Thursday, December 26, 2013


Is that what you call a photo that your wife takes of the two of you?

And here we had a casual Christmas Eve.  Rachel was only one week post third ACL repair and we all look a little tired.  At one point during the church service the organist started falling behind (like several counts behind) the keyboard and guitars.  I wondered if they were trying to sing Silent Night as a round.  Rachel (who had been sitting during the song) hobbled to her feet and said, "Get me outta here!  I gotta get outta here!"  Mr. Rellim knew she was just reacting to the musical confusion (and hydrocodon).  Mr. Rellim's sister thought Rachel was going to be ill.  I imagined perhaps that a zombie had sucked out the organist's brain and was headed our way.

Don't judge us.  It's been a long week.

Monday, December 23, 2013


It was the greatest passing of noxious gas that Christmas cookie baking has likely ever known, when suddenly there was a knock on the door.  Rapid flapping of arms made no difference.  I opened the door despite  the dealer's warning and in walked seven caroling neighbors, who stood in its wake and sang three beautiful songs.

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


My good friend called yesterday and began the conversation with, "I just took a muscle relaxant, so I don't know how good I'll be long for talking."

Rachel took some narcotic painkillers this morning before her post-op appointment and she just wouldn't stop (trash) talking.  In the doctor's office she rambled, "So, this really hurts, yeah, right there where you touched.  What did you do there?  Why did you do that?  What do you mean you put an extra screw there?  Do you like cutting people?  Have you always wanted to cut people?  Even when you were little?  I think you put a screw there just so my leg would hurt.  And look at these bruises.  Who did that?  Why?  Do you people like hurting people?"

The surgeon looked at me and I just shrugged, shook my head and rolled my eyes.

But I love his answer, "Yes, you were specifically targeted for persecution by the hospital staff and me.  I wanted to be a lumberjack when I was seven.  Then I wanted to be a computer programmer when I was 14.  Then I didn't know what I wanted to do - so I went to college and now I'm an orthopedic surgeon.  I cut people for my job, not because I want to make you hurt."

I'm so glad he has a teenager at home.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I was just getting ready to blog about looking for a patio chair that Rachel could use in the shower today.  Then I remembered that those patio chairs melted in the garage fire a couple months ago.  Then I remembered how right I was about telling her not to leave candles burning unattended in the first place.  It felt good being right, even though I was mildly unhappy.

Then I got an email from my friend, Steve, sharing a scientific? study regarding happiness, being right, and quality of life.  Is this what the National Institute of Health spends its money researching?  I think it's better fit for a Saturday Night Live skit.  And I know just the interpreter for the deaf to hire.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Concert Faux Pas

The high school choral director teaches the kids much about proper concert manners. My father broke many last night when he leaned over to me between songs and attempted to whisper, "You know?  Quinn is really starting to grow up into a handsome little shit."

Did I mention that the concert was held in the sanctuary of a small church in town?  And that the pews were packed?

And on a related note:  When did my parents start swearing in casual conversation?  I recall being grounded once for saying "hell" on a visit home from college during my freshman year.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Third ACL Repair. Same Knee.

Let's not do this again, OK?

I'm trying to think of something funny about it all.

Oh, yeah.  In pre-op after the administration of the meds, Rachel started giggling uncontrollably.  This lasted for about five minutes.  Then she said up straight and said, "Wow!  That hit me fast and hard, but I could totally drive now."

She spent the next few minutes trying to set off the alarm for oxygen saturation levels by holding her breath.  "That'll teach 'em!" she said.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Quinn sneaked up behind me and made that Anthony Hopkins Silence of the Lambs tongue-sucking noise while I was cooking supper.  I screamed with gusto, then turned and shouted, "Don't you ever do that again or I WILL KILL YOU!"

Then, remembering that Rachel had a new boy friend (two words) visiting, I chuckled and said, "Oh, you silly kid!  Now go set the table."

The boy friend has not been back since.

You all have my permission to use that technique, if needed, to clear your daughter's friends away.

Things Kids Say

"My dad ate lunch with a body," said a Kindergarten deer-hunting enthusiast.
"Oh?" I asked, "Like a deer carcass?"
"No!  Like a body!" he said, patting his chest.  "It was in the refrigerator and my dad had a sandwich."

I laughed initially, then told him to change the subject or I was going to have to make a bunch of embarrassing phone calls that afternoon.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Doesn't anyone proofread anymore?  It seems that computers can do (almost) all of that for us.

Unfortunately for Ariel, the student soloist at the last chorus program, the group of letters that were typed for her name by the student author were not even close to "Ariel."  Instead, the spell check program automatically corrected to "anal."

I laughed and laughed.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Among our many blessings including family and friends, we are so thankful that we have health insurance.  Obamacare has not yet come between us and our physician.  This is particularly relevant since Mike and Rachel both had appointments with the orthopedic surgeon Tuesday.  Mike has likely torn the labrum in his shoulder.  An MRI on the 13th will provide the details.  Rachel commented, "I didn't know men had labrum."  I told her, "I believe they do and the word you were thinking was labia."  Much laughter ensued.

The laughter helped blunt the blow from the surgeon's assessment of Rachel's ACL repair at six months post-op.  We were expecting that she was nearing discharge from physical therapy.  Instead he informed us that he believes the tendon graft has failed and he needs to perform a revision. This will happen on the 16th.

