The Mad People

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat. "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

Are you not glad that we are all a wee bit mad? Think about it. How insufferably tedious and monotonous would life in general be if there was not, at the very least, a touch of madness in everyone? Normalcy is highly subjective. There is no par. Thank goodness. Why would you want to be normal? {Shudder} The word alone … “normal” … conjures images of mediocrity. MEDIOCRITY! Nothing good comes from being mediocre. We should strive for that which is great instead of giving in to resigned complacency. Imagine the wonderments we would likely behold if every human on earth embraced their own madness enough to shun the desire to be normal (mediocre, average, standard, common, routine) and actively pursued the metaphorical reaching for the stars. Miracles. We would witness miracles on Earth.

“Normal is not something to aspire to; it's something to get away from.” ~Jodie Foster, American Actress

“You gotta fight every day to keep mediocrity at bay.” ~Van Morrison

Calgon, Take Me Away!!

I am weary and I need a vacation. I know what you are thinking. ‘Take one!’ Yes, well, that is not such an easy thing. I equate a good vacation with travel. If I take time off and linger around home ... well, then I just worry about everything around me and all my responsibilities. Travel costs funds that I do not have and likely will not have anytime soon.

I realized today, during the general weariness of my life, that I haven’t had a vacation … a real vacation … in 15 years. Fifteen! Seriously! The last time I experienced anything remotely resembling a vacation was after my freshman year of college when I went back to Kenya for the summer. It was almost three full months of having absolutely no serious responsibilities. No school. No bills. I visited friends. I went on a safari or two. In general, I did nothing much but enjoy myself. Had I known that those weeks were to count as my vacation quota for the remainder of my natural life … well, I might have made more of them. Maybe.

“A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.” ~Robert Orben, US Magician

For fifteen years I have worked rather consecutively at something or another. I am seriously worn out. I was musing at how ill I have become off and on this past fall/winter/spring. I have been afflicted by flu, respiratory infections, stomach bugs, allergies (which I’ve never, ever had before) … everything! It should have come as no surprise, but it did. My body is tired. I think it is sending up warning signals. Even now, as I type this, my tonsils have spent all day slowly growing to the size of golf balls. I exaggerate, obviously, but they feel like they are that large.

Oh, there have been times in the past where I took time off from work or where I traveled for work and my ex-husband used to convince me that those were vacations. Usually they consisted of taking one week off work and driving seventeen hours from Virginia (where we lived at the time) here to Arkansas to visit his family for 2 (maybe 3) days before getting back in the car and driving all the way back across the country in time to get me back to work. I’m sorry. There is nothing in that scenario that comes close to embodying a vacation. You drive that much in less then one week with two children and tell me how relaxed you are when you get back home. That is one of those instances where you walk back into the office and think to yourself, “Thank God!”

I went to Bermuda in 2002. It was work related. Instead of admiring old architecture or running my toes through the pink sands I was doing hotel inspections and learning everything I could about how to better market the island to my clients. I was a travel agent at the time. It was a break from every day life. I won’t deny that, but I did not have the luxury of enjoying the island the way I would have liked. I did fall in love with it and I would like to go back … on vacation.

I am tired. I am weary. I do not know how much more I can take. I have proved my resilience and strength over and over and over and over again; but I do need a break.

“Vacation is what you take when you can't take what you've been taking any longer.” ~Unknown

Ask Yourself ...

I'm feeling a bit frivolous today and sometimes, truthfully, a girl needs to remind herself that she is sexy.

too sexy

"All women have a different sense of sexuality, or sense of fun, or sense of -like- what's sexy or cool or tough." ~Angelina Jolie, American Actress & Activist

There's No 'Sorry' In Soccer!!

Sound familiar? Yep! It did to me too!

“There’s no crying in baseball!” ~A League of Their Own, Film (1992)

Only, the new phrase came from the mouth of my youngest child as he chastised his older brother for apologizing profusely during a friendly random scrimmage this afternoon at his practice. The eldest had joined in at the request of the coach to increase numbers as there were a couple of no-shows (slackers).

The entire exercise further exhibited to me (and any passerby) the drastic differences in my two boys. The musician playing against the little jocks in training was quite a sight and blatantly exemplified the monumental differences between these two children born of the same genetics.

