Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Little Mermaid, Deaf Version

This morning we were listening to the Little Mermaid soundtrack as I drove the kids to school. Owen chimed in, "If Eric and Ariel were both Deaf, or at least if they knew sign language, things would have turned out a lot better for them. They could have just seen each other, fallen in love, and been happy." He's so right. She would have just swam up to his ship, waved to get his attention, introductions would be made, then in true Disney fashion: BAM! love at first sight. Once Triton realizes that Ariel's in love with a Deafie, he will be so thrilled that they have found each other that he will use his magic triton to give her legs and they will live happily ever after. Don't worry about Ursula, she happens upon a sea mine before she can cause any trouble. The end.

Monday, November 26, 2018

More Everyday Jokes for Kids

Some of these are funnier than others. You have to remember that I have a wide range of kids to give jokes to - from elementary age through high schoolers. So there has to be something for everyone.

How does a scientist freshen her breath?
With experi-mints!

What do you do if you see a spaceman?
You park your car, man.

Where do sheep go to get a haircut?
To the baa-baa shop.

Which dinosaur had the best vocabulary?
The Thesaurus

Where do typists go for a drink?
To the space bar.

When does a joke become a "dad joke"?
When the punchline is apparent.

What award did the dentist receive?
A little plaque.

What are the strongest days of the week?
Saturday and Sunday - the rest are weekdays.

Did you hear about the kidnapping in the park?
He woke up.

What do lawyers wear to court?

How does a train eat?
It goes: chew, chew.

How much does it cost a pirate to get his ears pierced?
A buck an ear.

What shoes does a ninja wear?

What did the mama cow say to the baby cow?
It's pasture bedtime.

Where do rabbits go after they get married?
On a bunnymoon.

Which letters are not in the alphabet?
The ones in the mail.

What's the hardest part of throwing a space party?
You have to planet.

What did the banana say to the dog?
Nothing. Bananas can't talk.

How do you stop an astronaut's baby from crying?
You rocket.

Why is the word "dark" spelled with a 'K' and not a 'C'?
Because you can't see in the dark.

Why are chemists bad at telling jokes?
They lack the element of surprise.

Why is it hard to come up with a chemistry joke?
All the good ones argon.

Why did the octopus beat the shark in a fight?
It was well armed.

What happened to the cow that jumped over the barbed wire fence?
Udder destruction.

How do you make a lemon drop?
Just let it fall.

What do you call a snail on a ship?
A snailer.

What do you do with a sick chemist?
If you can't curium and you can't helium, you may as well barium.

What did the cell say to his sister that stepped on his toe?

Why can't you hear a pterodactyl in the bathroom?
The p is silent.

What do you call a dog magician?
A labracadabrador.

What do you get when you cross a rabbit with a frog?
A bunny ribbit.

When do doctors get mad?
When they run out of patients.

What do you get when you cross a cocker spaniel, a poodle and a rooster?
A Cockerpoodledoo!

What do you call a bee born in May?
A May bee

What do you call an elephant who doesn't matter?

How much money does a skunk have?
One scent.

What do you call a fear of giants?

How do dinosaurs pay for things?
Tyrannosaurus checks.

How do mountains see?
They peak.

What do you call a pile of cats?
A meowtain.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Abiding Love

It was 26 years and 18 days ago
that we got married.
But if you go back a bit further than that,
to a dance in the summer of 1991,
that is where it all started.

When he asked me to join him out on the floor
I remember wondering why someone
who looked like him
wanted to dance with someone
who looked like me.
But I didn't argue.
I remember noticing the way that his arms,
tan and muscled,
contrasted with his shirt.
I remember noticing how he smiled when he spoke,
how that smile made me feel happy and warm
and weak in the knees.
And how when the song ended
I wanted to come up with something to say
to make him stay there
with me
just a little bit longer.

Then yesterday,
somewhere less than 27 years from the day that we met,
as he stood in front of a room and spoke from his heart,
I noticed that his strong hands,
calloused from years of hard work,
evidence of love for his family and his neighbors,
contrasted with his suit and tie.
I noticed that his hair now holds streaks of silver
but his eyes still shine
when he speaks of things
that he holds in his heart.
When he was finished talking,
he sat next to me
and looked at me
and smiled.
And that smile made me feel happy and warm
and weak in the knees.

