Tropical Storm Beryl and Other Things That Blow

Tropical Storm Beryl is just off the coast.  She’s been teasing us with gusty warm winds and spurts of heavy rain.  Other than that, it’s been clear blue skies.  I must say, as far as tropical storms go, she’s not that impressive.  Then, we’re not supposed to feel the full force of the unfortunately named storm until late tonight and tomorrow, so I might regret those words later.  In honor of Ms. Beryl, I’ve put together a list of other things that blow.

1.  The name Beryl.  Beryl is Greek for “blue-green.”  Blue-green is a beautiful color, but its name sounds like something you’d hear in the backwoods of Georgia or in the hills of Kentucky.  Or maybe in a quaint small town in Vermont.

Larry, Daryll, and Daryll from Newhart

“Hi. I’m Larry. This is my brother Beryl and my other brother Beryl.” (Yes, I know Beryl is a girl’s name, but this is what I thought of and, admit it, it’s funny.)

The word, “Beryllium” derives from Beryl and is much prettier.  And useful.  If you recall, a Beryllium Sphere was what powered the ship called the NSEA Protector in the movie Galaxy Quest.  Without a working ship, the crew might never have conquered the evil galactic war lord, Sirris, thereby saving the Thermians and returning to Earth.

Beryllium Sphere and the cast of Galaxy Quest

If you haven’t seen this movie, well, that’s just unacceptable. It’s hilarious.

2. Air conditioners that don’t work.  (For this fascinating story, look here.)  Yes, it’s blowing.  No, it’s not cooling.  Still.

Food prices sky high.3.  Summer grocery bills.  When school is in the kids eat a bowl of cereal at home and then dinner at night.  I only have to worry about lunch on the weekends.  When school is out I have to worry about three meals a day, plus snacks.  Lots of snacks. I don’t know what it is about being home that makes kids want to eat all day, but it does and they do.  I went to the grocery store today and had to buy 3 loaves of bread, 3 packages of lunch meat, 2 containers of Kool-Aid, 4 gallons of milk, and 4 boxes of cereal.  By the time my cashier had rung up all that plus what I’m going to need for dinner, I was whimpering.   Next week, I’ll be whimpering again.  5 kids are murder on the grocery budget.

4.  Summer Birthday Parties.  Two of my kids have birthdays in the summer and it blows planning a party that nobody will attend.  One is July 6, which is a terrible day and the other is  in June, right when a lot of families take their family vacation.  The party is a week away and I’ve had no RSVPs.  Now, maybe this is because people are notoriously bad about RSVPing (myself included) but I know of at least one girl who will be on a cruise.  We rented a cabin with a pool for a sleepover–my attempt to make the party cool enough not to be missed after my daughter lamented the fact that nobody ever comes to her parties.  I’m hoping and praying it’s not a flop.  I can’t take the hurt on my little girl’s face.

sad girl

 5.  Bathing Suits.  A picture is worth a thousand words and there are some incredible pictures out there on the interwebs, but I’ll spare you that.

You’re welcome.

Related Posts:

Summer Road Trip–Alone With Five Kids
And So It Begins:  The Dreaded Summer Vacation


The Best Things About Summer Break, According To A Lunch Lady

Oh my.  It’s finally here.  Summer break.  11 glorious weeks of staying home with my 5 loud and obnoxious children, refereeing their fights, cooking their food, cleaning up their messes, trying desperately to find ways to entertain them, knowing deep down in my heart that if they ever organized an uprising against me, I’d be toast, and trying to hide my fear behind a scowl and a mom-shriek that would give the mythical banshee a run for her money.

Irish Banshee

I wish I could say this is way off, but that’s pretty much exactly what I look like on a Monday morning. Except fatter.

I’m starting to rethink the idea that summer break is a good thing.

I’m kidding.  Of course it’s a good thing.  For a lot of reasons.

1.  I don’t have to wear a hair net.

2.  I can wear earrings, a necklace, my wedding ring.  Jewelry isn’t something I feel I have to have, but when somebody tells me I can’t, I want to.  Because I’m basically 12.  Or is it because I’m a woman?  You can tell me in the comments which you think it is.

