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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hot Cross Chinese Buns

By Jody Worsham, Jan. 2011

All rights reserved for more buns 30 minutes later

My nine-year-old has been taking violin lessons since August. I am a piano girl so this has been a whole new experience for me. I never knew there was so much to playing the "fiddle". Evidently there is much strengthening and conditioning of muscles before you ever get to the "fiddling".

We have been conditioning arms and fingers now for four months so you can imagine the excitement when she played her first song today, "Hot Cross Buns". In fact she was so excited, she played it again… and again, … and again. This was the first song I ever played on the piano so I was quite familiar with the tune. I now understand why my mother chose the day I learned that song to beat the rugs, wash the windows, and rearrange all the pots and pans in the bottom of the old metal cook stove as I practiced again…and again…and again.

Her violin teacher must have had great success teaching her other students that same song today because after the fourth run through, she asked her to stop. "Here's a flyer about the 2011 International Young Artists String Competition being held here on Saturday" said her violin teacher. I gulped. Now I'm very competitive and I push my children to achieve beyond their means and I am very proud of their achievements. Don't get me wrong, I thought "Hot Cross Buns" sounded good but good enough for international competition? Then the nine-year-old said "I don't think I'm ready!"

"No, no, no I just thought you might want to go and listen," she replied as both the nine-year-old and I exhaled. "Oh, I knew that," I lied. I took the flyer and noted the names. It was indeed an international competition. Competing in violin and cello were Tsai, Chen, Wu, Kapoor, Nakashima, Francisco, and Xiaoxiao. I don't know how these people found their way to our little spot in the piney woods. I don't even think you could find it on a GPS, Tom Tom, or On Star but here they were.

Unless I change my child's name to Ching Chang Kim Su, I don't think my blue eyed blond child stands a chance even if she played Hot Cross Buns with her toes.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Social Net Picking

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Net Stalking Blocker

The TV touts that one in five relationships start with an online social networking service.

At first there was the, the website that offered matchmaking on the deepest level much like the professional matchmaker only you didn't have to be Jewish. E. Harmony promised to match you on twenty-seven levels of your deepest self by answering a few hundred questions like "Do you have a pulse? Or Do you breathe air?"

Today the late night TV abounds with all kinds of social networking websites. There is one called Booty I don't think that one is interested in any level of deep compatibility, just plain sex. I thought soliciting was illegal; well, except in Nevada. Lava Talk is for those not ready to physically commit to…anything.

Plenty of is obviously targeting the recently dumped, those left waiting at the altar. The Plenty of Fish line seems to be "throw'em back, there's plenty more out there."

A more recent one is Senior The person who founded this networking service is either a senior citizen himself or has a mother living with him he's trying to unload on someone else. You might expect only those over sixty to visit this site, but I imagine there's a few under thirty young things out there looking for a rich baby boomer with more than social security to offer a trophy wife.

A more specialized site is called Black Friends obviously catering to an African American population although it does not say that. is a site that lets you "flirt", "wink", "look", or carry a sign that says "I'm Desperate". It's global so I'm sure there is a translation button somewhere on their site or they may just let "one picture say it all."

Another actual site is for those seeking a Christian mate. I assume the Jewish population is still depending on the matchmaker or the Jewish Mom Network of Florida, Georgia, and New York. The Jewish Mom Network doesn't rely on the internet but on the neighborhood butcher, doctor, rabbi, or Levi's aunt's sister's mother. Any daughter or son nearing that marriageable age will immediately go "live" on their network and will suddenly find themselves dinner guests at people's homes they don't even know. This will continue until the JMNFGN successfully marries off all eligible offspring.

What's next, military matches? Find your Soldier of Love. List name, rank, serial number, military training, years of service, and arsenal of weapons. Include picture of weapons.

If one in five relationships start on a social network, I think I will hold out for those four who still seek a mate like in the old days. You remember don't you? "Hey, go ask Sally if she has a date for the prom and if she says no, see if she would be interested in going with me if I were to ask her which I'm not saying I will; but don't tell her I told you to ask. Then come back and tell me before gym but don't let her see you talking to me". So simple and no computer required.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Heredity vs. Nature or Guilt by Association

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for organic-sugar-free-tasty- non-existent food

It is a conditioned response. The teacher asks for a conference and you automatically go into accuser mode. What have they done now? What did they NOT tell me? Have I already signed the adoption papers? Just wait till I get them home.

