Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I'm having my annual mammogram today. I always hear about how painful they are, but honestly, I've never thought they are that bad. Not the most comfortable, but not painful either.

Every time I have a mammogram, I'm reminded of this story. It won the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition and I still get a kick out of it every time I read it. So I'm posting it here today for your reading pleasure:

Erma Bombeck Writing Competition
1st place in Humor Category
Winner Leigh Anne Jasheway
of Eugene, Oregon

"The First Time's Always the Worst"

The first mammogram is the worst. Especially when the machine catches on fire.

That's what happened to me. The technician, Gail, positioned me exactly as she wanted me (think a really complicated game of Twister - right hand on the blue, left shoulder on the yellow, right breast as far away as humanly possible from the rest of your body). Then she clamped the machine down so tight, I think my breast actually turned inside out. I'm pretty sure Victoria's Secret doesn't have a bra for that.

Suddenly, there was a loud popping noise. I looked down at my right breast to make sure it hadn't exploded. Nope, it was still flat as a pancake and still attached to my body.

"Oh no!" Gail said loudly. These are perhaps, the words you least want to hear from any health professional. Suddenly, she came flying past me, her lab coat whipping behind her, on her way out the door. She yelled over her shoulder, "The machine's on fire, I'm going to get help!"

OK, I was wrong, 'The machine's on fire,' are the worst words you can hear from a health professional. Especially if you're all alone and semi-permanently attached to A MACHINE and don't know if it's THE MACHINE in question.

I struggled for a few seconds trying to get free, but even Houdini couldn't have escaped. I decided to go to plan B: yelling at the top of my lung (the one that was still working).

I hadn't seen anything on fire, so my panic hadn't quite reached epic proportions. But then I started to smell smoke coming from behind the partition. "This is ridiculous," I thought. I can't die like this. What would they put in my obituary? Cause of death: breast entrapment?

I may have inhaled some fumes because I started to hallucinate. An imaginary fireman rushed in with a fire hose and a hatchet. "Howdy, ma'am," he said. "What's happened here?" he asked, averting his eyes.

"My breasts were too hot for the machine," I quipped, as my imaginary fireman ran out of the room again. "This is gonna take the Jaws of Life!"

In reality, Gail returned with a fire extinguisher and put out the fire. She gave me a big smile and released me from the machine. "Sorry! That's the first time that's ever happened. Why don't you take a few minutes to relax before we finish up?"

I think that's what she said. I was running across the parking lot in my backless paper gown at the time. After I'd relaxed for a few years, I figured I might go back. But I was bringing my own fire extinguisher.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Agony of Defeat

OH! The Georgia/Alabama game this weekend was PAINFUL! At halftime, Kerry snapped off the TV in a fury and stomped off to read. If only the players (and coaches) would listen to what he is screaming at the television.

The worst part is not that his team just gave away the game to a hated rival. No. It's all the smack talk he gave to his buddies in the days leading up to the big game.

One of our friends here, Rich, is a die-hard Alabama fan. Kerry had really bragged to him about how GA would stomp AL on Saturday. All Sunday morning as we were getting ready for church, Kerry was groaning about how Rich was going to really give him a hard time about the game. He knew it was going to be bad.

At church we were standing in the doughnut room chatting with a new chaplain. He just moved here and we hadn't officially met. We were having a good conversation when suddenly, Rich appeared at Kerry's side. He never said a word, just stood shoulder to shoulder with Kerry, looking in the opposite direction, as if he didn't even realize Kerry was there.

Without missing a beat Kerry said to the chaplain, "Do you perform exorcisms, sir? I've got an Alabama fan on me."

Friday, September 26, 2008

Incomprehensible Women

Ben is studying Biology this year. He is in 9th grade and Biology is the first step in a long list of science courses that he has to complete on his quest to become a Marine Biologist.

We all really enjoy the microscope. Every time we have to put some icky thing on a slide for viewing, everyone in the family comes running to take a peek. It is really interesting to see all the shapes, squiggles, and tiny creatures magnified.

This week's project took some incubating. First, we had to walk down to the pond to get some scummy water. We were supposed to use a baby food jar, but as I don't have babies, baby food jars are no longer in plentiful supply around here. So I used a canning jar, which is a good deal larger. I figured we'd have plenty of extra in case we needed it. Next, we had to "feed" the pond water some egg yolk. Then we had to cover the jar in newspaper and let it sit in a dark place to..... um..........breed. We have left it sitting there on the counter like a potential stink bomb all week.

Our science book warned us that when we opened this jar it would stink. Pond water + egg yolk + darkness = smell. I think I could have figured that out on my own, but I guess some people need to be given a head's up. So I told Ben to take the jar out by the dumpsters, prepare a slide and then dump the contents on the ground out there. I knew if I didn't tell him precisely where to go, he would have just barely stepped outside our back door and ditched the stinky water right outside the door where we would all be complaining about the stench for days.

