"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Friday, December 28, 2007

Lowes Knows...But I Don't

Blessed joy of joys, for Christmas I received a number of gift cards for Lowes Home Improvement Mecca and Shrine.

Perhaps you (or your husband or your dad or your wacky Mr.-Roper-Like landlord) have discovered fantastic new tools or gadgets by which our lives may be revolutionized.

I like power tools, but I don't know what to get next.

Maybe a router? (I already have a router table; go figure.)
Maybe a jigsaw or scrollsaw? For woodsy, crafty things.
Maybe a soldering iron. For ironing my solders.
What's cool and useful out there?

I just don't know.

If I don't buy a man tool, the giftcard may get sucked up by carpet, countertops, lightbulbs and such. And none of THOSE things will put a follicle of hair on your chest.

Maybe a jackhammer? A testosterone-powered metal bender? Explosives for digging a hole for a pool?
(Great. With the word "explosives," I think I've just been flagged by Homeland Security or CTU.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

"This Is The Best Christmas Ever!"

That's what the kids said this year.
I do believe they said that last year, too.
And the year before.

Our oldest seemed just as excited to see her sisters open the presents she had bought and wrapped for them as she was about opening her own.
Our youngest wrote a sweet thank you note (all on her own) before the day was over.

They seemed genuinely grateful for each gift, each stocking stuffer...from clothes to books to candy. We didn't go overboard this year. Didn't need to. Grandma and Grandpa took care of that for us. We could've told them not to, but I was happy to accept their Wii, thank you very much.

By the end of the day, we'd eaten a delicious breakfast, read about Joseph, Mary and the Wise Men in Matthew (we visited Luke last night), opened presents, called grandparents, played with presents more, ate steak and shrimp, did a little Dance Dance Revolution, ate soup, made a Birthday Cake for Jesus which we ate on his behalf, and sang some karaoke.

Perhaps the most interesting presents were the four little
rolling suitcases lined up and covered with a blanket.
They looked disturbingly like a coffin,
our daughters were quick to note.

The treat for the afternoon was talking to cousins on Skype on the computer. Essentially, it's a video phone over the internet, much like you are all familiar with from the Jetsons.

Anyway, it was a beautiful day. We know we are blessed and loved. And we have enjoyed this day when we have both given and received blessings and love in so many ways.

My only regret is that no one but our children were present for Cindy's and my ear-splitting karaoke rendition of "We're All In This Together" from High School Musical. Our children hardly cried at all through it. I think they are becoming numb to our obnxiousness.

Merry Christmas to you all!

And yes, I got a cheese ball in my stocking, thanks for asking! Half gone now.

This IS the best Christmas EVER!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Notes To Self

It's Christmas Eve, and I really have no expectation that anyone is reading this. In fact, if you ARE reading this on Christmas Eve, I have pity on you and your miserable life. Certainly you have better things to do, right?

So since I expect no readers today, I'm just making my own personal holiday notes so I can check back a year from now and learn from my mistakes and successes.
Water the tree 48 times a day. Most years (every year) I forget and skip a day or three and the tree gets mange. This year I've been obsessive about the bi-hourly feedings (slight exaggeration), and my live tree is STILL sucking up water! It's a Christmas miracle. I wouldn't be surprised if it starts growing roots and decides to live forever. However, it's already scraping the ceiling, so maybe I'll stop putting the Miracle-Gro in the water.

I must remember to buy my wife's stocking stuffers early in the season and tell her. Every year, she takes it upon herself to fill her own stocking. It's as if there was one (or two or more) Christmases where I'd gotten so wrapped up in her humongously impressive and poignant presents that I'd neglected the sock on the mantle. So now when I go to fill her stocking, there's no room because she beats me to the punch. Do all wives/moms do that?

Don't volunteer to have the whole family read scripture at the Christmas Eve service at church until after I've verified that the children actually have clothes to wear and shoes besides their Crocs. While I'm fine with holey jeans and tattered t-shirts, evidently moms like their daughters not to look like shipwrecked sailors when they're up in front of people.

While I should buy stocking stuffers early, yesterday I learned why I've always waited until the absolute last minute to buy my wife's presents. Well, yes, I AM lazy. But I'm a fickle person and thoughtful present-buyer (I guess that's just another phrase for "lazy"?), but I've just experienced the horror of seeing the PERFECT present yesterday for Cindy... after her presents have already been bought and wrapped and placed under the tree. If only I'd continued my lazy streak, I'd be able to buy the perfect present for her still. I guess I could unwrap the stupid, unsatisfactory, world's-worst-ever presents I already bought and return them and buy the perfect present, but again...there's the lazy factor.
I'm sure I'll remember all this and more in eleven or twelve months.

Merry Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Our Narcissistic Holiday Blatherings

Here's the annual Family Christmas Letter that you were warned about. I assure you, our feelings will not be hurt if you turn back now. I'm sure you could come up with all kinds of productive things to do with the 3 1/2 hours it would take you to read this.
Oh, and the pictures were right side up in the real letters that are arriving in mailboxes as we speak. But YOU, oh internetters, must turn your monitors sideways to enjoy them.
Have at it.


Merry Christmas!
We hope this finds you and yours relaxing by the fire, sipping hot cocoa and clawing over who gets to read our riveting Christmas letter first.

The biggest news at the Newland house recently is that Cassie (5th grade) and Shelby (3rd grade) went to public school this fall after a successful career of homeschooling. I joke that they got expelled from the Newland Academy, but that's just nonsense, because they were both at the very top of their respective classes before leaving. Both girls are doing a fabulous job at school. We prayed a lot before making the transition, and God has overwhelmed us with His faithfulness! They each have terrific teachers that are perfect for their personalities and an amazing principal. We couldn't be happier! With her class size cut in half, Cindy is enjoying a little more time with Brynne (2nd grade) and Jenna (1st). They are smart little whippersnappers just like their big sisters.

In order to enrich our daughters' educational endeavors, we took a big trip out East in the spring. I know, we keep putting off the visit to world's biggest ball of twine, but with our studies of Lincoln and the Civil War, it just seemed to make better sense to visit Gettysburg, PA; Washington, D.C.; and Ocean City, Maryland. So Ocean City didn't actually fit in with the history theme, but Thrasher's French Fries is considered a historic site on the Boardwalk there. History highlights included Ford's Theater, The Holocaust Museum, Little Round Top at Gettysburg and freeze-dried ice cream at the Air & Space Museum. Cindy and I also got to add a side trip to the Grand Canyon to some business travel. Can’t wait to take the kids next time!

Cassie (11 1/2) is doing great at school in all subjects (even though she's absolutely horrified by missing ONE speeling wurd awl yeer long.) She's still sweet and relatively quiet, but would you believe that she had a 'big' part in the church Christmas musical? We are so incredibly proud of her. She did great; she even had a line that brought some laughs. That's my girl. She's in Bible Bowl again (with Shelby and Brynne) and doing great, already bringing home trophies, ribbons and the scalps of her opponents.

Shelby (9) is loving school too. While I'm sure they teach things like math and writing at this public school of hers, I mostly hear about who she played football with at recess. She played soccer in the fall and has just started Upward Basketball for the winter. So like her jock dad she is. (Shelby just read that over my shoulder. 'I'm NOTHING like you in sports, dad!' Perhaps 'sarcasm' hasn't been on her vocabulary list yet.) She's also a great Bible Bowl competitor on the same team with Cassie. It is absolutely amazing how much Bible knowledge they have!

Brynne (8) continues to hone her mad fashion skillz. And yet she can also tear up the soccer field and basketball court. This was her first summer to go to Mexico with Shelby and me to build homes. She loved it and has now convinced the whole family to come with us next year. She's doing Bible Bowl this year with her big sisters and also getting her hands on some trophy action. As I'm writing this, she's down at the bus stop watching her sisters ride off into the sunrise as she dreams of the day that she too may be shipped off to sweet blessed Public School.