But life is good, just full of surprises.  We'd be bored without them, right?
Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013


"Responsibility! . . . blah blah blah . . . . Planning ahead for the future!  . . . blah blah blah . . . Timelines! . . . Deadlines! . . . blah blah blah . . . ."  It was a message of great importance for my daughter.  It was also one-sided and sort of louder than typical conversational speech (because she was wearing super-cool headphones that she has borrowed from someone).

I didn't understand why she didn't want to go to Wal-Mart with me after our "discussion."  So I backed out of the garage alone - and crashed right into her car.

"I got her as good as she got me," was the text I sent to Mr. Rellim.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Great friends, good pizza, chocolate chip cookie pie and lots of reminiscing and laughter.  What more could a woman want?
Oh!  Windshield wipers.  I did buy a set of wipers tonight.
And I ordered carpeting for the computer room. 
Mr. Rellim is out of town for a few days.

In Case You Wondered

What does the farmer say?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Why You Should Car Shop Every Saturday

People open doors for you, call you "ma'am," laugh at all your jokes, ask you questions about your family, and really listen to you.  I'm driving a Ford Fusion right now and the salesman even gave me his personal cell phone number in case I have questions this weekend.

I know he thinks I'm going to keep it until Monday, but my plan is to drive it to the Toyota dealer in a few minutes to do a side-by-side comparison with the Camry.  Do you think there is any sort of breach of ethics in that plan or is it just ingenious?

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


When I multitask it often involves monitoring a load of laundry, a sink full of dishes, two or three pots on the stove, checking phone messages and emails, sorting the snail mail, directing teens to appropriate, helpful tasks, and answering questions about why we don't have unlimited allowances.

When Quinn multitasks it often involves watching TV and eating a bowl of cereal.  And during such time, he wishes not to be spoken to because it interrupts his concentration.

I think he must have inherited that from his father.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

You're Fired!

We are still searching for a church to call home.  This is made exponentially more difficult because of the age of our children, who are now resisting going to church at all.  Rachel has been attending a church where she knows the choir director so she can sing there (and so she won't have to sit near me on Sunday morning).  Quinn tends to shuffle alongside us on Sundays and pretend like he isn't there.

Today, we all agreed to attend a church together.  As we approached the door to the building, a high school classmate shouted, "Quinn?!  What are you doing here?!"

Interesting (and unfortunate) choice for welcoming committee member. . . .

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Christmas Photo

I tried to snap a photo for Christmas cards.  My children had a grand ol' time (as the new blog photo suggests).  But I don't think that Great Aunt Mary will approve.  Would it be neglectful of our son if we only sent a picture from Rachel's recent Senior Photo Shoot?
Maybe we could photoshop Quinn into it or something?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dogs on the Mind

Unfortunately for the pet-lovers in the family, we have none.  Too much sneezing and wheezing would transpire.  This does not deter Quinn from talking about the dog he is going to get in the future, or the dogs his friends have, or the special service dogs he has read about, or the dogs he saw on YouTube videos -

He smelled something tonight that no one else could smell and was ecstatic.  "In your face!  I could be a police dog with this nose of mine!"

 . . . or the dog he imagines himself to be.

Are you There, God? It's Me, Marcie.

Mr. Rellim walked in the bathroom this morning without knocking.  He's not the knocking type.

Instead of apologizing for the obvious intrusion, he said, "Oo -oo -oo!  Are those wings?"

His sense of humor is unique.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Queried Mr. Rellim:  "Are you only happy when everyone is doing what you say, when you say it?"
Mrs. Rellim:  "Now we understand each other."

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

One-Stop Shopping

Quinn mentioned that he would like to buy "virginity" at Wal-Mart.  Coupled with his frequent "Quinnisms" and my current state of improperly-functioning eustachain tubes (Thank you mucus-y Kindergarteners!), I assumed I had misunderstood him.

Upon repetition, his message was the same.

"What happened to your virginity?" I asked.

"Nothing.  I still have my 'first' virginity," he said, "but I'd like to have a back-up 'second' virginity in case I really love someone."

I don't think I'm up for this conversation tonight.

Fire Prevention Week

Runeworker: Runes of Fire
We left Rachel home alone on Saturday.  She called me in the afternoon to let me know, "You always tell me not to let candles burn unattended but I did it anyway.  Now the firemen are here but not very much stuff burned.  They only used one hose and the garage is going to be OK.  All the black stuff is in the driveway now."

I told her the lesson to be learned is not about candles.  The lesson to be learned is ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


The speed limit in school zones is 20 miles per hour.

Even if you work there.
Even if you have a headache.
Even if your colleagues are driving past you to turn into the parking lot.

Well, if you can't be a good example, then be a dire warning!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Little Slice O' Harmony

1.  Quinn says that chorus is like a "harmony pizza" with sprinkles of alto, soprano, bass and tenor in place of pepperoni, sausage, ham and bacon. (Note the lack of veggies in his pizza analogy.)

2.  Rachel's suggestion was chosen for naming her high school a capella group:  Minors in Major Treble.  I think that's pretty cool.

