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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Sunday, July 31, 2011

#GBE2 The Birds and The Bees

When given the topic of instinct, I can't help but remember our first and only attempt at mating a dog. Let me clarify this for you knuckle heads, we didn't mate with our dog but rather found him a golden beauty in heat. Her papers read "pure bread," just like our first child.

Never did my husband place his arm around our young golden retriever and explain the birds and the bees, nor did I read him "Where Did I Come From?" by Peter Mayle. We didn't get him a bouquet of roses to give to his girl on their first date, nor did he even shower for the event. Yet Swizzle knew what to do. As soon as the female strutted her goldeness into the yard, he jumped on her with embarrassing thrusts that belonged in a porno flick. Those two rolled and swayed, then our studly dog slip on his bathrobe and lit a cigar.

This made me think back to early man and wonder if they too knew instinctively what to do because the young humans of today seem clueless without instructional videos or sex education at school. What did that cave woman think when the blood first poured out of her and onto a rock? If no one ever discussed mating rituals, would young people today instinctively know what to do? I think not.

Sadly, our dog's fatherhood adventures turned south when the bitch's owners caught her digging in the backyard. Over the course of the pregnancy, she'd miscarried and instinctively knew to bury her lost pups. Having been pregnant three times, I can't imagine losing a baby and digging a hole in the ground. As humans, we've lost this natural animal instinct, but where did it go? Perhaps communication has made it easy to forget what we used to know without being told.

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Power of Words

Many young mothers love to brag about how intelligent their babies are because they can say a word or two. Although my daughters spoke early and often, my first born son was a quiet mover who barely said much his first year of life; however, Daniel rode a bicycle before his third birthday. Of course now that my kids are 23, 21, and 18 years old, no one knows or cares about their early development.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein, one of the most brilliant minds ever, continually worried his mother because he didn't talk until he was three or four years old. One evening at the dinner table he said, "The soup's too hot." His mother, being thrilled and relieved to hear her young son speak, asked why he had never spoken before. Young Einstein said, "Up to now everything has been in order."

Although we like to tune into the first words of babies, kid speech is more fun as they bumble through our language not always knowing what their words mean. In a fourth grade classroom, a child was assigned to describe the country of Belgium in twenty-six pages--one page for each letter of the alphabet. If that child knew what urinate meant, she wouldn't have written, "Belgium men urinate in the streets" on her U page.

Kids are not the only ones who sometimes misinterpret language. I remember a father from long ago who used to love to show everyone how smart he was by using "big" words; however, he sounded like an idiot when he called the parent/teacher conference a tryst! Not with you, moron.

Misinterpreting language is not new to our millennium. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt hated the typical small talk and flattery that he received at the Washington parties, so at one event he greeted his guests by cheerily saying, "I murdered my grandmother this morning." Most people smiled, paid the president a compliment, and moved on. Towards the end of the evening, he came upon an active listener who diplomatically said, "I'm sure she had it coming to her."

Since I started with Einstein's first words, let me end with Karl Marx's last words in 1883. His maid asked him if he had any dying words that she could write down for prosperity. He said, "Go on, get out - last words are for fools who haven't said enough."

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Book Review: King of Ithaca by Tracy Barrett

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett
Ever pick up a book while thinking, I'm not going to like this but I'll give it a girl scout try; then you find yourself totally blown away from its brilliance? I'm talking about a book which might have been a catalog from a tool store as far as my interest in that subject matter was concerned. But OMG, "King of Ithaca" by Tracy Barrett is an absolutely amazing book!

Tracy took a teen, with a name I can't pronounce, and sent him on a perilous journey to find his missing father, none other than Odysseus. She threw in the wit of a stinky, cave-dwelling monster, the camaraderie of good friends, a few mythological twists, multiple near death experiences and voila, a page turner I couldn't put down. Tracy, your book is brilliant! Up there with Percy Jackson's fantastic quests but fresh in that it wasn't overdone in the area of monsters and myth. In fact, the scariest monsters were of the human variety.

I know my students will love "The King of Ithaca"; however, once one kid reads it and starts talking, it's going to become so popular in my classroom that I may have trouble prying it out of their little fingers. I've got to get Tracy to autograph my copy at the Midsouth SCBWI Conference, so do I let the little scholars circulate it or do I hold it at home until after the conference? Oy! Such a wonderful problem.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Daria

This past weekend I went to Dayton for my great niece's naming. One day I'm at a baby boy's bris, the next you know, I'm at his daughter's naming. Where have the years gone?

My Sister the Grandma

Our family welcomes Daria Ziva who is held by my OLDER sister.

Mandy, Derek, & Daria

Since this is a picture of my niece and nephew with their niece, it must mean life is "grand!"

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

#GBE2 Summer

This week's challenge is to write about summer or our favorite thing. What's the difference? Being a teacher, nothing's better than ten weeks of blessed summer vacation. I look at it like New Years as I resolve to accomplish tons over the summer months. Believe it or not, I am now entering my last week of vacation so here's a reflection of my goals and accomplishments: pfft!

