“Be Thankful You Have A Typewriter and Two Hands So You Can Write”- Me, Age 9

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought it rather fortuitous that I came across this note while cleaning out my desk.  It was a note that I wrote to my mother in January of 1979, when I was 9 years old.

After I stopped laughing, I really pondered the end of that note, “And please don’t get so upset when your tyeping (hey, I was 9) goes wrong.  It’s not the end of the world, you know.  Be thankful you have a typewriter and two hands so you can write.”

I thought people were supposed to get wiser as they got older.  But apparently, I was more enlightened at nine than I am at forty-seven.  Now I’m the one who gets upset when my “typing” goes wrong.

When I do reflect on what I’m thankful for, the same things always pop into my head. “I’m thankful for family, friends, good health.”  And yes, those are all perfectly fine things to be thankful for.  But they’re so…I don’t know, obvious?  So today I’m going to try and channel the innocence of my 9 year old self and try to find the good in the not-so-obvious things.

I am thankful for the guy that flipped me off when I was driving the other day. You were right. I was spacing out in my own world, driving like a moron, and you brought me back to reality.

I am thankful for Ikea furniture instructions.  I may have shouted obscenities (what the f**k is a Vanaskaplig cam lock nut???) throughout the entire 900 step building process, but man, when that nightstand was finished, I felt like a freaking superhero in front of my daughter.  “You see that?  Mommy can build shit too! Just don’t, like, lean on it too hard, okay?”

I am thankful for the nine loads of smelly laundry piled up all over my house. Being surrounded by all that laundry means being surrounded by these people that I love.  I’m thankful to have a good washer and dryer to make that chore manageable.  Having to line-dry everybody’s underwear would be a real bummer in the Pacific Northwest.

I am thankful for the high-spirited children I encounter as a substitute teacher.  They teach me patience.

I am thankful for the time that our car ended up in a ditch on the side of the road on a dark and rainy night on this island.  I would never have known that car after car after car would stop to offer us help…from teenagers to senior citizens to moms with a car full of kids.  It showed us the true heart of this community in which we are lucky enough to live.

I am thankful for the power outages that occur every time there’s a small gust of wind on this island.  It forces us to realize that we really can survive without electronics and reminds us that Rummikub is a kick-ass game.

I am thankful for the kid that was mean to my daughter.  You taught her to be resilient and you taught her empathy.  She will not treat anyone the way you treated her.

I am thankful for my gray hairs.  Actually…nope, can’t do it.  That’s ridiculous and just a lie.  I hate gray hairs.

I am thankful for that stupid Elf on the Shelf who insists on returning every December. That Elf keeps my creativity flowing…not so much in where to hide him, but more so in the off-the-cuff excuses I have to come up with when my daughter asks, “Why didn’t Pablo move last night?”  But I am mostly thankful for him because his appearance in our home means somebody here still believes in the magic of Christmas…and in magic, period.

I am thankful for all the rejections I’ve received when submitting my writing for publication.  It makes the acceptances that much sweeter and it makes me try harder.

And I guess, like I so sagely put it when I was nine, I should be thankful for my two hands so I can write.

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Oprah’s Favorite Things 2017” – The Reality Edition

If you live on Planet Earth, you’ve most likely heard of “Oprah’s Favorite Things”, the list of gift suggestions she shares each holiday season.  This is the 20th year of the notorious list and according to Oprah, “this year, there is something for everyone!”

Everyone, Oprah?  Are you sure about that?  I took a look at some of these items and, no offense to Queen Oprah, but I beg to differ.

1. Coatology Down Scarf $85

scarf

Umm…pass.  If I want a scarf that looks like that, I’ll just wrap a Hefty lawn bag around my neck for free and call it a day.

2. L’OBJET Bath Salts $150

bathsalt

One hundred and fifty bucks for a bottle of bath salts?  For that price it better come with a person that will stand outside the bathroom door and block my children, husband, and dog from interrupting my luxurious bath.  And then feed everybody while I’m soaking. Now that might be worth it.

3. Emi Jay Women’s Smooshshirt $136

smooshshirt

The description of this product on Amazon claims that this is “the softest product to ever touch your body.” Clearly, Oprah has never tried on my Philips Academy sweatshirt from 1985.  Yes, I still have an article of clothing that I bought when I was 15 years old. And I will tell you, when you’ve worn and washed something for 33 years, it really is the “softest product to ever touch your body.” So I’ll save the $136 and carry on, Oprah.

 

 

4. Gratitude Glass Jar $45

gratitudejar

I actually love this idea.  The concept is that family members jot down things they are grateful for, put them in the jar and then review them at the end of the year. What I don’t love is the $45 price tag for the jar itself.  I’ll tell you what I’m grateful for…the old mason jar I’ve got in my cupboard because now I have Item #4 for free.

5. Novelty Bird House, Prices Vary  *Hotel California Birdhouse $538

birdhouse

Seriously?  You would think the crazy thing is that there is a $538 birdhouse on this list…but the really crazy thing is that this birdhouse is sold out online already!  I never realized how many spoiled rotten birds are flying around out there.

6. 23andMe DNA Test $69

dna

I don’t know about you, but if a family member gave me a DNA test kit for Christmas, frankly, I’d be a little freaked out.  I mean, what is the end game here? Are you trying to reveal a long-kept secret, like my dad is not actually my dad? Perhaps you’re trying to prove we’re not related somehow?  Do you love me so much you want my DNA available for cloning in 50 years?  Honestly, I’m not comfortable with any of those scenarios so thanks but no thanks on the DNA test. I choose to remain a mystery.

7. Maman Trio $65

mamantrio

Sixty-five dollars for twelve cookies??  Are they magic cookies, like with zero calories or something?  Or better yet, calorie burning cookies?  Because that’s pretty much the only way I’d pay over five bucks for a cookie.  I’m thinking Oprah hasn’t been to Costco in a while. Because they now sell “Toasted Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies” that are the size of small frisbees and are simply amazing.  I took a photo for proof…that’s a fig newton for scale.  At a buck a cookie, I’m sticking with these babies.

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8. A Great Thought A Day Notepads $15

notepad

Finally, something on the list for a reasonable price.  But I don’t know…feels like too much pressure.  A great thought a day?  I don’t feel like I have enough “great” thoughts to fill that pad.  My great thoughts would probably consist of “bananas” and “waffles” because really, I’d just end up using it for my grocery list.  And isn’t that what the free notepads that realtors leave on your doorstep are for?

9. GoBone $199

gobone

A $200 dog bone?  The company claims “The GoBone automatically keeps a pup rolling around, chasing, and being chased, all at the touch of an app.”  I actually have a free app for that.  It’s called, “Kids, go play with the dog!”  No batteries required.

avacharlie

Sorry, Oprah, but this list is a bust for me.  My favorite gift I’ve gotten recently was from my sister, who sent me a t-shirt for no special occasion, that says, “It’s Too Peopley Outside.”

peopley

I was like “Yes”!  Now this is an awesome gift.  It IS too peopley outside.  Which is why I’ll be doing my holiday shopping from the comfort of my home, in my ultra soft sweatshirt from 1985, while munching on my giant Costco cookies.

“Where DOES The Other Sock Go?” And A Few More Things I’d Like To Know

1.  The lyrics to Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam.  Eddie Vedder…you’re amazing and all but I’ve heard that song countless times since 1992, and I still don’t know WTF you are saying.  Just listen for like, 20 seconds…..

See what I mean?  That song totally cramps my car karaoke jam, it’s much harder to annoy my children when I’m just mumbling nonsense the whole time.

2.  Boy or turtle?  A many years long, great debate in my family.  I mean, clearly, it’s a turtle.

Slow Caution Danger Sign

3.  Where DOES the other sock go?  It’s pretty much my goal in life to unload the whites from the dryer and have them all match up, just once.  It will probably never happen, but a girl can dream, right?

https://i0.wp.com/www.science20.com/files/images/Easterling2013%202013-08-13-socks_1.jpg

4.  How is it that I have a degree from UCSD but I can’t help my kid with 4th grade math homework??  I mean, I can figure out the answers, but according to my daughter, “THAT IS NOT THE WAY WE LEARNED IT AT SCHOOL!!  YOU’RE DOING IT ALL WRONG!!”

Image result for common core word problem funny

5.  How can an egg roll possibly retain heat for so long?  I make like four attempts to eat it and I get screwed every time.  I’m like a dog that gets shocked but I just keep comin’ back for more.

Homemade Chinese Vegetable EggRolls

TRICKY LITTLE BUGGERS

6.  That Meat Loaf song, “I would do anything for love (but I won’t do that).”  I know every single word to that song but for the life of me I can’t figure out what “that” is.  Please, somebody tell me…what won’t he do???  This is the crap that keeps me up at night.

meatloaf

7.  How is yawning contagious?  I bet you yawned reading that, didn’t you?  Want to see if someone you know is a psychopath?  Yawn in front of them.  People high in psychopathic personality traits often don’t “catch” the contagious yawn, because they are lacking in empathy.  Just learned that today.  MIND. BLOWN.  And I yawned like six times while writing this so I am totally not a psychopath, just in case you’ve ever wondered.

8.  Why and OMG WHY???  Nobody should eat their breakfast on a stick.  NOBODY.  (For some reason, I imagine myself saying that with a thick Italian accent.  Probably because if my Italian ancestors saw the kind of crap Americans deem “food”, they would die).