3.  Mike had an incredibly awkward (and hilarious) discussion with Quinn regarding how the question, "How's it hanging?" has a double meaning.  Of course it happened during supper time.

4.  Quinn has decided that he is going to be a "Math Master" instead of a chiropractor for a living.  I'll have to get back to  you on what that entails.

5.  We are church hunting again.  Nothing funny about that.

6.  Ten Flaming Cheetos in your mouth at one time is too many.

7.  Rachel is in her bedroom with two friends.  The door is shut.  Quinn just came out to the kitchen to ask, "What sort of glass is the kind that is best for listening?"  Personally, I would choose an extendable ear, but I don't know how to place an order with the Weasley's.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Long, Hot Summer

It's been a long, hot summer.  Except when it was cool - like the entire month of July and most of August - awesome!  And now we are back in the old grind of school days and I have a few observations and reports to make:

1.  Going back to school is like jumping into a pool of cold water.  There is panic, discomfort and a lot of screaming before treading water turns into skilled strokes.  We are still mostly in the screaming phase.

2.  Quinn is now eating with a regular group of guys at lunch.  I asked who they were and he told me, "Jase, some random Asian kid whose dad is a chemistry professor, a guy with a weird-ass high pitched voice, and Sam."  OK.  That's an improvement from eating his sack lunch alone in the car in the parking lot.  Maybe.

3.  Mike said that he would liked to have been an astronaut.  He said that he would have volunteered for all the "sex-in-space experiments."

4.  I have a secret savings account through the area educational credit union.  I just learned that I actually have some money in there and was contemplating how to spend it.  Then I got home and Quinn told me, "My bed broke."  I didn't ask a lot of questions.  I just told him to haul the thing to the end of the driveway and hope someone takes it. 

5.  Mike got a work iPhone to use and so I'm now the only person in the household without a smart phone.  Maybe I'll have some money left over after the bed purchase.

6.  Rachel is now running up to a mile at physical therapy.  Rehab is slow but steady.  It's a good pace.

7.  Mike has a customer I call The Tomato Man.  He planted 450 tomato plants this year.  I am a major recipient of his efforts.  I now have orange fingernails.  You can find jars of salsa tucked in the most curious places in my house.  If only tomato harvest and the first month of school didn't coincide so closely. . .

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Engagement Picture

Caption contest, anyone?  You gotta help me out here. 

Friday, August 16, 2013


Quinn called us last night to tell us that he "accidentally got hit by a car" while riding his bike home in the dark.  We drove to meet him at the designated place.  From a distance we could see a lot of traffic, emergency vehicles and flashing lights.  Mr. Rellim said, "Huh?  I wonder what that's all about?"


It was at that moment that we understood that our son was not joking.  Fortunately, he's  fine, just bumped and bruised a bit.


"The asparagus is so good, Mom!  It tastes like it just got picked off the bush!"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New Car

We considered trading for a new car a few weeks ago.  But then we just replaced the tires, and that's a big investment to make on a vehicle that you are about to trade.  So I guess we are going to keep this one a little longer.

As it turns out, I'm glad Rachel wasn't driving a new car because she just came home from her friend's house with part of the lower grill misshapen - and a warning ticket.  Believe it or not, these were two separate incidents.  The warning ticket was for not making a complete stop.  But she was more nervous because she wasn't wearing shoes.  The misshapen grill is still an unsolved mystery.

"There are bumps in the road all the time, Mom.  How am I supposed to know what happened?"

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The Midas Touch

Midas told me that I needed new tires.  I just figured they meant I should start thinking about new tires.  I had no idea that they meant my right front tire was going to blow as my son merged onto the interstate yesterday.  It took me a few seconds to realize that we weren't being followed by a bunch of Harleys.

It took some problem-solving to find the notch where the tiny jack should be placed - and some searching for the small tire iron, but Quinn and I did it.  Rachel's job was to sit in the backseat and call people to tell them of the terrifying experience and randomly screech instructions out the window while massive trucks rolled by.

Thanks to DS for his support in the matter by taking his lunch break to check up on us.

Trick Lid

"Careful, it's a trick lid," said my son.

I wish he would have been more specific.  Because I had no idea that meant I should keep my hand on the lid of the trunk while I unloaded groceries or else it might slam down on the side of my head.

That's some trick.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

An Unexpectedly Good Read

Of course, I sort of fast forward through the battle scenes.  I also learned that HBO has produced a (fairly sexualized) series of episodes based on the book.  It seems that many men in my family are quite aware of the Game of Thrones.  You might want to check out the series.  This is the first of five (so far).

Sunday, July 28, 2013


"I'm tired of all this idiocrasy!"

Maybe he's said that before, but I'm not sure if I've posted it.

Buddy, I'm tired of all the idiocrasy too.  Maybe the voters will show up and make some changes in 2014.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Never look a Gifting Neighbor in the Mouth

Mrs. Other Neighbor walked over last night to give me a "hand painted" ceramic vase.  She told me that she couldn't use it anymore, but that she and her sister had bought it in Rockford from a pottery store.  I thanked her and chatted briefly before heading back inside, so thankful that I hadn't read the bottom of the vase while we were speaking.  On a bright orange sticker were the words, "Big Lots  $4.99."

New Term Overheard

Unnecessary Manslaughter.

