31 January 2011

Finding Humor On A Monday... Before A Whopper Of A Snow Storm...

If you came to my blog in search of The Monday of Humor and you are in desperate need, then please feel free to read the previous post... IF it is an emergency...  I hope to be able to laugh at the memory again by the weekend.  Until then?  There is NO humor here today... and do you want to know WHY there is no humor here todayOf course you do!

We have almost three feet of snow already.  We are now looking at a good possibility of another three feet of snow by Thursday morning.  For those of you that are mathematically challenged... that would be SIX feet of snow.  Folks, I am only five feet, two and a half inches tall, but do not let that mislead you if you are foolish enough to risk my wrath
If I see someone doing a 'Snow Dance', I will hurt them.

If I hear someone 'Praying for Snow', I will hurt them.

If I feel 'The Force' being manipulated to produce 'Snow', I will hunt the perpetrator(s) down and I will hurt them... and I won't CARE if you are Yoda or even related to Yoda!

If I even smell someone 'thinking'about Snow', I will hurt them.

If I SEE anyone using the word 'Snow' in ANY of it's possible forms as a Key Word in a search engine... end up in my blog stats?  I WILL BE GOING POSTAL!!!!
You have been warned.

You may carry on...

29 January 2011

Sometimes, The Only Silver Lining Is The Humor To Be Squeezed From A Lemon...

Every family has those certain 'bent' twigs on their family tree.  Some are more warped than others, but if they weren't there... well, I guess your family would be pretty boring...   My friend Jill is in the unenviable position of having a mother-in-law who is quite... well, eccentric, shall we say.  It's a sad reality that there are many families out there in the world who were not as blessed as I was in that department.  I adored my Mother-in-Law and think of her whenever I see fabric, quilts, our kids, and my husband (not necessarily in that order), so that's quite often. 
Jill: Sorry it took so long for me to respond - Jack Senior got home last night and was full of stories about his mother.  Things I'd like to write about, but that others might not understand the humor of.  Like the fact that she demanded to get out to breathe "fresh air", but was unable to leave the car and was too cold for them to open the windows while they were parked.  Oh - and did I mention that she has a version of Crohn's Disease along with everything else and she refuses to monitor which foods she eats?  So, I'm sure you can imagine what the car smelled like (since the heater had to be on because she was cold)

And the part that had me nearly on the ground in tears of horrified laughter, when my husband told her he REALLY had to open a window to let air circulate because it smelled "stale" in the car (he was trying to approach the situation politely) she said in her German accent, "I smell nothing."  And the windows stayed up.

As for your 'white ice bag' [Like I said, punctuality was an after-thought... This was in reference to the infamous purple cast incident] - have you tried blinging it out?  Bedazzlers are pretty cheap at JoAnn's.  Or you could go with that new teen style of decorating with wanna-be graffiti art.  I think the word "LEMONADE" in giant gang-style print would go nicely with just about anything.  And you could put on a yellow do-rag to match.  Just remember, you're East Coast, so the pants are folded up on the right side.  Also, you might want to write "LEMONADE" across the butt of your pants just to be safe.  That way you can really, truly blend in.  :)

ME:  No, no, no...  you and Jack Senior (a name I find hysterical and probably NOT for the reasons you'd expect, but more on that later) are looking at this situation all wrong! You've got a gold mine of opportunities here with your MIL!

Just think about this from a different perspective. What you have here is absolutely amazing when you really take the time to think about this.   You have a woman (and I know I shouldn't be assuming here but since I'm pretty sure Jack DIDN'T crawl out from under a rock I'll keep her gender orientation within what is generally accepted within our society for her generation... but just so you know,  I believe we are all unique, just like everyone else on the planet. I'm not a bigot when it comes to gender, color, religion, politics, education or chocolate preference although I DO draw the line for those people who roll the left pant leg... or was that the right one... no, not THAT 'right', your 'military right'. Yeah, that's the one... I think... Huh... maybe not... Guess I'll have to get back to you on that one... Anyway, I believe that EVERY human being on the planet has the right to be crapped on because  that way the crap gets spread out more evenly and I REALLY do believe in being a team player.  I know my intellect is truly dizzying, but don't give up on me yet.  I have faith in your abilities to recognize and appreciate the genius that is me.) Now where was I?
Oh, yes. You have a woman, whom could become a national treasure! Yes, you read that right. ( No, not THAT right... Do we really need to go through that one again? Please, do try to pay attention here.  Thank you.) NOW where was I? Oh, yes.  A national treasure! She could be revered here, in the great US of A and have schools, libraries and towns named after her! Why, the Nobel Peace Prize committee would absolutely drool at the idea of honoring her! You don't understand just how LUCKY you both really are!  Why, this could be epic. You could go down in history for being related to her!
I can see how you'd probably feel depressed when the world at large holds up a picture of you and finds you lacking.  It's only to be expected and you really don't have a choice about your genetics anyway. Truly.  It wouldn't be all that bad for you, because the rest of us could never hold a candle up to the greatness that is her, either.
At least YOU get to be related to her... Why...  I am eaten up with jealousy now that I ponder this.  Absolutely neon green!  Why do YOU get to be related to her and the rest of us  just get to bask in the microscopic (you know what? I think microscopic has become my new favorite word. Why, I have used it in my last three emails to you! Yes, I know you were wondering about this. Well now you know.) Now WHERE was I? Oh yes, crumbs. Microscopic crumbs. Why do we get to just pine for even a glimpse of her?  I don't get it. That's just not fair!
In retrospect I can see the enormity of the error I have made in possibly making you aware of your blessings.  Please, just forget everything I just wrote.  I didn't really mean any of it. Why...  I was just... having a hallucination.  Yes. A hallucination.  So. You believe me, right?  NO. NOT 'THAT' RIGHT!'  You know? Now that I think about it... You just don't deserve to be related to her...
Lemon Stand