When Ben came back he said (with great delight), "They were right! That really stunk!"

"Where did you put the jar?" I asked.

"In the kitchen sink."

"Did you put any dishwashing liquid in it?" I asked.

"No." Of course not.

So we head into the kitchen to soak the jar. Ben picked it up and handed it to me. "Smell it," he instructed.

"Ew! NO!!" I said, snatching it out of his hands and dousing it with Dawn and hot water before the scent could waft up to my nose.

He gave me one of those baffled looks and said, "That is just one of those weird things I will never understand about women!"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Ben wanted me to take a picture of his "beard".

He does actually have some peach fuzz.....and one, single, long hair that I am just itching to snatch out with a pair of tweezers. It's all blond though so you can only see it when the light is hitting it just right.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Home From the Camping Trip

Ben went on a boy scout campout this weekend. He left on Friday and was scheduled to return today, Sunday. They leave and return from the scout hut which is right across the street from our house. We don't even have to drop him off or pick him up. We just wave goodbye as he heads across the street with his backpack and sleeping bag.

When we got home from church today, I started lunch while Kerry walked the dogs. He took the dogs out the front door, walked them around, and then brought them back in through the back door. There he found Ben, asleep on the fire escape. He had forgotten his key and couldn't get in the house, so he just lay down and napped until we got home from church!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Worms In My Fridge

We went to a kid's fishing derby on post Saturday. We got there a little after 8:00 to sign up and get a good spot on the side of the (very small) lake. The official derby fishing didn't start until 9:00, so any fish you caught before then didn't count. We let the girls practice fishing and Katie caught a catfish right off the bat.

I think that was her fist time even holding a pole.

Then she caught a bluegill.

And another.

Emily hooked a bluegill, but it got away before she could reel it in.

We threw all the fish back - they were just for practice after all. The REAL fishing started at 9:00. The siren finally sounded to announce the beginning of the derby; AND...........nothing. We apparently scared all the fish during the practice period. The ones we threw back must have swum screaming through the lake warning all the others. We caught sticks. We caught our neighbor's lines (a number of times). There was really not much we could do about that. It was so crowded, if you cast your line out, you had about a 50% chance of crossing someone else's line. Especially with it being only the kids who were allowed to fish. I saw one little girl fishing in a pink leotard and tutu.

Katie finally snagged one 6 1/2 inch bluegill and that was our only official catch for the day. We decided just to go back Sunday evening when it wasn't so crowded and fish just for us. We did win a cute little insulated lunch bag in the drawing so it wasn't a total bust. We came home and put the worms in the fridge for later. Ew.

Luckily, the perseverance paid off. Emily caught a bluegill!

Shot In The Arm!

We all had to get shots in preparation for our "overseas" move. Kerry had to get Anthrax and Hep B vaccinations as well as a TB test. The kids and I all had to have Tetnus shots and TB tests.

Here they are showing off their band-aids. The nurses like to tease Ben by asking him if he wants a Barbie band-aid or a Strawberry Shortcake. He pretends to be deaf.

Katie was the most nervous about the shots. She took a doll with her for comfort. As she normally pays no attention whatsoever to this particular doll, I think it may also have been a ploy for sympathy from the nurses. She did really well. Her face flushed when they stuck her, but she didn't cry.

And she recovered quickly. Unfortunately, they aren't sure she's had all her vaccinations. Her records show that she's had her second chicken pox vaccination but not the first. So they want me to bring her in and have her blood drawn so they can check her immunity and find out whether or not she actually had both shots. Poor thing. More needles.

I survived too.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Found The Camera!

Well, we had gone to a nearby little town that has lots of cute antique stores. And we bought a couple of small things. And I slid the camera inside one of the bags. That particular bag contained a future Christmas gift for Kerry's brother. So when I got home I put it up in my closet where I hide all gifts.

Once I saw the pictures for that day, I thought, "If only I had remembered that we took pictures that day! I might have figured out where the camera was!"

Katie did a great Marilyn Monroe impression that day.

I feel bad now that we told people our camera had probably been stolen out of the car!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Waffles for Lunch

I made waffles for lunch today. They are quick, cheap, easy, and a crowd pleaser. Did I mention cheap? That was really my main reason for making them. I had the ingredients on hand and pay-day hasn't quite rolled around yet.

Katie helped me make them. We let Ben have the first one because he was the hungriest.

He walked in, looked at the waffle, and said to it, "Hello, beautiful."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tae Kwon Do

I don't think I mentioned that we all moved up a notch in our Tae Kwon Do class. Ben, Kerry, and I all earned our orange belts. Katie and Emily each earned a yellow belt. Yee-ha!

Tonight we were getting ready to head out. Ben was out playing in the neighborhood with friends and forgot we had Tae Kwon Do. He's supposed to be home by 4:00 on the nights we have to go into town because we leave the house at 4:30. When 4:15 rolled around, I realized he had probably forgotten.