Quinn was pretty close.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Easton's Plea

My five-year-old nephew, Easton really wants some new swimming trunks.  I heard him exclaim, "But, Mom!  I need new ones too.  Mine are all growed up out of me!"

I'm pretty sure he was saying that he had grown out of all his current swimwear.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Rachel's goal for last week was to sign up to take the ACT test again.  It took her three hours on the computer.  Maybe we should re-think her not taking her ADD medicine over the summer.

My goal for today was to sign up the kids for checking accounts and debit cards.  We took care of that this morning with a minimum balance of $50 each.  Next, I asked them to determine how much money they think they will need each month for expenses such as gas, school lunch, occasional ice cream or movie outing.  Of course, this money will be contingent upon their work for the household.

Quinn decided he could live on $390/month.  Rachel bargained for $275/month.

In the Presence Of

In the presence of Rachel's openly homosexual friend, a young man walked up and asked, "Do you think this shirt makes me look gay?"

Rachel was horrified.  Her friend offered a deep belly-laugh and told the young man that his shirt was "awesome!"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Good Ol' Summertime

Rachel has a couple friends over right now.  They arrived just in time for supper - which is good because I made too much food.  The warm bacon dressing was a hit.  It's also a gift that will keep on giving because someone just spilled it onto my laptop keyboard.

One of the guys is staying home alone this week while his parents are on vacation.  It's storming, so I told him he could stay here tonight if he felt safer.  When I learned he had a basement at his house, I said, "Or you might be safer in your basement."  The other guy said, "Unless there is someone in your basement right now, waiting for you to get home."

Hmmm . . . we might have a house guest tonight.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Welcome Stick

Rachel has had several informal gatherings in our two-car garage this summer, which we have converted into our poor man's patio by adding area rugs, a table, chairs, couch and many, many Christmas lights.  Tonight is one of those gatherings and Mike and I took a  quick walk around the block trying to catch the "supermoon."  No luck.  On the way back up our driveway, we were greeting by a screaming young man wielding a large two-by-four and running straight toward us.  As soon as he recognized us, he said, "Oh my gosh!  I'm sorry!  I thought you were Zara and Zoe."

Oh.  That makes it all better.  I'm sure Mrs. neighbor was just waiting for a reason to call 911.  No need.  He must just be the welcoming committee.


In our state, it is necessary to log at least 50 hours of driving with a parent before getting a driver's license.  Quinn's driving log is in a spiral notebook, with neat columns including:  line number, date, begin time, end time, mom/dad, weather condition, and total driving time.  Today's entry was line number 36, sunny weather, beginning at 10:18, ending at 11:32.

Contrast this with Rachel's driving log that she created approximately ten minutes before going to the DMV to get her license on the occasion of her 16th birthday.

Oh!  And today, while Quinn zoomed through Wal-Mart parking lot, I asked, "Hey!  Did you look to your right?"  He snarled back, "Quit distracting me while I'm driving!"

So . . . checking to his right is not part of his driving?

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Today in church, Rachel abruptly grabbed my arm to say through clenched teeth, "MOM! You can't sing 'amayzing.'  You should always say, 'amehzing' when you are up there singing.  Your vowels are way too bright!" 

I just smiled, because if that's the best she could come up with to complain about this morning, then things must be going pretty darn well.

My sister sent me a picture of her two-year-old daughter, Evelyn.  Reminds me a lot of Rachel.  Sometimes I miss the days when the biggest problems involved trying to keep her from picking the flowers in the backyard.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Rachel's ACT scores arrived.  Unfortunately, she must have bubbled her name incorrectly on test day, because the scores are for "Rachel Qellim."  Now, this isn't necessarily a huge problem - I mean, a simple phone call was all it took to make the correction with the ACT testing service.  However, she is now getting college admission information addressed to Ms. Qellim.  And her test scores were also reported to her chosen universities under her new alias.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fair v. Equal

Am I the only person out there who is appalled by the idea that everyone should be given whatever is necessary to achieve equal outcomes?  Here is an example of what school children are being taught.
First of all, why are these people watching from the back fence instead of paying for entry into the stadium?
Secondly, whose idea was it to  place a small child atop two crates?  And where did the crates come from?

Teachers are being told to give each student whatever is necessary for him to "succeed."  In the photo above, success is measured by the ability to see over the fence.  In school, "success" is measured by grades.  And the students who are unable to achieve a "C" or above are given extra time to complete work, less homework, use of a calculator, preferential seating in the classroom, much extra help, and typically, unlimited "do-overs."  This is not real life.

I believe that schools should be trying to help students and parents identify intrinsic strengths/skills/abilities all the while holding high expectations of basic curricular studies.  Instead of giving unlimited advantages to students who aren't skilled academically, inadvertently misinforming them of their abilities,  how about helping them develop life skills?  How about schools teaching kids that everyone is NOT equal?  That everyone will NOT have similar life outcomes?  That perseverance and hard work and self-reliance will be rewarded and are necessary skills for success?

Friday, June 07, 2013

Great Lengths

My teenage son went to great (creative) lengths to ignore me yesterday.

A New Commercial for Verizon

Perhaps Verizon should change its commercial to something more like this .