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pancakestick

Anyway, those are just a few of the things I ponder during my morning shower.  Thanks for listening.  How about you…what are some things you would like to know?  Feel free to share in the comments!

The Sock Incident

CONEOFSHAME

Having lived with Labrador Retrievers for many years, my family has no shortage of crazy dog stories. Honestly, the list of items ingested by our labs could fill a book.

Yes, we have lots of stories, however, none of them compare to “The Sock Incident”.

One day, when he was about 9 months old, Charlie (our current lab) seemed to be more mellow than usual, just sort of moping around. As the day went on, he looked worse and worse and that night when I put his dinner out and he didn’t touch it, I knew something was really wrong. Labs NEVER refuse food. Based on his track record I figured it was quite probable that he had eaten something he shouldn’t have. Our regular vet was closed for the day but I found a vet in the next town that was still open and headed over.

When I got there I explained to the receptionist and the vet tech that I wanted x-rays done because I was pretty sure that he ingested something that was causing his malaise. There was a scale in the lobby where we were standing and the vet tech wanted to get his weight in case they needed to put him under for surgery. “Here we go again,” I thought, mentally calculating the cost of this one in my head.

The vet tech took Charlie’s leash and tried to walk him toward the scale but Charlie refused to move. With a look of panic in his eyes, he just kept pulling back on the leash over and over. I was getting frustrated so I started to push him onto the scale and he bolted back with all his strength.

Suddenly he squats his legs and assumes the position of a dog who is about to do something you do NOT want him to do indoors.

Looking absolutely crazed now, he starts pushing and straining and pushing some more. The receptionist, the vet tech, and myself are all just standing there watching the scene unfold in what seemed like slow motion. And then it happened, like a cork popping off a bottle of champagne.

An object comes absolutely FLYING out of Charlie’s ass and shoots through the air like a torpedo.

And that object had apparently been plugging up a river of liquids and solids that were now being relentlessly unleashed and spewed all over the LOBBY of the vet’s office.

The three of us are all standing in a circle around Charlie, dead silent, mouths hanging open, staring at the wreckage before us and at the object that landed across the room, which we can now see is a large sock.

The vet tech breaks the stunned silence with, “I CANNOT believe that just happened.” The receptionist chimes in, “That is the craziest thing I have ever seen in my life.” I am looking at Charlie, who is now prancing around the lobby, tail wagging, like he’s just won the lottery.

The vet tech looks at me and says, “I hope you realize your dog just shit out a $2000 sock.”

I have no idea what to do, what to say. I am completely mortified by what my dog has just done in their office. The vet tech turns to me and says, “Well, do you want to go back and see the vet now so he can check him out?” I should’ve said ok. I should’ve done anything other than what I did.

I grabbed Charlie’s leash and started walking slowly backwards, toward the front door.

“Um, well, actually….I think we’re good now! I mean, clearly, that was the problem so…uh…I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry.”

And Charlie and I bolted out the door in utter shame, leaving our trail of destruction behind us.

When I got home and maniacally pantomimed the entire episode to my husband he was incredulous. “You mean, you didn’t do ANYTHING? You just ran? You didn’t pay them anything or even OFFER to at least clean it up?”

No. Regretfully, I didn’t.

But I did give them a hell of a story to tell at their next office party, don’t you think?

I Failed the Marital Rating Scale

So a bunch of people have told me that my last post, about my daughter leaving for college, made them cry.  I texted her yesterday, “Are you aware that people all over the country are weeping just because you went to college?”  Ok, well, maybe not all over the country, but, still.  I do have readers in New York, you know.  And according to my blog stats, one very faithful reader in the Netherlands.  Go figure.

Anyway, since my last entry was a bit of a Debbie Downer, I thought I would quickly post something a bit lighter to make up for it.

I recently came across something called “The Marital Rating Scale” created by Dr. George Crane, a psychologist from the 1930’s.  Dr. Crane interviewed 600 husbands on their wives’ positive and negative qualities and then assigned points for merits and demerits.  A sample of the chart is below…

wifeschart

I thought perhaps it might be fun to take a look at some of the more interesting “demerits” for wives on Dr. Crane’s scale and see how I score.

DEMERITS FOR WIVES

#3  Fails to sew on buttons or darn socks regularly

True confessions here:  I had to google “darn socks”.  I mean, I’ve heard the term before, but I didn’t actually know what it meant.  Clearly, I have failed in this department.   Also, I have never sewn a button in my life.  Ever.  Probably because I somehow have never been alone in a button emergency.  I mean, I have a mom that can sew a button, my friends can sew buttons and I married a guy that can sew a button.  My 9 year old can sew a button.   I just sort of discreetly leave the room when I suspect a potential button situation…I mean, it’s been 47 years, why break my streak now?

