Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Remember Me?

I must have a face that looks like everyone else's or a face that doesn't ring anyone's bell.  Ironically, I have a very good memory for faces, and have a terrible habit of telling people how I remember them when they have absolutely NO idea who I am.  It's a very humbling to tell someone that I had three of their children as students in Kindergarten - while they study my face with a wondering far-off look and in a very disconnected way they say, "Uh-huh."
Then there's the, "Do you work at Target?" (I've got to stop wearing khaki and red!) or "Do you have a brother that I used to play hockey with?" (No brother.  No hockey.)  Or my favorite, "Did you cut my hair at Cost- Cutters?  Because you look JUST LIKE the lady that cut my hair - dead ringer!"
More often, it goes like this, "I know you don't remember me, but we were in 2nd grade reading group together - remember, I used to wear a Winnie the Pooh dress every Wednesday?"  After a confused look, I usually just head for an aisle, a seat, or the nearest drink and wonder, "Why do I do that???"
I may not remember what I had for lunch today, but I remember you.

Silver Lining:  I got a nice little catnap in the woods this afternoon while I was hiding and my kids were seeking.  Turns out they weren't seeking me too actively because when I decided to get up and make sure no one was worried about me, I found them happily building a fort together  - "Oh, Hi Mom, we couldn't find you."  I guess I have raised them to either be self-sufficient.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Joseph: Is today Tuesday, Mom??
Mom: Why, yes it is - why do you ask?
Joseph: Today we get our book order!!
Mom: Are you sure?
Joseph: Yes! We turned them in yesterday and she said it would come on the next Tuesday probably!!
This is the way it is with him all the time.  One must carefully watch word use around him.  "Literal" doesn't explain his demeanor effectively enough.  Make sure you NEVER use the words, "I promise."  Because this, my friend, will be taken to his grave if you are not able to deliver. 
Today I was supposed to write about a disappointment - and this made me think of Joseph - because for all the "minor" disappointment he experiences (because of his "literal" affliction) - there are at least ten exciting, happy events that cause him great joy - events that the normal person would not even acknowledge.  He is an eternal optimist despite his literal take on life.  For example, I could say to him, "I need a few magnets for the refrigerator."  And his response would be, "MAGNETS!?  I LOVE MAGNETS!!! Can we go buy them now???" Or: "Do you want pepper on your soup?"  And he would answer with great enthusiasm, "YES!  I LOVE pepper, Mmmmmm, Yesssss - I do love pepper!"
Life is a big bag of disappointment or a party hat full of confetti and candy - choose, but choose wisely.

Silver Lining: I always know where to find magnets and pepper. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday - Fall has arrived

This is my FAVORITE time of the year - fall is what I look forward to and then relish every fleeting moment as it turns to winter much too quickly.  BUT... this is my first season of outdoor soccer with my son.  And all I can say is I'm glad I'm not Piglet on this Blustery Day.  I believe I was the only mom not sitting in her car texting while her son was out running drills and scrimmaging in a tornadic - like wind.  Obviously, I was not granted a look-see at the rule book on what to do during in-climate weather.  I was sitting in a bag chair wrapped up in grass-covered blanket (left in the back of the van since the last fireworks outing) playing Simon Says with my five year old.  And I either need to order some "Grow Hair Fast Tonic" or purchase myself some industrial strength ear wear.

Silver Lining:
In this season of wind, I had to fetch only three of the patio chairs from adjoining yards - one behaved itself and stayed where it was planted.  I know... that's really scraping the bottom - but it's all I could come up with.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Ok - so I grew up and colored my own hair all by myself yesterday.  Not a big deal for most - but a budget changing event for me.  I had no idea it was so easy - highlighting, however, I will leave to the experts.  As I am cleaning up and admiring my shiny, bouncy "chestnut" hair in the mirror, I notice a few spots on the skin of my neck and shoulders.  My eyes are less than adequate - hence, the "bottle pop glasses" for the last 37 years.  Add to that a psychotic fear of Cancer - and you have: "Oh my gosh, is that skin cancer?  Or age spots?  Or maybe it's the beginning of an unusual case of H1N1, I bet it's from that new soap - or oh my gosh, what did I eat?...."  Next, add a dash internet diagnosis - and you've got a real live gong show on your hands!
Deep breath - oh, yes - it's just a little hair dye - of the chestnut variety.  The day has been saved and "Psycho Mom" is off and away to solve another case!!