Jenna (6 1/2) tries hard not to be the 'baby' of the family by insisting on growing up. No, she's not wearing lipstick and high heels, but she does keep losing teeth at an alarming rate, and she's learning to read and other such non-baby things. The theme of soccer and basketball continues with her as well, plus she is a self-proclaimed artiste. She finally is old enough to join Mommy's choir at church, so all four girls were in it at the same time; this will happen less frequently than Halley's Comet, so we're making a big deal of it.

Cindy has been crafting, painting, and even sewing in an effort to subsidize her Starbucks habit. Babysitting a few little ones each week allows her to upgrade to Venti. She directed the children's musical again this year and is keeping busy in so many ways, but never too busy to be a great mom and wife, I assure you. She even has enough left over to adopt a couple of college girls who we have enjoyed making part of family at birthday parties and Christmas-cookie-making-time. Cindy’s health is improved as her neuralgia episodes have been fewer and farther between, so thank you to any and all who have prayed for relief in that area.

Those of you who have prayed for miraculous hair regeneration for me, on the other hand, get no thanks. I went and shaved it all off in July for the kids at church camp, and I've kept my head smooth and shiny ever since. With the money saved on shampoo and hair care products, I've gone out and bought a can of Coke. Work is good and Sherwood Oaks continues to be a fantastic place to work and worship.

Well, enough about our family and my hair.

We do pray that 2008 brings bucketfuls of blessings for you and those you love. Thank you to those of you whose own updates we've already received. We look forward to more still coming. And for those of you whose wives don't force you to write these narcissistic blatherings, you have one more thing to be thankful for this blessed Christmas season.

Love and Blessings in the New Year,

Scott & Cindy
and Cassie, Shelby, Brynne and Jenna

Friday, December 21, 2007

Would You Like Vomit With Your Order?

Sometimes our two older children choose to TAKE a lunch to school.
Sometimes they choose to BUY what the lunch ladies have whipped up.

How to decide?
Here was the process today...

Shelby: Dad. Could you help me pack a lunch today?
Dad: Well, I have vomit all over my hands right now.
Shelby: I'll just buy a lunch today.
Oh, by the way, we have a sick child.
Thanks for vomiting on yourself in the living room, Jenna. You got me out of having to pack a lunch. Whew.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

the Dreaded Christmas Letter

You think Halloween is scary?
I can top it. The Day When Your Wife Tells You To Write The Annual Christmas Letter.

I really like to write. Seriously I do. But family Christmas letters have a reputation for being landfill fodder, and the last thing I want to be responsible for is the desolation of this wonderful planet.

So when I write my Christmas letter, I feel the pressure of writing something that will endure. Something that may be framed (which is impractical since it’s two-sided). Something you’ll put in the magazine rack in the bathroom and read over and over. Something that may be quoted or referred to in a footnote in a scientific journal. You get the picture.

That’s why I lose sleep the day before the letter is “due.” Cindy tightened my thumbscrews a couple nights ago, brought the laptop to bed, logged in to my blog and said, “Here. Write it like it’s a blog post, because you KNOW you have no trouble writing clever and engagingly entertaining stuff when you’re blogging.” And you know what? It worked. The words flowed. My muse had appeared. The letter is done. In fact, it should be in the mail right now as you’re reading this.

I’ll probably wait a few days for the masses to receive their letters. Then I might post it here for the rest of you unfortunate internetters whom I’d love 40-cents-postage-worth, but not 41. Sorry, but I still have to feed my children, and ramen noodles ain’t as cheap as they used to be.

Until then, you’ll just have to wait for what is possibly the only family Christmas letter in the nation to mention “scalping.” (If that inspired you to add a last-minute scalping reference to your Christmas letter, be sure to send me a copy.)

Headband/Bookmarks Easy Genius Idea

My Works For Me Wednesday Idea comes from the office next to mine today.

You know those stretchy headbands that are knitted or something? They have lots of holes in the weave and come in all kinds of colors. (I'm a guy. Women out there probably know exactly what I'm talking about. Here's a picture just in case.)

Well, my coworker just showed me how she was using one as a bookmark. She simply opened a book to whatever page and slid the headband around the front cover and the pages and closed the book again.

Then because of the open weave of the headband she was able to slide in a pen or highlighter outside so she had a dual bookmark/pen-holder. (i probably should've taken a picture of it in use, but perhaps you can imagine a book in place of this cutie's head and some pens clipped in the holes of the headband.)

Might make a great stocking stuffer for my daughters who love to read!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

If You're Happy And You Know It...

[the events of the previous post took place back in 2000. So if you were hoping to drop by our home and see "Goliath", you're out of luck. But if you get your time machine working, give me a heads up.]

Growing up with artificial Christmas trees, I didn't really know how to care for real trees when our family went "live" several years ago.

I knew, of course, that you have to water them. But sure enough, I'd skip a day--one lousy day--and the tree would cross its arms, stomp it's feet, and go on a water strike for the rest of the season, dropping its needles just to get back at us.

This Christmas, we've had our tree for more than a week now, and IT'S STILL DRINKING that sweet nectar I'm feeding it from the tap. I get excited about simple things, and the fact that my tree is alive and well is enough to make me rent a billboard so I can tell the world.

So if your tree is dried up like a raisin, and you can't be friends with me anymore because of the jealousy that's consumed your black little heart, I'll be praying for you.

So that's the little thing bringing me joy this moment.

I'm kind of curious what minor detail this holiday season is making YOU giddy with delight.
(Coordinating wrapping paper? A deer on ice in the garage? Reduced-price cream cheese?)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas 2000: The Year of the Sequoia

Sometimes it’s hard to judge just how big a Christmas tree is when it’s closed up like an umbrella and bundled with twine.

I only knew that this was a tall one. We needed tall. We had a high vaulted ceiling.

And we knew that this one had a bad side, but that’s o.k. It was going in a corner.

For some reason, even though we had cut this tree ourselves and had seen it’s shape and size in person, it was hard to put that in perspective with the size and shape of our living room. In the however-many-acre tree farm, the tree seemed relatively small, and compared to the other trees around it, it might have been big but not ginormous.

But when you put a tree in your living room, the points of reference for size are no longer barns, cows and Europe. The points of reference are smaller things like end tables, couches and preschool girls.

So standing there still wrapped in twine in the corner, this tree looked gloriously tall. I could swear it had grown two more feet on the way home.

It was time to cut the string and release the branches. Well, if the tree had grown 2 feet taller on the way home, it evidently had also grown 12 feet WIDER as well. The branches flung out after being relieved of their girdle, and I ran for cover. Try to picture any of those action flicks with explosions where you watch Bruce Willis running toward the camera while a fireball is lapping at his heels, the force of which propels him, blackens his skin and rips his clothes, leaving him breathless and in a heap.

…moments later, I awoke in the opposite corner of the room, skin blackened, clothes torn, breathless, heaped.

I looked across what once had been my living room, and all I saw now was tree. There was no couch, only tree. No carpet, only tree. Where once there had been air to breathe, all that remained now in all directions was tree. Cindy and I laughed for a long time, but it was that nervous kind of laugh like when you accidentally lean against your car and it rolls over a cliff and all you CAN do is laugh because you just can’t believe that you’re watching your car flipping end over end before landing upside down on the rocks below. So we’d just sit together on the couch in the front yard (I’m telling you there WAS no room inside) and laugh and laugh and laugh…and cry.

Friends would drop in, and the first thing they would do was offer their condolences, “That sure is a big tree.”

