Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Fragments: the Name-Dropping Edition

I'm back to Mrs. 4444's Friday Fragments this week. It always feels wonderful to defrag.

Sat chatting with a friend the other night while our boys were in karate. It was hard to concentrate because she smelled so strongly of gasoline and I debated whether or not to mention that to her. I chose not to because I am working on being demure this week. When I got home, I realized that I was the one who had spilled the gasoline.

Do you suppose if I had won Mental P Mama's contest, that she would have given me the jacket she was wearing in this picture Daryl posted? That would have been kind.

I would like to meet a blogger in real life, so, WON, you had better watch out since we live 4 miles apart!! Sonic and soon?? I do promise not to spill my slush in my lap while we're together.

Decided on Monday night that I needed to paint our 1980's bathroom vanity this week. By Tuesday morning, I was pretty sure the vanity would look better if I tore out the tile on the floor and in the tub. However, I got distracted pestering Jill and some others with emails, and never got around to tearing that tile out. I suspect that Checkered is very relieved.

Sent my son on a big fieldtrip to here. The problem was that he had an infected throat and was under doctor's orders to stay home. I am pretty certain that school will be out for the summer by the time the health department and angry parents track us down.

Thank-you, Facebook friends who encouraged me to get a second opinion on my boy's asthma. Of course, the doctor looked puzzled when I told her I was there because my FB friends had sent me.

But on an EWWW note, my child was sick again Wednesday night. Coughed violently and vomited in his sleep and then some. Dangerous. Scary. Messy. I only knew about the stuff that landed all over the bathroom and that I cleaned. Then I put Mr. Asthma in my bed. Later, when Checkered got home from the Red Wings' game, he kindly got in Mr. Asthma's bed so the little guy could stay with me. I swear I did not know that child had been sick in his bed - until Checkered got in it. I'm sorry!!

I asked the grand Miss Marlene and Lovely Miss Betty for advice this week and they responded immediately. Love those girls. I do, however, need to do a better job of keeping in touch with my local friends. That's what summer is for, right?

Child #2 is working on a scouting merit badge where he had to build a bird feeder and identify 8 different bird breeds (kinds?) who come to eat. We seem to be getting the same 3 birds and I wonder if he takes pix of those birds from all different angles, will it seem like 8 different breeds?

And lastly, it is surely time for the school year to end. Drove my daughter to school one morning. Waited through the traffic line, and when it was our turn in front of the school, I drove away having completely forgotten to let my daughter get out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Free Press and I Part Ways

Call me a casualty of economics.  Several months ago, my fave newspaper, the Detroit Free Press, announced that it would reduce home delivery of the paper.  The new plan was home delivery on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.  On the other days, customers would have the option of reading the paper online or going to a store or paper box and buying a hard copy (which meant the customer would actually pay twice that day.)  I heard and understood that the paper was in financial trouble, so I was willing to adjust to help out.
At first I didn't think it would bother me to read the paper online.  I would simply get on my souped up Gazelle and read away while getting skinny.
What happened, however, was that on the days the paper didn't get delivered to my house, I usually forgot to read it online. And when I did remember to go online to read it, it felt awkward.
So when our subscription runs out in the next couple of weeks, we won't renew.  And what that means is that I'll have no idea what is going on around me. 
I wonder if I will even notice the change.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Little More Sunday School, Perhaps?

Overheard on Easter morning:

"Whoa. Not only did I get a Bible, but this one's holy! I guess my other one wasn't so holy. What do you think this one has in it that the last one didn't?"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

She's Growing Up

Once upon a time, a young teen-ager called her grandma to ask for

the recipe of that delicious pudding.

Grandma obliged by emailing the recipe,

and the teen-ager made the Chocolate-Banana Trifle

for her mom, dad, and brothers.

It was a special Memorial Day treat, and

it turned out so well that the teen-ager was only slightly bothered by the

fact that her mother took a picture of the teen-ager with
"undone" hair.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Week-End Update Although the Week-End Ain't Over

Notable points of interest:
The boys got out their air soft guns and the first thing they shot was their youngest brother's backside. Ouch.

  • The family made a fairly good attempt at a healthier lifestyle by planting. Premature planting, most likely.

