Monday, November 30, 2015


Today my fellow teachers and I were eating lunch together and we were talking about the house plant that the art teacher has outside her room.  It's poisonous and several years ago for some unfathomable reason a kid picked a leaf off and ate it and then his mouth and throat started to swell and they had to call an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

Did I mention I work in a high school?

Anyway, that reminded me of when I turned 40.  My mom gave me a beautiful Jerusalem cherry tree.  It had gorgeous tiny orange fruits on it.  I raved.  Before my mom let me get a good look at it she said, "Hey! You can't eat it. It's poisonous."  What 40 year old woman looks at a house plant and wants to eat it?  Did she think I was a glutton or just a moron?  I was offended.  But then.... well, here's my thought process:

She thinks I'm an idiot.  I'm 40 effing years old and she is still giving me moronic commands like "don't eat houseplants."  How ridiculous.  Why would she get me a plant with such beautiful fruit on it if I'm not supposed to eat it?  How poisonous could it be?  Would I get die from it or just get a little sick?  If she thought there was even a chance of me eating it, why would she give me a poisonous plant?  Is it "throw up" poisonous or  "brain damage" poisonous?  I wonder what those little fruits taste like.  They look delicious.  I bet they taste like tomatoes.  They look a little like tomatoes.  She's watching me like she's going to slap my hands if I touch it.  How insulting.  I'm way faster than her.

Then I plucked a little orange fruit off of the plant and ran to the opposite side of the room.  My mom said, "I knew this would happen.  I thought you'd like it because it is so beautiful, but after I bought it I learned it is poisonous I thought you might do this.  DON'T YOU DARE EAT THAT!"

Did I mention I was 40?

I wasn't going to eat the fruit.  I believed it was poisonous, but I wanted to make a point that I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT, MOM!  So I took the teeniest, tiniest bite of the skin.  And my mom said, "You are an IDIOT."  Shortly after taking the teeny tiny bite my lips and tongue got a little numb and weird feeling and I got a little concerned and wondered again about HOW poisonous this plant really was, but I couldn't admit it. I had doubled down and showed her she couldn't tell me not to eat poison.  I couldn't get sick and prove her right!  A bit later mom asked me how I was feeling and I had no choice but to say, "I'M FINE!" through lips that felt like I had just finished at the dentist.

That plant was a challenge to have.  Not because it was particularly hard to care for, but because it was a constant temptation to see just how poisonous it was.  I remember cutting one of the fruits open once and I MAY have stuck the tip of my tongue in the pulp. I googled it after that to find out what I was messing with and the top symptom is coma followed by delirium and diarrhea.  I didn't have any of that.  (Well, not the diarrhea anyway.) I'm fine though, so I think I've made my point.

What is my point, you ask?  There are several:  I AM actually an idiot, my mom is right; the term "poison" is relative to how much discomfort a person can stand before they cave and go to the hospital; I really really wonder about what that plant outside the art room tastes like.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Remember Wet Head? (Not her real name)

I got the greatest message today out of the blue from a "followaaaah."  He said that he was sad my blog is gone because what will he read at work now?  I explained to him why I put stronger privacy settings up and added him to the reader list.  

The last thing I intended when I stopped writing on this blog with any regularity was to deny anyone  a reason to be less productive at work.  My bad.

Obviously I have not been blogging, but I do have a blog-related story to tell you.  A long time ago I wrote a letter to a fellow-blogger who was trying her hand at giving advice.  She answered my question in a video blog which you can see HERE.  Go watch it and then come back.

Funny lady, that Hobo Siren, right?  So then I wrote a blog post about it.  Read that HERE, and then come back.  I love screen shots of videos.  We all make so many funny faces if you just watch videos in milliseconds.

I was telling this story to a friend of mine just two weeks ago because I admitted that I don't really care enough about new people to learn their names so I told her the story of Wet Head, and I directed her to the video blog answer which she thought was hilarious.  Before that I hadn't thought about Wet Head in years.

But just yesterday at the grocery store I SAW WET HEAD!  I had to smile at the mere coincidence of it all. But that isn't even the best part.  Yesterday, November 15, 2015, I actually learned Wet Head's name.  It's Anne.  She's a cashier and another cashier said, "Hey Anne, are there any more apple boxes over there?"  I almost screamed, "ANNE!  ANNE!  WET HEAD'S NAME IS ANNE!  WAHOOOOO!!!!"  But I didn't.

I immediately texted my friend and told her that I finally learned Wet Head's name.  Her response? "I didn't realize that you never actually eventually learned her name."    Good point.  That fact speaks volumes about what a jerk I am.  Thanks, What's-Your-Face, for making me feel like it's 100% my fault for not eventually learning Anne's/Wet Head's name after working with her for five years.  It takes two to tango and Wet Head was a good dance partner.

