30 April 2010

Warning Signs...

Why our bathroom requires warning signs like this that say, "We can not allow you to use the bathroom!" (It was taken at the American Embassy in Tokyo)

Why is it that the smallest and most delicate of my children and their father are able to clear any space imaginable of any kind of life form?  They look so angelic.  How is it possible that the air in our bathroom, after their use, could make an excellent weapon of mass destruction if it were bottled?  I'm actually considering issuing gas masks for the rest of us.  If only I could patent it.

Now, that is not to say that any of the rest of the house is not capable of such feats on occasion, but not to the extent of having to evacuate the entire house.  We have one daughter, who shall remain nameless, who is not allowed to eat beans at any time but especially when we will be cooped up in a vehicle or other small space.  Even in the dead of winter, it requires all windows wide open to help dissipate the most execrably malodorous stench known to mankind.  My belief is that it is better to freeze to death than to die of asphyxiation.

Why is it that they can stand their own flatulence?

Oh, and one more question... Why is it that the poor dears have to have Alzheimer's to boot.  They must have because more often than not they forget to turn on the bathroom fan. As if they don't have enough of a handicap in being able to produce such an odor, they (and everyone else) gets the added bonus of their absence of memory.  It's sad, really...  Please pray for them (and the rest of us).
Note: I normally have my quote of the day in this spot but today I want to send you to the site in which I got the bathroom warning sign because I am contemplating having a few of these made up for our house...  10 Hilarious Bathroom Signs

29 April 2010

Conversations From The Dinner Table...

I had posted the following several years ago and it is pretty amusing in hindsight especially since our daughter Nicole is now in College. And no, she did not go to either school she described...  :o)
Rachel, "Mom, what did you do today without us getting in your hair?"

Nicole, "She was probably happily plotting our demise so she could extend the quiet time."

Me, "Nah, I wasn't plotting your demise... I was concocting new ways to torture you. Much more satisfying by drawing out the anticipation."
Me "Well, you did ask! What? You really didn't want to know?"
Why do kids do that?

After finally getting on with dinner and the usual questioning of how their day went in school, what homework they had, what activities do we need to schedule and budget for... our eldest daughter relayed a conversation she'd had with a friend of hers about college students.

Her facial expressions, tone and delivery were hilarious but since I did not have the foresight to record our dinner conversation (something I have often thought about doing for future comic relief) I will just have to give you the script version.

So that this will make sense, I will tell you that we live near a state university and five colleges. BIG University and Colleges. So the breed of college student thoroughly saturates the local population. There are two schools in particular that were discussed. For the purpose of this conversation, we'll call them University and College A.

The University just dropped out of the top ten PARTY Universities in the country. (after the University kicked out a bunch of fraternities) College A is an expensive and exclusive private college.

Nicole, "Do you know how you can tell the difference between University and College A students when they go to the Campus Bookstore?"

My husband, "Their sweatshirts?"

Nicole, "My friend who works at the bookstore says that when a University student comes in looking for a Psychology textbook and is told that they are in the basement of the building, the student hollers 'WOO HOO, University in the basement!' and they go down where there are a bunch of other University students and it immediately looks like they are having a party.'"

College A student comes in and says (in a young, scared, very whiny voice) "I've lost my syllabus. Do you have my syllabus? I don't know what book I need. (voice becoming progressively more panicked) Do you know what book I need? (thoroughly panicked) I can't find it and there are only six more days till class begins!"

"Meanwhile, in the basement, the University students have quickly selected their books so they can move the party to a more appropriate location."
QOTD: "Of course there's a lot of knowledge in Universities: the Freshmen bring a little in; the Seniors don't take much away, so knowledge sort of accumulates...." Dr. A. Lawrence Lowell

28 April 2010

A Chuck Norris Kind Of Day...

A couple of years ago I wrote a post about an average breakfast conversation. Since a sighting of my husband has been rare this week and looks to be even more rare until next week, I thought I would relive one of the wonderfully bizarre episodes that is our life...

My husband was grumpy when he got up this morning. He was particularly disgruntled about his limited breakfast menu. Oatmeal or..... oatmeal. Yup, it sucks getting older. He's being wonderful and trying to control his cholesterol.
When I asked him how his oatmeal was, he stared at it with a mournful expression and said,"Did you know that Chuck Norris kills a kitten every time someone eats oatmeal?"
I had to laugh. "He does not!"
It was a struggled to get Erin out of bed this morning. She was the last one to make it to the kitchen.
My husband, "Did you know that Chuck Norris kills a kitten every time you give your parents trouble getting out of bed?"
Me, "He does NOT!!! You are going to give her nightmares!"
Erin just laughed at her father.  She's already caught on to his ways.
Rachel, "Chuck Norris' tears cure cancer. Too bad he never cries."
Me: "What's with the Chuck Norris thing this morning? And Nicole, did you want some bagel with that cream cheese?" 
 Nicole just globs even more cream cheese on her bagel and then blithely says, "Chuck Norris eats his bagels this way and you don't want to mess with the way Chuck Norris does things."
Sigh. Guess I can't deny it's going to be a Chuck Norris kind of day...
QOTD: "When God said, 'Let there be light', Chuck Norris said. 'Say please.'" Unknown

27 April 2010

Evolve Already!!!

I sometimes forget how funny my kids can be, especially when it has been a long, frustrating and upsetting week.  But in the midst of it all this vacation week, was the following...

Our daughter Nina, spent the week at my sister Suzanne's house doing God knows what.  (Well, actually, God probably DOES know what, and so does my sister, but I am happy in my blissful ignorance...) I do know that she went four-wheeling, motor-biking, and played paint-ball with her cousin, Kasey.  (There was no mention of who kicked who's butt which makes me a little suspicious...)  There was a brief comment about cutting down trees and bonfires but truly, if you knew my sister like I know my sister... you NEVER ask for details because it usually involves something that will make your hair turn grey.  No, really.  I'm not joking.  I will never be as brave as my sister Suzanne.  She's the kind of person that doesn't just live life, she grabs hold of it and rings the very last possible drop of life out of it.  (I have to admit I'm a tad bit envious)

But truly, that woman scares me to death sometimes but the kids always seem to have a fabulous time up there and we have come to the unspoken agreement that what happens in Paris, stays in Paris, so to speak.  I must admit that she must be either slowing down (after all, she IS a whole ten and a half months older than me) or just getting better at hiding the bruises.  And stitches.  Have I mentioned the water skiing?  Or the sliding off the roof in a sled into a pile of snow? Or, perhaps, the mud... well, I better stop that thought and move on as I and the kids are going up there this Saturday for my nephew, Kasey's Birthday.  (Have I mentioned that she is diabolical in her revenge?)  :oP

So Nina got back Sunday morning and then Sunday evening we had dinner at my brother and sister-in-law's house.  The entire gang was not there as the two eldest girls of our families have moved out and gotten their own apartments.  It was great fun as my husband was there and was in good form.  While awaiting dinner, was the following conversation:
Our niece, was expressing her educational inner angst, "I hate high school.  It was a total waste of time.  I didn't learn anything."
My husband asked, "Well what was it you hoped to learn?"
To which she replied, "Nothing!"
"Well there, you see?  You should be thrilled, after all you met all of your expectations and I imagine even surpassed them."
In reality, our niece did pretty darn good because she got in to a wonderful college where she will be studying music.  One day, you will all hear some of her scores.  Just remember that you read it here first as I truly am proud of her and her accomplishments.  I was very serious when I told her mother that the one thing I will truly miss about becoming deaf (more on that later), will be listening to her play.  I especially love her mandolin but it is a close call to all the other instruments she plays.

So dinner was lovely and all the girls didn't pick on my lone nephew, too much.  I really feel a lot of sympathy for him as he is the lone male in a sea of EIGHT cousins of the female persuasion most of the time.  He definitely holds his own, though.  (especially now that he is getting taller)  That is not to say that he is the lone male.  He has two more male cousins... and three more female cousins who live further away.  Still, he seems happy in his own personal sea of women.

Since we no longer have a van, we have to travel in two vehicles when we go out 'en masse'.  On the way home I had Rachel, Nina and Danielle in the car with me and wasn't paying too much attention to the conversation due to the whiny sound coming from the seat next to mine.  (one thing I won't miss about going deaf)
I guess that Nina, after having a whole week without her sisters, says to Rachel over the whining, "Evolve Already!"
I burst out laughing.  It was priceless and has become my new favorite phrase for complaints!

