Saturday, December 31, 2011

A BOOMIN' GOOD TIME
TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR

"How real men shoot skeet." I like it!

IN IOWA, THE BODY POLITIC
HAS TAKEN A BEATING

Considering the staffers who've quit the Bachmann campaign in the 11th hour, the roller-coaster polls, and the nasty ads by several of the candidates, our daughter's mispronunciation of the upcoming Presidential primary in Nebraska's neighboring state is probably closer to the truth:

She calls them "the Iowa Carcasses."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

CANDIDATE FOR THE
ODDEST CHRISTMAS GIFT?

Our family has a Yankee Swap after Christmas dinner. It features cutthroat competition for some nice, but mostly weird and strange, white elephant gifts. This year's items included a little tweener girl's pink diary that a distinguished 50-something relative could not for the life of him get anybody to swap with him for, a champagne-chocolate-mistletoe combo, and also this objet d'art:

Yes, the snow globe is pictured sideways . . .
to make it easier to see our studly coach with his feline companion.


Who knew that Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini was a cat lover? And that his engaging photo would look so lovely in a dimestore snow globe?

Everyone schemed and swapped valiantly for the obviously Photoshopped prize. Eventually it went to the youngest among us, Husker fan Maddy, age 11.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GRANDMA CAN'T WAIT
TO TRICK BRIDGE CLUB

As usual, everybody's favorite gift under the tree this Christmas was a silly toy. Our youngest got a "Sound Machine," which is a little hand-held box that can play funny sound effects:

Plays 16 humorous sounds, mostly appropriate in all social settings.



You know: wild applause, a cannonball, funny laughter, a "boing" sound . . . totally goofy.

Well, Grandma, who is 82, loved it. She wanted one, so we ordered her one. What on earth for? To hold in her lap, under the table, at Bridge Club . . . to "comment" on good and bad bridge plays.

You're never too old for wacky fun!

Friday, December 23, 2011

GET A LUBE JOB FOR YOUR HEART:
MERRY CHRISTMAS, Y'OIL!!!

Best Christmas letter of the season goes to my pal from Dulut', who saw a big yellow sign for "Lube Pro's" with the endearing message:

NOTHING SAYS
MERRY CHRISTMAS
LIKE AN OIL CHANGE

True, that!

See you Monday. Have a wonderful time with those you love best this Christmas weekend.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ADORABLE VIDEO CHRISTMAS CARD
IS CHARMING, MUSICAL AND SWEEEEEEEET

What's more fun than a cup full of singing marshmallows? Nothing I can think of. Our daughter works for a very creative bunch in Kansas City, and naturally, their Christmas card is great fun. She's on the upper left-hand side, sort of at 10 o'clock.

Click on this daily to meet all your Christmas season stress reduction needs . . . and think of Prizm Productions for all your present and future video needs!

http://www.prizmproductions.com/

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

THE ELVES ARE GETTING STRESSED OUT;
PROCEED WITH CAUTION 'TIL CHRISTMAS DAY

Our daughter had just paid for a car wash and was maneuvering her car into line when another motorist screeched and swerved wildly just to cut in front of her in line.

O . . . K. Luckily, since our daughter was done with finals, she was in a cheery mood, and let it go -- except that the harried driver had meant to cut in front of the OIL CHANGE line instead of the car wash line. So everybody had to stop and back up to let her out, soon after she'd gotten in.

I guess her facial expressions were hilarious.

Then comes my darling little brother, who navigates Boston's crazy traffic every day and had an "incident" today that he can only describe as "different."

Some lady driver got mad at him in traffic . . . and flipped him the bird.

That wouldn't be so unusual, except her finger was wearing A TINY LITTLE SANTA HAT!!!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

SHE WAS SO HUNGRY,
SHE COULD EAT A HOUSE

My friend's little boy came home with a gingerbread house he made at school today. She put it on the kitchen table, and locked her beautiful Shetland sheepdog on the other side of the gate, thinking she would hang with her new puppies. The mom then dashed to the store.



You guessed it: when she came back, the dog was standing in the middle of the kitchen table, and the plate that *had* the house on it was on the floor licked CLEAN!

Another one of her friends quipped, "That will just give your son something to talk about in counseling someday."

Monday, December 19, 2011

AH, NEWLYWEDS!
DANCIN' IN THE KITCHEN!

A friend's daughter certainly picked a winner for her new husband. The other night, he was standing at the stove cooking hash browns for their dinner. Beyonce was on the stereo. The young wife said that she would make them some coffee. He said, "No, your job is to DANCE!" He then dropped his spoon and twirled her around the kitchen in an impromptu dance to the music.

How romantic!

After 30-some years, I'm afraid my husband would have said, "No, your job is to TOTE THAT BARGE and LIFT THAT BALE!!!" Actually, I can't dance anyway. So no great loss. :>) But it's fun to know that young love and whimsical romance still rule the day in SOME people's households!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

COCK-A-DOODLE-HUNHHH???
NEVER HEARD OF THAT TREATMENT

At last night's office Christmas party, there was a really fun line dance going on. So I pulled John, my favorite retiree, out onto the dance floor. We did all the cool moves, including a couple of low squats.

Afterwards, in front of his whole table, including wife Joyce, John said that he had had some special shots into his arthritic knees. He could squat two feet lower now than he could before, without pain.

He said the shots were made of the material that is in rooster combs. He said they work great.

I retorted, "Except that you're waking Joyce up every morning at 5 o'clock, going 'Cock-a-doodle-dooooooo'!!!!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WHEN THE NEIGHBOR MAN
CAN PULL YOUR LEG, BIGTIME

Years ago, I invested in some truly gorgeous and ridiculously expensive Christmas garlands to decorate our front porch. There's a matching pot topper for our front entry, a large wreath, and a few other pieces. The set has a stylish mix of greenery, wide plaid ribbon, big outdoor red and gold ball ornaments, and lots of special little touches tucked in here and there. There are classy little white lights on everything. It "goes" with our house. I love it. Life is complete.

That is, except for the first two weeks of December every year. That's when I have to "encourage" my Beloved several times to put up all of these ridiculously expensive but truly lovely decorations on our tall front columns. I'd do it myself, but it's too heavy and a little scary. It takes a ladder, some tools, some wiring, and a lot of patience. He is willing to risk life and limb after enough "encouragement." But there usually are a few new non-Christmasy vocabulary words emanating from the front porch during the put-up process. (When he puts up, then, finally, I shut up.)

Well . . . everything would be fine, except he has been bothered for years by the fact that we have about 10 trees in the front yard, and they don't have lights on them at Christmastime.

So this year, WITHOUT ASKING ME (key phrase), he went to Wally World and got a string of ridiculously cheap Christmas lights in all colors. They are strung on a white cord, which is even more garish. And his plan was to put these up in the Japanese snow crabapple tree RIGHT next to the existing ridiculously expensive, traditional, plaid ribboned, WHITE-lighted decorations. Clash, clash, clash.

His ugly lights were no doubt made by enslaved child labor in China. MINE were made right here in town by the finest craftsmen at a local nursery, ensuring American jobs, etc. etc.

By the time I saw what he was doing, though, the colored lights were already half up. We had a vigorous "discussion," and I tried to explain how badly these two decorating styles were going to CLASH, but to no avail. There was no stopping him. The garish, ugly, all-colored, white-stringed lights went up RIGHT next to my beautiful, classy decorations. It looked awful. I was a defeated woman.

