Thursday, April 28, 2011
All rights reserved for Him.
I’m published! Well, actually I was included in my Christian Writers Group book of devotionals that is published and available at Amazon. They each wrote ten or twelve devotionals; I wrote one. It’s akin to eleventh hour repenting, just under the wire but it counts. I figure it’s like being God’s middle child, not his first or his last, or his only child, just His middle child.
You know how that is if you come from a large family. The middle child sandwiched in between two siblings is generally left alone. The first child is the one with all the new stuff and about a gazillion pictures. The new parents call on God for absolutely everything. He gets quite accustomed to hearing that first child’s name.
Along comes the second child and if it is the same sex as the first, the parents are “Oh, I remember that, no biggie. Thanks, God, we’ve got it covered with this one. Now I need Your advice on how to handle this temper thing with our first child.” This second child also gets all the hand-me-downs and left over toys and furniture from child number uno.
Then comes child number three and if it turns out that this will be the baby of the family or the only girl or the only boy, the second child is in for a double whammy. “God, I just don’t know about this boy (or girl). The other two were so different” and God gets to hear all about child number one again and the last child at length. Because this child is often a different sex and years behind the middle child, none of the old toys are still good and none of the hand-me-downs will work so the last child gets all new stuff and the middle child is left out, again.
So what about God and the middle child? Well if you happen to be God’s middle child, you get The Book (a manual of operations, a how to book) and a quick pat on the back. God will then say to you “I have great confidence in you. Remember to P P (that’s Pray and Praise) every day and follow The Book. If you get lost, refer to The Book. If you have a problem, look it up in The Book. If you still can’t figure it out, call Me. I’m available 24/7. Otherwise, I’ll be handling world situations and your parents as they try to deal with child number one and number three.
Good luck and remember I’m on your side!”
Ok, middle is not so bad! Thanks God!
Monday, April 25, 2011
All rights reserved for average t-shirt franchise
Somewhere along the way “Average” has become an adjective that applies to everyone else. Parents are screaming about testing, obviously inaccurate, that shows that their child is average. I have adopted the position that being average makes my child stand out from the crowd.
Think about it. In ballet class, every parent thinks their ballerina is superior, above average. My child is an average dancer, the only one it seems, so when the recital comes around, the entire superior above average dancers will be crowded onto the stage all dancing together and being compared to each other. My average dancer will be dancing a solo, since there are no other average dancers at the studio. There will be no one to compare her to; therefore, she will dance beautifully with no discernable mistakes and receive a standing ovation.
Then there are those SAT test scores. My child is average and will score that way on the SAT test. Because of this, others will look much smarter and more intelligent than they really are. In fact, the worse my child scores on the test, the better others will look. I can foresee desperate parents recruiting average students to enroll in classes designed to help them dumb-down before the tests in order to tilt their child’s scores upward. However, because my child is just “average”, she may qualify for all kinds of grants and incentives to help colleges and universities look like they are non-discriminatory and serving the needs of the average person as well as the super elite.
Being average can also keep you from being clobbered in dodge ball in required P.E. classes. Far superior athletes will be chosen first. The average will be chosen in the middle and the poorly skilled will be chosen last. During the game, the far superior athletes will go after the poorest players first. The average person, hiding in the corner, will be pretty much ignored until the end. By that time the far superior athletes will have worn themselves out pulverizing the easy targets and will lose their steam when it comes to attacking the average. The average players will take advantage of the situation and will triumph. Having defeated the top far superior athletes, the average will come to the attention of professional dodge ball coaches who are recruiting.
The Olympic coaches will then rethink the average child’s abilities and increase their interest. The professional recruiters will then become more aggressive and will up their offers. Once your child accepts, signs the five year no-cut contract, and is shuffled off to training camp, you can relax. Soon the coaches will discover that your child really is average and will be benched, safe from being pulverized by other powerful dodge ball athletes…but the no-cut contract is binding. The money keeps coming in and average wins again.
