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This Week’s Headlines #9

By far the most disturbing headline that caught my eye this week was one about Honey-Boo-Boo being slated for more shows.  I have to say I’ve never watched a minute of this program so I probably shouldn’t judge but from the things I’ve seen, read and heard other people say about it I am pondering if the nation’s IQ  has dropped drastically.  At some level I understand it….people like to stop and stare at car accidents too.

On with the news!

  1. “Child Reveals Parents Crime” – Want everybody to know what you do in your home? Let them talk to your kids.
  2. “State Bans Smiling On Driver’s Licence” – Do you suppose that’s because no is smiling when the cops pull them over?  Do I look that different when I’m frowning as opposed to smiling?
  3. “Purging Dead Voters” – I hope they mean their registrations….
  4. “Gun Range Says Booze And Firearms DO Mix” – Remind me to avoid that place on Friday night.
  5. “Cat Running For Mayor” – Oh why not? 
  6. “Seat Belt Laws For Pets” – Well since we have to keep our kids in their car seats until their wedding day…why not? I’m going to miss watching the dogs with their heads sticking out the windows though.
  7. “Seven Worst Ways To Borrow Money” – #1: Anonmously  #2: At gun point….
  8. “The Science of Smootching” – There’s a science to that? All these years I’ve just been winging it….
  9. “Five Biggest Calorie Bombs At The Fair” – I’m going to guess anything with the words ‘on a stick’ or ‘fried’ in the discription.   Who watches their calories at the fair anyway? 
  10. “Dad Sends Toy Into Space” – Wish I’d have thought of that years ago.  Our oldest son’s talking Barney springs to mind. “He’s become a space explorer” sounds so much better than “The battery box fell out? I wonder how that happened…..”
  11. “Six Awesomely Dorky DIY Projects” – I’m confused.  Do I want to do these projects or not? Is ‘dork’ a good thing here??
  12. “How The Wealthy Got That Way” – ummmmm…..work ethic?  Good investments? Does it matter?
  13. “California Green-Lights Driverless Cars” – Driverless cars?  Please tell me they are talking about  the ones with the drivers so short you can’t see their heads above the head rest.
  14. “School Paints Midfield Logo at 45 Yard Line” – I’m guessing the math club was not in charge of that project.
  15. “Hands Free 525 Mile Ride On A Motorcycle” – I hope he didn’t have to turn anywhere.
  16. “Toxic Cleaning Products You Should Avoid” – I always knew cleaning was going to kill me.
  17. “125 Metorites For Sale” – Who owns those? Again – why didn’t I think of this??
  18. “10 Most Accident Prone Cars” – Now we are blaming the car? Really??
  19. “Ten Worst Calls By Replacement Referees” – They got the list down to ten?  That took some work.
  20. “Thieves Take $10,000 Worth of Wedding Presents Left Outside Overnight” –  Must have overlooked the tiny detail ‘take gifts inside after reception’ in the wedding plan. $10,000?  That’s a lot of toasters!

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A True Leader

The all out buzz in my great state the past 24 hours centers around the retirement announcement of Tom Osborne, current athletic director at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.  This isn’t the first time Dr. Tom has retired.  I remember watching a similar press conference in 1997 when he retired as the head football coach of UNL. That retirement caused an even bigger buzz and quite a few tears if I remember correctly. Today as I look through articles and comments either condemning or praising him I have to ask myself, “What is it about this man that makes a whole state stop and pay attention to what he is doing?”  Is it just because he won a lot of football games?  That helped of course but I don’t think that is the whole of it.  It has more to do simply with who the man is: A true leader.  

I have watched Tom Osborne my entire life.  He’s part of my state’s history. A  great part of it.  I simply don’t remember anything that happened before Tom was at the helm of the Husker football.  (That might have something to do with the fact that I was three the year he took over for his predecessor.)  In those years  I watched him win big and lose close.  I’ve watched him make tough decisions and live with the consequences.  I watched him in victory and in defeat.  The man’s character never changed.  Honest.  Upright. Quiet. A man of integrity. A man who stood by his decisions. A man who spent little time defending himself.   A man of little words.  He let his actions speak for him.  He spent little time worrying about his “legend” and more time serving the people who surrounded him.  He gave his job all that he had.  He not only coached young men in football but he coached them in life.  If you talk to most of his former players today they will tell you that he affected them on a much bigger level than becoming football players.  He helped make them the men they are today. I admire him not because of his football success but because of the example he has continually set for a couple of generations in this state.