And we would say, “Here, let me take your coat. If you’ll just press your body up against the wall like this and duck a little, you can shimmy over like this and maneuver your way to the bedroom where the party is because we no longer have a living room…ever since OUR TREE ATE IT.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Observations While Bell Ringing

Tuesday was balmy. It was in the 60's, and I was about to go to work shirtless because it was so unseasonably mild...but I didn't want to make all my coworkers unseasonably sick.

Then today the weatherman caught wind that I was going to be outside ringing a bell for the Salvation Army at the local Kroger grocery store, so he decided it should be cold and bitter. He also decided not to tell me to take my gloves.

The nice thing, though, about the icy cold temperature was that it kept me awake. Thanks to this heightened state of alertness, I was able to make several observations about my fellow man, and about the automatic sliding entrance doors at Kroger.

* Nice people who have already given money to charities this season and therefore aren't going to today sometimes feel they need to tell you, just in case you thought they were selfish with their nickels. Really, folks, I'm not making eye contact unless you enter my space (for your sake, not mine). I'm not asking for your money and I'm not even thinking about your money when you walk by. I just ring the bell. I didn't even put money in myself today. *GASP*

* The young guy who was in there for about 30 minutes must not be familiar with this store, because after that long shopping trip, all he came out with was a couple bottles of something. The lady with the crying two year old got a whole cart load in less than 15 minutes.

* The sight of the nice lady with the two young children humored me (not because she had two children; I don't know why you'd think I thought that was the funny part). She had one of those fancy carts with the extra two seats in the front for the kids the sit in, in addition to the regular seat. And yet, none of the three seats was occupied. One child was standing in the front, as if recreating the the warning scene printed on the plastic flip-down seat--the one that's crossed off because it may result in death. The other child was being carried by the mom in much the same manner as you'd carry a greased pig across a grocery store parking lot while pushing an oversized cart with death-wish-child on the front. Not funny to her, but brought a smile to me.

* I almost made a smart alec comment to a lady coming IN carrying a bag of groceries. Because it's the opposite of what everyone else was doing, you know. But I maintained my philosophy of not making eye contact or speaking to anyone unless they approached me so as not to make them feel awkward about not giving. Turns out she WASN'T coming in to stock the shelves with homemade food as I originally thought. She was coming back in to DONATE food at a collection box inside the entrance. Good for her. I like nice people.

* I spent much of the time developing a number of ways to ring a bell with the least amount of effort possible. I finally settled into letting it hang loosely between by knuckles while I simply rocked back and forth a little on my feet. I didn't want my elbow cramping, you know.

* I also spent almost the entire time trying to keep from triggering the sensor on the automatic door every two seconds. I felt bad for the little old ladies with walkers waiting inside for their van from the retirement home. The door opened constantly and I know those ladies had to be almost as cold as I was. Hence, the minimal-movement bell-ringing method I developed by my last two minutes at my post. Of course, once they left, I figured out that it was the LADIES triggering the door, not me, but my experiments helped pass the time faster anyway.

It was a very cold 7 hours out in front of the Kroger. Actually, it was only one hour, but it sure felt like 7.

Oh, if you were one of the customers who saw me today and wondered why I was smiling the whole time, your guess is correct. I WAS imagining everyone in pajamas, picking out the right style for each personality. This was inspired by the college kid actually wearing pajamas.

Toilet = Gift Card

Sometimes it's just so stinkin' hard to find the right gift for someone.

That's when you're tempted just to go out and buy a gift card. Then THEY can buy something.

But how fun is that? Not much.
Well, unless it's a really big gift card that can send someone on a shopping spree to end all shopping sprees. But I know you. You get $5, $10, $25, maybe $50 gift cards. Yes, it's a lot of money for many of us, but it's not like Cousin Enrique can now afford his Alaskan Cruise because of your generosity.

Here's a way to spice up the idea of a gift card, though, because I know you really wanted some more spice when it comes to giving people presents without actually giving them any presents.
If you want to give a gift card from a certain store, pass up the gift cards in the rack and go find something hideous for the price range you wanted to spend. The more horrifyingly inappropriate or unnecessary the better. Wrap it and give it to your loved one with the receipt. Then they can use it almost like a gift card. They simpy return it for cash or store credit and get whatever they wanted all along but were afraid to ask for.
My brother and sister-in-law got me a toilet last year. It may have taken a while for some family members to understand why I had received a toilet. I wasn't remodeling or anything. I'm hoping this becomes a tradition like a white elephant gift exchange...except these actually have value and be returned for real money, unlike that plastic cactus in the Buddha planter.

Great Gift Ideas to Return

* Toilet
* Legging or tights (for a guy)
* Pet Turtles
* Hairspray
* Bill Cosby Sweaters (you know what I'm talking 'bout)
* Cutlery
* Shutters

Merry Christmas!
And friends, be sure to click here and vote for my funny wife (a.k.a. StillHisGirl) for "Funniest Homeschool Blogger." You can only vote once per computer maybe, so have your spouse vote at work, break into your neighbors, whatever it takes!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Leave The Seat Down

I think some of you were starting to worry that I'd forgotten all about selecting a winner from those who had solved the daBlogi Code. And you were right to worry, because I had totally erased it from my RAM.

Well, a very elite few had the brain power (and the time to waste) necessary to solve this puzzle.
Some people left comments. Some emailed.
They acted like they knew the answer, but only one person actually spelled it out so I could know for sure she had the right answer.

So congratulations to Billie who emailed me the answer: "Leave The Seat Down." And if someone else did too, and I overlooked you, I'm so sorry. Sweet talk me and we'll work out a consolation prize.

I know you all expected something more heart-stopping from Leonardo daBlogi like "The world will end in ____" or "Vick will get 23 in o7" or "there's some spinach in your teeth."

But the message is what the message is. Leave The Seat Down. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Our cryptologists are still studying, but it appears that the message appears to have come from MRS. daBlogi instead of Leonardo himself. Who knew?

Billie, you have your choice from the following books:
"Life's Little DEstruction Book" with such hints as "overstay your welcome" and "don't flush."
"Daddy's Boy" by Chris Elliot, with rebuttals by his dad. The humorous story of a bitter son.
"Motherhood Is Stranger Than Fiction" cute cartoons by Mary Chambers.
"Children's Letters To God" like "What does begat mean? Nobody will tell me."

And if any of you losers wish you had won one of the books that Billie doesn't pick, then convince me to have a contest where you're guaranteed to win...like "Most Irrelevant Mentions of Nutella in a Blog." Tim's a shoe-in for that.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

She'll Kiss Your Baby If That's What It'll Take

I don't mean to mislead you.
I'm NOT a nominee for the homeschool blog awards. I'm not really hurt by failing to be nominated. I don't blog about homeschooling a whole lot. In fact, even though my wife has been homeschooling for the last 6 or 7 years, I didn't even discover she's been doing that until a few months ago...I'm THAT involved.
I always thought it was strange that I'd come home for something in the middle of the day and find all the kids still there. Now it all makes sense.
Anyway, a good percentage of the 3 people who visit my blog come here by way of Cindy's blog. So you probably are already aware that she has been nominated in the categories of Funniest Homeschool Blogger and Best Encourager. While she is out on her speaking circuit, holding campaign dinners and fundraisers, and kissing babies, I thought I would lend my support by campaigning right here in the comfort of my comfy plaid armchair.

It should come as no surprise that we're recycling "She's A Bad Mamma Jamma" as her campaign rallying cry/theme song again. I'm working on the yard signs right now and should have them available for ordering by week's end. Buttons, banners, and acrylic nails with her silhouette on them are also forthcoming.

Of course, during this busy homeschool blogger election season, things will be a little crazy around here. I'll be picking up some extra slack here while she's doing her appearances on the morning shows, but it's worth it. The opportunities that this could open up for our future are incredible.

So be sure to click on the nominee button above and vote for "Still His Girl" as the funniest homeschool blog in the known universe (and Best Encourager if she happens to have touched you in that way). And if you don't already know she's the funniest, check out her blog and judge for yourself. Then you can vote for her here.

