Friday, June 25, 2010

FF: Things No One Said to Me this Week

Want a fragmented look at my week?  Think about the things that people thought about me, but just didn't my face.

"Things would be better if Checkered could buy another phone charger or two."

"Don't be misled by any rubber band holding her pants closed or blouse gaposis; she's probably toned somewhere in that body."

"The extra clutter looks really good around her laundry room and kitchen and bedroom and..."

"The $3.29 watered-down sweet tea she just bought at Max and Erma's? Such a bad decision."

"I really wish that the Flag family would ask me watch their dog when they travel.  I'd do it for free if they would just ask."

"We know that it's the last week of summer term, but we love you,  Dr. Caution, so much that we've asked the dean to extend the class another week or four so we can spend more time with you."

"You'll be a much more consistent blogger and better meal planner now that your kids are out of school for the summer."
"Your Hibiscus is amazing!"

"Don't worry about the open zipper fiasco!  I hear it's all the fashion rage these days."

For more chaos, check out these sites (while I try to figure out just how many people saw my open zipper and never said a word):
Mommy's Idea



Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Happiness Project: Medic!

What makes me happy?  Camping with friends who are also paramedics. It is very handy when:

Child #2 decides to break rocks between his bare feet and cuts his ankle nearly to the bone.
Child #4 is bitten by a dog.

Poor Lt. Matt.  He may have to vacation with us for years to come.

Now fly over to Leigh's place, and tell us what makes YOU happy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

FF: Help for the Sincere Wife

There are some things the modern wife and mother must know in order to run her little universe in the most effective way.  Fortunately, I have mastered these lessons recently and am now willing to impart them to you.

Lesson 1: When the dishwasher no longer gets anything clean, and no one can find the problem, the best solution is to buy rubber dish washing gloves for each of your children OR a supply of plastic/paper kitchen products OR go to Tim Hortons often enough that the manager greets you like an old friend each time.

Lesson 2: Those film marks on the inside of the windshield which you don't notice until you are driving your children to school against the sunrise?  Erase them with a dry erase eraser. The eraser will also do wonders for wiping smudges from the screen of your phone.

Lesson 3: No time to gardening with that annoying attention-seeking fertilizing and weeding and pruning and watering?  Just plant some Knock-out roses and check them in a year.  You'll be amazed at their cooperation.

Lesson 4: When your husband asks you for 16 years what you would like for Mother's Day/birthdays/Christmas, do NOT say, "Nothing" because there will come a Father's Day where you ask him in desperation what he would like and he will say, "Nothing" - but he won't mean it anymore than you meant it
 when you said it.

Lesson 5: If your neighbors have paid $1,300 for their pool heaters and spend $100/month to run them, tell your husband a secret!  He, too, can have a solar heater for the pool that he will take great pride in because he will build it.  After spending $50 on materials and one hour of his time, the heater won't work.  Don't feel guilty!  A few days later, he will say, "Let's go camping again," and you will answer, "Um...sure."  If you say it just right, he will think your grimace is a smile and all will be well.

Now go!  Visit these people who are so much smarter than I am.
Mommy's Idea


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dear Michigan,

You owe me.  Big time.  This year, in the midst of our nation-wide budget crisis, you presented one solution to local school districts who are scrambling to balance their budgets: a retirement incentive for teachers.  The hope was that with enough retirements and expen$ive teachers gone, layoffs could be avoided.  An additional benefit was that these older, burned-out, wizened teachers would be replaced by more affordable, younger, enthusiastic teachers.  How could a district lose?

I'll tell you how they lose.

They lose a career's worth of experience.  They lose 30 years of having learned what works well in a classroom. They lose years of having learned to read each student and the knowledge of how to respond to that student.  They lose  understanding of how to go around red-tape to find help for a student.  They lose the courage experience gives in how to communicate confidently with an administrator, angry or frightened parent, defiant student, and more.

There will always be teachers who need to go - teachers whose attitudes and abilities are better-served elsewhere.  But the teachers who are retiring this year?  Well, some of them are dearly loved by our family.

We'll miss the way she helped our child gain confidence and discover talent.

We'll miss the way she taught our child that the best effort is the only effort worth giving in any task.

We'll miss her even-temperament and how our child's face lit up when he saw her in the audience of his musical.

We'll miss the way she got to know our child who didn't think he wanted anyone to know him, and the dream he had of one day marrying her.

So, Michigan, you owe me.  Let's do the math:  approximately $75,000 per year times the 27 cumulative years my children have left in school, less the $35,000 per year the newer teachers might earn. That leaves $1,080,000 of career experience your incentive owes my family.

We'll gladly take our incentive in the form of a check or cash.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Happiness Project: Summer School

You know what makes me happy this week? Getting the closest parking spot at work.


Now go spread a little happiness of your own!

Friday, June 11, 2010

FF: Knock Me Over With a Feather

Is there any limit to what I never knew before?  Previously unknown to me:
  • My whistling range is so limited.  It's a very shaky 11 note scale I whistle.
  • One boy who lives in this house would gladly spend the remainder of his life curled up on the couch while playing video games.  That's why I make him walk home from school when the weather is nice.  Because he is so sweet, it turns out that my well-intentioned neighbors have been giving him rides home on those days :(
  • Two of my children misspelled our last name on school papers this week.
  • Do NOT plan to camp near Mt. Rushmore the week before the Sturgis bike thingie.  Rates for everything - even campgrounds with outhouses - seem to double.  Our solution for those campgrounds:
(It would be okay, Lord, if you want to intervene in that previous situation.)

