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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"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dance Marathon & Do Good (Well) Challenge

When I was in college, I participated in a charity dance marathon. After staying up all night, I kicked my good friend Barry out of my car after he whined too much for my cranky self; but hey, we had fun! Luckily, Barry and I are still buds and dance marathons still happen.

 This is what we danced to.

They don't just happen anywhere. This upcoming dance-a-thon is at The University of Maryland where my daughter is a Zeta Tau Alpha.

Those of you familiar with the ΖΤΑ sorority know they're into fund raising for philanthropies. Tonight, I was lucky enough to get an invite from my daughter... to go with her on her spring break cruise? No. To read her secret diary? Of course not! I was invited to donate money to the Children's Miracle Network Hospital. Hey, I'm not doing this alone! So, how about it? Pleeeeeeeease. My daughter will dance all night to help sick children. And the best part of all, I don't have to deal with her sleepless crankiness the next day because she's in Maryland, and I'm in Tennessee!

Also, take a look at this beautiful lady. Hopefully her face won't launch a thousands ships into battle, but she just might persuade someone to give up a little pocket change. After all, she's been convincing me to part with my slim pot for years.

If you're low on cash, you could also help her by liking the Zeta Facebook page. They are trying to promote their own philanthropy of breast cancer awareness and education. Kevin Bacon is even officiating the Do Good Challenge! As one who teaches English, this was tough to do because the University's project is called the, "Do Good Challenge." Really Terps? You're college kids and should do WELL!

I've babbled enough. Now it's time to show you how to make miracles happen. To sponsor Judy, click the link: Judy's Terp Thon. If you do, I'll be indebted. Hopefully, your kid won't want much.

To learn more about this do-goody cause, visit
Zeta Tau Alpha Do Good Challenge and click like. Judy and her sorority want 1688 people to "like" the page. That's odd. Why not 1689?

Thanks to all who help either by donating or liking the sorority's page!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

#GBE2: Simplicity

Back in middle school, my home economics teacher assigned me to make a piece of clothing. Having ten thumbs, I chose a wrap around skirt from a Simplicity pattern. Wow, was that tough! No buttons, zippers, pockets or sleeves, but still I struggled to use that sewing machine and make the skirt. Meanwhile, my talented classmates whipped through complicated patterns with sleeves, buttons, and all the other extras I'd chosen to omit in exchange for a remedial pattern.

After many failed attempts, I finally had a green skirt. That was the last piece of clothing I sewed until I visited my college roommate in Chicago. Having nothing better to do, Rhonda and I decided to make our own shirts. She was an excellent seamstress who had sewn several items. She promised she'd help me to be successful even if I was domestically challenged. So following Rhonda's lead, we made shirts.

 Here we are wearing the shirts we made that afternoon. I know it's hard to tell from the photo, but our collars are a bit off centered. Who says shirts have to open  in the center of one's neck? You may visit Rhonda at

Here's an extra photo that I found while trying to find a Simplicity pattern bag from the 1970s. I pasted it below just in case you hadn't seen this famous photo.

Nothing like Simplicity!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Writer's Post: Colonoscopy

I'm signed up to have my third colonoscopy on April 5.
For those who have not had the pleasure of a this medical procedure, let me enlighten you. First, you restrain from eating solids while drinking chalk and visiting the toilet to expel more manure than anyone thought the human body could hold. Next, a loved one wheels your dehydrated body to the hospital to have a needle inserted into a flat vein. It's nighty night while a doctor inserts a scope up your butt in search of polyps. These bugabears are instantly clipped and tested for cancer.

So far, I've been polyp free, so hopefully I'll have positive results come April.

Colon cancer is one of the most easily preventable diseases; however, many fail to have the necessary test. If you are over fifty or have a family history, get moving to your doctor for some probe fun.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: February in Memphis

Phil told us six more weeks of winter. Bring it on, groundhog. We haven't seen much all season.

These flowers have been in bloom for over a week.

It may not be flowers, but look how blue the sky is.

Come on, Mom. Start the car.

Happy Winter!

We're not luggage. We always ride inside!

One more.

Wordless Wednesday: Ginkgo

Those who actually need Ginkgo, 
can't remember to take it anyway.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Silly Sunday: Time to Proof Read Text Messages

I sent a text message to my son. After an eleven hour day, I didn't type the way I wanted to. He asked me about it; but at 7:00 am, I still didn't read it right. Oops.

This reminded me of a fun, old song. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Writer's Post: Interview

Remember in college when you had that hot date that your friends wanted to check out without being seen? So, they slyly hid behind a pole and peered at the young man as he came to pick you up. That was not the case with Michelle and me. We devised an ingenious plan involving a type of interview and a few hapless men who fell victim to it. 

Dressed in a trench coat, hat, and sun glasses, we'd approach the men as they came to pick up our friends. 

"So, tell me, where are you taking this young lady tonight?" We'd ask as we'd scribble his answers on our notepads. We'd bombard the poor guy with question after question making for a wonderfully awkward scene. Then we'd circle behind him and comment on his cute butt. Finally after receiving a seal of approval, the date would commence. How's that for the topic of interview?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Joke's On Me!