I have known him close to 7 years longer
than I haven't.
And I'm not sure why,
but I think that 26 years and 18 days
is my favorite anniversary so far.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Today's Random Thoughts

Hey, y'all. This feels like me this summer, this moment right now. I came into my room to eat lunch, consisting of sour cream with salsa and a big bag o' chips. My room, because that is where my books are.

My lunch.

These are the disappointed looks on my children's faces when I told them that I was not taking them to the Rec Center today. The weeping and wailing was consistent. I told them it wasn't helping their cause and it crescendoed. So I ignored them and tried to read my book.

"I hate you."

"You are the worst mom, ever!"

I am trying to teach my kids that they don't get to have everything they want, when they want it. I am sad to report that this is hard, but only because I have made it so. I have tried so hard to give my kids everything I didn't have at their age and now it is expected. It is a problem I have created and one that is not easy to reverse, but I am trying. 

This book is transformative, actually. It makes me want to get back to being authentically me. The me who loves dance-walking and has incredible ideas on how to incorporate ASL into it. The me who loves to be crazy and make others laugh. The me that is, at heart, happiest in a pair of jeans and a pair of Converse and a funny t-shirt. The me that hates make-up and loves my hair long and wild and free.
The me that wants daily dance parties and frequent trips to thrift stores and farmer's markets. The me who loves to make others feel loved and happy.

The me that wants my kids to love me, and instinctively knows they don't really hate me or think I'm the worst mom in the world. 

I used to love to run. Then I thought I hated to run. But I just figured out, this summer, how to love it again. (Hint: I was trying too hard and starting too fast.) I started off with a 13 minute mile a few weeks ago and today I pushed myself on 2 miles and averaged a 9 and a half minute mile. So I'm feeling pretty good about that.

We haven't planned any family trips this summer outside of the usual reunions, so I need to work on that. I would love another backpacking trip like the one we did last year in Oregon. Maybe...

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy Anniversary-Birthday-Father's Day

Today after church I was thinking about my parents. Probably partly because it was Father's Day and partly because it would have been my mom's 70th birthday yesterday and partly because it would have been their 47th anniversary last Thursday. But mostly just because I miss them both.

I went outside for a few minutes to pick strawberries from our garden. Partly because I love strawberries and partly because I love being in the garden. But mostly because when I'm in the garden I can think.

As I was picking strawberries I was actually trying to think about nothing. Because sometimes that's the easiest thing to think of when I'm feeling sad. I remember at one point thinking, it's a lot hotter out here than I thought. And then the sky started to sprinkle. It was barely even noticeable at first, but over the course of a couple of minutes the rain turned to fat drops and continued to fall for a minute or so before stopping. I set my strawberries down and with my face turned toward the sky and arms outstretched I enjoyed the feeling of the rain falling over me for just a minute. It felt like a gift.

Then, almost as soon as it started, it was over. Just a quick little gift from above. I'm not sure what people get to do in the life after this one, but I imagined my parents watching over me, knowing I was sad, and trying to let me know they were there. Maybe my mom was watering her gladiolas and sunflowers and, for just a minute, sprinkled her watering can over my house. I like to imagine that my dad turned on a hose, stuck his thumb over the nozzle, and sprinkled down his own raindrops. Then dad got that mischievous twinkle in his eye as he pointed the hose at mom, and laughed as she emptied her watering can onto him, causing big, fat drops to fall. 

I create these kinds of stories about my parents in my mind sometimes. Partly because I miss them so much and partly because I like to imagine what they may be doing now that they are together again. But mostly because I know that they are happy and that they want me to be happy, too.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Crying Over Spilt Milk

"Your cancer is back, and it has metastasized", the doctor tells my mom. "We can no longer cure it, but we can treat it and try to slow its growth."

Is there a time frame?

"Up to six months without chemo, 12 to 18 months with chemo."

I take her for a pedicure and massage.

She tries chemo. And she's on oxygen 24/7.

Her stomach bloats and hurts, her neck and face swell, she can't taste food anymore. She doesn't want to eat. She doesn't want to leave her chair. She's too tired. She doesn't feel well. she doesn't feel right.

I take her to the hospital.

They treat her the best they can for a couple of days, then send her home. The oncologist says that she won't make it if she gets that sick again.