3.  I don’t have to put my hair in a bun.  Or a ponytail.  I will, of course, because I live in Georgia and my hair is down to the middle of my back and I really don’t want to spend the summer with hair sticking to my neck and face and passing out from the heat.  But wearing my hair down is still an option if I want to garner some sympathy and maybe a day in the bed, resting, after I faint dead away in the middle of my kitchen while screaming at my husband and kids the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”  Coincidentally, the ONLY question that they don’t know the answer to.

4.  No scrubs.  Scrubs are comfortable.  Unless they’re at least 2 sizes too big and make you feel like a big shapeless blob.  Also, if they come in colors like carnation pink (Pepto Bismol) and yellow (Big Bird.)  So embarrassing.

Hmmm.  I see a trend here.  Everything is related to appearance.  I swear, I’m not that girl.  I wear jeans all the time–even to church.  But when you look like a lunch lady every day for 9 months, the glamorous side of you (even if it’s the size of a pinhead) starts screaming to get out.  Luckily for me, my glamorous side is appeased by a pair of stud earrings and sparkly flip-flops.

sparkly flip flops

High Fashion, indeed.

5. I still have to serve kids lunch and clean up after them all day, but when one of them asks, “Can you take the crust off my sandwich?” or “Chicken nuggets again?!”  I can smack them.

6.  Not waking up at 5:30 AM, screaming at kids to get out of bed, searching desperately for matching socks or the mysterious missing one shoe (they wear two at a time and presumably take them off at the same time so how do they end up on opposite sides of the house?) and being able to sit and have that all-important first (or 5th) cup of coffee and playing stupid FB games for 2 hours, until you’ve had time to wake up properly.

7.  I don’t have to wear a hair net.

Wait.  Didn’t I already say that?

Related Posts:

Spring Break for Moms
Dial 9-1-1.  We Have A Fashion Emergency
Ten Things I Learned On Summer Vacation

read to be read at

Teachable Moments

Ever had one of those weeks you could just do over?  This past week was one of those.  A lot of unpleasantness.  For starters, I’m feeling stabby.  About everything.  Pretty much every person, everywhere, is getting on my nerves.  Some because they’re bossy.  Some because they’re holier-than-thou, stupid, or mean.   And some, I just don’t like their faces.  I’m pretty sure this has something to do with my diet.

Me, consuming no sugar, bread, or pasta=me, wanting to throat punch people.

The week started out badly.  My son, Mikey, is in band.  He had a big spring concert that he’s been looking forward to for months.  We had everything planned out.  After school, we’d go to the Dairy Queen and the library to kill time before he had to be back at school.  After the concert, we’d go out for a celebratory dinner.  We were going to be on time for once.  I even remembered to bring the camera.  Everything was great, until we arrived at school and Mikey discovered he left his clarinet in his Nana’s car.  I didn’t have time to get it and his Papa did bring it to him, but it was too late.  He got to the gym just as the 6th grade band was finishing their second song.  He tried to put his clarinet together before they started the third and final song, but he didn’t make it.  He missed the concert.

He went ballistic.  Screaming, crying, wailing, gnashing of teeth–the whole bit.  And who could blame him?  Everybody was staring.  We went back to the car.  He blamed his brother for not getting his clarinet out of the car.  He blamed me for not going to get it in time.  He blamed his dad for making him leave and miss the rest of the concert.  He cried.  I cried and felt guilty (though I wasn’t.)  I didn’t know what to do.

In hindsight, I see that this was one of those “teachable moments.”  If my husband and I were June and Ward Cleaver, we’d have sat Beaver, er, Mikey, down in out pristine living room, explained to him the importance of being responsible and how this experience would make him a better human being, blah, blah, blah.  But I’m not June Cleaver.  I don’t vacuüm in pearls.  Heck, I don’t even vacuüm.

So I took a different approach.  I took my dieting son to McDonald’s and got him a large Big Mac Extra Value Meal.  Then I bought him a video game.

June Cleaver

“Sorry you’re upset son. Have a Big Mac.”

Later in the week, I was driving home and got stuck behind a police car that was blocking off the lane for the school car line.  The officer was taking his sweet little old time securing traffic cones to a sign post.  I, as I said before, was feeling stabby and tired and impatient, so I went around the car.  No big deal, right?  Other cars behind me did the same thing.  I get stuck at a traffic light and suddenly another police car was behind me with his lights on.  I didn’t know what was going on, but I pulled over.

