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Friday, July 31, 2015

Fun On A Friday - Hot Enough For Ya? Here, Have Some Winter Memories...

Welcome to the high point of summer - it's blistering hot, the humidity is through the roof, and of course, my air conditioner is on the fritz. And though I might complain about it, I always do like to say "You don't have to shovel sunshine."

And with that thought, let's remember how much fun we all had in the ice and the snow....

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Lions And Politics And Footballs, Oh My! Wouldn't You Like Some Good News For A Change?

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some good news. So I became a good news junkie last night, and found some stories that I think are worth passing along.

We'll start with a guy named Durango Joe.

Joe is a recovering alcoholic, who hangs out at local bars -but not for the reason you think. Joe has devoted himself (and his truck) to being a sober ride home for anyone who needs it.

[Credit: River Falls Journal/Deb Eliason]

“I was an awful person. I only thought of myself,” Sweeney admits. “This is my way of saying, ‘I’m sorry.’ Sorry to my community. Sorry to the city.”
Read Joe's story here.

Next, we have a story of thirty years and a thankful heart.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Fifteen Minutes Of Peace

My life is chaos
On a regular basis
Work chaos
Home chaos
Commuting in between chaos
But sometimes, late in the evening
Or maybe half an hour before it's time to wake the kids
I pour that mug of tea
And I sit on the porch
I listen to the crickets
Or the birds
And I breathe deep
I ask the universe
What do you want from me today?
What do I want from myself?
Sometimes I decide I'm doing
And sometimes, I'm just being
And enjoying a cup of tea before the chaos

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BIC Wants To Save Handwriting - Is It Worth It?

Dear BIC,

Look, I know you mean well. You're trying to save a dying art - the art of handwriting.

In this age of technology, cursive is falling by the wayside. Curlicues and looping letters are giving way to keyboarding and screen taps. I've heard your sentiment echoed from many of the "older set" (and by that, I mean those of us over thirty), but the attitudes among the interns coming in at the day job and the kids that go to school with my daughter are drastically different.

They just don't see the necessity.

All their school papers are typed on a computer now. Most of them aren't even printed on paper, but saved on a flash drive or emailed directly to the instructor.

The days of red pens correcting lines of language on a crisp sheet of paper are fading into memory, and my daughter and those like her aren't mourning it a bit.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Let's Face The Monday - And Dance!!

Hello all, and welcome to another fine week.

"Why, Ellie," you say (or at least in my head you do), "Why are you so insanely cheerful? It's Monday, don't you know."

Yeah, I know. But the truth is, last week was one fine week. I mean, aside from the weeks that I birthed my children (and David barely qualifies because I got meningitis and spent the first week of his life in the hospital drugged out of my mind), I experienced what had to be the best damn week of my life.

I am not kidding.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fun For A Friday - These Are A Few Of My Favorite Signs

Folks, it's been a helluva week. And I mean that in a good way. A very good way.

It's about as beautiful as a summer day can get outside, I'm off work early, and life is good. I really don't feel like expounding on the universe, so you get another edition of highly entertaining signs.

That's a whole lotta quotation marks:

And how about this one, found at a bar:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Excuse Me As I Use These Scissors On My Yak

Yesterday, I was very busy at my company's annual summer picnic, and as part of the picnic committee, I had to help out with the decorating.

While hanging decorative paper lanterns, one of my coworkers turned to me and asked, "Do you have a scissor?"

This isn't the first time I've heard this (though I've only heard one other person say it that way), referring to scissors in the singular like that. It's a local sort of thing and it still rubs me wrong when I hear it. Scissor is a verb, not a noun. You can scissor your legs while you're swimming or something, but if you're referring to cutting implements, they are scissors.

Asking me if I "have a scissor" is like telling me you like my pant. It's jarring.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: My Minion Eyes

He wears a sleep mask to bed each night
And his old one is worn and faded
So when I saw the minion eyes
I just had to do it
He loves it, of course
And I asked him if he might
Go to sleep one night without it
Maybe try it and see if it's okay
But he won't 
"There's too much to see," he tells me. "It all hurts my head and I can't sleep."
And I know how he needs it
Needs to close off the world
Quiet the noise
Detach and float free
Happy behind his minion eyes

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Keeping The Custody Schedule Can Be Rough - Especially When Your Kid Is The One Who Wants To Change It

My daughter is in a relationship now and this is a problem.

Not the relationship, mind you, but the fact that now her love interest is also part of a divorced family and spends some weekends at "home" and some weekends "away." And right now, they both have their "home" weekends in sync, so they get to see each other.

