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Saturday, December 31, 2011

House of Cards

House of Cards
By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Poker Anonymous

Poker has been a mainstay in our home for as long as I can remember. It was once confined to us young couples without children on New Year’s Eve. With age and two children in our Medicare years, it has become a regular Monday night event for Dr. Hubby and a means to entertain the six-year-old at home the other six nights of the week. At first I rationalized that it was a means to teach counting and addition to the children. Now I realize it was the first slippery step sliding down toward P.A. (Pokers Anonymous).

The first hint came when I saw the pictures of our then four-year-old’s Pre-K class dressed in the clothing of their career choices. There were cute pictures of boys and girls dressed in scrubs, our future brain surgeons no doubt, others dressed in suits and ties as future Apple CEO’s, some dressed as firemen and policemen; all lofty, admirable choices and certainly reflective of the Christian school they were attending. The last picture was a picture of my four-year-old. I thought at first it was just that the wall was crowded and that was why it was behind the classroom door. Then I saw what he was wearing: black visor, white long sleeved shirt gathered up with black elastic bands on each arm, sitting at a green table with a deck of cards professionally fanned out in front of him. His wanted to be a professional gambler.

I didn’t realize that career choices were to be reinforced at the kindergarten level. Again, his career choice was captured in Kodak-never-fading color. Under his first and last name this time for all the parents in his new school to see was Professional Poker Player.

I admit I am a tad guilty for using cards to teach addition, probability and statistics. When he was having trouble counting and adding, I taught him to play Blackjack. I didn’t expect him to beat me. And we only played a few times.

Recently on our cruise we were eating pizza at a booth. A family of five sitting next to our booth was playing cards. It was if some uncontrollable force kept his face pointing to the card players. “She should hold those aces!” said my child. The Dad smiled and finessed the cards from his wife. “Don’t tell what she’s holding”, I said. “Can I ask them what game they are playing?” “Ok”. The Dad smiled and said “We are playing a variation of rummy. Do you know that game?” My six-year-old shook his head.

“Well, you try to get three cards just alike…”
“Uh, yes, trips. If you can’t get….. trips… or three of a kind….then you try to get a run of cards in a row…”
“A straight.”
“Well, yes, a straight. What is your favorite card game?”

At that point I thanked the kind and shocked Dad and we hurried back to our cabin.

I wonder if there is a minimum age for Poker’s Anonymous?

Monday, December 26, 2011

T’Was the Night Before Christmas on the Magic Ship!

We've been on a lot of cruises, but this Christmas cruise was something special and resulted in this blog. If you have sailed on Carnival's Magic, you will understand the references. (Martina, from table 624 Southern Lights Dining room on Carnival's Magic, you may have to Google "The Night Before Christmas" to get the full effect)

T'was the night before Christmas

And all through the ship

Every creature was stirring, this was our Christmas trip!

The stockings were duck taped to the cabin door with care, in hopes more refunds soon would be there.

The children were checked into Camp Carnival with care

For parents had things to do and no time to spare.

Ma in her sequins and I in my white tee

Had just settled down at the bar for some Red Frog Tea

When out on the deck there rose such a clatter, I staggered from my booth to see what was the matter.

Away to the railing I rushed with glee . I looked to the left, but no one to see.

The moon on the foam of the whirl pool below, revealed two couples shouting Oh No".

When what to my wandering eyes should I see

But a stack of packages and eight men carrying a tree

With an Italian leader, not so heavy, I KNEW IN A MOMENT IT MUST BE Battinelli

Slipping and sliding on the wet decks they Came


"Now Sergio, Now Alordf, Now Ajehab and Ackrill!

On Rogebad on Beorgman on Gazzolo and Bobbybill

To the top of deck 12 back there by the wall, now hurry away, hurry away, hurry away all.

AS Wal-Mart bags, before the hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to deck 12 the crew members they flew,

With a tree on their back and Capt. Battinelli, too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the deck,

Much wrestling and pushing up the tree, without a wreck.

As I was pulling back my head and turning around, down the staircase, Capt. Battinelli came with a bound.

He was covered with salt from his head to his foot, but his clothes were spotless not a speck of soot,

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And no beard on his chin, what do you know!

A stump of a pipe he held clinched tight in his teeth, but no smoke encircled his head like a wreath

He had a broad face and hair cropped to the neck.

That didn't move, not one little speck.

He was slim and trim, And good looking, too,

And I hoped he was married with eighteen kids, I do

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word but when straight to work doling out toys and even some books

And then smiling and turning, and waving a hand, back to the bridge he ran.

He sprang to the stairs, to is crew gave a command,

And away they all flew, back to play in the band.

And I heard him exclaim as he ran out of sight, Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good night!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let Sleeping Dogs…Sleep!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for "Common Sense: A Book for the Gifted"

My child's fifth grade teacher had her class finish well known proverbs. Obviously the ten-teen has never read Proverbs or heard a proverb, an oversight on my part, but she comes from a humorous household even though that was not our intent. Here's what she SAID:

It's always darkest before..... IT IS LIGHT. (I'd give her credit for that. Makes sense to me)

A watched pot....IS A WIERD POT. (Given the limited number of pots and pans in our house that's all she could say)

You can lead a horse to water, but..... NOT TO SCHOOL (OK, we live in Texas. I'd count that.)

A woman's work..... IS GOOD WORK. (You tell'em kid)

If at first you don't succeed, THEN STILL WORK. (No welfare for this kid)

Don't bite the hand that...... IS WEAK. (I guess it wouldn't taste as good)

All that glitters..... IS GOOD! (Just check out her Justice wardrobe if you don't believe her)

Two's company, three's..... PROFESSIONAL. (I thought I had that channel locked!)

If you can't stand the heat, DON'T EAT IT. (Jalapeno's last night)

A chain is as strong as..... YOUR HEART. (Whoa, now that's profound)

Dance with the one..... WITH TALENT. (Such a smart child)

Give him an inch...... OR A YARD. (Must be talking about her brother)

A fool and his money..... IS NOT COOL. (Tell that to the government)

Loose lips..... IS BAD. (So she is saving for Botox, right?)

Maybe I should turn this blog writing over to the children!

Merry Christmas, Ya'll!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Middle Schoolers and Other Forms of Alien Life

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for therapy

I have taught high school for thirty-nine years. Subbing a full day in kindergarten last year was traumatic, enlightening, but traumatic. That was nothing compared to my half day subbing in middle school. If we really wanted to make a dramatic change in our penal system, judges would need only to sentence an offender to substitute teaching in middle school. Even the most hardened criminal would be begging for the death penalty after just a few days.

The teacher for whom I was subbing, and to her credit, actually expected me to teach. Cool, I thought. Most of the time I only get to push play on the DVD and maintain order. However, I had exactly five minutes to master the Smart Board ( 21st century chalk board) and comprehend the socio-economic and cultural significance of the valued contents of a middle class family in Japan that had been piled on the street in front of their house and the same for a family in Iceland. The teacher warned me that middle schoolers were a different kind of animal. She didn't tell me they were wild animals. She also said to seek the assistance of the principal if I needed to. She didn't say to yell for him as soon as the bell rang.

I managed to turn the Smart Board on before the first thundering herd arrived. The minute they entered the door, I knew I was in trouble. Somehow mob control was omitted from my college educational curriculum. I knew one family was having trouble regulating their child's medication so I understood the desk chair gymnastics that was going on. I did not anticipate the need for serious medication for the rest of the class. Ten students were really interested in learning so I focused on them while trying to keep the other twenty-five contained somewhere close to their assigned seats.

Mercifully the two and half hour class that was only forty-five minutes was over. Time for the next group. I was ready. I'd play the tough teacher. After one minute of class, one little person said "You're mean." Yes, I hadn't lost it. I could do this. I had put on my video-chair looking brace for my plantar fasciitis as the floors were some kind of concrete. "Hey, you under house arrest" came from the back of the room. I knew what she was referring to because I watch "White Collar" and Martha Stewart but I wondered about her frame of reference. No one in this class was interested in Japan, Iceland, or anything within ten miles of the school. Time to call in reinforcements. I knew the principal was in another wing of the building, so I would have to bluff (I also watch "The World Poker Series"). I stepped out and yelled into an empty hall "Yes, tell Mr. Smith that he is needed in room 211."

I returned to a classroom where ten were feigning a search for Iceland somewhere around Tahiti on the giant wall map, fifteen were reading aloud from the textbook about German technology, and eleven were trying to mute Angry Birds on their I-pod. I managed to bluff my way to the end of the period which was five minutes away.

There was a basketball tournament the last period so the teacher had suggested the class might want to attend. YES! Time to send the recess-deprived-high-maintenance-hyper-loud middle schoolers to a place where such behavior is acceptable…the gym. As I was leaning against the rail in the gym, two regular teachers came over.

"Subbing today? I could tell by the glazed look," said one.

"Yes, they said I was mean," I replied.

"Good, maybe they will hire you full time. There's ninety-five in this class."

"Don't worry," I said, "there'll soon be fifty-two. Some sub is going to snap and go on a screaming rampage and thirty-three will transfer to Alaska."

"Really?" she said all too hopefully.