  • The dad began the work of opening the pool; the water is 64 degrees. At this rate, it will be 27 years before the pool is warm enough for the mother to put her toe in.

  • Boy #2's trombone arrived. He can make a sound with it, and although his parents think this first year of band will be a long one, they never dreamed that a child who struggled with oral motor apraxia would one day be able to blow enough air into an intrument to make a sound. Interpretation: to the neighbors we do apologize, but to us, it was a sound of triumph.

  • The mother of the family traded bagel slicing duty for nursery duty on Sunday. She actually prefers the bagels.

  • The daughter and oldest son were overjoyed when their mother and father offered them the chance to go to Kentucky this summer to spend time with their grandparents. How much more thrilled they will be when they learn their Texas cousins will be there, too.

  • And lastly, asthma continues to taunt this boy and his parents' efforts at taming it.

  • And now to enjoy the last of the long week-end.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot-Out : Red

I've read the My Town Shoot Out posts for a while now, and finally got up the wherewithal to join. This week's theme: Paint the Town Red.

Welcome to Metro Detroit. For this assignment we won't be in the big city, nor will we even get county-wide. Honestly? We're staying in a two-mile radius, but that's pretty much my life these days. So put on some comfortable walking shoes and let's get to it.
This lovely RED Maple is my neighbor's. Her yard is lovely. So lovely, in fact, that I decided to copy a bit of it last year for my own yard. I bought this same kind of tree and planted it in exactly the same spot in my yard where hers is in her yard. Her tree is thriving. Mine is dead. I choose to believe it died of natural causes.

Looking across the street, we can play a game of "I Spy." I spy with my brown eye, something RED that is hidden causing grave traffic dangers.

Do you see it? Look a little closer.

Please, people who take care of Michigan traffic signs: make this sign visible before someone  who lives in this house else does it and angers the tree owner.
Well, that was exhausting, how about a RED snack?

I bought those berries at the much-maligned Michigan-based Wal-Mart wannabe.

Friends always tell me how they would never buy meat or produce there. I counter with the concept that if I don't shop at the better produce/meat markets, I really don't know what I'm missing. A Meijer gal I am.

Michigan has been hit very hard by unemployment and foreclosures. I am not certain if we are #1 or 2 in foreclosures, but this scene is very, very common.

I've lost track of the number of dumpsters I've seen in my neighborhood in the last year. There does seem to be a pattern, however. First the house appears unkempt. Then, weeks or months later, it seems vacant. Eventually, a dumpster is brought in and we marvel at what people leave behind when they lose a house. Sometimes it takes more than one dumpster to clear it all out. Finally, an auction or for sale sign gets put up. While I sincerely hope not to see more of these, I truly believe with the automakers' woes, there will be many, many more of these.
That last picture was too sad, so let's end with a true Detroit RED image.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wherein Caution Revinvents Herself Repeatedly

I used to listen to AM radio until I had a met a lawyer who said it was good to know that he wasn't the only nerd in the world.

Then I became a mother and spent the next decade driving around listening to Kidz Bop. Just when I thought I would lose my mind,

I found the FM button and Christian radio.

Dave Ramsey is great, but he makes me feel guilty.

The Christian apologist's talk show host is brilliant, but sometimes

he's boring.

So I discovered how to plug my MP3 player in.

One track Bluegrass, the next some monk singing, the next a Heart tune.

It was very cool until I lost the player.

I decided to become a little more knowledgeable about modern life.

And I learned the names

50 cent


Lady Gaga.

Then, when I felt very hip,

I mentioned the name,


to my students,

and they laughed.

"We'd expect you to like him 'cause you're a mom. That's who likes him, you know - middle aged moms!!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

But Jesus Sees His Heart

Same child, five years later, post mother-given haircut.

I surely hope he is in a good mood on his wedding day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Love


the neighbors cry,

"can't Caution collect something quiet like



Monday, May 18, 2009


Some Sundays, Checkered and I have a job at church. We did not volunteer for this job nor was I overjoyed when this job came our way, but we did say agree to help when we were asked. So once every month or so, we must arrive at church on Sunday an hour early to get everything ready.

We are bagel slicers.

It's a nice job, and our church seems to think it's necessary. The problem is that other people do our job before we even arrive and we do arrive on time, so we stand around and feel as though we're greatly in the way.We probably are. But time after time, we are asked to come back for slicing duty. And time after time, we go - only to pout about someone usurping our job.

