Thursday, May 28, 2009

the derivational suffix

(Although this is an English lesson, due to the excessive use of ONE word ... this is rated PG-18 ... only for those who are eighteen and older ... and for those who do not easily pass judgement!)

The word of the month. A root word. A suffix. The word tends to flow freely from my lips as if i am reciting a beloved poem. It rolls off sweetly as if i am whispering the words "I Love You". Clearly, it just comes spewing from my mouth. I believe I was weaned on the word.

Ass. Not as in a body part (noun): bum, bottom, rear, behind, butt. Not as in a long-eared mammal. Yet, as in reference to a person (noun) or that person's action (verb).

My dictionary containing the profanity root word ass and its appropriate derivational suffix:

-ise; to make. assise. to make an ass. Please do not assise yourself in public.

-est; the most. assest. the most ass. Drunk friend C was the assest at happy hour.

-less; without. assless. without ass. Refering to one's junk in the trunk, "I'm not assless".

-ment; result, act of. assment. act of assing. The assment was inappropriate in public.

-ness; state of. assness. state of being an ass. Shopper lady's assness was unnecessary!

-ful; full of. assful. full of ass. What an assful one-sided conversation!

-ly; like. assly. like an ass. Another assly pick-up line!

-ify; to make. assify. to make an ass. See -ise: Please do not assify yourself in public.

-ism; belief, manner. assism. a belief in ass. Realism or assism, is it a fine line?

-ist; doer, dealer. assist. to be an ass. The ass- ist was busy pontificating.

-al; pertaining to, relating to. assal. to pertain to the ass. The assal's refusal was annoying.

-ology; study, science, theory. assology. the study of ass. The available online courses are biology, chemistry and assology.

-ity; state of, quality. assity. the quality of ass. His personality and assity is showing!

-hood; order, quality. asshood. the order of asses. This brotherhood of asshood is going to the dogs.

My dictionary using ass as the derivational suffix (without a precise definition, but all listeners understand its meaning): the most common verbiage heard in today's language. These derogatory words should only be used in the privacy of one's car, known as "car words". These car word expletives are necessary for keeping oneself sane. And once outside of the car, the smoke rises and all niceness returns to the tip of one's tongue.

dumb-ass, jack-ass, stupid-ass, freak-ass, lazy-ass, jerk-ass, crazy-ass, loser-ass, smart-ass, pompous-ass, skinny-ass, fat-ass, and insert-your-own-word + ass.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Word Kill

Coffee. Check.
Free time. Check.

Every morning, friend B logs onto the computer and begins her daily Internet ritual. First stop, mail. Inbox. And there waiting to be opened is her favorite email. The email that will fulfill her inferiority complex. The email that delusionally sets her upon a superiority stool. The email that ultimately makes her looks like an ass.

The "Word of the Day". The "Word of the Day" is interesting because it states, defines, and pronounces the new word. Unfortunately, however, it does not inform friend B how to correctly use this new word.

In the next twenty-four hours, friend B will use the "Word of the Day" as often as possible. Regardless of the current conversation and its context. Regardless of anything except the word that has been temporarily imprinted into her cerebrum. The WORD clouds out all reason and rationale. Friend B can only concentrate on THE word!

Six of us are gathered and we are currently discussing the political climate in D.C. Friend B interjects, "Based on my ERUDITION, remember, I am an English Major, blah, blah, blah!"

We stare at friend B, stunned into silence. Once again, we continue debating the last one-hundred days of the new president. Ten minutes later, friend B exclaims, "The ERUDITION I received at Kalamazoo College - now worth one-hundred thousand dollars - gives me the authority to be an expert on president B, blah, blah, blah!"

I cringe. Nobody speaks. I ponder erudition (extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books). "Era-dee-shun" as friend B enunciates the "D" as if she lives in Spain. UGH! Friend B needs a "Webster" intervention.

Husband of friend B, speak up! She is torturing my ears. I cannot take this blatant word-kill. Friend B-husband has previously tried to curtail his wife's word obsession. But he is reprimanded and scolded with the overused "I AM AN ENGLISH MAJOR!"

Friend B has a desire to appear to be THE smartest person in the room. And in reality, SHE is the smartest dumbass in the room!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spots decoded

An itchy rash can be any number of self-diagnosed diseases.

An allergy to a laundry detergent. A bad reaction to sitting in a fire ant hill. A light case of sunburn/sun poisoning. An amazing reaction to 'catching' fleas from a beloved cat. A furious and drunk mosquito. A contagious unidentified rash. A non-contagious identified rash.

We are attending a party and we are inviting our trunk rash. Trunk rash is the perfect guest. It is hidden with appropriate clothing. It is silent. It is congenial. It is unassuming. It is proper. It is well-mannered. It does not overindulge. It does not overintoxicate.

Too bad all of our guests cannot be the perfect rash!

PS: It is the chicken pox
PPS: If you attended party A, then you may discover your own rash within 9-12 business days.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Fly the Sober Skies

American, Delta, United, Northwest (which is now considered Delta), and Continental ... All airlines who claim to fly the friendly skies.

The post 9-11 craze and subsequent economic crisis has caused the airlines to cut costs. Cut the meals and snacks. Cut the travel opportunities. Cut the award miles. Cut the award redemption program. Cut the peanuts. Cut the quantity of flights from DFW to LA (two per day instead of the hourly departure).


Take out the friendly and we fly the bitter-blue skies.

Business and First Class continue to imbibe in the skies. But what about the rest of us stuck in "Third Class"?

And thank you airlines for calling our class "COACH"!

Yes, we know we have to pay $7.00 to imbibe on the high. But remember, we are in THIRD Class. If we could afford FIRST or SECOND (business), then we would be sitting in the FREE alcohol seats. If we are in THIRD, then it is safe to say that $7.00 beers are a luxury. (That equals seven beers during happy hour at Reno's. Slugging seven in an hour is definitely a luxury and a talent.)

But what about Mommies?

