they put HAM on it.  Get it??!?! HAMburguesa!" (Actually, no.  But in Paraguay they do put a fried egg on it.)
  5. Some people are maybe a little too boastful about their parallel parking skills.
  6. I'm pretty sure no matter how good your parallel parking is, it's not going to score you the phone number of the pretty girl who happens to be sitting in the seat next to you.
  7. When that pretty girl gives you a list of "things she likes in a guy" and the first five are clearly not you, it's a hint. Don't try to make it about you.
  8. "Maybe we'll bump into each other while you're in New York" is not a date.  It's also highly unlikely if she neglects to tell you where she's staying or going.
  9. It might be amusing to your seatmate to read the transcripts of an entire comedy album aloud to your seatmate for two hours and he might even like it.  But I can guarantee the other people sitting near you will applaud when he gets off the bus in Baltimore and takes his iPad with him.
  10. You always thought the phrase was knee jerk reaction, but apparently it's really "jerk knee reaction."
  11. "If there was a list of things that plague the world, it would be like One: poverty, Two: Cancer, and Three: Traffic." (Actually, I think there is a list of things that plague the world, buddy.  I guess "traffic" is just conspicuous by it's absence.)
  12. People in their early twenties who have never dated anyone for more than six months at a time are pretty confident they know everything about how to make a marriage work.
  13. Look, I'm not trying to say you shouldn't strike up a conversation with the pretty and/or handsome stranger who has to sit next to you on a long trip.  I'm just suggesting that maybe you should hold those conversations a little more quietly because that cranky lady across the aisle who can't concentrate on her book because of your incessant and constant jabbering just might be typing every bananas thing you say into her phone for later posting on the interweb.  
That is all.

My thoughts: 

Camp Sweatshop Retuns, Sort Of

Posted on 6/24/2011 04:46:00 PM In: , ,

My computer has been dying a slow, painful death (or come to think of it, maybe that's just me; my computer probably doesn't care a whit) and it's been hard to find time to write about anything lately.  Couple that with several Big Work Things and what you get is a lame minutae post.


The Dormouse has had a rather rough last half of the school year.  Who knew that Mean Girl thing started in second grade?  I've vacillated between wanting to march on down to more than a few little girls' houses to throw eggs at their windows and trying to get The Dormouse to accept her part in all the interpersonal relationship stuff and try and work it out on her own.  Needless to say, I was probably more greatful for summer than any kid you know this year if for no other reason than that all the little friends in her class which will most likely all be paired in the same class next year will get a break from each other.  But now, what to do with them?


Camp Sweatshop started with the best of intentions and a plan to focus on one academic thing for each child.  For The Caterpillar, it was to learn to read.  For The Dormouse, to catch her math skills up to her reading skills, specifically to learn her multiplication tables.  But then The Dormouse went and learned all her multiplication facts in the last two weeks of school. Too bad there's not a School House Rock division song.


Despite my big plans for Camp Sweatshop 2011, I have also been continuing to give my all at my job.  This week I made a mistake that cost the company over a grand.  I think my plans for that Employee of the Year Award are completely cinched now.


I wussed out on starting Camp Sweatshop out right this week because of trying to fix the Big Work Thing I messed up.  So instead, on the days they didn't have summer camp this week, I let them watch too much TV and ignored them while I wrestled with my computer.  When I took time to look up, I realized that they started Camp Sweatshop without me in the form of some sort of sugar crystal project The Dormouse devised.

From what I'm told, they were conducting an experiment to see which concentration of sugar and water would grow crystals around the snippet of yarn the fastest.  I don't know the answer, but I can tell you that bags left on the counter full of sugar water that have tiny holes in them bring cats to the counters to knock over stuff at exactly 3:23 a.m.


The second Camp Sweatshop activity of the day turned out to be yanking up some Queen Anne's Lace that was growing in our front yard and putting it in colored water to see if they leaves would turn the color of the water.  This one ended up a little more positively because it was better supervised.

Their hypothesis was correct.


We have been working hard on Hectaro Lagrimoso, North Forty division and have replaced a portion of dead hedge row with tomato plants, much to our neighbors' dismay.  I'm pleased to say that we have a splendid array of potted pepper plants as well.  I suppose there are people out there who don't plan their fall harvest according to how many different kinds of salsa they can create, but I don't want to know those people.  I also better not catch my neighbor stealing my tomatoes.


About the same time we planted the tomato and pepper plants, The Caterpillar brought home that old put a seed in a plastic cup o' dirt project from school.  For a change, instead of letting that cup o' dirt get over-watered and moldy and then watching the poor little seed try and fail to become a beautiful butterfly I mean, flower, I bought a funny pot on sale at the drug store and replanted her rye grass and marigold mixture in it.  She now refers to this as the "Momma Pot."  I don't know whether to be offended or flattered.


