Sunday, September 6, 2009


Let's talk about obscure talents. A lot of people have them. My dad can untangle necklaces in the blink of an eye - a talent which he got from his mother who is the only person I know who can untie an inflated balloon. My brother-in-law has the uncanny ability of always finding a good parking spot. My sister-in-law has a knack (one that I lack and envy greatly) for being able to judge exactly which size of tupperware will fit the amount of leftovers.

Well, God did not pass me by when He was passing out the useless, unmarketable skills. My obscure talent is coming up with song parodies. I love it. When the radio is on and my children are trying to talk to me I can answer - rhyming too, mind you - to the tune of whatever is playing. And they hate it. I once wrote, choreographed, and directed a 30 minute road show consisting entirely of song parodies from the 70's.

Lacking any other venue through which to share it, here is my all-time favorite parody. It was inspired while I was in Japan where the bathroom light switches are outside of the bathroom and my niece accidently turned it off while I was still occupying it. It goes to the tune of "Strangers in the Night". Enjoy.

Peeing in the Dark

Peeing in the dark, without the light on,
This is kind of hard, I hope I'm right on
the toilet or you'll be, angry about your chair.

Something in the air is rather pungent.
Something on the floor, I'll need a sponge if
In choosing where to pee, I should have used more care.

Peeing in the dark.
It's close to midnight,
but I'm peeing the dark.
And there's no moonlight,
so I thought this was the lav,
Now I'll never have
The chance to clean the stain away,
a spot I can't explain away.

And ever since that night, we haven't spoken
And we're in a fight, our friendship broken
And it is all because, of peeing in the dark.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Coolest Book Covers/Mom, Ever

I think there is some universal parental law that says that parents must do things that embarrass their children, especially at school. My childhood cause for therapy was the lunches my mom packed for us. She was a super-economizer, she had to be with seven kids, and she bought the cheapest store brand bread 5 loaves at a time which she'd throw in the freezer. When it was sandwich making time, she'd thaw a loaf and lay one slice of Buddig lunch meat - the kind you can read a book through - between two soggy, misshappen slices of bread. This was accompanied by the aluminum foil mystery wad of carrot sticks, macaroni salad, or whatever side dish we didn't finish the night before. It was better than going hungry, just barely.

My children's cause for therapy is their book covers. I've never had luck with those stretchy fabric covers that schools suggest you buy that never fit or stay on and cost $3 each (four kids, four or five books a piece, you can do the math). So I've always used good, old fashioned, earth friendly, brown grocery bags and a bit of duct tape resulting in a beautifully and sturdily covered book like so: (SS stands for Social Studies)

My kids hate them. They are embarrassed by them, especially my oldest son who immediately doodles all over his with a Sharpie. I honestly think this kind of embarrassment is good for kids. Keeps them humble. But I was met with such protestations this year that the compassionate and creative side of me was moved. So, in the spirit of the brown grocery bag, I used shopping bags from the mall and a whole lot more duct tape to get this result:

I'm now going to have to think of something else to embarrass my kids with. Maybe I'll order braces with head gear for all of them whether they need it or not.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Tale of Ten Tickets

When most teenagers first start to drive, their parents usually advise caution before speed. Not my parents. Their feet are so full of lead, I'm not sure how they ever board airplanes. Unfortunately, lead in the feet is a genetic trait, but eagleness of the eye is not. That is how my mother, despite her speeding ways, has never gotten a speeding ticket, but I have a record spanning several states.

I thought I had finally broken my torrent of tickets, but my eight years of driving clean was shattered, this summer, by a road trip through Colorado. Unpleasant as the experience was, it gave me time to reflect, like a cheesey series finale, on each and every ticket I have gotten. The result was....disturbing.

1. Southern Utah, 1990: I didn't even have my license yet, just a permit, and I was driving the family van on a road trip with my mother in the front seat looking at the speedometer and saying, "We're never going to get there at this rate".