Until Dad needed to change up a weekend, that is. Anna's solution was emphatic. She wasn't going. Dad could just do without her. She'd stay here with me and Dad could take David without her.

But that left me with a dilemma. You see, I use every single minute of my kid-free weekends. I write A LOT. I clean the house. I decompress. And as the mother of a stubborn teenage girl and a boy with autism who's flooded with testosterone more often than not these days, I assure you, I need to decompress. And I'm honestly not thrilled with the idea of giving up my valuable and terribly scarce free time. I need that time.

But more than that...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Oh Stewardess! I Speak Autism!

There's a wonderful scene in the movie "Airplane" where the stewardess is having a hard time understanding a couple of guys who are trying to communicate in jivespeak. Barbara BelGeddes jumps in with "Oh Stewardess! I speak jive!" and hilarity ensues (about the 1:00 mark):

And this is fresh on my mind because I realized yesterday how utterly nonsensical my son and I must sound to people sometimes. I mean, I speak fluent David, but then again....I live with David. I know his quirks and hangups and the things he gets stuck on and the pieces that worm their way into his brain and take root.

For instance:

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fun On A Friday: Time For Some More Local News!

Happy Freaking Friday! God, I swear this week went in dog years! Hallelujah, it's nearly the weekend and I'm ready to kick back a lot of laundry and clean my house and mow my lawn.


Anyway, it's away from the day job. I'll take it.

In the meantime, let's open up the paper or click on station site and see what's making headlines, shall we?

We'll start with a bit of sad news...Doug's family sure knows how to write an obituary.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

There's A New Type Of Seaweed That Tastes "Just Like Bacon" - Pardon Me If I'm Skeptical

[Image credit: Getty]

Years ago, the ex and I played host to some friends from out of town who were both vegetarians. We wanted to be as vegetarian-friendly as possible, so I picked up some vegetarian breakfast sausages at the grocery store in anticipation of their visit, and planned to serve them with pancakes for breakfast.

They smelled okay. A little off, but not bad. And they were a little lighter in color than a normal sausage, but could still pass for the real thing. I set the platter on the table and the wife helped herself to one. She put it in her mouth and then her eyes went wide.

"Are you sure this is vegetarian?" she asked. "Because this tastes like meat."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Don't Worry, Little Man

It was his second birthday
He fell at the playground
And before I could get there
She scooped him up
Sitting him on the bench beside her
Rubbing his back
Holding him tight
Because she understood even then
That these things worked to calm him
And she said
It's okay, I've got you
A year later
An autism diagnosis
Nearly a decade has passed since this picture
And she still shows me
And him
Over and over
That she's still got him
And I'm so glad
That he's got her

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

To Sleep...Perchance To Dream...Or At Least Not Wake Up Every Freaking Hour

I have never been good at the sleep thing.

I have been a nocturnal person for as long as I can remember. My younger days were spent reading books under the covers with a flashlight and feigning sleep with the parents checked in on me, then in high school it was me with headphones listening to music. Sometimes after my parents were asleep, I'd get up and turn the light on and write or read or something or I'd get of bed after my parents went to sleep, sneaking out of the house and walking around town.

The parent I am now cringes at that memory, but I grew up in a beautiful desert town and the stars at 2 am filled the sky and it was better than laying there in bed, feeling bored.

College was filled with lots of all-nighters studying for tests, finishing papers, or late night rehearsals. Oh, and parties. And boyfriends.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Confessions Of A Goofy-Looking Runner

All my life, I wanted to be a runner.

I can remember in my childhood how running used to be a thing. People had terrycloth headbands and wristbands and men wore running shorts that were entirely too tight and short and women used Nair so they could wear running shorts with their rollerskates at the beach.

And of course, I wanted to run, too. I wanted to have long, lean legs and I wanted to have the boys in gym class looking at them.

Oh, that happened all right. Everyone watched me when I ran. It was kind of hard not to, because I am (excuse me as I lower my voice to a hushed whisper) a goofy runner. I mean, really goofy.

Friday, July 10, 2015

And This Shall Be A Sign Unto You....That's It's Friday!!

Yeah, baby. It's Friday!!

And in my typical Funtastic Friday fashion, we're going to trod down the old Laughter Highway, and the best way to get there is to follow the signs:

I've always thought so:

It's not bad advice: 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

I'm Calling In Sick To My Blog Today

Here's the scoop.