So, all laughter aside.  I recently went to the Veteran's Administration for a new hearing aid.  I had to take the sound tests and got to enjoy the ear tampon thing.  Yes.  You read that description correctly.  What would you call it when they put a small cotton tube in your ear with a string attached to keep the mold goop from touching your eardrum and to be able to pull the mold out once it hardens?  Like I said, ear tampon.

In the past I have only had to wear a hearing aid in my left ear, but apparently my hearing is degrading far rapidly than it has up til now.  Not only will I have to wear two hearing aids soon, but was told, in all likelihood, I will be going deaf in the foreseeable future.  Although I'm pretty bummed about it, I keep remembering Danielle's conversation with her father and I have to laugh.  After all.  I've been blessed with beautiful daughters, a wonderful husband and an amazing family.  Life is good.  (After all, I still have my voice so that I can irritate my kids in my dotage.  That thought kind of brings a tear to your eye, doesn't it?)

So, I can either be depressed, or in the words of my daughter, Nina, I can 'evolve already'.  Although I must admit that it isn't as easy as it sounds... the spinning part makes me dizzy...
QOTD: "Most species do their own evolving, making it up as they go along, which is the way Nature intended. And this is all very natural and organic and in tune with mysterious cycles of the cosmos, which believes that there’s nothing like millions of years of really frustrating trial and error to give a species moral fiber and, in some cases, backbone."  Terry Pratchett (b.1948-) English Writer

16 April 2010

Ah, I Can Truly Appreciate This Some Days...

A long time ago, my friend Jan sent me an email with the following story. When I'm having a particularly bad day with the kids (or bad week in this case), I pull it out for a little chuckle...
An old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home.
He followed me into the house, down the hall, and fell asleep in a corner.
An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.
The next day he was back, resumed his position in the hall, and slept for an hour.  This continued for several weeks.
Curious, I pinned a note to his collar: "Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap."
The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar: "He lives in a home with ten children -- he's trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?"
QOTD: "Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap." Barbara Jordan (1936-) US Attorney quoting Robert Fulghum in 1987 at Middlebury College

14 April 2010

Tales Of The Internet...

I have always heard that if you post something on the internet, consider it there for your posterity.  I figured this was probably true for some things but not for all.  Boy, was I ever WRONG...

When I started blogging again, I had to start out from scratch.  I had, after all, deleted my blog so all my past posts and comments were gone... or so I thought!  My husband and I were talking not too long ago about places that archive the internet.  It got me thinking... yes, I know that can be dangerous but I was feeling pretty courageous, so I started googling, yahooing, and wikipedying.  Why does that sound like wickedly peeing to me this morning? Huh, up here in New England that would describe an incredibly wonderful and successful urinating experience.  (see New Expressions...)

And NO, before you ask, I was wikipedying and NOT wickedly peeing.

So back to the subject at hand... I discovered that my old blog was not completely gone.  It is in an electronic archive gathering dust bunnies... or in this case, would that be energizer bunnies?  So I was able to save a few of my favorite posts from back then to re-post when the pickings get slim of interesting items of a lemonade nature.

But do you know the best thing of all?  I can also sneak peaks at old posts from one of my favorite blogs that closed a long time ago.

The worst thing of all?  Well, for all those teenagers (and others) that post things they never thought their mothers (or future employers) would see?  Yeah, well, it might really suck to be you when your venting gets back to them...  I am a true believer in Murphy's Law.

But for the moment we will focus on the glass half full scenario because there are a few old posts that I had forgotten about that tell of events it was funny to recall, so stay tuned...
QOTD: "Some things Man was never meant to know.  For everything else... there's Google." ~ unknown

13 April 2010

The Alternative To Lemonade...

Today is going to be a GREAT day!   Yesterday, was another story altogether...

In fact, it seems like my life is a television rerun some days which is why the following post may seem similar to another post I wrote last year... just with a few important variations.  