She decides that she doesn't want to live her life like this and, after one chemo treatment, decides to stop. We all support this decision. Quality over quantity.

And so we wait.   

Her tumor markers go up, despite the one treatment. Her hair falls out, despite only one treatment.

We go shopping for hats.

"You should be tested for genetic cancer since there's a history of it in your family. Let's get you in to see a counselor," her oncologist suggests. We visit the counselor. We fill in charts of family history and she gives the doctors her saliva, her blood, to be tested.

The results are taking so long to get here.

Her arms and hands and legs swell. She gets cellulitis. They find blood clots in her arm. She is coughing a lot more and sometimes struggles to breathe. She hates wearing the oxygen tubes and carting it everywhere, so she stops using it.

And through all of this, I am able to push back emotion. Every time. There will be a time to cry, I tell myself. But it's not now.

After breakfast this morning I was clearing the table and before I knew what was happening I was juggling cereal bowls, trying not to drop them. I didn't even see it coming. There was some leftover milk in my son's bowl which splattered all over the carpet. Not just in one nice, puddled spot, but in a huge arc of white as I fumbled with the bowl, trying to keep it all inside.

Look at this mess, I thought. And then the tears came.

And I thought it somewhat odd that I found myself weeping over the one thing that we're told not to cry over.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Thank You, Mrs. Ruthenbeck

I could not possibly choose a favorite book from my childhood. This would be like asking me to choose a favorite friend from my childhood, as this is what books were for me back then - trusted friends.  As I revisited each of my dear book-friends in my mind and thought of the lessons they've taught me and the moments we've shared I was able to narrow my choice down to two that really stand out. Both of these books were introduced to me in kindergarten.

As a child of parents who are both Deaf, sign language was the main method of communication used in our home and the one I was always most comfortable with.  We had family gatherings with my Aunt Betty and Uncle Jack, who were also both Deaf, and their kids.  We went to church with a Deaf congregation and pastor, and played with other kids at the local Deaf club on weekends.  From my 5-year-old perspective, the world was as fluent in sign as my family was.  Then came my first day of kindergarten.

I was excited, but apprehensive about being there.  My mom left just as school started, along with all the other parents, and my teacher, Mrs. Ruthenbeck, had us introduce ourselves to everyone.   Because I didn't know any better and felt most comfortable with signing, I used my hands rather than my voice in stating my name and favorite color.  To make a long story short, I learned that day the terrible truth that most of the world was not fluent in ASL.  I went home early because I refused to speak.  I cried.

This was the beginning of the discovery that I was different.  I was someone who did not completely fit in to the world of the Deaf or the world of the hearing.  The other kids must have thought I was strange due to my behavior on that first day - no one ever talked to me.  I became so quiet at school that my teacher worried.  She would come sit next to me along the kindergarten wall at recess and try to encourage me to play with the other kids.  She eventually asked if I'd like to stay inside the classroom and color or read a book.  This was how I ended up spending a good part of my kindergarten play time - at a table near the window, reading one of the many books in Mrs. Ruthenbeck's little classroom library.  Oh, how I loved to read.

One day I noticed a book I hadn't seen before, Leo the Lop.
Even now as I write this, I feel emotion welling up inside of me. The story is about a rabbit, Leo, who is different from the other rabbits because his long ears hang down to the ground.  Leo tries to fit in and be like the other rabbits whose ears stand straight up, but his ears don't cooperate.  He and the other rabbits then meet a possum who teaches them that normal is whatever you are.

Normal Is Whatever You Are.  Normal is talking with your hands or your voice.  Normal is living in the Deaf world or the hearing world.  Normal is playing outside at recess or quietly reading a book to yourself.  Normal Is Whatever You Are.

Oh, how I loved those words!  I continued to read every day but always started or ended my play time in kindergarten by reading Leo the Lop.  And I still own a copy of the book today.

My other favorite book came about during Nap Time, when Mrs. Ruthenbeck would read to us from Charlotte's Web as we lay on our nap mats.
I loved hearing of how Charlotte, a spider, became friends with Wilbur, a pig, and how hard she worked to make his life better.  I would lay there each day, eyes open wide, excited to hear what would happen next in Wilbur's adventure.