Mommies (with children in tow) should be greeted with a beer at check-in. A glass of wine at the gate. Another beer once seated. And another glass of wine upon take-off.

Happy Mommies make Happy Babies!

Yes, mommies should be exempt from this alcohol rule! Mommies should imbibe to survive!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


FINGER WORKS (bumper sticker of the day!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Roofer for Hire

Middleman service companies are everywhere. The middleman becomes an entrepreneur and serves as the salesperson, estimator, contract employer, and customer service. But how qualified is the middleman?

Entrepreneur: creates and sets up a business under his/her name. "Joe Schmoe's Roofing"
(Nice, catchy name)

Salesperson: "We are the best roofing business in town. We have very competitive rates. We can complete the job within two days. We are superior."
(He could sell a sandpit to a tree frog!)

Estimator: "To replace this roof, you are looking at $9,450 dollars. The existing old shingles will be removed and hauled away. New shingles will be laid."
(As a client, don't you want to know the break down for the large sum given? Where did this number come from? I believe Joe Schmoe pulled it out of his ass."

"Since your current shingles are asphalt, call your insurance company adjuster to inquire about a claim."
"Since your current shingles are wooden, your insurance company will not allow any claims. The insurance companies allowed claims about fifteen years ago if you removed your existing wood shingles and replaced them with asphalt or metal."

Contract Employer: "After you sign the 'contract', I will schedule a time/date and send over a crew to begin the deshingling."
(Translation: I need to call my brothers, cousins, nephews, uncles, brother-in-laws, friends, neighbors, and friends-of-friends and BEG them to help me. I will pay them $100 dollars per day. Whether it is a five hour or an eleven hour day, it is still $100 dollars. I will do NO work. I need to be available to answer the phone. I need to be available to screw people over for a living.)

Customer Service: "Thank you for your business. Good-bye!"

Do you know what your middleman's ROOF looks like?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Disposable vs. Cloth

Every parenting, mommy, family magazine in circulation has an ongoing debate regarding diapers: disposable vs. cloth. A similar ongoing debate occurs among the mommy mafia for feeding: bottle vs. breastfed.

For diapering, why don't the articles cover the real, everyday, life part of it? How do you clean a cloth diaper? How do you properly dispose of disposables? Will the messy cloth contaminate other clothes items if laundered together? Will the disposables call maggots to your trash bin? UGH! Real Life PLEASE! I can conclude which diaper is GREENER. I can conclude which diaper is EASIER. But I am asking for REALITY!

I am trying to decide which one is better for my lifestyle. And today it is CLOTH.

I poke baby three times. Baby is wrestling to stand up and run. Baby cannot remove cloth diaper (unlike disposable) on her own.

One hour later, Oops! Baby mess. UGH!!

Change baby. Two more pin pokes in her hips. Once again, baby is wriggling herself free and on the verge of running.

Dirty cloth diaper goes to the girls' bathroom toilet to be rinsed. Diaper takes a break and sits in the toilet bowl while diaper-cleaner is wrangling baby into the playroom. Big sister is playing in her room. Diaper-cleaner quickly loads the dryer. Diaper-cleaner returns to bathroom to rinse diaper and load into the washing machine.

Where is the diaper? I know dirty diaper cannot go too far. And I definitely know that nobody (other than me) will TOUCH dirty diaper.

I look in the bowl, behind the bowl, next to the bowl, behind diaper genie, behind wastebasket, under bath mat, in bathtub, behind shower curtain, and in the bowl (again).

The toilet starts gurgling. The pipe connected to the wall is shaking. The toilet water is now rising very quickly. The toilet water is overflowing. There is sewer water backing up into the bathtub.

"Hey," I shout. "Who just used the bathroom?"
"Hey," the echo shouts back. "Who just left a diaper in the toilet?"

Of course, nobody did it! So, how did that cloth diaper just get flushed down into the kingdom of sewerness?

UGH! And some other four-letter words shouting inside my head. This is just the beginning of my day. It surely cannot turn any worse. Or maybe...

Cats spy a constant supply of water gurgling up from the bathtub drain. Cats jump in and start to drink before I can get them outside.

UGH! Cats vomit!

It is only 8:13 in the morning! Is my debate solved?

I need a drink (or three) ... but only after Mr. Roto-Rooter saves the day! Maybe, Mr. Roto-Rooter will drink with me! After all, he is a man in uniform. And... yes, a man in uniform, indeed!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It's Rough Being A Baby...

I want to be a cat (says the wise one)!

Cry. Point. Clap. Cry. Whine. Mess. Laugh. Smile. Cry. Cry. Grunt. Utter. Cry. Laugh. Smile. Sleep. Mess. Cry. Tantrum. Smile. Laugh. Cry. Yuck! Walk. Cry. Cry. Fall. Laugh. Smile. Cry. Crawl. Eat. Smile. Laugh. Mess. Cry. Cry. Smile. Sleep.

Sleep. Eat. Sleep. Sleep. Eat. Chase. Sleep. Eat. Eat. Sleep. Mess. Sleep. Run. Eat. Eat. Pounce. Sleep. Creep. Eat. Climb. Eat. Eat. Sleep.

Who wants to be the "mommy"?

Wake. Caffeinate. Smile. Type. Clean. Cook. Make. Wash. Change. Clean. Carry. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Play. Hydrate. Wipe. Change. Create. Spin. Pull. Push. Wax. Vacuum. Cry. Caffeinate. Hydrate. Smile. Nibble. Cook. Clean. Clean. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Hydrate. Caffeinate. Hallucinate. Smile. Smile. Cook. Clean. Mail. Sweep. Ignore. Answer. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Spin. Play. Wipe. Change. Smile. Watch. Clean. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Laugh. Pull. Play. Tote. Lug. Drag. Nag. Nag. Nag. Wipe. Hydrate. Caffeinate. Smile. Talk. Chat. Listen. Pickup. Clean. Clear. Laugh. Sign. Fix. Write. Read. Peruse. Nag. Nag. Smile. Hydrate. Wash. Rinse. Dry. Smile. Hydrate. Sleep. Snore. Wake. Sleep. Snore. Sleep. Wake. Sleep. Snore. Sleep. Wake.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's A Jungle Out Here!