The officer comes to my window, asking for license and registration, which I hand over as I ask, “Can I ask what this is about?”

He says, “You sure can,” in a pleasant enough voice, and then proceeds to give me the following speech in a not so nice, drill sergeant-esque, clipped voice, “Do you mind telling me what possessed you to endanger the life of my fellow officer and your fellow drivers by passing that police cruiser on the incorrect side, thereby encouraging other drivers to do the same…blah, blah, blah.”  That’s not a direct quote, but it was close.

cartoon police officer swinging a billy club

I, in my best dumb blonde voice (I’m brunette and have a terrible “best dumb blonde voice”), “Oh, I’m sorry sir.  I didn’t realize..”

It was at this point he read my last name and recognized it.  We established that I’m related to someone he knows and, apparently, likes.  He handed me my license gave me a short and polite speech, in which he basically said I caused other people to break the law, not to do that again, and to “drive safe.”

He drove away and my son, Mikey, said, “I thought you were breaking the law when you drove around that cop.  You got caught.”

I agreed it wasn’t smart and that was teachable moment #2. “Don’t do stupid things because you feel stabby and ticked off that other drivers on the ‘correct’ side to pass a police car won’t let you get in front of them, and drive by you, laughing in your face and pointing and saying, “Ha ha.  You have to wait for that slow cop to secure traffic cones to a sign post while I drive right past you on my way to my nice and cool house where I will kick off my shoes, put my feet up, and have a cup of coffee and you’ll still be sitting there, fuming, and deciding how you’re going to get out of your car, throat punch a police officer, and drive away without anyone seeing you.”

So let’s recap.  I had several teachable moments this week and this is what I taught my children.

1.  When something disappointing happens,  you do the following:

  • Scream, cry, and throw a fit
  • Blame everyone but yourself
  • Eat your feelings
  • Go shopping

2.  When you break the law and a cop pulls you over to give you a ticket,  you can totally get out of it if:

  • you talk like a dumb blonde
  • the cop happens to know one of your relatives or friends, even if you are a rebel rouser that “endangered” the lives of police officers and regular people in your lawlessness.

It’s only May and I have 7 months of teachable lessons to come, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to win the “Mother of the Year” award for 2012.

mother of the year award

Related Posts:

Growing Pains
A Day In The Life
I Can’t Help It 

Happy Birthday, Baby Brother

My baby brother turns 30 today.  For his birthday, I’m giving him a blog post.  I’m sure he’d be thrilled if he actually read my blog, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.  Well, I know he did once because he left a comment (on Facebook, not here *eye roll*), telling me about a typo, but that was way back in May. (The Test, if you’re interested.)  To be fair, I never talk about my brother.  Well, except that one time, when I wrote this:

I even miss my brother, the spoiled brat who never had to do any housework, who is too smart for his own good, and who, without fail, has a smart-alec remark for everything. (My Old Kentucky Home)

Is it any wonder he doesn’t read my blog?  Anyway, like any good big sister would do, I’m taking the opportunity to throw him under the bus again tell you the great things about my brother.

First, he’s wicked smart.  Seriously smart.  And, yes, he knows it.  I mean, come on, he uses the word MENSA in his email address.  Which is a nice segue into the next fact.

He’s kind of a snot.  But it’s not his fault because he was also spoiled as a child. His only job was to cut the grass and we had a riding lawnmower.  Like I said before, he has a snarky comment for everything and, I must admit, it is usually hilarious.  He reminds me of Seth Meyers, whom I happen to adore.

He’s a raging liberal.   I honestly don’t know how this happened.  Like I said, he’s smart, so where’s the disconnect?  I had hope for him until I saw the Michelle Obama magnet on his refrigerator.  What is that?  I will say that he knows how to argue politics and keep his sense of humor.  He’s not offended when I call him Comrade. Not. One. Little. Bit.  That is awesome.