  • What does one do when one's daughter has a group project due and the group  backs out the day before the deadline? One builds a model of the Globe Theatre, of course.

  • Blogslapping is a term which refers to using one's blog to get revenge on someone. Check out: or or Perhaps someone who enjoys blogslapping might want one of these from 

 In class the other night I referred to Pepper as a not-so-smart dog, but oh so sweet.  One student was offended that I would speak of my DOG that way, and I do wonder what the student would think if she could have read my thoughts about her at that moment.  Wait a minute!! Did I just blogslap? Ouch.

Now go visit my virtual neighborhoods.

Mommy's Idea


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Faster Than Mother Nature

We could have eaten these bananas much sooner had I known about sepia.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Happiness Project: Him Again?

What makes me happy? A faux hawk.

For more happiness, go here:

Monday, June 7, 2010


Most of the time I KNOW any sacrifice I've made to be a mom is worth it, but once in a great while I actually BELIEVE that, too.

Friday, June 4, 2010

FF: Venturing into Thinking

Not having a natural inclination for any thing science, dear Caution has labored without pause to prove some scientific principles for you this week. Pay her well for her troubles, shall you?  (Are you able to discern that Caution has been reading The Hobbit?)

Principle One:
Swimming does, in fact, do an adequate job of substituting for one's bath - if one doesn't look or sniff too closely.

Principle Two:
Some students do feel compelled to share their innermost thoughts with their English teacher by way of introductions following the first class:  "Hi, I'm Ted and I'm gay."  "Hi, I'm Patricia and I think I'm pregnant."  "Hi, I'm Dr. Caution and I'm going home by way of Dairy Queen."

Principle Three:
Young, hungry male children who have played outside all day will indeed lose their appetites when the nicely dressed woman in the next car picks her nose ... and eats every last thing that comes out of her nose.

Principle Four:
A medical visit will not be happy when the doctor greets asthmatic child and his mother by saying, "It's only the beginning of June and he had a flare-up in March, so he can't be having one this soon." 

Principle Four, Part B:
Visit will get worse when doctor puts aside her comment that child is moving very little air, BUT HE HAS A SUNBURN AND MOSQUITO BITES!!!  GOODNESS!! Those things give the doctor CHILLS.

Principle Five:
Some children read in bed or listen to a baseball game.  If one's child is 10 and is texting in bed, that's allowable, too, until the vigilant mother learns that the women on the other side of the texts are 17 and 18.

Principle Six:
If a schoolboy waits until his mother is rushing him out the door - late to school - to empty his backpack for the previous day, there will always be an emergency note requesting that some magnficicent  project or monetary donation be sent in that very day.

Principle Seven:
Harken thyself over to these sites (and it is here that Caution cannot recall if she is to be speaking in King James vernacular or Tolkien...)

Mommy's Idea



and here:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Not Quite Mrs. Green Thumb

Early in the Spring, I announced that I had decided to grow a lilac - not on my person, but in my yard.  Just the mention of lilac was enough to send Checkered into convulsions as he remembered a former lilac of ours.  It grew without restraint and I avoided it simply by not going on that side of the house.  So my memories of it differ vastly from Checkered's. We eventually sold the lilac and the house it obscured and moved to a flowering shrubless yard.

When I saw the ad for a reblooming lilac and the promised continual and large blooms, it was pay day so my restraint meter was perhaps a little lower than one might hope, and I was soon the owner of a microscopic lilac.

Since my farming venture last year produce maybe five tomatoes and a dozen ears of corn, I decided to forego that grand scheme this year and the lilac found a new home in the abandoned 3 x 5 foot plot.

It went in and then I forgot it for a month minute, and by the time I remember that I owned a lilac plant, it was lost in a forest of thriving weeds.  I was tempted to leave the weeds to their folly since they danced nicely in the wind and since Pepper and the neighbor dog seemed to enjoy snacking on them. 

The next day, as my neighbor surreptitiously and continually glanced at my weed ocean, I was overcome with guilt and handled it just as I handle any other pressure:  I ate lots of ice cream and went to bed at 8, hoping things would resolve themselves by the next morning.

That policy worked beautiful until yesterday when Checkered and our kids were all out working in the yard and I was forced by reason of guilt to do something about the weeds before Checkered used the weed-whacker on them and my $23 plant.

By virtue of sweat, and with my posterior pointed at my neighbor's house - so much easier than actually kneeling - I weeded and sweated and weeded.  Since ice cream and early sleep didn't make my weeds disappear, I rolled out weed barrier and spread mulch.

And now, may I introduce you to my reblooming lilac?
 With any luck, it will grow beyond  its current three inch height and will give Checkered something to anguish over in years to come.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Forgotten Title Happiness Project Post

I have no idea if they're healthy or not.  However, I do know that if I slice a banana on top of Chocolate Cheerios, I don't even miss not having an Iced Capp from Tim Hortons.  Okay.  That's a stretch, but I do love this little chocolaty gift.  It's an almost perfect reward for getting out of bed. 

For more happiness, go here: