Wednesday, August 31, 2011

School Update #1

Well, we've officially started Flower Princess and the Little Old Man in Kindergarten and Pre-school, respectively.  Yes, we are homeschooling, and even though I don't consider Scott's participation mandatory past Bible time, he is our academic guru and chooses to sit in for the additional hour and fifteen minutes.  They are very different in their learning styles, however.  We've always known this...she's into writing and art, he's into memorizing and core subjects.  She painstakingly perfects each crayon stroke to make a masterpiece of every worksheet, he mechanically colors everything black for a more efficient use of his time.

The chuckle of today came during phonics time...Cara's phonics time, that is, which Scott always audits.  They were supposed to use the word on the card in a sentence.  Here is an example of the variance in personalities.

The word is 'pen'.

Cara: "The beautiful girl needed a pencil to write down how much she loved her friend, but she couldn't find one, (animated, shocked look) so she asked the kind boy if she could use his PEN and he said yes, then she could write the note to her friend and color it with five beautiful colors, and he saw it and loved the way she colored the big letters all golden and told her that she was pretty, and then they got married with a rainbow in the sky."

Scott: "I like PENS."

The word is 'sun'.

Cara: "The little girl with golden hair looked outside  (huge eyes, moving of imaginary curtains) and she was so sad to see it raining on the very day of her birthday party, (exasperated look accompanied by slight foot stomp) but she remembered it wasn't for a while still, so he hoped and hoped and hoped and then prayed that it would be a lovely day, then after eating her lunch of peanut butter and jelly and very yummy watermelon (belly rubbing) she looked out the window and saw the SUN outside was shining so bright and sparkly to make her birthday party so very very special for her and her beautiful friends who got all dressed up with dresses and crowns."

Scott: "I like the SUN to shine for baseball."

I don't know where she gets the nack for coming up with strange, illogical stories...(that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Word of the Week, Small Version

Isn't it interesting how the English language has so many descriptive synonyms.  Take the word 'small'.  There are so many ways to say it!  Why use only one syllable when you could use four...

Try out these synonyms:

Lilliputian, diminutive, exiguous, tenuous

Clarisse stood in horror as she saw her new boyfriend trying to exercise his exiguous intellect during the Jeopardy rerun; he could not question even one answer correctly.

The young, attractive mother gazed across the room in panic as even more Lilliputian children swarmed in for her daughter's impromptu birthday party.

Your turn!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I can relate, Oscar...

"I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying."

---Oscar Wilde

Or maybe I just think I am...

Friday, August 26, 2011

An Anonymous Love Poem

If you think that you're in love,
But still there is some question,
Don't worry much about it,
It may be indigestion.

That Anonymous...such a sappy romantic.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ellen Bartelle, Woman of Mystery, Part 7

It was a dark and stormy evening.  The slight misting of the rain helped disguise Ellen's perspiration laden outfit.  What kind of crazy company requires activewear for making business calls, she thought to herself.

It was 8:00 p.m...the perfect time for her break into the accounting department.  Even the most zealous employees were gone by 6:30 p.m. at Fit for Life.  They all had to squeeze in their evening work-out classes before heading home for a meager meal.  Everyone except Frank and herself and the Mayor, that is.  However, those parties didn't worry her, for they were already in on her secret work of espionage.

Ellen discreetly snuck around the building, using the long row of spruces to shield her from public view.  She unlocked the side door, and entered silently.  The hallway was deserted, just as she had anticipated.  She jogged up the stairs with some effort, especially considering the many mile hike her boss had just sent her on today.  Reaching the third floor, Ellen stifled a moan...her thighs were killing her!  She progressed into the hallway, wincing with each painful step.

The lights were out everywhere...including Accounting.  She rapidly unlocked the door, using the key she had pressured off Herman the night janitor two weeks ago.  He had been wonderfully easy to convince, she remembered.  She had smelled the hidden french fries from two doors away.  It hadn't taken much to convince him that a copy of his key wasn't worth the trouble of losing his job for unauthorized carb consumption.  Fit for Life was that type of happy organization.