With the income, your child can open an Average Store. T shirts could sport logos that say “Robbers, don’t bother. All credit, no cash”, or “Jenny Craig, Go Away, My weight is Average”. The IRS would ignore your child’s business, because, after all, it’s just average. It’s a win win situation.
So the next time your friends begin bragging about their super superior children, just smile and say “No need to thank me; if it wasn’t for my child, yours would just be average. Want a t-shirt?”
Thursday, April 21, 2011
By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Take Out
I don't know why making a fresh coconut cake for Easter popped into my head. Maybe, because I sleep with the TV on, a replay of Alton Brown's episode on how to make a fresh coconut cake crept into my subconscious. At any rate, I awoke this morning wanting to make a fresh coconut cake.
I went to Wal-Mart and got a white boxed cake mix (I'm cooking challenged, not stupid). Then I headed for the fresh produce aisle. I assumed a real coconut would be there somewhere. Now I have no idea how to pick out a good coconut. You can't thump them like a watermelon and smelling them only makes your nose itch from those little hairy string things. I looked at the end but no stem, only three brown/black circles. I turned it around and it seemed to make a little face so I went through all the coconuts looking for the happiest face. Once I had my happy face, I headed for the check-out line.
As luck would have it an elderly woman, by that I mean someone way older than me, said "Oh, you must be making a coconut cake." "Yes, do you have any idea how to get the coconut out?" I asked. "No, but my grandmother used to make a coconut cake every Easter and fresh coconut just doesn't compare to the ready prepared kind." Ok, I calculated that if her grandmother insisted on fresh coconut it was because ready prepared coconut hadn't been invented yet; still, fresh is best or so I'm told.
The children were eager to help when I got home and I let them. I figured three heads are better than one, even if two heads are under the age of ten. I poked holes in the coconut and the six-year-old got to milk the coconut. I strained the juice and added it to the cake mix in place of water. Each child had to drink some. "Ooouuu, yuk!" came out of their mouths and I hadn't even baked the cake yet. One child cracked the eggs while the other child mixed up the batter. "Am I a good cook or a good chef?" the six-year-old wanted to know. "Definitely a chef" and I proceeded to take a hammer to the coconut.
I had the coconut into fairly large chunks but then how do you separate the coconut from the shell? Something in my brain was replaying a portion of the "Good Eats" program and it was saying "Put the shell in the microwave." Now I am sure some of you are wondering why in the world she didn't Google fresh coconut. I'm on dial up, remember? By the time I would have gotten the information, it would have been time to Google "How do you know when the turkey is done?" Just let me say, NEVER put a piece of coconut in the shell in the microwave. My husband thought we were popping firecrackers in the kitchen. The children were now bored, or shell shocked and went outside to play.
I finally scooped out the coconut with a spoon but it still had that thin layer of brown on the meat side. I took a knife and cut that away. I don't have a food processor but I do have one of those mini-food graters; in fact I have two. I only had to pay shipping and handling for the second one. It only reduced the coconut chunks to smaller coconut chunks, though. I found one of those hand graters in the back of the kitchen junk drawer and for the next forty-five minutes I grated coconut. I'm glad my counter tops were clean because I got more on the counter than I did on the plate.
The cake is cooling waiting for the icing. I have ½ cup of finely grated coconut, 1 cup of coconut chunkettes, and shell fragments in the walls for my efforts. The lady in the check-out line said something about Seven Minute Frosting but I don't care what you call it, I know it would take me longer than seven minutes to make anything so I opted for Icing-in-a-can.
I figure I will slather icing on top of the cake and sprinkle my half-cup coconut over the top. If nobody eats it, then it will be forever known as the Passed Over Cake or if you were on clean-up detail, the Easter Mess.
Either way, I guess we created some Easter memories.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Back Up Singers and Chocolate
I am no longer worried about the job possibilities for my five-year-old if he grows up dyslexic. If he isn't drafted by the New York Yankees or the American Ballet Company, that's ok, too. He has a newly discovered talent that will probably earn him more money than the rest of us will make in a lifetime. He informed me that he can write songs for rock stars and win a "Granny."