I went inside to pout. A few minutes later, I returned outside to find our neighbor man, visiting with my Beloved, beholding the schizophrenic light display.

"Hi, Susan!" he said, in his jolly manner. I was wary, but clueless.

Then he frowned: "WHITE lights?" he intoned, with a high degree of disgust, pointing to my beautiful, ridiculously expensive, white-lighted garlands on the front columns, and then toward the crabapple tree's garish, all-colored display. "You're going to have those ugly old WHITE lights, right next to these beautiful, new COLORED lights?!?!?"

My heart beat once. Then twice.

FINALLY, I got it. He was pulling my leg. He and my Beloved bent over laughing at my confused facial expression. BOK CHOY! UFF DAH!!!

MEN!!! They have no taste . . . and they love to flaunt it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

SANTA'S WORKSHOP
FOR PHYSICS FANS

This fantastic Rube Goldberg-style physics demonstration is actually a Honda ad, and comes from the parts of two hand-assembled Honda Accords.

There's not a bit of computer animation or "fix" -- but it didn't work perfectly 'til the 606th "take" and cost $6 million.

However, from the windpower to the windshield wipers (they are designed to start working as soon as they get wet), you'd have to say it's worth every penny. Santa would approve!

Monday, December 12, 2011

CHRISTMAS PHOTO SHOOTS WITH KIDS:
EVERYBODY NEEDS A SHOT OF SANITY SPRAY

I bow at the feet of a master of comedy. Listen to this grandmother describe her Christmas photo shoot with a daughter-in-law's side of the family:

Because cousin Lillian, 2, was vomiting last Sunday when the (family) was scheduled to have their annual family Christmas photos taken, everything was cancelled. SO, yesterday they gathered at Trev's after church and assigned me to take photos with Jeff's good camera.

For one shot, Jeff and Becky sat on the stairs, with all 6 grandkids (4 boys, 2 girls) on the steps above and below them, while Becky held the littlest, 9 mo old Keelynn Grace.......

As I snapped photos, hoping at least one would be good, the three moms, (Leah, Elisha, Josalynn) were all standing around me, simultaneously coaching their kids, trying to be heard over each others' commands.....it was like a Mideast market place.

"Carson! Look at Mommy! Lillian, sit down!"

"Asher! Get your head out of the railing & look here at Mommy! Mom, Keelynn's head needs to be higher! Asher! Stop that!"

"Landon! Stand up! We can't see you behind Gramma and Grampa! Eli! Look at Mommy! Eli, look here! Landon, stand up, please!"

I just snapped photos......finally, at one oddly quiet moment, when the mommies all took a breath at the same time, 3-yr-old Landon spoke up:


"Wow, this is a lot of WORK!"

Saturday, December 10, 2011

FAVE G, GOGS, BOOMPA, TICTAC . . .
AND THE WINNER IS. . . .

Collected quite a few adorable grandparent nicknames over the last couple of days. Here's a website with a lot of great ones:

http://www.grandparents.com/gp/content/activitiesandevents/everyday-activities/article/grandparent-names.html

Have to say that our own family's grandparent names are right up there -- Fave G (short for Favorite Grandma) and Funny Grandpa (born of a hilarious few moments with a jack-in-the-box and a grandchild on his lap), and Gammie and NoNo (our eldest, Jordan, at about age 1 was trying to fiddle with his cigarettes in his shirt pocket -- this was back in the day when "everybody" smoked -- and he gently chided her, "No! No!" -- and of course, it stuck).

But the one I most hope my future grandkids will choose for me is "Honey." That would be . . . sweeeeet.

Also like my world's-youngest-grandma neighbor Sheryl's story. Sheryl's adorable grandson Hunter emulates his grandpa. Grandpa calls her "Sheryl." So Hunter calls her "Sheryl," too. The tiny toddler worships the ground she walks on. He's also slightly confused, but in a darling way.

The other day, Hunter asked, "Sheryl? When I get to be my daddy's age, can you and I go out on a date?"

Friday, December 09, 2011

GREATEST GRANDPARENT NICKNAMES
IN MODERN-DAY HISTORY

Love "Grammie." Love "Oma." Love "Nonee." Love "Nana."

But today, I heard the best grandparent "love names" of all:

Cash and Sugar.

Everything you need in life! I don't care how many years I have to wait. Those, I hope, will be our nicknames. Because you know, with inflation, our future grandchildren are going to definitely need a lot of cash . . . and nobody can ever get enough sugar.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

EYE CANDY FOR GEEKS:
WATCH THE GROWTH OF WALMART

Here's my new favorite website, and one of its most popular infographics:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

BUT YOU CAN'T SHOUT 'HALLELUJAH!'
IN PUBLIC SCHOOL!

Yesterday, they handed out mid-quarter grades. Maddy saw some fat numbers on hers. When you are trying to be a top student, fat numbers are bad numbers. AAAIIIEEE!!!!

Then the teacher realized that she had switched two envelopes and given two students the wrong reports. Maddy and the kid next to her switched reports to the correct ones. Now Maddy was seeing THIN numbers -- meaning, all 1's and 1+'s.

Out of concern for her neighboring classmate's feelings, she did not leap on her desk, shoot her arms skyward, and shout, "Hallelujah!"

But she felt like it. :>)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ALL THESE YEARS, I'VE CALLED IT
A PLAIN OLD 'FLY SWATTER'

A mini Munchkin on our family tree, age 4, recently lisped that his "gwamma" is really good with the BUG SLAPPER.



Come to think of it, that's a much more descriptive name for it. I have now adopted it as my own.

Thanks, "Bwi-an."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

THE CRACK OF THE BAT . . .
WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM ABOVE

Maddy's softball game got called off in the middle of the first inning because of lightning, thunderboomers and a sudden shower.

She had just been up, and swung at the first pitch. CRACK! It was a great hit -- hard and low -- and the shortstop couldn't handle it, so Maddy made it to first base easily.

She was sad that the game was called before it really got going, but happy to have a hit.

She said she wishes that RIGHT when she swung at the ball, one of those big thundercracks would have sounded. "Everybody would have thought that was the sound of my bat hitting the ball!" she grinned. "They would have run out onto the field, lifted me up in the air, and carried me around, going 'Woo hoo!!!!!'"

If you could score runs for having a good imagination, she'd be a Hall of Famer for sure.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

DOUBLE, DOUBLE
TROUBLE, TROUBLE IN THE BURGER KING LINE

Maddy and her little fifth-grade friends have a new game at recess. It's called "Double, Double."

You square off with a partner, and bump fists (every time you say "double") and either slap the palms of your hands (when you say "this") or the backs of your hands (when you say "that"), in this fast-paced rhythm:

Double, double this, this
Double, double that, that
Double this
Double that
Double double this that

Well, we were waiting in line at the Burger King order window last night, and Maddy was trying to teach it to me. My aging pea brain was not able to get it right until about the fifth try. We were cracking up over my clumsiness, and the car windows were down. Just then, I caught the eye of the mom in the car in the other order lane. She was cracking up, too, and nodded her approval at us.