First Birthday: Jungle Party Theme.

* Jungle invitations
* Monkey envelope stickers
* Jungle thank you notes
* A variety of animal print helium-filled balloons
* Giant monkey mylar balloon
* Zebra-striped table linens
* Monkey favor bags tied with zebra print ribbon
* Zebra whistles
* Elephant bubbles
* Giraffe inflatable balls
* Lion masks
* Elephant, monkey, giraffe, lion lollipops
* Lion shaped gummies
* Assorted jungle animal plates and napkins
* Monkey sippy cups

Favorite cake lady (of six years) has been commissioned to create the cake. Must give every detail to cake lady -- must be very specific. No detail left uncovered. Or you may be in for a surprise!

"One large JUNGLE cake, please!" I order. I offer a Jungle invitation as an example. The invitation is accepted and noted.

"Jungle?" asks surprised cake lady. "Not a princess, or a ONE, or bears, or Hello Kitty party?"

"Yes, a jungle with monkeys, zebras, elephants, giraffes, vines, trees. Perhaps, a toucan. But definitely a JUNGLE!"

"OK!" disgruntled cake lady agrees with a huge sigh. (I suppose we have differing opinions on what a little girl's first birthday party should be!) "Cake will be ready for pick-up at 10:00 am."
1. Pick up cake. Look at cake. Thumbs up. It looks great. Pay for cake. In a big hurry. Brows furrow. Mind is churning.

2. Drive to party destination. It is at a park ... somewhat similar to a jungle setting, just add lots of monkey children!

3. Set up party. Place cake on table. Remove cake from box. Admire. Study. Admire. Question. Admire. Utterly Confused!

The JUNGLE cake looks great, nicely decorated and smells of intoxicating delicious sugar.

But, tell me, WHAT JUNGLE on this PLANET HAS PONIES ???

Cake Lady has placed little plastic ponies all over my jungle. Like a farm. Cute... elephant, pony, monkey, pony, zebra, pony, pony, toucan, pony. UGH! I should have ordered the Princess cake!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Compost or Bust!

We compost. Not the fancy-schmancy kind of composting. We did not purchase an expensive compost bin or dirt or worms.

We compost naturally. Organically. Greenly.

We dug a hole in our garden and began throwing in peels from fruits and vegetables. Only!

If you build it, worms will come. The worms are extremely FAT. And no expenses were incurred.

If you build it, bugs will come. And other creatures.

Every morning, Victoria and I go outside looking for clues. Usually the cantaloupe rinds are twenty feet away from the compost pile. The apple cores are missing. The celery stalks have also disappeared. The potato ends remain (creature does not like raw potatoes).

We do know that it is not our cats. The cats prefer the good stuff. Not garbage food. And, Victoria deduced that it cannot be a rat family -- unless it is an extremely large rat. I am hoping it is not a rat family!

Last night, as we were cleaning up the backyard, the cats became very quiet and slowly started to creep toward the garden. We also stood frozen in our tracks for no real reason - just following the cats.

The mystery is solved!

We discovered the animal that is living under our deck and feeding off the compost pile...
a cute, lonely, 'possum named Spunky!

Friday, May 15, 2009


I use this feature on my television. A friend, who happens to be hearing-impaired, introduced me to this wonderful feature. I, on the other hand, am NOT hearing impaired. Unless, of course, you consider IGNORING a problem.

I am addicted to this feature.

In fact, I am so addicted that I literally cannot hear the dialog on television unless I am reading it. Enable my CC!

Luckily, my husband does not watch television. I believe my CC quirk (among others) would give him ample opportunity to lecture me on the benefits of NO TV.

Luckily, daughter number one does not seem to notice the big white words on the screen. She does not see them (hopefully, she does not need to be fitted for eyeglasses). She is accustomed to my habit and the words belong on each show. And that is why we NEVER watch television at another person's home. I do NOT want her to realize that TVs generally do not have words.

And daughter number two is being weaned on big white words.

I laugh before the laugh track. I know the ending before the scene is complete. I know the answer before the contestant on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".

I love my Closed-Caption.

Unfortunately, my CC habit drives my mother insane. She is insisting that I have my hearing checked! (But maybe I don't want to hear everything!)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Egg-laying Cow

I find myself in the midst of deciphering definitions of vegetarianism. Which I wouldn't have to do if raw meat didn't make me ill. And sodium-laden restaurant meals didn't make me fat.

A basic Vegetarian lifestyle excludes meats (game, fish, shellfish, and poultry), eggs, dairy and honey.

I am becoming confused. I did not know that there were so many different sub-groups to vegetarianism.

Vegan - for only the extreme with moral conviction. According to real Vegans, I have no morals. I wear leather shoes. I own a leather jacket (although, in Texas, it has only been worn twice). I sleep on down pillows and under a down duvet. I own a piece of illegal ivory. There's an antler chandelier in the formal room. A bear rug lies in the foyer. I carry an alligator handbag. I wear a tortoise hairclip. Yes, a serious lack of morals. A Vegan diet overflows into their lifestyle - it excludes ALL animal products from their life.

Side note: eggs and dairy are TWO different food groups. An Egg-Laying Cow is not the NEW dairy! I know it is confusing! But just remember it this way - WHAT COW LAYS EGGS?

Moving on...

And for those who have to live with a small number of animal products (for consumption and/or materialism possession), we have:

(1) Semi-Vegetarianism includes the consumption of fish and poultry, eggs, and dairy. It excludes meat products.

(2) Lacto-Vegetarianism includes the consumption of dairy but NO eggs. And no meat, fish, or poultry.

(3) Ovo-Vegetarianism includes the consumption of eggs but NO dairy. And no meat, fish, or poultry.