PS Since I have had to Peck out this email with one finger for the last three hours, you'll have to excuse me for not relating my amusement about the name 'Jack Senior.' Not only am I now tired and depressed, I wonder why it is that my best writing is always written to one person (OK, possibly two in this case if you decide to share this with Jack). When I want to write a blog post all I get is blue screen... It's just not fair.

28 January 2011

Lessons Learned In Parental Survival School...

1) If you CAN'T hear your children when they are awake, find them quick because children are only quiet when they are doing something that will make your hair turn prematurely grey!

2) If you CAN hear your children, go break it up, hopefully before you have great need to provide transportation to the nearest hospital emergency room. (From either sibling or parental induced trauma)

3) Don't ever try to get anything done when the children are awake. This will always be the opportunity for trouble to find them.

4) Understand that a child can take apart anything you can build or accomplish in less time and with a lot less effort.

5) Always take advantage of good behavior... you'll never know if you will ever see it again or when the aliens will be swapping your child back. (You don't think they'd really want to keep them do you?)

6) Always hold back your own personal supply of water balloons and snow balls. They do come in handy.

7) After a child becomes a teenager, a padded room that locks from the INSIDE will become necessary for parental recuperation.

8) However many teenagers you have, that will be the exact number required to turn off a light.  One to actually perform the duty and the others to tell you, "But I didn't turn it on."

9) Once you have a daughter who arrives at the age of 12, it is imperative that you have an emergency supply of chocolate on hand at all times!

10) Hug all of your children good-morning and good-night.  When they no longer want a hug, you will know they have arrived at puberty.
QOTD: "Children are the most expensive form of entertainment." ~ Mihaela Iosof

Current Local Sentiment About More Snow...

On a nearby town church's front lawn message board:


26 January 2011

It's Winter In New England... A Poem...

It's winter in New England
And the gentle breezes blow
Seventy miles an hour
At thirty-five below.

Oh, how I love New England
When the snow's up to your butt
You take a breath of winter
And your nose gets frozen shut.

Yes, the weather here is wonderful
So I guess I'll hang around
I could never leave New England
Cuz I'm frozen to the ground! 

As usual, my sister in law sent me two funny emails... one I REALLY wish I could post because I haven't laughed that hard in years... and this was the other.  So apropos with the weather around here lately.  I wish I knew who had written it but even Google didn't seem to know.  Thank you, Karen!  

REVISED EDITION: It seems that either this post... or me in particular, reminds Andy of Andy's Place, in his current post, of the Titanic... Poor Andy is really suffering down there in Louisiana... granted he's in the NORTHwest part of Louisiana...  but now I have to link to HIS OTHER link, because I think I really like the way his wife thinks!  And because I think HIS Winter Poem is better than mine, but I wouldn't want him to get an over-inflated head... it might pop and since he is still producing a little blog fodder for me... and I so love teasing him that I think I'll not endanger his being.  Andy, since you have revealed that I remind you of the Titanic, then I'll admit to you reminding me of posteriors and the abysmal depths of the Marianas Trench... just sayin'     :)

25 January 2011

Did You Ever Wish Life Came With An Instruction Manual? Got One Right Here...

Back in 1992, I bought a book called Life's Little Instruction Book, by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.  Eventually, I bought the hardcover version (shown here) which combined his first three books.  If you have read any other books of The Giving Book Club you've probably noticed a trend.  Most of my collection of books like this, are not written in chapters like you'd find in most non-fiction books.  They are bits and pieces that don't require more than a couple of minutes to read... or seconds for that matter in some of them.  The great thing is... I don't need more than a glance some days, because, like this book is arranged, reading a couple of lines really just acts like a thought provoker.  It puts some important bit of wisdom in my brain so that I can turn it over and over throughout the day.  