2. Houston, Texas, 1991: As an incredibly unobservant teenager, on my way to Galveston, I came up behind a slow moving car so I passed it on the wrong side of the road only to discover it was a police car. I was nabbed for going 20 over.

3. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1992: In the wee hours of the morning, I figured I could turn left even though the turn light was red because the streets were deserted. I turned alright, but the streets weren't quite deserted. Dang!

4. Somewhere in Wyoming, 1992: The best thing about getting a ticket in Wyoming is, at the time anyway, the penalty is one dollar per mile over the speed limit. I was out $17.

5. Sandy, UT, 1993: Got nabbed behind the highschool I was attending. Being a student that the school zone was designed to keep safe apparently didn't help my cause at all.

6. Provo, UT, 1994: I hit a Geo Metro when we both started out from opposite driveways into the same break in 5 lanes of traffic. Why did I get the ticket and not her? I was turning left. Left turners have no rights. Maybe I should start lobbying...

7. almost to Utah, CO, 1995: I discovered that it is a policy in Colorado that if you are going more than 20 mph over the speed limit, the policeman is obligated to take you into custody. Lucky for me, he had mercy in his heart that day.

8. Provo, UT, 1996: Okay so this one's a parking ticket. Sometimes you just have to risk it when you're late for class and there's no other place to park. It's just embarrassing calling your boss to tell him you're going to be late for work because your car got booted.

9. Spokane, WA, 2001: On an overnight roadtrip, the book on tape I was using to keep me from dozing also kept me from realizing the speed limit had just dropped. Sneaky guy was waiting right after the reduced speed sign.

10. middle of nowhere, CO, 2009: I seriously got pulled over for doing 77 in a 65 on a straight, flat, country road. I think it's a ploy by financially strapped local governments to raise revenue, so I'll just think of the $164.50 I'm out as my contribution to stimulating the economy. It makes speeding patriotic, in a way.

So speed on my friends, and don't fret the tickets. It's saving jobs, or something.

Monday, June 22, 2009


The summer is in full swing with visitors and activities. The brain is going but the fingers lag. I'll see all you dear, online friends, (all 2 of you) on the other side.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Playing It Close

I don't know about you but I'm not a big fan of these:
Granted, I haven't lost anyone whom I would choose to honor in this manner. But seriously, why would I want to put a tribute to a person I love in the same place people put things like "I have a gun, and I vote" or a decal of Calvin peeing on a Ford logo?

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for keeping momentos of people who are more important than anything else in this world to me. But rather than wearing a tight T-shirt that says "I heart my hubby!", I choose to wear a small, simple wedding ring. I don't wear my heart on my sleeve or my grief on my car. I show my love and devotion to the people I love by my actions. Spending time, attention, listening to and applying things they have taught me - not by renting out billboard space.

What do you think?

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

You're Going to Have MORE?!

In honor of Ambie's birthday, this post has been inspired by my favorite mother of ten...

One of the side effects of sending your children to private school is that their classmates tend to come from small families. And when I say small, I mean they are only children or they have one sibling. So I am something of a freak with four children and people would just faint away if they ever met Ambie. Even outside of the private school set I constantly see raised eyebrows when I divulge the number of children I have. The one I love most is the people in the grocery store who say, "You are a busy lady!" And I suppose they all think they're the first person to tell me that.

So how do you explain to people who think one child is enough, why you have, and yes, they were all planned for and wanted, a lot of children? Especially when those children are in the middle of fighting, screaming, throwing a tantrum or destroying something, which, in my case, is often.

How do you explain that you want your children to learn to cooperate, sacrifice and serve one another? How there are just some lessons siblings can teach better than parents? How do you tell them that being poorer and less able to provide all the luxuries in life for each child can actually be better for them? That they will learn not to be spoiled or the constant center of attention? Can you really get them to believe that the joy of a house filled with children really does compensate for the sacrifice in freedom, money, and quiet? How do you describe a vision of the future filled with grown children, their spouses, and a host of grandchildren crowding a house for a special occasion?