(4) Lacto-Ovo Vegetarianism includes the consumption of eggs AND dairy. But no meat, fish or poultry.

(5) Pescetarianism includes the consumption of seafood. Pesco-vegetarianism is another name for Pescetarianism (Pesce -- derived from the latin word meaning 'fish') although true vegetarians do not like to use this term since it refers to "fish-eating mongers" and they do not want to be associated with those heathens. Pesces do not eat meat, poultry, eggs or dairy.

(6) Flexitarianism. This is a new one for me! I have never heard of it! And, honest, I did NOT make this up! The diet consists of primarily vegetarian foods but allows occasional exceptions.

(7) Sugaritarianism. See yesterday's post. This is my own candy-corn colored dream diet!

"Hi, I'm a Flexitarian. What's your -arianism?"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Allows only the ingestion of ONE food group: FATS - sugary and sweet junk foods for all your daily meals and snacks. All FAT foods are delivered to your plate directly from a prepackaged box! No prep! All eat!

I am contemplating a change in my current dietary habits. Lately, I am having a problem with the process of food preparation and meal consumption.

It begins like this:
Raw Chicken, Beef or Poultry
Cut into smaller pieces
Cook via baking, grilling, sautéing, broiling, roasting, or boiling
Dinner is served

I cannot eat. I am having an odd aversion to any type of raw meat product.

IF I prepare it, I cannot eat it. IF I do NOT prepare it, I can eat it. Why?

Does ANYONE have this issue?

This is not new for me. It has occasionally occurred over the last twenty years. And it has been occurring more frequently in the past five years. The nausea symptoms are progressing with every meal cooked. I gag. I pass. I avoid.

Do I need therapy for this raw meat aversion?

Luckily, my husband prepares the weekly salmon meal. Thankfully, my husband prepares the yearly turkey meals at Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The cleaning of the turkey is another blog for another time!

Maybe I need to explore vegetarianism options. But all I can happen upon is Sugaritarianism!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lucky Charm Revisited

Whatever happened to the superstitious feet? You know the ones that were mass produced into key chains. Dyed in a multitude of colors to suit your fancy. The lucky rabbit foot!

As a young child, a lucky rabbit foot appeared to be the “in” charm of the 70's. And if you were “lucky” enough to be a licensed driver, then you may have had a foot dangling from your keys (to ward off accidents? to ward off being locked out of your car? to put a hex on slow driver A?).

Of course, I was too young to drive but that did not alter my desire to have and carry a lucky rabbit foot. I just really wanted one!

My dad, an avid sportsman, improvised. He hunted dinner rabbits. And if we just happened to be served a game meal, then there was probably a foot somewhere to be had. Not just any foot. But the coveted left hind foot. The luckiest part of the rabbit – so the story goes. shhh! please don't call peta!

One night, as I was washing up for dinner, I noticed a peculiar gamy aroma coming from the kitchen. It was rabbit. (I detest game – any kind of game.) Despite my aversion to a rabbit meal, I was offered the trophy. A real rabbit foot. Not synthetic. Not dyed. It was rabbit colored. It was rabbit odored. It was a stick in your pocket and carry rabbit foot. I was happy … until my cat ran off with my lucky foot.

I suppose the foot did not provide me the gift of luck since I was not feeling particularly lucky. I still preferred the pink commercial foot. And my cat would not have run off with a fake foot.

On the other hand, perhaps, I was lucky. What nine year old kid wants to walk around with a foot in her pocket? So I held out... (not because I wanted to but because nobody bought me a foot!)

And good luck finally arrived by the time I was a legally licensed driver. Rabbit foot was OUT. Bottle-opener key chain was IN. Perfect for enabling the “drinking and driving” teenager phase. And, thankfully, that low-budget fad diminished fast enough and soon gave way to Gucci, the new IN for key rings.

Real (non-dyed) lucky rabbit feet can still be found at economically priced at $6.00. Perhaps, renewed luck would be on my side -- thirty years later. (IF I were a CPA, I would take note: a $4.00/7% annual/200% total increase over thirty years!)
Or see for the classic key ring, now priced at $155.00. (a $90.00/7% annual/140% increase over twenty years! And IF I were a CPA, I would advise myself to buy one NOW because in ten years it may reach the 200% increase creating a new price of $200.00)

Or try some new luck and go for the Tiffany sterling silver heart for $235.00 or the Louis Vuitton classic Monogram Key Ring at $165.00. (Your husband will be thrilled that you gave up on the rabbit foot and held out for something memorable that he can surprise you with! And with my luck, I will be gifted the sentimental rabbit foot on my next birthday from my loving husband!!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ebi Odori (ay-bee oh-doe-lee)

After work one night, my Japanese friends and I go to a sushi restaurant. Aiko selects a "non-touristy" place located about an hour's train ride out of Tokyo -- into the suburbs.

I am brave when it comes to experimenting with Japanese cuisine unless, of course, it is plastic-like and chewy (squid and octopus come to mind).

Aiko asserts herself as the group leader and orders ebi (shrimp) for me because IT is one of my favorite food groups!

I am slowly sipping the sake that has been placed before me (YUCK) - but a few sips I will take to kill off any harmful bacteria that may be lurking in the sashimi or sushi. And then I will switch to green tea to further kill off any lingering bacteria (and who says diet coke is bad for you??).

My order of shrimp arrives. The chef delicately carries the platter and ceremoniously sets a tiny plate bearing ONE single shrimp before me with a deep bow. I feel special ... perhaps, because I am the only foreigner here and, oh, I am a teacher. The Japanese people love their teachers!

I rudely stare at this particular shrimp. It appears to be different. Than what? Seeing that I am a non-cook at this point in my life ... the shrimp just looks different from the shrimp that I eat back in the USA.

Aiko declares with happiness, "Ebi desu!" (Translation: it's shrimp!)

"Oh!" I proclaim back. "That explains the color, GRAY! It is Gray! Did someone forget to feed this farm-raised shrimp the stuff that turns them pink??" I am still staring at this shrimp. Where have I seen gray shrimp in my lifetime? Thankfully, the head (which includes the eyes) is removed prior to arriving at my seat.