This Valentine's Day, the boy whose mother is a professional chef, gave me this most beautifully decadent dessert.

Check out the frosting and the candy hearts on top. It's truly a work of art. So, why is the "joke on me?" 

I don't eat sweets. ☹

Sunday, February 12, 2012

#GBE2: Do Over of "Why I Read Kid's Books"

Back when I first started blogging, I had no followers and 108 hits for the entire month of July, 2009–which beats May, 2009 where I received zero. Now with 386 GFC followers and 105 on Network, I receive quadruple that number of hits, or even more, daily. With GBE2's "do over" theme, I'd like to revise and repost one of my early attempts at blogging.

Originally posted: July 14, 2009

Why I Read Kid's Books

My daughter has said, “Mom, you’re an adult. Read adult books!”

Sure, I had my days inside the mind of psycho killers brutally murdering helpless victims. I used to be pasted to the pages of Dean Koontz novels, but I’ve moved on. Usually, we advance to more challenging adventures, not me. I write for children.

So, I wonder: am I immature when I laugh hysterically over Gordon Korman or Louis Sachar? Let’s face it, an adult story will never have Cap Anderson innocently referring to his classmates as Buttwad or Jerkface like in Schooled or the fun antics of kids breaking into a lowlife’s house in Swindle. Furthermore, will we ever see the silliness of Wayside School in the adult section of the library? "Class, let's learn about gravity by dropping this heavy and expensive computer down thirty floors." Ha! Doesn't happen in the adult literary world.

Not only do I like kid humor, but the YA section of your library or bookstore contains plenty of nerve-racking stories such as Margaret Peterson Haddix’s Shadow Children series where third born children must hide or be murdered by an uncaring government; or how about, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? Young Catniss must fight for survival in a future world. And YES, I love Anthony Horowitz’s, Alex Rider character. This junior James Bond is sure to hold anyone’s interest. Of course if you want to battle monsters in a modern day world, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson adventures make for a fine read. Adult novels seem to only fight sex monsters. 

Not long ago, I actually read an adult novel. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas leads the reader through an adventure about an adult who slaps another couple's child at an outdoor barbecue. This one event leads to the unraveling of the entire social community as a lawsuit progresses and friends take sides. Though a good book, every chapter had details about sex and the like. I enjoyed the read, finished, then picked up my next kid's book.

Probably being a bit ADD, I love the way a child’s story taps into a scene or character quickly without boring me with too much detail. So next time you're in the library or bookstore, check out the kids’ section. If you're like me, you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lessons From the Playground

Back in the early seventies, I was another dumb kid just trying to fit in when I learned a powerful lesson on how to treat people. As a reward for all of our hard work, the school took us on a field trip to one of the best playgrounds in the world–Six Flags.

Being middle schoolers, we radiated cool as we weaved from ride to ride with a large group of boys and girls. All was wonderful until the lead nasty girl huddled us in a group and whispered, "Let's ditch Dan."

Well, okay. Gee, I had no mind of my own, so if she says we're going to do this, I went along with it. At her signal, all of us darted away from poor Dan.

Next, she chose a second victim, and a third. The group continually grew smaller as we ditched one kid after another. Being that this nasty girl was my good friend, it never dawned on me that eventually I would be the one ditched. They ditched me.

Alone and terrified, I shook in the middle of that huge amusement park. Strangers surrounded me as I wandered up and down the paths looking for one, just one familiar face. Why had I gone along with the pack earlier? Why hadn't I had the courage to speak up and say, "Stop! This is wrong" or  "No! I'm not ditching anyone." I'd never even thought about how cruel our stunt was, and if I hadn't gotten ditched myself, maybe I never would have. So I'm glad they left me. And as for my nasty friend... that was the END of that friendship.

Okay, I confess, she is a current Facebook friend; so, do I paste a link to this post in a private message to her? After that day, she didn't seem to understand why I didn't want to be her friend anymore. Would she understand as an adult? Has she ever thought of Six Flags since or is my horrible memory a faded smudge on her bridge. I have found the ability to forgive her, but I will NEVER forget. It was too painful.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Dog Cartoons

Here are a couple of cute cartoons by Mark Parisi.

And here's a photo from a group I "Like" on Facebook. Dogs Against Romney

How could anyone put a dog on the roof of a car and drive to Ontario? Unbelievable!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

#GBE2: Upset

Today's GBE2 topic is "upset," which if not done correctly could be a downer. Not feeling like posting a blah-blah-life-sucks piece, I present you with excerpts from three of my unpublished novels.

No real people have been harmed in the writing of these stories.

Hope you have a laugh!