He still has his detractors.

 I remember 1983 when all anyone could ask was why he didn’t just go for the tie in the Orange bowl.  Under the old system we were assured a national championship if we’d have tied that game. Tom went for two.  Why?  Because that’s who he is.  He’d rather win or lose outright than get in by technicality.  He is a man of integrity but his decision still drove most of the state nuts.  I remember the bowl years that followed when Nebraska just couldn’t seem to win.  Tom was decried for his old fashioned play. It was declared that, though a good coach, “Tom just can’t win the big one.”  What people didn’t know was that Tom was studying and making changes.  Gradual changes that eventually lead in one of the greatest runs I’ve ever seen: convincing National Championships in 1994, 1995 and 1997.  Then he retired while still on top of his job. He didn’t want to stay longer than he should.  He wanted to get out of the way for the future of the program.  He built it and then he trusted those he’d trainined to continue it in the direction it needed to go. That’s a true leader.

Even his long sought and much deserved championships weren’t without controversy. One of the things you will still hear from his critics is his handling of some of his football players during the 94/95 season.  Suddenly the mild mannered,  quiet coach from Nebraska was labeled a “win at all costs” kind of guy.  Nothing could have been farther from the truth.  He was a “help football players become good men” kind of guy.    He made decisions that he believed at the time were in the best interests of everyone involved. He wasn’t protecting his players or his program as much as he was trying to make a difference in the lives of the young men on his team.  Young human men who sometimes do really stupid things just like most other young human men. The difference is that these young men did them under a national spotlight.  The truth is the program didn’t need these boys to win.  These boys, he felt, needed the stability of the program. Looking back now Tom has said that perhaps he should have taken a different course of action but at the time he thought he was doing the right thing.  That’s who he is.  Still owing his actions but admitting that it may have been better had he done something else.  That’s a true leader.

After serving in the House of Representatives for six years our beloved Dr. Tom was teaching a few classes at UNL when the entire athletic program fell into disarray.  He was asked to step in as athletic director to help right the ship that was quickly sinking.  He was perhaps the only man in the world who could have done it because of his reputation, history and status in our state. We love Dr. Tom.  So at the age of 70 he stepped in to help.  Because he he was aked, he took on an astronomical job at an age when most men are catching up on their fishing time.  He’s reason? In his own words: “I thought if I could help  that I should.”  He’s “helped..” He’s given that job his very best for the past five years.  He’s turned it around and gotten things back on course.  He’s recreated an atmosphere of trust and work ethic.  He’s combined history with vision for the future.  That’s a true leader.

So many lessons can be learned from this one man’s life.  He’s touched and taught so many people just because of the character of who he is.  As he retires for the second time one can’t help but to stop and think of those things.  One can’t help but wish him the best: lots of time with his family and maybe a little time fishing.  I have a feeling,though, that  he’ll spend a large amount of time working at the statewide teen mentoring program he and his wife started years ago.  That’s who he is.  A man who cares more about touching the lives of those who need help than he does about what would be pleasant or easier for him.  A man who gives more than he takes. He’s a true leader.  I can learn a lot from his example.   

 

Thanks Dr. Tom!!

 

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Ten Years Later

September 26, 2002. I remember that day well.  I hadn’t been at work very long that morning when we received word that they were locking my children’s school down.  There had been a shooting in the area and the police were unsure where the suspects had gone.  “Wow!” I thought. “Big excitement for our un-large town.”  I had no idea.

That morning three young men, with a fourth waiting in a car outside, walked into a local bank and shot  five people. They weren’t even really trying to rob the bank but when they left the building that morning four employees and a customer were dead.  Senseless. Tragic. Completely beyond the scope of anything that is even understandable.  There is no reason for it.  There is no trying to figure it out. What our town learned that day is that some things will never make sense. Some things are just evil at the root and no one will ever really understand why they happen.  It makes you angry.  It makes you cry. It makes you thankful for what you have and cherish each day a little bit more.  It reminds you that nothing is guaranteed and life is fleeting.  It makes you a little bit “older.”

