Thursday, May 17, 2018

This Is What Happens When You Write Bad Poetry And Print Your Home Address On The Title Page Of Your Self Published Book

This post has been rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence, peril and scary images.

Sometimes things get too much. There is too much to do, too much to organize, too much of things not working how I envisioned them to work in my head.  And, let's face it. That get's frustrating. And, while running can help cool the ball of aggravation simmering in my belly, sometimes, I need more. Because I've turned into Fluttershy and have made Pinky Pie and Rarity cry. Figuratively speaking. Unless you think I've nicknamed my kids Pinky Pie and Rarity, which, then, I bow to your mad Jigsaw Jones skillz. And, apparently, I'm not as clever as I thought I was.

So, the days when I find myself sprinting through the house from the computer (and it's evil piles of email) to the coffee pot while all the caffeine I've already drunk courses through my veins, taking 2 or 3 laps around the neurons in my brain and exploding out the sweat glands in my armpits like a green Mitsubishi Eclipse with too much NOS from the first Fast and Furious movie, I like to disengage from the world.

And hunt down people on the Internets.

With nefarious purposes in my mind.

Like a modern day Agatha Christie.

But with less follow through on the actual writing a murder mystery part.

My newest mark?

Benjamin F. Brown.

Yeah. This guy.

See, he's a poet. And each night, after a chapter from one of the books from the Anne of Green Gables series, I read a poem to my girls. I've gone through all our Shel Silverstein books, Edward Lear, TS Elliot, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson.... But, we bogged down with Walt Whitman. So, I pulled this slender tome off my shelves:


I knew I had purchased it from a used bookstore solely on the reason that it has an inscription on the inside flap that says, "To Bea J. Belknap from Jesse G. Pambrum, Christmas 1917". There's a romance there people, that I wanted to fantasize about. Did Bea and Jesse get married? Did Jesse go off to fight in WWI and die suffocating from mustard gas in the trenches like so many others? Did Bea and Jesse both succumb to influenza on the same day, hundreds of miles apart? Did they hold hands, and troth their love to one another under a canopy of stars on a cold still winter night?

So, I though, how bad could the poetry be? I mean, sure, I've never heard of Benjamin F. Brown, but, if he spoke to Jesse Pambrum's poetic soul, perhaps he would speak to Ellie and Katie's as well.

So I read them the poems.

Including this one:

Mary's Lamb Croquette

Listen while I tell the story,
Tell the sad and mournful story
Of the auto swiftly speeding, 
Every obstacle unheeding,
Chauffeur, wild in his endeavor,
Records of high speed to sever, 
Gave his horn an endless tooting,
By all other autos shooting,
Did not see some sheep come flocking,
And the outcome it was shocking. 

Mary from a distance spying,
Saw her lamb go upward flying,
Torn, dis-
dismembered, badly....
mangled....

(Note: Look people, here, I paused, looked at the faces of my beautiful innocent children, and, like the idiot I am, read on.)

Soon from the trolley wire it...
it dangled,
Bleating with a bleat...
incessant
Till in 
death 
it-

(Note, again: Here is where my children broke into tears. Tears, flowing from their shining eyes, gulps of grief emanating from their little chests, as they, no lie, curled themselves into a fetal position. That's when I stopped reading. Because I'm a compassionate mother.)

Now, there is more to this poem, that my children did not hear. You, dear reader, are not a child. You have seen things. You have seen life at it's best, and, let's be real here, if you laughed at even 50% of Ali Wong's Netflix special, "Hard Knock Wife" you've seen. Some. Things. Things that shouldn't be shared with your children until they are much older*.  But, for you, my audience who are able to buy tickets to R rated movies without permission from their parent, I will finish Benjamin F. Brown's poem. And then we will wreak our vengeance on him together!

Mary from a distance spying, 
Saw her lamb go upward flying,
Torn, dismembered, badly mangled,
Soon from trolley wire it dangled,
Bleating with a bleat incessant
Till in death it was quiescent.
Mary's heart was filled with sorrow,
Nevermore, today, tomorrow
Would it follow her to school,
Would it break the teacher's rule.

On this question Mary pondered,
In her inmost soul she pondered,
Should she give up auto riding?
This the answer then deciding, 
Nevermore should auto take her,
Chalmers, Ford or Studebaker,
Or in any kind whatever
Would she ride again, no, never;
For an auto killed her pet,
Made of it a lamb croquette.