Why is it that when I have a car full of offspring it suddenly becomes, "let's aggravate Mother Day!"  The kids sing annoying songs... repeatedly.  Even after one or more of the rest of the family has requested either a different musical entertainment or complete quiet, thank you very much. (I'm sure you can guess which option I was voting for!)  They seem to be able to offend one another with incredible ease.  I have come to the realization that I am raising kids who have not a drop of human kindness for their fellow man (much less their own sisters) running through their veins. (See hyena analogy)

I can tell you that when the whining begins to tips the scales of my patience... I'm ready to rip the head off the next child who comes to me and says, "Mom, she said/did/wants/makes ::fill in the blank::" (see the logistics of selling your kids on eBay) So in an effort to keep my sanity and put back on the peacekeeper hat, I have the bad habit of hiding in our bedroom for a while.  OK.  Sometimes all evening if it's really bad.

OK, we'll call a spade a spade and just say that I send myself to my room for a time out before I do something that, although would feel great in the moment, would probably have me sporting black and white stripes or a lovely orange, dayglo jumpsuit as a room mate of a big, buff, woman wrestler with tattoo's that say "Daddy" with maybe snakes running up the length of her arms doing the mamba and an evil looking dragon over her entire back. Body piercings at maximum limit in places that hurt just to think about them much less look at. And did I mention that she would probably have a voodoo doll that looked just like me and when she smiled, the teeth she had remaining would be sharpened and gold tipped? (I seem to have this nightmare often. Unfortunately it is vivid enough to remain forever etched in my memory...)

See? It doesn't take long sometimes to realize that you don't necessarily have to make lemonade from life's lemons. Sometimes you can picture what alternative those lemons might look like and know that getting hit with the common variety lemon can be acceptable... Fun even... (Have I convinced you yet?  Yeah... me either...)

OK, with zen achieved I can go back downstairs and cope with dinner.  (complete with 'funeral march playing', dragging my feet like I'm headed to the gallows)  I'm sure I can handle making the dinner, cleaning the kitchen and herding the kids off to bed with nary a police report filed for bad behavior. (Just repeat after me "Good Mommy. Good Mommy.")

I don't have to bother even looking in the mirror when I get up in the morning. It will, after all, be a great day! (See above, it even says so!)

Watch, tonight I'll be dreaming of my new cell mate.....  again...
QOTD: "Don't be too hard on parents. You may find yourself in their place." Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett (1884-1969), Elders and Betters (1944)

12 April 2010

The Usual Springtime Visitors...

Warning:  It's Monday and I am desperately making lemonade as fast as I can so you might notice my humor is a bit... off. (For want of a better word)

So it's TWO posts in ONE day! I'm either feeling loquacious or truly desperate today. (By the way folks, just to make sure you get the FULL value of The Lemon Stand... loquacious is your word for the day. Try using it in a sentence to irritate impress your kids, friends, family or pet rock.  :)  Hey... at least I suggested that you to use it on a Monday when the grey matter is still regurgitating from the weekend!)

But back to the subject of springtime visitors. It is now officially springtime here in the Berkshires. We had our first moose strike of the season. (At least the driver wasn't killed too although I probably can't say the same for the car) For some reason that I have yet to figure out, moose love our neighborhood.  (And no, we do not live in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood)  On average we get at least one moose who commits suicide by way of wandering... across the one busy road in town.  Maybe they didn't hear about the turkey's demise? Maybe they just don't listen to local gossip like the bear does. (more on him later)

We discovered the sad event while driving to school last Friday morning. The kids were so upset about it that I was considering sending condolences to his family. (I didn't though, because I would have had to wait by the side of the road near the moose crossing until they returned, to deliver it. You have to be very careful about being mistook for bear snack at this time of year.)

And speaking of the bear population... while my husband was unloading the wood flooring for one of the bedrooms this weekend, we had a visit from our local bear who was still just waking up from his winter nap.

How did I know he was just waking up from his winter nap? Well, it could have been the way he was staggering around and still rubbing his eyes or the way he looked really hung over... but in truth he looked just like my husband and daughters, Nicole and Danielle, before they get their first cup of coffee in the morning. (Although I think my family members are still grumpier than the bear was so maybe the bear had been able to get at least part of his daily caffeinated diet...)

Now that I think about it... life is much more interesting when your survival or possible demise is at stake...

QOTD: “Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mind-bog-gglingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:

    `I refuse to prove that I exist,' says God, `for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.'

    `But,' says Man, `The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn't it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don't. QED.'

