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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"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Halloween of the Past!

When you dress up your kiddos for 
Halloween, make sure you take pictures.

Halloween, circa 1994

Here's a fun photo that's been circulating the internet for awhile.

Here's one I just saw this year. 
Don't forget to enter my Halloween Dog Costume contest for the chance to win a $25 Target gift card. 
You have until November 1. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Silly Sunday: Parenting Advice

As a parent who has successfully raised three wonderful kids to adulthood, I am now qualified to give my readers parenting advice––free of charge.

When I was a young mother, my father said, "Don't ever hit your kids, but don't ever let them think you won't." 

I tried to follow this advice, but I was never able to make my dad's threatening face. It was the one that said, "Shape up, now!" 

True to Dad's suggestion, we never spanked our kids; however, they knew we weren't going to also. As a result, we found successful discipline strategies that came in creative and silly doses. My favorite threat was the one concerning teeth. "If you don't ______________, we're not going to let you brush your teeth!"

Ooooh. This one scared our kids into doing what we wanted because what could be worse than not being allowed to brush your teeth? Furthermore, teeth brushing became a reward, rather than a fight to make them do it. Hint: Start this when the kids are young or it won't work. 

Tee hee.

Another silly punishment we used involved the love seat in our den. If our kids fought with each other, they had to sit on the love seat until they learned to love each other. They had two choices: get along or have the most miserable punishment ever. 

The most important parenting advice I can give is for you to teach your children to take care of themselves. Next time your child has a problem with a coach or teacher, don't be in a hurry to rush in and fix it for them. Make your child deal with the problem his or herself. They should be the one to approach the adult and address their concerns, not you. You step in only as a last resort when their attempts do not work. Knowing how to talk to an adult has been my kids' greatest life skill. Please parents, don't hover!

Don't forget to enter my Halloween Dog Costume Contest!  Contest Link

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Dog Costume Photo Contest

Hey, Readers! 

Thoroughly Modern Millie!
I am participating in the Dog Halloween contest 2012 edition hosted by in an effort to help draw awareness to pet safety this Halloween season.  

Are you game for some fun?

Send me your photos of your dog dressed up in its Halloween costume, and you just might win a $25 Target gift card. You can buy whatever you want, including Halloween chocolates, as long as you promise not to share them with Fido.

Here's what you do:

1.) Dress your dog up in a boo-tiful costume and snap a picture OR dig out an old photo of Fido in his best outfit.

2.) E-mail your photo to me: 

jlanskyATcomcastDOTcom  (AT = @ / DOT = .)


post your photo to your blog with a link in the comment section of this post by November 1. Be sure to include your e-mail address so that I may get in touch with you if you win.

Poor Bag Lady!
That's it. I will announce the winner on November 2, but WAIT! Maybe you'd rather have a $500 Target gift card.

All participants in this, and other blog hosted photo contests, will advance to The Big Event Halloween Dog Photo Contest hosted by where one lucky dog owner will win a $500 Target Gift Card.

All participating photos will be featured in a special Halloween gallery where viewers may comment and vote for their favorite dog. You  may promote your own dog or your friend's pooch by sharing links on your Facebook wall, Twitter, or blog to get people to vote for your best friend.

The participant with the most votes by 8pm EST on November 12, 2012 will win a $500 Target gift card.

Join in! The only thing you have to lose is your dog's pride, but didn't he lose it already the day you dressed him up?

Check out cute critters and enter your pet at:


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday Meets #GBE2: The Bathroom

Beth gave us the prompt of "The Bathroom" this week; so when I heard the shower water running, I snuck in and took pictures.

Honey Bear in the Shower

Millie Takes a Shower

Yes, it's true. The dogs got in the shower and cleaned themselves up after the dog park. They were even singing Who Let the Dogs Out. They got the "Woof! Woof!" part down pat.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Silly Sunday: Back in Middle School

This week, I've had a schedule change. Instead of teaching full time at an elementary school, I'm now a traveling teacher with two days at the elementary school and three days in a middle school. It's been a wonderful change of pace, and I'm enjoying my time at the new school; however, walking down hormone filled halls reminds me of some funny situations from my past.

Years ago, an older teacher repeatedly called on a kid in the back of the room who held his hand up, but he refused to answer and would not put down his hand. Finally, after she became aggravated with the lone hand raiser, a child said, "Ms. R., that's the overhead projector."

It's a known fact that no matter how many balls are on the playground, the word is always used in the singular around middle schoolers. I'll never forget the day a sixth grade teacher told the boys to "hold their balls" because the bouncing was too loud. She should have asked them to hold their "ball" because every boy in the class immediately followed her directions in a most embarrassing way.