OK, you see why we must vengeance all up on Benjamin's...rear...butt....(insert your own PG-13 word here). This can't stand. Who combines words like tooting and Studebaker with dismembered nursery rhyme lambs-AND MAKES MY CHILDREN CRY! No one who gets away with it, that's who!

Guys? I found Benjamin's house:

9 Kepler St. Providence, RI 02908

I'll meet you there with pitchforks and PG-13 stickers at dusk.



Note To Litigators, the FBI, CIA, NSA, TSA and All Other Law Enforcement Personnel:
I'm aware that Benjamin F. Brown is dead. I'm also aware that attacking people with pitchforks and papering their houses where they lived over 100 years ago with motion picture film rating stickers is completely out of line and I have no intention of doing so. Ever.

Well....

Unless....

Benjamin F. Brown comes back as a zombie.

Then all bets are off.




*Ali Wong Parental Warning: Or, if you're me, you may never share. Because Ali drops a lot of inappropriate words in her TV-MA special that my prudish soul wouldn't allow me to hear until I was, like, 40 years old. True story.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Back in 2014 Wil Wheaton Told The Internet To Be Real*. This Is As Real As I Can Stand. Let's Face It, Wil, We Are All Caricatures Here.

I've been coming to the coffee shop every Friday after volunteering in Ellie's classroom for a couple months now. I thought if I gave myself a treat: a coffee, a cookie, that I'd stop dreading the hours I spend closed up in a classroom with 7 and 8 year olds. Lord help me, hours I freely volunteered, without any coercion from the school, the teacher, Ellie's baby blue eyes, or the moral judgement of general society. Nope. This. This is something I brought on myself. And every Friday, I. Am. Spent. Spent from working with a classroom full of (and do read this in your best Snow White voice) delightful children with eyes full of promise and innocence. But, the bribery? It's not working. And I sit here, trying to sigh the bleariness out of my brain.

I end up spending that hour and a half before I have to race off and pick up the girls from school, eating my cookie, drinking my coffee, and staring at my computer screen. I start sentences, I abandon them. I stalk poets from the early 19th century on the internet. (Yeah. I know where you live now, Benjamin F. Brown.) I sigh. Repeatedly.  I read computer screens over the shoulders of other coffee patrons. (Just kidding. That's creepy. Totally don't do that.) I listen to the baristas talk about their plans for the weekend. (Wild Child playing at the Crocodile tonight. Be there or be square.) But, being productive, is not a thing. (And yes, I'm changing the definition of productive from "having the quality of power of producing especially in abundance" to "writing a quality post about Bavarian Folk Dancing and Ventriloquist Wine Tasting Schools"-ah, the heady days of 2012...)

But, today, I'm turning over a new leaf. Well, not a new new leaf. It's more of an old leaf. A leaf circa 1996. Which, is really more of a vintage leaf than an old one, if we want to banter semantics (and write confusing sentences). Although, in my dresser are still some clothes from 1996, so, maybe it's not a vintage leaf, but, more of a grossly out of style leaf-like mom jeans. Oh! Or fanny packs. Remember fanny packs? Hahaha! What were we thinking? (Dudes. I just did a quick google check on fanny packs. Did you know!?! They're, like, a thing again! And they come in faux fur. Like bunny tails.) But sometimes, like XL purple sweat pants from 1996, grossly out of style leaves are exactly what we need.

Back in 1996 I was in college, carrying 20 credits. And, you know what I got really good at? Putting on my headphones, cranking the Michael W. Smith (don't judge), twisting my hair up with a pencil, and typing. Didn't matter what exactly-a paper for my Music in America class, a lab report for Environmental Science, mapping prehistoric sites for Archaeology in the Southwest, a lesson plan for Principles of Mathematics, a case study (with as many educational buzz words as I could fit and still have it make sense) for Educational Psychology.... Anything that needed to be written, created, listed, formed, could be completed in no more than an hour and a half. As long as I was facing a wall, wearing comfy sweats, hair twisted into a bun and had a pile of off-brand Cheerios beside me, all would be completed. All would be written. All could be faked. No matter how drained I felt.

So, here I sit, at the coffee shop. Hair held back by a yellow pencil, Wild Child blasting on my headphones (thank you for making me hip and happening, baristas), staring at a blank wall. No distractions. No daydreaming about pursuing my own personal vigilante vendetta vengeance against Benjamin F. Brown, a' la Antonio Banderas style. Just me, and the keyboard. Typing. Like it's 1996 and I have to take a music dictation test over in the music building in 25 minutes.