She entered the Accounting department and chose a computer with a less conspicuous location.  Using her stellar hacking skills, she dodged the login and password, adeptly depositing the accounts on her screen.  It took her only seven minutes to track down the information she needed.  She saved it all to her flash drive, which she safely deposited into her fanny pack.  She shut down the computer and was out of accounting before twelve total minutes had elapsed.  She was a professional.  She crossed the hall and returned the packets to the secretary's desk before retreating again to the stairwell.  The bulk of her operation being done, Ellen took a moment to breathe deeply and massage her aching leg muscles.  She all but skipped down the stairs to the first floor and out the side door.

It was a quick trek home via taxi cab, because she was just that sore from her inordinate amount of exercise.  Once home, she deftly avoided her mother and brother and escaped to her downstairs bedroom retreat.  She was too tired to read and analyze financial data at the moment, so she treated herself to a long bubble bath before sneaking upstairs and making herself a plate full of leftover meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese.  She had spotted the Tupperware bowl full of brussels sprouts, but carbo-loading temptation got the better of her.  She knew the many health benefits of brussels sprouts, because she had just edited an incredibly dull article praising the vegetable for its fiber and vitamins.  Perhaps that was what sealed the deal for the mac and cheese.  Nothing turns your stomach against a green vegetable like dry prose.

Her caloric disregard lasted a feverish eight minutes, even including the licking of grease dribbles from her plate.  Then she was ready for action.  Over the next three hours, she painstakingly reviewed every spreadsheet on the flash drive.  She checked the math and she followed the money trail until she found what she was looking for.  She had her answer.  She knew who was embezzling money from Fit for Life.   But what should her course of action be?  She threw herself onto her bed, trying to make her beleagured brain come up with an answer.  But alas, the exercise of the afternoon followed by the evening's binge had all but made her brain shut down.  Not even the small bowl of ice cream could spawn a clever idea.  She decided to sleep on it.  The long day ended with her snuggled up on her purple polka dot sheets, a chocolate ice cream smear on her top lip, damp fanny pack hanging to dry in the bathtub, and an as yet unread email from Jonathan Miller.  The same man who was interrupting her dreams as she lay tossing and turning that night.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What's in a Name?

We call our baby 'Moon Pie'.  It was my hubby's idea, and as usual, his remarkable intellect came through for us.  It's a cute name, with all manner of fun variations...Moonie, Moonbeam, Moonblossom, Moonshine, the Moonster, Turbo cheeks... (well, that's not in with the theme, but does fit in well with her look.)

The real genius, however, is in the sheer descriptiveness of it, for our baby is very like a Moon Pie.  She is sweet and round and squishy.  Her thighs do have a marshmallowy spring to them.  She is often covered in banana or chocolate.  It's a beautiful comparison for a very beautiful little lady.

image via Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Word of the Week, Flip flop edition

Here is something interesting to note...there are some pairs of words that can be juxtaposed in whatever order you please, and they'll still mean the same thing!  Here are some examples:

Did you know that ning-nong is the same as ding-dong?  Here's the rule, though, it's only interchangeable when you want to call someone a "clown, idiot, fool, rascal, or joker". it's not correct to say:

Laura's enthusiastic yanking of the rope caused the church bell to peal out with ning-nongs throughout Walnut Grove.

It would, however, be correct to say:

Laura thought Nellie was a total ning-nong.

So anyway, here is the next example.  The term willy nilly is the same thing as the term nilly willy.  The meaning of this term, of course, is "random, all over the place, without thought".  So, both these sentences would be correct:

Because of the faint aroma of cocoa about him, Helen willy nilly decided to support the senator's campaign.


Sarah's horrors were confirmed; the toddler had pulled the remaining toilet paper from the roll, tossing it nilly willy around the small bathroom.  Hmmm...that sentence seems very familiar to me for some reason...