For the last month - yes, month - my daughter has been sick with mono. Twenty-one straight days of fever, along with dizziness, weight loss and exhaustion. She's now in the recovering phase but still nowhere near recovered.

In addition, the day job has been insanely busy.

And I have not one, but two books to finish, two more to format for print, and a slew of articles to write.

In a house. With a broken air-conditioner. In 90 degree heat with 90% humidity.

And last night, my son decided to barf the song of his people somewhere around 3:40 am. Violently.

I am just plain wiped out, folks, and my stomach is not my favorite stomach, either. I can't do it. I can't blog today.

Please, don't make me blog today.

Okay, so I did blog today about how I can't blog today.  But it's a piss-poor excuse for a blog and you'll just have to give me a pass on this one. I need it.

I promise, I'll come up with something entertaining tomorrow.

Peace out.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: Priorities, Mom. Priorities.

Mom, do you think  you will get married again? 
I don't know Bubby. Maybe. Maybe not. I'd have to find 
a boyfriend first.
Daddy is getting married.
I know. Are you excited? You get to be in the wedding! I think you'll have fun.
He shrugs and drinks some more soda as he thinks.
I think you should marry Brendan Fraser. He's in The Mummy. And Looney Tunes.
I know who he is. Good choice.
He would protect us from mummies.
He's certainly qualified.
And he will live next door. 
He can't live with us?
He scrunches up his face and takes another drink.
Okay. But you'll have to buy more bacon, I think.

Well, one must certainly keep one's strength up if we're going to be fighting mummies.
And marrying Brendan Fraser. 
Yeah, baby.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What Food Do You Miss That's Not Around Anymore?

Years ago, there was a restaurant just up the road at a local mall that featured an appetizer known as "No Soup Soup." Basically, it was a little cast-iron pot full of melted, gooey cheese (if memory serves, a five-cheese blend) served with two little loaves of crusty bread and homemade tortilla chips to dip in it.

The stuff must've been mixed by the breasts of virgins and breathed upon by angels in the oven because damn, was it good. One day, the ex and I made our twice-monthly pilgrimage to the restaurant only to find they'd taken it off the menu. We were devastated! It never returned, and less than a year later, the restaurant closed its doors.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Check Out These Fascinating Reads

I love a good read, and sometimes I come across an article that pulls me in and won't leave my brain for the rest of the day. I've recently come across several like this, so I thought I'd give you some reading fodder for the week and share with you. Give them a read-through. You'll be glad you did.

[Credit: Dan Piraro, Bizarro]
Dan Piraro is a cartoonist and author of the popular comic, "Bizarro." He started cartooning in the age of newspapers and syndication and has had to learn to evolve into the new world of internet cartooning. His story really gives you a great glimpse into how technology is reshaping all corners of publishing as we know it.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Almost-Independence-Day! Let's Celebrate!

It's that time again - time to celebrate all the fun that goes with living in this loud, brash, occasionally maddening but wonderfully entertaining country. Sure, we don't all get along, but when push comes to shove, it's still a good place to be. I love my country, and I love it's people. 

Well, most of them. Politicians and zealots...not so much. But I digress.

In celebration of all things American, I bring you some of my favorite American stuff:

Let's start with an all-American action figure:

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Fireflies And Faith - Fifteen Years Of Living With A Miracle

Some of you may remember that my children - like all kids - are miracles. But mine are a little more so than average. They were the culmination after five long years of an infertility battle and the product of science and technology, perfectly incubated for the first 72 hours of their existence in petrie dishes before being carefully transferred - along with their sibling embryos who didn't stick around - into my womb to await a final outcome.

Fifteen years ago this July 4th, my hormone levels determined that it was time to transfer some embryos, and when that time comes, it doesn't matter if it's a holiday or not. The doctor who was on call met me at the clinic, and the procedure was done in under twenty minutes, start to finish.

We happened to be camping nearby at the time, and returned to our tent so that I could lay flat for a few hours. It was raining, anyway, and I remember us bemoaning the fact that we were rained into our tent and couldn't even have some married people fun time. So we read books side-by-side, laying on the sleeping bags, not even discussing what might be going on inside  me because we'd been disappointed so many times before and just couldn't let ourselves hope, really.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Mostly Wordless Wednesday: It's All About Perspective (And Air Conditioning)

The air conditioner is on the fritz
And the humidity and heat are through the roof
So I dug out this picture
To remind myself
You don't have to shovel sunshine, honey
Quit yer gripin'
It could be worse