The oldest said it more then once by the way: “Sorry! Sorry! Oops, sorry!” I confess. I was already laughing at him … not openly, but to myself.

I don’t know if the little one was tired of hearing it or frustrated or blatantly embarrassed but he finally had enough as he wheeled on his brother, “THERE’S NO ‘SORRY’ IN SOCCER!!!”

Quite a catchy slogan if you ask me.

Gaping Sarchasm (No, I didn't misspell it.)

Being the dedicated word nerd that I am. There is no way that I could not share this out there for the world at large!

In case you missed it ... Here is the
Washington Post's Mensa Invitational which once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

The winners are:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an a#@hole.

3. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

11. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

12. Karmageddon: It's when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it's a serious bummer.

13. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

14. Glibido: All talk and no action.

15. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

16. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

17. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

18. Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

There you go! Any thoughts?

Personally, I want to know exactly how thick the 'Bozone Layer' is on some individuals and I would put an 'Inoculatte' do darn good use and I wouldn't have to be in a hurry to do so. It would just make my life so much easier. I also stand guilty of having performed an 'Arachnoleptic Fit' on more then one occasion. Spiders happen to be my biggest phobia ... nasty, hairy, eight legged freaks. I think, however, my favorite would have to be 'Sarchasm' because ... as a regular "author of sarcastic wit" I experience this phenomenon on a daily, almost hourly, basis!

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

Betwixt Waking and Dreaming

Last night in the midst of those fuzzy, weird thoughts that come only as one toggles between being awake and asleep I wrote (in my mind) a brilliant blog. I should have removed myself from the bed immediately and typed the dang thing because I have spent ALL DAY TODAY trying to remember the words or the topic and I can not even recall the title. Bloody Hell. It is likely lost forever. Perhaps I imagined the entire thing. Perhaps mischevious Puck paid me a visit. It is not even midsummer. Alas!

"If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber'd here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
if you pardon, we will mend:
And, as I am an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to 'scape the serpent's tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call;
So, good night unto you all.
Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends."

~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Nights Dream

Good Karma

Friendship Prayer

I hope all my friends enjoy this friendship prayer. I know of several individuals in my life who need a good infestitation right about now.

"One learns to itch where one can scratch." ~Scott Reed, Author

100 Factoids - Get To Know Me, You Will

Inspired by this brilliant list by Blazing Goddess (and several others I have stumbled across over the last several days) I have decided to post one hundred random facts about myself. The challenge here is for me to give little details that you may not know about me which may be difficult since I'm quite the open book. All you have to do is read my prior posts to learn more then you probably want to know. Still, here we go:

1. I am an ENTP. It fits and actually explains a heck of a lot about me. I'm also a Leo. I think astrology is a load of crap but, by description, I am the quintessential Leo as well. It is spot on. Weird. Update: I've recently transitioned into the realm of the ENTJ. It happens... back and forth between the "P" and the "J".

2. I am a veritable word nerd. Big surprise there, huh?

3. Oh! Sarcasm oozes from my every pore in my body ... much like sweat. Speaking of sweat - I do not perspire or glisten when working out. I sweat. I sweat like a man. Disgusting, I know - but there you have it.

4. Despite being the complete and utter personification of the tomboy - I had these purple Miss Piggy tennis shoes when I was a kid. They were the first shoes I had with velcro and I salvaged them, worn and tattered, out of the garbage on more then one occasion when my mother tried to dispose of them. Odd, really, since my favorite Muppet was always Animal and not Miss Piggy.

5. I have an unhealthy and incurable addiction to Applebee's classic boneless buffalo wings. Trust me; "addiction" is not too strong a word in this instance. Yum. Update: Yep, still a problem.

6. I talk way too damn much. I know this about myself and yet ...

7. Do you know how I learned how to ride a bike? My daddy took me to the top of a hill .... and let go! I learned some surprisingly effective methods of falling without killing myself before I picked up on the bike riding and I have the scars to prove it.

8. Scars. I have lots of them and I wear them with tomboy pride.

9. Seasons make me twitchy and I despise Daylight Saving Time. Why can't the entire world function like the equator? Sun up at 7am. Sun down at 7pm. How hard is that? (I know. The entire concept defies all laws of nature. I can wish, can't I?)