If any of you around the country want to get in touch with the "Still His Girl" campaign headquarters in your state or region, let me know and we'll hook you up. We know she's probably going to carry Wisconsin and Kansas and Guam, but we could use more help getting the word out in West as well as the portion of the country referred to as the "Ill-Humored Belt."

Most importantly, anyone who has connections with Cindy's BFF Mandisa should work your magic and get her to endorse Cindy or maybe have her perform at the election night result s extravaganza.


Saturday, December 8, 2007

Oops...a Hanukkah Ham?

Heard about this on the news and had to find the photo. Sorry if you've already seen it a hundred times.
Evidently this was at an upscale grocery store in Manhattan. I thought about writing some humorous comments to go with the photo, but really, the picture needs no help. (Unless you are unaware that Jews don't generally eat pork, in which case you probably thought I was humored that ham there costs $6.99/lb.)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Clam Chowder to Die For

This clam chowder really is worth selling your children for or giving up a limb in order to even lick a spoon that once held a small amount of it.

We had friends over last week, and when we were working on the menu, I asked them, "Do you like clam chowder?" The response was kind, since our friends are very polite and accommodating, but between the lines I heard, "I will eat your chowder because my parents raised me right, but if you have anything else that's less disgusting and vile and putrid, perhaps I might enjoy the evening with you even more."

So we also made a cheesy potato soup.

And what did our friend go back and gets seconds of? THE CLAM CHOWDER! No, I'm not lying. Not my style.

So here it is for you to win over your non-chowder-slurping friends as well.

I will be writing it in Man Recipe Format (MRF), and I'm doing it from memory because it's eeeeeeeeeeeasy.
Dump all of the following in a big pot and heat it on the stove:

* 3 Cans of Cream of Potato Soup (condensed, of course. Some fancy stores might actually sell ready to eat soup, but you want the good ol'fashioned thick stuff because You Are A Great Cook.)

* 3 Cans of New England Clam Chowder (the white kind. so help me if you use that red kind, you will lose friends and not influence people. also condensed)

* 1 Can of Cream of Celery Soup (you got it, condensed. I don't know that there's actually any celery in this soup, so don't freak out if you hate celery. I have never noticed celery when I eat the chowder. Just not a fan of celery, but a huuuge fan of this chowder.)

Have you noticed so far that you're just making soup out of soup. We have not sliced a single vegetable or sauteed nothin'. Just the pleasant whirrrrr of the can opener. And yet, your guests will think you've been shelling clams and grinding whole grain chowder since the crack of dawn.

* 2 cans of Minced Clams (these are those flat cans like tuna cans). We drain the water out of one can, but include the water from the other. I don't know that it matters much at all. My mom has even made it without adding the clams. It's legal. I checked.

* 2 to 3 pints of heavy cream or whipping cream. (not WHIPPED cream, silly. And we've done both amounts, just makes it thicker or thinner.)

Just heat it up and ladle away.
Important: We sprinkle a touch of dried parsley flakes and black pepper on the top of each bowl to class it up when serving it. It does look like white vomit otherwise. Maybe that's why some people don't like clam chowder?

I hope you enjoy it as much as we do. We almost always make a meal out of that with cheese and crackers and cheese and maybe some delicious summer sausage...and cheese.

I am going to go eat some leftover chowder right now. (It gets thick in the fridge, so I'll add some milk to thin it down a tad, seeing as how soup should be eaten with a spoon, not a knife.)

more soup recipes to wet your whistle at BooMama's insanely fun little corner of the world.

Buried Under A Nano-Meter of Snow

Don't you love how a child can take a toy out of its cardboard box and play with it for hours?
And I remember a hundred different ways I could play with just a handful of blocks. I could build forts, mountains, trains, bombs, robots...anything. I was that gifted.

I know it's tempting to think our kids need lots of stuff to be happy (and occupied). But it's refreshing sometimes to see how much delight they get out of simple things.

This morning, for instance, our kids awoke to the first snow of the season. Mind you, it had snowed previously, but it had been too warm for it to stick or accumulate.

So today when they looked out and saw the snow on the ground, they were elated. In this part of Indiana, there's never necessarily any guarantee of snow like in some parts farther north. We may get a foot of snow, or we may not get any. So my children know that they have to be thankful for whatever amount they get; this may be it, kiddos.

So they hurried to do all their morning chores so they could play outside before school. By "morning chores" I mean leaving food out on the counter, scattering schoolwork on the floor, leaving beds unmade and teeth unbrushed. But, hey, it's the first snow of the season.

Like I said, my children are thankful for whatever amount of snow they get. When you see the picture below, you'll squint to try to see any snow. Well, it's there I assure you. You just can't see it. Just as an old prospector may have to pan through 5 gazillion screen of rocks and creek water to find a pin-sized nugget o'gold, my girls toiled long and hard to harvest enough snow for some snow balls.
Seriously, do you see any snow, folks? The only snow that I could see was on our sidewalk, not even the driveway, just the sidewalk...and not very much at all. But these industrious children scrape and raked and put it all together and here is what all their hard work resulted in.
There you have a couple dozen snowballs on the front step. With the amount of fun all of our girls were having in this winter wonderland, you'd have thought there were two feet of snow and school was out and reindeer were making snow angels under the persimmon tree.

I can only imagine how much fun they'd have if we were to get TWICE that much snow!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Compass Schmompass

I’ve had a post sitting on my Blackberry just waiting for me to hit send.

But I’ve been waiting.

I’ve been waiting for the release of the Golden Compass in theaters this weekend. I’ve read the first two books in the series, but I think a lot of people are going to be more curious about the movie than the books. I mean, seriously, who reads books anymore?

All along, I’ve assumed I’m going to go to the movie and check it out, so I can have an educated assessment.

But today, I read a Q&A with the director on the MTV website/blog. And I’m rethinking the thoughts I’d already rethought several times.

People aren’t going to have a huge problem with the first movie, most likely. I probably won’t. I didn’t have much of concern with the first book. They’ve toned down the religious references for the purposes of making it as mainstream as possible, trying to offend as few as possible. But the director clearly states that this is only so it will be as profitable as possible so he can make the next two movies and be as true to the books in them as possible. So he’s willing to sell out for the greater good of the production of the whole story. That’s smart business sense, and I don’t blame him. But I don’t have to support where he’s going, because I don’t want to go there myself.

Here’s what Chris Weitz, director of “The Golden Compass” said on the MTV Movies blog. (Can you believe I was at the MTV site?)

It’s true, though, that “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass” tread in territory that is much more controversial than the first book… Well, though I saw it as my duty to build the franchise of “His Dark Materials” on as solid a grounding as I could, it would all be in vain if the second and third films did not have the intellectual depth and the iconoclasm of the second and third books. The whole point, to me, of ensuring that “The Golden Compass” is a financial success is so that we have a solid foundation on which to deliver a faithful, more literal adaptation of the second and third books. This is important: whereas “The Golden Compass” had to be introduced to the public carefully, the religious themes in the second and third books can’t be minimized without destroying the spirit of these books. There is simply no way to adapt them without dealing with Lyra’s destined role, her secret name, and the war in the heavens. I will not be involved with any “watering down” of books two and three, since what I have been working towards the whole time in the first film is to be able to deliver on the second and third films. If I sense that this is not possible, there’s no point my continuing to work on them.

I have come very easily to the conclusion that this trilogy is not for children. The movie is rated PG-13, and I am pleased with this. One of the themes that the author would love for us to understand is that religion enslaves children. Children are forced to believe what their parents teach them. They have no voice, they have no freedom. I want my children to wrestle with what they believe, yes. But not while they’re young. I have to have guide them in so many ways. And the amazing thing is that I believe that in Christ they have so much more freedom than they would have without him, but it’s a different kind of freedom than this world understands. We may feel “forced” to have to forgive and love our enemies because of our “bondage” to scripture, but that frees us up to be better, stronger people who can impact this world in a huge way.