They call them "teachable moments" -- anytime you can interact with your child and learn something new together. That other mom in the Burger King line was totally on board with what we were doing. It was pretty nice mom-to-mom radar. And no, I still can't QUITE get that game right, but will have fun and keep trying!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

HEYYY! WHAT IS THAT PLANT DOING
IN A REPUBLICAN BACK YARD?!?

I was a one-woman S.W.A.T. team in gardening today. I worked from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., even though it reached 97 degrees, a record for this day in May.

We've had to cut several lower limbs off each tree in a long row of beautiful big pine trees. As a result, the sun gets down to the ground a lot better now, and millions of pesky weeds have sprung up.

As a certified, card-carrying cheapo, I refuse to buy new plants to crowd out the weeds. Instead, I am dividing my already overcrowded existing perennials to take up the new garden space.

So today, I broke apart and moved several huge clumps of day lilies, mums, lamb's ear, columbine and a few other varieties-- hundreds of plants -- into new digs -- literally. Whew! It was work, and I started getting really tired.

I was bending over pulling weeds when suddenly, a GIGANTIC bumblebee buzzed by and lighted on the nearest plant -- a huge bleeding heart shrub.

My dazed mind instantly decided that that plant, identified with "bleeding-heart liberals," has no business in the back yard garden of a proudly conservative member of the GOP.

At that point, I realized that I had had a LITTLE too much sun . . . so I went inside and regained my sanity with a giant glass of iced tea. Actually, bleeding hearts are just about my favorite flower, so I'm glad I realized that I was just a little sun-crazy at that point.

Monday, May 09, 2011

BUCK! BUCK! BUCK! BUCK-KAW!!!!!
STILL CLUCKING OVER THIS MOTHER'S DAY THOUGHT

Had a most lovely Mother's Day, with tender talks, cards and gifts from all my chicks.

Speaking of chicks . . . my "quote a day" book had an outstanding message for Mother's Day. It was unattributed, so don't know who to thank for this:

THE ROOSTER MAY CROW . . . BUT IT'S THE HEN WHO DELIVERS THE GOODS.

Love it! I love men, too -- but this little piece of wisdom is Grade A.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

SOMETIMES IT'S YOUR BELOVED,
BUT SOMETIMES IT'S YOU

We were taking a lovely spring walk when my husband looked over at a house, pondered for a second, and then said:

"Pods! What a good idea!"

I looked in that direction. There was a tree there with brown seed pods hanging down. Uhhh . . . was my husband complimenting God for the ingenious way that He designed seed pods?!?!?! Gulp. I smiled a bemused smile (translation: "You dork!") and said nothing.

A split-second later, I saw the brightly-colored portable STORAGE SHED that was right next to the tree with the pods. Apparently, they were doing some remodeling and were storing furniture and stuff on site. The brand name on the storage shed: PODS. As in . . .


Ohhhhh! THOSE were the PODS that he thought were such a good idea! THAT'S what he meant!

I was the dork this time. All I can say is . . . POD'n ME!!!!! :>)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

KIDS ARE TECHNICALLY MORE ACCURATE
THAN THE MOST HIGH-FALUTIN' ADULT

Got this joke via email and loved it:

While walking along the sidewalk in front of his church, a minister heard the intoning of a prayer that nearly made his collar wilt. Apparently, his 5-year-old son and his playmates had found a dead robin. Feeling that proper burial should be performed, they had secured a small box and cotton batting, then dug a hole and made ready for the disposal of the deceased.


The minister's son was chosen to say the appropriate prayers and with sonorous dignity intoned his version of what he thought his father always said:

"Glory be unto the Faaather, and unto the Sonnn, and into the hole he goooes."

(Do you want that line used at your funeral? Might give your mourners a smile!)

Monday, May 02, 2011

GO, GRANNY, GO, GRANNY,
GO, GRANNY, GO!

When asked by a young patrol officer, "Did you know you were speeding?"  . . .

. . . the 83-year-old woman talked herself out of a ticket by stating:

"Yes, Officer. I was trying to get there before I forgot where I was going!"

Friday, April 29, 2011

GOT 'THE BUSIES'?
YOU'LL LOVE THIS SCREW-UP

For about a week of every spring, because it's gardening season, I get so busy night and day that I can't even remember my name. The window of opportunity is only so long in gardening, and you have to pounce while the pouncing's good. I'm usually madly overscheduled, frazzled and brainless much of the time in April and May.

But this woman has me beat:

I can't remember all that she was accomplishing that same afternoon, but it was a lot. She had thrown all kinds of things in the car -- dry cleaning, library books, etc. etc. -- and zoomed off on her rounds. She was happy that she had remembered to throw some workout clothes in a plastic sack, and was going to treat herself to a rare hour in the gym after doing 52,000 errands at home and abroad.

She got there, got a locker, opened her sack . . . AND FOUND SOME REALLY SMELLY, RIPE, OLD KITTY LITTER!!!

Whoopsie daisy! She must've thrown the sack of her workout clothes in the trash by mistake.

You can't work out with an outfit made of kitty litter . . . not even a "litter" bit.

Guess it was her clue to quit letting herself get so . . . pooped . . . and to get more of what they call "margin" in her life. Not to be . . . catty . . . but that's not such a bad idea for all of us!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

NINTENDO IN THE WEEDS:
NOW, THERE'S A METAPHOR FOR YOU

Last night, El Magnifico was shooting trap. That left me alone to shoot my mouth off at our daughter, the adorable but homework-averse Maddy. She messed around, she watched TV, she played with the hounds . . . and I caught her playing on her Nintendo DSI a half-hour AFTER I had given her an ultimatum to do her math homework, or else.

Our eyes locked in that eternal Mom-Kid power struggle. Stealth and deceit won out, despite my age, as I snatched her little hand-held right out of her hands, and said she couldn't have it back 'til the weekend.

Lower lip protruding, she stomped off to do her homework at last.

Now imagine the hours of the clock spinning forward, to 9:30 p.m. -- past her bedtime. She wondered where her DSI had gone, so that she could charge it overnight.

It wasn't on the kitchen counter, where I usually put contraband.

It wasn't in my closet, where I hide contraband when the perpetrator is REALLY in trouble.

It wasn't anywhere in sight! We checked the trash, her backpack, her combination chair/junk pile . . . the bright blue handheld device was nowhere to be found!

It had vanished! But it was sooooo late, Maddy went to bed, uncertain of its fate.

After a while, I remembered that I had run outside to pick a few dandelions that evening. Maybe it had fallen out of my pocket? It was dark, so I carried a flashlight. Not a glimpse of it!

Returning to the door, dejected, I glanced at the big blue bucket of weeds. Hmm. You don't suppose?

Sure enough, there was the DSI, halfway down -- a little moist, but none the worse for wear.

Was I tempted to just leave it where it belonged -- among the other weeds and distractions keeping our little girl from acing every subject in school, because of the handheld's siren song of fun and games?

You other mothers, struggling against the lure of kid technology: can I get an "amen!" here?!?

You bet I was tempted. But I'm not crazy . . . so I snuck into her room and told her it was found. She hugged me her deepest thanks, plugged in the charger, and sank back on her pillow with a great, big smile on her face.

Her heart had blossomed into flowers, where before, there were only weeds. Or something like that.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

NEVER MARRY A BLACK THUMB;
THEY WILL NEVER 'GET' YOU

I lumbered upstairs. "Where have you been?" my Beloved demanded.