I continue to ponder the Gray color. It is still Gray. No chameleon like changes going on here. The lone shrimp lays on a bed of rice adhered with wasabi. Resembles typical sushi.

All fourteen eyes are on me. Why? I know I need to eat this seemingly expensive gift shrimp.

I grasp my chopsticks.
And I place a stick on each side of the sushi.
I hold the tail with my left hand.
I pull the tail.

The tail did not come off?

I try again to remove the tail.

And just then, HOLY SHRIMP! The grayness jumps out of my grasp, off the rice, up into the air, performs an incredible aerial stunt, and lands back on my plate.

I fall off my stool.

"Shinjidarenai!" I scream. (Translation: I don't believe it! Honest, it is not holy shit or any other four-letter word residing on the tip of my tongue.)

"It is EBI ODORI!" Aiko shouts at me. I know what it is called but what is it?

It's dancing shrimp! (Translation: IT's ALIVE!!)

I am NOT eating that shrimp. I think I am going to vomit.

"Dozo," I offer Aiko the shrimp.

Aiko expertly takes the ebi odori into her chopsticks, places the shrimp into her mouth, pulls off the tail, and places the tail back onto the plate -- where it continues to dance (flipping all around the plate)!

I am going to vomit.

Aiko swallows the shrimp WHOLE.

I know I see the shrimp dance its way down Aiko's throat.

I do vomit.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm a Happy Mommy...

(sung to the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot")

I'm a happy mommy,

sober or drunk,

Here is my family,

friends and junk,

Don't forget it's mommy's day,

or see my spunk,

Flip you off ... and

Stuff in trunk.

written by melissa (for melissa)

Happy Mother's Day to all mommies, grandmas, great-grandmas, meemaws, mimis, gigis, grannies, grammies, aunts, (female) cousins, sisters, babysitters, nannies, and caretakers.

Enjoy your day -- meant just for you!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

One Cow Please!

We’re building a home (some day, like in 2019) on a two-acre lot in a small city, thirteen miles southwest of Fort Worth’s city limit.

I’m not even sure it is really considered a city. Perhaps, a town? A village? A municipal? Colony? Commune? Hamlet?

Population 726.

When my family moves there (upon completion of said home), we will increase the population (that is, if nobody happens to move out). I never dreamed I would reside in a town equivalent in size to Victoria’s Elementary School (student population is 720).

There is one stop light. Two major roads. One gas station (which, thankfully, has a supply of diet coke and an available restroom). And four gated neighborhoods. That is it!

The neighborhood covenant is written in drivel (much more boring than mine!). Minimum home square footage, blah blah, maximum number of buildings on property (only one shed or barn, ya’ll, not four), mailbox placement, garage placement, masonry façade, blah blah blah… And yet in small print – one farm animal, per acre, permitted.

I vote for a pot-bellied pig.
Victoria’s hoping for a horse.
Petra moos for a cow.
And husband – of course, just prefers the deer, wild turkey and scorpions that are pre-existing.

What about a goat? That would solve the mowing situation. I might trade my pot-bellied pig for a goat. OR, perhaps, I will just teach Petra how to bleat! [I should have bought that pig in Ho Chi Minh City for ten dollars. How I would have gotten the pig to Texas is another blog for another time.]

After perusing the fine print, I discover that we can own two farm animals (remember, one per acre)! I vote for the goat and pot-bellied pig! Maybe I'll win, after all, it is Mother's Day Weekend!

We visit our land each month. We blow bubbles, we run around, we receive cacti pokes, we inherit chiggers, we host bug bites, we swat bugs, we step in fire ant hills, we smuggle scorpions into Fort Worth, and we admire the Texas bluebonnets.

The bluebonnet sight in spring is worth all the other mishaps!

God Bless Texas and its Bluebonnets!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yes, Ms. Tellier, There is a Cricket Season

I am having a difficult time concentrating. I am having a difficult time focusing on the twenty-two little people sitting before me. I am NOT just hearing a noise. I am hearing the most disturbing little sound.

"Can any of you hear that?" I question as my sign language interpreter translates to four of the students for me. [Translating, really!] "DO you hear that?"

"There has to be a stuck cricket somewhere in this classroom."

When crickets get stuck or distressed their cricket-clicks get very loud! Our current reading lesson is temporarily on hold. We move right into a science lesson, "Who can find the Cricket?"

Row one checks the windows.
Row two checks the closet.
Row three checks the lockers.
Row four checks the bookcases.

With all the movement in the classroom, the Cricket becomes very quiet. So, our Cricket hunt is unproductive.

We return to reading. After sailing through two pages, the Cricket sounds reappear. The classroom falls silent. It is never this quiet. We all listen to the Cricket. Where is it hiding?

I step outside onto the portable classroom steps. There are no cricket sounds. I return to the classroom. Yes, there's the Cricket!

I try to get beyond the Cricket's discomfort. We finish our reading lesson and prepare for our math lesson. Everyone is distracted, the poor Cricket is on every one's mind.

The intercom disrupts the classroom's thoughts. "Ms. Tellier, could you please send AJ to the office to pick up his lunch?" "Yes, he is on his way," I reply.

AJ selects a friend to go with him to the office. The two boys walk to the main school building while the class continues working on their one-hundred addition problems.

The silence is quickly noted. "Where did the Cricket go?" "I don't hear anything!"

"Class, please check inside, under and over your desks one more time!"


AJ and friend return to the class and begin to finish their math problems. The Cricket is back. We all hear it. Where is the Cricket?

"AJ and friend, can I see you please? I want to do a little experiment.

AJ appears to be uncomfortable and slips his shoes off. Out jump three crickets. I stare in disbelief. I begin to laugh hysterically. The class is staring at the crickets. The class is now in an uproar.

"AJ, did you feel the crickets in your shoes?" I queried.