To prove his point, he sang his latest song. Here are the words. See if you don't agree that he is right up there with The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, and The Everly Brothers
"I need chop-uh back up!
I need chop-uh back up!
I need chop uh back up cause there's a bad guy on the loo-oose.
He was singing his future platinum song over and over as I drove them to school the next morning. Somehow I don't remember as much bickering with the first six children, possibly because they were all older when we adopted them or maybe because I was already at work by 7a.m. or maybe I just can't remember. All possibilities.
The melt-down began with a simple question and answer session instigated by the nine-year-old which, I'm sure, was designed to halt the back-up choppers.
"How many diamonds are on my sunglasses", she asked.
"Nineteen million", replied the five-year-old.
"Ok, that is your final answer." She didn't quite catch the game show phrase here.
"No, I was just kidding."
"You can't change your answer. You said nineteen million."
"Can, too. I can change my answer."
"No, I asked and that is what you said."
"But I didn't mean it."
"Well, it's too late. You said it. No overs."
"I want to change my answer."
"Well, you can't."
"Cause I said so."
"Mimi, make her let me change my answer".
Each response increased in decibels and shrillness. Then the wailing and gnashing of teeth began… on my part, not the five-year-old's. What followed was a tirade of pent up emotions and words spewing forth from a coffee deprived being that will surely find its way into the lyrics of some heavy metal screaming soloist accompanied by an equally loud guitar.
I wisely paused in front of a stop sign as I began.
"Why are you bickering over the number of plastic sparkles on the sunglasses? (Silence) Why do you have to aggravate a five-year-old? (No answer.) You are nine years old; you should know better. (As if age had anything to do with when you can aggravate and when you can't.) And where did you come up with nineteen million in the first place? There's no way nineteen million diamonds could be on one pair of glasses. (As if logic has anything to do with a five-year-old's answers.)
At that point there was a line of cars behind me. Some of the drivers were laughing; others were craning their necks to see if there were casualties on the road (not yet). I drove off still providing lyrics for a multitude of other songs.
"This is why we don't go on a vacation. This is why we will never go on a vacation. We wouldn't get out of the drive-way before you two would start in with the bickering." At that point I missed my turn. "See, you've got me so upset I missed my turn."
By now the children had gone into ignore mode…eyes focused on a book, hot wheels car, dead silence, no discernable movement to indicate active breathing or heart rate or that I was continuing my song lyrics in the front seat. After I dropped them off, I felt a strong desire for a giant chocolate mocha frappe, heavy on the coffee.
When I picked them up that afternoon, the five-year-old told me he had a new song for me. Having had more than a sufficient amount of the three C's (coffee, caffeine, and chocolate) I listened patiently as I was driving home.
"I need chock-let back up!
I need chock-let back up?
I need chock-let back up cause Mimi is melting dow-ow-ow-own!"
I wonder if he will share the royalties?
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for Tie-Downs
I have been told that the wind blows in East Texas. I have even seen the tops of the pine trees moving from time to time, most notably when Hurricane Katrina came through. Yesterday I fully and totally experienced a wind storm in East Texas as we celebrated the five-year-old's birthday/hurricane party in the park. I calculated the wind to be around thirty-nine knots. This is the number of tangles I combed out the nine-year-old's long hair last night.
Normally we do not have wind blowing in my part of the state, but yesterday either the hole in the ozone layer opened up and created a draft or the trees had yet to spread enough of their wind blocking leaves, because it felt like a gale. We had rented one of those giant inflatable jumping houses and slides for the party. I knew we were in trouble when the guy started unloading extra sandbags to weight the thing down. "Don't worry, I'll position it so that it heads into the wind," he said. I had visions of small children being stuck at the top of the slide unable to slide down because of the wind pressure. I flashed back to a Nat Geo program explaining how heavy airplanes were able to fly into the wind and could imagine the children lifting off, bound for Oz.