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Their Turn

We have been audited by the IRS - twice.  The incredulousness of the experience was overshadowed only by anxiety.  Why was a family making less than 50K being scrutinized?  I wonder now if the generous donations to our church, politically conservative groups (Focus on the Family, Family Research Council) and Christian adoption sponsor (Show Hope) threw a flag.  And our CPA at the time suggested it was due to the number of miles we deducted for Mike's work expense.

I hope the entire agency has an overhaul!  Time for a flat tax.  And there is no way in hell that our government - especially the IRS - should have any sort of oversight regarding my healthcare.

I heard that certain IRS employees are stating that they can't find receipts of certain transactions that have been requested by the Weighs and Means Committee.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

The Goddess Award

Rachel made it to her soccer banquet tonight - riding high on hydrocodon! 

It is the tradition for the team captains to give each teammate a special award.  My favorite was to a slim girl with a big appetite.  She was recognized for "never finding a calorie she didn't like."

Rachel was recognized by her captains for "being in tune with nature  . . . ability to weave a splendid headband from nearby grass . . .  natural beauty . . . best hair on the team . . . " and given The Goddess Award.

Her coach gave her and another injured teammate trophies inscribed with "Fakin' It Award."  He said that these girls came to every practice and supported their teammates and cheered them at games - knowing they could not participate on the field.  He said that some people asked him if they were faking it.  "Well, they both had surgery last Wednesday," he said, "so I doubt it."  Some parents laughed at his story.  I just wanted to know who thought my daughter was faking an injury and punch them in the gut.

I'd probably get the Tanya Harding Award.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Taking Notes

During the sermon prayer this morning, Quinn leaned over to rest his head on the pew in front of us.  After the sermon prayer, his head remained in that position longer than necessary.  Long enough, in fact, for his father to grab a pew Bible and whack him on the side of the head.

The young expectant couple behind us was taking it all in.  But I'm not sure if the notes were a part of their Things Our Child Will NEVER do in Church or Great Parenting Tips:  The Art of Using Items from the Environment to Enhance Your Teen's Church Experience.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Genetic Counseling

Mr. Rellim gives advice to his customers regarding pigs, but Yoda has some advice for many others out there.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Unique Sofas

We're in the market for a new sofa.  Actually, we've been in the market for about 15 years.  We've been making do with the sofa that came with the house.  Really.  So, I've been online today looking for a unique sofa.  What do you think?

 This one sorta reminds me of an adult playpen.  Funny.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Shower Shuffle

It's not unusual to hear a bottle of shampoo hit the floor during a shower.  We don't have adequate shelf space for the 27 bottles of hair product, shaving cream, body wash and facial cleansers that Rachel likes to keep close to her, so many are precariously balanced around the sides of the tub and top of the shower-surround. 

But I wasn't prepared for the cacophony of shower bottle kersplats I heard last night.  I actually wondered if Mr. Rellim was having a seizure in the shower.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  What happened was one bottle fell on the temperature controller and turned the hot water to "full steam."  The subsequent falling bottles were the result of Mike's frantic attempts to avoid the hot water while fumbling to turn off the faucet.

I couldn't help but laugh.  And laugh and laugh and laugh.  Mostly because it didn't happen to me and nobody was permanently injured.

Elephant Balls

Quinn waited in his sister's car after school until all the buses had left.  That's when he found out that she was staying late for a capella try-outs.  So, he decided to walk home.  Fortunately, he was picked up by a friendly neighbor, who (by Quinn's report) was very excited about the giant elephant balls for sale at Wal-Mart.

"Mom," Quinn reported, "Mr. Coleman wanted me to make sure to let you know that the giant elephant balls will probably be sold out soon, so you'd better go get some."

"Are you sure he wasn't talking about elephant bulbs?" I asked.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Quinnpoleon Dynamite

He told me the other day:
"Mom, you know when I become a millionaire I'm going to buy you and Dad a lawnmower.  It will probably be the top-of-the-line model.  So, yeah, you can pretty much bank on that.  I don't know what Rachel will get.  But she probably won't become a millionaire, so I'll have to get her something.  But I doubt if it will be a lawnmower."

Friday, May 10, 2013


My blood pressure runs a bit low.  Could that be why I don't like mornings?

Sunday, May 05, 2013


Sometimes, If a person would only keep his mouth shut, the embarrassment of his mistake will fade quickly.  Of course, by loudly shouting, "Oh my gosh!  I can't believe I did it again!" did draw the attention of many others in the movie parking lot.

So, we all got a good laugh at Quinn's distractability.  In his haste to get into the theater (and race his friend to the front door), he left the keys in the ignition.  With the car running.

That's why kids in Illinois are now required to log at least 50 hours of driving experience with a parent.  (I may need to get counseling.)

P.S.   Iron Man Three was spectacular!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Anything Goes

I met Mr. Rellim 27 years ago during the production of our high school musical by Cole Porter - Anything Goes.  I was Hope Harcourt and he was the Captain.  He played the role straight and strong and formally.

Tonight, we all enjoyed our local high school's rendition of the same musical.  I was particularly entertained by the performance of the Captain, who I thought had a spot-on Russian accent.  I couldn't believe how consistent it was.  During intermission, I asked a friend whose bright idea it was to give the Captain an accent.