One day, near the end of the story, Mrs. Ruthenbeck stopped reading.  She told us that a very sad part was coming up and that it always made her cry, so she just couldn't read it to us.  In the same moment that I was thinking, You can't stop reading!  I need to know what happens next! she turned to me and asked, "Gerberta, would you read this part to the class for me?  You are such a good reader and it would be a great favor to me."  I couldn't believe it.  That looked like a pretty big book to a kindergartener.  I was scared for the tiniest moment, but of course I couldn't say no.

I walked to the front of the class, sat in Mrs. Ruthenbeck's Reading Chair, quickly glanced out at the faces of my classmates (who seemed just as surprised as I) and started to read.  I was amazed by how easily the words came to me and my confidence grew with each one.  I remember thinking, if I can read this book then I must be smart!

What a gift my teacher had given me.  Something magical happened after that day.  Somehow, things started to get better for me in kindergarten.  I started to play outside sometimes.  Kids would ask me to help them with letters or words that they couldn't quite get.  I started to look forward to going to school.  And Charlotte and I have remained great friends over the years.

All thanks to an amazing, intuitive kindergarten teacher.

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Place Between

As I have mentioned probably a million times before, I was born to the best parents for me, who both also happen to be Deaf. I was raised in Deaf culture, learned to sign before I could speak, and have always been the most comfortable with this language and culture that I love.

However, as a hearing person, out of necessity I also became a part of hearing culture when I entered school. After discovering that not everyone could communicate in sign language (one of my earliest, most devastating memories) I found myself stuck between two worlds.

During the day, I was a part of the hearing culture which I was also learning to love. Here, there was music, which touched every part of my soul. There were spoken words which added beauty to the language that I already knew. After school, when I would go home, I was a part of the Deaf culture that I loved. Here, there was family. There was an aspect of beauty to ASL that could not be translated into words that the hearing could understand in quite the same way. There was comfort at home and a strong feeling of belonging that, for me, was lacking at school. I couldn't find a way to build a bridge between these worlds that each held such joy for me.

One day in high school I heard a friend asking if anyone knew the lyric to a particular song. (Mind you, this is back in the days before home computers and the internet.) With the instruments playing and the way it was sung, it was difficult to understand. Well, I knew that lyric. I knew exactly what it said, because my brother and I watched MTV and VH1 all the time, and our television at home had a closed-captioning machine hooked up to it so my parents could read what was being said. (Again, back in the day before closed-captioning was standard in every TV.) The fact that I knew this lyric was a game-changer for me. I had an advantage over most hearing people because I was also a part of Deaf culture! Eventually, my friends figured out my secret and we would spend a lot of time at my house during lunch, watching music videos.

I ended up joining my high school cross country team because I was asked to, and I liked to make people happy. I had participated in a race at my junior high for the same reason. Our P.E. teacher reminded us that there was an 8th grade race after school and that she was disappointed that not many students had signed up to participate. I knew I was not good at kickball or basketball or dodgeball or any kind of ball. But running? Anyone could run, right? So I showed up after school in my sandals and ran the race, which meandered through the neighborhood surrounding the school. A few different times I was unsure of where to go, so I would stop and wait for the person behind me to catch up, follow them for a bit, then run on ahead. I came in first without really even trying. The cross country coach from the high school was there and he invited me to come run with the team over the summer, so I did. And I found that running was another thing to love. The cross country team became like another family to me.

High school was also where I discovered the magic of theater. I initially joined the beginning drama class because I loved being a part of the musicals our choir in middle school had done. The first couple of monologues I did had no substance to them. But one day our teacher, Mr. Scarlata, said something about becoming someone you are not on stage. About how you are not you when you are playing a role, you are someone else. And suddenly, it clicked. I fell in love with this idea, and the drama department became a place that was like home for me. The friends I made in my theater classes and the plays and musicals I was in were another extension of my family.

I sang, although timidly, in choirs throughout elementary and middle school. I remember a day when a friend heard me singing along to a song on MTV and said, "Wow, you have a really good voice!" It surprised me. I knew that I liked imitating the voices in the songs I heard on the radio but I hadn't thought much about it beyond that. After my freshman year my choir teacher, Mrs. Jensen, encouraged me to audition for the all-girls choir, Les Chansonnieres. I auditioned with a song I loved from The Sound of Music and was put in the soprano section. The year after that she asked me to consider auditioning for the top choir, Aristocracy. I sang there for one year until I auditioned again, this time with a song by U2 that I loved, Van Diemen's Land, and was put in the alto section. Here was where I found another family. A group of people who were as passionate about singing and music as I was.         