In the days that followed we saw media from across the nation converge on our small Nebraska town.  We learned about each victim’s life and family.  We learned about the shooters and their backgrounds. We mourned as a town. Our mourning grew as we learned that one of the first responders to the scene had taken his own life the next day.  A transposed serial number off of a gun found in one of the suspect’s cars a few days before the shootings had left him feeling overwhelmed and responsible for the tragedy. He wasn’t responsible at all. 

In the months that followed we watched them tear down the building and erect a memorial park.  It’s beautiful and appropriate. A lovely memorial to the victims and their families.  We read updates in the paper about the upcoming trials.  The motions.  The filings.  The legal wrangling.  The trails themselves were moved out of our town in an effort to ensure impartial juries for the accused.  We watched those trials with interest. We as a community wanted justice to be served . It was.  We all went on about our daily lives.

This morning I woke up and realized that all of it started ten years ago today on a  crisp fall morning.  Ten years.  In that time people have moved away and people have moved in to our town. Some people don’t know what that park in the middle of town is there for.    I thought about how our community changed.  We lost a little innocence that day. Things don’t feel as “safe” as they used to.   I thought about the families of the victims who have done their best to cope and move forward, though their lives will never be the same. Children have grown up. Some have gotten married. Grandchildren have been born. Life has moved forward because that is what life does. It doesn’t stop for tragedy even though it seems like it should.  I thought about the others so affected that day:  the first responders, the detectives, the lawyers….a whole town really.  Ten years later it doesn’t make any more sense than it did before.

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Weekends That Go Too Fast

 

As we were turning in last night my husband smiled at me and said, “Good weekend.”  Yes it was I agreed. It just went by way too fast.

Friday afternoon saw my parents arriving to spend the weekend with us.  They don’t mind that the deluxe accommodations at our house are an air mattress on the floor of the living room.  Before you call to report me for Senior Abuse let me explain. I still have too many children in my house to actually have a guest bedroom and my husband and I still sleep on a water bed.  We’ve offered the water bed to my parents.  They prefer the air mattress.  I don’t blame them really. We’ve even offered them the children’s beds but they prefer not tackling the stairs to the upstairs of our house.  They also prefer not to tackle the mess in the kids’ rooms.  Smart people.  I love spending time with my parents so I was excited for the weekend.

We attending the homecoming football game Friday night.  It didn’t matter that our team didn’t win. I won’t remember the poor defense or flat offense that was played (Okay…well…I guess maybe I will.) but I will remember the fun of listening to my dad analyze the game with the fellow sitting behind him.  I’ll also remember him getting whipped in the face a few times by the pom poms being vigorously used by the little girl sitting in front of him.  He’s such a grandpa he didn’t saw a word. He just chuckled and kept trying to duck.  I will also remember the sight of my husband pulling our drum major daughter’s stand out on the field for her and then kneeling to watch the show from the sideline.  Our ten-year-old turned to me and said, “Mom – look. Dad is Tebowing!” I’ll remember the pride on his face when he returned to his seat.  He loves both his marching band girls.  I’ll remember the warm coffee and fun once we arrived home.  I’ll remember my dad innocently saying something that made my 18-year-old laugh for 10 minutes.  She loves her grandparents.  All our kids do.

Saturday saw us off bright and early to watch the annual parade downtown.  The parade that used to be called “LaVitsef” (festival backwards. Clever – no?)  and has now been dubbed “Oktoberfest”. My mother quickly pointed out that it isn’t October yet. She’s so in to details.  As we sat shivering in the Nebraska “breeze” we watched the bands march and the politicians go by. (Note to self: skip the next election year parade.)  We watched the “floats” go by.  I might mention here that in our town a “float” is usually a car with a company logo and a few people throwing candy.  We aren’t rivaling the Rose Bowl Parade here. At all.  It didn’t matter because we enjoyed it anyway. Just being in the crisp fresh air and watching the people.  Well except for the junior high age boys on their bikes.  You know the ones. They are the ones who think they are going to grow up and join the BMX Stunt Team.  They weren’t part of the parade but they sure kept riding in front of us.  And then stopping to talk.  While standing in front of our chairs.  At one point I looked at my mom and asked her if I should say something.  “Behave yourself.” she said.  Turns out I got to behave.  The little lady sitting on our other side told them to move along because they were blocking everyone’s view.  We came home smiling – although candy-less. We let the small children dive for the candy in the street and then we bought my ten-year-old a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup.  It was his reward for not taking out kids smaller than he in an effort to score free candy.