My friend burst into laughter, then told me the Captain's role was being portrayed by the foreign exchange student from Bulgaria!


I've written before about adoption.  At this time, we have the love in our hearts for another child, but no room in our house.  So we give monthly to an organization that directly helps orphans and families wanting to adopt.  Specifically, Show Hope, which recently opened an orphanage in China for babies with special medical needs.

You should now understand Quinn's comment:

ME:  Quinn, you need to be nice to your sister.  She's sad and a little broken.  You might have to help her with her bags and getting in and out of the car and such.

QUINN:  I'm not stupid!  She's not only my driver, she is also my only sister!  She could never be replaced by an Asian!


Bad news.  Rachel tore the ACL in her left knee.  Again.  "Freak accident," said the orthopedic surgeon.  As "freak" as suffering a mallet fracture of her right thumb a couple years ago?  As "freak" as getting kicked in the head last month during a soccer game?  As "freak" as being sprayed with hydrochloric acid in chemistry lab by a student across the room?

OK, the last one had nothing to do with playing sports, but the main theme I'm picking up from these events, is that perhaps my daughter should be bubble wrapped.  The family photo will still be nice because Quinn can be in his bubble right next to her.  No sneezing.  No accidents.

We've been watching the sports door slowly close.  Now we are trying to find the point of light that is the window being opened.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Quinn is Driving

His first few weeks of driving were mostly tentative, with longer-than-necessary stops at 4-ways and cautious review of his surroundings.  This past week, there has been a change in his driving presence.  He is suddenly trash-talking other drivers, urging them to "go faster or get outta my way!" and such.

He mentioned that his driving instructor seems really controlling and that "she has this brake thingy on her side and she's like stepping on it all the time!  She has this thing about going only 55 miles per hour and it's really annoying me!"

Yes, son, that "thing" is called a law, and you had better learn about it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

No Emily (or Emil) Post

1.  At McDonald's I discreetly pointed out some food on either side of Quinn's upper lip.  So, he used his cheeseburger to wipe both sides of his mouth.

2.  As we pulled into the driveway, he released a surely-venomous gas bomb from the utter depths of his bowels.  When his sister loudly complained, he stated:  "If you knew how long I've been holding that in, you'd give me an Academy Award!"

3.  And finally, I received a love note from my daughter.  A small sticky-note on my cell phone read:  "Dear Mom, Sorry for being an a$$wipe yesterday.  Love, Rachel."

Monday, April 01, 2013


I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I am.  My special education director purchased iPads for all the SLPs in the district and I've never been an Apple person.  My efficiency with the device is quite poor.  But I did find an app that creates a mustache for you.  Now to figure out how to use it to enhance therapy.

Happy Easter

Taken while the two were bouncing on the couch.  Quinn is actually taller, but Rachel got the bounce, I guess.  It was a nice day so Mike and I worked in the yard after church while these two did homework. 

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I just sent an email to my son's teacher to complain about an article that he was asked to read for a "Current World Issues" high school class.  The article contained fairly graphic descriptions of a sexual assault, including the term "digital penetration."  I hypothesized that the teacher either didn't read the article himself or he thinks the term has something to do with an iPad app.

I hope I didn't really say that in the email.  But somebody should!

Monday, March 18, 2013


Quinn is fifteen years old today.  Tomorrow we will go to the DMV to get his driver's permit.  Today he is lounging in the living room watching this episode of Looney Tunes.  And giggling.
I love that kid.
Happy birthday, big guy.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


I am a pretty good speller, so my chiropractor was a bit shocked that I didn't understand his question the other day.  You see, I've been dealing with tailbone pain for about ten months and he was ticking down a list of questions:  any problems with bowel?  bladder?  leg pain?  numbness?  tingling?

He said that he was curious about possible involvement of S2 or pedandal nerve or sacroilliac joint or . . .

Then he asked, "Any problems with 'esseyex?'"

"What's the 'esseyex?'" I asked.  I had no idea what he was talking about.

His eyes got big, he almost blushed, then he asked, "Are you messing with me?"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Top the Rock

Rachel snapped a picture from The Top of the Rock - an observation deck at the summit of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City.

Fifth Avenue

Rachel and friends at Rockefeller.  She and Mike near Fifth Avenue.  Or is that the Rock again?  Anyway, I'm sure whatever is in that shopping bag must be for me.

Not Impressed

Rachel was not impressed with the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall.  But, she sent me a picture of a painting from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Maybe she misses me - just a little bit?


Mike and Rachel dressed up for dinner at BB Kings in NYC.  And the word is that Newsies was spectacular.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Cathedral Performance

The CHS Advanced Choir performed today at St. John the Divine.  I hear the music was magnificent!

Later, in Time Square, there was the Naked Cowboy sighting.  I'm uncertain about the rhinestones.
After dinner at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, the group is off to the theater district to catch a Broadway show of Newsies.

Friday, March 08, 2013

I Heard

I heard my phone receive a text message at 12:31 am this morning.  It was Mike to let me know the relief bus driver was good on the straight roads, but "jerky" on curves.  They were well into WV and headed through the Appalachians.  I felt nauseous for them all. 