So no movie for my family right now. Maybe when they’re older, and we can pick it up at the library for free!

I may write more later when I get to hear/read more about the movie. I’m not usually a boycotter, and I don’t necessarily want to encourage everyone to skip the movie. By all means, check it out for yourself. It’s not going to brainwash you or steal your salvation.

I was going to go so I could see if it’s something appropriate for my family (assuming not). But now that I’ve read enough about it and am familiar with the whole story from reading it, I already know the answer for my kids and can save myself the $9.00 plus popcorn plus Rasinettes and invest it in some mini-marshmallows and cranberries to string and put on the Christmas tree we’re chopping down today.

Hopefully tomorrow I won’t be blogging about an emergency room visit following a tree-chopping adventure gone bad. Ooh, I should tell you about our first chopping experience soon, we laughed for a long time.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hamster 911

When we bought our first hamster about 3 years ago, we knew the life span of these dear creatures was about 2 years. Perfect. That way, if the children grow weary of caring for this beast, we'd only have to wait 23 1/2 more months until we we're free of the burden of responsibility. (We specifically avoided the Turkey Buzzard which can live for 117 years and the Giant Tortoise living well past 150.)

Not long ago, I heard a loud banging coming from the hamster cage. As indicated in a previous post, we've moved her into an aquarium (without the water, silly). I listened carefully, assuming at first that she was tapping out a message in Morse Code.

After listening awhile, I finally decoded the message: "Help...i got mi fatt sehlf stuk in tube and i cnt get owt." After shaking my head, I went in to confront the hamster about her poor spelling.

And lo, I beheld this sight:

I didn't have the presence of mind to take a photo like my wife would have. (example of photo-readiness of Wife: "Oh, wait! Put your finger over your splurting artery for second while I get the camera so I can blog about this.")

So I drew the picture for your long-lasting enjoyment. The hamster was walking around on her back legs, banging the unattached plastic tube against the glass of the aquarium. It really was breathtaking, funny and sad all at the same time. But mostly funny.

Well, I got out the Jaws Of Life and pulled the tube apart then puffed air into the rodent to make it more full and fluffy and less cylindrical.

I'm not putting the tube back in until after a little weight loss. Maybe a miniature elyptical machine or a sauna. I'm also checking out hamster girdles online.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Final Clue -- the daBlogi Code (make your guess)

Here's your last clue for the daBlogi Code.

You probably never noticed this before in all of your art history studies, but hidden in this famous painting by whatshisname, is a single letter.

Find it, and you have found the very last clue to...
...the daBlogi Code.

Add it to the letters you found in the previous riddles, puzzles and annoying conundrums, and you may be able to figure out this important message:

__ __ A __ __
T H __
__ __ __ T
D __ __ __

O.K. Here's a big hint: You may remember that the clues for the code originally appeared on the bathroom wall.

Bigger Hint: Here are the letters you should have gotten out of all of the clues: A, W, E, S, E, L, E, V, E, N, O

Once you've uncovered this earth-shatteringly important message, comment with an estimate of how much of your life was wasted trying to figure it out and email me your answer. You've got until December 7 to figure this puppy out before I award a winner with a free book! (I'll give you three or four to choose from.)
Email Scott your guess!

Clean Pet

It's 'Works For Me Wednesday' when bloggers every where are imparting wisdom and genius to strangers everywhere. For a gazillion wonderful ideas, go to Rocksinmydryer. For a lame idea, read below.

So this may not be helpful for everyone.
But if you have a small rodent-like creature (hamster, gerbil, mole, shrew) and you're tired of all that bedding and stuff flying through the wire cage and spreading throughout the house, then here's a gem of an idea:
Put it in an aquarium.

You're smart. You have probably already done this.
(note: do NOT fill the aquarium with water, Mr. Shumway.)

I noticed this is what they're in at the pet stores, so after a few years of vacuuming up pine bedding out of the carpet within a 2-mile radius around our wire cage 12 times a day, we finally bought an aquarium.
Lo and behold, we now only have to vacuum our house once every other month (just kidding).

We DID buy a wire cage-thingie that fits on top of the aquarium so the hamster can have a penthouse, but the bedding still stays down in the aquarium, and it really has made a huge difference in cleanliness.
I did some modifications so the penthouse can be removed more easily by the children, but now we've got it just the way we like it. And the clear glass means we have a better view of the little vermin than ever before.

And the hamster must like it a lot too. She used to break out of the old cage every once in a while, but she hasn't tried to escape this one yet. She must really love living in it. Either that, or she's unable to chew through glass.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What NOT To Say

Evidently, some people thought yesterdays's post was about feminine hygiene projects, even though it was clearly more about time travel. Who would even confuse the two?

Granted, there was a brief mention and a subcontext and it was in the title and what-not, so I apologize to anyone who was affected by yesterday's post. Send me a receipt, and I will gladly refund you the cost of the bleach you had to buy to cleanse your brain from that filth.

So as to avoid the need for any further cerebral sanitizing, I am starting to compile two separate lists:
A) Things to blog about
B) Things NOT to blog about

I've started it. Please feel free to help out with other ideas.

o.k.: Things that embarrass ME

NOT o.k.: Things that embarrass CINDY

I came up with this list on my own, so you see, I DO have some sense in this bald (shaved) little head.

I will also do my best to refrain from blogging about bodily functions and/or secretions. For THAT you have to head over and visit Gayle, but not while eating.

Anything else I need to avoid?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Time Traveling Hygiene Products?

I'm such a science fiction buff. But not in a nerdy way, I tell myself. Myself chooses to believe this.

There are some really huge science-y subjects that impact our lives. Some are almost theological.

Like, is it possible to travel back in time and alter the future? If so, it would be so awesome to travel back in time and plant objects in just the right place to be used who-knows-when in the future.

For example, that time I needed a pen to fill out an ATM deposit envelope...totally would have saved me a trip inside the bank if tomorrow-me had had the forsight to travel back in time to put a pen in my car yesterday so it would be here for today-me.

Or if tomorrow-me could travel back in time to have purchased milk at the store so today-me wouldn't have to.

Stuff like that. Many people would look at the pen-lessness of my car or the milk-lessness of my fridge and fail to see the science-fiction/physics/multi-dimensional aspects with which those scenarious are clearly dripping.

Thanks to a momentary rip in the fabric of the universe, I was able to get a quick peek at just such an incidence in which I think time-travel must have occured.

While Thanksgiving-ing at my parents, my wife determined that she was in need of certain products...on a day when many stores are CLOSED (more importantly on a day when I'm not planning on leaving the couch much less the house).

Fortunately, before I returned from the back room with a tube sock and a belt to tide my wife over, my mother happily announced that someone had left some of the badly-needed product in the past (or from the future? hmmmm) and it was under the sink.

So whichever sister-in-law-of-the-future had returned to save Thanksgiving, my wife and I thank you.

And I returned the favor. If one of you in the future has need of a tube sock, it's now been left there in the past.
You're very welcome...or you will be.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What's So Funny?

Our friend Sharon had planned her memorial service before she died. It was perfect.

Two ministers and her husband spoke, and each of them included humorous little tidbits, because, after all, Sharon was a very funny person. It would have been totally inappropriate to stay too serious at a service to remember her.

At one point, 6-year-old Jenna looked up at me with a confused expression after laughter had rippled through the room with at least 800 in attendance.

"Why are they laughing?" (as in "I don't get the joke" not "I think this is inappropriate.")

"If you were paying attention," I told my fidgety daughter, "you would understand."