"Checking out the cosmos," I replied.

There was a silence, and a frown. Finally, he broke down. "What do you mean, the cosmos?!?!"

I stared at him. Then the light dawned. "I mean the red cosmos SEEDLINGS that are growing under the lights downstairs. They just got their second pair of leaves, and I'm excited."

He thought I had snapped and was doing some kind of ephereal Carl Sagan thing with a telescope and stuff. But I was just doing my red butterfly-attracting prairie flower thing. Cosmos is part of my gardening . . . cosmos, that's all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FULL SAIL, WITH THE WIND
IN THEIR . . . DOWN?!?

Isn't this just . . . ducky?!?

Monday, April 25, 2011

IF THE PRICE OF GAS
RISES TOO HIGH. . . .

One of the side benefits of our trip last week to the Kearney (Neb.) Arch and Pioneer Village in Minden, Neb., were the examples of how people got themselves and their stuff from place to place back in the olden days.

The kids in our party ooh'ed at the Mormon handcarts, imagining how hard it must've been to walk from back East to the Great Salt Lake with everything you owned in that cart, fording rivers and whatnot. They aah'ed at the railway pushcarts, and tried them out, with exaggerated energy:


But you know, with the price of gas more than DOUBLING in recent months, us parents have been ooh'ing, aah'ing and ouch'ing at the gas pumps . . . and those two old-fashioned and gas-free methods of transportation aren't looking half bad these days. YIKES!!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

MOVE OVER, CANCUN:
SPRING BREAKIN' IN CENTRAL NEBRASKA!

Just back from a wonderful day in fabulous Kearney and Minden, Nebraska. They are two towns along I-80 and the Platte River in the less-populated central part of the state. Our daughter and a friend had fun, and got in a little historical learning as well.

We visited the unique museum that is inside a huge arch over I-80 at Kearney. We learned about the prairie pioneers, peeked inside a Native American earth lodge, and realized that today's fiberoptic network follows the same path as the covered wagon wheels of more than 150 years ago along the Oregon Trail.

Not sure the pioneers ever did this to a buffalo . . .
he does look rather startled, doesn't he?

We also visited Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden, which displays an overwhelming number of objects, from 19th Century stagecoaches to stuffed eagles to antique toys.

Who knew you could see an ocean-going yacht,
an antique carousel, a 1910 electric car, and so many
other interesting pieces of American history
out in the middle of nowhere in central Nebraska?



After all that, we were interested to know what the girls liked the best. And here are their replies:

1. They were relieved to learn that we were visiting the KEARNEY Arch. They thought it was the BARNEY Arch!

2. They noticed that the mannequins in the historical scenes at Pioneer Village were all identical; the women just had different wigs on. It looked creepy, like OctoMom being reincarnated from the 1850s to the 1950s. Wonder if they are the first ones to notice this, among all the millions of tourists over the years who have gone through this huge treasure chest of historical artifacts. Something tells me they are. Sigh. :>) 



Thursday, April 21, 2011

HAVE SALAD BARS
GONE TOO FAR GREEN?

We were at a very deluxe salad bar for lunch. They had every type of leafy salad green and colorful veggie you could imagine . . . every mixed salad . . . selections from every multicultural country of origin . . . every topping, every dressing, every seed and every nut. Wow!

I heard our daughter and her friend giggling down at the other end of the line. What's so funny about a cornucopia of vegetables?

Turns out they were responding to the amazing variety, too. They didn't even know what most of the food items were. So when they came onto a bowl of some dark green and somewhat slimy stuff, they declared that it was:

POND MOSS!!!!!

And that was the end of THAT salad bar. They headed straight for the hot, cheesy and decidedly NOT GREEN pizza . . . and declared it delicious.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BOSTON MARATHON:
NOBODY WANTS TO GET BEAT BY A HAMBURGER

Our daughter's boyfriend ran in the Boston Marathon yesterday. He arranged with our daughter to meet her at Milepost 20 for just an instant as he ran by.

The magic moment arrived. He angled toward her and their eyes met . . . but suddenly, he was passed by a racing HAMBURGER . . . followed closely by a speeding BUNNY RABBIT.

The boyfriend was shocked. He immediately zoomed back into full-throttle form. The reason: who wants to get outraced by a HAMBURGER and a BUNNY RABBIT?!?!

He finished in 3 hours, 31 minutes -- a very good time. No report on how the cartoon characters did.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A POLICE DETECTIVE,
I AIN'T

It's sad to contemplate what my city's crime rate would be if I were the detective investigating every mystery. I'm so absent-minded, my observation skills have shrunk to nothing. A guy with guns, knives, bombs and dynamite might be standing right in front of my very eyes, and I probably wouldn't even notice.

This morning, I was supposed to be at a certain pancake restaurant at 8:30 a.m. for a meeting.

I got there three minutes early, didn't see my associate's car in the lot, so I sat there to wait. The minutes passed. Ever so slowly, the dawn broke in my brain:

Why are there 14 huge, heavy booths on their sides sitting over there by the dumpster?

Why are there 20 wooden chairs with the seats missing stacked by the front door?

Why are the shelves by the cash register not full of yummy pies as usual?

Why is there a truck next to the front door and people are loading equipment into it?!?

And, most critically: am I not going to get pancakes there today?

My poor brain churned and churned, and finally, I got out and asked somebody.

Turns out they had just closed for remodeling. They will re-open in a week. No, no pancakes today . . . but if I wanted to cram the huge booths and wooden chairs into my Mini Cooper, I was welcome to take them, free.

If I could fit even one of them in, now THAT would be a mystery.

Friday, April 15, 2011

SUCKS TO HAVE
A CORNBALL SENSE OF HUMOR

Our vacuum cleaner was broken. The superstar at the repair shop was able to fix it for a mere $14. I picked it up today, happy at the inexpensive bill.

The repair guru told me the problem all along has been that a belt wasn't installed right in the factory. Now the vac ought to work tons better. No wonder it hasn't picked up dirt all that well these past few years. I thought I wasn't vacuuming right or something.

I was elated. Over my shoulder as I left with the rejuvenated vac in hand, I tossed back what I thought was a hilarious comment:

"I'm going to tell everybody that your repair services SUCK."

He smiled weakly. I thought he'd crack up.

"Suppose you've heard that joke before," I murmured.

"Almost every day," he replied.

Oops! Guess the real vacuum is the one between my ears, for thinking my joke was so great. But at least if there's a vacuum in there, I'm not thinking dirty thoughts!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

THE MUSIC MAN
WOULD BE TURNING OVER
IN HIS GRAVE

I've been helping an old family friend get some sheet music lined up for his trio to play. They love to improvise on oldies but goodies. They play by ear, mostly. But sometimes, one of them doesn't know the song that the other two want to play, and it's hard. Here's the kicker: two of the three are in their 80s. The "spring chicken" is in his 50s.

The song they want: "That Old Time Rock 'n' Roll."

Seems easy enough to find the right sheet music, eh? Nyuhh uhh uhhhhh. To help him, I've called a piano teacher, purchased sheet music from a music store, asked my friends on Facebook, downloaded some sample sheets off the Internet, and finally found a good arrangement. Photocopied it, stuck it in the mail, and dusted my hands off. Voila!