After a lazy afternoon watching our beloved Huskers and napping my well planned dinner fell a bit flat.  I didn’t plan as well as I thought.  It didn’t matter because my family loves me anyway.  The evening saw more visiting, football analyzing by the men and a rousing card game between my mother and our 14-year-old.  She still doesn’t feel bad she beat her grandma.  I raised her right.  More coffee. More laughing.  It was a great night.

Sunday brought us to our youngest son’s football game.  He got in on five tackles.  While we girls were commenting about how cute he is the men were talking about how much better he understands the game this year.  At some point I got text-scolded for telling his big brother that he was cute.  “Scary mom.  He’s supposed to be scary.”  Yeah. I forgot football players aren’t supposed to be cute.  Even when they are ten.  My bad. (He’s still cute – so THERE!)  After the game we returned home for lunch, which I forgot to thaw out.   I am thankful for my understanding sweet parents who don’t mind take out pizza.  As they pulled away after lunch I found myself being thankful for the time we had together but sad that it went by so fast.  It always does.

After a quiet evening puttering around, checking homework, making lunches and preparing for the week ahead I came to a conclusion. Things don’t have to always go perfectly for a weekend to be a success. You don’t have to have the best house or  perfect meals.  Things don’t have to work exactly as planned. You just have to have love and laughter and time together.  For those things I am so very thankful. Those things make for a perfect weekend like the one we had.  Even if it did go by too fast.

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Kid Quotes #11

After checking the forecast Monday morning I said to Jakob, “Pants today. It’s going to be chilly.” J: “I wear pants every day.”

While I was doing laundry Jakob was standing nearby talking to me.  I was hanging up his football pants to dry when the hanger slipped out and they fell to the floor. J: “Geez Mom. Throw my pants.  You’re fired.” Me: “Great! Do your own laundry and cook for yourself.” J: “Never mind. I’ll fire you after I get married.”

Getting ready to Jakob to football practice. Me: “You don’t need to wear your helmet in the car. It kind of makes it look like I’m an unsafe driver.” Brittnie: “Yeah. You only need to do that when I drive you to practice.”

Brittnie was telling me about a choral leadership speaker at school who was talking to them about proper posture while singing.  She told them “Do not lead with your uterus.” Apparently the two boys my daughter was standing near found that quite funny so Brittnie told them that they shouldn’t lead from that area either. Me: “That’s a good life lesson really. If you don’t lead from that area then no one can get into trouble.” B: “Mother!  Ok. That was funny.”

Brittnie was doing her homework one night when I walked in and turned on the ceiling fan in the kitchen. B: “You blowing my papers Mom.” Me: “Oh sorry. Guess it’s hard to do homework when it’s blowing around.” B: “Wait. Can we turn that thing up?”

This week was Homecoming at the public schools. Neither of my daughters will be attending the dance. Brittnie, a senior, to Lyndsie, a freshman: “The homecoming is way overrated. You spend all this money and think it’s going to be magical and it really isn’t.” L: “Ok but I would have liked to discover that myself.”

The girls were upstairs getting ready for school one morning when Lyndsie walked down all smiles. Me: “My you are chipper today!” L: “One of us has to be.” Me: “Are you trying to tell me something?” L: “Just consider it a warning.”

The girls were watching “Mulan” one afternoon when Lyndsie suddenly asked: “I never have figured out what was wrong with her dad so he couldn’t fight.” Me (staring at her incredulously): “Ummm…he has a cane.” L: “So what? That could be for lots of things.” B: “Right Lynds. He has a broken nose.”

Driving the kids home one evening they were all talking at once. Me: “My ears are getting tired.” J: “Maybe they need more exercise.”