"Naw, my shoes just felt a little funny, I thought it was my socks," answered AJ.

And in all seriousness, AJ looked right at me and announced, "Ms. Tellier - it IS Cricket season!"

[I still hear the sound of crickets every spring and it always happily reminds me of the class that graduated from high school in 2008. Congratulations Class!]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Swallowed up by Sir Meanness

Victoria's school principal is retiring next week after a bazillion years of duty. And for ninety-five percent of those years, principal has been a Crank.

Victoria's classroom was instructed to make a Retirement card for said principal. The teacher wrote the exact wording on the chalkboard so that each student would copy the words verbatim yet add their own personalization in the form of "art work".

After school, Victoria told me all about the card and what she had to write (she still hasn't told me about the threat Crank recently issued).

God Bless You, Ms. Z, as you retire. I hope you have a nice time. From, Victoria

"But, Mom, I didn't really want to make that card for Ms. Z. I don't hope she has a nice time."

"I know, Victoria, but thank you for following the teacher's directions. And let's try and say nice things for the rest of the day because I think we're running out of daily allotted good luck. We might get in a car accident for saying those things. Or we might trip and fall and get a bruise the size of Montana. Or we might..."

Victoria interrupted, "Well, (I shudder) I also made another card. You know how we're always making up pretend stories?"

She continued on. "My other card was a funny."

I didn't know if there were humorous retirement cards available for purchase. I could only recall kind, considerate, or the best wishes type.

God Bless You, Ms. Crank d'Z. Thank you for being the grump of the school. I am going to miss your meanie face. Have fun at home and don't forget to smile at your pets or you might scare them and then they will run away. From, nobody

"Oooh," was all I could mutter. I think I have a migraine. I want to laugh. But that is not appropriate. I cannot condone meanness. Although it is tempting.

"Remember that funny card that Miechelle sent you for your birthday? It was a funny with the word I am not suppose to use, ya' know, the b-word. I didn't show my funny card to my teacher. I just slipped it in the pile for a surprise. I think Ms. Z needs a laugh!" Surprise, indeed!

I drove the speed limit or less all the way home. I didn't want to get stopped by a police officer for any type of incident. I didn't want to get into a car accident, either. Our daily allotment of good luck has officially been depleted, our niceness had been swallowed up by Sir Meanness.

Three houses to go -- until we are safely in our garage.

Then I looked to my right and saw a terrible teenager sight,

as three moons greeted us with delight,

It's wine straight from the bottle for dinner tonight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Crank gets the Look!

Victoria reached a milestone today...

She has officially mastered the "go to hell" glare and she used it in an appropriate situation.

Victoria is a good student. She is diligent. She is serious. She is responsible. She is well-behaved. (Or so I think in my own delusional state-of-being.) Children always act differently when they are away from their parents. I know this from experience. And since she is a problem-child at home, then she must be perfect at school.

The principal is an old bitter woman who never married and never raised children. And not that you need to be married or have children to be an effective principal, I do believe it would have helped this woman. On the golden egg scale, she registers as a 'bad egg' (remember Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory?). Cranky principal has one positive characteristic - she takes education very seriously. However, she is not a pedestal role model for children.

The "Crank" visited my daughter's Kindergarten classroom. Victoria's class was participating in a writing lesson. At that exact moment, the "Crank" selected my child to approach. The quietest, the most shy, the most sensitive, and the best handwriting.

In a coarse and unfriendly voice, Crank announced, "Victoria, if you keep holding your pencil like that, you won't be passing to first grade. How would you like to repeat Kindergarten?"

Victoria kept on writing. Pretending that this woman couldn't possibly be talking to her (another mastered action, perhaps, learned from me). Victoria's head is screaming at the Crank (I can hear it)!

Crank insisted, "Victoria, I want you to hold your pencil this way" (as she removed Victoria's pencil and placed it into her hand in a different position). It was so awkward that Victoria could not legibly write her name.

And this is where the "LOOK" was coming to fruition.

She glared at this woman (who remained quite oblivious), squinted up her big blue eyes, clenched her teeth, and drained her face of color. If actions could speak, "GO TO HELL" would have been screamed from the depths of her gut!

The school photographer had been following the principal for candid interaction photographs. Ironically, school photographer took a photo at the exact same moment that the "LOOK" was produced.

Crank demanded, "Victoria, are you paying attention? I told you to do it the correct way!" (Victoria had resumed her own successful pencil position, disregarding Crank's authority.)

Victoria looked up and shouted, "I heard you. AND YOU are hurting my Mother's feelings."


Crank is retiring in seven days. We are looking forward to a joyful year in first grade.

Too bad school photographer deleted the photo! She is the one who informed me of the situation. For now, Victoria is keeping her secret about the scary principal encounter! And, me, I am trying to find a way to successfully model the balance between rebellion and independence!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Price of Bananas in Fort Worth

A little market background: recently, I am trying to be cost-conscious during my trips to the grocery stores. I have been [self] accused of not understanding the concept of money. I take time to peruse the flyers. I take time to clip coupons. I don't buy many pre-packaged items. Most of my grocery money is spent on fruits, vegetables, beef, chicken and seafood. Frankly, there aren't many coupons for those particular food items. So, I do rely on the weekly flyers for an attempt at saving.

I venture out to Grocery Store A to purchase my weekly fruits and vegetables.

I wonder aloud, "Is there a world banana shortage going on that I missed?" Luckily, shopper A and shopper B chose to ignore me. I continued on...

"Bananas have steadily increased in price. A year ago, I paid twenty-five cents per pound. And then the price jumped to thirty-four cents per pound. And since January, bananas are consistently at fifty-six cents per pound." Still being ignored here...

Just then, I had an epiphany!

I pushed my cart to the front and proceeded with my checkout. Unfortunately, all of the self-checkout lanes were closed this morning. I had to queue in the midst of shoppers A and B, and a new one, C.

I placed my items on the conveyor belt. Friendly Cashier began to scan my purchases.

"You can't do this!" Friendly Cashier announced.