Not so fast! It was in the wrong key. He wrote:

"I will learn it and play it for the piano guy or even write out a lead line. Maybe he will learn it in G and I can play it in A on my B flat trumpet. Otherwise I will teach him to play it in F so I can play it in G from the sheet music. Or he will learn it in C and I will play it in D on the trumpet."

Word to the wise: get into music in your old age. If that doesn't strengthen the mind against Alzheimer's, I don't know what will.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

PLANNING A TRIP
TO ROUNT MUSHMORE

Previously, the only funny thing in  my memory bank about Mount Rushmore is that there used to be a sports reporter in the newsroom where I worked who used to wear HIDEOUS ties. The hands-down worst was a light-up tie that depicted the Presidents' faces on Mount Rushmore. One day, other journalists held the poor guy down and CUT OFF that tie, it was so ugly. It was the most exciting day in the newsroom for years.

But now I've learned that a young cousin of mine starting calling this national treasure "Rount Mushmore," and their whole family continues to do so today. I have caught the bug . . . and so if we go, as we're discussing, this summer, that will no doubt be the way we refer to the destination, too.

I won't let my Beloved buy a light-up Rount Mushmore tie like that when we're up there . . . but I might let him get this T-shirt:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I HATE ADMITTING MY FAULTS
TO APPLIANCE REPAIR PEOPLE

We have this great kitchen stove vent that pops up and down from the back of the stove. It's like something out of a sci fi movie. CAN YOU TELL I DON'T GET OUT MUCH?!?

No, actually, it's neat. It makes a little "hum" and rises probably eight inches to a stop. Then you can turn on the blower. When you're done, you press the button, and down it goes again 'til the next time it's needed.

But . . . a couple of weeks ago, I let a big pot of water boil over. Apparently, it ran down into the guts of the stove underneath, and shorted out our wonderful vent. It remained in the "up" position and would neither turn on nor descend into its little slot any more.

Finally, I called the repair guy and told him. He knows me well. We decided that on the call sheet, it should say, "They're stuck up at the Williams household."

Sighhhhh. :>) But happy news: he fixed it in a jiffy today. Now I'm $85 poorer . . . but no longer stuck up.

Monday, April 11, 2011

WISH THEY DIDN'T TEACH SO MUCH
ABOUT FOSSILS IN SCIENCE CLASS

We were walking along in the mall when the 11-year-old pundit saw the FOSSIL store and stood stock still.

"Mom, I want to take your picture in front of that store wearing your great, big glasses from the '80s, your Steve Urkel Mom jeans, and your fanny pack," she informed me.


Aw, darn. That means, in her eyes, I'm really, really, really, really (30 minutes later), really, really OLD.


Friday, April 08, 2011

DID YOU EVER THINK
WE'D BE TALKING LIKE THIS?

Was at an electronics place today discussing DVD's and such, and the guy informed me that some people are concerned that the disks that we're putting information on these days are all subject to "DISK ROT."

Doesn't that sound like a serious back problem?

Guess it has to do with the passage of time, and files just sort of disappear from a DVD . . . or, you could say, it digitally "rots."

Who knew, just a few years ago, that we'd have terms like that in our vocabulary. Ahhh, technology . . . :>)

Thursday, April 07, 2011

BOY, IS MY FACE RED:
SHOES IN THE 'HOOD A SAD SIGN OF THE TIMES
Ventured into the inner city yesterday for a meeting. I saw something unusual that you never see out in the matchy-poo suburbs, probably because the electric lines are underground out there:


I've seen wacky store mannequins and toilets in front yards in downtown areas. But can't say I've ever seen shoes up in the air before! I took this photo, "Hightops on a High Wire," and thought it was funny.

But ohhhhh, brother, was I dumb. A friend explained that when you see shoes up high, tangled on a wire, it's a sign that a DRUG DEALER is nearby!!!!!

The Urban Dictionary has a bunch of slang and symbols about the drug trade, sad to say:

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=drug%20dealer%20competition

Never would have dawned on me that the shoes were anything but serendipity. How sad to know that a significant percentage of our population will sell their . . . SOLES . . . for drugs.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

NOT SO MUCH A JOKE
AS A SIGN OF THE TIMES

A journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day, every day, for a long, long time.

So she went to check it out. She went to the Western Wall and there he was, walking slowly up to the holy site.

She watched him pray, and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him for an interview.

"Pardon me, sir. What's your name?"
"Morris Feinberg," he replied.
"Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall to pray?"

"For about 60 years."

"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims.

"I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop.

"I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults, and to love their fellow man."

"How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a damn wall."

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

BET IF THEY TRY TO DO THAT OTHER THING,
THEY'LL BE KNOCKED OUT OF ORBIT

Here's a bit of scientific truth that you were yearning to know:

Astronauts can't belch -- there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in their stomachs.

Monday, April 04, 2011

NCAA B-BALL CHAMPIONSHIP:
GENTLEMEN OF THE COURT

I was reading a pre-game story about the national championship college basketball game tonight between Butler and the University of Connecticut. My, was I impressed by the names of some of the players. A lot of them seemed to have first initial letters, usually the mark of the aristocratic upper crust.

G Kemba Walker!

F Matt Howard!

C Andrew Smith!

They must have some very ambitious mothers there, 20 or 22 years ago, naming them in that hoity-toity way. Good for them!

But then, my pea brain focused my foggy eyes more closely. Waaaaaaaait a minute. Could the "G" for Kemba Walker actually designate his position, which is "Guard"?

Could the "F" mean that Matt Howard is a "Forward"?

And C Andrew Smith is a "Center"?!?!?

Either that, or their mothers were VERY psychic, to have given them first initial letters that "happened" to coincide with their eventual college basketball positions.

Hunhhhh? OK, OK, I was wrong. I'll shut up . . . 'til tip off, and then I'm going to yell and scream and enjoy the game, and the tall, athletic gentlemen who play it so well.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

SWIMSUIT SEASON'S COMING; WHERE'S MY SHOCK COLLAR?

Our black Lab puppy, Mazie, has a special shock collar for her hunting training. It's amazing to see how quickly she learns what NOT to do in the sport of retrieving when a small shock is delivered via remote control.

Also, we have invisible fencing on our corner lot. So if she runs up too close to the street, she gets another small shock. Works like a charm to keep her on our property.

But when people walk by with other, interesting dogs, she runs right up to the invisible fence line, and barks and barks. She won't go over the line, but she still barks at them and acts like she wants to eat them alive. It's annoying.

So yesterday, I put her hunting shock collar on, too, and peered out the kitchen window with the walkie talkie. Sure enough, a dog-walker strolled by, and Mazie came off our porch and made a beeline for them, barking her head off.

I pressed the button briefly on the walkie talkie. She halted in mid-bark and mid-air . . . went silent . . . and stopping running AND barking. She didn't look hurt or scared, just puzzled. The dog-walker sauntered on, unassailed.

Hmm: swimsuit season is just a few weeks ahead. MAYBE I SHOULD PUT THAT SHOCK COLLAR ON MYSELF . . . and every time I veer too close to the snack drawer or the refrigerator . . . BZZZZT!!!!!