So, as Jane Eyre says, "Will you, nill you, it is done!"  Perhaps she could have said, "Nill you, will you , it is done!"  Too bad Bronte isn't around to read this post.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Mowing the lawn (also known as 'mowlawning' or 'using the mowlawner' around here) is a serious event in this house.  It's a two day marathon of sweat and sneezes.  For Cara, it's an emotional roller coaster.  It's fantastically exciting to begin with.  To run and play outside, following the mower is entertainment's the one time when Mommy lets you scream as much as you like!  Then terror strikes as I actually start the's loud enough to frighten even the most prepared of little girls.  After one round of the yard, it's back to bliss...until the most horrible of tragedies occurs...mowing down the 'sunflowers' (ie dandelions), her precious friends.  Tears, pleadings, it's drama of operatic proportions.  (Yes, it's just as shocking each time I mow!).  Have you ever tried to console a weeping small child, yelling as you mow the lawn?  I have.  It's hard work.  After an appropriate period of mourning for the slain sunflowers, she's back on cloud nine, skipping, sometimes singing, having the time of her life.  Unless you have to change directions to trim around a tree, of course, that brings flashes of horror to the delicate emotions of a girl.  She quickly rebounds and enjoys nature for another five minutes or so of nature before deciding this is a boring activity.  Why does it take so long?  She usually makes a five minute speech explaining how boring this is, following her sweating panting mother the whole time, then finally decides to go play.  Have you ever listened to a small-girl-five- minute-run-on sentence speech while you mow the lawn?  I do on a regular basis.  If it's this emotional now, what will it be like as a teenager? Probably lonely...I'm gonna miss having a talking girl follow me everywhere some day!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Limerick for my Daddy-in-law...

There once was a man named Wayne
with wild blackberries on his brain.
His cobblers and pies
brought tears to his eyes,
but drove his poor wife half insane.

photo via Wikipedia

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For you Baseball Fans...

I have some fond memories of baseball.  I'm not much of a sportster myself, but what good, red-blooded American doesn't look kindly on the sport?  In fact, my first daughter was born during the world series of 2005...that accounts for my OB being MIA for a large portion of the labor!

So hubby recently purchased something interesting for us.  It's the Ken Burns documentary on the history of baseball.  It's guessed it...Baseball.  Now, I know that not many people my age are into documentaries, but when you're married to someone with a History Education degree, you learn to embrace things like that.  The truth is, it is mighty interesting.  So, although we are only a scant four hours into the twenty-two, I already have some interesting facts to report.

Did you know that the famous Dodgers were originally from Brooklyn?  They were originally called the 'Trolley Dodgers' because of the intricate maze of trolleys their fans had to navigate to get to the games.  Apparently in those days, the trolleys meandered down the streets in all sorts of directions...they showed footage.  It would scare me!  Brave fans!  How their hearts must have sank when their team was sold to another city.

Here's an interesting character we've learned about so far.  His name was Rube Waddell.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

This guy was an interesting player!  He wasn't mean like Detroit's famous Ty Cob (I'll cover him later...or maybe I'll have my hubby do it for me!), he was just a complete nut case!

He was a great pitcher, but he had problems concentrating.  Fans of the opposing team would hold up puppies or shiny objects to distract him, and it worked great!  Imagine a pitcher these days doing his wind-up and just before the release stopping because he was distracted at the sight of a puppy in the stands.  Nice!

Sometimes, he'd run out of the dugout mid-game to chase fire trucks for who knows how long.  He'd enter the field via the stands, then stand there and partially strip before running to the dugout to dress for the game.  Yikes!  The documentary said he couldn't remember how many wives he had...I'm not sure if that was for real or if it was a sports writer quote of sarcasm.  He was however, great at striking out batters with his fast ball.  Apparently his arm was quicker than his brain.

They say truth is stranger than fiction!  Next installment...Ty Cobb.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ellen Bartelle, Woman of Mystery, Part 6

Ellen gulped loudly.  Here he was, intimidatingly handsome and foiling her best laid plan.  She shifted her weight and put her arm up nonchalantly against the brick wall.

"Why, Jonathan Miller," another gulp, "How in the world are you?"

He looked at her silently for a moment with his arms crossed.  "I've been doing all right.  How about you, Ellen?  Here to see your brother?" he asked.

She nodded a weak affirmation.

"Let's talk in my office, Ellen, I've got something to discuss with you," he said suddenly, steering her through the traffic of the junior high boys.  The sweaty scent of adolescence pervaded the air of the hallway.  He breezed past the secretary without hesitation, closing the office door with a quiet click.

"Have a seat" he invited.  She obeyed, shifting her fanny pack slightly to the front.  He sat up straight  behind his large, stark desk, then began again.  "I've heard that you're working for Fit for Life these days.  Do you think you can help me with a problem?"

