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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!"