Yeah! It'll be the next big thing in dieting. It'll be as big as Atkins, as popular as Weight Watchers, easier and cheaper than any of the rest. Call it the ZAP FLAB DIET!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

SAD COMMENTARY ON WORLD AFFAIRS,
AND SOFT, PUDGY, SUBURBAN PARENTS

We were visiting at the annual "Pastries With Parents" event at school this morning. Several of the parents were complaining about the fact that, at the new middle school, there is only one road leading up to the building. One way in, one way out. Traffic Jam City.

"Who can we complain to?" I asked.

"The school board," someone said.

There was a pause. Then Maddy blurted out:

"YOU COULD HOLD A RIOT!!!"

I don't think that's what they have in mind when they call out for parents to get more "involved" at school. :>)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BACK IN THE SADDLE AFTER A SHORT VACA . . .

WHAT YOU DON'T WANT TO SMELL
IN THE PEAK MOMENT OF YOUR LIFE

At an old friend's funeral, several hilarious stories were shared. This was my favorite:

'Way back in the Truman Administration, the friend was just starting out after college. He landed a great job in PR for a Congressman in the nation's capital.

The Congressman had arranged to bring in four Native American chiefs from his home state to meet the President and the Secretary of the Interior. They would sign a few papers, plant a tree, and of course, have the obligatory photo op.

But there was one problem: the chiefs showed up in elegant business suits.

What's wrong with that? The Congressman wanted them in traditional Indian chief garb . . . for the photo op.

So the young cub staffer's assignment was to take the four men all over town sight-seeing (and, yes, the Congressman urged him, in a typical 1950s Politically Incorrect way, to keep them out of the bars!!!), and then get them into the right kind of clothing for the photo op.

He didn't know what else to do, so he took them to a costume shop. 'Way back in the bowels of the shop, they had Indian garb. Hadn't been used for years, but looked great. All set!

So they got to the White House. All shook hands, and posed for the picture, which ran in newspapers around the country.

The thing was, President Truman's face looked kind of funny in the picture. Why? My friend overheard him muttering to the Secretary of the Interior:

"I SMELL MOTHBALLS!!!!"

Friday, March 11, 2011

ONLY A GUY WOULD WANT TO DO THIS
TO CELEBRATE HIS 80th BIRTHDAY

We know someone who will turn 80 next week. He is very, very special and has done a lot of great things in his life.

BUT . . .

To mark his octogenarian birthday, he wants to SKYDIVE!!!!!

His wife of nearly 60 years is none too pleased. Even his sons, both daredevils in their own right, are against it.

Here's the quote that might put a stop to this, once and for all, though it has been a lot of fun contemplating and kidding back and forth about the idea:

YOU DO NOT NEED A PARACHUTE TO SKYDIVE.

YOU ONLY NEED A PARACHUTE TO SKYDIVE TWICE.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

WHAT ROVING EYES CAN SEE
ON YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN AT WORK

The beautiful young wife mentioned a childhood toy that she had loved playing with: "My Little Ponies."

An only child, the handsome young husband hadn't paid a bit of attention to "girl toys." He wanted to know what his beloved was talking about.

So, in a slack moment at work, where he was an up-and-coming business executive, he surfed to the My Little Ponies website. He looked, amazed, at the pink and purple plastic prancing ponies and the mountain of accessories you can buy for them.

Suddenly, a coworker was standing behind him with a bird's-eye view of that computer screen. HE GASPED!!!

The entire office assumed it was something dastardly and shocking that he saw -- you know, pornography or the like. But when the snooper TOLD them it was "only" My Little Ponies, it was even WORSE for the poor curious young husband.

Too bad he didn't have a real one, to ride away on.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

EARLY SPRING:
IT SMELLS LIKE WHAT?!?

Picked up Maddy at school on a cool, misty day, and she delighted me by saying, "It smells like spring."

Ooh! There's nothing so wonderful as to have a child who notices nature . . . who waxes poetic about the change in seasons . . . who imagines colorful tulips and perky daffodils on their way.

Oh, joy, oh rapture!

But then she completed her observation. "DEAD WORMS!!!"

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

DISTRESSED BY HIS
NEVER-FAILING THRIFT

Rotten luck, having a practical-minded husband. I've made a big show of keeping a certain coffee table in storage while our new puppy, and specifically, our new puppy's TEETH, were around.

But now that she's six months old, and slightly more calmed down, for a Labrador, I mentioned that maybe it was time to put the table back in place so that the hearthroom doesn't look so much like a kennel, with dog toys everywhere and this big, empty space.

"But I'm worried," I strategically began. "If the puppy gnaws on that table, it'll be wrecked, and we've only had it for 20 years, so it's practically brand new, and I really wasn't planning on getting anoth. . . ."

He interrupted me. "Oh, no, then it would be in style: the DISTRESSED look is big."

Sighhhhhh.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

SUDOKU IN THE W.C.:
FROM THE 'WHAT WILL THEY THINK OF NEXT?' FILE

I'm still laughing over a photo I saw during an online search for something entirely different:

They now make toilet paper marked with sudoku puzzles!

You know, those Japanese math grid games with nine squares and you try to use the numbers from 1-9 in a certain way.

They are too hard for those with math anxiety, such as moi, to begin with. Then, to put them on t.p. -- and it is IMPOSSIBLE to leave a sudoku unfinished -- no one would ever leave and get back to their regular lives!

Think of all the lost productivity time in the workplace! Think of the broken marriages and dysfunctional families as we all stay in the W.C. trying to complete those confounded things!

This could be worse for America than Pearl Harbor!!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

AIRLINE MECHANICS HUMOR:
THESE QANTAS GUYS ARE A BIT O' ALL RIGHT!

These are reportedly true messages collected from the Repair Division at Qantas Airlines.

After every flight, Qantas pilots fill out a form, called a "Gripe Sheet," which tells mechanics about problems with the aircraft.

The mechanics correct the problems; document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the Gripe Sheets before the next flight.

Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by Qantas' pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers.

By the way, Qantas is the only major airline that has never, ever, had an accident.


P: Left inside main tyre almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tyre.

P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.

P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.

P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.

P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.

P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.

P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.

P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what friction locks are for.

P: IFF inoperative in OFF mode.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.

P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.

P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

P: Aircraft handles funny............ (I love this one!)
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.

P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.

P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.

And the best one for last..................

P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

4 NUDES IN A PICKUP IN LINCOLN, NEBRASKA:
AND THIS ISN'T THE START OF A BAD JOKE?

Got some inside information on the two young men and two young women who were stopped for a traffic infraction by a police officer in Lincoln, Nebraska, recently . . . all four of them buck naked.

Turns out it is not against the law in the Cornhusker State to drive or ride around in a vehicle without your clothes on, even in the dead of winter. The driver was ticketed for Driving While Intoxicated, and failure to wear a seatbelt -- but the citation did NOT mention that the driver was not wearing anything ELSE, either.

Someone I know knows one of them. The story behind the story is this: one of the young women didn't know how to drive a manual transmission (under the circumstances, I can't bring myself to use the term "stick shift") . . . so! . . . it was determined that a proper course of action would be to give her a quick lesson, and then drive around town, and every time she dropped the clutch, everybody in the car would have to shed an article of clothing. Sort of like Strip Poker On Wheels.

I'm just going to let that one sit in cyberspace for a while, while we all contemplate the implications and the visual imagery . . .