Sometimes when I see my friends with one or two children - with their unstained clothing, tiny, diaper-free purses, blossoming careers, hair and make-up done, serenity and sanity intact - I feel sorry for myself. But then, there will be a moment, small though it may be, when all four children are snuggled up watching a movie and laughing, or all jumping on the trampoline playing a game, or they all join in to listen when I'm reading the youngest a book - that's when I feel sorry for my friends.

Drug or Distraction ?

It's true, we have finally had enough and have gone to extreme measures to get retrieve what little time there is left after activities and such, with our children. Mind you we only have 3 very short summer months in which to enjoy the wonderful outdoors here in Alaska. I was not prepared however for the dent that no cable and internet would create in my own life. In my mind my teenagers and children are the culprits of computer and tv over use ... not me, still on the first day without the two, I found myself continuously walking over to sit down and log, only to remember as I was sitting that there was no more internet. After that first day I felt humbled and a little like a recovering drug adict. When the kids came home from school you would have thought someone had died. With faces fallen , the kids sat around not sure what to do with themselves but then an amazing thing happened.... we all started talking to each other. It was great ! It felt sort of like visiting with old friends you haven't seen in ages. Still after a week or so of this the fighting started and now I am remembering why I had the internet and tv in the first place.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

MIA, Ambie

The silence of waiting for Ambie to post something is truly deafening. I gave up and called her one day only to discover that she shut off her internet in an attempt to curb her teenagers online time. I thought this was a pretty extreme measure, until I saw a news story about a teen who logged 300,000 text messages in one month! Let's do the math, folks. That's 10,000 texts per day, and about 7 per minute.

Her parents must be so proud - and grateful for a plan with unlimited texting.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

When Good Monkeybars Go Bad

Remember what I said about my kids having great timing when it comes to emergencies? So I shouldn't be surprised when, during the month between COBRA expiring and the new employment health insurance kicking in, I get to deal with this...

clicking "more" is not for those with weak stomachs


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Re-employed...and it feels so good.

Division of Labor: Part II

If I knew what Unemployment Weeks 4 and 5 were like, I would've started with them. Weeks 4 and 5 were filled with peace and productivity as my husband received two and a half job offers -one in Oregon and one and a half in Hawaii. (I know, you're wondering what a half of a job offer is. It's a verbal offer from a direct supervisor who has trouble getting the final okay from the Big Cheese. My husband actually got two of these so maybe together they make one offer.)

After careful consideration - taking into account salary, location, company size and stability, type of work, but most importantly, access to the beach - we have decided to stay in Hawaii despite taking a small (large) cut in pay.

So during Unemployment Weeks 4 and 5, my calm and rested husband was a humming machine of activity. He took the kids to school in the mornings, took on household projects during the day, then drove the kids to their sports and dance activities in the afternoon. I would've felt superfluous except I'm the only one who knows how to cook.

I thought that I would lament the day we had to go back to our traditional, Brady Bunch roles of "mother" and "father", but it actually felt "right". I don't like waking up at 5:45am to drive the kids to school or entertaining a 2-year-old for an hour in a ballet studio, but it is the role by love and the grace of God that I'm supposed to do - and that makes me happy.

...or maybe it's the money.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

The End That Never Ends

One way to determine how obsessed mankind is on a subject is to look at how many synonyms there are for it. For example there are 38 synonyms for "money" while there are only 14 for "poetry" and 12 for "calculus".

That being said, I have a dilemma. I cannot get my children to stop enjoying humor about, rear ends, bottoms, bums, butts, tushes, gluteals, buttocks, buns, cheeks, rumps, er..donkeys, and everything that comes out of them. This type of childish humor starts moments after birth with the first smile of delight after passing gas and ends, well, I'm still waiting.

Like most children, mine enjoy watching the various animated movies by Disney and Dreamworks. But I just roll my eyes and brace myself if there is any humor, however subtle, involving directly or indirectly a bodily function involving a rear end. Dreamworks' "Bee Movie" has been permanently dubbed the "Ah! Poo water!" movie in this house. You may have seen the movie many times and still don't know what I'm refering to, but my kids didn't miss it. When my husband's new construction project turned out to be a waste water treatment plant, well, things got a little out of hand.