"Luckily, they are protected by law so they all survived today."

"Are you coming back tomorrow?"

"No, I've been to Hell, I'm not going back."

As I herded my group back to class I observed a middle school teacher. "Ray, are you supposed to be running?" "Well, I was late and…" "Yes ma'am or No ma'am. Are you supposed to be running?" "No ma'am." "Thank you. Now continue walking." Ok, short sentences, repeat question, accept only the designated response, thank you, send him on his way. Got it…maybe.

The middle school secretary asked if I would sub tomorrow as I was making my escape. "No, sorry." I almost suggested she call the state prison for a list of those on death row.

Teachers of kindergarten and middle school must answer to a special calling…or have some kind of mental problem. I couldn't do their job. Thankfully, they are there for my children and I am eternally grateful. I shall look on them with greater respect and admiration and will ask Santa to fill their stockings with a sufficient supply of valium, Zoloft, wine, and other strong tranquilizers to get them to May.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Rudolph Can’t Guide My Sleigh

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Whiteout Rehab.


The last car we bought was just around Christmas several years ago. I, wearing my deer antler Christmas head band complete with bells, found a car on the lot that met all hubby's criteria and was the color that I liked. I stood in the car filled lot near to closing time and yelled "Anybody want to sell me a car?"


A lady salesperson came outside. I think she drew the short straw or maybe, having five kids herself, was not frightened by an elderly couple, one wearing antlers. She proceeded to tell us all the advantages of this particular model.


"Excuse me, we know all that. This is what we will pay," I said as my husband pretended he didn't know me. She accepted our price. We went inside where it was warm and she wrote up the contract. Then hubby came alive and began to finesse his hand. 'Oh, we have GMC credit we want to apply to the purchase price." Out came the white out; down went the price, new numbers added.


Once that was presented, hubby mentioned he had two gas tanks or something he was redeeming/claiming/turning-in or whatever. Out came the white out, "Anything else to declare?" she said before putting in the new price... " Nope", he said. The new price was written down.


Then I jingled my head, "Oh, wait, I forgot. We are over here with our RV trailer. How can we get that home without a trailer hitch or trailer brakes to go with the trailer package we just bought?" "Deal breaker?" she asked. "Afraid so", came from Hubby. I jingled again, "Can't leave the RV here." More white out, new price. By now the saleslady was getting a bit high from the white out. We could have edged the price down more but then the manager came over and said "I'll take it from here."


I think somewhere in this dealership there is now a sign that says "Beware of elderly customer wearing antlers at Christmas. She ain't Rudolph!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Operation Black and Blue Friday

By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for body armor

It was a glorious Thanksgiving. After an eleven minute dinner, the guests were ushered out the door with a to-go-box and "Have a safe trip!" I had Buck Fever. The adrenaline was pumping. It was time to assemble my gear. Orthopedic arch inserts? Check. Water bottle? Check. Credit cards cleaned and oiled for quick sliding? Check. Chocolate M&M pretzels? Check. Cell phone charged. Check. Angry Birds loaded onto the ten teen's I Pod? Check and Double Check. I was ready to spend bucks to save bucks.

The object of my Black Friday hunt? A new trampoline with enclosure and padding. As Confucius, ancient Chinese philosopher and Businessman and the originator of the "Own America" campaign, once said "He who makes net and padding wear out same time as trampoline, only sell once." Or as his cousin Wing-a-Ding-Wan-Yo-Money Trump put it "Wise man make cheaper to buy two than to buy one even if one is all you need".

Having previously scouted out Wal-Mart, I knew the number of trampoline boxes available (48), where they were located (garden center patio), and time I could load (10 p.m.). To secure the most advantageous spot, I needed to be in position by 7 p.m., three hours before the season opened. Done, Done, and Double Done!

7:11 There is only myself and two other people standing by the pile of trampolines. I strategically place myself and my basket near a support post and the end stack of trampolines. A small crowd of three or four adults have gathered in the corner where about twenty 12 volt white convertible Barbie type cars are stacked two deep and three high. I pull out Angry Birds. Low battery. I begin to crowd watch and eves drop.

7:35 I become friends with a young man who's I.D. tag says "Event Staff". He seems fit and healthy and capable of loading a 200 pound trampoline in my buggy. I'll recruit him for later.

8:30 The crowd is increasing, notably the group milling around the 12 volt Barbie type cars and a new group around the Play Tyme Custom Kitchens just behind me. Strategies being planned. "Now be ready to go into action the minute it's 10:00. People will push, shove, and bite but hang in there, stand your ground. Use your cell phone for backup but only if you are losing the battle." I thought it was a security guard behind me talking on his walkie talkie but it was some Mom instructing her teenage daughter, a Black Friday novice. Several security guards are making a line of defense in front of the outside exit doors. The S.W.A.T team has arrived complete with flak jackets, walkie talkies on each hip and enough battery packs to power four mini TV's. This is going to be big.

8:55. The hairs on the back of my neck are tingling. The crowd is larger and shopping carts have been circled in a defensive formation around the Barbie cars and Custom Kitchens against late comers. I half expect to see Geronimo and his warriors come through the doors.

9:05 My M&M's are gone and half of my water. The crowd is shifting around restlessly. Some of the late comers are sporting intimidating t-shirts. One says "P_ss, Puke, Blood, Guts". I don't know if he is referring to shoppers who stood in his way in the past or if this is an indication that the turkey and potato salad had been left out too long earlier in the day.

There is enough cell phone action going on that I'm surprised Verizon isn't saying "I can hear everybody now." "Bravo One to Bravo Two. We have 12 volt convertible in range. Scanning the bar code now. Yes this is the best price. We have flanked the target on both sides. Over and out."

9:25 There are NO security guards in sight but several Alabama line backers have arrived to secure a Kiddie Custom Kitchen. I'm sure they will get one. There are now 20 Barbie type cars and 60 car-wanters… who can also count. I am digging in. This could get ugly and I don't mean just the view of my backside squashed behind a six inch support pole and a wall of trampoline boxes.

9:59. 5-4-3-2-1 START SHOPPING! I unsquash myself from behind the pole and fling my arms on top of my trampoline box. Some Granny next to me is jamming my shopping cart into my ribs as she wrestles her trampoline into her cart. No pain, no trampoline. An altercation is erupting in the Barbie car lot as I suspected. The Incredible Hulk is emerging from the car lot, probably due to the stress, and has two white 12 volt convertible boxes held high over his head. I can only assume he is divorced, has twin daughters visiting for Christmas, and this is the only thing they wanted. The SWAT team arrives, from somewhere, and handles the situation.

Within five minutes the garden center looks like a hurricane has blown in and swept the area clean. There is nothing left but three bicycles and me wrapped around my trampoline box. I hope my recruit shows up soon.

10:31 Target is acquired and secure in the back of my truck.

10:32 Replenished M&Ms and back in line for the three-in-one printers ready to go on sale at 12:01.

God bless free enterprise! Over and out!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

No DIY or HGTV Episode was consulted in the Writing of this Piece

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for left handed tub

When I designed our house thirty years ago, no one told me I should plan for a left handed tub. Let me explain. I am right handed so I designed a right handed house. Most of the doors are hung with hinges on the right. You step up to the door, extend your right hand, grab the door knob, and pull the door toward you. Right handed door. I also have a right handed refrigerator and kitchen cabinets, that don't have two doors, are right handed cabinets. The same is true for our three bathtubs. They are all right handed bathtubs. You step up to the tub, face the faucets and shower head. Extending your right hand, you reach in and turn on the water. Then right foot first, you step into the tub.

All this has worked fine for thirty years and 315 days. At thirty years and 316 days I limped into the podiatrist's office to discover I have plantar fasciitis (limping right foot). After taping my foot into permanent field goal kicker position, I was told to go home and never, ever get the tape wet until it was time to remove the tape; that being one week. They offered me a shower cap for the foot for $10. HA! I am a creative former theatre person who has made do with nothing for thirty-nine years as a public school teacher. I think I can manage to keep one foot dry for a week.

My original plan was to just stand my right foot out of the tub while I showered. I did not count on the right handed house design. The master bathtub is right handed. To keep the right foot out of the tub, I would have to turn on the water with my right hand, then hop around and step into the tub with my back to the shower, and my foot out of the tub. Not an easy task. The other two bathtubs were also right handed tubs. The only left handed tub was in the RV and I wasn't up to hiking out there with no hot water.

The next creative solution was to wrap my foot in a trash bag and tape it closed. The only tape I had was that blue painters tape. That seemed to work pretty well except when I got out of the tub, I couldn't tell if I had gotten the foot wet or it was just sweaty from the steam and length of time the foot had been in the bag.

The next night I wrapped a wash cloth around the upper part of my ankle, put the trash bag on secured with a rubber band, and followed by more blue painters tape. This time when I removed the painter's tape (which is paper and somewhat soggy) the towel was damp. I couldn't tell if I had gotten the foot wet or not because the rubber band had cut off the circulation to my foot.

Tonight I think I will just sit in the tub, backwards, and hang my foot over the side. No way am I going back to the podiatrist's office and admit I do need a $10 foot shower cap! Course if hubby has to call the EMT's to come with a wench to haul me out of the bathtub; a $10 shower cap might be a bargain.