*Or rather Clive lent me a book, that Wil Wheaton wrote in 2004, that told me to be more real on the internet. So I told everyone that I hate babies. (Still totally true.)


Update:
Thanks to the magic of the internet (whose superpower is to know all the things) I now know that:
1) Christopher Walken starred in the movie Vendetta,
2) I've never seen Vendetta, and
3) in my head? I was mixing Vendetta up with The Mask of Zorro.
No worries.  I mean, I'll need to find a cape, a mask and a sombrero cordobes, but I'm pretty sure I can still make this poet vendetta thing work. *glare* Benjamin.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Worthless.

I have 20 minutes.

Well, I use to have like an hour and half, but, I squandered that, as I am want to do, on raspberry scone nibbling, coffee sipping, and trying not to freak people out at the coffee shop by inadvertently staring at them. (Dude, you are sitting at the table directly across from me, I can't help it. Plus, you've been tapping your foot at the same beat as the song playing in my earbuds, which is weird. I mean, can you hear the music too? Did you hack into my Pandora account and start streaming my Rocky soundtrack station?  Are you judging my music preferences right now? Because I made a conscious choice NOT to listen to my Elvis/Little Jimmy Dickens* station in public today. But mostly because sometimes I sing along. Unconsciously.)

But, now, I have 20 minutes to write something interesting, and at the rate I'm going, it's not going to happen.

I mean, sure, I could type random words and hope they make sense, like a weird word association game.

I could write about how I'm still obsession about the "return on investment" conversation I had with people three years ago. A conversation that still sends me in a spiral of self doubt and naval gazing, especially when combined with the reactions I get when I tell people what I do for a living. (Note: nothing)

I could write about how, once, when I was at the coffee shop I "overheard" (read eavesdropped here) someone tell their friend, "That was balls on the floor funny!" Which I thought was a rather good turn of phrase because it's true. You can't dribble when you're doubled over laughing. You're gonna have to place your basketball on the floor.

I could write about how I once saw a car, sitting on the side of the road, catch fire. But, it didn't even blow up or anything, so, not really my best story, ya' know?

But, now, I'm down to three minutes before I have to throw this laptop in my back pack, jump on my bike and race to meet the kids at the bus stop, and, there is no cohesiveness to this post.

Perhaps that is where my strength lies.

Handshake
Jam drop
UPS
Hat
Sunny
Day
Over
My-hammy
Moons
Trampoline
Dog pile
Fork
Love
Time
Turning back
Aerobics
Cher


Ah, high school PE memories.... *sigh* Those were the days I almost forgot about...




Give yourself $5 if you didn't watch the whole video.

Give yourself $10 if you watched AND worked out with Cher.


*Learned all my best trash talk from his song. For reals.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Parenting Buzz Words and IKEA Catalogs

Perseverance.

Determination.

Resolution.

Tenacity.

Se~du~li~ty. (nudgenudgewinkwinkerwink)





These words are just synonyms for that word. You know the one. The one that's been buzzing around all the cool, engaged parental circles these days: Grit. And, yes, crazy dedicated PTA parents, I totally want my kids to grow up with that attribute. But the best bonus? I can totally use IKEA catalogs as a teaching tool!

(Did you just say, "What you talkin' about, Willis?" Dude. You. Are. So. Cool.*)

See, year after year, IKEA, sends me a 200 page catalog. It's a really nice gift, truthfully, because I can gather the children together on the couch, all cozy like in front of the fire, tuck us up in a blanket knitted by Grandma and poke fun at    mock   giggle  use it to enlighten the children on such a complex topic. Because, guys, it takes a lot of grit to keep sending out advertisement gems like:


Dude, IKEA, let's face it,
in my "cook like no one's watching" world
those pancakes are already the perfect combo of spatula and plate.
The rest is just more dishes I'm gonna have to wash later.
 

If, next, you ask me if my refrigerator is running, IKEA, we're done.
Done. 

"Heeeey....
So, listen, bae, like, I love you, you know I do, but...
and don't read too far into this...
but, in my perfect bathroom oasis fantasy?
There's a wall.
Between us.
Blocking me from seeing your face in the morning.
Don't be mad."

...with your cute wittle sinky-wink
and your flushy flush flush where we get to put our tut-tut.
You're the cutest. Yes you are. Oh, yes you are!

Because baby talk shouldn't be wasted on actual infants.


And, at the end of the evening, as the last page of the catalog is closed, and you look into your children's eyes, you can be sure IKEA's pictures have provided the experience base your children require in order to profit from this learning experience about true grit.