He can eat whatever he wants and not gain weight. Genetics are cruel, people.  I can think about a Snicker’s bar and BAM! an extra roll of fat appears around my midsection.  This man can eat and eat and eat and not even a blip on the scale.  Why didn’t I get his metabolism?  Why?  Why? Why?

So It’s the Laughter We Will Remember

Now would be a good time to share my favorite memories of my brother.

Homer Simpson  Doh!We were on vacation with our parents a few years ago.  We were staying in a lovely cabin with an extremely clean sliding glass door leading out to the patio.  The couch, where I was sitting, happened to be in front of this crystal clear glass door.  My brother, beer in hand, was on the porch, grilling, I believe. (He’s an excellent cook, by the way.) My brother decided to come inside.  He turned and walked directly into that sparkling clear window.  SMACK!  Forehead hit the door and beer ran down it in sheets.  And I had the best seat in the house.  I giggle every time I think of it.  I’m giggling now.  It was GREAT.

Now, maybe that’s mean.  But, hello?  He EATS whatever he wants and DOES NOT gain weight.  He’s SMARTER THAN ME.  He DIDN’T have to DO DISHES.  MICHELLE OBAMA REFRIGERATOR MAGNET!!!!

My brother and I are as different as night and day but we “get” each other.

When my house burned down, he called me.  That was such an important call.  He let me make the inappropriate jokes I needed to make to cope and he laughed at them.  I knew he would.  I knew he was the only one, other than my husband, who would understand these horrible attempts at humor.

1.  I was going to do a major clean on the house this weekend.  Glad I didn’t decide to do that last weekend.

2.  At least it happened before I did the big grocery shopping.  We literally had no food in the house.  We’re going to need that grocery money now and I hate wasted food.

3.  The headline on the news is “House Fire Leaves Family of Seven Homeless.”  Wow.  I’m homeless.  Isn’t that hilarious?

4.  Well, we were thinking of moving anyway.  At least now I don’t have to pack.  I hate packing.

5.  Heck no, I didn’t give an interview to that news reporter.  Me, standing outside my burning trailer, hair a mess, no insurance, and 5 kids running around me?  Might as well paint “white trash” on my forehead.  Though it would have been awesome to use the thickest southern accent possible to say grammatically incorrect sentences and ask if anyone seen my dawg runnin’ around anywheres.

Not my best stuff, but it’s all I could come up with, considering the situation.  Point is, my brother laughed.  I love him for that.

The Honeymooners Ed Norton and Ralph KramdenI love that he’s a wonderful husband and father.  I love that he’s a smart butt.  I love that he asked for a cake for Christmas when he was four.  I love that he gets super excited about food and can eat approximately 50 tacos in one sitting.  I love that he bakes and makes homemade buttercream icing.  I love that he loved The Honeymooners and Dobie Gillis when he was in elementary school.  I love that my grandma had to drag him out of bed by his feet to wake him up for school.  I love that an 8 oz. coffee gives him the jitters and makes sleep impossible.  I even love that he snored like a foghorn and kept me awake when my parents forced us to share a bed in a pop-up camper for “fun” family vacations.

I just love him.  Period.

Happy Birthday, Baby Brother


Now let’s see if he does read my blog.  If you read this, little brother, leave a comment.  In the comment section.  Not on Facebook, not in an e-mail.  Here.  We’ll be waiting.

Blog Awards. Thank You!

I didn’t have a lot of trophies when I was young.  I had ONE really impressive one.  Our cheerleading squad won 3rd place for the ENTIRE STATE.  I was 11 and the team was the Overdale Chiefs.  I still had the little outfit until it went up in flames.  I kid you not, it had a little sailor’s flap neckline.  Very old-fashioned.  Here’s a picture.  Unfortunately, the only one I could find was on a dog.  Picture this, but red, on little girls with super curly pigtails.  So cute.

Those days are long gone, but I did win a couple of blogging awards recently.

The first one I want to accept came from Lafemmeroar.  She passed it on to me…3 months ago. (See here.) I feel so bad that I haven’t acknowledged it yet, but she being the cool crazy chick that she is, will understand and take no offense.  The other award I won is the Versatile Blogger Award.  I was given this award by Rebekah Loper, Writer.

As with all awards, there are certain things one must do when honored.  Both of these award have the same requirements.  As they are pretty demanding, I’m only doing the process once.  So the bloggers I choose get double awards!  Yay!