10. Speaking of Daylight Saving Time: I habitually correct people who put the "s" on the end of "Saving" because it isn't proper. It is *not* Daylight Savings Time. Still, regardless of how you say it the practice is stupid. In general, I have no complaints in regard to Benjamin Franklin and all his genius but this is one idea that should be revoked.

11. While I am on the subject of things people say that irritate me - I can not stand it when people say "ATM Machine" because they are really saying "Automatic Teller Machine Machine" and that is just preposterous. Just tell me you are going to the "ATM" and all will be well.

12. My boss regularly calls me a "Smart Ass" but I don't mind because, well, I am. Not to mention - she is just as much of a smart ass. This is why we understand one another. We jointly pick on and tease everyone else in the office ... mercilessly. (Random note: When she was a little girl my boss attended the first church my daddy ever pastored. I had been working here for months before we made that connection.)

13. When I was married I used this pitiful little girl voice to get things out of my husband. He couldn't have liked it. It's just not possible. I have never used that voice for any other reason and I do not know why the hell I did then ... maybe I needed more then a divorce. Maybe I needed an exorcism.

14. Swahili. My skills regarding said language are absolutely pitiful. I can sort of hear it well and I can read it fairly well. When asked how to say certain things in Swahili the wiring in my brain short circuits and I end up calling my parents. What the hell happened? Did I grow up in Kenya or not? I need to order me some Rosetta Stone software and start studying. Anybody have $209 to spare?

15. If I had a super power it would be animal communication. I talk to them. They talk back. We get it each other.

16. Coffee. I love it. Love. It.

17. Bad coffee. I hate it. Hate. It.

18. Bad coffee is better than no coffee.

19. I am a total sucker for a guy who can sing really, really well. I am also completely smitten with guys who have great accents - particularly those from Great Britain (English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh). You give me a guy who can sing AND has a cute accent and I am completely lost.

20. Me? I have no accent. Well, I sound like an American but I don't sound particularly Southern or anything. I call it the non-accent.

21. I headbang like Wayne and Garth every time 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen comes on my ipod. Every. Single. Time.

22. I have a lot of Queen on my ipod.

23. My ipod is pink. My cell phone is pink. When did I get so girlie? Update: The pink iPod died. The new one is black. The new cell is dark, dark burgundy.

24. You have never really peed quickly and with great urgency until you have had to pee in the tall grasses of the Serengeti with the feeling that something is not only watching you ... but stalking you.

25. I can beat the snot out of my kids at two video games and only two: Dance Dance Revolution and Mario Golf. I highly recommend that no one on this planet challenge either one of them to a round of any version of Super Smash Bros unless you are a glutton for punishment and are begging for a sound lashing. You ... will ... not ... win.

26. I absolutely adored high school.

27. I truly strive to raise my boys to be modern day knights. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that I am succeeding in this quest.

28. I love high heels. Then again - I have astoundingly fabulous calf muscles (despite what the rest of me looks like) and they are best showcased in a great pair of heels.

29. I love San Antonio, TX and I was born there. I will visit, but I could never live there. Being adopted - I would be concerned about one day coming face to face with someone who looks just like me. That would be extremely unsettling.

30. Dark Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Greatest Combination Known To Mankind

31. I suck at math. Literally. I absolutely, positively suck at math.

32. My home computer crashed last week and the only two things I cared about saving were my writing (duh) and my iTunes. Words and music, baby. Words and music. (Incidentally, the computer tech dude here at work took my pc and got it all backed up for me.)

33. I absolutely abhor women who talk on their cell phones in public restrooms. I have been known to take away phones from people I know and hang up on whoever they are conversing with at that moment. I am likely to one day do it to a stranger if the trend continues. Nothing is that important. Nothing. If it is - take it outside.

34. If you do something stupid ... I will make fun of you.

35. If I do something stupid ... I will be the first to make fun of myself and fully expect you to make fun of me.

36. I secretly still want to be a stewardess. Oh, excuse me ... flight attendant.

37. Being politically correct 24/7 is illogical. The entire concept has been taken WAY too far by society.

38. I will be the first to tell you if you have spinach in your teeth or if your zipper is down or if you have hair hanging out of your nose and you will love me and appreciate me for it.