I don't have time for more than that most days and back when I first found this book, I REALLY didn't have time.  I can't remember anymore, just where I was when I picked this book up for the first time.  I DO remember that I was pretty much at the end of my rope, wishing that my life had come with an instruction manual.  The experiences we'd had for about an eighteen month period prior to this time were...  'eventful'.  From my first glance, at the first page, I was hooked.  Below is Mr. Brown's description of WHY he wrote these books (from the publisher section on  Barnes & Noble's web site):
H. Jackson Brown, Jr. originally wrote Life's Little Instruction Book™ as a gift for his son who was leaving home to begin his freshman year in college. Brown says, "I read years ago that it was not the responsibility of parents to pave the road for their children but to provide a road map, and I wanted to provide him with what I had learned about living a happy and rewarding life."

"But it's not just for young people," says Brown. "Most of us already know how to live a successful and purposeful life. We know we should be more understanding and thoughtful, more responsible, courageous and appreciative. It's just that we sometimes need reminding." 
  • Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen every day.
  • Be brave. Even if you're not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  • Think big thoughts, but relish small pleasures.
  • Learn to listen. Opportunity sometimes knocks softly.
  • Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have.
  • Be kinder than necessary.
  • Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  • Commit yourself to constant self-improvement.
  • Don't major in minor things.
  • Never cut what can be untied.
I read somewhere that Mr. Brown's son, Adam, had written back to his father to tell him it was the best gift he'd ever gotten and that he would add to it and pass it on to his children.  

This book help tie a knot in that rope I was at the end of and allowed me to hold on.  One of these days I really should do a post... or three... about that time period.  Til then, here's the Reader's Digest Version:
  • Pregnancy after three years infertility
  • First Gulf War breaks out
  • Permanent Change of Station (AKA PCS) and a move half-way around the world to Guam from southern Florida... a military move instruction manual would have been amazing...
  • Pre-term labor and a placenta that had started to tear... I didn't even think of an instruction manual... I just wanted Mom...
  • Evacuated to closest Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit in the Philippines.  9 days before...
  • Mt Pinatubo Volcano erupts requiring evacuation... I really could have used an instruction manual around this time...
  • Evacuated to closest Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit in Japan... no instruction manual... just an air sickness bag...
  • Minor earthquake... still no desperately needed instruction manual to be found...
  • Almost four weeks to due date... fetal lung maturity tested and found OK
  • Evacuated back to Guam
  • Five days hard labor.  Water broken and seventeen minutes later we have a baby girl named Nicole
  • Nicole broke collarbone in delivery. I broke tailbone in delivery.  Born three weeks early
  • First child... still haven't found an instruction manual on life...  now in desperate need of an owner's manual too...
  • Six months later... uh oh, oops... instruction manual not needed, had this subject covered in High School health class... guess I must have missed that lecture...
  • Problems with pregnancy... hospitalized for about four and a half months... again, I didn't want an instruction manual... I wanted Mom...
  • Nicole's first steps and a lot of other firsts happen without me... still waiting on those instruction manuals (life and owner)...
  • Evacuated to closest Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit in Hawaii
  • Mother in Law flies to Guam, picks up our daughter and brings her to Hawaii and stays... A Mother with an instruction (and owner manuals from older models) memorized...
  • Super Typhoon Omar destroys our home on Anderson AFB... tissues supplied... instruction manual not needed... 
  • Mom flies home... detailed instructions given prior to leaving...
  • Category four Hurricane Iniki hits Hawaii, passing directly of Kaua'i.  The most powerful hurricane in Hawaiian recorded history, devastates Hawaii... a survival manual instead, might have come in handy at this point...
  • Danielle is born three and a half weeks early.  Has severe jaundice and stays hospitalized
  • A couple of days later, I tripped in hospital parking lot.  Broken left big toe, torn ligament in left ankle, torn ligament in right knee... did not follow Mom's detailed instructions to the letter...  already know what instruction manual said and really didn't need an 'I told you so'...
  • Return to Guam.  Not much to salvage.  Not much to pack.  Not much need for instructions on what comes next...
  • Instead of accepting an unaccompanied short tour for a year, I separated from the military
  • Fly most of the way without my husband from Guam to Maine with 15 month old, 6 week old, left ankle in cast, right leg in brace from hip to ankle... (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my cousin Denyse?  She has a really big S on her undershirt!  She's my hero.  She flew to San Francisco to help me, and then we flew home together.)
  • Land, head straight to emergency room with two children running raging fevers from ear infections... Mother with instruction (and owner) manual memorized... was on site...
  • Three months later, husband separates from active duty and returns home to Maine... Serious need for an encyclopedia of Life's Instructions...

