Friday, January 30, 2015

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Thank you so much, Chrys Fey, for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. It's always a thrill, but especially to receive a nod from Chrys Fey! She had a wonderful blog called Write with Fey. If you are a writer, want to be a writer or care about how you write - Chrys' blog is a must. Go visit it right now. I'll wait...I said go!  Sheesh, some people have to be told twice.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Where Were You?

A somber anniversary occurred yesterday, I didn't remember the date, but the event is forever with me - and all Americans. Social media sites were abuzz with memorial posts and a question: where were you? Much like the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy or Dr. King , the Challenger tragedy unites us in sorrow and loss. 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mock Squid Soup - February 13: Napoleon Dynamite

MOCK! and The Armchair Squid are the proud hosts of Mock Squid Soup: A Film Society.  Each month, on the second Friday, they host a bloghop devoted to a particular movie.  They invite others to watch the same film and post their own reviews.

Your old pal, Cherdo, is co-hosting with MOCK! and The Armchair Squid in February. Yay! My man, Squid, kindly gave me the option of choosing a movie - and so, the society shall convene next on February 13th with  Napoleon Dynamite  (it's one of my guilty pleasures).

If you're so inclined, dear readers, I'd love to have you join the blog hop - but it will be just as much fun to see what all the participants post and comments are welcome.

Do it for the children. I'm not sure what children...but there are children who need...things. Like funny quirky movies, for example.

From the Hosts: If you, dear cinephile, would be interested in suggesting a film and co-hosting Mock Squid Soup one month, please let us know.  We hope that you, too, will watch the movie and join in our discussion.  Please sign on to the list below: 


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Tuesday Newsday: Expect an Invoice!

A five-year-old boy, Alex Nash, was invited to a birthday party at a local ski slope in Plymouth, Devon (England, for the geographically challenged). Due to a bit of over scheduling by dear old Mummy and Daddy, Alex was re-routed to grandma's house instead of attending the birthday party. So far, nothing out of the range of ordinary. It might have been all over if Alex didn't come home with a bill for the birthday party - about $26 dollars, if I can convert the currency (and you'd better not bet on my math regardless of how charming my typing may appear).

Monday, January 26, 2015

Prehistorical Hack Stack

This week, I thought I'd share some of the fun up-cycling inspirations I've found online. There's no shortage of up-cycling or recycling fodder. Entire websites are devoted to the pursuit of the re-used, re-purposed and  re-imagined cast offs and I love them all. So, how to choose? 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things!

It's Friday and time to Celebrate the Small Things. Welcome to our wonderful oasis of mini-celebrations. A big thanks to the new host, Lexa Cain, and her wonderful co-hosts: 

L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge         Katie @ TheCyborgMom.

There's a few oddball celebrations going on in my head. Come on in...let's check them out:
  • I just finished a great book. When I read a book and find myself pulled in and caring about the characters PLUS there's an interesting backdrop of historical events, it's like literary crack. Look for a review next week.
  • Hubzam will be home tomorrow night. I was finding it hard to sleep without his Godzilla sized snoring. Who saw that one coming? 
  • When Hubzam is gone, Gonzo and I treat the kitchen like a 24 hour cafeteria; one more reason I'll be glad when he gets home. I have no idea why; it's not like he is telling us not to eat like rabid ravenous raccoons when he is home. Yet, when he is away, we throw all caution to the wind and we'll bust a diet in a second. We'll be remorseful, but the diet is kerplunk. Startin' back tomorrow. 
  • Spell-check, I can disagree with you, if I so choose. In fact, I like to misspell words for my own amusement. It pleases me when I say kerplunk and you try to force spelunker on me. (While we're on the subject, if raccoon is correctly spelled, magical mystical Spell-check, why are you putting your crazy red underline beneath raccoons? Worse yet, the only other option you provide is in the possessive form. What would you like me to use, Spell-check demon spawn of the clustered alphabet? Raccoones? Racceese? Is there a rule that says if you use the plural form of a animal noun with more than one double letter, it will always be wrong? Forget about how many raccoons are around, just give them ownership of something?)
  • I had fun with a bunch of kids yesterday as they tried to build a lunar module that could be dropped without losing their "astronaut" passengers (marshmallows). The funniest part occurred when I looked down and saw that two of the girls had taken straws and given their marshmallows pilot headsets. It was hilarious. Then they took a mini-marshmallow and made a child passenger that they called "Peanut." I kept calling it "Marsha," which made them giggle. It was a good day.