Rachel sent this picture about 7:00 am.  She hadn't done much sleeping and couldn't find her toothbrush and some guy took 35 minutes in one of the two changing rooms at the hotel in NJ.
Mike texted at about 10:00 am to let me know they were waiting in blizzard-like conditions for their one-hour harbor cruise.  I apologized for taking his winter gloves out of his coat.  Here are a couple pictures of Brooklyn Bridge and Lady Liberty.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Choir Departure

Rachel is the blonde waaay in the back on the right.  Exactly where I told her not to sit - next to the latrine.  Mike is in the front seat behind the camera.  I guess the choir director knows she ought to keep an eye on him.

Question:  I'm following the trip through Mike's FB page.  I don't have one of my own.  How funny would it be for me to post, "Has anyone seen Danny?  Seems we lost him at the stop for supper."

She's Back!

I have a friend with a blog titled "Life Gets in the Way of Living."  For me, life has certainly gotten in the way of blogging.  Working full time (albeit an academic schedule) is kicking my butt!  Rachel has moved from basketball to soccer.  Quinn is on the tennis team.  I volunteered Mike to chaperone the Advanced Choir trip to New York City.  He and Rachel just left a couple hours ago and now I don't know who's going to wash dishes for the next five days.  Crunch time is on the horizon at work, with annual IEP meetings breathing down my neck.  Quinn had some mysterious rash for about seven days with the only possible antecedent being the trying on of a wool coat with stray cat hairs.  Also, I think his left lateral incisor has shifted somewhat since the removal of his braces in May.  Rachel is on a 2-week break from running since having significant pain in both knees at the end of bball season (go figure).  The follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon is Tuesday, immediately following her EKG, which is to determine whether or not her body could tolerate methylphetadine (or something like that) for the treatment of possible attention issues.  Of course she has attention deficit!  Just take a gander at her family . . . and her room . . . and her mother's stream-of-consciousness blogging!

I'm looking forward to receiving pictures from Rachel soon.   That was part of the deal when we made the purchase of a new smart phone for her yesterday.  I figure with 54 people on the charter bus for the next 15 hours, she ought to  meet someone who can teach her how to use it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Notes to Self

1.  Next time say, "Quinn is playing PS3 games."  Do not tell the neighbor, "Quinn is in his room killing people."  Not everyone has the same sense of humor or even understands sarcasm regarding video game violence.

2.  Next time say, "Yes, the Bible does have something to say about that.  Would you like me to read it to you?"  Do not stand at the front door and loudly read ten verses from the first book of Romans while attempting to block your teenage child from leaving the house.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Darkness Rising

Not as fantastic as Frank Perretti's novels, but still - angels and demons, mystery and murder - a very good attempt at the supernatural.  I would recommend Darkness Rising.  But read the first book in the trilogy first.

Get to the Point

My dad officiated a graveside service on Saturday.  I asked him who it was for and his answer started like this:  Remember those girls who lived in the big, blue house on the corner?  They had horses and the black dogs that always barked?

Me:  Yes.  Oh no!

Dad:  Well in the house next door, lived an older couple and  . . .

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Social Skills

I love working with kids - typical or not.  My friend, Whitney works with middle school aged kids who a little extra help.  Usually, it's with pragmatic skills.  This one looks like he might need a biology lesson.  She tells the funny story here.

I have some funny stories to tell this week:
1.  A student told me that she is going to be a cat when she grows up.  I told her, "Good luck with that."
2.  I encouraged one student to use The Force to get his friend to walk in the hallway.  Better than Darth himself, this little man got his friend to walk like a soldier with just the wave of his hand.
3.  While sitting around a small table with two young boys, one tried to pick his nose while no one was looking.  (Pretty much someone in such a small group is always looking.)  He ended up sitting there with his pointer finger in the air, waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting... and POKE!  "Ouch!" he shouted.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Quinn said he sat at lunch with someone new, but he couldn't remember her name.  What did he remember?  She has scoliosis, small handwriting and big eyes.

Further into the dinner conversation, I asked Rachel if all Juniors would be taking the ACT soon.  Quinn remarked, "Rachel is a Junior?"

Monday, January 28, 2013

Overheard in the Backseat

Rachel:  When did I stop eating meat?
Mike:  What?
Rachel:  When did I stop eating meat?
Mike:  What?  When did you stop being mean??
Me:  (after much laughter)  You were about six years old.
Mike:  What?

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Quinn served a detention after school today for breaking the rule about cell phone use during class.  He insists that he was just checking the time, but I'm pretty sure the high school still has funding for clocks - even though much of the student body doesn't really know how to tell time unless the reading is digital.

Funny thing is, he didn't know what to expect (based on his subtle questioning last night).  So, to ease his fears, I told him to keep his wand handy and not to submit to writing lines with any "special" ink pen.  He didn't think that was funny.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Mrs. Bickerson, why didn't you stop me?!  I couldn't help myself and had to choose a selection from the "Water Library" in our room at Trump Towers.  Bling Water H2O.  Seriously?
I told myself that it would be a special gift for Rachel for her birthday next month.  But how does one drink a twenny-five dolla bottle of water?  Slowly, of course, but with shot glasses or what?  I suppose I rationalized this expense since I did not eat the $45 hamburger for lunch.  And I ate leftover pizza for breakfast instead of the $27 pancakes.