Oh, and BTW, yes, Wet Head's hair was dripping wet.  Like I'm supposed to remember "Anne" when I'm looking at a person whose hair is still dripping wet at two o'clock in the afternoon.

(There, J, with links and videos and everything.  This post might kill about 15 whole minutes!)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

First Aid

It's back to school for teachers at my school so we have just spent the last couple days in workshops and meetings.  Ugh.  That really takes it out of ya.  I don't know why, because it's not hard, but I was so tired last night I was practically delirious.

However, I did learn something I didn't know before.  We learned some basic first aid and I learned that if a person gets a finger cut off from say, an electric saw while making sets for the fall play, you are NOT supposed to put the finger on ice.  It freezes the delicate capillaries and makes it harder to re-attach the limb. You are supposed to clean it and then put it in plastic and place it in cool water for transport to the hospital. I thought the whole put-it-on-ice thing was pretty standard knowledge and wanted to share (and one-up) my family by telling them what I learned.  Here is how that strange conversation went:

Me:  Do you guys know what to do if someone cuts their finger off?
Kira: Say "gross!"?
Mitch: Why?
Me:  Because I learned about it in our first aid workshop.  So say someone cuts their finger off and you have to provide first aid what do you do?
Mitch:  Stop the bleeding.
Me: Yes, then what?
Kira: Call 911
Me:  Yes, but what about the finger?  What do you do with that?
Kira/Mitch (simultaneously): Put it in milk.  

Me: ...Wha.....?

I just wanted to catch them telling me that the amputated finger should be put on ice and then obnoxiously correct them with my new knowledge.  How could BOTH of them think it was protocol to put a severed limb in MILK of all things?  That is so WEIRD.  What I discovered was that I better take care of myself because if I require first aid I will be in real trouble.  Or I will have to be sure to have lots of fresh milk and hope for the best.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Parenting at the end of August

Since my kids have gone to school I have found being a parent in the month of August to be challenging. The kids have run out of things to do, they are bored, I am sick of them, and we are all getting anxious about school starting again.  A friend of mine said that August is like a month of Sunday nights.  Absolutely.

One year in late August I remember Sam, Kira and the neighbor kid were trying to trap chipmunks under buckets by piling seeds up on the sidewalk and luring them.  They actually managed to trap a few under the bucket but then they were at a loss of how to get them out from under the bucket and instantly domesticate them and make them friendly pets.  If this would have happened in June, I would have told them to stop, and talked to them about being kind to wildlife, and also that it isn't safe to trap wild animals.  They could bite!  A friend of mine came over while this was happening and questioned my lax attitude about their activities.

Friend:  Are they trying to catch chipmunks?!
Me:  Not trying.  They ARE catching chipmunks.
Friend:  Are you not worried about this?
Me:  No.  Why?
Friend: Umm... because it's not very nice and it's not very safe...
Me:  But they are busy.  And they aren't whining.  Or hanging on me.  Or in the house.
Friend:  Aren't you worried about rabies?
Me:  There's shots for that now.

Just a few years ago I was in the living room mercifully alone because Kira was outside doing something.  I kept seeing her run from the driveway across the yard at full speed with her bow and arrow.  Back and forth, back and forth, again and again.  Eventually I got curious and went outside to ask what she was doing.

Me:  What are you doing?
Kira: What do you mean?
Me:  I mean why do you keep running back and forth with your bow and arrow?  What do you mean,      
        "What do I mean" ? (Jesus)
Kira: I'm shooting a wasp nest on the shed.
Me:  ........ but... WHY?
Kira:  (shrug)
Me:  Well, why do you keep running?
Kira:  Because the bees are chasing me!
Me:  .......... Okay.  Carry on!

I was talking to a friend today who has an eight year old and is now in the thick of "August Parenting."  She said her daughter came in the other day and my friend said, "Whatcha been doing?" (translation: go back out and do some more of it)  Her daughter said, "I was down the street talking to Oliver's dad."  

Okay, first of all my friend had no idea who Oliver was, much less his dad, and in June she would have probably been alarmed, but yesterday she was not.  In fact, after a couple hours of trying to think of new activities to do together that didn't involve whining and complaining (from either of them) she said she was tempted to say, "Why don't you go see what Oliver's dad is up to?"

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Night Crawler

A few years ago I learned about Kira's "Night Crawls".  She basically gets up in the middle of the night and wanders around in the pitch dark.  She said she's watched us sleep, she's had a snack, she's gone outside etc. etc.  Super creepy, right?  Just a normal part of childhood, right???  She still does it.  Only since she's become a teenager and has technology she texts me about it now while she's doing it.  This was from my parent's house a few years ago when she was visiting.

(Sleep tight, Mom and Dad!)