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

My First Encounter with a New Virus

All around me, people are sick. It's not just one thing, mind you. My city is at the epicenter of viralpalooza. What's up with that?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Hump Day Sing-a-long!

Sing along, January dieters!
(to the tune of Queen's "We Are the Champions")

I've cut down carbs
Time after time
Feels like a punishment
Without any crime
And bad diet choices
I've made a few
I consider it a challenge, meal by meal,
And I hope I don't spew

(Yet the diet goes on...and on...and on... and on...)

We are the fat ones, my friends
Calorie counting till the end
We are the fat ones
Don't hate our big buns
No time for boozin'
No fun for the fat ones...of the world!

I've cleansed my bowels
Clean in-tes-tine
All that went in, came out, with all that goes with it -
I can barely crawl.
Might as well have colonoscopy
Just to have proof
There's a reason I walk so rigidly straight
(I'm not just aloof).

(Yet the diet goes on...and on...and on... and on...)

We are the fat ones, my friends
Forcing our foodstuffs out the end
We are the fat ones
Don't hate our big buns
No time for boozin'
No fun for the fat ones...of the world!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Monday's Hack Stack

I've talked about the plethora of "hacks" that cover the internet like weeds in an abandoned lot. They can be divided into catagories. The annoying ones are basically "how to" explanations that don't need explained (or at least not to me...I'm betting you don't need the explanation, either. You're smarter than me.). A few are actually cheating one person or another out of their due - I hate those kind. Some are very clever short cuts, and I confess that I've used quite a few of those. One of my favorite blogs is One Good Thing by Jillee. She posts one great idea daily; some are truly ingenious. When it comes to those kinds of "hacks," I'm a fan.

Which brings me to my favorite hacks of the week...

#1:  The folks at Keurig, the single K-cup brewing system, recently came out with their Keurig 2.0 models. We like the old system because you didn't have to use the K-cup; you could buy a refillable cup and use regular ground coffee or buy another sale brand of single serve cups. All the convenience of the Keurig without the expense of the K-cup. Brilliant! 

Of course, such product loyalty has been crushed. The new system won't let you use anything but the Keurig K-cups. To me, that is a nasty bait and switch; I've bought into an idea and you changed the rules on me. Heck, even Keurig sold the refillable plastic cups - now they don't work, either.

That's why I was smiling when I saw that Yankee ingenuity found a way around this:

Thank you, mysterious stranger. I haven't bought the Keurig 2.0 yet because of their new system, but I'm glad that you're not forced into their new world order.

#2: As I ease into Spring cleaning, I've seen several ideas that were just made for me. This gem comes from Jen Thousand Words - cord control by using velco strips. Boo-ya! Several of these strips are floating around mi casa right now. Why didn't this idea occur to me earlier?

Photo credit: Jen Thousand Words
Everybody needs cord control!

#3: One of my son's friends recently pointed out that I have all the art supplies in the world. Well, he is not exactly correct. I would have all the art supplies in the world if I had more clever ways to store them and keep them functionally accessible. Unfortunately, I box them up and then have to pull every thing out, project by project. This set up looks neat and orderly...sometimes. Most of the time, I'm in the middle of a project and I like to keep stuff out till I'm done. And projects overlap. 

On a good day, my work room looks like this:
Photo credit: Cherdo's expense spared here.
I'd love to keep things like markers, pencils and brushes out all the timeThat's why I think this hack for storing markers is so great! Cups and a wine rack - why didn't I think of that?

Photo credit: Maureen Wong
Maureen Wong, at My C.A.S.E. Studies: Coptic Stuff, is a genius.

This will be the Spring of organization and minimizing at my house. I plan to share the clever hacks that are useful. 

(Tuesday, 1:07 p.m.: I always find a mistake or two after I was no different.)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Downton Flabbey

I'm losing my touch. I teach at a homeschool cooperative and for a drawing exercise, I asked my art students to find a picture of a celebrity or character and attempt a sketch. My rationale is that it is more fun when your classmates recognize the face in the picture. Of course, I always try to give it a go, too. On the day of class, we all brought out our pencil sketches and tried to guess the identity of the person in the drawings of classmates. Not one single student knew who I had tried to draw. To clarify, that picture above is supposed to be Lady Mary of Downton Abbey. Apparently, homeschool kids don't watch Downton Abbey (or my "skills" aren't all that skillful).

Should have drawn Elvis; he never fails in Tennessee.