HGTV never tells you about right handed bathtubs. I may have to start hanging out at Home Depot or Lowe's looking for Bath Crashers Matt Muenster. I wonder if he has ever designed a left handed bathroom?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Black Friday Shopping Tips

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for mobile SWAT shopping cart

Judging by the massive preparations going on, you would think the 8th US Army battalion was preparing for a twenty-five mile hike or Elvis had been discovered living in Greenland and tickets were going on sale in thirty-six hours for his next live concert. Actually, it is just previous Black Friday Survivors getting ready to launch their next shopping spree.

Food, gum, bottled water, a camp stool, bungee cords (for attaching two shopping carts together), and a thermos of coffee are crammed into a duffle bag and strapped onto their backs. Others are perfecting their fake limp in order to snag a handicapped scooter at Wal-Mart. Still others are preparing by sleeping an extra eight hours two days before the sale starts.

The first rule for Black Friday Shopping is to plan ahead. Several online Black Op sites feature comparison shopping, store maps, launch times, and a printable list for the what, when, where, and time for each store's specials as well as links to cyber sales that may or may not coincide with Black Friday or the alignment of Mars and Jupiter.

Once you have your plan of attack, it is time to suit up. Boots with steel toes are recommended if you plan to battle it out for the latest electronic must-haves; otherwise your best arch-support-long-term-standing-in-line-NASSA-designed-foam-lined-gel-tennis shoe will suffice. Outer wear should support sub-zero temperatures if you are waiting outside in a line six blocks long. Inner wear should support tropical approaching desert temperatures to compensate for the body heat of ten times the maximum capacity of persons in any given store at any given time.

The plan is to arrive at the first shopping stop at least five hours before the official sale starts. Sometimes rooky salespeople will panic at the sight of a restless mob and begin giving out vouchers, armbands, or secret locations of the "real" TV's, computers, I-Pads etc. Hint: If you are a retired airline stewardess, veteran air traffic controller, or former kindergarten teacher, you can usually pick up some part time work on Black Friday working crowd control.

Here are a few lesser known tips for Black Friday Shopping that I have gleaned from past Black Friday Sales Survivors.

  1. Always shop with a partner. If there is a limit on the number of items you can purchase, you have an extra person to buy the additional items needed. Also you can swap out if you need to make a potty run.

  2. Make sure your i-phone is powered up for any online specials or E-bay auction items. This is also necessary for communicating with other operatives located in nearby stores

  3. If a particular item is not at the top of your list, wait until the frenzied shoppers have decimated the pile, and then circle your buggy in a six aisle radius. Often when mob crazed shoppers come to, they realize they don't need six waffle makers or portable DVD players and will dump them on the nearest shelf. I found $3 mixer on the underwear aisle that way

  4. If the shelves were empty before you got what you needed, hang out around the check-out lines. Many sale items will be eliminated at the register due to maxed out credit cards.

  5. Security knows nothing. If you want information, ask a person with a walkie-talkie attached to their belt, ear phones on, wearing a really ugly vest, and preferably standing on a ladder with a bull horn. If that fails, follow the buggy with the most items in it or the person wearing the camo t-shirt with BARGAIN SHOPPER embellished in crystal dots.

By following these simple tips, you , too, can spend the next eleven months paying off your credit card in order to take advantage of the next Black Friday Shopping Op!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shaving at Six

by Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Aqua Velva Man

Yes, my little man is shaving at six years of age. No, he doesn't have some hormonal imbalance, well I don't think so. If the child had a full gorwn beard or moustache, then I'd be calling the Mayo Clinic or perhaps the Guinnes book of World Records. He isn't shaving his face or even his arms for some kind of boldy building magazine photo op. No, my little man is shaving his legs!

I'm trying to figure out where all this came from. It's not like he's seen me shave my legs. Over sixty and hair stops growing, well except for the one on my chinney chin chin. I don't suspect that his ten-teen sister has started to shave. I don't think the TV has sported any new or innovative hair removal systems of late. If his sister hadn't tattled, I might never have know.

"What posessed you to shave your legs?" I questioned in my most intimidating FBI manner. Wrong tactic. He immediately burst into tears. Between gasps from him and my husband, he said he had seen it on TV. I explained that he wasn't in trouble but I was concerned that he might have cut his legs while shaving. Images of gushing blood, numerous dots of toilet tissue flashed through my mind as I remembered the first time I shaved my legs.

"And once you start shaving the hair grows back stiff and black and you can't stop." More tears and hysterics...from hubby. "but I have blond hair. I'm gonna have blond hair and black hairy legs? wailed the six-year-old. "It will be alright. Just don't do it any more," I advised.

Later that evening as I was tucking him in, he asked one last question. "Do your legs kinda burn when you shave them?" Ancient screams echoed in my head from the time I tried using alcohol to stem the blood flow that first time. "I'll rub some baby lotion on your legs so they won't burn anymore. When you get much much older and start to shave your FACE, we will have to remember to get you some shaving cream. Now, goodnight."

I went back into the living room to console the still sobbing hubby whom I am sure was remembering the early days of our marraige when my barbed-wire legs hadn't seen a razor in a couple of days and thinking of the fate of his future daughter-in-law. "I was just kidding about the stiff black hair growing back on his legs...that only happens with women's legs. I just didn't want him to do it again." More sobbing from hubby, but I think these were sobs of relief.

Men! Young and old!

Shaving at Six


Saturday, November 5, 2011

There’s a Hole! There’s a Hole! There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Seat!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for midget with small hands

There was a time when all things laid on a car seat stayed there, sometimes for months. Sun glasses tossed on the seat would remain until well one of my sudden stops. An open bag of M&M's would stay put until the last one was eaten. Of course all of this is BS, Before Seat-belts.

With the passage of the seat-belt laws, all cars developed seat belt holes in otherwise perfectly good bench seats. The seat-belt slots housing the retractable seat-belt became the Black Holes of Inner Space. Eye glasses placed on the seat would disappear down the hole at the slightest turn. M&M's would pour themselves into the never ending abyss. Cell phones would slide ringing into the blackness.

Small children are now bribed by parents to "Stick your hand down in the hole and see what you can find." Or "Ok, honey, help Mommy find her glasses. I think it went down the hole. Now don't worry if you feel something gooey, that's probably the chocolate bar I lost when I turned the corner yesterday and not zombie brains."

Others have used the black hole searches to occupy starving children. "We want a snack." "Ok, you can have all the M&M's you can find in the seat-belt holes." Others threaten to use the black holes to threaten misbehaving children. "If you don't behave, you're going to have to search for my car keys in 'theeeee blaaaaack hoooole' and it won't be pretty."

Like space black holes, you know the seat-belt hole is there; you just can't see what's in it. You know your cell phone is in the hole, you can hear it ringing from afar as friends frantically dial your number so you can track it down before your battery dies. You can look under the seat a hundred times, around the seats, even between the seats, but nothing can penetrate the black hole.

Nor can you prove the existence of anything that has entered the black hole. You saw your driver's license slip into the black hole, but you can't prove it to the nice policeman. Unless you have the long slim fingers of a concert pianist, a visiting midget is in the passenger seat or a cooperative two-year old (now that's a contradiction of terms) in the back seat, the chances of retrieving the item are slim. Just go ahead and pay the fine.

Anthropologists predict that in the future the first and second fingers of adults will grow to resemble pincers due to continuous probing of the black seat-belt holes as they search for lost objects. I'm sure space ships will have the required seat belts. That could explain Spock's unique hand greeting.

Now when the children are singing that maddening never ending "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea", I had my own lyrics. "There's a watch on the pen on the earring on the phone on the M&Ms, on the log in the hole in the bottom of the seat. There's a hoooole, there's a hoooole, there's a hole in the bottom of the seat."

Maybe I'll invent the rubber stretch seat-belt slot cozies. Then I could sing "There's a cover for the seat belt in the bottom of the seat. There's no hole, there's no hole, there's no hole in the bottom of the seat." Until then, I've got to find a midget or two-year-old to retrieve my glasses.





Sunday, October 30, 2011

Memoirs of a Six-Year-Old

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Memory Lane Condo

When I think of nostalgia, I picture some old couple sitting on the front porch in rocking chairs lecturing to the "young'uns." Usually the lecture begins "When I was a boy, we walked six miles to school, uphill, both ways in six feet of snow." Or, more recently, "Kids today don't know the meaning of work."

I never figured it applied to six-year-olds. While I write mostly of what it is like to be over 65 raising children, I forget what it must be like for six-year-olds and ten-teens to be raised by elderly "parents." For example, the ten-teen has appointed herself Chief of the Fashion Police. Before we leave the house, I'm checking for folders, ballet bags, homework, backpacks, and lunches. The Chief is checking to see that my breakfast isn't on my shirt, my shoes match, and that I'm wearing make-up and all required undergarments.

The six-year-old constantly asks "How old are you now?" or "You don't look as old today" which lets me know he's a bit concerned about this whole aging process. I read to him every night after he locates my glasses. He told me the other night that before long "I'll be reading to you." The ten-teen struggles with fifth grade reading vocabulary but she is an expert at reading Crestor, Lipitor, Nexium, calcium percentages and other directions from the miniscule printing on my medicine bottles.