39. I often wish I had the patience my mother seems to so easily embody.

40. I love to sing. Loudly. I sing obnoxiously loud while in my vehicle.

41. You really don't want to listen to me sing. It isn't "nails on a chalkboard" bad, but I'm no songbird either.

42. The worst sound in the world is that of teeth scraping across a metal fork. Horrid.

43. I am a shield maiden of Rohan. For that matter, I am Eowyn herself. You just don't know it yet.

44. I have serious wanderlust issues. I want to travel, travel, travel, travel and travel. Dear God ~ Please bring me a rich man who can fund all of my adventures. He still has to love me desperately though. I don't want a sugar daddy. Amen.

45. I want to take archery lessons.

46. I firmly believe each of my boys are growing up to be bona fide hotties and I am thoroughly prepared to give a brutal beating with my old field hockey stick to any girl that dares to treat either one of them badly. Trust me; I know how to wield it.

47. I love Drew Barrymore movies. I love Steven Spielberg movies. I absolutely detest the film E.T. (nasty, ugly little extra-terrestrial).

48. I think my father has a brilliant sense of humor. Secretly. I still roll my eyes and say, "Oh, Dad!" when he tells jokes. Inside - I'm laughing.

49. Flip-flops are meant to be worn all year long. 365 days! Yes, even in winter.

50. There is nothing in this world that can compare to classic English Literature. Nothing.

51. My thesaurus and I love each other.

52. I managed to get pregnant ten months after having my tubes tied. WHAT? Yeah - weird, huh? I'm one of those 0.01% statistics. Trust me though, that will never happen again. I have permission (from him) to sue the OB/GYN who performed the second (and first) procedure should such an astounding thing ever occur.

53. There is no full-length mirror in my home. I like it this way.

54. I hate buying makeup and hair products. I find it tedious and confusing.

55. I love, love, love the feel of someone else washing my hair.

56. I could sit on a quiet beach and listen, really listen, to the ocean all day long.

57. I dislike living inland. I have always lived inland.

58. I am a hopeless believer in the power of true love ... if you are lucky enough to locate it.

59. I have no idea how to laugh quietly. I laugh loudly and often.

60. I named my last cat 'Mr. Darcy' and if you don't know what significance that name has, considering I am 'Elizabeth', then shame on you.

61. I name all my pets after characters in English Literature. Let's see, there have been Romeo, Juliet, Othello, Cleopatra, Beatrice, Benedick, Lancelot & Guinevere thus far.

62. I am systematically working my way through everything (film or tv) that James McAvoy has ever done courtesy of Netflix. I have yet to encounter a poor performance.

63. I don't see the glass as half empty. I don’t see it as half full. I see half a glass of water.

64. I love Chewbacca. Yes … as in Star Wars.

65. I play the piano - though not as well as I should.

66. Globes. Our Earth is so beautiful. I buy them. I collect them. Maps, too.

67. Writing is like breathing. I have no choice. I would continue to write even if there were no one there to read it.
68. I like to play with matches.

69. Asterix adventures are the greatest comic books ever written.

70. I am just beginning to discover and appreciate the music and brilliance of The Beatles.

71. I have a favorite Bible verse and it should come as no surprise that it is poetic.
“Place me like a seal over your heart,
like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death,
its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire,
like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.”
~Song of Solomon 8:6-7

72. People are inexplicably drawn to me when they need advice. I don’t understand it. I am not the great and powerful Wizard of Oz.

73. Biceps. A man’s well defined arms can make me weak in the knees.

74. I have a tattoo. This is no secret. Ooops! Surprise Mom & Dad! It was not a rash adolescent decision as I only got it one year ago. I love it and I will likely get one or two more. Update: I have two.

75. When I am sleeping … I want the room to be dark. Black. Black. Black. The tiniest glow of light will irritate me all night long. I have insomnia issues anyway. I do not need any extraneous light keeping me awake.

76. Flowers. I really dislike roses (too cliché) and I think the carnation is the ugliest flower ever. It matters not what color. But, I love flowers in general and wild flowers in particular.

77. I find proper English gardens to be most enchanting and magical places.

78. I miss the unbelievable sense of freedom that accompanies the ability to scale up a fantastical tree.

79. "I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs, and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music." ~George Eliot, The Mill On The Floss

80. I want to fly on a broomstick and play Quidditch.

81. To be perfectly honest, if you are still reading this then I am absolutely astounded.

82. Newspapers bore me and leave nasty blackish residue on my fingers. I do, however, read online versions of just about everything: CNN, MSNBC, USA Today, and even the stupid little Daily Siftings Herald of Arkadelphia, AR.