The Lord is beginning to deal with me about my attitude. I am learning that willingness to serve is important. I am learning that graciousness is important. I am learning that humbleness is important.

Then there's this last thing I've learned. Because they slice before we arrive, we are the only ones on the team who have not cut a finger.
I suspect that the Lord still has a bit more work to do with me.

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Taxing Decision

Let's just say you need a haircut. Let's just say your hair resembles something a first grade boy may have worn in 1985. And let's just say a stylist/new friend said she could help you out on a Sunday at your house.

Now let's get over your jubilation at her graciousness and your jubilation at the fact that someone whose hair always looks great is willing to make you look great, too.

Borrowed from:

As our little scenario moves forward here, let's think about how you remember a few minutes before your stylist/new friend arrives that she also is a professional house cleaner - and she's really good at that cleaning stuff. Then you think about how you're maybe not in the professional realm of cleaners and about how you're maybe not even an amateur cleaner.

Just as your stylist/new friend rings the doorbell, you look in panic at the condition of your house.

What do you do?

a) greet her outside and accidentally lock the door behind you?

b) accept that you will always look a bit like that first grade boy, circa 1985, and refuse to open the door even as your stylist/new friend rings and rings and rings?

c) hand her a blindfold and sincerely pray that she is great at cutting by touch instead of sight?

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Last week, my very, very shy first grader had a tough day. During reading, two other children were drawing naked pictures of my boy. When another child told the teacher, her response was appropriate and appreciated by us. There were, however, some extenuating circumstances, and the response took on a life of its own. Before the day was over, other teachers and the principal were involved, and calls were made to the parents of the artists.

My shy boy told us nothing of the experience and when the teacher finally reached me by phone very early the next morning, I really wasn't sure how I felt about the hoopla surrounding the event or the way my quiet boy felt guilty based on the involvement of the ancillary staff and principal.

I do believe that if my child had been the artist and I had received a call from the teacher and the principal, that I might have made a conciliatory call to the parents of the teased child. It would have been a simple, "We're sorry and we are working with our child on this," call and that would have been that. In this case, however, the other parents haven't said a word to me.

Yesterday was a big moment though. As we waited for our first graders to exit the school, the mom of one of the artists began to walk toward me. I had about 1/20 of a second to plan my gracious and mature response to what I knew would be her apology. She sauntered over, and when she was within touching distance, she leaned in and whispered,

"You have a sign on your back. It says, 'Kick me.' "

She smiled and walked away. I reached around and felt my back, and there was the sign, courtesy of my less shy third grade son.

Thus, was my planned gracious and mature response wasted.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dear Miss Manners

I my neighbor needs to know how late in the morning I she may wear my her nightgown to walk to the end of the driveway in order to retrieve the paper.

Thank-you for your quick response.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

He Won't Mind, I'm Sure

The letter said that all "graduating" fifth graders needed a picture

to post on the board for all ceremony attendees to view.

Most of the other mothers with whom I spoke, sent in recent school pictures.
I sent in this one.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Joys of Boys

So maybe I've been bragging a little about how my kids do their own laundry. And maybe I've begun to notice that some of them don't seem to have much laundry to do. Then maybe I came home from driving some sons to school and found:

Family room evidence

Hallway evidence

Kitchen evidence

Okay, if it's not worn, it doesn't have to washed.
Maybe it's their logic which has me the most proud.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mom

Every time something good happens, every time a compliment comes my way, every time my heart gets a little bruised, you're there to smile, to celebrate, to listen. For that and so much more, I love you now and forever.
Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 8, 2009

Don't Give Caution ALL the Grocery Money

There are those precious moments in life, when all is akilter until the Earth suddenly rights itself, and all is well.
I love you, Hostess donettes.
P.S. I am aware that I've posted three times this week about food. Rest assured that next week's posts will be thinner.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Plan Was...