I was lucky in that my parents were very supportive of the hearing culture things we enjoyed. They let us listen to music, rather loudly, and enjoyed it with us. They would often ask us to sign the lyrics to songs, which I loved to do. They would come watch us perform in plays, with no interpreter, and my dad would cheer louder than any other parent there. However, this was not typical of the Deaf people we knew. Most of them, understandably, had no love for music or anything else that they couldn't understand. Wonderful interpreters have helped bridge this gap over time, but when I was a teenager it was difficult. There were no laws, no rights for the Deaf, no equal access to communication back then. The equal access in our family was dependent on me and my siblings and our willingness to interpret for our parents. 

I was also lucky in that my new "hearing family" were very supportive of the Deaf culture that was an undeniable part of me. My choir teacher, Mrs. J, asked me to sign a couple of songs that the other choirs sang during our concerts. When I auditioned for a solo one year she asked if I would sign it in ASL, too. One time we wrote monologues about a typical day in our life and after I performed mine with some ASL mixed in, Mr. Scarlata asked me about why it was important to me to include it and I was able to give a brief lesson on Deaf culture to the Play Production class. My coaches and teammates on the cross country team quickly learned that they could speak directly to my parents and I would happily interpret.

Over time I learned that it wasn't so hard to find a bridge between cultures after all. The bridge had been there all along, I just had to find it.

The bridge was me.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pepper Pizzas

Here in Utah there has been a definite change in the weather. We went from highs in the 80's one day to stormy and cold the next. Things have balanced out some, but like many here, I had to go out and save what I could from my garden before the possibility of the low morning temperatures destroying it. This year, the largest result was a plethora of peppers. In the past I have shared my crop because we can not use so many peppers in such a quick time. But this year we discovered pepper pizzas, or, as my kids have dubbed them, Pezzas. So if you're trying to find a way to use a load of peppers, give these a try!

This recipe doesn't have any specific measurements. You can make one or 100 and you just eyeball it along the way.

You'll need:

Green peppers
spaghetti sauce
mozarella cheese
any other desired toppings (we just use mini pepperoni, and sometimes black olives)

First, de-seed the peppers by cutting them in half and removing the seeds. Lay the peppers, open side up, on a cookie sheet. Spread a large spoonful of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of each pepper. Sprinkle cheese on top of that. Then add whatever toppings your family likes. Bake them in a preheated 350 degree oven until the cheese is melty. (I like to look for the cheese turning slightly brown in spots, but that's just how I like it. I'm not the boss of you.) Then enjoy!

The crazy thing about these is that I didn't think they would be popular, especially with my youngest two. Neither of them like green peppers much. But they beg for Pezzas! I don't know if it's because they are not-so-cleverly disguised as pizzas or what, but they love these things.


Wednesday, September 27, 2017



Is there a job out there somewhere for moms who like to show up in their children's classrooms (or any classroom, for that matter) dressed up in costume, portraying a character from a book or a movie or their imagination?  Because man, do I miss doing this. Every time one of these pictures shows up as a memory on my Facebook wall I can't help but smile. If there were some way to tie music and ASL with this non-existent job, I would be on cloud nine and love going to work every day.

I remember when my oldest son Allen was in kindergarten, how much I wanted to show up in his classroom in costume and share stories, like Stella the Storyteller from his favorite show, Barney and Friends. Who would have thought that I would start showing up in a 6th grade class instead? And love it so much?

For the first time in a long time I have been able to volunteer in my elementary school kids' classrooms and that is also very rewarding. I find myself looking forward to working with the kids each time I go in and remembering why I wanted to go into special education when I was still in college. At the time, that just wasn't in the cards for me. I was a new mother, we were poor college students, and continuing to go to school didn't make much sense since my life experience allowed me to work as a sign language interpreter immediately and make more money than I would as a teacher with an eventual degree. (How sad is that, by the way?)