I've tried all kinds of consequences - timeouts, grounding, no-sugar days - and they work, for a little while. But life does demand the discussion of such personals from time to time. Then before I know it we're back to "Ah! Poo water!". The ultimate, though, is when my little children got the not-so-brilliant idea to try out Horrible mistake. It turns out it is a website with lists of links to kinky pictures and products. There have been no Frosted Flakes in this house for a long time.

So I've resigned myself to the fact that this may be one of those childhood ailments that has no treatment but just has to run its course. But I get discouraged at times, like, in a church meeting of all places, a speaker was recounting an experience he had on Lake Titicaca, and I hear a muffled giggle from my husband! This is going to be a long wait.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Ray !

My dear beloved friend Ray had a birthday two days ago and I hope she will forgive me for this late post ... I was uh... shoveling ash. I am happy to report however that the air has cleared and I have finally decided to get up off my ash and post. Every year about this time, I feel my heart swell with love and admiration for my good ol' buddy Ray. I'm not sure how old she is, but I know it's somewhere between 14 and 25, at least that's how she looks and also judging by the ages of the men who ask her out. ( deacons mostly ). Ray is an incredible person with what seams limitless energy whose hair, according to my children, seems to smile along with her friendly yet mischievous expression. Ray has an easy countenance which causes those who know her well, and those who have just met her, and strangers in the grocery store, to feel comfortable enough to share all sorts of personal information.. their life stories.. and their health problems with. This always amazed me because I am of a serious expression which works wonderfully to ward off unwanted social interaction. But not Ray, she bears all like a saint. It must be because of a good upbringing. She always said she learned kindness by serving her family,especially her siblings who look to her for wisdom and knowledge and consider her a genius .. at least that's what she says. So here's to Ray ! Happy birthday my wonderful bright friend who I love and adore more than words could possibly express. May this year be full of happiness and laughter ( probably at my expense )

Love, Ambie

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"Thar She Blows" !... Mount Redoubt loses her temper

Imagine your driving along and you look in your rear view mirror only to discover a giant dark menacing ash cloud that looks as if it's coming straight out of hell to collect your pitiful soul. Well that's just what happened to me Saturday night. Mt. Redoubt blew once again which had already been doing the past few days, still we were hopeful that the ash cloud would be blown the other direction as it had been doing. Believe me it was a little frightening to everyone in Anchorage. The airport shut down, as did the mall and many other businesses that feared damage to their electronics and such. We hunkered down for the night and watched through the window as the ash piled onto our car and turned the snow gray. The air smelled of sulfur and was as thick as pea soup. This was definitely up there on my list of freaky weird days.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Why You Should Have Sympathy For Me

It's cold.

No, really, it's cold.

When late winter chills hit, the nation comforts and consoles itself as people keep their winter gear out despite the approach of Easter. But that sympathy is reserved "for the mainland only". As if compassion were as scarce as sunshine, I am left in the cold, so to speak, when I complain of the unseasonable cold here in Hawaii. When my fingers and toes are numb with chill, I am bereft of the kind warmth of sympathy or concern. All I get is derision and temperature one-downs-manship.

If a friend were suffering the pain of a broken finger, would you express sympathy, or would you wag your finger and say, "That's nothing! I've had a broken leg!"

Here's why you should remember me kindly as this seemingly endless winter rages on:

1. Insulation - I have none. Drywall in Hawaii is reserved for hotels. Most houses are built with "single wall construction" which causes the outside temperature to pretty much match the inside temperature. And while our lows in the low 50s may seem mild to you snow folk, I doubt you are sleeping in a 54 degree room like I am.

2. Heating - I have none. No heater. No fireplace. No way to warm my house or room if it gets cold. Well, there's always the oven. Coconuts don't burn well, as I've discovered.