I asked Jakob one evening if he had homework. “No. Well I just have to study for a test.” Me: “Soooooo….you DO have homework.” J: “No I just need to read the story again.” Me: “And that isn’t homework?” J:”Well…if you want to be technical.”

Apparently I forgot to leave the side door to our garage unlocked so Jakob could get in the house after school one afternoon. Thankfully his sisters were home to let him in. I apologized and said, “When you can prove that you are more responsible about keeping track of things then we can just give you a key to that door.” J: “You mean keeping track of things like remembering to unlock the door for your kid?”

Sitting at the table this morning I was talking to my parents (who are visiting) about supper. Me: “I think I’ll just put that roast in a dutch oven and do it in the oven.” Brittnie: “What’s a dutch oven?” Me: “It’s the big pot.” She had a funny look on her face. Me :”The one I cook spaghetti in.” B: “OH! I thought that was just called a big pot.”

 

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This Week’s Headlines #8

Before I start with my favorite headlines this week I have to mention a couple of things that have skittered across my mind this week while looking for those headlines. 

  • Has anyone else noticed that they closer the election gets that more articles are produced making the election seem further and further away?  It’s like tooth pain. Slowly increasing with intensity each day and making your dentist appointment seem like it is light years away.
  • How many articles can be published decrying the publishing of photos which is only making more people want to publish those photos? Seriously.  Drop it people and it’ll go away.
  • Who the heck is Honey Boo Boo and why is she always in my “tending” feed? I know.  People like to stop and stare at car accidents too.

Ok…on with the “news”!

  1. “The Male Make-up Capital Of The World” – There is one of those? I wonder how far it is from the female make-up capital. For that matter I never knew make-up had a gender.
  2. “Woman’s Starbucks Diet” – Sign me up!
  3. “Make-up Fads To Skip” – I’m really hoping glitter is somewhere on the list.
  4. “Is Your Job Killing You?” – Depends on the day.
  5. “Signs You Have A Shopping Problem” – #1: Declined
  6. “Surprising Uses For Coca Cola” – I don’t even want to know. If it eats rust off of something then I have to consider what it is doing in people’s stomachs.  Ew!
  7. “Signs That She’s Flirting” – You can write all the articles in the world.  Some guys still aren’t going to get it.  Just saying….
  8. “Death Row Inmate Claims He Is To Heavy To Be Executed” – Doesn’t the prison feed him?  I’m sure they’d be happy to get him in better shape first.
  9. “Reasons Some Guys Are Immature” – Now we are looking for reasons? Hmmm….maybe we’re looking for someone to blame.  The words “mama’s boy” spring to mind.
  10. “Baseball Star Gives Daughter Body Part As Souvenir” – Is this a collection you want her to start? Body parts? What happened to collecting dolls? Baseball cards?  Anything but body parts?
  11. “Job Interview Killers” – Do you actually have to intervirew for a job with the mob?
  12. “Television Stars With Obscene Salaries” – Ummmm…all of them?
  13. “Worst Things To Say To Your Husband” – Remember that screwdriver you used to like so much….?
  14. “Seven Things That Shouldn’t Be In Your Closet” – #1: Moths….#2: Skeletons….
  15. “Ten Ways Puppies Are Worse Than Children” – Constant yapping springs to mind.  Oh….wait….you said the puppies were worse….
  16. “Surprising Causes For Body Odor and Bad Breath” –  I don’t care what the cause is I can pretty much assure you that the cure is the same.
  17. “Mom Arrested For Letting Her Kids Play Outside” – That’s a crime? According to whom? The fresh air police?  
  18. “Woman Jailed For Not Deleting Facebook Account” – You can have people arrested for that? If that’s the case I know a few people who should be called in to crime stoppers…..
  19. “$7 Million In Gold Found In House Of Deceased NV Recluse” – Guess you can’t take it with you.
  20. “Baby Born In Parking Lot Of NH Race Track” – Seriously?  Next time try racing to the hospital.

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Those Automated Phone Calls

I am all about technology.  That is to say I am all about the technology when it makes my life easier.  I have no idea how any of it works and quite frankly I don’t care but I appreciate anything that streamlines my day.  I love that I can pay my bills automatically on-line.  My DVR and I are best friends. Self check-out rocks. But here is the thing. Technology also annoys the beegeebers out of me some days.  