Silver Lining: Psycho Mom does not wear a cape - too dangerous, don't you think?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do you remember the time we tried...

This one goes out to my good buddy JM: show a class of first graders a garbled up film (the kind from the olden days with reels and everything)?  I am not even sure what the film was supposed to be about - more than likely safety or something.... anyway, we had both had trying days in our respective first grade classrooms and thought a "movie" was surely the ticket to augment our study of whatever it was we were studying.  When we turned on the film projector - we couldn't seem to get the sound right - so we fiddled with it a bit more.  It sounded like the teacher on Charlie Brown - at best.  We both gave it our best shot - meanwhile, many little beanies were getting very anxious and squirrel-like - and at last, we decided to go with: (In our very serious first grade teacher voices) "First Grade Friends, today we are showing a movie about what it would be like if you had partial hearing loss.  We want you to be very quiet and see if you can figure out what the people are saying and what this movie is about."
After about 10 minutes of that rigamaro - we calmed ourselves down from some serious laughter and proceeded to field several responses regarding the very serious question, and then very stoically returned to our classrooms.

Silver Lining: I think I am finally ready to turn 40 this year - I colored my own hair - all by myself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I was craving...

chocolate - of any kind - when I came home from school.  I was in fourth grade and had the worst day ever - or so I thought.  We were working in small groups for some reason and I was sitting on the shelving under the bank of windows that housed various venting units. As we were solving the 4th grade problems of the world,  I got up and heard that awful sound of "rrrrip" coming from my pants.  I had torn a hole in the back of my pants - which was mortifying enough in itself - but I had to take it a step further.  My teacher, Ms. Wagner, was not in the room at the time - so I went out into the hallway to look for her.  When I saw her coming toward me, I got so nervous that I said to her, "Ms. Hole, I have a Wagner in my pants."
So after that stressful day, I was scrounging around looking for something chocolate in our kitchen.  I thought I had found the unnoticed treasure of the world when I found the bakers' cocoa.  After popping open the lid and shoving a heaping teaspoon down my gullet  is when I learned that baker's cocoa is not sweetened. I also discovered that it is very difficult to spit out powdered food - I had a brown "Pig-Pen" type cloud around my head for some time.  Lesson learned.

Silver Lining: We found Maya's homemade  "magic" unicorn/guitar necklace under the seat in the car right before we left for school.  I'm sure she will have a magical day now. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A big-time event in your childhood...

Birthdays, Christmas, family gatherings, and of course, ice skating around the ice fishing house were all big events in my childhood.  However, one very memorable event comes to mind that took place at the Iowa State Fair when I was about six years old or thereabouts.
We had completed all the things we wanted to do on our State Fair Checklist:
1. Eat fair food
2. See the biggest pig ever
3. Go through the animal barns and maneuver carefully around the biggest poop ever
4. See the 4-H displays
5. People watch
6. Pick up free stuff in the "As Seen on TV" hall
7. Other random fair stuff
In this particular year, my Dad decided to spice it up a bit and have us all ride the sky ride across the fairgrounds on our farewell tour.  So we waited patiently for our turn to come.  In my 6 year old grogginess, I was unaware of the fact that the sky ride operated in such a way that just scooped up people - it didn't stop to let each rider on safely.  That last point is key.
So as my Dad and sister caught the first ride - I just naively waved to them and went to stand in place.  This is when I noticed these awesome yellow feet someone had so kindly painted just where we were standing.  How coincidental - hmmm...  Just as I was lost in my big footprint thoughts, I feel this rather rude bump across the middle of my back and before I can give someone a sad, pathetic look to convey my hurt, I am being hurled into the air by my Mickey Mouse belt.  The toothless operator is pushing up my feet and my rather surprised Mom is yanking me up by my belt with all the strength she has as I am dangling over the crowd of people who have suddenly become very interested in what is happening right above them.  This is probably one of my first clues to the fact that I was not a petite child -  as I hear my Dad from the seat in front of us yelling to my Mom, "Pull her up, JoAnne - use all your strength!!"
At last, through the efforts of my Mom and the sky ride operator, I was safely seated on the ride - which by now was about over.  It took about 25 years before I attempted that particular ride again.  Big event?  I'd say so.

Silver Lining: Garbage day, broken sprinkler head, no turbo squirt today.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The last time I...