"I AM paying attention," she insisted, insulted that I would think otherwise.

So she sat up even straighter and listened even more intently. The minister made a humorous reference to Sharon's temper which drew another round of laughs.

Jenna wasn't laughing.

She just looked up at me and said, "See?"

Yes, Jenna, there are just some things that don't make sense to young minds. But someday you'll experience more and know more and understand more.

...just as there are things that Sharon now understands so well but I haven't even a clue.

But someday...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Caloric Intake

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, regardless of what shape your food pyramid was today.

Aunt Marilyn (or was it Marcia?) told us today that the average person consumes 2900 calories on Thanksgiving.

I just want to tell whichever person it is out that took in 430 calories that I had them covered for the rest.
They should stop there so as not to throw off the numbers.

And in case anyone was wondering, cheese showed up on the buffet line today on the cauliflour (sp?) and in a yummi cheese ball.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So How 'Bout That Gauge?

Anyone who's up on model trains, please comment on the relative superiority of N-gauge to HO-gauge.

I will not sleep until I have answers.

(It's a lie. I only posted that because of Tim's comment on the previous post. Per my understanding of model trains, "guage" refers to the shininess of the paint, right?)

Origami Wedding Dress in Latvian Rainforest

Perhaps some of you use "statcounter.com" or other such service to analyze traffic at your website or blog.

One feature they have is "keyword analysis" which lets people know which web searches land people at your site. I'm sure this is an important feature for some websites. For me, it's just a novelty. Of course, I know friends are reading my blogs, and then others chance upon it after linking from others friends' blog and then it get viral from there. But every once in a while, it's interesting to think that a total stranger with little or no intention of actually visiting my blog gets tricked into coming because their Google search had me pop up.

For example, I had blogged about hairbrushes and how my girls always lose them. So it was no suprise to see that people had found my blog by googling "Oh Where is my hairbrush."

Some of the more curious/worrisome searches have included:

"Hilary Clinton's body measurements"
"feeding husband to children"

Seriously, who are these people? And why are they being allowed access to the internet?

Just for fun, I'm going to include a few random phrases now and see who else gets sucked in from Google.

"poison dart frogs"
"Huckabee Gets Spray On Tan"
"Mel Gibson in a tutu."
"eating pizza on fine china"
"sub saharan model train collecting."
"just won the lottery am looking for nice family to share winnings with"

Welcome to my blog, you weirdos (and/or generous lottery winners).

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm A Rebel, Oh yes, I Am

You know that movie that a lot of Christians are boycotting this winter?

The one that comes out in theaters soon and is based on a book written by an atheist?

You know. That movie with Nicole Kidman that’s about this godless stuff?

The one that everyone is emailing everyone and telling them also not to see?

Yup. I’ve checked the book(s) out at the library.

Why, you may ask?

I’m a rebel.

And I wanted to be able to speak firsthand about the books/movies if people ask me if they’re bad or good or what.

And to be able to tell me children why they’re going to have to wait a while to see this movie: “Because DAD said so,” not “because SNOPES.com verified the email(S) I received.”

But mostly I’m a rebel.

To be honest, I also checked out the audio books. The actual books made out of paper I got so that the library lady (the one with the hair extensions a slightly different shade from the rest of her hair) would peg me as an intellectual. The audio books are so I could sit in my car listening while I ate straight out of my can of Chef-BoyR-Dee spaghetti with meatballs in the parking lot. (God bless the man who invented the pull-top so I didn’t need a can opener. Plus I believe/hope the meatballs are precooked, so I didn’t need a microwave either.)

Finished the first “book” and on to the second.

I hope no one at my church finds out. (My wife is mortified, I must say. She's still recovering from me bringing home Harry Potter. "What if the neighbors find out?")

Other rebellious things I do:


Watch TV

Eat Velveeta (Only rebellious because I've been told NOT to eat the whole block in one sitting)

Listen to the Christian station with ROCK music (sometimes)

Lather, rinse, NOT repeat

And when I get those cute emails with the puppies and the music and the poems that say I should forward it to 5 people if I truly love them and God?

You guessed it. I delete them.

Anyway, when I finish the series, I may be jotting a little bit of info down here for your enjoyment.

If anybody else out there has read or seen “the Golden Compass” or its sequels, I’d love your insights.

I also welcome the insights of those who choose not to read or watch. I am an equal opportunity acceptor of comments.

So have you lost all respect for me?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

daBlogi Code -- Clue # 4

O.K. For those of you tracking along and uncovering "the daBlogi Code"--including my own 4 darling children and at least one their friends (Hi, Maddie!)--I hope you're not too frustrated with the difficulty of that previous clue yesterday. It WAS a bit misleading, but HEY, no one said this was going to be easy.

I totally understand if you feel like giving up.

I won't even try to make you feel bad if you do, moron.


So far we've found some of Leonardo daBlogi's clues hidden in works of art, in eyeball-straining visual puzzles and in grammar-loving nerd-writing.

This next clue is a MATH puzzle, and it's only hard if you think it is.


Clue # 4


Twenty-one bloggers were online in the small town of Blogsville at 11:02 p.m. Twelve were leaving comments at Blogger #1's blog. Six were leaving comments at Blogger #2's blog. Three were shopping for salad tongs on eBay.

At the same time, a train left Blogsville traveling west toward Dotcomsburg at the speed of 60 m.p.h.

At that exact moment, another train left Dotcomsburg traveling east toward Blogsville at the same speed...ON THE SAME TRACKS.

16 were injured in the trainwreck that occured at 11:32. Half of the inured had broken bones, and half of THOSE had multiple fractures, and half of THOSE also ruined expensive designer shoes.

All but eleven of the bloggers had logged off and were in bed when the accident occured.

How many of the original Blogsville bloggers were still online at the time of the wreck?

Spell that number. Those letters will be added to the letters from the previous clue.

You're starting to get close to solving...

...the daBlogi Code.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Clue #3 -- The daBlogi Code

Welcome to Clue #3 for the daBlogi Code. So far, I've only had two lawsuits against me for the clue in the previous post. My apologies to Halfmoon Girl for that last clue which may have undone her recent corrective eye surgery and to Emily for accentuating her incompetency.

Anyway, on to the next clue. This one is a little more academic, so my apologies in advance to any of you who have intentionally avoided continuing education because you HATE SCHOOL. The following paragraph will further solidify that hatred.

Clue # 3
Somewhere in this paragraph are two typoes (or mispelled words). One of them has an extra letter, and the other one is missing a letter. Find out what those two letters are, and you have your next two letters for solving…
...the daBlogi Code.

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.
—-Albert Einstein
For the answer to this and the other other clues so far, click here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Clue # 2 -- the daBlogi Code

(if you have no idea what the daBlogi Code is, check yesterday's post to find out what this is all about .)

To find the clue hidden in this post, you'll have to stick your nose right up against the puzzle below that was unearthed in a blog discovered in Naples, Italy.

Go ahead, stick your nose right up against that "O" in the middle.

Count to 20, and then slowly move back away from the computer monitor.

As you move away, your eyes will adjust and you'll be able to tell that there are other letters besides just that "O." Remember what other letter you see, because it's another piece of the puzzle for solving...

...the daBlogi Code.
(to find out if your answer is correct, click here.)


Part of our evening routine is to look at the school lunch menu and determine whether the girls pack their lunches or buy them.

Cassie read through the menu:

Popcorn chicken, PB&J, corn....CORN!

She proceeded to run through the house yelling, "Yay! Corn! They're having corn!"

I am led to believe that our school serves some very fine corn.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW -- The daBlogi Code

(Check out other great Works For Me Wednesday stuff over at RockInMyDryer.)
Here's my genius creation for my kids to enjoy:

My kids love riddles and mysteries and clues. And I love making them.