. . . but I must say this: HEY! IT'S EMBARRASSING ENOUGH AS IT IS WHEN YOU'RE FIRST LEARNING HOW TO DRIVE A STICK!!!!!!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

BREAKING NEWS:
WHERE SNOW SPARKLES COME FROM

Spend a little time with a little child, and you'll learn something. And how. This past weekend, we were walking outside after dark, and in the glare of the streetlights, the newly-fallen snow at our feet was sparkling like crazy.

Maddy informed me, "The Tooth Fairy and her helpers put the sparkles there."

HUNH? Upon further questioning, she reported that they take the sparkles OFF the children's teeth that they collect, and then they put them in the snow for all to enjoy.

All my stress, worries and pain fell away. There's something very precious and special about the imagination of a child. . . .

Friday, February 25, 2011

GRANDMA WEARS HER HEART ON HER SLEEVE
AND ON HER T-SHIRT? YOU WON'T BELIEVE IT

Daughter Neely is going to run a half-marathon in Lincoln again. Last spring, the fam went there to be her cheering section at the midway point. Then we scurried to Memorial Stadium for the big finish. It was a thrill!

I made matching bright yellow T-shirts with red letters out of duct tape for us, so that she'd be sure to see us on the route. Her dad wore the "N," her 80-something grandma wore "EE," I wore the "L" and Maddy wore the "Y."

We were like the Keystone Kops, flying around to make sure we were standing in order when she ran by. Big smile. We did it!

But Grandma has gotten even more "spin" off the experience. We found out she has been going around telling her bluehair friends that she wore the "EE" T-shirt but felt uneasy . . . BECAUSE A LADY REALLY SHOULDN'T BROADCAST HER BRA SIZE LIKE THAT.

Life with her really is a marathon of humor . . . and always a thrill!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

GREAT WOLF LODGE:
IT FIGURES

Last weekend, we spent the night at the Great Wolf Lodge in another city. It's a truly great hotel with an indoor waterpark and several other nice features.

We got the best table at the waterpark, which allowed us to watch people come barreling down the last few feet of the waterslides and flop into the splash pool.

I was intently watching, when something caught my eye. I turned . . . and practically buried my nose into THE FURRIEST BACK I HAVE EVER SEEN! It was the man at the next table, who had his fur . . . I mean . . . his back to me. That guy's back had more hair than an entire ballroom full of middle-aged men at a class reunion.

The rather chubby older man with the furry back luckily did not see the expression on my face.

Then I remembered the name of the place -- Great WOLF Lodge -- ahhhh, yes. It figures!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

SITTING NEXT TO A DRAGON BREATH PERSON
CAN ACTUALLY BE A PERFORMANCE ENHANCER

Someone we know who is very, very ladylike was sitting in a college classroom to take her first major test in Statistics class. She was nervous enough as it was . . . but the guy sitting next to her had THE WORST BREATH IN THE UNIVERSE!!!

She couldn't fumble in her purse for gum or spray perfume; that's counted as cheating.

She couldn't plug her nose; she had to keep one hand on her calculator and one holding her pencil.

She couldn't move to another seat, and she couldn't "not breathe" for 45 minutes. She just had to sit there and take it.

She was so distracted and upset about it, that she figured she probably bombed the test.

Results came back: SHE GOT THE HIGHEST SCORE IN THE CLASS!

That's the secret, students. Make sure your neighbor has loaded up on garlic bread and sauerkraut before each test . . . so that you can smell the sweet smell of an A+.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A VALENTINE'S DAY
SCAVENGER HUNT

Here's a sweet, romantic idea: an older couple were going to be apart on Valentine's Day for the first time ever. The wife was sad that morning. Then she found a love note from him tucked in the kitchen cereal cupboard. She smiled.

But next, she found another one under her soap dish. And another one under the TV remote. Still another one in her hiking boot -- saying how glad he was that she was taking good care of herself.

In all, she found 15 little notes, that he had hidden around the house before he left. He might not have been there in person, but he sure found a memorable way to let her know that he was thinking of her.

And I loved knowing this story, because I let it slip to my own Beloved . . . who came home with a dozen spicily-scented red-orange roses that I'm not sure I would've gotten otherwise!

Friday, February 11, 2011

HEARD OF A FROG
IN YOUR THROAT, BUT . . .

I don't feel so bad about all the glunk in the bottom of my computer keyboard that I didn't know was there. A little girlfriend of our daughter was telling us about the time the neighborhood children got into a mud-throwing fight. Several little frogs were in the mudhole and got caught up in the melee.

She kept playing a while longer, went back inside, had dinner, hung out with her family, and then, at bedtime, she was standing before the mirror running a brush through her hair . . .

. . . and no one will ever "FROG-get" her screams when she found something unusual tangled in her long, brown locks.

Nobody ever TOAD you life didn't have surprises!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

WEAR A HELMET AND GOGGLES
WHEN YOU CLEAN YOUR KEYBOARD

I was telling a friend how great it felt to open a new can of compressed air and blow out my computer keyboard.

It prompted him to go and do the same, as several of the keys weren't registering on his computer screen when he typed -- apparently some kind of glunk was lurking underneath and obstructing his keystrokes.

Here's his description of what his cleaning job revealed:

"Birds' nests, pencils, a spoon, two paper cups, and a dog bone came out. No wonder I couldn't spell. :>)"

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

LEAVE ALL THAT MUMBO-JUMBO
TO THE RUMDUM ADULTS

A friend's cute story about a relative who used to "put on" the kids that you had to wiggle your fingers and murmur magic words to get the garage door to lift (all the while hiding the controller in his pocket) reminded me of our daughter's "put-down" of someone with a similar bent:

Maddy was riding in an ATV with our dear neighbor man and his granddaughter. They came to a gate with an electric eye. The grandpa quickly ran his card through the slot, not letting his toddler granddaughter see him do it.

Her eyes got big. "Gwampa, Gwampa, it's goin' up all by itself!"

With a grin, he proclaimed, "It's magic!"

But our Maddy, ever the cynic, retorted, "No, it's not. It's TECHNOLOGY!!!"

Monday, February 07, 2011

OREGON MUSIC:
WHEN YOUR 'THINKING OREGON' IS ON VACATION

We took our 10-year-old to a hockey game over the weekend. We sat on the "50-yard line," or whatever you call it in hockey. After a while, our daughter pointed clear over to the end of the arena, so far away I could barely see, and said:

"There's the guy who's going to play the Oregon music."

Hmm, I thought. Oregon had the national championship football team. Maybe they're going to play their fight song since the pro football championship, the Super Bowl, was this weekend.

I craned my neck, looking for a guy in a trademark green and yellow Oregon Ducks shirt.

"Right there!" Maddy urged. "Right under that sign! There he is! Don't you see him?"

All I could see was a guy standing at a digital keyboard. He started to play, and through the arena microphones, it sounded just like . . . ORGAN music.

Ohhhhhhhhh, well. I can always pretend I got hit in the cerebrum by a flying hockey puck. . . .

Thursday, February 03, 2011

FOR THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB:
HOW TO GET BIG, STRONG MEN TO YOUR HOME

No, you don't just tell them the Super Bowl is on your theatre-sized TV, or that a golf pro will be giving free swing lessons in your back yard.