The conference begins and you try to focus on what the teacher is saying, something about lack of attention, inability to stay focused on a subject. Your mind is racing toward what you can take away from them when you get home i-pod, TV, DVD…oh, what did she just say? A quiet place to study? Oh, sure, sure.

On the way home I rehashed the old heredity vs. environment arguments that have existed since man first adopted children. Is lack of focus an inherited trait or one that is conditioned in children? If it is inherited, you are off the hook. It's not your fault. If it is environment, then blame it on the pine tree pollen. But what if it is neither of those? What if it is a result of association? Association with other attention deficit family members and if so, which family member? Surely not me!

I quickly shifted my mental gears into reverse and thought about my day yesterday.

We've lived in our house thirty-two years and it isn't finished yet. There's still paneling "temporarily" tacked to the wall in the breakfast room. The baseboards for the living room have been stored in the barn now for six years. Shingles for the new roof are stacked on the patio waiting for the second half of the roofing project to be completed. This isn't a major concern since the shingles are warrantied for twenty years and there's still eight years left. The vacuum cleaner is in the middle of the hall where I stopped vacuuming four days ago.

My plan yesterday was to NOT read e-mails so I did a load of laundry, but first I had to move the wet laundry to the dryer and since I needed a full load, pick up the clothes in the other rooms. On the way to doing that I remembered to wake the kids up again for school. While I was in their bedrooms waking them up, I might as well change the bed linens since I was doing laundry and needed a full load.

By then it was time to take the kids to school. On the way to the car, the bug man called and said he was coming to spray the house. I turned the school bus job over to hubby so I could sweep the floors before the arrival of the Bug Man. If I'm going to sweep, I may as well mop.

I rested the mop on the desk with the computer and thought about the fourth grade math I couldn't do last night; so just one quick e-mail to my friend who had written a book about ADDH. Then I saw an e-mail from Tracy-no-e and thought I might have to butt her rebuttal about names on Facebook, but she was just talking about Blogher 11 which I didn't know there was a Blogher 9 or a 10, so I had to check that out.

Then the school called to tell me to pick up the near-to-throwing-up five-year-old old which I did. I got him home and I was on the way out the door to buy 7-up when I spotted the mop leaning against the desk with the computer. I started to move the mop when I decided to take a quick peek to see if my ADHD author had responded since I was also going to try and buy ADDH inhibiting foods. That's when I saw e-mails from Rose, Wanda, Sharon, Gilda, and the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I had to respond; it might be life changing.

The mop is still leaning against computer desk, the laundry never made it to the laundry room, the dryer never got turned on, the five-year- old miraculously recovered, the bug men sprayed and left, and I don't know where I was going with this.

Can you say SQUIRREL?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The A Team or A Team of One

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for courtside seats

Little Dribblers. The name does not conjure up pictures of robust athletic types, more the senior citizen types trying to manage their soup. Still, if the five-year-old was to play basketball, he had to start young, and at the beginning…Little Dribblers.

If you are going to have little people playing basketball with small sized basketballs, and goals lowered to eight feet, you would think their uniforms would also be downsized. Not so judging from the size of the uniform he brought home which was supposed to be extra small.

At first I thought he had brought home uniforms for the entire team, or maybe a tent. I tried pulling his shorts up, but that only made him look like he was wearing a strapless dress. I pulled the string in the waist band up to fit him, but then that left six yards of string left trailing behind him. The shirt wasn't much better. When he put it on, it managed to clear the floor by a good two inches. After some major alternations, he was able to take the court looking not unlike one of those blue polyester fluffy balls you use in the bath.

It didn't matter any way. We got down to our last game of the season having yet to win a game. My little dribbler was standing next to me watching the other team warm up; rather, I should say watching #10 on the opposing team sink basket after basket. "I'm dead meat," replied my little polyester ball. The opposing team had stopped warm-ups for a quick drink and to pose for parents to capture those "last game" photos; well, except for #10, he kept sinking baskets. "I'm officially dead meat," came from my little puff ball. I tried to bolster his confidence, but even I knew he was "dead meat."