I'm still figuring things out. Friends in the generation older than me laugh knowingly when I tell them I'm not sure what to do with myself now that Little X is in school. Friends my age nod their heads knowingly and express the same wonderings. Friends younger than me sigh knowingly and long for that time.

I'm in the middle of costume design and creation for The Phantom of the Opera at my kids' high school. I learned so much when I did this for The Little Mermaid that I couldn't resist helping again. And this time around, I keep getting my own ideas. Mrs. Frizzle sort of ideas. Crazy costumes I could make myself, if there were the time and the place to use them.

I may need to create my own job. I know it is possible. It's there in my head, I just need to figure out the details.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Dressing My Daughters

                                         Girls shirt, size 14                      Boys shirt, size 8

I took this cute girl birthday shopping on Saturday. She wanted to find a couple of new shirts for school, so we hit one of our standard shopping places - JC Penney. There are a few reasons I typically like to shop here.

1. It is super close to our house.
2. They almost always have awesome coupons available.
3. They have a lot of great sales.

First we hit the girls' section and found a couple of nice tops, including the floral top with the grey sleeves. It was hard to find them amongst all the glitter and flippy sequins and cute sayings in cursivey fonts, but we persevered. We found her typical size, 10/12, the one that coincides with her age and is usually the right fit.

Next we ventured into the boys' area because she typically finds clothes that she REALLY likes over there - ones that have to do with Star Wars or science and the like. We found the awesome Star Wars shirt pictured above, grabbed the 10/12 size, and headed to the dressing room.

She tried on the floral shirt first. It was too short, in the front and in the sleeves. We thought it must have been a fluke with that shirt and got another one in the same size. Same problem. Finally I got her a size 14 to try on and it was a perfect fit (as long as it doesn't shrink at all after we wash it).

When she tried on the Star Wars shirt, it was way too large. The front came down to her fingertips and the sleeves just hung on her. So I went and got a size 8 (Small) and guess what? It fit great. Even if it shrinks a little in the wash, it will still be a good fit.

Do you see the problem here? A girl's size 14 fit just a tad smaller and tighter than a boy's size 8.

Can we also address the shirts with the flippy sequins on them? Does anyone else see why this is a terrible idea?

And don't get me started on pants. Both Princess and Curly preferred buying boys joggers in khaki and camo over the girl's pants that were skin tight and available in every color under the rainbow.

I get how supply and demand works, so I can only assume that people everywhere are clamoring to buy their girls these kind of clothes. Or are they? Are we just buying what's available because that's what is there? Because that's what the designers and suppliers and retail stores want us to buy?

Not me.

This is why I love to shop at thrift stores, especially for my girls. There is a wide variety of styles available, there is almost always something that fits what my family likes, and as a bonus - we know how the clothes will fit after being washed.

I'll tell you what, though - if I could find a store that didn't sell to stereotypes I would love to shop there and support them. Girls dresses that have sleeves and reach their knees would be amazing. Girls pants that are loose-fitting and comfortable would be a dream. Girls pants that are made like boys joggers would be all my girls would wear! Girls tops featuring things like science and dinosaurs would be great! Actually, I would just be happy to find some girls t-shirts that have a fun design that does not include glitter.

So, the search is on.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

If the Shoe Fits...

You see these shoes here? This pair of Chucks have been around for as long as I can remember. I can't recall if I bought them in junior high or high school, but I know they have been around for a good, long time.

They are obviously well-loved. The rubber soles have started to crack in places, the canvas fabric has become faded, weather-worn and fragile. They are torn, frayed, and holey. But I just can't bring myself to get rid of them, no matter how tattered they become. They hold so many memories. If they were still in good condition I could donate them to a thrift store, but the best place for them would likely be a trash can. (It hurts me to even say that.)

When I wear them, I look down and see the shoes I wore on my first date. I see the shoes I wore on my first road trip with friends. I see the shoes I was wearing when I broke my leg and had a baby on the same day. They are not just the pair of old, worn out shoes that others see. To me, they are memory keepers.

People are like that, too. Sometimes, on the outside, they look a little worse for the wear. But when we take the time to get to know someone, we learn the story behind the facade. Every person has a unique story, experiences that only they have had and only they can share.

The next time you see someone in a pair of old, ratty shoes, think of the stories they could tell.

(Both the person and their shoes.)