My dear pal, Kelley, got me hooked on Downton Abbey. I lay the blame at her feet for talking about it till I had to jump in and get up to speed on the storyline. Now, Hubzam and I love that show and I'm not sure what it is exactly that makes it so enjoyable; it's probably a combination of factors. The costuming is fantastic; I love to see all the styles of the twenties but I'm sure that isn't what Hubzam appreciates. It doesn't hurt that they have a fabulous estate surrounded by acres of beautiful rolling green fields. Everyone on the show has a bit of a back story at this point and we actually are invested in the character's welfare; we haven't yet caught on to the concept of "fiction" yet. You've got to care about a character, right? If not, what's the point in following along? Put all these elements together and it makes for enjoyable viewing.

As lovely as all the younger "ladies" are, my favorite is Maggie Smith in her role of Lady Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. Her biting comments and witty zingers, all delivered with her nose in the air, are hilarious. She was put on earth to put people in their place and I'm almost sure she would agree (if she were a real person). 

I've included a few below:

Lady Violet:
You are quite wonderful, the way you see room for 
improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal. 
I take that as a compliment. 
Lady Violet:
I must have said it wrong. 
Lady Violet:
Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class. 
Lady Violet:
Sybil, vulgarity is no substitute for wit. 

Lady Sybil:
Well, you started it. 
I'll do it on one condition - no, two. First, Matthew must agree ...
 Second, you will both admit it when you realize you were wrong. 

Lady Violet: 
Oh, well, that is an easy caveat to accept, because I'm never wrong. 

Come to think of it, Violet is not the only older member of the cast of characters that can deliver a zinger - she's just the best at it. Mary's mother-in-law, Isobel, and the butler, Mr. Carson, can hold their own with the quips. I see a trend here. The older set of Downton may be flabbier, but they're funnier. Every story needs a touch of hilarity, even if it is subtle. 

It may be the only time I choose to be on the flabby side, though I'm usually there anyhow by way of my uniquely qualified physique.

[Hubzam, it wasn't the same without you...darn business trips. Coco made no comments, but she did appreciate having your chair all to herself. She's greedy with the real estate. Safe travel and wrap it up as soon as you can. Love you.]

Friday, January 16, 2015

Celebrate the Small Things

Two years ago, Vikki at VikLit Blog started a weekly hop called Celebrate the Small Things. It's been a wonderful oasis of celebrations and now the baton has passed to Lexa Cain and her co-hosts:

L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge
Katie @ TheCyborgMom

Thank you, Lexa Cain!

This week, my celebrations are simple:
  • Beautiful fluffy snow is gently gliding to earth and blanketing our yard.  
  • It's cold outside. I, however, am inside. In fact, I really don't have any reason to go outside.
  • There's a roast in the crockpot. Roasts are God's gift to omnivore humans. If makes me want to be a full on carnivore (at least for a day).
  • Juggernaut is happy and excited about his training and new job.
  • Magoo is over the hump of being sick.
  • Gonzo is off to a weekend of friends, fun and Christian music.
  • Hubzam and I can do whatever I want to this weekend! And I still have a slew of gift cards left over from Christmas.
  • I'm glad my Hubzam edits my blog posts (usually after they are posted). At least I can go back and fix it, ha ha.
Everybody have a great weekend, stay warm and safe.

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Our Family's Greatest Fisherman

On the "throwback" posts, I almost always am thinking of the kiddos. They're an endless supply of amusement.

Magoo was the sweetest boy ever; he had a disposition that made you want to hug him constantly. Sometimes, however, he found himself in the shadow of the larger-than-life Juggernaut, his older brother. Juggernaut had pretty well done most things of interest to little boys at least once before Magoo and I don't think Magoo understood that two years of living gave an older boy an edge on his sibling.

A comfortable Sunday afternoon was much too inviting to spend in the house, so Hubzam and I packed up Juggernaut, 8, and Magoo, 6, and went to a local lake to fish. Magoo had his Mickey Mouse fishing pole; he really was more interested in the ride than fishing. Juggernaut was all about using a real pole and confident he would catch the biggest fish. 

Arriving at the lake, the excitement grew as equipment came out of the car and lines were cast in the lake. An hour later, having snagged every stick and clump of mysterious aquatic weed, I was really ready to go. We hadn't even had a nibble on any line; there wasn't even a turtle to frown at us. There was no sign of any lake critter at all, but that Mickey Mouse bobber with the distinctive Mouseketeer ears repeatedly wobbled on the water's surface to tell me, "Yep...the line is caught on something again." 