After the first quarter, the score was 12 to 0 with #10 scoring all the points. The others were there just to make the team official. #10 was a one man team. He stole the ball, he rebound the ball, he dribbled the ball, and he sunk the ball. I expected to see a Nicks scout in the audience. At one point when #10 was momentarily distracted, one of our team members actually scored a goal. The crowd went wild. Ok, all of our parents went wild. I think that may have been the only basket we made during a game all year.

At half-time the score was 20 to 3. I was hoping that in Little Dribblers, they didn't count any score above 20. During this time, both teams were guzzling Gatorade while three of the opposing team members took to the stage in this gymna-cafetorium and gave us some original Fosse choreography while #10 continued to shoot hoops.

It was obvious the others on the "team" knew they were window dressing. One entertained himself by doing a hop-skip-and-jump down the court as #10 sunk basket number seven. Another one tried cartwheels while #10 stole the basketball from one of our players and dribbled down the court for basket number eight.

During the second half, #10 was sidelined for a few minutes to give us a chance, I guess. He cried so hard, the coach finally put him back him. I would have, too. His team mates had each had about three chances to shoot the ball and none of them had scored. During the second half, while #10 added five more goals to the score, his teammates entertained us with an imaginary soccer game using an imaginary ball, a karate exhibition with an invisible foe, and more skipping and jumping.

With a score of 30 to 3, the game was finally over. Both teams gathered around their respective coaches for the presentation of the plastic trophies and the goodie bags filled with candy and gum…well, except for #10, he was still out there shooting hoops.

As we got in the car to leave, the five-year-old turned to his sister and said "Told you I was dead meat." "Yep, totally, can I have some of your gum?" was her sisterly comment.

On the way home, I day dreamed about what it must be like to be the mother of a one man team, of a child so athletically talented with college scholarships flooding in years from now, a future NBA star. My daydream was interrupted by a little hand tapping on my shoulder. "Want to hold my trophy? It's real gold!" "You bet" and I placed the trophy on the dash. I wondered if #10's mom was day dreaming about us.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

A.T.M. (All Telephone Manners)

By Jody Worsham, Feb. 2011

All rights reserved for Emily Post app for cell phone

A writer friend posed an interesting question. Do you talk while sitting on "the throne"? I have an equally interesting response "Do you have one of those video web phones?" because that is an entirely different roll of toilet paper.

Before, with telephones securely attached to the wall in the hall or the living room, telephone wearing apparel and manners were obvious because usually there was a parent or some family member in the same room with you while you were on the phone.

Because cell phones have become so tiny, so powerful, so technically advanced, we of the Emily Post generation find ourselves in unexplored etiquette territory. Therefore, to keep Generation X from becoming Generation XXX, I offer these rule addendums to dear Emily Post.

First, do not ask "What'cha doing" when calling a friend, given all the things that friend could be doing with a hands free cell phone clipped to the ear. You really might not want to know.

Second, with the first rule in mind, do not end a conversation with "Gotta go." That just leaves you open for all sorts of interpretations.

Third, given the total portability of our phones, do not ask the person to whom you are speaking to "Hold it" or "Hold on for a second." Given the question posed at the beginning of this piece that might not be possible.

Fourth, flushing and flashing are no longer considered proper etiquette while on the phone. Wait until the caller has hung up before you flush or drop that towel.

Fifth, when in doubt, put a black bag around your phone before answering it. You never know when that telemarketer might just have a webcam phone and is secretly taping you for that new reality show "Bare All."

I hope this has cleared up some of those troubling little questions you may have had regarding bathroom/cell phone etiquette. I'm sure in the next edition of Emily Post, there will be entire chapters devoted to cell phone, webcam, text, and virtual weddings.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dick Tracey, Et. Al

By Jody Worsham,

All rights reserved for tin can and string.

As a child I thought Dick Tracey's wrist radio/TV was way, way, way in the future. How could you make a television set so small? Our 1950 15 inch television was set in a cabinet the size of our ice box.