24 January 2011

Weather Report Education And Changes...

Today's weather report is as follows:

-32°F, without the windchill factor counted in this morning as I dragged my toasty warm body out from under the Mount Everest of blankets'-'32°, did you notice that cute little the minus sign before the number 32 indicates the negative number of degrees it is below 0°F In other words it's really flipping cold up here! (I would like to thank my husband for taking the kids to school this morning so that I could go back beneath our Mount Everest of blankets.)

Just in case you slept through, were wadding paper for spitballs, writing notes to pass to your friends or were out sick with the Bubonic Plague the day the LESSON ON THE PROPERTIES OF WATER were taught in your elementary school classH2O that would be water for those of you who might not have been mentally available in middle school freezes at 32°F.  Now according to my old Anatomy & Physiology Textbook (I did pay attention in college... at least for this discussion), our resident doctor, a woman's body that would be mine, is made up of about 55% water, men are about 60%.  Which means there is the possibility that today I could be affected by the laws of temperature, the application of this kind of cold temperature you know... the ridiculously frigid air that only polar bears and penguins love, could freeze a person that would be me solid rather fast then, I too could become another member of our winter lawn decorations... along with the swimming snowman and snow sharks.  Therefore, the laws of temperature and the fact that I am a homo sapien, would seem to make it prudent ya think? to remain indoors preferably a heated indoors, because the possibility of freezing solid is ridiculously high.  Please try to limit your time outside without appropriate weather gear we're talking Nanook of the North level of clothing here, to a minimum.  Aye, Aye Captain! Remain inside my 68°F heated home... under our Mount Everest of blankets... pulled over my head, avoiding becoming a human popsicle.  I can definitely agree with that surmise. thank you so very much!  It sounds absolutely delightful.
I am delighted to report that the temperature has rocketed up 24°in the last four hours!  We are now at sitting at a very balmy -8°F...  with a windchill factor of -14°F.  As your local weather reporter, I am happy to announce that we should reach the positive single digits for a high today.  I'm wondering if his life depends upon accuracy?  I sure hope not.  I've kinda gotten used to him and his type of gestures.  I really don't feel up to learning a 'newbie's mime.  I  We will keep you apprised of his physical condition of the weather as soon as the reports are made available.

In other news, changes are happening here at The Lemon Stand's website.  How drastic those changes might be will depend upon the level of frustration reached by the construction crew, in other words, ME available talent's schedule .  Should we go off the air, it will only be very temporary... I HopePlease stay tuned...
QOTD: "Weather forecast for tonight: Dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning." ~ George Carlin

23 January 2011


"Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born." ~ Erma Bombeck

21 January 2011

Questions Only Mommy Can Answer...

A long time ago I wrote a post about Questions Only Daddy Can Answer.  Today, I'm going to share some of mine over the years.

Nicole - On our first shopping trip foray for undergarments. 
"Mommy, why does a bra lift and separate?"
"I think they are trying to describe how this particular style of bra supports your breasts, but to be honest, now that you mention it, that sounds pretty uncomfortable."
Nina - an overheard conversation the daughters were having about dating boys and what was ok and what was NOT ok.  
"These are "my girls" [if I have to explain this euphemism, then you are a guy] and they are off limits!" 
I remember thinking to myself that Daddy would be relieved to hear this. 

Danielle - Sixth grade.  
"Mommy, I hate boys."
"Don't worry Danielle, they really DO eventually grow up and you'll be able to carry on an intelligent conversation." 
I can remember that Danielle still looked skeptical.

Rachel - This question came when she was about twelve, at her Aunt Kelly's house and she saw this bra commercial.  
"Mommy, what's a twenty-four hour bra and why would anyone want to wear one for that long?"
"I think the company just wanted to emphasize their bra's supportive qualities."  (I'm of French descent and Kelly is of Italian descent and we TALK with our hands.  It's an extension of our speaking abilities.  Do I really need to describe how I, unthinkingly, answered this question any further?) 
So that's about as far as I got in the answer before Kelly and I started laughing.  Rachel just rolled her eyes at us and went to go back to watching TV with the rest of our offspring.

Erin - Not too long ago, at an appointment with her pediatrician.  
"Mommy, I don't like bras!  They are nothing more than boob bond@ge." (mis-spelling is intentional, I assure you)   
The look on the doctor's face was priceless!  Then she started to laugh.  Erin was truly serious, so I took her seriously and did a lot of research on bras, why we wear them and what the alternatives were.  There are alternatives and Erin just may end up being the smartest one of us all if you are concerned about breast cancer, which is a serious concern in our family.
QOTD: "The art of never making a mistake is crucial to motherhood. To be effective and to gain the respect she needs to function, a other must have her children believe she has never engaged in sex, never made a bad decision, never caused her own mother a moment's anxiety, and was never a child." ~ Erma Bombeck

18 January 2011

Go Forth And Fail... Just Don't Give Up...