Emily said, "Maybe I should go look for him."

Our neighborhood is very small and that sounded like a good idea to me. She could canvas the entire neighborhood on her bike in a matter of minutes.

I ran back to my room to get changed into my uniform. Just as I emerged back into the living room, here came Ben.

"I forgot we had Tae Kwon Do!" He rushed to his room to change.

"Did Emily tell you to come home?" I asked when he raced back in.

"No, I just looked at my watch, and it popped into my head. I didn't see Emily."

"Well, she went out looking for you. She'll be back in a minute."

So we gather our belts, and..........no Emily.

We all walk down to the car, thinking she will show up any minute. No Emily.

Finally, with time running out, we decide to drive around the neighborhood and look for her. I decide I'd better wait at the house by the street, because if Kerry misses her, and she comes back to the house and the car is gone and we aren't here, she will freak.

So I stand by the side of the road, waiting. And I wait. And I see the car pass by between two houses on the next street over. And I wait. And I see the car pass between two houses two streets over. And I wait. And I can't see the car anymore. And I think, "Surely she would think to come home by now! Doesn't she realize Ben could have come home, and she needs to get back to the house?!?!?"

I'm torn between irritation and worry. I always start out being aggravated, then I think "What if something bad happened to her" and I know I will feel guilty if I was mad at them and it turned out they were injured or kidnapped. So I got myself into a nice frame of mind over it. And I knew when she showed back up, I would have to be fairly pleasant about it, or she would get upset, and then she'd probably cry during Tae Kwon Do. Not fun.

Finally, Kerry pulls back up in front of me.....no Emily in the car. He jumps out and points out that her bike is still parked under the stairs. Oh no. Did she go around the neighborhood on foot?

Then Ben leans out of the car. "Did anyone check in the house?"

"No, I never saw her come back." But I go running in the house just to make sure before we panic.

"EEEEEEmmmmmilllyyyyyyyy," I screech as I run in the back door.

"Yes ma'am?" I hear from the depths of the house.

"Where are you?!?! We've been riding around the neighborhood looking for you!"

"I was in my room," she replies, chewing on a carrot.

We run to the car, (I'm laughing because if I get mad, she'll cry), and I tell her as we are running, how we have been looking for her.

We get in the car and Kerry looks like he could spit nails, but I laugh and smile at him so he chills out. We can fuss after class is over.

And yes, we were late to Tae Kwon Do.

But we had on pretty colored belts when we finally got there.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Katie's 8th Birthday

Today was Katie's birthday party. Her actual birthday is on Monday, but we had the party today because Saturday is an easier day for parties. She wanted a princess party. We sent out invitations with princesses on them. Bought plates and napkins with princesses on them. Told everyone to come dressed as princesses.

Katie dressed like a fairy.

Of course we had a mermaid cake. Ariel becomes a princess in the movie so it was in keeping with the princess theme. I didn't know it would have blue icing with purple boarders. It made all the girls look like they were on the verge of oxygen deprivation with their blue lips.

I've always thought of fairy tale princesses as being a dainty lot. Not this crew. I felt sorry for our downstairs neighbors who had 10 princesses running around like a herd of elephants over their heads. Princesses don't always play nice either. There were accusations of bossiness. Threats of "I won't be your friend anymore" were bandied about. But all issues seemed to be resolved quickly.

This is definitely a royal family.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Two Opposite Subjects Which Connect At The End

One of the things we've been warned about in Hawaii is the roaches. I've been told they are HUGE. I've also been told not to kill the geckos which also live in the houses, because they eat the roaches. And I've been told not to bother calling housing to complain about the geckos and roaches because they are only worried about getting rid of the rats.


I'm not a big fan of air fresheners, but the girls like the plug in ones, so I have them in their rooms. And Ben's room just smells like dog, so I keep one in there too. Today I walked in with two new scents and said, "Okay, who wants the vanilla scented plug in and who wants the Hawaiian breeze scented plug in?" There was an immediate outcry from both girls wanting the Hawaiian breeze plug in. Ben said he didn't want one at all. He likes the smell of dog and becomes unhappy when I try to cover it up with any other scent. I pointed out that it won't be long before their rooms smell like Hawaiian breeze all the time with no plug ins!

Ben said, "My room will just smell like dog and gecko entrails."


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I Love You

I try to make certain that I tell my kids every day that I love them. I worry that one of these days I'm going to realize I haven't said it in a while and then they will teens who are horrified by my very existence, much less me expressing love for them.

Yesterday I told Katie, "I love you!" Katie smiled at me and said, "I love you too!"

Yesterday I told Ben, "I love you!" Ben smiled at me and said, "Thanks!"

Yesterday I told Emily, "I love you!" Emily smiled and said, "I love cake!"

I still can't find my camera. I'm resorting to using old pictures of the kids.<