If they look back at you like this:








*That was respect. Not sarcasm.**



**It's true. I'm that dorky.***


***I'm sorry.

Friday, January 12, 2018

New Year's Resolutions Aren't Real Unless You Write Them Down. I Wrote These Down. Logic Says?

There are two ways to write your New Year's resolutions. One, you could sit down and think about all the ways you could improve yourself and/or the world around you, write it down, keep the list in a place you see it every day and then make a plan to accomplish your goals.

Or...

You could realize you recently spent three days (straight*) wearing the lounge wear that Fred and Ginger gave you for Christmas:



And!

Then!

Claim everything you've done in that lounge wear (while sitting at the kitchen table steadily eating your way through two loaves of homemade pumpkin nut bread) as New Year's resolutions. Completed ones. Guys? I'm totally crushing this year!! Just like Hulk Hogan in Santa With Muscles! Which is an awesome Christmas movie I made my whole family sit and watch this year. Side note: My parents, my sister and my nephew gave the movie two thumbs up, so, sorry not sorry, Jon, because it's now a Christmas tradition, so you can quit being all Scrooge-y about it.

New Year's Resolutions 
Made Into A List
Like An Adult

CRUSHED Resolution #1:


Clear out my email inbox of all unnecessary emails.

That's right, I deleted over 3,000,000,000 emails,dating back to 2009, when gmail sent me one of those threatening messages that say, "Dude. How lazy are you!? I. Am. Not. Kidding. If you don't delete some emails soon we're cutting you off. No more sending, no more receiving of ANYTHING! I mean, look at this, Groupon has sent you approximately 123,452 emails asking you to buy all these cool things like airport parking, hot yoga classes, and Beaugenix blackhead removing peel-off masks and you haven't opened a single one. I can see you through this laptop camera you know, and you could use at least two of those things! It's like you don't even want to improve yourself, 'kay? Just delete them. Delete them NOW!"

CRUSHED Resolution #2:


Clear out my Google photos of all bad pictures.

Yeah. Google. They're playing all creepy stalker guy this month and sent me a similar message about my Google photos. Because, apparently, Google doesn't think I need the photo story from 2010 when Katie insisted the one thing Daddy wanted for his birthday was a blue cake with a purple ear on it:





**






*tsk* Whatever, these pictures are Au family lore. Yeah, that's right, Google Photos-they're gold.

Although, truthfully, all the pics Katie took with my phone of the inside of our car on that road trip back in 2012? Yeah. totally not Au. More like Uuh***. You were spot on there, Google.

CRUSHING Resolution #3:


While deleting things. From my Google accounts. And eating pumpkin bread. In lounge wear. Bright pink fuzzy lounge wear. With hearts on them. Binge watch the TV show The Mysteries of Laura.

She's a cop! She's a mother! She pulls her gun at the playground and arrests muggers rather than standing around scrolling through Facebook like the rest of us! I'm 18 episodes in and I probably don't need to watch the rest of the season, but, let's face it, I'm totally going to. Because when you don't give up on your New Year's Resolutions it shows for-ti-tude, dude. Besides my new lunge wear is like, super cozy and I don't think I want to change. Ever.

What New Year's Resolutions are you crushing this year?



*Don't judge me until you've wallowed a day in my warm and fuzzy lounge wear.
** I made Katie use a ruler to measure our ear picture, so we could "decorate the cake to scale." Please note:I don't know how to convert to scale, and I just eyeballed the whole thing. But she doesn't know that and the main point is...Math is Fun ! You can put it on a cake!
***Yes, it's a chemistry joke. No, I didn't run it by Jon first. Why do you ask?

Thursday, December 7, 2017

I Haven't Received A Gift From Santa In Years. Trying Out The Squeaky Wheel Strategy. Nothing To Lose!

It's 7:30 in the morning, I've run Ellie to the bus stop, slipping over pre-dawn frozen streets in my Keen's. But gracefully, like a chicken on ice. I've been up since 5:30 doing things like unloading the dishwasher, making breakfast (a hot breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast and fruit, I'd like to point out) and added this morning? Unloading, unstacking, unpeeling everything from the girl's bunk beds in search of Katie's retainer. Oooohhh, I found it. It was way back in the dark corner, where dust bunnies throw raves with used Kleenexes, behind the magazines, the slippers, the dirty socks, bouncy balls, cut up cardboard shoe boxes, and a bunch of other junk I have no idea why they feel they need to keep! Old glow sticks? Why?? They don't glow anymore, children!!