The last time I...
wore my blue cardigan sweater must have been at least seven to eight years ago.  How do I know this?  There was a spit-up stain on the upper part of the right sleeve.  My now eight year old was the only one to constantly leave his mark on everything I owned.  My favorite time was when I arrived at work one day only to notice a big blarp of white on my black fabric slip-ons.  As a Kindergarten teacher, your shoes and feet are constantly noticed by the front row of five year olds sitting at your feet for stories, calendar, and other various learning opportunities. So of course the blarp did not go unnoticed - in fact it became the the question of the day: Does soy-based spit-up wash off?  The result:  14 yeses and 7 nos. One of the nay-sayers that day also asked me why I had so many slivers on my legs.  I guess in my whirlwind of hustling an infant, who was apparently not done digesting his formula, out the door - I also neglected to shave my legs properly.

Silver Lining: FOX news is pretty entertaining to watch when the sound is off and there are no captions.  Much eye-brow raising, smirky smiles, and head cocking. I didn't bring anything to read  and forgot my headphones - so I watched the TVs at the Y -  helplessly -  while trying to finish my workout.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I am not...

Finish that 4 times...
I am not fond of yelling at my children.
I am not ready to learn how to skydive.
I am not unhappy about my husband banning me from lawn mowing.
I am not satisfied with the responses I am getting from my 5 year old today.  Cotton candy, late bedtime, and a general desire to rule the world do not a winning combination make.

Silver Lining: Watching my husband run the lawn mower at full speed around the cul-de-sac with Maya on board and her pigtails flying gives me a good enough laugh to let her see the light of another day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 12

Start your story with:  If you must know...
Yes, I was raised on the set of the ever-popular Gong-Show.  No, no, no.  I was actually raised in a quiet home out in the country by a peace-loving, Catholic- adhering  mother and father and with one older sister - who was not so fond of peace as she was growing up. In fact, she made a lot of noise - and social unrest for the family unit.  I have always looked up to my sister - even as she was slamming doors in my face or screaming at me for borrowing her clothes without asking - who could blame her?
But here's the thing about my sister: she's the one who has always stood up for what she believes in - even if it is an unpopular idea.  She is the one who told me to "get a life" after I had been hiding out in my parent's home, afraid to go out after a major surgery. That happened to be the impetus for me getting my first job as a 4th grade teacher.  She's the one who always tells me the truth about my decisions if I ask her - and sometimes when I don't.  She's the one who enthusiastically cooked me up a hamburger in her meager college apartment while wearing a Hawaiian shirt she was made to wear for her 8-hour shift at a grocery store - at 10 pm when she unexpectedly found me on her doorstep.  She's the one who remembers all the crazy, funny things we did - on our adventures across America as young adults.  She's the one who has let me torment her for years - using her fear of the dark and her gullability as my springboard - for public entertainment.  She knows me better than anyone...anywhere.

Now, I don't agree with everything that she says or does - but I know that she would run into a burning building to rescue me and then probably take no credit for her bravery.  And this is my point: Maybe not agreeing blindly with everybody to maintain harmony is the way to go.  Standing up for what you believe in -  even if it's not popular, and slamming a few doors or even disappointing your parents as a teenager a few times is what we should strive for.  These are the things I still look up to her for.  I'm glad she's a role model for my five year old daughter who already is a bit of a non-conformist.  I'm glad she's my sister - and I don't have to share her with any other siblings.

Silver Lining: My sister would have been a ringer for the Gong Show. :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 11

List 6 disgusting things you have found in your refrigerator...
1. frozen, rotten cucumber that started to splurg juices when I picked it up
2. one of my favorites: sour cream that is about 6 mos. past the "Use By" date
3. dead, frozen worms used for bait - that my son was thinking would work if we just let    

    them thaw. (cryogenics at its best)
4. swiss cheese that molded so badly it had grown two small limbs
5. brown coleslaw
6. "frosting" which I later found (after taking an ample lick) to be bacon fat.  That was in my Mom's fridge, however, not mine.  And I was probably 11 years old.  That flavor experience just stuck with me for lots of years.  Lots.
Silver Lining:  I am now married to a man that is likely to hand sweep crumbs off the table into a napkin underneath my chin while I am eating a granola bar - so I it is highly unlikely that he would let anything become disgusting in the fridge.  Yes... we are still married.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Day 10