Red four foot long strips of crepe paper streamers stretched out to eight feet after being tied to the picnic pavilion posts. Red plastic tablecloths billowed up like sails making the area resemble some kind of new age Buddhist-Temple-Carnival. Ice chests and plastic bins placed on top only partially held down the table cloths.
When the little guests arrived, they held onto the posts with one arm as they handed the gift bags over with the other. Presents had to be placed under the table to keep them from becoming unguided missile bags. The bouncy house stabilized somewhat with the added weight of the children.
My plan was to have the children decorate their own cupcakes as part of the party fun. With bowls of colored sugars, sprinkles, and crushed cookies taped to the table, the party goers gathered around to decorate their very own cupcake. The ones that were seated downwind did not have to do anything. They just held up their cupcake and collected all the blowing sugar dust from those sitting upwind. To console those children sitting upwind with naked cupcakes, I passed out bubble wands.
Blowing bubbles should have kept them busy for at least fifteen minutes. Because of the wind, the children had but to dip their wand in the bubble mixture and hold it up. For about thirty seconds the park resembled Sponge Bob's underwater park. That was it, no more bubbles, but the ever creative children turned the empty bubble wands into light sabers which I quickly confiscated before Darth Vader (a.k.a. the birthday boy) had anyone in tears.
I had Styrofoam cups and a three gallon drink dispenser filled with lemonade and ice for the thirsty bouncers. The children, after gulping their lemonade, left a small portion in their cups for the lemonade god and placed them on the table. Unfortunately for the four adults holding down the corners of the table cloth, no one was holding down the tributes to the lemonade god. All adults received wet lemonade blessings.
It was time at last to sing the birthday song, blow out the candle, and open the presents. The song was barely heard over the wind. It was pointless to even attempt to light the #6 birthday candle so I held my finger up behind the #6 and symbolically tucked it into my fist when he "blew out" the candle. Lame I know, but short of a blow torch nothing was going to stay lit today. The presents were opened sending a tornado of colored tissue paper whirling threw the air. Party favors were retrieved from their secure holding places beneath the table and passed out. The wind burned party guests and their lemonade drenched parents went home.
After we got home and I was unloading the party aftermath, I overhead the children talking.
"This was the best party ever. Did you see the way the table cloths were flying all over the place?" said the birthday boy.
"And the cups sailing through the air …." chimed in the giggling nine-year-old.
"And the Mom's squealing when they got lemonade on them..."
"Yeah," replied the nine-year-old, "I hope the wind blows like this at my birthday party."
I'll be sure to check the Doppler radar map before scheduling her party. Maybe something along the lines of "Sleet and heaving icing" will add to the party fun!
Sunday, April 10, 2011
By Jody Worsham
All rights reserved to fight One Size Fits All Tags!
Recently a friend of mine, Wanda Agersinger (www.wandaaargersinger.com), wrote about the woes of finding attractive fashionable clothing for the well-endowed female. I sympathize and empathize with her, not that I am, was, or ever will be in the "top heavy" category, just the opposite. I suffer, like many women, from the ill-fitting body syndrome. My mind and my body do not match; neither does my top and bottom. Wide bodies have a difficult time finding fashionable clothes or even unfashionable clothes that fit. Try finding a bra when your chest measures 40 inches and your cup size is AA.
So is there anyone designing for mainstream America? A look at any security tapes at Wal-Mart (ignore my three visits per day at mine), K-Mart, Sears, Beal's, J.C. Penny's, Target or other middle income stores or even more high-end stores will reveal a variety of body types and shapes. We hour glass shaped women with the sand definitely running to the lower globe need attractive fashions that fit a more realistic shape. Our body types need it 100 times more than any Barbie-wanna-be's.
Could some new and innovative designer possibly design some attractive, age appropriate clothing for those over the half-century mark? For example, I would like a swimsuit that doesn't look like a tent on a beached whale. Couldn't you design some flattering fabrics using more than twelve inches of fabric? My belly button hasn't seen the light of day in a loooooong time and isn't likely to now. Couldn't your design camouflage/conceal/hide what age and those McDonald Mocha Frappes have done? If they can make steel-belted radial tires, I don't see why there can't be a steel-belted radial swimsuit.