The kids also pick up on all our discussions. Yesterday during P.E. class my first grader told the coach he couldn't run today because "My knees are killing me." On Friday, we deliver chocolate to the elementary teachers. I'm accumulating brownie points for a later date. As we walked down toward the kindergarten classes, he said "I miss this old hallway. I miss my old teacher. She doesn't teach kindergarten anymore," which made me wonder if teaching him had been the last straw. Got to remember more chocolate on Friday.

While the children are providing me with a number of topics for my book-ette, I'm sure they are compiling stories for the sequel "Acne and Social Security, It Isn't What it Used to Be"





Sunday, October 23, 2011

Smurf’s Up

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for anything blue

I attended a meeting of our six-year-old's school PTO (Penalizing Their Offspring) meeting. I figured I would score some brownie points for future use. The topic was the upcoming Fall Festival. It used to be called a Halloween Carnival. I guess to be politically correct the name was changed to downplay witches, goblins, and ghosts. Did I mention the school mascot was the Blue Devils?

Besides the usual assortment of booths for dunking, pie throwing, food, and games of chance, there would be a table set aside for silent auction items. As I had no desire to be dunked and felt all pies should be taken internally, I quickly volunteered to create an item for the silent auction. But what?

I glanced at my last blog post about handcrafted memories and decided I would make a quilt. Ok, "quilt" is like saying you want a coke with that burger when you really want a Dr. Pepper. It was two weeks till the festival, so there was no way I could actually quilt a quilt. I opted for a combination of tacking and quilting. I needed a gimmick to get people to bid on my project. Sometimes my quilting can be like my cooking…got all the required ingredients but it doesn't look like anything edible.

My six-year-old is in the first grade, class of 2023. I would have all the first graders put their handprint on quilt squares and then sign their name beneath the handprint. With eighty-two first graders, that should get at least eighty-two parents submitting silent bids. If there are a lot of divorced parents, I might even get a hundred bids. Factor in grandparents, ex-grandparents, and warring grandparents, it might even evolve into some kind of bidding war. My one quilt could be responsible for adding an entire new wing to the elementary school! The Jody Worsham Wing! I was excited!

First I had to get material. Six yards should do the top plus six yards of blue print for the backing, then batting, paint, and paint pens. I carefully figured how much space to allot for each handprint. I should get this out in a couple of hours. Now, I admit I have only fed, clothed, and signed report cards for eight first graders. I've never actually done anything with 82 of them. I wisely visited with the first grade teacher…first.

"Paint pens are not a good idea. Blue Sharpies are better." Ok, I could swap the paint pens for Sharpies at Wal-Mart. "Oh, and I'll bring soap and paper towels." Ok, I hadn't thought about getting the paint off their hands. "And you should paint their hands with a sponge brush, don't put the paint in a paper plate." Ok, I'll return the paper plates and get a foam paint brush. "And I'll send them to you a few at a time so you can supervise hand-washing at the sink." I have to supervise hand-washing? How quickly I forgot my one day as kindergarten sub .Ok, I'll supervise hand-washing.

On hand printing day, I would have made the FBI proud. I was organized. I was prepared. I was clueless.

First, I quickly discovered that the name should be printed BEFORE you do the handprint. Some archeologist will discover this quilt a thousand years from now and will offer it as proof that the hand had evolved to seven fingers. Unless the parent of my seven fingered print thinks their child is really special, I don't think they will be bidding on this quilt. Second, the longer you hold a Sharpie to fabric, the more the ink will spread. Some first graders write more slowly than others. That is why some names will appear as a big blue blob. My number of potential bidders is dropping. Third, the child with the smallest hand will have the longest name printed in the largest letters. Fourth, a lot of names were spelled with backward letters, thus dropping my pool of bidders even further. Fifth, you do have to supervise hand-washing. Evidently you should not leave a bottle of blue paint next to the bottle of soap at the sink. "Blue Paint" and "Soap" are not on a first grader's sight word list. Ruined shirts on Monday will not encourage bidding wars on Friday.

After eight hours of printing, painting, wiping, and washing, all eight-two Smurf marked children had been hand printed. I spent the next three days trying to transform blobs of paint into actual names, performing finger-ectomies, and offering to replace ruined shirts. It took two days to assemble the quilt

I fear that the bids on this quilt will be silent and absent. I may have to buy my own quilt. At least if Ruby Lee dumps my sweet six-year-old in ten years, I can point to this quilt and say "See, you are better off. Look at how her hand had seven fingers back then and she wrote her R and B backwards."

Ok, maybe I won't.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hand Crafted Memories

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for something NOT made in China.


Americans have witnessed an increased interest in handcrafted items over the past few years. More and more people are learning to crochet, knit, sew, and quilt. Handmade toys made in America are highly sought after items. Festivals featuring hand made in America items, some even restricting to items made within that state are springing up in ever increasing numbers. Most of these items could be mass produced at a lower cost so why the resurgence in handmade items?


One reason might be the search for something unique and individual. In an age of mass media advertising, items are available to almost everybody at the exact same time regardless of where you live. What you have is just like what everybody else has.


Perhaps it is a way to connect with the past. With computers, i-phones, i-pads, the internet, we can immediately connect to people around the world instantaneously. But how do you connect to the past? One way to experience the past is through crafts that have literally been "handed down" to the next generation or by learning a skill as it was done in the past such as quilting. Hand quilting is done today in the same manner as it was done a hundred years ago.


What makes the handcrafted items so "valuable" is the story that goes with it. It could be the doily your grandmother made that was the centerpiece of the dining table every Christmas. The pillowcases your aunt made from flour sacks, then hand embroidered with your name, hold special meaning. The christening gown your great-grandmother made and trimmed in tatting , brings forth special memories each time a new baby wears it.


Handmade quilts add more than physical comfort when wrapped in memories of snowy Thanksgivings, camp outs under the stars, or pallets on the back porch in summer. Quilts don't have to be old to be treasured. I have a quilt that was made by my 4-H Horse and Pony Club. My group used crayons to color in the outline of a horse on cotton squares to match the horse they rode. They added their name and the name of their horse on the square. I pieced the squares together, put a backing on it and then took it to the next 4-H meeting. The kids helped tack the layers together. The quilt isn't valuable in terms of skills or materials, but rich in memories. A couple of the kids have since passed away. I wouldn't take for my quilt. A modern quilting machine can make the stiches; it can't stitch the memories.


Whether you are seeking that one of a kind gift, connecting to the past, or passing on skills to future generations, handmade carries with it the love and care those hands used in the creation of it. Handmade, from my hands to yours.



Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Once and Future Mascot

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Mascot Training Camp

From what I can remember of my theatre history classes, the shaman or medicine man would don a mask, usually that of an animal, to do "business with the gods." Once he put on the mask, he embodied all the qualities and characteristics the animal mask represented. And thus began the practice of athletic teams adopting an animal as their totem and having someone who can't play the game, wear the mask and costume and become the mascot.

In Texas we have over 2,000 schools boasting all kinds of school mascots, each hoping to imbue their team with all the power and attributes associated with their chosen mascot. Usually mascots are lions, tigers, bulldogs, hornets, eagles, or even marlins. You want your mascot to be something that strikes fear in your opponents.

I first became aware of the impact a mascot can have on a team when I entered Pattie Welder Jr. High. A clue should have been the giant insect painted on the wall as you entered the school. Being a city girl, termite did not first come to mind. Already self-conscious about our size, no junior high athlete wants to be called a termite. Now granted, a termite can render an oak floor to a pitiful pile of sawdust over time, but did we really think our opponents were going to shake in their cleats over facing the mighty termites? What were the cheerleaders going to yell?

     "Go Termites Go! Chew ! Chew! Chew!

Reduce them to sawdust! Boo Hoo Hoo!"

As a child, our family moved a lot. After the termite incident, I did some research on various mascots in Texas. My sister coached at a high school in Lewisville. Their mascot? The Fighting Farmers! I could just see the costumes for their drill team, little checked skirts with white aprons and a sunbonnet. No thank you. I didn't want to go to Itasca and be a Wampus Cat. I didn't even know what a Wampus Cat was. I didn't want to be a Red Ant, so Progresso High School was out. New Braunfels seemed promising, the Unicorns, but I wasn't sure how aggressive they were when it came to athletics.

Hutto looked like it might be an option until I realized they were the Hutto Hippos. I suppose when they were voting on mascots one of the board members or coaches had just seen a National Geographic episode detailing the ferociousness of the hippopotamus, Africa's most violent animal. That is the only reason I can see voting for the hippo to be your mascot. Being a Lady Hippo did not do anything to raise my self-esteem.

We finally settled on Blooming Grove ISD, home of the Lions in central hot Texas. Our arch rival was a school five miles down the road, Frost High School. Their mascot? The Polar Bears of course. Most of our football games were played in 99 degree heat. Go figure.

Over the years I've thought a lot on the subject of mascots and I have noticed some omissions. For example, we have the bulldogs, but no Shih Tzu or pugs; hornets and yellow jackets, termites still, but no brown recluse spiders or red bugs (also known as Chiggers). We have cowboys and plowboys but no carpenters or mechanics; jets but no submarines. We have tornadoes, hurricanes, but no tsunamis.