3. Winter clothing - I have none. Heavy jackets, gloves, scarves, thick socks, or boots are just not to be found on this island unless it's brought from the mainland. I have taken to sleeping in a sweatshirt and a couple pairs of socks. My children wear two sets of PJs at a time. If I'm "soft" for complaining about temperatures in the 50s, then you all are "soft" for using Goretex and wool.

As I write this I can feel the chill seeping through my comforter (no down to be found here either unless I try to pluck a passing nene which, I'm pretty sure is illegal.) The end of my nose and my fingers are numb. And it's March for Pete's sake! So as you sit toasty in your heated, insulated houses with your wool socks and down comforter, just remember your poor friend in Hawaii who doesn't have all those luxuries, and shed a tear and write a word of sympathy.

No, seriously, I'm cold!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My New Profession - Not Being a Doctor

My children have the uncanny ability to pick the absolute worst time to have emergencies. My daughter drenched me with throw-up at the beginning of a 5 hour whale watching trip. One son split his head open on a Sunday requiring an E.R. visit and stitches. The other son chose a night my husband was out of town to split his head open so I had to drag everyone to the E.R. I had a baby on my lap in an airplane with a blown out poopy diaper right after take-off. And on and on goes the list.

My favorite, though, is when my daughter lodged a popcorn kernel in her ear canal when we had been living in Omaha for all of two weeks. I didn't even know where a medical center was located, let alone have a family doctor picked out. I tried tipping her head way over and banging on the other side hoping it would just pop out. She wasn't too thrilled with that. Then I told her if we didn't get it out, it would start growing and she'd soon have corn shoots sticking out of her ear and roots attaching themselves to her brain. She didn't like that either, for some reason.

I finally found myself in an urgent care center I found in the yellow pages. We were ushered to an examination room where a doctor took one look and said he couldn't get the kernel out and that we'd have to go to an ear nose throat doctor. Luckily there was one in the same complex and he could see her right away. With a giant magnifying glass and tiny, needle-like tweezers, the ENT was able to get the popcorn kernel out all the while telling us horror stories of things he's pulled out of kids' ears including tic tacs, plants, and a live bee.

So the story has a happy ending. No roots implanted in brain.

Then we got a bill from the urgent care center for an "examination" - $169. Huh? The doctor barely even touched my daughter before he declared he couldn't do anything. Well, I couldn't do anything either. Where's my $169? In fact, there's a lot of medical procedures I can't do, brain surgery, heart transplants, amputations, well, maybe I could do amputations. But if you can get paid for not doing a popcorn extraction, I'd also like to get paid for not doing the other stuff.

Think it'll work?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Homework Does Not Do Itself Observes Perplexed Eleven Year Old.

Anchorage,AK - Alexa is not sure how she came to the understanding that if she put it off long enough it would simply get tired of waiting and do itself. " I guess I just hoped for a miracle" stated the heavily homework laden preteen as she wearily rubbed her bloodshot eyes. " Oh for crying out loud in the night , if she would just get it done right after school on Friday we wouldn't have this problem." Alexa's mother told reporters while jerking the knots out of her daughters hair. Neither Alexa nor her mother could provide any further insight into why this same scenario seem to replay itself every Sunday night but both are open to further discussion on the issue pending a complete schedule overhaul.
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The Secret to Happy Marriage - Division of Labor

You've heard the phrase, "Too many roosters, not enough hens", or perhaps, "Too many chiefs, not enough Indians". These phrases are used to determine the cause of dissent and inefficiency within a group of people. To have an organization, a company, a family, or a team humming like a well-oiled machine, each person in it has to have a specific role that is suited to their strengths and abilities without too much overlap or interference with anyone else's role.

That's the foundation of a happy marriage. One person is the hunter, one person is the gatherer. So what happens when the hunter cannot hunt for whatever reason?

The gatherer might strangle the would-be hunter.