83. By the way - I live in Arkansas. I used to wonder why. Now I call it home. It's pretty awesome.

84. I am a rather aggressive driver. Maybe this is how I was able to navigate Nairobi streets or perhaps I drive the way I do because of driving in Kenya and dodging matatus.

85. Facebook. Yep, I'm an addict.

86. I work on a gorgeous lake. I don't swim in it. Lake water grosses me out.

87. Books, movies, and TV shows dealing with the subject of vampires will inevitably draw me in like moth to flame. Not so strange when you realize I have had my nights and days confused since infancy.

88. Golf on TV. I really don't get it. Why do the announcers whisper as someone is taking a shot when they are secluded in a media box somewhere far, far away from where the golfer is located?

89. I have eaten beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, goat, rabbit (ugh), quail, buffalo, giraffe, crocodile, alligator, deer, gazelle, impala, zebra, wildebeast, flying ants, ostrich and I'm sure many others that are simply not coming to mind at the moment. I could never be a vegetarian.

90. I have been known to crank up the Beach Boys and "surf" around my living room with my children. This usually results in bouts of uncontrollable laughter at some point.

91. My children respond to a number of different collective nicknames: Little People, Chubbits, Fatheads, Crazy Ones, Dudes, Big K & Little K, KK, KitKat, Dwarves, Midgets, Hobbits, Little Tags and ... more recently ... Merry & Pippin.

92. Ha! Number 92. I graduated from high school in 1992.

93. If you ask for my opinion you better make sure the question is not rhetorical and that you are prepared for whatever answer I will give. If you inquire .. I - Will - Tell - You - Exactly - What - I - Think.

94. Compliments are difficult for me to accept.

95. It is a proven fact that I make the most divine chocolate chip cookies ever. I don't eat them myself, but I make them for others.

96. I have had the same email address since the mid-90s and I absolutely refuse to change it despite the hundreds of emails that land in my spam folder on a daily basis. Anyone who has ever known me knows they can reach me at this email.

97. Where The Wild Things Are is the greatest children's book of all time.

98. I would thoroughly enjoy driving across this country from New York City to Los Angeles or from Boston to San Francisco or from Miami to Seattle. Road Trip!

99. Right now. I might just party like it is 1999. Again.

100. Finishing my college education fell victim to life and circumstance despite the fact that I only had a few classes left to complete. Someday, somehow ... I will get my degree. I hate leaving things unfinished.

There you go. Any questions?

"Our achievements of today are but the sum total of our thoughts of yesterday. You are today where the thoughts of yesterday have brought you and you will be tomorrow where the thoughts of today take you." ~Blaise Pascal

Brotherly Love

I have an older brother. I do. His name is James… or Jim… or Jimmy. Whatever! Somehow, shockingly enough, he has managed to escape mention in all my scribbling. I know; miracles never cease. But, I have realized my error and his time has come.

My brother is five years my senior and is adopted as well. Our relationship can best be summed up by a comment he made upon seeing me for the very first time: “Ew! She’s splotchy. Take her back!” I was three weeks old. Thank you, dear brother. I love you too. From that point onward, like good respectable siblings, our relationship has fit quite nicely into that of the love/hate variety.

Memories are funny things, but my first tangible recollection of my brother comes from the age of three or four. I was in preschool or church daycare or a location of some sort where one would drop off a rug rat for an extended period of time during the day. I was playing with blocks … standard, bland, no-color blocks … and before me a masterpiece of architectural genius had taken shape. Indeed! I am quite sure it was the most proficient and skilled block creation of its time. I was admiring the grandeur of my own work when my brother came into the room. He had been sent by the parental units to fetch me out to the car where they waited. I refused to leave, of course. I vaguely recall a tussle of some sort before my dear, caring brother demolished my wonderment of blocks in one swift kick. I don’t know if “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is an accurate description for my response, but there was kicking and screaming involved as I was dragged out to the waiting vehicle. I think memory number one slides quite safely into the category of hate.

“Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.” ~Marc Brown

Fast forward a few years (nine or ten) into the future and we find me spending my very first year at boarding school. I was in seventh grade and my brother was a senior who would soon be graduating. There was an unwritten rule when my father finally gave in to my pleadings to attend Rift Valley Academy. Quite simply put – I was to leave my brother alone. Obviously he did not like the idea of having his scrawny little sister following him around campus and, if memory serves me correctly, I was happy to oblige. I had friends to make and things to do. The few times I do remember needing to speak to him I had to deal with the gaggle of giggling junior high girls (my friends) who would follow closely behind me as though being with me was enough of a satisfactory reason to justify their need to get close to the cute senior boy. (As his sister it took years for me to agree that my brother was, without a shadow of a doubt, a bona fide hottie.) No wonder he didn’t want me around. Still, there was a day when his reaction to my presence shocked even me. In the first month or two of school I decided on some random whim to tryout for the junior high basketball team. I had rarely set hands on an actual basketball, but that wasn’t going to stop me … and, like any other sport I where I placed my effort, I made the team. With genuine excitement and complete disregard for the fact that I was supposed to avoid my brother I ran up to him as he made his way to the dining hall for supper and boldly announced my news. Without hesitation he picked me up into a bear hug (in front of all his friends) and proclaimed that he was proud of me. It had never occurred to me that his opinion mattered, but it obviously did because I will never forget the way I felt that day. Love category? I think so.

My brother and I had a lot of adventures together. We played one-on-one soccer in the backyard. When he started playing rugby I was taught the appropriate way to tackle someone much larger than myself with surprising effectiveness. He knocked out one of my loose front teeth by tripping me as I ran down the tile hallway of the house we lived in at the time. My face connected with the floor and out came the tooth. Bereft of snow we would wait until the dry season and “sled” down the dry grassy hill behind our house on pieces of cardboard with nothing at the bottom to stop us except the trees of the forest. He taught me how to use a slingshot and one year, in the States, he joined the wrestling team and would hide behind the furniture waiting for me to come home from school so he could pounce on me and try out some new hold. Trust me, there is nothing quite like walking in the door to your home and finding yourself stuck in a half nelson by someone literally four times your size before you have even put down your backpack. He laughed, as the only witness, to the surprise of some perverted stranger who pinched my butt in a random German train station, as I spun around and whapped the crap out of the guy with the notebook I was using to sketch some buildings nearby. I was twelve and I think he found some pleasure in knowing I could take care of myself and that he had contributed fully to how tough I became.

Strangely enough, people still wonder how I ended up such a tomboy.

There did come a day when Jim exhibited some concern about my tomboyishness. The parental units and I had just come back to the States. Jim was already here in college and apparently he decided I needed help in becoming more girlie because, for my fifteenth birthday, he gave me perfume and a gold bracelet. Still wary of make-up at the time, it was at least ten months later (after I had grown almost six inches and literally transformed from tomboy to womanly tomboy) before I appreciated his gift and the meaning behind it. A few months after receiving that gift my brother was married. It was a difficult time for me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to share him.

We are both adults now and we both have kids. He has three. I have two. Funny thing – two out of his three are girls. I’m raising boys. Go figure. My brother lives about seven hours north of me. We see each other rarely and don’t talk to each other or even email as often as either one of us probably should. Like many missionary kids we are content in our independence and do not feel the need to update each other on every moment of our lives. It is no excuse, really, merely a habit born of being continents away from each other for a number of years. Through it all though, we are still siblings and our relationship continues to follow very much along the love/hate path.

“To the outside world we all grow old, but not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other's hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” ~Clara Ortega

Common Sense, Dancing

Despite the amazing amounts of rain that have fallen in the last few days, there is still pollen everywhere. While I should be glad that Spring seems to have arrived, I have two children with allergy issues and they are not thrilled by the yellow stuff that seems to be coating everything. I have a chair that sits beside the front door in case I feel like sitting outside with a book or something while the boys are playing. The chair is supposed to be black. It is currently coated in a thick layer of yellow pollen. Here is the conversation that played out between myself and my children as we came home from our full day of work and school yesterday:

12 yr old: "Ooooh, yuck!" (Glancing around at all the yellow stuff.)
7 yr old: "Look, Mom! Your chair has been pollinated!!"
Mom: "Maybe it will breed more chairs!"
12 yr old: "HA! HA!" (He bursts into immediate loud and raucous laughter.)
7 yr old: "Huh? Oh! HA! HA! HA!"
12 yr old: (Deep breath in between bouts of laughter) "You didn't really get it, did you?"
7 yr old: (Stops laughing immediately) "No, not really."