Then, instead of eating my breakfast, I got to spend the rest of the early morning wrestling clean sheets onto the bunk beds.

Remember bunk beds? I never had one, but, oh my goodness, did I covet my friend's. There was no better way to sleep, in my eyes, than 5 1/2 feet up in the air. I was convinced I'd be able to hear the morning chirping of the birds better, rainbows would appear, I'd be hidden from everyone in the house, perched high up on the top bunk of my bed. But mostly, I'd be able to look down on my sister, far, far down on the ground, and say witty things like, "I have a bunk bed and you don't, nah, nah, nah, nah, naaah, nahhh."

But, ever since purchasing a bunk bed for Katie and Ellie, all that magic is gone. And, I'm sorry to say, childhood Martha, but, bunk beds? are stupid. And dumb. And, and....all sorts of bad words I can't bring myself to type. Because, dude, who here has ever changed the sheets on these things? I KNOW! First off, how can the children sleep with all that junk in their beds? Today, I pulled out 12 books, 37 stuffed animals, a skirt, a ball, a plastic toy from some fast food place, 5 magazines, 8 used glow sticks, one slipper and a hanger! Who sleeps with a hanger!?! And then, when I finally got to the whole sheet part... it was like yoga, but, stupider, more like...I don't know-Pilates. Not kidding, it was full on monkey squats* for like, 20 minutes as I waddled up and down that mattress trying to tuck in sheets and blankets.

It's probably safe to say, no one when to school with a smile on their face this morning. No. One.

So, Santa, you want to know what I really want for Christmas this year?

I would like the children to pick up their own junk and throw it away.

I would like the children to change the sheets on their own stupid bunk beds.

I would like the children to quit whining and complaining when I ask them to pick up their room.

Heck, man, Santa? I would like the children to quit whining and complaining about me whining and complaining about their chaotic, befouled, grubby, neglected hole of a room when I have to actually walk into it to fish their retainer out from under the bed with a broom.

And, lastly? I would like a sequel made of "Santa With Muscles" because, when you have a Christmas movie starring Hulk Hogan playing a millionaire who thinks he's Santa Claus sword fighting a guy in an astronaut type suit with a magic crystal broken off from a mine underneath a church, you have the best Christmas movie of all time calling out for a sequel. For reals.



Don't let the one star rating on IMDB fool you.

The whole movie is free on You Tube.

Merry Christmas!






*FYI: Monkey Squats

Thursday, November 30, 2017

It's November 30th And The End Of The Month. This Is The Only Reason For This Post.

I sit down to write. I get up and walk away.  I sit myself down again, and again, I'm up, walking, pacing the house for, like, 30 seconds. I'm not sitting too much longer than that, either. Ellie is in the kitchen, making her lunch. I have nowhere I need to be, nothing I need to do or help with. I just need to take the few minutes I have to sit, to type, to see words appear on a computer screen. But, somehow, at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, I can't concentrate. It's too late for coffee, so it's just me, my water glass and a bag of tortilla chips I've secreted under my desk.

This can be slow going. No, that was my passive voice. This IS slow going. And boring. And other words I don't need to type because they're all there, in your head, lined up all neat and organized one after the other. Like a marching band. Or a crossword puzzle.

OK. I'm putting the chips away now. Don't let me have any more chips until I've typed a real thing on this computer.

A couple weeks ago, Ellie's Girl Scout troop participated in a robots class. Guess who was asked to help? I'm serious, they actually wanted me to help these girls program computers to program the robots to draw with markers. Guys? I only know how one of those steps work. (And, yes, it's the markers, that wasn't a hard thing to guess.) I don't know why I agree to these things either. I need a button. A big button. (It has to be big, so people will read it.) That says, "I know as much about computers as your great grandmother". Which will work brilliantly, as long as I start every conversation with, "Is your great grandmother Dorothy Vaughan?" Because, obviously, my button doesn't apply to those people.

Long story set in a library with a bunch of Brownies wielding computers, short, we killed the computer. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I HAD THEM DO! But, the screen, went like, blank at one point. Now, it didn't break forever. Just until one of the teen volunteers could come over and fix it for us, while telling me exactly what I did wrong and how to avoid doing what I did, or something like that. Truthfully? I wasn't listening to her, because I had given up any hope of successfully helping program robots and decided, instead, to take control of the only other item on the table I had any familiarity with: the masking tape.

And no one asked me to do anything different for the rest of the class.

Near as I could tell by their expressions:

the robots totally approved.



And now? 
I eat the chips again. 
Because I've earned them. 
Obviously.