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Lost In Emotion

I went on Facebook the other day to waste some time (that's what usually ends up happening, anyway) and found out that my brother-in-law's dad had passed away. The week before the same thing happened to the father of a close friend. 

It's crazy how all the emotions associated with my own father's death, over 16 years ago, come right back up to the surface when I hear of someone I know losing a parent, or a child, or a friend.

We attended the funeral service for our good friend's father. It was a beautiful service, filled with stories of his goodness and love, and we couldn't help but compare all that was said to the life our friend is living. He could be described in much the same way as his father, and I guess that is part of his father's legacy, to pass on the good in him to his children, so they can continue what he started.

I couldn't help comparing myself to my own Dad's wonderful qualities, and finding parts of him still alive there in me was a beautifully overwhelming thing.

Here's the other thing I've been thinking about - grief. I have discovered that grief does not happen in a perfect cycle. It does not happen when or where you want or expect it to. It can show up on a random Thursday on aisle 3 at the grocery store when a song on the overhead system evokes a memory. It can show up in the middle of the day when you have some form of inspiration and have the thought that your Dad is right there, whispering ideas into your mind. It will show up when you attend a funeral - any funeral, even one for someone you don't know - and you may find yourself a blubbering mess, worried that the family will wonder why you are so emotional about someone you didn't even know. 

Grief does not follow any patterns. It does not get "easier with time". You may remember the pain and heartache less, but the person that is gone is always there in your heart. You don't want to forget them and you don't want others to forget them either. 

In 2013 I wrote about how thinking in terms of Horcruxes helped me work through my emotions after the death of a good friend. The last couple of paragraphs read:

There are a million things I could say that I haven't over the last year, but the one thing that really stands out lately is this: in losing Jason I have gained something else - a whole network of friends who look out for and care about each other. Because Jason was such a big fan of the Harry Potter books, I like to think of it in terms of Horcruxes.

Jason is no longer here with us but a small part of him is alive in every person who loved him.  So, even though he may not be here with us physically we can still have a part of him with us when we associate with each other.  He lives on in each of us. We are like his Horcruxes, anchoring fragments of his soul to the earth in the memories that we've shared with him. Every person who has a memory of Jason holds a piece of his story. I think that when we remain connected to each other we remain connected to him.  That is something I can hold on to.  That is something I am thankful for.    


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

More Jokes for Kids!

I still put jokes in my kids' lunches. Every day. We're going on somewhere around 15 years of this now, so finding new jokes is often a challenge. I have learned that I can recycle jokes from 2 years past and the kids have forgotten them. Thanks to this discovery, I'm going to start adding the good jokes I find to my collection here so I can recycle them every couple of years. I mean, I do still have at least another 11 years of this!

Q: How do you tie up two space men?

A: With an astro-knot!

Q: Why do cows have hooves instead of feet?

A: Because they lactose.

Q: How do you know when the moon has enough to eat?

A: When it's full!

Q: What happens when you play Beethoven backwards?

A: He de-composes.

Q: What do you call a funny mountain?

A: Hill-arious

Q: Why do Norwegians have barcodes on their ships?

A: So they can Scandinavian!

Q: What makes pirates such great singers?

A: They can hit the high C's!

Q: What did the ninja order at Burger King?

A: A Whoppaaaaaa!

Q: What do you call a witch who lives at the beach?

A: A sand witch!

Q: Did you hear about the lumberjack who got fired for cutting down too many trees?

A: He saw too much.

Q: What does a robot frog say?

A: Rib-BOT

Q: What did the ground say to the earthquake?

A: You crack me up!

Q: Why don't lions eat clowns?

A: Because they taste funny.

Q: What do you call a belt made out of $1 bills?

A: A waist of money.

Q: What do you call a belt made out of watches?

A: A waist of time.

Q: What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?

A: A Flat Miner

Q: What's the first thing a taxi driver says to a wolf?

A: Where, wolf?

Q: What do you call a sleeping dinosaur?

A: A dino-snore

Q: What happens when you get a bladder infection?

A: Urine trouble

And, a few nerd jokes for good measure...

Q: Why can't the Ender Dragon understand a book?

A: Because he always starts at the end.

Q: Why do Daleks eat apples?

A: Because an apple a day keeps The Doctor away.

Q: What do you call a time traveling cow?

A: Doctor MOO!