So far I’ve done two different series of "daBaƱo Codes" (stole the idea from the DaVinci Code, but I left the clues on the bathroom wall so they’d have something to read while doing their business.)

I’m creating another one here on my blog this week for my children (and for you bloggers, too I guess) to read and solve, but I’m retitling it more appropriately...the daBlogi Code.

Some of the clues will be insanely easy, perfect for little brothers and sisters.

Other clues will require more thought. They might require research on the internet or asking a friend or parent.

Each clue will reveal a letter or letters, and at the end of all the clues, we’ll unscramble the letters to spell the important message that Leonardi daBlogi left for us to uncover.

Feel free to steal my clues and do this for your kids, or create your own and let me know so I can steal them and use them for MY kids.

Oh...if my kids solve this, they'll get a cool prize. And at the end of the clues, there will also be a chance for a bloggy friend to win too!

Here's the Back Story of the Mysterious daBlogi Code

Centuries ago, Leonardo daBlogi, one of the great bloggers of the Renaissance, left clues in many of his posts. When put together, he hoped that bloggers of the future would be able to make sense of his message.

For the next few days, I will be recreating his ancient writings and artwork in hopes that with your help, together we'll be able to solve…The daBlogi Code.

It is believed by many that the message will turn out to be words of doom and condemnation to a world bent on self-destruction. Others predict the words may simply end up being subtly cautionary, or perhaps humorous.

Whatever the message turns out be, most scholars worth their degrees concur that it will likely herald a new age of enlightenment, a modern Blog renaissance...a veritable BLOGAISSANCE!


One of the paintings at the top of the post is the original, and one is a forgery (a fake!). Once you detect which is the original, remember the letter in the bottom corner. You'll need it to solve the daBlogi code later on.

Click here to see if you're right...
...and come back tomorrow to get your next clue!

In Case You Doubted

Here's a quick photo of my lovely bride and me in our superhero get-up to go with the previous blog.
I know what you're thinking. Usually, when you see a woman with blue hair, she's at least 87 years old. And yet, on Cindy, it's mind-blowingly beautiful, donchathink?
And if I could have those muscle pads sewn into every shirt I wear--from my basic white t-shirts to my awesome Bill Cosby sweaters--my life would be that much better.

By the way, as a word of advice to would-be superheros out there in Cyberinternetoblogoland:

Go ahead and invest in a decent mask. If you happen to cut yours out of purple cardstock and then use a can of spray adhesive from the office to secure it, don't be surprised if, upon removal, you no longer have eyebrows.

Not that that's ever happened to anyone I know or anything...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Super Woman

Sometimes I AM so sweet. Really.
While my wife has been away, I took the liberty of invading her blog and writing about her. She was doing a series on Super Hero chicks. Great women she knows and admires. So I wrote about HER. After all, she is the superest woman I know. (No offense, Mom.)

She 's the best mother in the world. (No offense, Mom.)

The greatest minister's wife in the world. (No offense, Mom.)

The best kisser in the world. (You thought I was going to write "no offense, mom," didn't you? ewwwwww.)

Well, check out her super tribute at her blog.

And here are the complete lyrics to the theme song for the as-yet-to-be-made TV series "The Adventures of StillHisGirl."

"She's A Bad Mama Jama" by Carl Carlton
(cue the *shickawocca* groove sound.)

Look at her

She’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as she can be, hey
She’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as she can be

Her body measurements are perfect in every dimension

She’s got a figure that’s sho’ ‘nuff gettin’ attention
She’s poetry in motion, a beautiful sight to see
I get so excited viewin’ her anatomy

(She’s built) She’s built, she’s stacked (Oh, she’s got)

Got all the curves that men like (She’s got all the curves that men like)
(She’s built) She’s built, she’s stacked (Oh, she’s got)
Got all the curves that men like (Got all the curves that men like, look at her)

She’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as she can be, hey
She’s a bad mama jama, oh
Just as fine as she can be

By the way, the following picture is NOT my Cindy, but I couldn't NOT include this, could I?

(No offense, Mom.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Corn Dog When It's Night

My eighth-grade girlfriend and I had “our song.” We were so young, foolish and clouded by our “like” for each other that there was no possible way we could have picked the perfect song to represent our feelings. And so a song was assigned to us by our friends.

I learned it word for word. Now please understand, by “word for word” I don’t necessarily mean the EXACT words intended by the musicians. We’ve all done this; when we don’t know the precise words, we simply create some that make sense in context. That’s much better than having to drop out of the song in the middle of screaming it at the top of your lungs in a 1982 light blue Chevy Malibu, right?

Our song was made popular by REO Speedwagon.

Perhaps “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” was your song as well.

And perhaps when you sang the line “You’re a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter’s night,” you also thought it was really “you’re a candle in the window and a corndog when it’s night.”

Seriously, this is how I sang it. And even though I’m a funny person, I swear I didn’t just make up those words because it was funny. I THOUGHT THOSE WERE THE WORDS. Please, download it on iTunes and listen. You’ll agree; it truly sounds like “corndog.” 100%

I never questioned this, because in my 8th-grade understanding of romance, eating corndogs by candlelight for a late-night snack would ROCK.

As far as other songs with interchangeable lyrics, “Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds” is already whacked enough with all its marmalade skies and rocking horse people eating marshmallow pies and such, so why do people giggle when “the girl with colitis goes by”? Come on!

Please, please, please, if anyone else out there has heard these songs like I have, I need some confirmation.

Or if you have equally insane translations from other songs, I’m sure we’d all love to hear them too. (Except for that awful mistranslation from “Blinded By The Light.” We can all do without that one.)


“Secret Asian Man”

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Time Warped

A few days ago, my daughters and I were at another church in the middle of the week. It wasn't my own church, and we'd never been in it before.

So obviously, we had little choice but to snoop around every nook and cranny and see what this place was like. You know, kind of like when I visit your home and am obligated to open your medicine cabinet when I pretend to need to use the restroom.

During our investigation, back behind the small stage in the chapel, we found a door. I turned the handle. It gave.

I can't easily describe what happened next. I don't know if I was struck on the head, or if I'd eaten some bad tuna for lunch, but somehow I had stepped into a time warp. Generally, when I step into time warps there is a visual effect of psychedelic swirls spinning and eerie music. And I'm aware of others who travel through wardrobes or magic school buses.

But this time there was no visual cue to prepare me for this leap through time. In many ways, this secret room was obviously from another era. Sure, the carpet and wallcoverings were a tad dated, but that's just the nature of churches. Decorating decisions go through church committees, then to the board, then to a general church vote and ultimately presented for final approval by a founding church member hooked up to tubes in a nursing home only able to blink once for mauve and twice for wood paneling. Not surprisingly, by the time the whole process is completed, the colors decided upon have gone out of style a decade ago and the country-goose-in-bonnet wallpaper is no longer being produced. Some churches have taken sooooo long making decisions that it actually has worked out perfectly...because shag carpet is coming back in. I'm not kidding. I bought some. Of course they have new names like "frieze" instead of shag, but I smell what they're cooking. (It's just like the way they sell bell-bottoms as "flared legs.")

Anyway, the decor wasn't definitive proof of this time warp. What my girls and I found were two ancient artifacts that I haven't seen since last century.

Two 8-track tapes.

I held them in my hands and it took me back. Not only did I feel like I had slid back 30 years, I also felt like I'd been sucked out of that church and plopped inside a wood-paneled station wagon (probably the "back-back," remember that?).

And now I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't even remember what band they were from, because I had to spend way too long trying to explain to my girls what this was:

Me: Check this out. This is something from when I was a kid.
Kid: Is it a cotton gin?
Kid: I know, it's a telegraph.
(yes, my kids have been homeschooled.)
Kid: Is that one of them steam engines?
Me: No, it's an 8-track-tape. It's like an old version of a cassette tape.
Kid: What's a cassette?