This morning when I woke up I saw this series of texts:

Kira is still sleeping right now, but as far as I can tell she got up, night crawled a while, trampolined a while, found a dog, discovered the gender of the dog, discovered the dog wasn't trained, pet the dog, and then went back to bed.  

But the dog didn't go home.  The dog slept right underneath my bedroom window and barked at every tiny noise.  I got up at around three in the morning and tried to make the dog go home, but she wouldn't.  She wanted to come in.  I wouldn't let her.  But she weighs about a thousand pounds and if a thousand pound, dumb, dopey dog wants to come in your house at three in the morning, it will.  

It was a long night.  And now Kira won't get up because she is tired from listening to the nightcrawl dog bark under our windows all night.  When do children generally grow out of nightcrawling?  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

No Mistakes!

One day in the car Kira and Mitch had this conversation:

Kira:  Dad, did you like The Lion King?
Mitch:  No, not really.  It was kind of a cookie cutter movie.  Not my favorite.
Kira:  I liked it.  He had such a perfect plan.
Mitch: .............. who?
Kira: Scar.
Mitch: ................ wha?
Kira: ................
Mitch:  Kira, do you think Scar was the hero of that movie?
Kira:  Well, yeah.
Mitch:  Not Mufasa?
Kira:  Mufasa?!  No way!  He was dumb.  Scar was smart.
Mitch:  What?
Kira:  He wanted to be king.  He got rid of his stupid brother with a flawless plan.  He didn't talk about it with anybody, he just did it, and he didn't make any mistakes.  NO MISTAKES.
Mitch:  What about the hyenas?
Kira:  Yeah, the hyenas screwed up.  Eventually.  Scar didn't.  And he was king for 15 years before they screwed up.  Pretty perfect.
Mitch:  What about Simba coming back???
Kira:  Oversight.  Couldn't be helped.  Not Scar's fault.
Mitch:  Kira, Scar is not supposed to be the hero of that movie.  He's the villain.
Kira:  ........So you say.

After that they were quiet for a while and Kira texted Mitch these pictures:

After this one she wrote "Such evil.  Such smart.  Wow."

Sunday, June 21, 2015


It's summer vacation.  Kira and I are home most of the day together.  We go a little crazy in June enjoying the new free time, sleeping in, and not bathing, which inevitably leads to feelings of guilt for not using this short, wonderful time more productively.  I had to run errands the other day and as I was leaving I looked around at the messy house and told Kira, "When I'm gone, do something productive" meaning, tidy this place up a little.

When I came home this is the only thing in the house that had changed:

 Displaying IMAG1519.jpg

It's the whiteboard on the fridge.  We have been a little distraught lately because we have three robin's nests in the yard that had eggs in them.  One after another, they have been raided by crows.  It's upsetting.  So Kira is dealing with her grief with art.  I guess I can't blame her for not being more productive when she's grieving. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Old Story New To Me

When Sam was 12 years old he went on a Tiger Cruise with my dad. Tiger cruises are when family and friends of sailors can meet a naval ship in Hawaii and then sail to the west coast with the crew and see first hand what how a military ship is run. My sister was an officer on the ship. While Sam was away,  Kira sent him an email - she was 9 - that said,

"Sam is a nut, he has a rubber butt, and every time he turns around it goes putt putt putt."  

Apparently the procedure for sending messages to family was to just email the ship and the communication officer would deliver the messages. He sent this message to the captain who thought it was hilarious so he read it to Sam.  Over the intercom.  The whole ship heard it.  Sam said my sister laughed for the rest of the trip. Literally, the rest of the trip.  He said it got annoying.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Fat Woody

Sam:  Mom, why did you always make us wear coats under our Halloween costumes.  I hated that. 

Me:  Because it's cold on Halloween, duh.  

Sam:  I just remember when you made me dress like a fat Woody.  

Kira:  WHAAAATTT??????

Me:  Inappropriate, Sam!  

Sam: Oh. My. God.  You guys are sick.  

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sensitive Child

The other day, while driving home from somewhere, Kira and I came across an ANCIENT golden retriever walking down the country road by our house.  He was one of the oldest dogs I have ever seen in my life and he was just walking slowly down the road.  I stopped to see if he was okay.  He had a collar on and lived really close so we just left him to go on his way.  I asked Kira if she wished we could keep that dog and she said, "Nah, that's only about a month's worth of dog."

A Regular Saturday

From Sam: 
"Hi Mom, Tyler and I just have to pick up a few things and then we are going over to Tyler's to make a Rube Goldberg machine."

From Kira:
"Sam just got out of the bathroom.  Now is the perfect time to use it.  I like the transferred butt heat." 

They are nice, weird kids.  I'm lucky.  Mainly because I will not have to worry about teenage romance drama, probably ever.  

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Kira in the Car

If I'm ever an exterminator I would wear a snake as belt with its head where the buckle would be. Then I could use the snake like a vacuum for mice. His name would be Trevor.