There are no mascots to represent our modern times. Since we all know competition drives education in Texas, I propose the following mascots. For the high schools for the visual and performing arts, I suggest the Butterfly. For the technical schools we could have the Geek Greeks, the Modem USBee's, or the Galveston Giga Bytes! For the School of Art and Fashion Design, they could be the Van Go's. For the all-girls school of graphic and web design, the Web Debs would be perfect!

I have yet to find a school embracing the ultimate mascot in terms of viciousness, tenacity, stamina, agility, versatility, speed, and vision…the common housefly. Now think about it for a minute. Their bite is ferocious and irritating. You can't run them off. They keep coming back. They can cling to ceilings and hide in places you can't get to. They can fly around forever no matter how many times you "shoo" them away. They can cling to the backs of chairs, screens, moving ceiling fans, and beneath tables. They are faster than most rolled up newspapers, flip-flops, fly swats and chop sticks, well except for Mr. Miyagi. And talk about having eyes on every opponent! Nothing beats the house fly. They love hot humid weather, and yet I've found them in the dead of winter.

No, you can have your lions, your tigers, your hippos, your dogs. Give me the common house fly as a mascot to be reckoned with! Go, Flies, Go! Buzzzzzz!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Before the Before

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Photo Shoot…preferable with a shotgun.

When you see those television commercials with the Before and After photos, do you find yourself scrutinizing the two photos to see if it is really the same person? Granted if you lose 300 pounds you are going to look different, but does that weight loss also affect the size of your head or the length of your ears? The Before Photo shows the fat person with scraggly hair, wearing baggy clothes and a frown looking full front into the camera. The After Photo always features the person with a lovely hair-do, stylish clothing, a big white Crest smile, and the body torqued in such a way that the least amount of waistline is facing the camera. Any fisherman worth his weight in big mouth bass knows those camera tricks.

All this got me to thinking of a way to supplement my non-existent unpublished writing fund. I call it my Before the Before Concept. I figure I am the perfect universal Before picture. Put some baggy saggy ugly clothes (right out of my closet) on me, bring the camera up close, and I am the perfect Before Jenny Craig photo. Even if the After person only lost five pounds, dress her up, put on some make-up, back the camera way off and there you have it… a perfect size two compared to the Before photo.

But weight is just the start. I am the ultimate Before Rogaine. Shoot the top of my head, photo shop the gray hair to whatever shade the After Rogaine has and voila! Remember, they never show the Before person's face. Photograph my ugly toes, rough heels, bitten ragged fingernails, and I can corner the Before market for Pedicures, Pedi-Eggs, and Press-on-Nails. The good thing is that even the slightest improvement on my look-a-like would be sure to gross millions in increased product sales when compared to the Before. I am a marketing gold mine! One photo shoot fits all.

So while I'm waiting for that publishing contract to arrive in the mail, I'm standing by the phone waiting for that call from Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Rogaine, Bare Minerals, Pedi-Egg, and Press-on-Nails. And the best part is no talent or preparation required. I just have to be myself!

Wonder why no one has called?


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cone Head, the Barbarian

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for movie version

You could finance a small country for what it takes to keep a Shih Tzu healthy, much less happy. Shih Tzus stress over everything. They stress out if you take them to the groomers. They stress out if you don't. If you clip them too short, they sunburn which causes stress. If you just clip their faces, they stress over what the other dogs might be saying.

No matter what causes the stress, it manifests itself in the form of skin irritations and in Mia Tia's case, hot spots just below each ear. I tried treating the hot spots she had scratched raw with Neosporin and Benadryl gel but nothing would stop her scratching. I began to feel sorry for her. Here she was pregnant, hottest summer on record, and now hot spots. I was feeling the stress myself.

I checked our life's savings, the kids' college fund, our line of credit, and then made an appointment with our veterinarian.

Miss Tia was too stressed out to walk into the vet's office, so I had to carry her. She was too stressed to remain on the scales long enough for the technician to get her weight. I had to sit on the scales and hold her while the technician subtracted more pounds than I care to admit to, in order to determine Miss Tia's pregnant weight of 12 ½ pounds. Now I was stressed. At least we weren't asked to move to the cattle and horse scales.

The technician took her away and in a few minutes the doctor returned.

"These dogs are highly susceptible to stress."

Try raising a six-year-old and a ten-teen when you are in your very late sixties, I thought.

"She has had an allergic reaction, probably to something she ate."

I swear I only gave her a small portion of the purple chicken.

"Or going to the groomers may have triggered the reaction."

Good, I like that. Blame it on the groomer.

"We will have to shave around her head and clean the wounds."

Ok, more stress and probably more scratchy spots for Tia.

When the doctor returned, poor Tia was wearing the Get Smart Cone of Silence. Miss Tia needed a shot. Ka-Ching! She needed a special spray. Ka-Ching! She needed a special flea repellant and heart worm medication for pregnant mommies-to-be. Ka-Ching! Ka-Ching! She needed her six-months flea repellant prescription renewed for after the puppies came. KA-CHING! There went our life's savings and the first two semesters of college. Our credit card balance now qualifies us for debt consolidation and financial counseling.

After carrying Miss Tia to the car, she was too stressed out to walk, we returned home. As soon as we got inside, she ran around the house doing the happy dog dance while knocking her head cone against the floor, the walls, the refrigerator, and the sofa.

When the six-year-old came home from school, he immediately dubbed her "Cone Head the Barbarian".

"Don't say that!" I cautioned, "You'll stress her out." "Oh, she's just a dog. She won't get her feelings hurt", he nonchalantly replied. "Ok, the expense for her next you-are-stressing-me-out-hot-spot comes out of your future-all-we-can-afford truck".

Cone Head the Barbarian was soon dropped, but now I can't get it out of my head.

Oh, the stress!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Check, Please!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for 360 degree full length anti-magnifying mirror

When my children were younger, I employed the Mama Cat cleaning method for the on-the-way-to-church-and-just-before-we-arrived check. Keep in mind, Mothers have done this for centuries and this was before zip-lock bags with a wet wash cloth or wet wipes. With six children in the confined space of a van, all at one time, I had the chance to make a final check before we went inside the church. Lick finger, wipe smidgen of jelly from cheek amid screams of "Eeeeeuuu, spit, nooooooo!"

Getting six children up, fed, and dressed along with myself was a running battle, literally. As soon as you chased one down and dressed him with a semi-matching outfit and clean socks, the fashion diva would streak by wearing a tutu and nothing else declaring she was ready for church. No one was surprised when the church nursery worker discovered that I had often forgotten to put diapers on the toddlers.

Fast forward to the teen years. The Mama Cat method is no longer needed as the teens have discovered body wash, lotion, conditioners, deodorants, after shave cologne, powder, lip balm, Clearasil, perfume and make-up. Before leaving the house, the teens had to subject themselves to the "bend over and touch your toes" method for blouses that may be too low or skirts that were too short. "Boy, your car is on fire. Run and put it out". If their pants were too baggy to "save" the car, they failed the insurance test and had to change. Girls also had to pass the white towel check for make-up. After blotting, if there was a distinct imprint resembling Tammy Faye, the make-up had to come off.

Now that I have entered my senior years, the children are seeking their revenge. They want to install full sized magnifying mirrors if I continue to fail the "Dripped your breakfast on your shirt this morning, did you?" Check.

I admit as senior citizens our eyesight isn't what it used to be. In fact, nothing is like it used to be, so I am suggesting that before we go out to meet the public, open the door, or the children come over, we should have a "Senior Check." If we had had Senior Check, my friend would not have shown up at work wearing white slacks. It was before Labor Day so that wasn't the problem. The problem was she was wearing bright orange underwear. I should have told her. The fact that she lives 600 miles away was no excuse; we do have web cams on our computers if we only knew how to use them.

For those of you entering the Senior Check Phase, allow me to offer some suggestions. Before going out, besides checking the obvious, are you wearing clothes? here are a few things to look for:

  1. Pants zipped…up Check

  2. Two matching earrings, one on each ear, check

  3. Bra on, cups in front…check

  4. Shoes at least in the same color family preferably with the same heel height… check and check

  5. No evidence of previous meals anywhere… check

  6. Make-up application/colors close to the style for this decade …check

  7. Lipstick applied to actual lips, not where lips used to be …check

  8. No sleeveless clothing unless wearing accompanying jacket… Check

  9. No flip-flops or backless sandals unless you have used the Pedi-egg or #8 grit sandpaper with Black and Decker power sander within the last few hours... Check

  10. White underwear, white slacks... Check, Check and Double Check!

Just by following this simple list, you may never have to experience "Oh Mother, before we go, you've got a bit of bran muffin stuck to your cheek. Just let me get that ..."

" Eeeeeuuuuuu, (spit), noooo!"

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Germs Have It?

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for a little common sense.

Maybe because it is late at night and my brain is only hearing half of the television commercials or, which is more likely, the commercials really are that dumb. My subconscious has been subjected to ads for giant cupcake pans, Eggies for boiling eggs without the shell provided you can still find all the parts, and pajama blue jeans which only look good on those physically fit who wear a size two.