Tim is the son of John and Kelly, the closest friends we have.  So Tim has also been our 'nephew' for longer than he can remember.

I wanted to remind you Tim of what I wrote to you just a few weeks ago.  You were feeling down because you didn't win all your wrestling matches.  You felt you were not successful in being as good as you really wanted to be.  You had worked very hard and felt you had let down both yourself and your team.

I believe the message I sent you went something like this:

You did NOT fail.  You tried and you learned.  Thomas Edison once said, "I have not failed. I've just found ten thousand ways that won't work."  Every time you wrestle, you learn something new whether you win the match or not.  You have just learned some things that won't work.  Don't give up, your education is not yet over.

Thomas Edison was a pretty smart guy for having had hearing problems and only three MONTHS of formal education.  So I want you to pay attention to two other things Thomas Edison said:

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Tim, I believe you decided to go back to 'school' and try one more time.

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."

Aren't you glad now that you did not give up? 

We are all so proud of you!!!  Congratulations Tim to you and your team for winning FIRST PLACE in your wrestling competition!  How does it feel?  

(Remember that feeling because it only gets better the more you try)

17 January 2011

Monday Of Humor?

It's a holiday so I totally forgot that it was a Monday of Humor!  How about this?  Don't you just LOVE IT?  It caught my eye over on the Experience Project.  Rockinitasasnowbunny was using it as her icon and I had to ask her where it came from.  The creator of this wonderful graphic is Pookiecat77 on Photobucket.

16 January 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green...

Another installment of The Giving Book Club as described in the post "Giving Is Supposed To Come From Here..."  Luckily, I have collected enough Lemonade shelf books to continue for a very, very long time.  

I have a few wonderful and really special memories of my father.  One was that he loved The Muppet Show just as much as the rest of our family.  I remember his favorite characters were the two grumpy old men in the balcony and the Swedish Chef.  For me?  My absolute favorite character was Kermit the frog.  Growing up I never really thought much about WHY he was my favorite.  He just was.

Years ago, I was feeling pretty low and somehow found myself in a book store where someone had left a single copy of this book on a chair near the coffee table book section.  I remember it was still winter and I had thought that if I could find a book that had pictures of somewhere warm, somewhere I wanted to travel to, some beautiful nature pictures, spring and sunshine wouldn't seem so far away.   Kermit was on the cover, so it caught my eye.  I picked it up to just thumb through it and some time later, I suddenly realized I had finished the book.  I had unknowingly sat down on that chair to continue reading it.   Needless to say, I adopted the book (after duly paying for it), and took it home with me.  I knew it needed a home, and I needed it's wisdom.  A perfect fit as far as I was concerned.

"It's Not Easy Being Green" was really my introduction to Kermit's creator, Jim Henson.  Like The Muppet Show, this was not just a child's book, nor was it just an adult's book.  It's a book for those willing to look at life through the eyes of a child and realize that what the child was seeing clearly, was the true reality of life without the cataracts that blur our sight as we age.

This book always GIVES me something different, every time I pick it up.  Being a military family has it's own unique challenges and so the title of this book often seems ironic (in a good way) to me.   For me, the one thing this book gives me is always the same.  HOPE.  It gives me hope even when I think I'll never feel hope again.   It says to me:  "You are NOT drowning, you are eight years old again, lying on your back, relaxing and letting your body drift to the top of the water and just floating.  Just enjoying the view of the picture book stories to be found in a starry sky or deciding the species of cloud animals passing by.  You have the energy, experience and skill to swim to shore, but first, take a few minutes to really look around you and then take that mental picture with you to show someone else how it is done."

I have given this book to friends who are struggling with something in their lives.  I have given it to graduating relations.  There is something about the hope and innocence in all the little vignettes that make up "It's Not Easy Being Green" (ISBN 9781401302429) that just makes sense to me.  Again, like the book, "Random Acts of Kindness", this book is not big in size.  But both books are of few words and both are big on hope and heart
QOTD: "I've got a dream, too, but it's about singing and dancing and making people happy. That's the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And, well, I've found a whole bunch of friends who have the same dream. And it kind of makes us like a family." ~ Kermit the frog from The Muppet Movie

15 January 2011

It's Really Not THAT Cold Up Here In The 'Frozen Northern Wastelands' Mrs Who...

If you go to 38 Snowmen Nightmares:Calvin and Hobbes in Real Life , you will see that we are mere amateurs... Still, that didn't stop my daughter Erin, my niece, Isabelle and I from having a blast today...