If you're in your late 80s and beginning to slip into dementia, you just call 911 when you want some company, and lots of big, strong men (and women!) will show up at your door.

A friend's mother did just that a few times, and it was left to him to explain to the police and fire personnel that she simply got the urge to talk to somebody. She couldn't remember anybody else's phone number, so she just dialed 911.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

13 PEOPLE IN A SODHOUSE?
IN A BLIZZARD? EATING BEANS?

The wind was howling; sleet was pelting the windows; about six new inches of snow had fallen and the wind chill was -22.

I started thinking of the prairie pioneers, and wondering how they made it through nights like this, in a blizzard, living in a sodhouse with no microwave oven, Internet or DVD's.

A friend commented that there was a sodhouse on her grandparents' farm in which the whole family -- 13 people -- would gather in one room, and the livestock in the other, during blizzards.

That started us laughing, since we knew that in the latter half of most winters, beans were about the only grub left in those pioneer days.

No WONDER nobody is smiling in any of those old-time pioneer pictures!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

AN ELDERLY MOTHER'S REQUEST
SHOULDN'T BE LEFT OUT IN THE COLD

One of my friends from college lives in Missouri. It usually has temperate weather, but hoo boy, not tonight. It's the worst blizzard in probably 100 years. Biting winds, black ice under 20 inches of snow, people getting stranded -- it's a howler.

Well, this friend visits her elderly mother almost every night. The mother lives in a nearby nursing home. Tonight, the friend called her, assuming she wouldn't be expecting her to drag out on a night with such drastic weather: "Hi, Mother. Boy, it's a blizzard out there. . . ."

. . . but Mother interrupted by saying, "When you come tonight, be sure and bring me an EMERY BOARD!!!!!!!"

All she could do was laugh . . . and comply, imagining herself to be a St. Bernard with manicure tools instead of good bourbon.

Monday, January 31, 2011

TEMPORARY INSANITY
OR PERMANENT STATE OF CONFUSION?

I was just telling a friend about my new hairdo with new blonde highlights. She pointed out a philosophical question that I hadn't really considered:

Why do we call them "permanents"?

They aren't.

Why don't we call them "temporaries"?

Yes, questions like these will . . . curl your hair.

Friday, January 28, 2011

NEWS FLASH FROM THE KINGDOM OF RANDOM:
WACKY PAPERWEIGHT

I bow in the presence of greatness. I thought I had some unusual stuff. But today, I had coffee with a writer friend who said that he had a paperweight that was a . . .

. . . SHELLACKED BUFFALO CHIP!!!

Now, that's unusual.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

DR. BOWWOW OCTAGONAPUS?
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO JOE BLOW?

I was chuckling over the nickname of our uncle's best friend, BowWow. He is in his 70s but still carries the name well. There's nobody like him! After all these years, I finally asked where it came from. Turns out the two of them met a cab driver named BowWow Spitzenberger. How could you NOT adopt a name like that?

Any thought that the older generation had weird names compared to the current crop was quashed when our 10-year-old collapsed in gales of laughter over a video cartoon on her hand-held Nintendo. The bad guy was named "Dr. Octagonapus." Wonder if his first name might be BowWow?!?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

IN THIS CULTURE,
GOTTA THINK ON YOUR FEET

A little one asked her mom, "What does 'WTF' mean?"

The mom barely blinked. "Welcome To Facebook."

Kid smiled. Mom sighed. Deviancy stalemated . . . for one more day, anyway.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

FALLBACK POSITION:
MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSITY IQ TEST

A young relative was worried and upset because her 2-year-old son fell in love with a pair of pink cupcake Valentine's socks in the dollar bin at Target, and was wearing them with glee.

I told her not to worry about it; I was mad at my husband when he bought our two young daughters Matchbox cars, as if he was trying to turn them into sons. Then I relaxed when I saw how they were playing with them: one little girl would stand her Matchbox car up on two tires and mince over to the other one's little car, lisping, "Hi! What's your name? I like you! Let's play together!"

They were using them like dolls, and it alllllll worked out just fine. No long-term gender confusion.

Anyway, I told my relative, you can always tell the neighbors he's wearing the pink cupcake Valentine's socks as part of a mysterious university IQ test! That always shuts 'em up.

Monday, January 24, 2011

EVEN A MASTER EVANGELIST
HAS THOSE "WHOOPS" DAYS

We had the honor of picking up New York Times best-selling author Lee Strobel yesterday, shuttling him from the airport to our church to speak at the two morning services, and then back again.

We had already bought his books and had them autographed during his last visit in 2009, but it was still a thrill this time to get two more copies of "The Case for a Creator" for two science-minded seekers that we know.

Lee joked that with the current craze toward eBooks and downloading electronic versions of books on Kindles, Nooks, iPads and so forth, he may not get many chances to give autographs any more.

His novel, due out in May, will have an electronic version with some exciting features that will allow you to click on an icon and see a short video with background information on the setting or other aspects of the novel. Very cool!

We discussed how it is sometimes hard to share your faith in this fast-changing world, in which you often get blasted for trying to do that, or thwarted some other way.

Lee put us at ease with this story:

Someone close to him is an atheist, and even though Lee had given him copies of his books in the past, the loved one just wouldn't read them. Then Lee gave him an audiobook, and hoped and prayed that the different approach would be a good hook.

A short while later, he found out that his loved one never got a chance to listen to much of it . . . because it happened to be in the car CD player when he had his car up for sale . . . and a Buddhist family test-drove the car, liked what they were hearing on the CD, and, though they didn't buy the car, they DID ask if they could keep the CD. And the fellow let them.

SIGH! But oh, well. Could be his CD wound up converting the Buddhists, even if it didn't work for the one he meant it for.

And that's par for the course. For an evangelist, tomorrow is always another day!

Friday, January 21, 2011

TECHNO-KLUTZ
STRIKES AGAIN

I wrestled all morning with a confused wireless router that was messing up my email and Internet connection. I was forced to rely on trying to focus my aging eyeballs on the eentsy weentsy type on my BlackBerry. Alternately, I was sliding my formerly nicotine-stained fingers up and down my new iPad to catch up with the many, many world-changing Facebook posts I'd been missing (NOT!).

After all that multitasking, I had to buzz to the mall to get a birthday party present for our daughter. On a tight schedule, I whipped into a parking place, slammed the car door, and hustled for the mall, pushing repeatedly on the automatic doorlock device on my keychain to lock the door behind me.

Didn't hear the click. STILL didn't hear the click.

"Stupid thing's busted," I muttered . . .

. . . only to find that it was my BlackBerry in my hand, and I was hitting a button on it repeatedly that definitely did not connect to my car doorlock . . .

. . . revealing that "IT"wasn't the "stupid" thing after all.

Friday, January 07, 2011

LET'S SHOW KIM
THAT WE LOVE HIM

A popular educator from Elkhorn, Neb., fell off a scaffolding at his house last November and severely injured himself. He is Kim Baumert, husband and father of three beautiful daughters. He's in a rehabilitation hospital getting ready to move home ASAP. He is facing incredible, new, unexpected expenses in the near future.

Won't you please challenge yourself and your friends to give, generously, to the fund-raiser that is being held Feb. 13 to encourage Kim and his family, and enable his homecoming?

Please check out all that is happening, and see how to donate, on:

http://sites.google.com/site/kimbaumertfamily/