The ultimate dumbest commercial to date, just slightly ahead of the Eggies, is the hands free soap dispenser. Now granted, a hands free touch faucet makes sense. If your hands are really dirty, then touching the faucet with your elbow, your nose, or your big toe if you are into yoga or Pilates makes sense. Even a hands free paper towel dispenser would protect your clean hands, especially if the previous person touching the paper towel dispenser lever did not do a good job of washing his/her hands, but a hands free soap dispenser?!

The advertisement touts "prevents the spread of germs." Ok, now you are getting soap to wash the germs off your hands, right? So washing a few extra germs picked up from the soap dispenser isn't going to break the germicidal bank. Plus, is the soap dispenser suddenly going to shower the room with germ spores? Are the germs congregating just south of the dispenser mechanism waiting to make a gigantic jump through the air? If the soap in the hands free soap dispenser cannot fight off the germs left by the hands the soap is supposed to clean, then it isn't going to make any difference if the soap dispenser is hands free or not. Besides, who is going to touch the soap dispenser and NOT wash their hands?

Better that germ fearing inventors turn their efforts toward inventing a hands free toothpaste dispenser. Now there's a germ laden object just waiting to explode. Think about it. Multiple hands touching the tube, (why am I the only one with toothpaste in the house) then tossing it on various counters that may or may not have been the semi-final resting place for pet frogs, worms, and gold fish? Hands griping the twisted distorted tube, squirting crusted semi-dried goo onto a toothbrush, then said hand and brush going to your mouth. Bleeegh!

Put toothpaste in those individual packets like catsup or put toothpaste in your hands free soap dispenser. At least that would make sense.

If, however, you are one of the millions who bought the hands free soap dispenser you can just toss it in the drawer with the missing eggie parts when the batteries run down. Your hands can still get clean with old fashioned soap-on-a-rope.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Frying Purple Chicken Beater!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for red wine with meat, white wine with fish, blindfolds with chicken!

Some of you have suffered through my tales of cooking woe. I'd like to say I have improved just like I would like to say Vanna White is grooming a replacement, but we know that isn't true. She's still there and I'm still turning chicken purple. I'll explain.

I recently visited my friend, Wanda Argersinger (Land of Confusion blog). She is a good cook so I watched carefully as she prepared a chicken dish. It didn't look too hard; chicken, simple batter, wine, mushrooms, spices, beef bouillon, I could do that. I would do that, just as soon as I got back home.

Most of my culinary disasters seem to occur when I try to substitute or take short cuts. This time I would do just as Wanda did. Well, except I couldn't find the same Sweet Red Wine with the footprint on the stopper so I found a red wine with some kind of kangaroo on it. And I didn't have an iron skillet so I used my super heavy aluminum one. Oh, and I didn't remember exactly the order of ingredients so I dumped everything in at once. I did buy a meat hammer and I beat the stuffing out of those chicken breasts just like Wanda. When they hit the skillet, those chicken breasts were as flat as mine were as a teenager.

My first hint that something was going south, and I don't mean the Yankees, was when my chicken turned purple. When Wanda added wine to her dish, her breasts did not turn purple, the chicken breasts not Wanda's although they may have. She was wearing clothes so it was hard to tell and I was intent on her cooking methods. My mushrooms remained perfectly tan, not brown, and did not even slightly curl like her mushrooms. The dish was tasty but I'm telling you, purple chicken is a definite appetite depressant so everybody ate with their eyes shut.

For my next attempt at Wanda's dish, I found the right Sweet Red Wine with the footprint on the stopper while I was at Wal-Mart between trips down the great elbow smashing slides at Great Wolf Park in Grapevine. I bought several bottles and hoped I didn't get stopped by the authorities. Once back at home I invested in a cast iron skillet. Wanda also e-mailed me the correct sequence of ingredients. Got it! Right? Wrong.

Back to the kitchen, more breast pounding, batter slathering, and a hotter skillet. This time I managed to get the chicken to turn mostly brown with just a tinge of purple after the wine was added. The mushrooms still did not turn brown but I did manage to turn the beef broth into gravy, sort of. Wanda didn't mention it, but I think there must be a precise ratio of flour, water, and beef broth to make gravy that is not the consistency of wall paper paste. Just sitting on the table, it looked like gray purple tinted dog barf. Again, a tasty dish that, eaten with blindfolds on, was delicious.

This evening I decided to give it one more try. The newly opened wine bottle was on the counter and only half gone. The beatings began in earnest. The children came running into the kitchen at the sound of my pounding. "Hey, Mama's cooking again," said the ten-teen. "Can we help?" "Sure," I replied as she hurried off to get the fire extinguisher. "Great," said the ever helpful six-year-old, "I'll get the blindfolds!"

The radio began playing a golden oldie "It was a one-eyed; one horned, flying purple people eater, pigeon toed, under-clothed frying purple chicken beater." At least I think that's what I heard. Only a smidgeon of wine made it to the skillet, so I'm not sure.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Raising Cain, and Able to Do It!

in By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Centrum Silver so I can keep on doing it.

I never really raised Cain when I was a teenager, but now that I have a very active six-year-old, I have come to appreciate the saying. The kind of Cain he raises, at least at the present, is more in the realm of bug and frog catching, forgetting to let them go, or not remembering where he stashed them. I'm thinking of investing in Febreze or at least a hound dog to sniff out the location of the fermenting bugs and reptiles.

He has also occupied himself lately with his "inventions." One particular varmint trap consisted of jump ropes strung between door knobs and coat racks and a large milk crate. Fortunately I was able to grab the door frame before facing the crate head on. Traps of all kinds have since been banned to the back yard.

The right side of his brain has not been ignored as he continues to raise Cain with his backyard drums. Now these are not your regular music store variety drums weather proofed for the outside. These are 50 gallon plastic barrels with hardwood tree limbs for drum sticks. The metal barrels are used for his Caribbean repertory. I must say that there has been no need for those high frequency pest abaters since he took up the outdoor drums. When my head could no longer differentiate between his drum solos and the roaring of an approaching tornado, I put an end to the outdoor concerts.

That's when he switched to a more western form of raising Cain…barrel racing or should I say barrel herding. This is not your normal run your horse around barrels in a four-leaf-clover pattern. This is get on your junior battery operated 'gator and herd the barrels around the pasture, bumping and bouncing them from fence to fence. To up it a Cain or two, he involved his sister and thus barrel penning was born. This quickly evolved into Olympic Barrel Bumping and Tossing. When plastic barrels began to sail across the full moon like E.T., I'd had enough. No more barrel anything.

I wonder if Eve had as much trouble raising Cain. I think, with some help from Centrum Silver, Advil, HRT, and a sufficient supply of McDonald's Mocha Frappes, I'll still be "Able" to handle raising Cain.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Small Successes

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for big successes

This is a bonus post. Regular blog will appear on Sunday.

A friend, Sherry Antonetti mother of eleven, posted a list of small successes for the week and then asked several friends to blog-connect (is that a term?) with their list. Here's mine.

#1 Success at negotiating the pick-up and drop-off lines the first day of school. No way was I going to give up and go back home with two kids. I've been waiting all summer for this day.

#2 Success at avoiding Mocha Frappes at McDonald's for one week; note teeth marks on steering wheel.

#3 Success at getting children to and from school, to and from gymnastics classes, to and from violin practice, to and from baseball practice and to and from Girl Scouts. Biggest success was that this was with my actual children and not ones I accidently picked up in the never-ending pick-up and drop-off line.

#4 Success at getting my Wanda Argersinger chicken dish almost brown and almost right. Fifth try should get it right.

#5 Success at doing the Naked-at-Midnight-Bring-On-the-Rain Dance. Received 2 inches by morning. Sorry about the hurricane. I guess I mixed up the rain dance steps with the Dance-for-Extreme-Wind choreography.

That's it. Back to my regular blog on Sunday.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Great Wolf-at-your-Door-Mortgage-the-House Lodge and Waterpark

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for evidence of functioning brain cells

Last week I left home for Dallas with the six-year-old and the ten-teen to meet my sister, her husband, and their two grandkids for Great Wolf Lodge and Indoor Waterpark, otherwise known as the Great Mortgage the House, Weight Loss and Indoor Climb-a-Mountain Chlorine Treatment Park.

I had promised the children I would take them to a water park this summer but it was just too hot to be outside all day. My sister mentioned a wonderful waterpark that was indoors. Great! Count me in. I had not anticipated the need to mortgage the house in order to pay for the trip nor did I anticipate having to participate in their weight loss program. In order to slide down any of the six gigantic-more-fun-than-you-can-imagine slides with my two children, whom I am determined will not miss out on anything by having older parents, you have to climb up six flights of stairs carrying a two man inner tube.

The very first thing the six-year-old and I did was go down the two person inner tube slide. I figured I'd better climb early before the legs and knees totally gave out. Upon reaching the third story of stairs, I noticed there were no oxygen tanks on any of the landings. As I arrived at the top gasping for air, there wasn't time to read all the instructions for the two person inner tube, much less follow them, before the rushing water started us down the never-ending- slide to hell.