I've tried really hard to be a good supportive wife to my husband who is currently out of work. I'm sympathetic, I don't suggest that he's failed in any way to fill his role, I give him time and space to job hunt. But after three weeks of having him under-foot, I'm ready for him to go to work, and not just to earn money - that's the nice side-benefit. So here's the week-by-week unemployed husband progression.

Week 1
The first week was with filled with a flurry of emails, calls, and research as my husband contacted friends, former co-workers, and former bosses to see if any company was currently hiring. He also researched different companies and what they were currently developing. It's a rotten economy so there aren't too many places hiring and there are a lot of people looking.

Week 2
The next week yielded a few interviews with companies and a couple of recruiters. My husband actually shaved (I thought he was going to hold out until he got a job, but really, who's going hire Grizzly Adams?), got dressed and left the house. He felt good about how the interviews went and some of the anger and despondency of week 1 abated to be replaced by a nervous energy.

Week 3
Three interviews required follow-up interviews and requests for references and background checks. The digging up of contacts and research of week 1 has all but stopped since at least one of these follow-ups seems sure to yield an offer. The nervous energy has peaked. My husband has taken to pacing the house, throwing a plastic ball repeatedly across the room (practicing his curve ball, he tells me) and babbling (well, as much as he does). He did leave the house once to go snorkling with his sister, but he took his phone in a dry bag with him.

Don't get me wrong, it's really nice having my husband around so I can leave my little one home as I drive the big kids around to school and activities. He's been helpful doing dishes, folding laundry, vacuuming, tidying up, and it is nice having an adult to talk to all day long. But, he's always there when I want a little quiet time reading or on the computer, bouncing on his heels asking what we're doing, asking me to bat his curve balls, or suggesting beach-visits or kayak-trips. He's got all this excess energy with nothing to focus it on but me.

If absence makes the heart grow fonder, surely the inverse is also true.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Humble Pie Blues

Wow, this economy is a real bummer. Everyone in the nation knows at least one person that has lost his or her job. In my case, the one person I know also happens to be my husband and the sole bread-winner for the household.

Adapting to our new financial (or lack thereof) situation, I've decided to cut back on discretionary spending. No more luxuries like cable TV, salon haircuts or pedicures. I will now only shop clearances and wholesale. No more eating out and only second-hand stores for clothing.

Wait a minute, that's how I've always lived.

The one luxury that I'm having a hard time giving up is the children's private school education, and those familiar with Hawaii public schools understand why. Luckily the current school year is already paid for, but the coming year is quite uncertain.

In the meantime, you will find me on the side of the road holding a sign that says, "Will work for pidgin-free education".

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Reunited....and it feels so good

When we ask the question, "my place or yours?", in the winter, there is no question. After more than a year, Ambie and Ray are actually within striking distance of each other, although we don't strike each other much anymore. Ambie is greatly enjoying not having to wear multiple layers and bracing herself for subarctic temperatures and Ray is enjoying having someone to talk to that is actually potty trained, mostly.

After ecstatically flinging herself, squinting and blinking, into the sunshine, Ambie is now nursing a 5-alarm sunburn. Experts believe that Ray may stop laughing sometime early next week.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Baby Chihuahua

My little sister breeds Chihuahua's and I have to admit I am amazed that she can sell these little creatures for as much as she does. She makes a small fortune every time one of her females gives birth to a litter of what look to me like something closely related to the common New York Sewer Rat. People love these things, the smaller the better. My sister however has learned to hate them. She complains that they are nervous, shaky, and constantly in danger of being stepped on or plucked out of the yard by a hungry bald eagle which frequent her area. She and her husband carefully step around them and have only once had an incident which was when my sister accidentally let the back door close behind her and as it shut it broke one of the dogs legs..... I want one.
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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank You, Angel

I like to think of myself as a fairly capable, independent woman. I have a college degree with which I have earned a living. I can do my own taxes, budget my money, open pickle jars, take out the trash, paint the house, frame windows, teach my son how to be a good point guard, etc.

Then days like yesterday happen. I was downtown with a flat tire.