Am I the only one who has noticed that almost every company you call these days has the same message? “Please listen carefully as our menu options have recently changed”.  Was there an international change your options day and I missed the memo?  Why don’t they say what they really mean: “Our one operator is tired of redirecting your call when you push the wrong button so please pay attention!”  I realize it isn’t as flowery but at least it’s honest.  My other question is why is there very seldom a menu option like “If you wish to speak to a live human being…good luck!”?  I realize that there are lots of things people call in to do which can be handled by the auto system.  I also realize that some days I really do need to speak to a person and it would frustrate me less if I didn’t have to go through 45 button pushes to find the one customer service rep who is working that day.  I had to call a company from work the other day and actually needed a human to answer a question.  Trust me I am resourceful. I checked through the “FAQ’s” on-line first.  I tried to google for an answer.  I e-mailed the “contact us” link. I waited a few days.  No dice.  I needed a person. I never did find one.

One of my new favorite things are automated telemarketing calls. (Could you actually read the sarcasm in that sentence?)  “Please hold the line for an exciting offer on discounted plane tickets/important refinancing information/an important political survey!”  You called me and want me to hold? What? Our answering machine has at least two of these types of calls waiting for me every day when I get home.  When I actually listen to the entire message I enjoy the part where the person comes on and says, “Hello.  Hello?”  I almost didn’t reenter our number on the “Do Not Call” list because this is such great entertainment for me.  We have the technology to call 50 numbers at the same time but not to tell the agent calling that the phone was answered by a machine? That boggles my mind.  If I actually answer the phone for one of these calls (because – you know – “out of area” on my caller ID doesn’t totally give it away) I usually give the poor people a break and hang up the moment I hear the static phone sound of the computer telling someone they have a live one on the line. It’s just easier for everyone.

By far the automated system that intrigues me the most is the one operated by our school district. I have a love/hate relationship with this one.  I was introduced to it years ago when the small county school our oldest kids attended was annexed into the city school district.  The principal of that school really loved the phone system.  I mean really.  We’d get calls like, “Good evening.  This is Mrs. Smith (Name changed to protect said administrator.) from Winter Elementary reminding you that tomorrow is Tuesday.”  Okay it really wasn’t that bad but she did like to call every night to “count down” to a big event.  “…our winter concert will be this Thursday at 6pm.”  The next day: “…the winter concert is tomorrow evening at 6pm”  The next afternoon: “The winter concert is this evening at…”  I really wanted to yell at the phone “OKAY!!!! GOT IT!!!” but then there was never really a person on the line so I couldn’t.  Well I could have but that would have just made me look crazy.  We had the same experience with the high school Principal when the post prom committee was selling hams.  He has to have called at least twice a week with updates and reminders.  To this day I seriously start twitching any time I hear the words “ham sales”.  (No.  I didn’t buy one. Or sell one. They annoyed me with the phone too badly.)

About three years ago they upgraded the system.  It meant you could add cell phones and text message and e-mails. Fabulous.  I didn’t figure out until I got the call that school was cancelled because of a blizzard THREE times (one per phone) at 6:00am that it had automatically added all the numbers and I needed to go in and pick which ones I wanted it to use.  They probably sent that information out and I didn’t read it.  Wouldn’t be a new thing.  The other bonus of the upgrade is that now the caller can choose between using their voice or the “computerized voice.”  I love the CV.  She says the greatest things.  All the administrator has to do is type in what they want read and the CV will read it over the call for them.  Simple right? Except for the fact that the CV is actually a computer which is very literal and people don’t realize that.  For example if I type “grades 10-12 will have an assembly” you read the “-” as “through”. CV reads it (over the phone) “grades 10 dash 12”.  If I type “you will NOT be able to” you read the emphasis on the word “not”. CV thinks it’s an abbreviation (like IRS for example) and reads each letter individually with a pause in between so it sounds like “you will N…O…T… be able”.  I have had hours of fun listening to CV.  She makes me laugh.