Superman would be hard pressed to find a phone booth today. The caped crusader would have to duck into the nearest McDonald's or Exxon station restroom before emerging to save the world in costume. At first glance, as he's running down the street looking for a place to change, he would think aliens had already possessed us as he encountered people seemingly talking to themselves with borg-like metal objects stuck in their ears.

Batman would have it a little easier. He changes in the Bat Cave after seeing the Bat Signal projected onto a cloud. Of course, trouble could only come at night. You can't see the Bat Signal on a sunny day. I wonder why no one has ever noticed that? Today he would receive the Bat Signal day or night via a Blackberry or Android.

Dick Tracey would be amazed now, well first of all because he would be about 111 years old, but also with how far technology has come. With cell phones the size of his wrist watch, you can watch movies, TV, web cam your house, surf the net, read online newspapers, books, magazines, take videos send photographs, locate your car, e-mail, text, as well as actually use it for a phone.

Personally, I'm waiting for the phone that will do my taxes, activate my washing machine, vacuum the rug, and give me the answers to today's fourth grade math homework. Until then, like E.T., I just want to phone home.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Wired for Wi-Fi

By Jody Worsham,

All rights reserved for Mocha Frappes

It is no secret. If you live in the country as I do amongst the tall pines along a very narrow corridor, you can't have Wi-Fi. Everybody else can, but you can't. If you want internet service, you have to have dial-up or you have to camp out at the various places in town that offer free Wi-Fi.

Hasting's Book and Video Store offers free Wi-Fi. They have tables, comfortable chairs, outlets, and restrooms but I don't often buy anything there. Of course, if you have enough battery life, you can just hang out in their parking lot. Now that the children's ballet studio is across the street, I will be spending more time in their parking lot than before. I must remember to park in different locations, though, because I'm not sure what the loitering laws are.

One of my favorite Wi-Fi destinations is McDonald's, the one closest to the university. They have tables, plug-ins, restrooms, and you never have to leave for food. I spend much time there as evidenced by my elevated cholesterol level, high blood sugar, and increased weight gain. I could munch on salads while camping here, but it is much easier to use a straw and suck on a large mocha frappe while using both hands to type. Of course, after two hours you are automatically disconnected from their Wi-Fi. But not to worry, you just have to log in again.

That's a good thing, though for me, as I tend to forget about time when I'm writing or checking e-mails. Since I don't know how to set the alarm on my cell phone, and a ticking computer bag containing one of those cooking timers tends to make people nervous, I time my log in so that I'm kicked off when it's time to pick up the children from school or I've had four Mocha Frappes, whichever comes first. I use the car to pick up the children although after four Mocha Frappes I could race to the school, put them on my back and run home.

I have spent the better part of the day eating fast food, drinking Mocha Frappes, reading, and writing. I'm caffeine wired and Wi-Fi running! It's time to go!


Friday, February 4, 2011

Is that Your Liver or Your Heart?!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved to purchase worry beads.

I don't have health issues; I have age issues. But many of my friends are entering that 100,000 mile check point. As if the brown spots that make you look like a slice of raisin bread, the knees that bend only half way, the neck that requires your entire body to rotate if you want to see what's behind you isn't enough, there are now added concerns should you need surgery; or as the insurance people like to say "a procedure." Here is a check list I have created for my 100,000 mile friends.

First, check to see if your surgeon attends AA meetings. Then determine if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Second see if there are toddlers, a newborn, twins, teenagers (or worse twin teenagers) as these can affect the amount of sleep your surgeon has received.

Third, scan the local newspapers for any pending malpractice suits, divorce proceedings, or fallen tree issues on the horizon. These all affect the surgeon's state of mind, finances, and hands.

Fourth, if your surgeon has been happily married for a number of years, they probably have a "special day". You will want to avoid having your procedure the day before that "special day" as his mind is definitely not thinking about your gall stone. If you have your procedure after that "special day", he's still got his mind elsewhere and not on the bunion you are having removed. If you have your procedure on that "special day", you run the risk of having your belly button stapled to your lungs in his rush to get home.

Fifth, schedule your emergency procedure when there is not a weather emergency, such as the wintery blizzard conditions we have been having. The electric companies tend to institute the "rolling brown out" which cuts power to facilities for up to fifteen minutes to conserve energy. Not good when it's you on the operating table.