Okay, I've seen this done before. I know academically what is supposed to happen. So I got out the donut, jack, and crowbar. Now what??

I started to jack up the car, and when I say, "jack-up", I mean curse and yell at the little hooky thingy that doesn't seem fit to turn the nutty thingy that's supposed to raise the jack and thereby, the car.

Male to the rescue. Is there something in that teeny, little Y-chromosome that gives men the innate knowledge of such processes?

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the anonymous young guy that moved the jack to the correct spot on my car's frame, inserted the crow bar into the hooky thingy so that you can get leverage to turn the jack-screw, and turned the donut around when I started to put it on backward. Who, no doubt, went straight home to teach his wife how to change a tire so that she will never be as idiotically helpless as me.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Do You Know Where Your Kids Are ?... Right Now Go Look ..Now. ..Ray.

While Ray pines for some use of her genius mind other than changing diapers and issuing spankings when her "just as smart as her "children flush animals down the toilet, I can't help but feel that no amount of brains could have prepared me for raising kids. Now I do not profess to be any kind of intellectual, still I thought or rather believed naively that I possessed enough common sense to get the job done.

What I did not count on was that there would be numerous scenarios that had never entered my thoughts ..ever. For example have any of your children ever spilled paint on the floor ? Easy solution right ? Time out and a lecture about mess making. Well what if they kept doing it everyday for a year. What if they ate the paint ? What if it was crayola paint as opposed to exterior paint. Would that make you less angry ? What if they painted each other as a sort of kind service to each other ? Do you keep punishing or just learn how to clean fast. If you don't punish for each and every crime will they end up in jail because they you let everything slide and they think they can get away with everything ? Or if you over punish will your children grow up feeling pecked to death and plot your death ? Every situation calls for thought and care and every situation is different and Ray's kids are undoubtedly pouring paint on the floor right now or very soon.

Honestly no college course can prepare for the intuition needed to handle a child. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to raise children. It keeps me busy enough so I don't have to think about how screwed up I am because my own parents royally destroyed my life by under-punishing me.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Why Do I Have A Brain?

...and speaking of whiny posts.

I realize that I made the choice as a grown adult of sound (at the time) mind and able body to stay at home with my children. Even if I knew then what I know now, I would still make that choice.

That being said...

I can't help but feel like the "job" I've chosen requires very few skills and even fewer brains. In fact, in the "real" world, the tasks I do everyday are done by the lowest educated, least skilled people in the workforce. Dishwashing, vacuuming, toilet cleaning, laundry doing, stain removing, butt wiping, nose wiping, vomit disposing, Barney-enduring, you get the picture. Most people wouldn't do this job for any money in the world.

Having a brain just makes it all the more frustrating.

Oh, I've heard all the reasons why we, as women and mothers, should pursue education. What if we don't get married? What if our husbands lose their jobs or die? But really. What aspiring athlete would work so hard if they were told they would only get playing time if no team ever wanted them, or that they would only be second string and never get to play unless the superstar gets injured? Is that all my brain is good for? As back-up quarterback?

I know some people say we're better mothers if we can teach our children why rainbows appear in the sky, or why ice floats, or describe what irony is and site examples. Is that why I studied so hard in college? I have yet to hear my children ask what a LaPlace Transform is, or why the leading edge of supersonic airflow drastically increases drag.

Don't get me wrong. I am grateful that I can stay home with my kids. That my husband is willing and able to provide for our needs and make that possible. I cherish the small, precious moments of snuggling and reading a book, the poignant observations on life and the world around us seen from a child's unique perspective, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I am a significant part of that world that influences my child.