My favorite phone system folly this week happened when I arrived home Monday to find a message from our son’s school reminding me about picture day.  Picture day was….MONDAY.  The call came in at 2pm.  This might be a good lesson in double checking the “delivery date” you set when you pre-schedule an automated call.  His principal is new this year so I’ll cut him some slack.   I’ll give him some time to learn it before I start muttering about technology only being as good as the person using it. Besides it made me laugh and everyone needs a laugh on Mondays. 

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Today’s Quick Observations

Today has been one of those days. Not bad really just one of those days when you can feel what is left of your brain slipping out of your ears by the time that you arrive home from work.  Because I scare myself when I get to this point I am not going to try to put together anything coherent today. Instead I will just delight everyone with the random observations from my day.

  • There needs to be some sort of force field in a vehicle that shuts down all phone function.  That way I won’t have to wait at a light while the teenager in front of me finished whatever it is she was doing. In her defense – GOLD STAR for not texting a driving.
  • Teenage drivers are scary.  I am glad I don’t see my own children and their behavior around the high school.
  • No kid in high school needs a truck with dual wheels. The curbs in the parking lot can’t take it.  By the way – nice dual exhaust too. I’m impressed.
  • Have you ever noticed that there are some cars you drive up behind and automatically know how old the driver is without having to see them.  Beat up Corsica that likes to lane flip? 16. Really nice Cadillac going 25? 116.
  • The amount of energy your child has in the morning is directly correlated to the lack of sleep you got the night before.
  • The closer we get to the elections the more people I have to hide from my Facebook feed.  Why be agitated over a social network?
  • Directly related to above: there are some really angry people running around.  I feel bad for them. I just don’t want to read their rantings.
  • People really don’t want your opinion, they just want you to agree with them.
  • When you are in a rush to get out of the grocery store you always end up with the slowest checker on the planet.  He’s a nice guy though so I just smile and chat with him.  Wait.  Maybe that makes him slower….
  • I really wish there was a pill that I could take so that I could read people’s minds. It would make my job so much easier.  Of course it would probably hurt my feelings too.
  • Meetings that last longer than two hours and go over my lunch break should be required to include snacks.
  • When you over sleep and then have to exercise after a really long meeting-filled day it seems like the time is twice as long.  Note to self: don’t ever do that again.
  • There are some days that leftovers are a blessing.
  • Teenage girls come to life about the time that their mother hits “the wall”.  They still can’t, however, seem to sweep the kitchen floor. They can, however, make her laugh hysterically over the dumbest things.  They like that so it becomes their goal.

That’s all I have for today.  I am off to count the minutes until bedtime!

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It’s The Quiet Ones…..

 I have to admit that I have never been accused of being a quiet person.  In fact people generally get nervous when I am quiet.   I don’t know if they figure I’m plotting something or whether they think I’m mad but it generally throws people off.  I guess you could call me outgoing.  Or a blabber mouth. Or obnoxious.  One of those.  The same thing could be said of all four of our children.  They are generally outgoing talkative people.  They all have their quiet moments (never at the same time of course….that would be too nice for mom) but for the most part they are talkers.  Funny talkers.  Have I mentioned they crack me up at least once a day?  Because their personalities are similar to mine I am the one who usually gets blamed for their warped senses of humor.  My husband is the quiet one.  That means people think he is either serious or grumpy.  He’s neither.  He’s just quieter than the rest of us.  How could you not be?  The truth of the matter is that the man is funny.  I can’t take all the blame/credit for our children’s senses of humor.  Their father is just as much a part of it as I am.  He’s just more selective about around whom he acts that way.  He’s probably the smart one.  He’s certainly been labeled “the quiet one.”

The other “quiet guy” in my life is my daddy.  He’s the soft spoken one.  The guy serious guy.  The quiet one.  Well.  He used to be.  Since he’s retired he’s broken out of that shell….well…..A LOT!  I guess shedding the title “engineer” freed him.  Perhaps it was just getting him away from all those numbers and grumpy coworkers.  Or it could just be that he’s always been funny but you had to be paying attention to notice.  Whatever it is the man plain flat cracks me up most of the time. He’s always thinking of something to do to “help” us all.