Oh well, at least someone in this world appreciates my humor.

"Common sense and sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing." ~William James

Tempest Tossed

“The wind began to moan in hollow murmurs, as the sun went down carrying glad day elsewhere; and a train of dull clouds coming up against it, menaced thunder and lightning. Large drops of rain soon began to fall, and, as the storm clouds came sailing onward, others supplied the void they left behind and spread over all the sky. Then was heard the low rumbling of distant thunder, then the lightning quivered, and then the darkness of an hour seemed to have gathered in an instant.” ~Charles Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop

It has done nothing but rain here for days … days and days. For those who have inquired about my well being based on news reports from the severe weather we had here last evening – I am well. Thank you. There has been little sleep (or no sleep in my case) as we heeded tornado warnings and blaring sirens through the night. The lake where I work is rising rapidly. I am in the office, but water levels are being monitored closely as the rain is still falling and falling and falling. In fact, it sounds as though another thunderstorm is rolling in at this moment. If this continues much longer I fear I may need to invest in some scuba gear! :o)

25 Years Ago - Today

Put on your mental armor! It is April Fools' Day!

I am not gullible. Truly. It takes a lot to really, really get me to fall for much of anything. I am sure it has much to do with my inner skeptic. So, April Fools’ Day aficionados please do not waste your time on me.

Still, there was a time, “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” – okay, so it was a while ago on a continent sort of far away – my father pulled a successful April Fools’ prank on me that, to this day, remains the only memorable prank on said day in my oft warped memory.

April 1, 1983 – Friday – I was eight.

As a child I was usually brought out of my sleep and into my fuzzy senses by the singing that my father loved to torture me with each and every morning. His choice of song was usually one of the following:

“Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine …”
“’Morning glory! How are you today …”
“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay my, oh my, what a wonderful day …”
(Be glad I am typing … not singing. Be extra glad that you have never heard my father sing … well, most of you. Sheer torture.)

However, this morning twenty-five years ago was different. I woke to my father bursting forth into the room to tell me that I had slept in and missed
the van to school and I needed to hurry, hurry, hurry! At which point I am sure I vaulted out of bed because I remember scrambling around my room looking for clothing and getting dressed at world record pace.

Now, you have to take into account two very important factors at this point:

1. I am not, nor have I ever been, a morning person. When I was
adopted those who had been caring for me during the first three weeks of my life sent me off with my new parents and the following warning: “She has her nights and days confused. Good luck.” Yes, well, I haven’t changed much since then … nor had I by the age of eight. Waking me up has always been an adventure and I don’t do it well.

2. My father never, ever, ever, overreacts to anything. Ever. He is outgoing and rather anal about certain things, but he is very analytical and takes all things into account before he makes a big deal out of something. It is a rather admirable quality.

So, here we are … that Friday morning in 1983 … my father strangely excitable and me racing sleepily around the house. I remember brushing my teeth. I remember grabbing the lunch that was on the counter pre-made and ready to go in my book bag. I remember kissing my mother goodbye and I remember being quite concerned that my father was going to be angry that he would have to drive my lazy butt into school since I had missed my ride. And, I remember running out the door, jumping down the four steps of the entryway and running toward the car before I stopped with a skid amidst scattering gravel in the middle of the driveway. There I stood … in the dark. Dark! The sun had not even come up yet and there I was outside, like an idiot (a hungry idiot with no breakfast), as the truth of what was happening reached my non-morning-person blurry brain. I am quite sure that I was one hell of a cranky eight year old for the rest of the day.

You would think that I would have noticed that there was no light coming through the windows - especially since the event took place in Kenya where the sun comes up at 7am and goes down at 7pm and there is no such thing as Daylight Saving Time (stupid practice). You would also think that I would have noticed the obvious absence of my older brother. If I had missed the van then surely he had as well. Where was he? He was still happily snoozing in his bed … that’s where he was. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Still – I had been punked and my father had pulled it off beautifully.

Perhaps it is the memory of this event that brings forth an extra measure of skepticism each year when the morning of April 1st eventually comes around. Perhaps I quite simply refuse to be made a fool.

“Here cometh April again, and as far as I can see the world hath more fools in it than ever.” ~Charles Lamb


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