Then there's the story of the seventh grade teacher who stood at the doorway to her classroom, tapped each boy on the shoulder, and said, "Jacket off." It's no surprise that every tween boy put his coat on just so he could hear the teacher say, "Jacket off."

Gotta LOVE middle school!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Theme Thursday: Sunshine

In honor of the theme "Sunshine" I'm sitting in my den during a vicious night time rainstorm, while hoping our power doesn't go out again. Here are some ridiculous songs that sing about the impossible and expect us not to question it.


She sings about walking on sunshine and asks, "Don't it feel good?" Actually, it would hurt. One would burn the heal and toe. How can one walk on sunshine?

This actress sings about having a pocketful of sunshine, but I say, "No FREAKING way!" Sunshine would burn a hole right through a pocket and that would never work.

Ain't no sunshine when she's gone? Really? One chick leaving is going to make the sun go away? Like that would happen! Of course, "ain't no" is a double negative which means the sun still shines, so I guess this one might work.

Wow! These songwriters must really think we're stupid to believe all that!
Which reminds me of one of my favorite movie quotes from Zoolander... 

Derek Zoolander: What is this? A center for ants? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read... if they can't even fit inside the building?                                                                Mugatu: Derek, this is just a small...                                                                          Derek Zoolander: I don't wanna hear your excuses! The building has to be at least... three times bigger than this!  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Times Have Changed


Monday, October 15, 2012

My Distant Husband Presents A Boy

 Sorry, readers. I like this story so I decided to query it. Hopefully you can read it in a magazine.

Although I'm not blogging every day in October, I've chosen to follow a picture prompt presented by Danneromero over at My Distant Husband. She presented  the picture below and said, "Write about it." Since I write for children, this one seemed to fit me just fine. Here's my take on "A Boy."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

#GBE2: Cobwebs

We've all seen those messy dust threads that form over items forgotten for any length of time. They resemble spider webs because they indeed originated from spiders. Some were once webs, others drag lines, or residue left from a passing arachnid. Their sticky nature causes dust to settle on them and voila–cobwebs.

 I wondered how those sticky strings got their name. They don't come from corn, short horses, or male swans, but rather, the word originated from Middle English with the word "coppe," which means "spider." Someone along the way must have messed up the pronounciation because "coppeweb" became "cobweb."

Do you remember Lily Munster? She had cobwebs all over her house, but hers did not come from spiders. She would dust the furniture by shooting crud out of a vacuum cleaner. That chick makes my house look good!

The show that gave me nightmares for years.
So if cobwebs come from spiders, I have problems with cobweb humor, such as someone having cobwebs in their brain. As a child, I saw an episode of Night Gallery where a man tortured his enemy by placing an "earwig bug" in his ear that ate tunnels through his brain until it finally escaped out the other ear. I remember swatting bugs away from my ears for fear that something might dine on my brain; so if cobwebs form on the unused brain, does that mean spiders crawled inside a head?

Then there's the one about the old married couple who have not had sex in so long that the wife has developed cobwebs between her legs. Once again, bugs crawling where they shouldn't be!

I hate spiders and scream for my husband to kill them when they trespass. Hopefully single women are not as wimpy as me and can get rid of spiders on their own wherever they crawl. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Silly Sunday: Cauliflower

My husband refers to cauliflower as the broccoli-want-a-be, but why would a cauliflower want to stoop so low? It's a beautifully unique vegetable all by itself. This delicacy started appearing on tables during the reign of Louis the XIV. Furthermore, although most cauliflower we buy is white, it also comes in green, orange, or purple. Broccoli is always green, and according to Kermit the Frog, "It's not easy being green." Cauliflower is low in fat and high in fiber. It also costs more than broccoli because it's better.

If you don't like to eat cauliflower, here's another option.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Theme Thursday: Angels

This week's Theme Thursday asks the question of whether or not I believe in angles. Well of course! I didn't spend a year in high school geometry for nothing. I believe in 180* ones along with 45*, and––

Sorry, but is this a humor blog or what? I didn't want to suddenly go all serious on you with each post.

Angels! I've believed in those too ever since I was seven and one saved my life while on a runaway bike that was possessed. Not exactly. The bike might have gotten out of sorts because I didn't get the concept of coasting when riding downhill. Instead, I pedaled full force until I found myself headed straight into a moving car.

I panicked and could only think to stop the bike, but the brakes failed to heed my one request because of inertia: a body in motion tends to stay in motion. 

That's when the angel entered the scene. I guess it was an angel because I never saw anyone, but I felt it. Some invisible something grabbed the handle bars of my bike and threw me out of the path of the car. I circled into a grassy hill and got my usual skinned knees. Throughout my childhood, I never had a normal looking knee so this was no big deal. As an adult, I usually have clean knees but STILL mess them up from time to time. 