"What?" I innocently asked.

"THIS!!" Unhappy Cashier yelled.

"But I only EAT that PART!!" I insisted.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Angry Cashier stated.

"Look, nobody eats the peels. This way I get more banana at fifty-six cents per pound!!" I intelligently informed said cashier.

"You cannot stand in the produce section at Grocery Store A and peel the fruit. You cannot buy unpeeled bananas or oranges. OR ANY other fruit that you may intend to buy in the future," retorted Obstinate Cashier.

"BUT," I tried to continue ... the Manager was summoned. Perhaps, Manager will see my point. [I was able to get fifteen peeled bananas for two pounds instead of the typical nine bananas. How great was that! Six more bananas! What a Savings!]

"Where are the peels and rinds?" demanded Annoyed Manager.

"Here, under the cart, I was looking for a trash can," I explained.

Irritated Manager grabbed my full bag of peels, placed them on the scale. To cure your curiosity, fifteen peels weighed 1.25 pounds. That is seventy cents! I saved seventy cents! Wait! Grocery Store A is going to charge me seventy cents for PEELS! That's ridiculous! You cannot even eat PEELS!

I huffed. "I am not paying for PEELS!" "Besides your welcome sign says that the customer is always RIGHT!"

"Fine," said Defeated Manager. "However, YOU are no longer welcome to shop at Grocery Store A. Please do not ever come back or try to come back -- we will be watching for you!"

I triumphantly gathered my PEEL-LESS bananas, RIND-LESS oranges, and other food items. I strutted past Shoppers A, B, and C who stood with agape mouths. I smiled. They scowled.

Immediately I called my husband at work, "HEY, I believe our family has been banned from Grocery Store A, if you shop there don't forget to use CASH. They won't recognize you with CASH." I would inform him of the situation later. OR maybe I wouldn't. Because I think Grocery Store A really does not want to see me again.

Moral of the story: DON'T PEEL YOUR BANANAS!
[We had to eat all fifteen bananas within two hours -- before they turned to brown mush.]

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fixin' - it's a Southern Thing

We fix dinner. We fix a crack. We fix a hole. We fix the car. We fix (many) a drink. We fix anything that is broken (sooner or later).

After thirteen years, I am still considered to be a "Northerner". However, if we are concerned with geographically-correct placement, I am a "Midwesterner". I have a slight, very slight, drawl only when speaking with other Southerners, and only if they happen to have a serious accent. At home, we speak Midwestern, which is basically a dialect with a non-existing accent.

One day, Victoria came home from Preschool announcing that tomorrow is "Shoooooooooooow -in - Taaaaaaaaaale" day.

me: "What kind of day is it?"

Victoria: "I said, shoooooooooow-in-taaaaaaaaale." (duh) "The kind of day that you bring in an item to show the class and then you have to tale all about it." "It's the best kind of day."

me: "Oh!"

So the following day Victoria took an ammonite.

Ahhh. Cute. Victoria's first drawled word.

I heard it again. Victoria came home singing "Jingle Bells" -- a tune stuck in her head since her class was preparing for their Christmas program.

"jangle bails, jangle bails, jangle all the waaaaay..."

And again, "I ahm fuh-iiiii-ve yeeears old".

Now, I am nauseated, not naw-ze-ay-ted.

When I first landed in Fort Worth, I worked with thick Southern accents. Initially, I had a difficult time processing their sentences if the accent was too deep. A co-worker was rushing around to end her day. She announced "I'm fixin' to go on vacation". I stared at her. "Fixin' what?", I wondered. What would one possibly be fixing on vacation? That is definitely not my idea of a vacation, a working vacation.

I am praying that Victoria doesn't learn and use this particular ear-numbing Southern word, "fixin'". How will we explain that word to our non-Texan relatives? Recently, I have heard fixin' spewed from two classmates' mouths. The two classmates are now on our "Do NOT Play with" list.

I am still in awe. Victoria learned to speak from her Northern parents. Yet, she has developed a Southern accent via osmosis, against any accentless persuasion . It is inevitable that she have a Southern accent, after all, she was born a Texan. She is a Texan. She is not from Michigan. She is not from Montana. She is Texan, born and raised.

And I know little sister, Petra, will soon utter her first Southern drawled word. Please don't let it be fixin'.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eating Disorder at Eleven Months

Happy Eleven Months, Petra!

Your first eleven months have been extremely eventful. After all your laying around for the first four months, you have definitely made up for that idle time during the last seven months.

I am out of breath. I am tired. I am amused. I am confused. I am completely gray!

You have eaten the good stuff... ice cream, cookies, cake, chocolate... along with peas, corn, salmon, tilapia, chicken, carrots, potatoes (any form of spud). Your taste buds are delicate and you have tasted gourmet cuisine. (We even love watching Rachel Ray's mouth-watering creations together.)

So, my question to you, "why do I catch you shoveling handfuls of dirt, cat food and cat litter into your mouth?". You actually savor the taste. You are a daily food connoisseur of trash. I ask you, "how can ice cream possibly compare to dirt?" It is clearly not the same. It cannot even be in a similar delicacy category.

You eat plants, leaves, and sticks. You put every "floor morsel" you find into your mouth. I have pried balls, dolls, letters, plastics, pencils, paper, toilet paper, tissues, napkins, and cat toys from the insides of your cheeks.

Today, I found you fighting over a dead fly with your cat, Winter. Luckily, the cat won!

Tonight, Daddy wanted to know why you were making a funny sounding hiccup. I told him not to worry it was just the gallon of soapy bath water you ingested. Eventually, your suds-cups will cease.

I have witnessed your dislike of guacamole, waffles, pancakes, and broccoli -- it is spewed all over the floor. (We really need a dog for moments like this!) If you can toss delicious syrup-coated pancakes onto the floor, then you should be able to spit out the cat litter, too. How can cat litter taste better than waffles? I wish you had an explanation for me.