Other events of the week included putting marshmallows in the microwave and then cackling hysterically as they ballooned up to three times their normal size.

And dissolving egg shells off the eggs in a bowlful of vinegar. 

We are nothing if not eclectic.

My thoughts: 

Rickshaw Driver in Training

Posted on 6/21/2011 06:55:00 PM
Speaking of talents, some of us never quite realize how tough it is to do the Wheelbarrow Hand Walk exercise when a four year old and a seven year old are your exercise partners.  

Until they try, that is.

There was also an attempt to make a human bridge,

and a jumping contest.

Sometimes, I'm really glad I'm always the one behind the camera.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 6/19/2011 05:06:00 AM In:

Manager:  What is your name?
Tick:  Nick.
Manger:  Mr. ...?
Tick:   Wait, no one told me we had to....uhhh...Mr.... Nick... Soap Dish. It's...uh...French.
Manager:  Really? Sounds... made up... to me.

The KingofHearts works at an undisclosed location where he does some technical, engineery-type stuff that he will be happy to bore you with should you need that information... or even if you don't. This is a story I've been dying to tell but out of respect for one of his colleagues who may have stumbled upon this blog, and who has already endured more than his share of ribbing, I've refrained until now. 

Now that that dude has quit and moved across the country, I don't feel so beholden to him anymore.

About a year or so ago they hired a new guy at The Company... let's call him Derek. Derek was a nice guy from a smaller town who didn't always catch the gotcha-kind-of-humor the other lame-stream engineers enjoyed. 

Everyone was quite kind in welcoming him to The Company, so when the subject of nicknames came up, he didn't realize that people were yanking his chain.  The way I heard it told, someone suggested that in order to work in there, he'd need a good nickname.  Like T-Bone... or Liza... you know, a name that makes people light up.

Helpful engineer #1, "What's your nickname?"

Derek questioned, "Nickname?"

"Yeah, dude.  Everyone here has a nickname," explains helpful engineer #1.

"Well, I never had a nickname before," Derek replies.

"Well, ya gotta have a nickname to work here," adds helpful engineer #2.

"We could give you one," says my helpful husband.

"Ok!" says Derek, maybe a little too excited to be given a nickname. 

Helpful engineer dude #1 brightens, "Hey!  What about D-Bags?"

"Yeah!  That's an awesome nickname," encourages engineer dude #2.

They're both being sarcastic, by the way, but this is lost on our friend Derek, who is too nice and thinks too highly of people to assume the worst from them.

My husband, always the instigator, was supportive of his colleagues, "Yeah, D-Bags is an awesome nickname.  We should totally call you that!"

Derek, being unaware of the less-than-positive connotation of the term, could think of not a single reason to object. Maybe it reminded him of Joe-Bags, I don't know.  Whatever the reason, he agreed wholeheartedly.

And so, our friend Derek became D-Bags.  For about a week, everyone at The Company called him that.  And D-Bags was just as happy as he could be about it.  Until another engineer, we'll call him Killjoy Uncle Matty, let the guilt get to him and decided it was just too cruel. 

"Guys, that's just not right.  You need to tell him," Uncle Matty said to the lame-stream engineers.

"Don't you say anything!" the others warned.

But Uncle Matty is nicer than all the others.  And so he floated the idea to D-Bags, without telling him the joke outright, that he should request another nickname.

"Dude, you should get a different nickname."

"Why?  I think it's kind of cool that the guys gave me a nickname."

"No, dude, you need to ask for a new nickname.  D-Bags is Not. A. Good. Nickname."


Now Uncle Matty may be nicer than the others, but that doesn't mean he was willing to shut it down entirely.  Perhaps he was too kind compassionate concerned about his feelings embarassed to explain it to him.  Perhaps he couldn't bear the look on D-Bags's face.  All he would say in the end is, "Just look it up, man."

And so D-Bags did look it up.  And look at the very first google hit on that termAnd that's when D-Bags realized that his new friends at The Company were all, well, D-bags.

You'd think that this would be the last time old D-Bags believed anything anyone said at The Company.  According to TheKingofHearts, he remained just as gullible throughout his entire tenure there and they dragged him down the garden path more than just a few times.

So the moral of the story is:

- and -
Before you accept a cool, new nickname, Google it.
The end.

My thoughts: 

Everyone's a Critic

Posted on 6/18/2011 06:40:00 AM
The other day I was watching a stand-up special with some comedian on the Comedy Central network. I found this lying in the living room a little while later.  I can't be certain, but I'm thinking The Dormouse might rather have been watching something else.

Comedy is funny for grown-ups.  But not for most kids.
I'm A Girl says: "I don't get what is so funny."
I'm A Mom says: "Ha Ha Ha. That TV's funny."

My thoughts: 


Posted on 6/14/2011 11:15:00 AM In:

I'm one of those likes the windows open type people.  I hate it when I have to close up the house for the summer... or the winter.  It's often a point of contention between The KingofHearts and I because he feels like he sleeps better in the summer when the air conditioning is on and I feel like I sleep better when there's fresh air to breathe.  He claims his allergies are worse when all the pollen comes into the house and I claim that he needs to grow a pair because evolution is trying to weed his kind out.  This decade-plus push and pull is just another one of those little things that makes marriage and co-habitation one of the stupidest things you'll ever do in your life.

The kitties are on my side about the windows being open.  THREE AGAINST ONE, EAT IT SUCKAH! Whenever it's cool - and more importantly dry - enough to open up the house, they rush to perch in preferred spots and stare (or more likely, smell) for hours as the world goes by outside.  Years ago, we dubbed this "Cat TV" and felt very clever about our word choice.  Until that My Cat From Hell guy started calling it that too.  Which is just one more thing I should have trademarked when I had the chance, along with PostIt Notes, growing grass in the officeodd things made of cheese and the Stadium Pal.

I also appreciate that when the kitties put themselves away, they always do it symmetrically.

Well, almost always.


My thoughts: 


Posted on 6/13/2011 10:01:00 PM
The Dormouse's school year is winding down. In fact, I'm pretty sure they stopped doing any work about two weeks ago. Today, they had a class talent show. All thirty kids in the class were all asked to show off a talent or special skill and the parents were invited to come watch.

Six jumped rope and nine hula hoop-ed. Apparently, there's a bit of a bias in the talent department for this class.

One kid showed off his talent for conning his parents into buying him over three hundred Pokemon cards.

One displayed a giant lego pirate ship he built, which was quite impressive indeed. It even had a galley and a furnished captain's cabin.

A few kids read poems and stories; a few showed off artwork of various kinds.

One kid put her hand against the wall and wiggled her elbow back and forth. I'm still not sure what that was all about, but then again, neither is her mother.

My favorite was the kid who did a five-minute set of stand-up comedy:

"Hey, did you ever wonder why they call it the Grand Canyon?"

Audience: "..."

"Because, Gustavo Canyon just sounds silly."

(I'm reasonably certain he wrote his own jokes.)

Originally, The Dormouse wanted to be one of the jump-ropers. I suggested that she not do something a third of the other kids in the class were doing.  Piano playing wasn't an option because the classroom wasn't equipped with a piano.  So instead she decided to perform one of her favorite songs:

The best part of this whole performance is, sadly, not on camera.  It was when she handed the microphone back to her teacher, took a bow, returned to her seat and announced loudly, "Well, THAT was HUMILIATING!"

I think maybe she should have instead showed off her talent for drama.  

But then I guess she did that anyway.

My thoughts: 

It's Like We're Underwater

Posted on 6/10/2011 02:00:00 PM
Some people do a great Obama impersonation, some George Bush.  Others aspire to impersonate a fish.

Sadly, they don't always remember that fish don't wave.

My thoughts: 

Lily Invasion

Posted on 6/09/2011 07:15:00 AM
I like lily pads as much as the next person, but they might be taking over the pond at our local cemetery.

My thoughts: 


Posted on 6/03/2011 09:14:00 AM In:
A few more pics from Signers' Island.

This was after The Caterpillar gave up her misguided attempt to catch a duck.  Clearly.

My thoughts: 

Advice for a Caterpillar

Posted on 6/02/2011 03:01:00 PM In:
Whooo arrrre yooou?

A visitor stopped by my herb garden the other day. The Shortlings were thrilled to see him and spent the better part of a morning watching him like he was the main character on a television program.


I suppose I could have left him there all day, but even if he suddenly rose up and announced, "Keep your temper," the fact remains that he was eating my dill plant. So he had to go.

My thoughts: 

Cheese Lady

Posted on 6/01/2011 10:21:00 AM

We skipped town for Memorial Day weekend, if not Memorial Day itself.  I got the chance to break in the grand viola I bought a few months back and played a solo at a friend's church in another state.  On the way back, we wanted to stop somewhere where the girls could pick strawberries.  I had no idea where to go, so I consulted my knowledge box, aka smart phone, and it directed us to this lovely family farm that also happened to sell Polish pottery.  Being part Polish myself, I dug this just a bit.  I'm dying to purchase a complete set of tableware from them, each plate different from the next.  Sadly, the $20 in my pocket would not allow for that and I decided to get something small instead and save up for a set later.  As I was looking at a shelf of these, The KingofHearts walked up behind me, looked at the sign, and said, "I don't get it.  Why are they Chinese Ladies?  Isn't this Polish stuff?"   

Me: "Um... not Chinese Ladies... CHEESE LADIES." 


They couldn't have been nicer people and we are already making plans to go back for blueberries, honey and whatever else they'll let us tromp all over their land to harvest.   With any luck, they'll have branched out into other ethnicities by then and I can get a complete set.

My thoughts: 

Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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