(1) This summer I had planned to exercise, diet, and shed unwanted weight. Reality: I sat, ate, and gained a pound or two. Blame it on eating out and vacationing, especially since we traveled everywhere by car. I clocked a full week butt sitting in four wheeled vehicles. Sometimes driving, sometimes sleeping, sometimes stuck in traffic--especially in Birmingham. Once I got my act together with a running regiment, I got strep and couldn't swallow. Achaha! That's when I lost weight. At least I can now go back to work no fatter than I was before.

(2) I was going to clean my house. The first step was to vacuum dog hairs. I did. The next day, more dog hairs covered the rug. With three dogs (two of them goldens), vacuuming is as worthwhile as shoveling snow in a snow storm. So the house is still dirty, but what do you expect? I can barely wash my toes, you think I'd be washing windows? Plus there's a mysterious white substance raining into the corner of our porch. Future Wordless Wednesday Topic: Identify the Substance.

(3) Of course I was going to get my novel in shape and send out queries. I've made a little bit of progress on Mrs. Zimmerman's Donuts, sent one Bompsy query to an agent, and nothing in the magazine department. So I can still brag that I have the best book that's never been published. Even a friend of mine told me she couldn't sleep because she was so worried about poor Bompsy. She stayed up reading my manuscript late into the night . . . but the agents and editors don't want to hear that.

So basically summer's over and I've accomplished next to nothing, which means it was a darn good break. Since I told you what I didn't do, you'll have to listen to this video if you want to know what I did do during the last nine weeks.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Look What They've Done To My Blog!

I have a new "Most Popular Post." Not because it's my best, most well thought out article, nor the one which I researched the most. It has few comments (two) and didn't have all that many views when first written, but the fiends couldn't leave it alone because of the double X in the title and the "S" word . Anyone who's taken basic biology knows that XY stand for men and two other letters I dare not write stand for women. That's all it's about, plain and simple.

I wrote it for the Z-A in May challenge. What else does one write for the letter X if not a post about females and our special abilities since I'd already written about the rhyme "X Marks the Spot" for the A-Z Challenge? But those corrupt individuals have googled their nasty searches to extreme and repeatedly tap into my little article. I bet they don't even read past the first sentence!

This is a definite sign of today. Ladies, if your man is spending massive amounts of time on the computer, maybe he is one of the perves tapping into my little post. Check his history for "Catch My Words." Now this misinterpreted post has passed the emotional, well-thoughtout article about my mother. I wish I'd never written that May X post. To see what it's called, look at my most popular posts. I dare not write it's name because--

I don't want this post pushed to the number 2 spot.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - TV Pal

TV Addict

After being up off and on last night, I went to the doctor this morning. I have strep throat. I've spent the day sleeping and watching TV. While two dogs sleep, Honey Bear watches TV with me.

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Sunday, July 17, 2011

#GBE2: Midnight

Cinderella - You Wimp!
This week's blogging group challenge is "Midnight." What is it about this special time being the bewitching hour and all kinds of creepy stuff happening when the clock strikes twelve? For example, take Cinderella.

Her Fairy Godmother said, "Be home by midnight or your carriage will turn into a pumpkin and you'll be back to wearing rags." Talk about tough love! Really, lady? First off, why a pumpkin? That frail chick couldn't even carry her round ride home without pulling out her wimpy spine. If she tried to roll it, the thing would probably hit a rock and get her arrested for smashing gourds in the street. At least turn it into a cell phone so she could call for a ride. But oh wait, she's a prisoner of her evil step mother and has no one to call. Such a pathetic role model for our young girls.

Elizabeth - My heroine!
Cinderella wears rags, but I'm not one to judge folks by their clothing. Look at Elizabeth the Paper Bag Princess. The dragon came to town, burned her duds, and kidnapped her stuck-up Prince Ronald (no relation to the clown), so she took off to save him with only a paper bag to grant her modesty.

Now, think about this. Would you go to a fire breathing dragon with just a paper bag on? Let's hope he's not a horny devil. Anyway, this tough chick outsmarted the dragon and rescued the prince who wanted her to comb her hair and shower. She didn't need a Fairy Godmother to tell her to dump the creep. She told him to take a hike all by her little self.

 But I digress : Midnight

I remember this great song by Eric Clapton, "After Midnight." He had that one right. In those days the party didn't even get started until after midnight. Now if only I could stay up that late. . . but that's another post. Thanks, Beth! This one was fun.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Kennedy Space Center

Having a "blast" in Orlando! We're here for our daughter's college orientation. We arrived a few days early so we could play tourist. I even rode on a shuttle blast off simulation ride. For someone who hates motion and likes to keep her feet on the ground, this was big!

Here are some vacation pics.

Mitchell and Me Being Spacey.

Erica and Mitchell having a Blast

As Erica sets out for the new world of college, she is a true "Explorer."