At least some of the two piece swim suit companies have begun to allow customers to buy tops and bottoms separately and in different sizes. I guess they got tired of me, I mean other people, switching the tops and bottoms in the dressing rooms. There is a growing market beyond the two piece swimsuit so please take that into consideration.
Perhaps there should be a reality show based on oh I don't know, reality? A Fashion Designers Challenge TV Show. The show would be based on fashion designs for the less than perfect body type…like mine…and for people with limited income…like me. The rules would be simple: No map, vacation prints, or big flowers on anything. No Velcro, elastic waists, or long back zippers. They must design attractive clothing they would want to see their parents wear in public...when they are out with them…and they run into friends, yours and theirs. That should get the sketch pencils going.
Until that time, my only hope is to be selected by "What Not to Wear" and let them navigate the current designer mine field. With $5,000 maybe they can render me fashionable or at least presentable. Maybe I'll nominate myself!
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
By Jody Worsham
All right reserved for singing lessons
"Take me out to the ball game…again
Take me out to the sand, dust, grit, hard bleachers, crowd
Buy me some peanuts, popcorn, sodas, snow cones, hot dogs, taffy, and Cracker Jacks
I don't care if I never come back
'Cause it's root root root for you little guy in the baggy pants,
And if he never hits who's to blame?
Cause its 1,2,3 swings at the pitch, then it's switch to the T
And you're back at Little League Ball Game!"
Yes, it's that time of year again…pollen, taxes, and Little League Baseball.
As a mother and white pants washing failure, I am pleased as bleach that my child's uniform pants are black this year…on purpose. Now he wouldn't look like he had already played six games before the opening game or so I thought. We have red dirt/dust and white sand. While everyone else looked especially sharp in their red and black uniforms for that first game, my child looked like he had missed the black-pants memo and had chosen to wear gray!
Alas, somewhere in the past twelve months since last season he has learned to talk "trash". "You're going down. Gonna whop that ball! Eat my dust! Flying the bases! Scooooore!" And this is during the game before ours. Hubby was laughing and I was apologizing. Then the opposing team arrived. Everyone had those cool baseball bags, some with wheels since the bags were bigger than the little guys pulling them. They all marched up to the fence and hooked their bags onto the chain link. "Where's your bag" one little fellow asked my five-year-old. "Don't have a bag, I've got a bucket" he proudly replied. Ok, get one baseball bag, got it.
This year my little guy moved up or over or maybe it's a "transition year" because the coach now pitches to their players in a game if he so chooses. If the player doesn't hit the ball after three pitches, then out comes the T and the little league player swings at the ball on the T until he hits it. This can take a while…and often does.
Coach pitching is a new thing for me. I'd never seen pitching and t-balling at the same time and for the same player during the same game. The Agent Moms from last year with cell phones in hand were giving a blow by blow account to their absent husbands, trainers, and/or fans. "Oh, dear, that's two pitches and he hasn't hit the ball yet. One more and no no NOOOOOOO! They're bringing out the T. NO NOT THE T." The T is a sure sign of a beginning player or worse, an underdeveloped player. Nobody in this transition year wants THE T.
My five-year-old who will be my six-year-old next week managed to hit from the pitch once! I was so proud! I was about to alert the media when he had to resort to the T during the next inning.
Over all, the team seems less interested in chasing butterflies this year and more interested in chasing fly balls. A big improvement. This year the team is actually throwing the ball to first and second bases and sometimes the first and second basemen actually come close to catching the ball.
Team members are accepting training much better and often remember some of the training during a game. I watched during practice as line base hits were fielded by the little guys who would then run to the baseline, straddle it with their outstretched arm held straight, ready to tag the base runner as he came by. The catcher on the opposing team last week had learned this lesson well. As my little guy was rounding third and heading for home base, the catcher straddled home plate, outstretched arm straight holding the ball…and my little guy slid right between his legs! SCORE!!
One game down, nine weeks, eighteen practices, and eleven games to go! But who's counting!