    `Oh dear,' says God, `I hadn't thought of that,' and promptly vanished in a puff of logic.
    `Oh, that was easy,' says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.” ~ Douglas Adams (1952-2001) British comic Writer

New Expressions...

As usual, the conversations of our kids continue to amaze me.  The new slang for this generation seems to be as odd as I remember back in my high school days but I did have to ask about one expression in particular.  Rachel was talking to Danielle and Nina and then said, "You feel me?"  I was just about to demand that they keep their hands to themselves when I realized she was just asking them if they understood her.  Huh.  And here I thought I was about to become a referee... again.  

Maybe they are finally growing out of that stage?  Naaaahhh.  That would be too much to wish for....

Since we live in New England, there are many expressions that are regional.  Like, "wicked cool," which has absolutely nothing to do with a bad cold.  (It actually is used to describe anything that is good, exciting or wonderful.  Kind of like the word "bad" is used in some parts of the country to mean something "good".)

Having lived in southern Florida, Colorado and Mississippi, I know there are also expressions unique to those areas as well but I must admit that I am most comfortable in a place where a coke or pepsi is actually a coke or a pepsi and not just a name for any flavor of soda.  Oh, and that soda is not a tonic, pop or soda pop which in my mind makes me think of a cold remedy, something that makes a loud noise when a balloon explodes or baking soda.

Give me grinders and frappes and let me send the kids into the basement through the bulkhead for the lawn chairs so that I can ingest the aforementioned food in blissful happiness on the lawn under our 150+ year old maple tree...
QOTD: "SLANG, n. The grunt of the human hog (_Pignoramus intolerabilis_) with an audible memory. The speech of one who utters with his tongue what he thinks with his ear, and feels the pride of a creator in accomplishing the feat of a parrot. A means (under Providence) of setting up as a wit without a capital of sense." ~ Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914) American Writer, Journalist and Editor from Devil's Dictionary

05 April 2010

Digging Up Dead Relatives...

Yeah, I know that sounds pretty gruesome but it actually isn't.  Really.  I promise I am not using a shovel or a backhoe.  Really.

My mother-in-law's side of the family is having a reunion in Boulder, Colorado this July and in between running thither and yon as the kids taxi driver (and ATM machine) I have been trying to update (in my copious amounts of free time[heavy on the sarcasm]) the genealogy that I had done for her so that I can share it at the family reunion.  My MIL passed away a couple of years ago so I can not ask her all the things I now wish I had.  Sigh.

So if the posts are a little light lately, you now know what I am up to.  Believe me when I say that there are no zombies or coffins involved.  Only a family mystery or two to solve... 

If you have seen the TV show, "Who do you think you are?" I have got to tell you that it is NOT as easy as they make it look.  One day, when I win the lottery, I will have professionals do this for me, but until that happy day I guess I will have to be the one to do all the dusty, frustrating and sometimes surprising duty.
QOTD: "I trace my family history so I will know who to blame." ~ unknown

02 April 2010

Whatever Happened To Quoting Shakespeare?

When we were kids, my husband started quoting Monty Python.  Along the way he has added to his repertoire with many other quotes but they were never anything that could be considered 'high-brow'.  Having grown up in this environment, the kids seem to be continuing this dubious tradition and yesterday I got to listen to Nina and Rachel quoting lines from 'How I Met Your Mother'

Now I don't watch a whole lot of TV... in fact there are only a handful of shows like Bones, Top Gear, Myth Busters, Castle, Deadliest Catch, Leverage and Who Do You Think You Are.  And even these shows I TIVO so that I can skip the commercials and still I only watch them occassionally.  So when they started quoting something that I was sure I had never seen before, I had to ask them what it was? (and I still doubt I'll ever watch it)

So what is it with my family that they only quote bizarre dialogue?  Whatever happened to quoting poets or literature?  Even classic movies would be great but I despair of ever hearing them say anything like, "Alas, poor Uric.  I knew him well." or perhaps, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I ~ I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference."  I'd even settle for classic literature that had been turned into movies like, "I'm late, I'm late, I'm late for an important date.  No need to say hello goodbye, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late." or "I'll get you my pretty and your little dog too!"

Sigh.  Yet another thing to ponder in my universe.  I wonder what kinds of things other families quote...

As for me?  I'm off to see the Wizard...