No prompt or silver lining - just a story.
Yesterday, I picked up my son from school to take him to the doctor.  
We saw a doctor who was new to both of us.  When she came in, she asked how we were related.  This is not a new question for me because both of our children were adopted from Korea.  So I politely said that I am the mom.  When the doctor visit was over, my son and I went out to lunch to enjoy some mom and son time.  While we were waiting for our food, I decided to ask Joseph why he thinks the doctor asked me how he and I are related.  Keep in mind, he is now 8 years old.  He  looked at me rather quizzically and said, "I don't know, maybe she thought you were my grandma?"  Hmmm... not what I was expecting or wanting to hear.  So I prompted him by saying. "Do you think it's because you are Korean that she asked me that question?"  And without skipping a beat, he looked up from his kid's menu and said with disbelief, "How did she know I was Korean?"  I started to laugh, he looked back at his menu and asked if I wanted to play hangman.
I guess all those books,discussions, adoption gatherings, and years of Korean Culture Camp just haven't sunk in yet.  He doesn't seem to see a difference between himself and anyone else in the world.  And as much as I want him to embrace the culture of his roots, I love his view of humanity.  "We're all just people, Mom."  That's my boy. :)

Day 9

My Condiments to the Chef! Write about condiments.
Well that's easy, because it doesn't matter how long I'm at the store or who I am with - if I don't have a list, I come home with 90% condiments.  I'm always wanting to lose weight and make healthy dinners for my children, so because I can't decide the 100% whole grain bread and the 23 grains bread... I just buy stuff to put on my bread.  Like organic jams (those are good for you, right?) or brown spicy mustard - another low fat selection.  I also enjoy marinades, powdered fajita mixes, and salad dressing. I have to scrounge around the freezer for some chicken to put them on because I of course did not buy meat.  However, most condiments have a fairly high amount of sodium - so for two days after the big condiment shopping extravaganza, I am wondering why my fingers feel like little fat sausages in casings.

Silver Lining: I found that the pipes under my sink in our master bath were leaking - but luckily this is where I store toilet paper and other absorbent products.  So I may be down a box of panty liners, but no major water damage to cupboard or anywhere else!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 8

I'm a day behind already - it all just slipped my mind yesterday.  Today's exercise: Write a dictionary-style definition for the word EC-DYS-I-AST:
One who performs activites with the intent of becoming dizzy. Ex. My son is such an ecdysiast. He just loves to pretend that he is chasing his tail.
Now here's the fun - the true definition of ecdysiast is "a striptease artist."  Now that I know this, I can safely say that my son is NOT an ecdysiast.  However, his modesty wanes on most days.  At a very early age, he was known to run out to greet guests in his tidy whiteys.  May have been cute, but hardly an art form.

Silver Lining: After my son was unable to produce any signs of sickness at the doctor today, he was rewarded by missing part of the "best hike ever!" at school.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Day 7

Tell the story of what you won when you receive a bright red envelope that says"You May Have Already Won!"
The most I have ever won in anything ever was a two-pack of AAA batteries for participating in a random household survey.  Boy! Did I feel like a winner that day.  I really doubt that anything can top that experience - so I will probably end that story right here where it started.
On another note, my five year old asked my Mom rather flatly without emotion if she knew how to drive today.  Later on she tried to coerce my Mom into a game of Go Fish where one only has to collect two cards that look remotely the same in order to win the game.  And then as I was putting her to bed tonight she revealed that she only talks like a baby sometimes so that I won't feel bad that I don't have any more babies.  Can you say, "Rule Changing Manipulator?"
Silver Lining: This morning's "Red Sky" did NOT mean "Sailors Take Warning" - instead it meant: put on your swimsuit - it's September for pete's sake!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 6

The prompt:
Back in 1938, before...
blenders, chipotle peppers, heirloom tomatoes, and food network - I guess there was no good salsa.
That aside, I used to spend a lot of time with my Grandma - and I loved to ask her about the "olden days."  One of her favorite memories that she shared many times with me was when she and her family would pile into an old clunker of a car on a Saturday night for the sole purpose of popcorn eating and people watching.  This was their entertainment and sometime THE event of the week or month.  Good ol' people watching is highly underrated these days.  With all of the gadgets, technology, and cell phones - sure, they make life easier - but they can also suck the life out of who we are and the connections we make with people.
Silver Lining: I won't get on a soapbox too often.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 5

Question: What do you do when you need perking up?
Definitely buy new throw pillows for my relatively new sofas that I can't stand.  I keep hoping that different pillows will magically make them into different sofas.