"To infinity and beyond!" 
~Buzz Lightyear, Space Ranger

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Monday, July 11, 2011

#GBE2: The Bakery

It's a ?

A good product takes time to develop. First, one must choose the right ingredients. Two summers ago, we witnessed the union of my nephew Brent to his beautiful wife Jill. Next, they ordered the product from a stork, and we've had a nine month wait. Although the due date was July 6th, the little bakery bundle has chosen to go for extended time in the oven. Jill started contractions on Wednesday night; but here it is Monday, and the stork has not delivered. I'm a good aunt, but I'd like to be a great one, so here are my suggestions to get the oven timer to ding:

  •  Rain dances have been common in tribes. How about a baby dance. The expecting mom needs to perform deep knee bends while saying goo.
  • Sometimes we roll dough to get the air out. How about rolling bellies to get the kid out?
  • Ever see chefs throw pizza dough in the air? Have the perspective daddy throw mama in the air too.

If all else fails, there is always prayer! I'll keep you posted as to when our bakery product pops out of the oven.

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It's a Girl!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dating Nerds

Revenge of the Nerds
Do you remember the poster, are you a nerd? Arrows pointed to different spots of the nerd photograph making sure to point out the pocket protector, tape on glasses, high-water pants, etc., etc. Way back when, I went out with this guy. It was a blind date, but unfortunately I wasn't blind. The nerd kept trying to put his awkward little arm around my shoulders and a car load of "cool" guys even drove by pointing and laughing.

The clincher at the end of the evening was the dead fly in his ear. No, I didn't make this up. After we got our food (he ordered peaches and cottage cheese), I noticed the little insect that lay on its wings with bent legs folded up into his greasy ear canal. I lost my appetite. 

Who knows? He may be the CEO of some multi-million dollar corporation right now, but it's not worth it. Gross! Here's a link to one of my favorite nerd videos staring Dimitri Martin. It's great so check it out!

Comedy Central - Hoodwinkers

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Silent pictures

Who said Wordless Wednesday has to be still pictures? Enjoy my talented daughter's first movie.


... and to think, Erica can't decide what to major in.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

#GBE2 Challenge: Wretched Life

Great Rental Place
We have a most unique challenge with the GBE 2 group, and as a writer, I'm certainly up for this one. Write a 100 word fiction story. I'm all on it, with the exception that I've cheated a little by taking a story I wrote some time ago and cutting it down, but what do you want? I'm vacationing in Charleston. Today, I even tried a paddle boat for the first and last time. After falling into the Charleston Harbor, I decided to swap it for a kayak. Then I went up Shem's Creek where two playful dolphins jumped in front of my boat.

Here is a story that has nothing to do with paddle boating, kayaking, or Charleston, but I hope you like it anyway. It can't be over 100 words, including the title. Really, Beth? "You're killing me Smalls."

Ballymote Castle

Wretched Life
 Joyce Paull Lansky

     Jeremy followed the tour under a familiar tapestry suspended in the banquet hall. He’d been fascinated by fourteenth century Ireland. Now, he was there!

     Staring at a cauldron, he felt certain he'd eaten scraps of honey-covered mutton from the Master’s platter. Worse, he'd slept nude on hay-covered dung while the Lord and Lady enjoyed a cozy pallet; but, being naked was better than wearing insect-infested tunics.

    After climbing slyly-constructed, irregular steps that circled a stone column, he ducked under the wall's arrow slit. Jeremy cringed from the memory of the arrow that had ended his wretched past life.

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Six Sentence Sunday


It's been over a month since I've participated in Six Sentence Sunday, but I'm glad to be back with an excerpt from my Work in Progress (WIP), Mrs. Zimmerman's Donuts. Knob has just met his friend Slater's mom for the first time, and he's not used to adults playing tricks.

Slater’s mom pulled a chisel-shaped knife out of an antique cabinet's top drawer and leaned her head back. With the precision of a surgeon, she gently slid the blade downward until it disappeared into her throat. Next she thrust it out with one gigantic swing. Blood covered the blade while red liquid filled her mouth. Her eyes rounded as her lips curved into a smug smile. She winked at me! 

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Friday, July 1, 2011


Happy Independence Day week-end! It's been 235 years since our country was founded and the most popular American fourth of July tradition is fireworks. Many of us gather around to see shows from the ground, but have you ever wondered what fireworks look like from an airplane? I imagined bright bouquets of color filling up the window, but that's not it at all.

Years ago, my husband pointed out the window of an airplane and said, "Look. Fireworks."

"Where?" I asked.

After scanning the skies, I finally spotted a quarter shaped explosion, followed by several other mini light displays. Sure, it was cool but not what I expected. In reality, planes fly much higher than exploding fireworks, so just like everything else from above, the light display shrunk.

Even with today's technology, I've never seen a film or still photo that captures the true beauty of fireworks, but here's a short clip which I enjoyed.