Last spring my oldest niece posted a short video of her younger brother studying.  In various voices the poor kid was bemoaning that he couldn’t find Argon on his periodic table.  My children and their cousins forget that grandpa gets on Facebook – or “face place” as he calls it. When my nephew arrived for the picnic dinner on Memorial Day weekend his grandfather had written out every possible fact about Argon there is to know and presented him with a complied list.  I know because I was around while Daddy took an hour looking stuff up on the internet.  He wants to be accurate when he is funny.  

He’s forever doing things like that.  Paying attention to what is going on in our lives and then doing something that fits in perfectly and is funny.  It’s his way of telling us that he loves us.  It’s also the way his “quiet” sense of humor works.  His latest?  As some of you may remember a week or so ago I had a little rant about the pencil that turned up missing from my desk at work.  For those of you who missed that – you are fortunate. (Or you can go here.) Yesterday my boss walked by me before church started and asked, “Do you have any idea why your mom would have mailed us two mechanical pencils?”  I truly thought my daughters were going to slide under the pew because they were laughing so hard.  “No.” I replied, “but I think I know why my DAD would.”   This morning I found these on my desk:

See? Not only does he read my blog but he pays attention to details.  Those are the exact same pencils as the ones I had that kept getting stolen.  He’s accurate in his humor.  He’s a total crack up.  No one looking from the outside would ever picture him acting like that.  They don’t picture my husband ever doing anything silly either.  That’s because they haven’t learned what both these men prove daily:

It’s the quiet ones you have to look out for!

 

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Kid Quotes #10

This week I am going to start with a few of the incredibly sweet things that my kids said to me this week.  Things that made my eyes “sweat”.  Tuesday was my birthday. I have never been one to make a big deal about my birthday but I have spent the last 11 years really down playing it for obvious reasons.  It just has seemed wrong to celebrate when so many people are hurting on that day.  This year Jakob, who wasn’t even born yet in 2001, looked at me and said, “Mom what those guys did was mean and horrible. It was a bad day.  But you let them keep stealing your birthday. It’s like they still win.”  Pretty profound for a ten-year-old. At dinner that night Brittnie was asked to say the blessing.  Part of it went like this: “Thank you for Mom today and just let her know how awesome she is and how much we love her.”  I wonder if she knows how awesome she is?

Okay…back to the usual silliness of our family!

I was explaining to our oldest, Erik, about the funny shift his dad is working for the next two weeks.  They are in a planned “outage” where he works so I was repeating the details my husband told me. Erik finally said to me, “Mom the fact that you remembered all that and can repeat it either scares or impresses me.”

Jakob and I were watching a football game on tv. Somehow we got on the subject of my kids not being intimidated by me at all. Me: “I’m scarier than you think!” J: “Mom you are about as scary as that bear.” He pointed at the tv. There was a Snuggle commercial on.

On a different night I jokingly threatened Lyndsie. L: “You don’t scare me!” Me: “That’s because you don’t have car keys yet.” L: “You won’t scare me then either.” Me: “Keep it up and you won’t ever get car keys.” Jakob: “I think she’s serious.  Quit now or start saving for a bike.”

One after noon I met the girls as they came in the house after school. “Please take your laundry out of the basket and put it away.” L: “Laundry in the basket?” Me: “Yes. Your laundry that has been in the basket all week. You know. The basket I can no longer lift because it is so full?” Brittnie: “Wow. You must have really wimpy arms.” Me: “Do you have a death wish?” B: “Then my laundry won’t get put away.”  Some days its better to just walk away.

I called to the girls who were napping in the living room that dinner was ready. Jakob: “They are probably both dead asleep.” Brittnie walked in. Me: “There’s one.  I think I just saw the other one’s arm move.” J: “Or she’s having a seizure.”

My lippy 14-year-old had pushed me enough so I gave her a ‘look’. Lyndsie: “Don’t hit me!” Me: “When have I ever hit you?” L: “That isn’t the point. You could start.”  Keep it up. I might!

I was at the computer while the girls were watching TV. Suddenly I heard, “I’ll blow your head off!”  Me: “What are you two watching?” Brittnie: “Criminal Minds.  What other show do we watch where people’s heads get blown off?”  I think that makes me feel better.

Jakob: “I have the super mario song from my game stuck in my head.” Brittnie: “Let me help!” She started singing “The Final Countdown”.  Yep. They’re my kids!!

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