I just hope that when my children are grown and gone, I will have two brain cells left to rub together.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Books are like friends in so many ways. They fill our discretionary time with wonder and excitement. They can be informative, intriguing, frustrating, comforting, inspiring, and humorous. Relationships with some books are endearingly deep which you reinforce, perhaps with marginal notes, again and again. Some books are shallow and flippant - a passing acquaintance - which you nurture no more than is necessary. But like friends, books are indispensible. While they may have no survival value, they certainly bring value to survival. When a book comes to a end, it's like the close of a friendship, a destination reached, and a journey completed. Not all the moments may have been beautiful. Some may have been painful. Some ugly. But every book we read, like every person we meet, affects us and molds us, like each tiny tap of the sculptor's chisel, into the person we are.

And in case you were wondering. I just finished reading David McCullough's "John Adams" and I feel like I've met a soulmate some 230 years removed. And I think I've fallen in love, with John Quincy Adams. Too bad he's been dead for 160 years.

there is no
the end

Thursday, January 8, 2009

To Move or Not to Move...

No, this is not a post about bowels.

I have found that there are two types of people in this world - those that move and those that don't. No question which category I fit into. I've never lived more than 4 years in any one place in my entire life. But I've lived in places and met people that are of the other type and I have found no correlation to income, education, or level of curiosity, outgoing-ness or adventure that distinguishes the two groups. There are just people who are willing, even excited, to pick up and move, and people who aren't.

I remember a guy I studied in college with who loudly claimed that he would rather be a ditch digger in Utah than an engineer in Texas. (and he wondered why I wouldn't go out with him.) I know people here in Hawaii - in their 40s - who still live in the houses they grew up in. And then there's Ambie, whose children had the same Kindergarten teacher she did. I've heard people say that they choose not to move for the sake of their children. Then their children grow up and move away, and they're still there!

I'm not going to say that one group of people is superior to the other. But I will say that there are experiences and life lessons that come with moving that you cannot gain any other way. For one thing, you cannot come to know a place or a people by just visiting no matter how often or how long. All my life I've visited Hawaii, had family here, stayed for over a month at a time - but when I moved here for the first time, I felt like a foreigner. It's a whole different ballgame. Like the difference between looking at a picture of food and actually eating it.

By moving around a lot, you learn that "home" is not an address or a zipcode, but a person or group of people. I have to chuckle when I hear grown adults say, "I'm going home this summer" or "for Christmas" and I think, I'm sure your spouse will be thrilled. What do they call the place they have their underwear drawer?

Moving takes a brand of courage that dwarfs other actions we label as courageous. We may look at someone who has climbed Denali, bungee jumped, or scuba-dived at night in shark infested waters, and think, "wow, they're brave". But would they be willing to move to a foreign country where they spoke not a word of the language and knew not a soul, with 6 children ages 2 to 14, and be 6 months pregnant, in a harsh, snowy winter? And feel not fear or self-pity, but exhilaration and excitement for new opportunities?

That was my mom.

I know that some people shake their head and pity me or think they've discovered the cause of my "eccentric nature" when they hear about my nomadic life. But to those of us who've moved - a lot, the book "Who Moved My Cheese?" is a no-brainer. We adapt. We adjust. And we find happiness wherever we are.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Disney = Dissapointment

Lets get the new year off to a great start with a couple of good whiny posts.

School is out and due to the frigid temperatures we find ourselves turning to the good ol' tube for entertainment.So here's my gripe.. when did Disney get so teen? What used to be good wholesome cartoons has been replaced by some sort of demented beauty pageant for sexy preteen girls. Remember Goofy, Donald, and Mickey ? Replaced. Instead you will find a daily lineup of cute perky prepubescent looking teens like Hannah Montana,Cheetah girls and a whole slew of wannabes. Interestingly enough many of these poor kids who have been thrust into the limelight boast pop albums, clothing lines and perfumes as well. The whole Disney teen world is a multi billion dollar industry with Disney breeding and pumping out pop stars like a giant evil machine. I guess Disney couldn't pass it up; sex sells right? Good clean stuff doesn't bring in the same revenue as scantily clad teenage girls. I miss the classics and would be thrilled if Disney would consider yet another channel, except this one would be the good cartoons from my childhood.I may have just realized why we choose not to watch TV much in the first place.

there is no
the end