At 2:00 I was congratulating myself on having dinner ready and waiting for the oven.
At 2:19 I was in the shower.
I needed to be at the middle school
at 2:47 to pick-up my daughter, otherwise
at 2:48 I would receive a text message asking, "Where ARE you?" and again
at 2:49, "Are you coming???"
I would bring my daughter home and be at the elementary school
at 3:17 to pick-up my non-asthmatic boys.
At 3:31 I would put dinner in the oven, and
at 4:00 I would be at work helping my students fall in love with grammar.
at 2:35 an asthmatic boy called up the stairs,
"Wow, Mommy! The dog really likes what we're having for dinner!"
at 3:44 I was redistributing what was left of the casserole and adding a little more cheese.
At 4:30 the family ate dinner while I was work.
As of 8:50, each family member is, to the best of my knowledge, still alive.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chaotic by Design

At last count, there were 11 different tones of wood/faux wood in my family room.

Checkered thinks it's a bit much, but he doesn't understand.

I want to be to wood what the Duggars are to babies.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We're Exciting

In our younger years, Checkered and I each travelled a bit. I visited Europe twice, Morocco once, Hawaii once, and 44 of the states. Checkered was in Kenya, Mexico, and Bermuda. We tentatively planned to visit Australia and see more of Europe.

Then we procreated repeatedly and things changed. We've never taken the kids to Disney, never even have taken them south of the Carolinas, never been on a cruise, never been to any of the indoor water parks, and all our family trips to date have been east of the Mississippi.

But, baby, just say the words,

"Dairy Maid is open for the season!!!!"

and we are there immediately.

Predictability is a good thing, isn't it?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Until We Are Parted by Death

Shh! Please don't tell anyone, but the news is... that I'm thinking of leaving my dishwasher. Things between us started to go bad about three months ago. With no warning, the dishwasher got a mind of its own. It wanted to be with its own friends and no longer cared about what I liked. It stopped listening, stopped caring, and then the worst part? It stopped taking care of itself.

Where there used to be clean dishes, sparkling glassware, spotless cutlery, there is now a film. A grainy, thick film which can be washed off only with a sponge.

The glassware is not etched. It is covered in what appears to be dried, dirty water.

So far, I have:

pre-rinsed the dishes
not pre-rinsed the dishes
used powder detergent
used liquid detergent
used a heat dry
not used the heat dry
turned the water temperature up
run the kitchen sink until scalding before starting the dishwasher.

If that isn't enough, I have:

used vinegar
rinse aid
orange Tang

I have run full loads and empty loads.

I have used the hottest cycle and the rinse only cycle.

But what gets me?

It was just one year ago that I left my old dishwasher because it had the very same problem.

We consulted a counselor repairman who told us there was no hope. That we should go our own ways and not look back.

Then, this new dishwasher entered my life and took my heart -- only now to stomp on it and crush it.

I stand here now, sponge in hand, preparing to wash all the dishes that just came out of the wash cycle.

And I am bereft.

Yes, my name is Caution and I am about to get my third dishwasher divorce in ten years.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Fragments for Mrs. 4444

Why did I think Beef Stroganoff would be a good slow cooker dinner?

Does it say something about how I spend my days when I enter the mega grocery store, and a clerk recognizes me and waves me over to chat?

Why is my daughter's teen deodorant advertised as, "NEW, Stylish & Hip," while my women's deodorant is advertised as, "With the maximum level of active ingredient"?

Why do my students not understand the grammar problem found in the following sentences?
He told a joke to his friends that no one liked.

Last night I planned my week-end in the tub.

If Simon Cowell ran for mayor of Detroit, I would move into the city just to vote for him.

Why is my dog so fond of dirty tissues and clean socks?

Am I the only person who likes riding with the car windows open?

Who might have stolen our recycle bin (perhaps the same person who has now absconded with my MOP?!)

If I'm not a morning person nor a night owl, am I unworthy of a label?

How can people who have never raised an ADHD child nor been one say they don't believe in medicating ADHD?

Did you hear about the lady in Detroit who last week witnessed her neighbor's home being burgled? When the robbers saw her watching and realized she was calling someone (presumably 911), they shot her. The bullet went through her window and hit her right on the underwire of her bra. She was only grazed by the bullet. I saw an interview a few days later with her husband and he said, "I am glad now, more than ever, that she is a full-figured type of gal!"

Don't you just love the word, burgled?
And what is it that I should have said to my student last night when she announced,
"Guess what, Dr. Caution? I just got diagnosed with hypochondria!!!"