Half way down with one leg flayling to the north, my other flopping to the south and my butt creating tsunami waves in the middle, we were flipped out of the inner tube. I grabbed the six-year-old in true Mother Wolf pack fashion and held on to him while banging my elbow against the slide and grabbing the inner tube. Evidently the inner tube arrived at the pool before we did. To his credit, the baby life guard was leaning over the edge, whistle in his mouth and the giant red life preserver tube at the ready when I finally surfaced. As we drug ourselves out of the pool, the six-year-old noticed my elbow was bleeding profusely (dang those baby aspirin) so I had to go to the first aid station for a Band-Aid, which resulted in an accident report.

First Aid Life Guard: What happened?'

Super Mom (that would be me): I banged my elbow on the slide?

FALG: Which slide?

SM: The yellow one.

FALG: Cause?

SM (Because 67 is the new 47?) We obviously did not get into the inner tube correctly.

FALG: Age?

SM: (silence, then) Old enough to know better and young enough to try it anyway.

FALG: I need an age. an age range?

SM: Ok, over fifty and under a hundred.

FALG: Thank you.

That afternoon I told the six-year-old to pick his very favorite slide to go down because there was only one climb left in me. The ten-teen was tall enough to handle all the slides except the Texas Tornado. Fortunately, my brother-in-law said he would go down with her. The six-year-old told everybody quite loudly "I'm too little to go down the Texas Tornado and my mama is too… (he caught himself just before "old") likely to hit her elbow again." The child is a born politician. The rest of the day was spent splashing in the wave pool and dodging water gun cannons.

That evening with the aid of mega doses of aspirin, Advil, Ben Gay, Tylenol, and a heating pad big enough to wrap around my entire body, I fell asleep.

Even though it cost a small fortune, I did lose a pound or two and the waterlogged smiles on the faces of the children was worth it. At least that's what I told myself as I put another band-aid on my elbow.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Egg-scuse Me?

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved not to purchase Eggies

If you have watched TV at all in the last few weeks, I am sure you have seen the latest gadget/gizmo must have: The super egg-ceptional, egg-citing, egg-strodinary, The Eggie! This latest device to separate you from your common sense and money is a plastic egg shell…really! They show you the frustrated house wife with a bowl full of hard boiled eggs that look like she tried to peel them with a weed eater. She has been trying to peel them all night. I figure she is getting paid by the hour.

With this double offered twenty-four part egg-citing time saving invention, you can take twenty-five minutes to 1) locate both the tops and bottoms to the Eggies 2) wash the plastic egg holders,3) crack the eggs 4) pour eggs into the plastic holders, 5) mop up what you spilled,6) fish out the bits of shell that got into the Eggie holder, 7) fill a pan with water, 8) light the stove, 8) place your plastic egg holders in the water, 9) remove plastic egg holders from the water, 10) wait for them to cool, 11) remove the eggs from their holders, 12) round up all the Eggie pieces, and 13) place them in the dishwasher and hope they don't fall to the bottom and catch on fire just so you can peel a dozen eggs in thirty seconds.

Or you could put your eggs in a pan of water and boil them.

As for peeling eggs, anybody knows you can't boil and peel fresh eggs without creating the mess the advertiser has pictured. According to " Hints from Heloise" or "My Mama Done Tole Me" or maybe it was Alton Brown or Mr. Wizard, you always use eggs that are at least two days old if you are going to boil them. Once the eggs have boiled, all you need do to peel them is drain the hot water, rinse with cool water, than bounce the heck out of those eggs in the pan. Fill the same pan with a little water and the shells just fall off. You can peel a dozen eggs in less than thirty seconds without the aid of the Eggies.

Now why would anybody want to go through thirteen separate steps, try to keep up with twenty-four pieces of egg-holder-thingy-bobs, and secure them on the rack in the dishwasher when you can accomplish the same thing with one pan and a good bounce?


Sunday, August 7, 2011


By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for air fare.

As I was filling the gas tank on the rental car, I took the time to program the GPS I called "Tom" before continuing on to Florida. Tom, like the rental car, was designed, manufactured, and shipped by foreign midgets with tiny fingers. It was impossible to type in a location with my fingers without creating locations in Zimbabwe or local destinations with dyslexic spellings. In desperation I used the end of a ball point pen. Even with the correct American spellings, Tom indicated there were no such locations. I tried typing with a foreign accent. That seemed to work. I also had a road atlas as a back- up. The gas pump burped after depositing ten gallons into the tank and I was off on my adventure.

As soon as I left the gas station, "Tom" said "500 feet turn left." I knew that couldn't be right so I continued. Again "200 feet turn left. 100 feet turn left. After one quarter mile turn left. At any of the next six intersections feel free to turn left. Ok, turn left or right, I don't care."

I think I have a trust issue with Tom or maybe it's a commitment issue. I hear what he says but I get contradicting advice from humans, one being my niece who had said to turn right after six miles, then left. She was right about the location of the trunk button in the foreign made car, so I followed her advice. After backtracking six miles and following the road signs which were in English, I finally turned left. Tom said "Finally!"

After traveling for an hour, it was time to stop for a quick snack. I didn't bother checking in with Tom. He'd just tell me I didn't need the calories, the next gym was 162 miles away, or my stretch jeans had reached their limit. I looked for the familiar golden arches or a sign with the golden arches. That's when I discovered signs can be wrong or else I am directionally challenged and turned the wrong way, both possibilities. After a detour of four miles, I settled for Burger King and got back on the interstate.

Now my confidence in road signs and the GPS were shaken. I crossed the state line and stopped at the Tourist Information Center where real local humans could converse with me in something close to English. My ears cut through the heavy accent and listened carefully as the helpful tourist human marked the paper map with a yellow highlighter. "Y'all can't miss it." Since I was traveling alone I could only assume she meant me and Tom; then I realized we were still in the South so I replied in my native tongue "Thank ya, podner!""

At this point I have a l993 Road Atlas that may or may not be up to date, a single printed sheet with a yellow highlighter marking city streets, and Tom who may or may not be speaking to me. The mall I was trying to get to evidently hadn't been built in l993 and Tom and the highlighted map did not agree so I sort of drove in ever tightening loops until I saw a Target sign along with a Dillard's, Starbucks, and other assorted signs testifying to the possible existence of a mall.

After several cups of Starbuck's frozen coffee and before my credit card sent up a red flag, it was time to head for my friend's house. I studied the map. I typed in the address on Tom. I guess he was still mad because he told me no such street existed. I typed in the community where my friend said she lived. That did exist so I committed to giving Tom another chance. This time I would ignore the map and listen to Tom.

When Tom said "Left turn ahead", I turned left. Of course I was so concerned about doing exactly what Tom said, I forgot that he gives you instructions then a 500 foot warning before you are to actually turn left. Had I realized that, I would not have been going the wrong way on a one way street. I safely dodged a couple of cars whose drivers still gave me that friendly universal one finger salute. I pulled over to the curb just as my cell phone rang. It was my friend. She stayed on the phone with me and guided me street by street until I arrived at her house.

I parked the rental car in her drive-way and as I reached to unplug the GPS, I swear I heard electronic giggling followed by "You have just left the Twilight Zone."

Next time, I'm going to fly.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Olympic Car Driving

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for a bicycle.

For the very first time in my life I went on an adventure all by myself; ok, half way by myself. My sister and her husband drove me as far as Biloxi, Mississippi and I went on to Florida alone.

My training for this event began as I tried to rent a car on line. I made it as far as "What size car do you want?" Once upon a time there were cars; just cars, not big cars, not little cars, not compact cars, not sub-compact cars, not economy cars, not midsize cars, not SUV's, not smart cars, not luxury cars, just cars. And their names were Chevrolet, Ford, Pontiac, Dodge, and Cadillac not Cobalt, Hyundai, Taurus, Elantra, Toyota, Avio, Kia, Fiat, Peugeot, Scamp, Swinger, Jeep, not Escalade, Escapade, Marmalade, or Just Made. I called the car rental place and asked a live person to hold a car for me. "Yes, what size would you like?" "An average size car for one person and one suitcase," I said.

I arrived the next morning to pick up my average size car. The rental agent seemed friendly enough. The car seemed friendly enough. I smiled in a friendly manner, signed the papers, paid the fees, and got the keys. I put the key in the ignition, pushed the gear shift forward which immediately activated the windshield wipers. Through much trial and error, I managed to deactivate the windshield wipers. However, when I tried to remove the key from the ignition to put my suitcase in the trunk, the anti-American automotive brat wouldn't turn loose. My niece said I had to push then pull. It worked but then there was no key hole in the trunk when I tried to open that. "Here, it's in the door." "What's in the door, the trunk?" "No, the button to open the trunk. "Why isn't it on the dashboard" "I don't know, but see there's a picture of the car with the trunk open." "In the door, at the bottom?" "Give me your suitcase." I located the real gear shift in the floor, waved good-by, and drove to the nearest gas station as I was on empty.

That's when the friendship really ended. The car was definitely un-American. No matter where I pushed or pried, or banged I could not open the hinged gasoline cover. I looked all over the dash for some kind of picture of a gas cap. I looked in all the unlikeliest places under the seat, in the backseat, in the glove compartment, above the visor, even the door.