She leaned forward in interest, embarrasment suddenly gone.  He continued, " We've been having some discrepencies in our paperwork.  As you probably know, the school has purchased some materials for our health classes, paid for by the state.  I personally never see the money, but I do like to look over the expenditures and make sure that things are right.  It seems that Fit for Life has been routinely getting more from the state than they should, yet our shipments of materials are still exactly what is ordered."  He paused, noticing the sparkle of excitement in her eyes.  Here was a clue she hadn't banked on!  "I'd sure appreciate any help you could give in directing me to the right person or department.  I want to get this figured out before we place our next order, if possible."

Ellen stood, "Absolutely.  If you could just send any documentation to my email, it'd be a big help in tracking down the problem. I'd be happy to take care of it for you".  She handed him a business card.  It was deceptively plain...containing only her name and email, next to a small logo of binoculars.  He glanced down at the card he now held in his hand.  "Ellen Muriel Bartelle; e-mail:", it read.

A quizzical look came over his face.  "Is this your work email address?"

The question didn't intimidate her, for awkward as she could be, she really knew how to make an exit.  She slipped on a pair of knock-off black rhinestone sunglasses, then said to him, "It's the address I use for my work, yes," she evaded. "Thank you, Jonathan, you've been helpful...very helpful.  I'll get back to you as soon as I find something out for us...for you". 

He mutely handed her the packet she had forgotten to request, looking keenly into her chocolate-brown eyes.  She turned and slowly maneuvered out the office door, once again ignoring the secretary, shoes squeaking magnificently with every green-tiled stride.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Word of the Week

Want to know a word to make me chuckle?  It's the silly little word...

truckle: verb;to submit or yield obsequiously or tamely (usually followed by to )

I have many things I regularly truckle to, mostly chocolate related.  However, I prefer to dash into the world of make-believe for my vocabulary sentences...makes them a little more exciting.

The conceited Arnold was certain that his bronzed biceps would cause any woman to truckle to his every whim.

The old lady stood there stiffly, clutching her purse while telling herself not to truckle to her urge for vengeance.  Unable to squelch her emotions, Helga burst through the door, pulled out the pistol and burgled every burger from her enemy's meat case.

Hmmm...that sounds like an exciting story.  I'll have to think up some more installments for that one...couldn't even keep it to one sentence.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Personal Health Reminder...

If I keep eating too much of this...

I will soon look like this...

Sigh...sometimes life really isn't fair.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A try at limericks...

Have you ever tried writing limericks?  I mean, since you left junior high?  It's easy and fun...try some about your own family!  Here are for each of my kids. 

We named our first baby girl Cara.
She loves to decorate her haira
With ribbons and clips,
then gloss on her lips.
Of primping she'll never despaira.

My little old man's name is Scott.
Girlie he really is not.
He plays cars and baseball
In all rooms and the hall,
And eats ten times more than a lot.

The sweet little one goes by Allie.
She think everyone is her pallie.
She giggles and sighs,
Has two massive thighs,
What a cheerful, chubby little gallie.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who'd have thought he'd be so cynical?

I just can't help myself.  I am trying not to be skeptical of government and overload my readers with sarcastic remarks, but every time I resolve again, I run across a quote like this... 


''In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.''

—President John Adams

I guess cynicism about government never goes out of style! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

For the Society Column...

Did you know that Cinderella and Spiderman are now married?  It's happened right here in my living room last night.  She wore a white princess dress and veil and he wore...his spidey outfit, of course.  My daughter was the flower girl, and the happy couple went to talk to my husband after the ceremony...I guess he was the receiving line or something.  My son's cars were in attendance.

The real question is what to get them for the wedding.  Talk about a couple who already has everything!  Unlimited wealth from her previous marriage and intrigue and super powers on his side.  Hmmm...maybe they need a toaster.

image via Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Word of the Week, Man Phrase Edition 2

Now, my faithful readers will know of my endless pursuit of informational excellence.  In the interest of furthur informing you girls, here is another Man Phrase entry.  It's so manly, in fact, that my hubby just informed me that one of the ESPN Sportcenter anchors was the creator of this original phrase...