Silver lining:  I had that same dream again where a bear breaks into my home and throws a crockpot at my head - but today I woke up without a headache!
And one more thing, who needs perking up when you've got these smiles staring back at you?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 4

Well already, I've goofed up the prompt - I though it said "In what area of your creativity do you suck?"  As I was thinking up a few ideas, I reread it and realized it said, "In what area of your creativity are you stuck?"  So I guess it's NOT creative reading.  This made me think of times when I have misunderstood something someone said to me.  For example, just weeks into our wedded bliss, while clearing the table, I was putting something away in the fridge, when I thought I heard my beloved groom say, "Move your ass."  When I responded with hurt yet angry look, his eyes widened and he said, "I said, can I have your glass?"  And since I now know after 13 years of marriage, he doesn't actually think of comebacks very quickly, he has been cleared of that infraction.  
One more - just recently while serving a meal to my parents, my Dad randomly yet flatly announced, "Swordfish."  He has some partial hearing loss - so we'll give him that.  When we all stared at him blankly for a few seconds, I realized I had just asked him, "So,do you want a fork with this?"

Silver lining: After seeing a movie this afternoon with friends, I realized that Sandra Bullock and I do have more in common that just our quick wit and stunning good looks... she has a lisp too.  Very endearing, don't you think?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 3

Today's writing mission: I'm supposed to think of someone I don't like, and then send them somewhere, and then receive a postcard from them.  I can't think of anyone I really don't like that much... or I guess I would rather send myself away from people I don't like...hmmm...except maybe the people responsible for all those ridiculous gumball machines and stupid "rides" just inside the entrance of grocery stores and the like.  Obviously, not only were those people interested in making money, but also have a sick sense of humor.  Because, for those of you out there who do not have young children: 
1. Moms love to take their kids with them to buy fruit and toilet paper. 
2. Kids love to roam the non-toy isles of any store.
3. When all that joy has come to an end by having to bag our own groceries complete with an argument that involves only hand signals and dirty looks, ALL moms desperately want to reward their children with a piece of golf-ball size gum that tastes like crap if you are lucky enough to be able to chew into a chewable form - or take time to longingly stare into the claw game with their children and patiently explain for the thousandth time that no one wins those lovely, precious prizes.
So... where shall we send those people?  I'm thinking Navy Pier in Chicago.  Along with 7 tired, hungry, children under the age of seven.  Oh, and each of those people gets two dollars, some random change and some lint to enjoy the entire day.  Let's just forget about the postcard they might send and just assume the time was well spent and enjoyed by all.
Silver lining: At the car wash today, I rolled up the window while the talking money taking machine was still talking to me - so I missed the part about the turtle wax bonus, and was pleasantly surprised. Good times.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 2

Okay, so here's the prompt: Write a "New Day's Resolution" (as opposed to a New Year's Resolution).  My first thought would be to stop eating chips while lying on the coach wearing a black t-shirt.  It's not so much about the chips as it is about having a chest riddled with evidence.  And then there would be the obvious: do more for those in need, buy less junk, save the environment one little can at a time...etc.  But I'm thinking bigger.  Why not really try to beat my five year old at Mancala?  Or run a mile with my 3rd grader and say hello loudly to every walker we pass donned with earphones?  These are the important things - the life lessons.  Hmmm...
The silver lining for the day: turns out that Soft Scrub doesn't bleach hair - say if one were cleaning the shower while taking a shower and a certain cleaner somehow blopped out partially on to one's head.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 1

So today is the first day of my blog - welcome to my world. My goal is to blog through a set of writing prompts while also giving you my "silver lining" of the day. We'll see. First assignment: What Type of Gerbil Are You?
I guess I'm the kind that doesn't fight with my cage mate until we scratch each others' eyes out. I am probably the gerbil that spends the day finding sufficient bedding to hide in so that I can spare my little gerbil nose of the horrible odors gerbils emit. I'm a smell-conscious rodent with an affinity for cedar chips.
My silver lining: It's garbage day and NOT sprinkler system day - which means I can safely place my garbage and recycle bins at the end of my driveway without getting turbo-squirted across my midsection. Happy day!