Sixth, and this is extremely important especially as it relates to number five, make friends with the hospital janitor/engineer. He is the one who periodically checks the hospital's emergency generators to be sure they are working in case of a "rolling brown out". Most importantly, he is the one who has to remember to flip the switch back to AUTOMATIC so the generators will kick on instantly during a "rolling brown out" and you won't be on the operating table… in the dark…while your doctors try to figure out if that's your appendix or your liver they just took out.

Please feel free to copy this checklist and take it with you as you interview doctors for any procedures you may be anticipating in the future. I'm also including the 1-800 number for the psych hotline, the Weather Channel, and Worry-Beads-R-Us. Mention my name for a laugh and a 10% discount.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Bound!

By Jody Worsham, Feb. 2011

All rights reserved for Valium Hot Toddies!

The Weather Channel is non-stop blizzard! I haven't seen those people this excited since Katrina and Rita came through. Jim Cantores doesn't know which city to go to first: Oklahoma, Chicago, Denver, New York? He has his sled dogs all hooked up and ready to race the latest cancelled flight to whichever city seems to have the worst weather.

I have been watching the white and pink line of bad weather slowly approaching my home town. While the northeasterners are refueling their snow blowers, adding extensions to their car antennas with additional tennis balls so they can find their car once the snow plows bury them, my little town has joined in the mad preparations.

Just this morning when the temperature was hovering around 40 degrees and threatening to drop even lower, the Wal-Mart parking lot was basically empty. Evidently I am among the last to hit the store for needed supplies. All the white bread was gone. Only that healthy 43 grain gravel bread was left. Toilet paper was down to some recycled brand I had never heard of but was forced to buy. I managed to snag some ground meat, canned beans, Snickers, chips, hot chocolate, pop tarts, and a couple of gallons of milk. While we have a generator, we may be limited in gasoline. Years ago we wisely opted for both a propane and electric heating system plus we have two wood burning fireplaces so keeping warm is not a concern.

My top priority is to make sure the two portable DVD players, two DS Nintendos, and the i-pod touch are fully charged should school be cancelled for a day or two. All the children and teachers are doing the "Make it Snow/Ice/Sleet/Power Lines/Down" dance in the hopes that school will be cancelled. All parents have headed to the nearest church to pray for temperatures 32 and above. Either way, I'm "charging" ahead. You won't catch me in the house with a five-year-old and a nine-year-old and no electronic paraphernalia to keep them occupied.

Should this ice/snow/power out storm last longer than my charged up electronics, I have plan B: a deck of cards, a set of dominoes, and a bag of pinto beans. Once we have exhausted all card games known to man: Go Fish, Battle, Slap-Jack, Texas Hold'em, Five Card Stud, Canasta, Bridge, One-eyed Jack, Pregnant Three's, Follow the Queen, Dr. Pepper, Rembrandt, High Chicago, Low Chicago, Crises-Cross, Viper, Race Horse, Take it to Your Buddy, Elimination, Seven Twenty-seven, Constellation( to name a few), it's on to dominoes.

Besides "42", "84", regular dominoes, Mexican dominoes, and match, we can build domino houses, villages, countries and proceed to line them up then topple them over, just like in Egypt. We can make domino towers, tunnels, lakes, and corrals. When they tire of that, it's on to the pinto beans.

Pinto beans are the poor man's moon sand, sand pile, Etch and Sketch, calculator and BBs. You can count them, divide them, make mountains, valleys, ditches and bean slides with them. You can search for buried treasure, play hide and seek looking for the "red" bean. Add an empty paper towel roll and you have a "rain machine" or other musical instrument. Match up identical beans, play hide the beans, and create bean mosaics. Add a rubber band and you can have a mean, lean, pinto bean throwing machine. Set up photos of Super bowl players you want defeated and "bean" them with your rubber band BB gun. Recycle those straws hiding in the back seat of the car and make bean blow darts. If you have eaten beans the night before, you can add appropriate sound effects. After all the games are over, wash the pinto beans, soak overnight, cook and you have dinner for the next day.

Being snowbound doesn't have to make you crazy. It can. It will. It does. But it can also bring the family closer together, very close, claustrophobic close. Just save the pinto beans for last.