By the way, we made it safely back to the present... or what we thought was the present. This may be some alternate reality, because when we returned, we found that Hillary Clinton was running for president. Go figure.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Annoying Meanie-Heads

I just had lunch with a friend here in town. We talked about a number of things, but almost all of it was related to our kids.

He has three boys. I have four girls.

Even though we are obviously living on very different planets, they still have some similar environmental conditions.

He said his boys like to fight. When he first said that, I pictured playful fighting and wrestling like puppies chewing on each other’s ears and swatting each other with those cute little paws. But I eventually figured out he was talking about “angry” fighting. (I was able to figure this out because he used subtle words like “punching,” “bruising,” and “lethal force.”)

My girls fight too. For the most part, it involves yelling and slamming doors and yelling…and yelling.

Ohmygoodness…the YELLING!

At our house, it seems that 98% of “incidents” begin with someone being “annoying.” That’s the word they’ve gravitated toward as the crime of the century.

Instead of saying…

“My sister is being a jerk”

“My sister is a meanie-head”

Or (heaven forbid)

“I hate my meanie-headed jerk-sister”

…they’ve been able to name exactly what the problem is.

“My sister is being annoying.”

And almost every time, I have to agree. And I explain to them that this is the nature of living under the same roof. Our spouses annoy us (at least my wife’s spouse does). Our roommates in college annoy us. Our children annoy us. Our parents annoy us. Anyone who is close enough for us to love and share this wonderful life with in the same general space is going to be close enough to annoy us at times.

So I just count on it. I EXPECT to be annoyed. I EXPECT to be bothered.

So now, when it happens, I think to myself, “So-And-So is annoying me. How unsurprisingly expected and predictable. [yawn] How unfortunate for him/her to be an annoying person. Poor, poor thing.” And then I move on generally unaffected.

For the record, this only works for me because I’m so stinkin’ laid-back that I barely have a pulse.

I know some of you still have to punch things, yell, kick a dog, or do sudoku.

I assume that people like that are annoyed by me.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hallo...whatintheworldwerethey THINKing?

My wife and I sort of enjoy the fun parts of the children's events this time of year.
There are costume parties and carnivals and lots of candy.

So far, we've made the religious/moral stand to avoid anything involving human sacrifice (or animal sacrifice for that matter).
And at our "Harvest Festival," scary costumes are forbidden. Every once in a while some child shows up who didn't get that memo, and they squeeze in anyway. One skeleton or mummy doesn't alter the mood of the event enough to humiliate the ill-dressed munchkin by bouncing him or her. Quite honestly, I think little tykes in strollers at these festival are more frightened by anonymous goons in football helmets than cute girls in black dresses and pointy hats...

...However, there is a new breed of children's costumes that is disturbing to me as a father of four girls.

Looking through online catalogs, there are so many cool costumes for boys: sports outfits, aliens, cowboys, public servants, comic book heroes, pirates, the list goes on.

Then you click on girls' costumes. After a few classic princess dresses, I noticed there's a heck of a lot more skin being exposed than I expected. Now I'm not advocating putting our girls in burkas (is that what they're called?), but let me tell you, there are some SCARY costumes out there for girls.

It's like someone said, "How could we modify that boys' pirate costume to make it a girls?" And instead of "let's put the buttons on the left side and put lipstick on the skull and crossbones," someone said, "I know! Let's remove the pants, give her a mini skirt. Slip on some fishnet stockings, plunge the neckline, put on a sexy black choker, and then when some 10-year-old girl models it for the photo, be sure to have her look angry/pouty/seductive."
Come on! Who DOES that? Evidently, quite a few companies.

Of course, some of it's just the nature of our culture. While it's cute to dress up a little preschool boy like a little man in a suit and tie or a tuxedo, what's the equivalent for girls?

Evidently, dressing them like prostitutes!
Slight exaggeration...maybe.
But I'm eager to hear how many young trick-or-treaters or party-goers you all come across this week in outfits generally reserved for the covers of movies in the back room of the video store behind the curtain.

Or, to restore my faith in humanity, feel free to describe the most creative, funny or otherwise enviable costumes that come your way.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

May the Voice Be With You

My voice started failing around lunch time yesterday.
I have to admit, on the spectrum of completely losing your voice to completely having it, the worst point is somewhere in the middle. I would SO rather have no voice than to have what I had yesterday afternoon
To get a feel for that precise spot on the spectrum, all you have to do is close your eyes and travel back to puberty, that hideously awful period in time when 12-year-old boys answer the phone and are mistaken for their 30-something mothers. Could anything be more humiliating for a boy going through "the change?"

Yesterday came close. But at least I knew there was light at the end of the tunnel. My friends and coworkers would only be mocking me for a day or two.

In the meantime, if you dare call me on the phone and mistake me for my mom, I will surely scream in your ear till it bleeds...well I WOULD, if I had a voice.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Phone Book Works For Me

I hunger so for knowledge.
Doesn't matter where I am.
Fortunately, I have one of those Blackberry thingies with email and internet and such.
With that I can Google stuff and not have to stress too long about "What WERE those lyrics to that one 80's song?" (I obsess over stupid stuff sometimes.)

But, before the Blackberry (and possibly AFTER the Blackberry if I ever go back to just a regular cell phone), I kept a handy resource in my car under the driver's seat.

The Phone Book. With yellow AND white pages.

That way, no matter where I was in town, I could verify the address of my destination--because I would NOT be stopping to ask directions. Or I could call restaurants to make reservations. Or call a towing service. Whatever. It's just a handy little resource that's useful in so many ways.

It would also be helpful to have a printed directory of lyrics from 80's songs.

for other practical ideas each Wednesday check out all the Works For Me Wednesday ideas over at Rocks In My Dryer. (Warning. It's mostly ideas from what looks like a bunch of smart moms, so don't expect a lot of lame suggestions like mine.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Could This BE Any More Drawn Out?

What in the world?
I typed up the entire transcripts for the Awards Ceremony last night before midnight. And it never posted; it's just plain gone!!! Ugh.
It was really quite breathtaking. I inserted cues for you to imagine music and spinning spotlights and everything.
Then I ran through all the contestants, sharing their highlights and making sure everyone felt honored just to have been considered. Serioulsy, I wrote all that stuff up.

Then there were some special musical appearances by Beyonce' and Soldja Boy.
And lots of tears were shed at the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award (congrats Tim).

Finally, after a couple of brief commercials, I got to the part where I opened the envelope and revealed the winner...

Congratulations to CARRIE!
Here's her comment

"Well I saw Tim's blog and was in awe at the idea that someone would be so generous as to send FIVE items when only one was promised!!! So I honestly came over only to tell you that but now that I can see I, too, could have the life-altering event of receiving a package from you I MUST enter it....Thanks for the chance at a more fulfilled life..."
While many people were interested in specific items and ways they may be used to better their miserable existences, Carrie seemed truly just interested in the very act of being selected as winner. Whether it was a jar of fingernail clippings, dirty soccer socks or a rare coin from Kuala Lumpur, she didn't care; she just wanted to be...a winner.
And now she is. Everything she's dreamed about can now be a reality (except for the parts that aren't really real). May she enjoy many, many seconds of fame while she basks in the limelight and the after-parties and the endless media interviews that come with winning a prize of this magnitude.

Carrie, we invite you to share your acceptance speech via comment. Be sure to thank the little people. And all you little people, we invite to write your congratulations to Carrie, being sure to seethe with jealousy in your comments. After all, the more jealous you are of her prize(s), the more she will enjoy them.

Congratulations again to Carrie, and to all our fine contestants who truly each deserved at least a little something. Unfortunately, the cost of mailing, for example, a lint-covered butterscotch disc to Reallyniceday would excede the cost of just buying your own butterscotch and lint.