Hubzam started to look a little green around the gills, but I don't think that counts as significant fish action. With that oh-no-I-may-be-sick look on his face, he told me he was going to jump in the car and go to a nearby rest area. The boys were not even close to being ready to leave, so I stayed behind and watched the lines go in and and out...snag....

While Juggernaut fumbled with bait, Magoo stood pensive and stunned as he announced, "I fink my pishing line is stuck, Mama." (Magoo always had trouble with pronunciation of some letters. It was one more reason to hug the cuteness out of him.) 

"Okay, let me help you, " I said. "Pull your line very slowly so I can see where it is stuck."

Straining to see through the murky, stirred waters, I tried to figure out the problem. The line was pulled tight and taut; nothing was letting go any time soon.

About six feet from the shoreline, a dorsal fin appeared. Magoo and I froze; there was something huge on his fishing line; absolutely HUGE. Juggernaut whipped his head around; his mouth hung open. He didn't know what to think; frankly, neither did I. Slowly, we pulled the line and the fin moved closer and closer to us on shore. Soon "it" was flopping on shore and we were so amazed we couldn't speak. That fish had to be three feet long and and it was heavy - where's that scale when you need one? 

Magoo danced around excitedly and asked, "Can we put it on a board?" 

Further investigation of the board comment revealed he had hopes of mounting his prize catch. But the "catch" had a catch; it was a huge Asian carp. You don't see a lot of carp mounted on the den wall. Dead critters on the wall. Ew.

With careful prodding, I convinced Magoo to release it and we watched it swim away. 

No matter how many years go by, he will always be the kid who caught a fish that was almost his height on a Micky Mouse pole. No use trying to top that achievement. 

Besides, I don't know where his Mickey Mouse pole is anymore; that monster fish might have eaten it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Emoticons Disfigured...News at 11

Emoticons are interesting, though I've been instructed (keepin' it didactic, peeps) that they are no longer the cool thing to do. I'm not done with them yet and you have my phone to thank because it doesn't do the cool little pictures. Older versions of the smart phone are cheaper but you lose the ability (inherent to the most recent versions) to perform important tasks, like texting your husband a poodle emoji. That's what an extra $300 gets you, folks. Savvy shopping.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Je Suis Tuesday Newsday

Ladies and's a Tuesday Newsday. We're going to reflect on some recent news with a wink and a smirk. Let's hope that is not the most productive thing I do.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Empress Inappropriate and the Disappearing Torso

Beijing is up in arms about the implications of how some of their ancient ladies are being depicted. There's a series in China that is set in the Tang Dynasty, roughly between 600-900 A.D. Tight fitting royal garments and low necklines were part of the period costumes the actresses wore on the show, but no more! Recently, the series had a hiatus and when it returned all the female characters were cropped for the sake of decency...only their heads were visible. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Welcome My Guest Blogger, Author Stephanie Faris

I'm so excited to have author Stephanie Faris as my guest blogger today as part of her January blog tour for her new book, 25 RosesTaking full advantage of her sweet nature and flare with the written word, I asked her to give her insight on humor in writing  (Lord knows I need it). Take it away, Stephanie...

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Great Mom Explanations

This is my version of the "throwback Thursday" - a tale from the pre-Kindergarten years of Gonzo.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hump Day Haiku: The Ballad of Paul and Kanye

Sir Paul McCartney
Not Sir Kanye West
That might explain it

Liverpool, England?
Why does that name ring a bell?
Jay-Z's vacation?

"Please, Please Me," Kanye
Wildly popular record
Not request from Kim

Excuse Mr. West
He does not understand fame
He names it

Does fame require more?
Where have you been, Mr. West?
Yellow submarine?

Does he deserve fame?
Like Ringo deserves Oscar
Twist and shout, player

The Beatles create
While young Kanye just "samples"
So you be the judge

You guys play nicely
(Paul will buy your catalog...
Ask Michael Jackson.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

DMV, You Are My Frenemy

My third son had to renew his permit because his driving test is scheduled two weeks after the permit expires. Brilliant. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Now It Begins

If the truth be told, there was a time when I thought I might be the only one who approached their New Year's Resolutions with a somewhat tilted schedule. In other words, everything shifts into high gear on a Monday morning regardless of the day of the week that  January 1 lands on. Today is D-day.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?

Religion versus science may be one of the most polarizing topics of our time, and both are addressed with wisdom, wit, and insight in the book Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Happy New Year to all my friends, near and far!
Wishing you a productive, healthy, safe and happy new year.
(Let's laugh together again in 2015, okay?).

Love and hugs -