From: Don't Eat the Chipmunks by Joyce P. Lansky
      Last night, me and the guys tiptoed to Adam’s bunk where his chlorine-bleached hair spread across his pillow in a do like a dead chia pet's. We played dot to dot with his freckles--just in case he wasn't dorky enough already. When he got up, the kid scrubbed his face pink but still looked like a road map.
Was Adam upset? Of course not because I didn't write him that way.
From: Being Bompsy Carleffa by Joyce P. Lansky

            Gil placed tomato-based soup in front of each of us. When I blew and sipped it off my spoon, I was shocked. Cold soup? All this money, and these people can't heat the soup?
            Do you like the gazpacho?” Fiso asked. 
             I dropped my spoon on the table. Why would he mention the Gestapo? What was he, a modern day Nazi? Sure, doesn't everyone like murderers? Sick. This guy's really sick! 
Yes! Ben was upset, but he stays upset throughout the novel. What do you expect? His dead dad turned out to be an alive mobster who has kidnapped him.
And finally, in case you haven't read enough, here's a little something from my WIP (Work in Progress).
From: Mrs. Zimmerman's Donuts by Joyce P. Lansky
Slater’s mom pulled a chisel-shaped knife out of the 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! Blood gushed out of her mouth, and she winked! While the room spun in oval circles, I couldn’t decide if she was crazy or if I needed the loony bin.
When a thick, red droplet dribbled down her chin, I squeezed the back of a chair and stepped backwards. My pulse pounded in my ears, and I worried that I might hurl at any moment.
“You’re b-bleeding.” I gripped the chair with my other hand too until my knuckles went as white as Mom’s had when she drove me home after I’d gotten in trouble the other day. “Hospital. We need to t-take you to the h-hospital!”
Slater, Calfie, and Mrs. Slatker laughed so hard tears filled their eyes.
“What are you laughing at? I think she’s really hurt!” I plopped into a chair, put my elbow on the table, and leaned my head into my palm. “I don’t feel so good.”
“It’s fake, Knob,” Slater said in between chuckles. “She squirted fake blood in her mouth!”
“The blade’s fake too.” Mrs. Slatker placed the knife on the table then wiped her mouth with a paper towel. The knife had a squeezable handle and juice filled holes on the blade. “Sorry to scare you, but we like our little jokes around here.

If you are an interested agent or editor, feel free to contact me.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Silly Sunday: The News

I see dead people.
It's Silly Sunday, which means I can post an old joke or for something more stupid, open a newspaper. I choose the latter.

Did you catch the story about Jerry Miller, the retired drill sergeant who the government killed four times? A veteran in Florida was denied pension because, get this, he died! Furthermore, he was asked to repay some $94,000 worth of benefits that he should not have received because he's dead. Miller asked his congressman to help him, but so far, being alive has not been sufficient proof that he is not dead. That makes sense. Look at zombies. They're dead and it doesn't keep them from hobbling around. Some of them even dance.

This story reminded me of my friend Al at the University of Missouri. The school mixed up his student number with that of a dead guy. To make matters worse, they mailed a sorry-about-the-death-of-your-son letter to his mom and cut off his student ID which allowed him his meals. Al marched into the administrative office, flung his arm forward and said, "I'm alive! Feel my pulse." Unlike today's morons, the college believed him.

None the less, calling someone dead who isn't could be worse. Get this:

Doctors and nurses at Pelonomi Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa were baffled when two patients died on consecutive Friday mornings in the same bed.

Checks revealed no bacterial infection, virus or problems with the air conditioning, temperature, cleanliness, nor circulation of air in buildings and rooms; but, interviews with staff revealed the shocking truth.

Each Friday a cleaning lady would go onto the ward and plug her floor polisher into a socket by the bed.

When finished, she would unplug the cleaning machine and replace the plug that was originally in the socket - the life support equipment.

It's okay to laugh. 

Snopes says that the last news story is FALSE.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Writer's Post: Accidents

This week's writer's post topic is on accidents. How fun is that! It brings back all sorts of wonderful memories about my childhood.

Hey, Boo Boo!

When I was a little girl, my daddy called me his "Little Boo Boo." I'm not sure why, since we never stole any pic-a-nic baskets, and it's not like I messed up too much... okay, I confess, my bother called me, "Miss Breaker," but pul-lease. I'm not the only one in the family to have accidents. I didn't crash a bicycle built for two on the horse trail in French Lick, Indiana, nor did I back into the dishwasher to emerge with a big freakin' knife hanging out of my booty. That was someone else in the family.

I'm also not to blame when the old neighbor crashed his bike on the side of the road. I was maybe eight years old and carefully looping my wheels around the neighborhood when I happened to pass an old guy––probably younger than I am now, but old to me––wobbling back and forth on a tiny bike made for his kid. He obviously never learned how to ride a bike, since "they" say one never forgets. 

Anyway, I spun past him, minding my own business and the dude crashes! I didn't push him. I didn't veer into him. In fact, I wasn't anywhere near him; however, his old biddy wife comes pounding the door screaming at how I caused her sweetheart's accident.

How could anyone as cute as I was cause trouble?

Anyone who grew up with me knows I was just the type to grit my teeth and plunge into old guys on undersized bikes just for kicks. No, Mr., that was your kid! Remember, him? He used to dig holes in the park, cover them with leaves, and wait behind a tree, so he could laugh at seeing "someone" have an "accident." I'm surprised he didn't have an accident in his pants the day the scary sixth grade teacher picked him up hitch hiking. I know I would have. Accidents. Yeah, right!