#25 Wears pajamas while cooking

Hmm…this one is a bit baffling.  Does anyone really care what anyone who is cooking for them is wearing?  You want to come to my house and cook for me?  You can wear your ratty pajamas, you can wear a ballgown, you can wear a bathing suit, hell, you can wear your birthday suit, I really don’t careI would just be forever grateful for one less endless meal to cook.

#18 Tells family affairs to casual acquaintances, too talkative

I suppose writing a blog about your family affairs for complete strangers to read and then posting it on social media would qualify me for a solid demerit on this one.

#7 Seams in hose often crooked/ripped

Finally, one I agree with!  In fact, my hose is ripped right now and it’s super annoying because every time I go to water my hydrangeas I end up soaking wet.  You are right Dr. Crane, a woman’s hose should not rip.

#35  Wears pajamas instead of nightgown

Wow…huge fail here.   Here is a photo of the last nightgown I wore.  Holly Hobbie from 1975.  That nightgown was legit, I think it even came with a bonnet.

https://img0.etsystatic.com/114/0/6350501/il_570xN.1046443786_4yrd.jpg

Really, I don’t even wear matching pajamas.  I wear flannel pajama pants, even in summer, and either my green Breakfast Club t-shirt or my gray t-shirt that says, “I like to party.  And by party I mean read books.”  I probably get extra demerits for having all that goin’ on.

#13  Uses slang or profanity (5)

Shit.  He gives FIVE demerits for this one.  Screw it, I’ll take the goddamn demerits because sometimes you have to call an asshole an asshole and there’s just no polite way around it.  I mean, I guess you could just call him a Weiner (Anthony), but let’s get real.

#27 Is more than 15 pounds overweight

You are seriously starting to piss me off, Dr. Crane.  I saw a photo of you and you’re not so hot.  Shall I take five more demerits for calling you an asshole?

https://i1.wp.com/www.vitamin-ha.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Vh-198932508510602602_PsRVH9M4_c.jpg

Ok, enough with all these demerits, it’s annoying.  Let’s see where I can rack up some favorable wifely points and look at the “merits” columns.

MERITS FOR WIVES

#25  Has pleasant voice-not strident

Well, according to Merriam-Webster, strident means loud and harsh.  And I’m 100% Italian.  So I guess no points here.  Damn.

#36 Keeps husbands clothes clean and pressed

I get a point!  Well, half a point.  I do wash his clothes.  But pressed?  Unfortunately, that would fall under the same category as the darning socks/sew a button situations.

#28  Writes often and lovingly when away from husband

Does this blog count?  I love you, B.

#41 Has minor children to care for (5)

Jackpot!  I DO have minor children, three of them at 5 points each!  15 points for me.  Shoot, I just realized that my oldest is 18 so she doesn’t count.  Wait…she’s still a tax deduction, right??

#23 Reacts with pleasure and delight to marital congress (10)

Does “marital congress” mean what I think it means?  Sex is worth 10 points?  I’m in a bit of a pickle with this one…my children read my blog and if I award myself the points it’s possible they will die of mortification.  On the other hand, if I don’t award myself the points, it’s possible my husband will.  I’m pleading the 5th on this one.

#34  Good seamstress-can make her own clothes or the children’s clothes

I think we can safely assume from my button confession that this one doesn’t apply to me.

#7 Personally puts children to bed

Umm….yes.   I mean, is there another way to do it?  Is there like, a service you can call?  What am I missing here?

#33 Often comments on husband’s strength and masculinity

Not really but I often ask him to reach things that I can’t.  That’s kinda the same thing, right?

#21 Keeps snacks in refrigerator for late eating

I DO in fact, keep (well, hide) snacks, particularly my friends Ben & Jerry, buried underneath the frozen vegetables for MY late night eating.  Does that count?

https://i2.wp.com/www.dumpaday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/funny-someecard-someday-when-you-stay-up-and-clean-the-toilets-you-can-have-the-magic-ice-cream-too.jpg

#20 Has a pleasant disposition in the morning – not crabby.

That depends.  Did someone find and eat my Ben & Jerry’s?

#22 Likes educational and cultural things

Ugh.  Honestly?  I really don’t.  I mean, I’ll watch Jeopardy every once and a while but that’s about it.  I don’t like NOVA, I don’t like documentaries, I don’t like concerts, I don’t much like theatre (I literally fell asleep during Phantom of the Opera) and I pretty much go to museums out of obligation to raise culturally aware children.   Wow, good thing I’m not writing a dating profile…I sound awful.

So I’m not sure exactly how many points I’ve scored but it ain’t looking good.  It has become painfully obvious that I would make a pretty crappy 1930’s housewife, at least according to Dr. Crane.  But since being a 1930’s housewife seems like a worse job than being an armpit sniffer (it exists) I’m not too devastated.   I wonder how my husband would fare on the husband charts?  Stay tuned…