After ten minutes I went inside the station. "I know this is a dumb question, but do any of you know how to put gasoline in this Hyundai rental car?" A child around twenty-two years old said "I do. I have a Hyundai." We walked out to the car. I was trying to push then pull to get the key in the lock to open the door. "You know you can just push the button on the key ring?" "Yes, thank you. I knew that." She opened the door and pointed to an itsy bitsy rectangular button with a picture of a teeny tiny Smurf sized gasoline pump stamped on it at the side of the driver's seat. Now who, but an unfriendly nation, would put the electronic switch to the gasoline cap on the floor of the car? "Thank you," I said again as the child walked away not quite stifling a giggle.

Car 1, Driver 0. The foreign car may have won this round, but there are more events to come. Next week GPS Let the games continue. Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Scratch That!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for a scratching post

As you slowdown in life, the allergies that have been chasing you for the past sixty-five years finally catch up. I'm sure if you are in, near, or close to my current decade, you have noticed slight changes in your digestion. Lactose is no longer your friend so you become intolerant. Strawberries start to give you hives. Prunes become your fruit of choice…by default. Almonds and other nuts can suddenly make you itch for no apparent reason.

The other night I was awakened at three a.m. with itchy boobs. Now I know what you are thinking, but that isn't the case. My scalp, ears, knees, arms, and back also began to itch. I tried scratching with my finger nubs, a brush, the door facing…I was headed for the metal bar-b-q grill brush when I passed the medicine chest and remembered the Benadryl.

When I awoke, two days later, I suspected the almonds. In my futile attempt to lose weight the last two days, I had opted for the Asian Salad covered in almonds with the fewest calories at Mickey D's. I had eaten that two days in a row and on the third day the itching began.

While food choices must change, or will, you begin to invest large amounts of money in Benadryl, Calamine lotion, anti-histamines. That may not be the only thing you must change.

The laundry detergent I have used for ten years, I suspect has turned on me. Good old Arm and Hammer laundry detergent is exhibiting more hammer than arm. That is the only thing that I can figure that is causing me to continue waking with the itchies since I haven't eaten any nuts in a week. Once I was fully awake, I realized I was itching all over just not all at the same time. When I was a kid we believed that such itches were caused by "beatchy bugs". By the time you reached the spot that was itching, the "itch" would beat you to another spot…beat-you-to-it bugs... beachey bugs. I ruled out bed bugs since no one else was having the same symptoms.

The other possible cause of my itching is my attempt at recycling. Previously I had changed laundry detergents in an attempt to whiten and brighten my husbands' tee shirts. He began to itch. Rather than throw away the container with the handy dandy dispenser that I could dispense from the upper cabinet right into the washer, I just poured Arm and Hammer into the container. I don't think they got along. Maybe it's a chemical reaction. Maybe you aren't supposed to recycle empty jugs to keep the economy on track. By recycling, I may have put hundreds of dispenser people out of work.

Now I'm not only itching, I'm feeling guilty as well. So between the nuts, the detergent, my attempt to repurpose, reuse, guilt for my contribution to the national debt, I am now depressed. I think I may have to resort to the wine cure….eight ounces of wine every two hours; then whatever is happening, I won't care.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Geek for All Seasons

By Jody Worsham

All right reserved for Frequent Geek Trips

The Geek Squad, I imagine, was started by somebody's grandchild who constantly had to program his grandparents' DVD player, change their digital clocks to daylight saving time, identify all buttons on their cell phones, and set up their computers. Then he had to translate 21st century terminology into Boomerisms. For Example:

Tweet= formerly what the birds did but now a shorter form of texting with stalking capabilities.

Facebook= previously known as a picture album, but now a way for people you've been trying to avoid for 30 years to find you.

DVD= a shiny mirror thing that has movies on it, not underwear for a dyslexic grandpa

Update= What your computer will do whether you want it to or not and then you have to call for help…again.

Cut and Paste= what you used to do with scissors and glue but you now do with a mouse, not the live or dead kind but the kind attached to your computer.

Keyboard= a typewriter without the throwback thing or that annoying bell.

Blog= a diary that everybody can read whether you want them to or not.

Blogger= Gossip, know-it-all, motor mouth on a keyboard

Blog roll= Not the fruitcake log you got for Christmas but a list of stories you read when you accidently find them on your computer

Internet= world-wide party line

E-bay= formerly known as the Sears Catalogue or newspaper want ads

Webcam= An electronic Peeping Tom.

Lap Top= Not a dance at a men's club but a small computer you can put on your lap

Netbook= Not a book about nets but a small lap top (see above)

Giga bytes= Not Texas size chigger bites, but a measure of storage capacity for your computer

Social network=quilting bee where there is no quilt and you don't have to provide refreshments.

Apple=not a fruit but the kind of computer you should have gotten in the first place

Recycle bin= like your pantry with the canned peaches from 1939 and mismatched cups and saucers, formerly known as a trash can.

Jitterbug= a dance from the 1940's now a telephone with big numbers, loud speakers, and a live person on call 24/7 who can dial, forward, answer for you and call you by name, also what I'm going to get you for Christmas next year

Spam=pretty much what you think it is except it isn't meat and it doesn't come in a can.

1-800-CALL-THE-GEEK = the number you call when you've lost your remote, hit delete, see a blue screen, have a call on hold for more than two hours, time to switch clocks to daylight savings time, or need me to open the childproof medicine bottles.

I don't care who started the Geek Squad, I'm just glad they did. When I can't find a ten-year-old to solve my electronic problem or open my aspirin bottle, I head for the store with the nearest Geek. No need to ask which counter to go to. You just look for the longest line of people with the most white hair, the thickest glasses, and the computers with the most pink stickers on the bottom!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

1-800-U-R-N-H double Hockey Sticks!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for plane tickets to the Artic

I knew this past weekend was going to be hot. I live in Texas. It's hot in the dead of winter.

Our favorite and only RV camping spot has shade trees but none when the sun hits the side of the trailer in the afternoon when they are needed the most. This time we thought we were prepared. We arrived at the campsite straight up high hot noon. Dr. Hubby proceeded to set up the trailer and then to unfold the six windshield reflectors for eighteen wheeler trucks he had bought. He began placing them on the roof of the slide-out. He used 2x4 blocks and bungee cords to hold them down. Then he attached more windshield reflector things to the outside of the windows using those suction cups things for holding Christmas wreaths. I had already applied tin foil to the inside of the windows before we left home. When he finished we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.

I'm sure the people next door expected to see us emerge with tin foil wrapped around our heads so our brains wouldn't be sucked out by the aliens. I will say, however, that the TV reception was the best we've ever had.

We turned on the AC and set it for 45 but it couldn't keep up with the increasing heat. Inside the trailer with two children, two dogs, and two adults was like living inside an Easy Bake Oven. We went outside where there was a breeze. Outside the trailer with two children, two dogs, and two adults was like living in a convection oven, hot air blowing hard!

We had the Scalped Yelp with us and a black lab puppy we were "holding" for the new owners until they returned from the cool mountains of Oregon, assuming they would, indeed, return. Anybody who has ever had a puppy or tried to potty train a two-year-old knows that when they "have to go", they have to GO, right then no waiting. When the lab puppy yelped at 3 a.m., Dr. Hubby yelled for him to "HUSH". I, on the other hand, knew that sound meant "I need to go potty and I have a really bad tummy ache." Any mother of eight (ten if you count the dogs) knows that sound so I put the leash on the puppy and took him outside. Yes, he HAD to go and yes he had a tummy ache for good reason.

The heat and the puppy tummy ache continued for the next two days alternating with puppy throw-up. I gave the puppy Pepto Bismal but that did not buy me enough time to get him off the bed before we had major poopage. I stripped the bed linens and headed for the nearest wash-a-tiera. Dr. Hubby tried hosing down the trailer to cool it off. When that didn't work he turned the hose on himself, the children, and the dogs. I was still washing bed linens.

Sunday afternoon word came down that the fireworks scheduled for that evening had been cancelled due to the high fire danger. The six-year-old, I think delirious from the heat, chose that moment to confess that he had given the puppy a Snickers and animal cookies on Friday as a treat. "Did you give the puppy a lot of Snickers and animal cookies?" I asked. The future politician evaded the question with "Well, how many is a lot?"

I Googled puppy diarrhea plus Snickers and animal cookies overdose. The recommendation was to keep the puppy cool, no stress, and hydrated. I thought that made pretty good sense for us as well so we cut our long weekend short by two days. Dr. Hubby readied the tin-foil-alien-non-heat-repelling RV for travel and we headed for home.

We arrived home by midnight. The children slept all the way as did the dogs. It helped that we had the air conditioner turned so low it was spitting ice. Once home as I slid between the icy sheets of our bed with the air conditioner set on a comfortable 62 and the ceiling fan blowing just short of hurricane force winds, I turned to Dr. Hubby and said "I don't want us to turn into one of those old couples who are content to just sit on their front porch sipping mint julips, but dang, it feels good to be home and in our own bed." He snored in reply.

If you need to get in contact with us our new number is 1-800-C00L-DUDES R-HOME. We are no longer in Hell.