I recently paraded you in public donned in a newly purchased adorable smocked Anavini dress. Your cheeks and clothing were peppered with black spots. And, no, you had not been indulging in OREOS. An intruding fellow-shopper informed me how she put her dog bowls out of reach from her toddler. I smiled and announced that I don't even bother moving Petra away from the cat bowls any more ... my cats are happy, how unhealthy could those little kernels be anyhow?

Meanwhile I secretly pray and hope this peculiar eating disorder dissipates at some time during your second year. So, for a limited time only, I will accept your choice of desired food items - if you can accept my squandering your college fund on therapy for me.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Drawing in Translation

I visited Shanghai, China for the first time almost twenty years ago. I ventured to the Far East before being East was "in". Back when travel to China was a bit more difficult and definitely more reasonably priced.

I have traveled to many countries and I am very fascinated by different cultures. Their language. Their food. Their uniqueness. Their souvenirs. And most importantly, their toilets! I am a photo connoisseur of thrones. Toilets, to me, are so much more interesting than ... whether or not your beer was served cold or that you couldn't find any ice cubes in an entire country.

We all have those types of friends, the "ice cube" friend. Ice cube friend dramatically announces, "I was at this great restaurant and I ordered a coke. The waitress showed up with a warm coke. I asked for some ice and the waitress looked at me like I was from another planet." Well, ice cube friend, you are from the U.S. which is close to being other-planet-like. Ice cube friend never received his ice. So he ordered a beer. "The beer was warm, too. Can't put ice in a beer since I need the entire alcohol content. I'll be so glad to get back to the U.S. where there's ice and cool beverages." This ice cube friend probably dons dark socks, too.

Ice cube friend has me sidetracked. I want to discuss the toilet situation beyond the American borders. Do you ever wonder why ice cube friend never discusses any other part of his "vacation"? He must have had a depressing time. There I go again...

Toilets -- I have to admit that America, the U.S. of A, has the BEST plumbing in the entire world, solar system, milky way... 100%. We may not manufacture the best toilets (Japan's heated toilet seats win that contest bums-down!) but we do have the most efficient sewage and plumbing systems.

China's most common toilet is the whole in the ground. Preferably the squatter's cement whole. Flushable with a pail of water. I do prefer the squatting method. Americans (I am including myself here) are a bit lazy ... we "sit" to go to the restroom. Who thought of that anyhow? After witnessing the whole in the ground ... the toilet engineer from America produced a toilet for relaxing, for resting, for making life a whole lot easier. (If any of you have children, then you know there isn't a whole lot of resting going on in the bathroom -- you're lucky if you are even alone!)

One hot blustery afternoon, I am wandering the streets and shops of Shanghai. I have a tendency to drink a lot of water (in any country) therefore I have visited a lot of restrooms in my lifetime on an hourly basis. Luckily, it is very hot and humid in China during this particular summer season. My water consumption is exiting every existing sweat pore at an alarming rapid speed. I can't believe that I can actually "hold it" for a couple of hours longer than usual.

As the day goes on, I find myself in a newly opened department store. Not a street vendor. Not a Chinese person's home. At this time in China, newly does not insinuate newly built, modern, or up-to-date. Just newly opened.

There are five floors in this department store. Five floors of Chinese goods. Five floors accessed by stairs. Five floors of hot, stuffy air.

After browsing the first floor (ground level), I shopped the second floor, I purchased a children's book an the third floor, I avoided the clothing on the fourth floor (at sixty-six inches, I was very tall and short pants were not an option), I arrived on the fifth floor. Oops, I have to use the restroom. I searched the entire floor. I couldn't find one. I didn't see one. Where do the workers go? Where do the shoppers go? I can't possibly be the only one who makes it to the fifth floor and discovers that I gotta go, NOW. The longer I search, the more I have to go. How ironic!

I am getting desperate. I shouldn't have drank those last eight ounces of water. I should have saved them. I approached one Chinese woman to ask where the restroom was located. She panicked because she obviously didn't speak English, nor did she want to. She flew the scene and returned with five other Chinese women. So, I asked again, "where is the restroom?". All six women just stared at me. I then spoke more slowly (not loudly) ... "w-h-e-r-e--i-s--t-h-e--r-e-s-t-r-o-o-m?". OK, the word restroom isn't working. "bathroom?" Still nothing. "Toilet?" Blank stares. "Toy-ee-day", using Japanese pronunciation, and I am running out of time here.

Finally, a new saleswoman approached. She acknowledged me. I again ask, "toilet?". And she encouraged me with more information. Suddenly, a brilliant idea came to me, I would draw a picture. Pictures tell a thousand words. Everyone loves Pictionary. I pulled out my notebook and pen from my backpack. I ripped out a page and drew a "toilet"....
The new saleswoman smiled at me and nodded with understanding. She motioned for me to follow her. Ahhhh! I followed. Down the stairs -- to the first floor. She led me out the door. I was now beginning to wonder where this toilet could possibly be located? Is it in an "outhouse"? Is it behind the building in a mound of dirt? Where am I going?

I continued to follow this woman. I am very trusting, not skeptical. After walking a few feet and then crossing the street, cater-corner from the department store, the saleswoman deposited me. She left me on the street. I looked around. I was very confused. I was standing under a "bus stop" sign. I looked in the direction that the woman walked and realized she was not coming back. I didn't need a bus. I needed a bathroom.
How could my beautifully misinterpreted toilet drawing lead me to a bus stop? My toilet looks nothing like a bus stop. Then again, my toilet looks nothing like a Chinese toilet. It was an American rendition of a toilet. Oops.
Well, I still needed to find a bathroom. So, I just took the bus back to my guesthouse (where I know there is communal bathroom)!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mommy's Day

"Happy Mommy Day"
(sung to the tune of "Mary Had A Little Lamb")

Mommy had a little wine,

a little beer,

with a lime,

a margarita

and more tequila,

some jello shots

and for lunch - sangria,

a lotta rum,

gin and crap.

And that's why mommy

takes a nap!

written by melissa (for melissa)