"boo-yah!": an exclamation used by men meaning, "I'm amazing!" or "he's amazing!"  or "In your face!"

This particular phrase is more frequent during college football season around here.  It's usually accompanied by some type of hand movement, such as air boxing, jabs, or chest beating.  When used while watching a game, it is preceded by a sudden jump out of the chair after a positive play.

Here are a few ways we women can incorporate this colorful phrase:

After completing the final stitch in the bouquet embroidered pillow case, Esther smoothed the cloth, examined the finished product, delicately placed her needle to the side, then exclaimed, "BOO-YAH!".

Extreme couponer Yvette had done it again; she 'bought' 373 toothbrushes for only 77 cents, then punctuated her pillage with her signature 'Boo-yah!' of victory.

****Editor's Note:  In some instances, men may not appreciate if you use this phrase directly to them.  In the interest of your marriage, don't use the phrase thus:

"So I was right!  Mr. is in  Rocky III.  Boo-yah!"

Instead, with a smile, try using it in this way:

"You always remember to pick up your stinky socks.  Boo-yah!  You're so wonderful!"

Let me know any boo-yah success stories!

Monday, August 8, 2011

This painting is what I'd dream of as an Edwardian woman...

It's title is "Drinking Coffe and Reading in the Garden" by Edward Killingworth Johnson.  Other than the corset, I think this might be the ideal kick-off for a, beautifully tended garden, book, serenity.  If there was chocolate included, it'd obviously be an afternoon on vacation.  I love her totally at home in a rose garden.  I wonder if she was sore after posing like this for who knows how many hours...

I get sore just thinking about all that mowing and weeding.  If only we all had an expert gardener and property manager at our beck and call.  <sigh>  Have to say, though, as enticing as this is, I still prefer my messy garden filled with kids running and screaming.  She will never know the joy of helping a child pull up a carrot you've taught them how to grow.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Termite

This is the one Ogden Nash poem I remembered from High those four years weren't a complete draw.

The Termite

Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your cousin May
fell through the parlor floor today.

Aah, he never gets old!  I think I will officially make him a hero-contributor of Crazy Creative Magazine today.  Look for the new contributor on my button column.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kids Have the Best Quotes...

I have a rather embarrasing confession to make as I introduce this quote.  I was sitting around one day, writing another installment for this blog when this quote happened.  My daughter, Cara noticed me snickering, and asked me what I was laughing about.

The best I remember, I answered something like, "Oh, Honey, Mommy is laughing at something that I wrote that's really funny."

Then she replied with this interesting one-liner:

"Mom, you're not funny, you're beautiful!"

The irony is, I'm at the stage in my life where I've totally reconciled myself to no longer being I just go for funny.  Hmmm...Thanks,Cara... I think!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Real Kind of Daddy Love...

Do you want to know how a Daddy who really loves his girl shows it?  He sits next to a smelly trash can, painstakingly sharpening a kagillion colored pencils after his little artist is in bed.  He'd rather be watching baseball, but instead he takes his time doing something she may not even realize the next day.  She'll use those pencils to color pictures for anyone and everyone...they're one of her favorite belongings.

Real love is not trinkets and treasures, it's TIME.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Word of the Week

Do you ever get the feeling that some words should be spoken in hushed tones?  This is a good one for that.  I could just see Ellen Bartelle, Seattle's intriguing private-eye whispering to some tough-guy informant using this word.  Perhaps I should work this one in soon.  This week's word is...

huggermugger: [huhg-er-muhg-er]secrecy; reticence

Hold onto your fanny packs...Here we go...

As the two small children crept out of their room during naptime, there was an air of huggermugger between them.  (Then Mom spotted them and it was over!)


Veronica had a panache for gardening, but apparently not for name appeal; the 'Hovel of Huggermugger' did no justice to the romantic array of English roses.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Does anyone else ever get tired of hearing this quote from every parent you meet?  I'm sure I've heard it ten times this week already.

"There's never a dull moment in this family!"

That's so boring!  Let's recreate it with some choice synonyms.

"There's never a bromidic, colorless, commonplace, interminable, stodgy, or well-worn moment in this family!"

Now doesn't that grab your attention?  Why reuse a dull line to describe the opposite of dullness?  I'm sure Cyrano de Bergerac would never have done so.