1.  Thank and link to the person acknowledging you.

Thank you so much, Lafemmeroar and Rebekah!

2.  Share 7 random facts about yourself.

1.  I am jealous of the Little Caesar’s employee whose job it is to stand on a busy street corner, hold a $5 pizza sign, and dance like a maniac.  I would kill for courage like that. And his dancing skills.

2.  I don’t eat anything gelatinous.  No Jello and no mousse of any kind.  Especially salmon mousse.  *shudder*  Disgusting.

3.  I never remember my dreams (except when I’m pregnant.)

4.  I love mopping.  My dream home would have a mop sink in the floor and one of those mop buckets they use in restaurants.

5.  I am afraid of mirrors at night.  I know that I’m going to look in one and there will be something scary staring back at me.  And I don’t mean me with bed head and puffy eyes.

6.  I don’t let the food on my plate touch.  If there is something runny or juicy, it gets its own plate.

7.  I like to use big words like “prestidigitation” and “ostentatious” because I think it makes me sound smart.  Of course this might work better if I actually used them correctly.

3.  Pass the award on to 15 deserving bloggers.

Personally, I think 15 is a little ridiculous, but this is the rule and I follow rules.  Not that it’s hard to come up with 15 great bloggers, but it’s a little time consuming to link to all these great folks.  Anyway, here it goes:

1. MaximsMadness  This is one weird dude.  I love weird.  It’s fantastic.

2. Brown Road Chronicles  A funny guy who occasionally writes something serious, just to keep you on your toes.

3.  This Little Thing Called Life  This Brit likes to poke fun at people and call them funny little names like “Arsonist.”  He’s also goes on a lot of really bad dates.

4.  224   This inspiring man is on a journey to a healthier lifestyle and He Can Do It!  He is doing it.  He’s awesome.

5.  Dribbling Pensioner  British.  Old.  Forgetful.  Troublemaker.  Questionable punctuation.  Charming.

6. Zishaanshafi A little politics, a little philosophy, a little of everything. He also included me on his “List of Sucky Bloggers.”  An honor, truly.

7.  Invisible Mikey  Movies, Music, Art of all kinds.  I never leave Mikey’s blog disappointed and rarely without an epiphany.  He’s not the Awards type, but he deserves a ton of them.

8.  The Problem With Young People Today Is… @  I had to post his link just because it describes him perfectly.  He’s not the Awards type either, but oh my.  He is fantastically crotchety!  And brilliant.

9.  She’s A Maineiac  A great writer who’s willing to show us her 6 AM self while making fun of her accent.  I’ll have to drive up to Maine so she can tell me to “pahk the cah in the yahd”.

10.  Rebekah Loper, Writer  She inspires me.  She’s also incredibly sweet.  Love her.

11.  JM Randolph, Accidental Stepmom  Step-mother to four children, stagehand, writer, hilarious.  She’s a bit of a crier.  🙂

12.  La Plume Noire  Very talented photographer and writer.

13.  Love Versus Goliath  An amazing woman with an even more amazing story.  She fought for the partner visa that would reunite her with her husband and children and won!  It’s a joy to see her adjust to a large household filled with lots of love and rice.  😉

14.  Mixin’ It Up: Goulash Style   A Southern mama to 4, a great lady, and she happens to be allergic to penicillin.  Her recipe for Southern “Gonlash” sounds fantastic.  Which reminds me, I need to try that when the weather cools off a bit.

15.  Nylon Daze  A Londoner living in NYC.  Photographer, writer, political commentator, and a genuinely nice person.  She insists we could make my blog/life into an award-winning screenplay.  She even picked out a producer.  (Ahem, Raincoaster, you were the lucky winner.  Call me.  We’ll do lunch–via twitter, of course.)

16.  Bonus blogger:  Paroxysm of Outrageous Random News (P.O.R.N.)  Emily illustrates her hi-larious posts with cute pictures she draws using Paint.  It’s impressive.

4.  Contact the winners.  

That might have to wait until tomorrow.  My hands hurt.

So, there you have it.  I hope you check out some of the blogs above.  Believe me, you won’t be sorry.