I am obviously not a professional photographer because it never crossed my mind that 'white' on 'white' doesn't show up very well in broad daylight.  I refuse to feel badly about the poor picture quality because WE have this winter decoration in our front yard... What kind of bland display can compete with OURS for sheer chutzpa?  When we decided it was time for us to come in, we heated up the apple cider...   And what did YOU accomplish today?  :)

12 January 2011

Practicing Random Acts Of Kindness And Senseless Acts Of Beauty...

I think the story of the Man With The Golden Voice has been pretty widely publicized.  I first saw the video over on Andy's Place and in my opinion, it is rare in any of the media forms to ever deviate from the formula of  "if it bleeds, it leads..."  

Not so widely publicized was the journalist who took the time to talk to Mr. Williams.  Doral Chenoweth III is a videographer who created the video for The Columbus Dispatch. If his intentions were anything more than trying to use his talent to just do his job, I really don't know.  I hope that, at least part, his motivation was to do something kind for someone else without any thought of repayment (at least anything beyond his paycheck for doing a wonderful job).  From all I've read, it doesn't sound like he expected the kind of help that was offered to Mr. Williams, but seemed genuinely glad about it.  I think it just reinforces my opinion that even the smallest act of kindness can have the most profound effect on a farther range of people than most people realize.

Thank you, Mr. Chenoweth, for not only your kindness, but as a reminder to me that not all reporters should be painted with the same brush.  And thank you to his publisher who agreed to run the story.  My small little corner of the universe was lightened at the thought of how many people were touched.  It won't ever mean a lot to anyone else, but in my own heart, you both win the You Made A Difference Award.

Thank you sincerely,

Lemon Stand


All my life I have tried to pluck a thistle and plant a flower wherever the flower would grow in thought and mind. ~ Abraham Lincoln, inspired by his mother's credo, which was 'kindness to neighbors and strangers'.

To Benjamin Webb1  (L. C.)
Passy, April 22d, 1784.
Dear Sir,
I received yours of the 15t Instant, and the Memorial it enclosed.2  The account they give of your situation grieves me.  I send you herewith a Bill for Ten Louis d’ors.  I do not pretend to give such a Sum; I only lend it to you.  When you shall return to your Country with a good Character, you cannot fail of getting into some Business, that will in time enable you to pay all your Debts.  In that Case, when you meet with another honest Man in similar Distress, you must pay me by lending this Sum to him; enjoining him to discharge the Debt by a like operation, when he shall be able, and shall meet with such another opportunity.  I hope it may thus go thro’ many hands, before it meets with a Knave that will stop its Progress.  This is a trick of mine for doing a deal of good with a little money.  I am not rich enough to afford much in good works, and so am obliged to be cunning and make the most of a little.  With best wishes for the success of your Memorial, and your future prosperity, I am, dear Sir, your most obedient servant,                                                   B. Franklin

1 The Duke of Sussex wrote in the margin of his copy of Franklin’s works (now in B. M.), “the idea of this loan is most beautiful and bespeaks a goodness of heart for which one must love the man.” ~ ED.
2 This letter written at Geneva is in A. P. S.  The writer had been declared a bankrupt in England, fell under suspicion of having secreted property, and fled to the continent.  He now wished to return to England and reĆ«mbark in business. ~ ED.

The writings of Benjamin Franklin, Volume 9, page 197 By Benjamin Franklin

10 January 2011

Keeping With The Tradition of Monday Humor... Yes, I Know I Only Started This Tradtion Last Monday... But Work With Me Here...

Nary a post has shown itself on this poor blog all weekend.  How did the world survive without it?  

I survived the MRI.  I will not go into details as I will be reliving them in my nightmares for the next couple of weeks.  I find out the results on Wednesday.  After asking if we could have a copy of one of the pictures... just so I could prove I have a brain.  (repeating everything said will get me into a lot of trouble so we'll just not go there, shall we?)  Before we left, the tech gave us a copy of all of the pictures that had been taken on a CD.  They look pretty funny when you you're highly medicated... just sayin'  

So it's official, I can not play the Scarecrow and I am firmly entrenched in the Cowardly Lion's camp.  At dinner tonight, my husband said he'd rather be Toto who gets to run away and roll in dead things.  Nina wants to be the little guy behind the door because he gets to be mean to everyone.  Danielle thinks Rachel should be the the head of the Munchkin Lollipop Guild, but she can't be since she is now officially taller than I am... by a quarter of an inch, I wouldn't let them pick on her like that because she's too much like her father and you never know what she would come up with to retaliate.  Besides... she doesn't look anything like them... see?

06 January 2011

Mom, Reason Number 284 Why Tattoos And Body Piercings Might Not Be A Great Idea...

Back in 2006, I posted about the adventures my Mother and I had at the hospital, just prior to her knee replacement surgery.  Yesterday, at Andy's Place, he mentioned (in addition to an amazing amount of other 'interesting' news) that his Mother-in-law was going into the hospital for knee replacement surgery.  So for Andy's Mother-in-law because Andy tends to get into trouble when left to his own devices, an experience to share in her recovery to make her laugh.  Laughter is, after all, the best medicine.
My sisters are not the ones you want to visit you if you are in the hospital.  Really.  One of my sisters has the dubious honor of having a very large labeled applied to her son's medical record (in addition to her own) that says, "If the words 'needle, shot, or immunization' had to be used, my sister had to be in a prone position prior to trying to have the discussion."  No lie.  I'd love to tease her about it, but as you can see, she'd just take a nap on me.  My other sister isn't quite as bad, but since I could drive up to stay with our Mom, I told them not to worry.
It's about a three hour drive and I was happy I managed to make it to the hospital before she was taken in. I knew she was really nervous but determined to get this over with and have her mobility back. We ended up having a long time to visit with each other because the surgery schedule had somehow been delayed.

So Mom is laying in bed with one of those self-air-conditioning Johnny's on that you will never see in any magazine as the newest craze in fashion.  (although, I might be wrong about this since showing underwear and butt crack has become fashionable, I may be wrong about the Johnny's style appeal to the newest generation...)  She has a little granny cap on her head which, of course, keeps slipping down over her left eye. Since she had IVs attached to both hands, I tried to help her adjust the thing, but it didn't want to stay put.  So I suggested she just pretend it was an eye patch and that she was just going through her pirate phase in life.... I got the 'look'. (The same one I use on my own offspring...)  OKaaaay, so I helped tuck the thing behind one ear. (Till the nurse came back in and put the granny cap back where it had been....)

When nurse anesthetist started asking questions, a few produced the funniest expression I can ever remember being on my Mother's face.  She was asking Mom questions like, "Do you have any special markings?"  It took me a second to realize she was asking about scars, moles, or tattoos.  My Mother's hearing isn't too good and she obviously was not wearing her hearing aids, so I repeated the questions nearer to her ear.  My Mom mentions her scars.  Then the nurse asks about body piercings and my Mom says two. One in each ear. (By this time I am trying very hard not to laugh.) The nurse finishes up and leaves.

My Mom turns to me and and says, "WHAAAT?"

"Mom, reason number 284 why tattoos and body piercings might not be a great idea. I can see myself at 70 saying, 'yeah, I have a belly button ring, both ears pierced 7 times and oh yeah, both nipples'..."

(I know my kids are going to read this and say GRRRROSSSS MOM!!! - Well, sweeties, don't read the rest of this then!)

You know? They say timing is everything and just as I was saying this the Doctor comes around the screen. He was smiling but thankfully didn't say anything about our unlady-like guffawing. He does his spiel and then he too, leaves.

So my Mom and I are still laughing and another nurse comes in to administer the 'Happy Juice'. She kept checking the chart and I'm sure she thought that we were both probably 'Happy' enough. After she leaves I tell my Mom, "There's another reason I won't get a tattoo. I don't think they look as good with the wrinkle, wave effect.... I can hear myself having to say something like, 'Hey, I'll be happy to show you my tattoo... just give me a minute to stretch it out flat for you to see it...' Nope, not gonna happen.'"

Then I asked my Mom if she needed a 'sharpie marker' and she asked me what for... I told her about a story I had just heard about a woman who had been in a really bad accident and eventually had to have part of one leg removed.  She had used a sharpie to write notes all over her body to the doctors, nurses and anesthesiologist. On the good leg she wrote 'Not this leg.  This is the good leg.' On the bad leg she wrote 'This is the right leg, I mean the bad leg, cut here.' She also wrote notes with arrows about where the reconstructive surgery was not taking place so that there was no need to look there. I couldn't remember all of them but it didn't matter, we were laughing so hard by this time that all the staff had come to see what was up and then we just had to tell them the whole story. Needless to say, Mom went into surgery with tears and a smile on her face... and so did everyone else   :o)
QOTD: "Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. Lord Byron (1788-1824) English Poet

05 January 2011

Giving Is Supposed To Be From Here...

I've decided to start a book club.  This book club is going to be called The Giving Book Club.  The only books chosen and discussed will be books that give to the reader.  What the book gives would depend upon the reader. 

I was thumbing through one of my books because it was a tough day for me today.  It wasn't anything bad in particular.  Just one of those kind of days.  I have a headache.  I'm frustrated with the kids.  I'm upset with a billing office.  An ordinary day.  Like I said, just one of those kind of days.  It occurred to me that there had to be an amazing amount of people who had the same exact day I have just had.  So I chose, at random, one of my Lemonade shelf books.  Then I chose, at random, a page to share.

When I was quite small my immigrant Russian grandmother told me that people in this country give from the wrong place.  "When you give from here," she declared, pointing to her solar plexus, "it's like keeping a ledger book.  That's not giving, that's trading.  I give you three so you give me three.  I sweep the floor so you carry the bundles."

She pushed the wisps of white hair out of her eyes with the backs of her red hands, shaking her head back and forth, tsk-ing her tongue against her teeth.  "You give your soul away when you give like that.  Giving is supposed to be from here," she said, pointing to the center of her chest with a feathery finger.  "When you give from your heart, it's not so you get anything back.  There is no owing or owed.  You just give because you want to give.  When you give like this, it fills you up.  Your heart can never run out.  The more you give from there, the fuller you will be...  When you give like this, there are no strangers." ~ Dawna Markova from the book Random Acts of Kindness, An Illustrated Celebration ISBN 97814355125513 (On the inside cover, after the description of the book, it says, "from the book")
I immediately thought of someone in particular, who I know will LAUGH when she reads this post.  For everyone else?  I hope it puts a smile on your puss, like it did on mine.

I recommend this book highly.  It's not very large in size, but it's gargantuan in heart.  I bought it recently in Barnes and Nobles book store.  If you have read this book, I would love to read your opinion in the comments.  Who wants to choose the next book?  Just give it a tag of The Giving Book Club and I'll be sure to Google it.  I'm always looking for additions to buy for my Lemonade shelf.
QOTD: "Imagine what a world this would be if everyone did one kind thing every day." ~ "from the [same] book"

04 January 2011

If You Are The Mother Of Offspring, You'll Know Where This Story Is Going...

I've decided the blog fodder for today will be the memory of a lesson learned.  Several years ago, I spent a Saturday cleaning out all the cupboards in my kitchen.  All the shelves were cleaned and organized, the refuse removed.  I asked our daughter Rachel to unload the dishwasher and our daughter Danielle to load it.

If you are a mother, you'll know where this story is going...
One offspring to unload dishwasher.  One offspring to load dishwasher.  That is, what? Ten minutes worth of chores? Fifteen tops, if you are feeling particularly slow.  In return, I drive them to parties and friends and activities they want to enjoy. I'd say that was a pretty good deal for them, right?

**cough cough - roll of eyes**

I woke up about 3am Sunday morning and couldn't get back to sleep, so I went downstairs and decided to put the dishes away and load the few that were left. The first dish I pulled out of the dishwasher had oatmeal baked onto it... and so did just about every other dish in the dishwasher.

Now we have a very cheap dishwasher, no garbage disposal due to our septic system, so dishes have to be scraped and rinsed well before being washed. The oatmeal that didn't make it onto the dishes... was now cement in the bottom dishwasher strainer and beyond. Danielle hadn't bothered scraping/rinsing them off before placing them into the dishwasher.

So now the dishwasher was unusable until my husband could get a chance to take the thing apart and clean it. I took all the dishes out and rewashed them by hand, using the dishwasher as a drying rack.

Then I pulled out a towel to start wiping and putting them away. I opened my newly cleaned and organized plastic container cabinet to put the first item away... Rachel had just tossed as many containers as she could stuff in there without  taking a few extra seconds to nest and stack them. Gah! I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I wanted to throw things. I wanted to wring two of my adorable offspring's NECKS!!!!

Did I do any of these things? Nope. I decided that getting my blood pressure up over this was not going to do any good. So I reorganize the cabinet... again, then went and did laundry. When my husband woke up about 5am to get ready for drill (this happened to be Drill weekend), I told him what had happened. Then I asked him to get the two girls out of bed (at 5am on a Sunday Morning) to SCRUB the entire kitchen. Ceiling to floor. Have I mentioned that my kids are NOT morning birds? They love nothing more than lounging in bed during the weekends until there is some activity they want to do.

I have no idea what their father said to them. All I know is that as I headed upstairs to put laundry away, the two of them were already out of bed (a miracle in itself for the amount of time it took him to accomplish that task) and dragging their feet to the kitchen. They didn't say a word to me.

(I did mention to all of the kids at breakfast that the dishes now had to be done by hand until their father could get around to fixing the dishwasher. My kids think life before a dishwasher was as barbaric as living in the stone age!)

A little while later, my husband came into our room to get dressed and go. He told me that the girls were not to ask me how the kitchen looked. They were not to ask me what needed to be done or if what they had done was done to my satisfaction. He told them they would find out at 4am tomorrow morning. If it was done right, they could sleep in until 6am when they had to get up for school. Otherwise, they would be up, redoing the kitchen before school.

You will be glad to know that they slept til 6am Monday morning. The kitchen looked stunning. Truly immaculate.  :)
QOTD: "Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival." W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)