Proof! There must be angels because without them, I'd surely be dead.

 Many thanks to Beth for telling me about morgueFile. This is a delightful site that allows me to download any of their pictures without fear of being sued; unfortunately, the bloody knee is totally mine. :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: What Happened to My Sweet Baby?

Here is an old picture of my sweet, innocent little girl.
 Ain't she precious?

Here are two current pictures of Erica.

What happened to my sweet baby?

Don't let the camo fool you, she's still a love!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

#GBE2: A Picture Prompt - Tevya

This week's GBE2 has offered us a picture prompt. Wow! How in the world did Beth choose my grandfather's uncle? It's a small world after all.

Courtesy of

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the novel Fiddler on the Roof by Sholom Aleichem or the wonderful movie that brought the story to the silver screen. For most people, it's a delightful tale of Tevya the milkman dealing with his adult daughters straying from family traditions. For me, Fiddler on the Roof is mishpacha or for those Yiddishly challenged, "Family."

My paternal grandfather was a first cousin by marriage to Sholom Aleichem and the story that this author told was based upon the family he had married into, ie. my grandfather's Uncle Tevya, Aunt Golde, and the five daughters who were his first cousins. 

If you're familiar with the tale, you may remember Hodel, the second oldest daughter who married a man with radical ideas. That man was Sholom Aleichem, the author himself.

Although my family no longer follows the strict traditions of the people of Anetevka, the flavor of the culture still runs through my veins. When my grandfather left Tsarist Russia circa 1904 to escape the harsh treatment of Jews, he brought his religion and lifestyle with him. Grandpa Paull was one of the younger siblings of many and spent an entire night listening to his brothers tell him why he was foolish to leave Russia for America. After all, my grandfather didn't speak the language nor did he have money. 

The next morning, he chose not to listen to his brothers as he boarded a boat for a new life in America. However, he was not entirely alone because two of his older brothers were already settled in the new land.

Once in America, Grandpa landed in Ellis Island, moved to Chicago, and then eventually traveled further south with his new wife. Grandpa Paull started a successful business in St. Louis that became Fair Mercantile Furniture Company. 

While in the states, communication from home was tough, but he did receive a letter from one of his brothers. The letter said, "I wish I would have come with you." That is the last word my grandfather ever received from his family.

Years later, someone from a subsequent generation traveled back to Russia in search for the family roots. The relative found the spouse of one of the brothers who reported how the pogroms had wiped out most of the family. Russian soldiers barred the door to a synagogue and set it on fire while my great grandparents prayed. Not a pretty picture for my family, nor my usual funny post.

Enjoy this video from The Fiddler on the Roof.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Silly Sunday on Saturday Morning

I know I typically post on Thursday nights, but it's been one of those weeks. Sorry about that. I have a feeling things will get better. 

My husband Mitchell even does dishes!
Last night, I dined at The Spaghetti Warehouse with the Century Bike Club to carbo-load before their 100 mile bike ride, which is happening now. I've been on a low carb diet, so I enjoyed my chicken caesar salad.

My husband Superman has been the leader of this illustrious club and takes great pride in training greenies to perform the amazing.

At the restaurant, an adorable stranger was celebrating her 75th birthday. I had to snap a photo.

Her Highness!

If this ain't silly, I'll eat pasta!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: No Solicitors

Thanks to the creative and talented Jerold Rabushka for sharing this jewel of a photo.

Yes! The red sign reads, "Absolutely NO SOLICITING"

Monday, October 1, 2012

#GBE2: Exploring POV

As a writer, I love the challenge of taking a short scene from my WIP and changing the POV, but I wonder if there is any harm in posting this scene. My manuscript has not been sold, or even queried yet, but I will be in the process of sending it out this month. Would a future agent or editor object to my 250 or so words being published on my blog? I hope not.

Charlie Brown and my little Knob have a lot in common.

I'm in the habit of writing everything in first person, so it was a fun challenge to convert a scene to third; however, the first paragraph was not too different, so I didn't even bother to repost it.

Here is a first person scene from MRS. ZIMMERMAN'S DONUTS:

Slater’s mom pulled a chisel-shaped knife out of its 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 turned 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!”

How about a brush with third person?
Mrs. Slatker winked at Knob, whose face had transformed to a mixture of ashen and green. He squeezed the back of a chair and placed a wobbly foot behind him.  Spastic churning bloated his belly in an achy, sick sensation.
“You’re b-bleeding.” Knob gripped the chair with his other hand until his knuckles turned white. “Hospital,” he said. “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!” Knob plopped into a chair, put his elbow on the table, and leaned his head into his palm. “I don’t feel so good.”
“It’s fake, Knob,” Slater said in between chuckles. “She squirted fake blood in her mouth!”