What a fun time we had!!  Thanks for the invite, Whitney.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Another Trump Thought

This is a suggestion for Sarah Palin, in case she ever reads this blog.

If you have another child, may I suggest the name Trump?  Goes along nicely with Track and Tripp and Trigg.


I just got home from a night in Chicago with a girlfriend from graduate school.  Her brother paid for a room at the Trump Hotel.  Thanks, Bro!  Anyhoo - I'm testing my theory that the white Trump slippers are complimentary.

So many amenities, so little time.  There was even a Pillow Menu.  You called the "attache" on the phone and ordered the type of pillow (scented, down, feather, synthetic, etc) you desired for the night.  "Free" shoe shine service.  Twenty-four hour concierge.  I wish Will Ferrell's Elf had been in the room with us.  He would have really had a good time.

One of the services included having breakfast made for you in your room and then being served to you while you lounged.  Only $500.00 per couple.  We politely declined.  But we did accept the card that entitled us to priority seating and free bread sticks at Gino's East.  I felt sorta badly for the commoners who had been waiting in line outside in the cold.  But when you are staying with the Donald, there are privileges.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

As If

As if there aren't enough "That's what she said!" jokes in this world . . .  But this one is too funny to keep to myself.

Mr. Rellim was enjoying a brownie with pecans.  Quinn is allergic to tree nuts.  A heated discussion began in which Quinn spoke to his father in a very tense tone of voice and in close proximity to his face.  Mr. Rellim shouted, "Back off!  Can't you see I have nuts in my mouth?!"


I was reading Tacky the Penguin to a group of Kindergarteners:

I really like Tacky.  He's an odd bird, but a very nice bird to have around.  He wears Hawaiian shirts, eats his fish on bread, does splashy cannonballs and sings dreadfully.  While other penguins sing sweet songs like "Sunrise on the Iceberg," Tacky likes to sing songs like "How many toes does a fish have?  How many wings on a cow?"

Suddenly, from the small chair at my left came the sweetest little voice answering in song, "Twwwooooo!"

Sunday, January 13, 2013


For Mr. Rellim's birthday, my mom created a candy bar bouquet by using packing tape to secure candy bars to wooden shish-ka-bob skewers.  By the end of the meal, Quinn had eaten one of the candy bars and was playing with the skewer.  My mom (obviously thinking about something she would like to dislodge from between her teeth) asked, "Oh!  Where did you get that toothpick?" 

We all laughed a hearty laugh as she realized her mistake.  I guess you had to be there.  And maybe this story could go along with the scripture about removing the log in one's eye.  Or maybe not.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Rules

1.  I learned that students in area school districts will no longer be sent home if they have lice.  Even if there is an active infestation of lice.  Instead, the parent will be called and informed that their child has lice and encouraged to treat the head lice.  What jenious sighentist administrators came up with this new policy?

2.  It is now against school policy to include a child's name in any email.  And I learned that administration does not think it's funny to change Johnny's Name to Nonny Jame or Onn-jay Ame-nay or ynnhoj eman.  Oh!  And it's also not OK to call him by any name that rhymes.  or any defining emotional, educational or physical descriptors.  Students may only be referred to by their initials in emails.  (J.N.)   Does no one have a sense of humor?

3.  So . . .  don't be surprised when Jamie Nice's mother is inadvertantly called and informed that her child has head lice.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013


In the elementary school building where I work, we have a Virtue Word of the Week.  At least we used to have them.  I think someone figured out that the virtues are actually moral characteristics that one should aspire to acquire and that their basis is found in the Bible.  Now we have Virtue Words that aren't officially talked about.

Anyway, I was in a Kindergarten classroom today and having a difficult time keeping the kids' attention.  They were squirming and talking instead of fully participating with my activity.  As I prepared to leave, the teacher told the students that she was disappointed in their listening behavior.  One of the cutest, loudest, squirmiest little boys shouted, "Like me!  I wasn't listening or paying attention!"

Who said virtues are a thing of the past?

Monday, January 07, 2013


And I guess that's why they call it the blues.

One more payment and it's mine.

It was raining when I picked up Momma from jail in my truck.

It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.

Squirrel!! (from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation)

None of the above really fits, so I guess I'll have to make up a country song.  The song will be about getting a Christmas bonus, using it to pay off the loan on Rachel's truck, then towing the truck to the salvage yard two days later.  It will be about lessons learned - like wearing winter coats in the winter and keeping a cell phone with you and not running home in the dark on slippery roads while wearing flip-flops without a winter coat.

The chorus will go something like this:
And since nobody's dead, it's all kinda funny.


Quinn:  I'm not going and you can't make me!

Rachel:  Quinn, It's useless to struggle.  Just get in the truck.  You need to pick your battles.

Quinn:  I pick this one!!!!!!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Risky Business

Usually it's something I say that I imagine could put me on the naughty list at school.  Today it's what I'm wearing.  Jeggings.  I'm twenty years too old for them.  But I'm wearing a long jacket to hide my assets and have had enough caffeine to bolster my courage.  Maybe, maybe I'll post a picture of this later.  Must get high school daughter's opinion before stepping out of the house.


I haven't made a New Year's Resolution - yet.  Maybe I'll embrace this one.