Drool, Sulky Arms, The Miracle of the Transforming Pie, and More Oddly Decorated Cakes

I slept the afternoon away on the lazy boy recliner in the living room.  I woke up by choking on some drool.  Not only had I taken a nap, but so had my arm.  Apparently, my gagging and choking noises disturbed my arm.   Arms are sulky and downright mean when you wake them up from their afternoon naps, and it proceeded to do that tingly-painful thing arms do when they wake up groggy and crabby.  Ouch.

Before my nap, the family met at Darling Husband’s parents house because my nephew from Florida is in town.  There I was taking pictures of my lunch and I caught him across the table grinning at the camera.  Gasp!  A willing victim!  I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by, so I nabbed him for some picture taking.

He wanted a picture by a window in black and white and I wanted to practice some outdoor shots, so here are both:

Damian is one of the nicest people I know.  He’s a nephew by marriage so I first met him when he was about 7 years old.  He’s 19 now.  I remember thinking what a sweet child he was.  This was before I had kids, so that’s saying a lot.  Back then, I didn’t think kids were ever sweet.  They all seemed so wild and scary.  Like maybe if I were left alone with a gang of them, they’d tie me to a tree in the backyard and do war dances around me, hooting, and making fun of my clothes.  Or wait…did that actually happen…?

But back to Damian–I hoped that if I ever ended up with kids, they’d be like him.  I like him a lot.

I have a very difficult time with outdoor shots in full sunlight.  Does everyone else have trouble with those, too?  Or am I just completely inept?  We’ve gone over this and over this in photo club and I feel like I’m still missing something.  I think it’s called an ‘off camera flash’.  Maybe for Christmas.

Here’s a picture of the miracle peach pie we had for dessert.  Apparently, it used to be a cherry pie.  Dad told us something about Mom going out late at night to the sand mound in the backyard and placing the cherry pie on the broken satellite dish altar and intoning the magic words and voila: peach pie.

Or, maybe it was just that mom meant to buy the cherry pie, but grabbed the peach one instead.  Something like that.

Mom’s cupcake decorating skills are familiar.  I do have to say she has sheer exuberance going for her.  Don’t those cupcakes look happy with their squiggles of frosting and jumbles of sprinkles?

Still working on my car pictures.  If you recall from yesterday, Photo Club got to take pictures of Rick and Tina’s four hot rod cars and their motorcycle.  I played with my picture of the second car today:




1932 Ford 5 window coupe


Step Aside Traci, I Made a Jacki Cake Today and LOOK at my car picture!

Freedlife wrote a comment on yesterday’s blog.  I have no idea who Freedlife is, but he must be a really awesome person, since he reads my blog and even leaves comments.  He probably rescues puppies in his spare time.

Here’s what he wrote:

“What!!!!!!?????? No food pictures????? I’m shocked. And hungry, too.”

Who am I to deny my devoted readers what they ask for?  Especially comment writers.


First, I bought a gift for someone that involved chocolates.  But, there was only room to give her eight chocolates…so I simply had to keep the rest.  You understand, Laura…don’t you?  Here are the chocolates I kept:

At the party where I gave Laura her chocolates, there was a Traci cake.  I really like the cakes where she puts spiral thingees on the cakes.  (I had to write “thingees’ because I don’t know how to spell curlie-ques.  Curly-q’s?  Curli-cues?)

Traci cake:

And breakfast quiche:

And the Most Amazing Mozzarella/Tomato/Garlic pie thingee ever.  I had thirds.  And I wrote a note to myself in the little notebook I carry with me everywhere I go, “Bug Ada incessantly on Facebook until she gives me the recipe for her Most Amazing Mozzarella/Tomato/Garlic pie thingee.”

At the end of the day, I made a cake.  It’s a Jackie Cake.  (Jacki Cake?) :

Oh, what a beautiful cake!  I expect to receive a phone call from Traci within an hour of posting this.  She’ll say, “Jackie!  I saw your cake on your blog! Please, please let me sit at your feet and learn everything you have to impart about cake making!”

But wait, Traci, there’s more.  Here’s the intricate icing job on the top.  Inspiring!

Ok, ok.  So, I’m really bad at cake decorating.  Let’s look at something I’m actually getting pretty good at:

1930 Ford model A

Oooo!  Yes, yes I did take that picture.  Isn’t it beautiful?  Stop and stare at it for awhile.  That’s what I’m going to do.  I’m not going to type anymore until we all stop and stare at this beautiful picture. Will you look at the way the lights on the headlight shoot out in a starburst?  Oh, that’s just lovely.  How about the English countryside that we had imported just for the day?  We didn’t get any English sheep dotting the hill in the background.  They were extra.

Photo Club had the opportunity to take pictures of four very old cars and a motorcycle from 1930-something.  We had a great time.  And I’m so glad all my clothes are photography-ready, because I had to lie around in grass and gravel.  Remember how I told you I’ll only buy clothes that can withstand me lying around in mud or on oily parking lots, etc?

Today, every single one of us ended up lying down flat on the grass and gravel to take our pictures.  Grass leaves stains and gravel hurts.  Especially when you prop your elbows up in it.  Ouch.  But it was totally worth it because the pictures turned out really nice.

This is Tina.  Isn’t she lovely?  Her eyes are so pretty.  She’s planning on coming to Photo Club soon, so I’m sure I’ll have more pictures of her.  You know the rule: if you come to Photo Club, you will be photographed.

She and her husband own the cars.  She said something about how much they like having guests visit.  Sounds like she wanted me to invite myself over for dinner, don’t you think?  Yes.  Yes, you do.  And so do I.  I’ll bring dessert: a Jacki Cake.  They’ll love it.

Before and After Pictures

Though some photographers vehemently disagree, I think that one of the best parts of digital photography is finding pictures that you can totally and recklessly alter with editing software.  Sometimes you just gotta let your creative side run free.  (Freeeeee!)

For instance, I took a spider picture and a mushroom picture today that were perfect for playing with in the editing software.  I wanted to show you the before and after picture for the spider and mushroom, and decided to show you the before and after images for all my pictures today.

So…here goes.

First:  Started off the day at the first homeschool co-op of the year.  A homeschool cooperative is where a bunch of homeschooled kids get together for group classes taught by the parents.  Some co-ops are very formal, some are very casual.  The one I go to is somewhere in the middle.

Below is a picture of two kids at the co-op.  I’ve known these kids for a while and liked how the older brother was so tickled with himself for giving his little brother bunny ears.  These were taken in the hideous gym with the abysmal lighting.

Before (truth be told, it’s a little edited–I sloppily removed a name tag) :

After (in this one I didn’t remove the entire tag…just the part with the child’s name) :

We ended the day with the kids testing for their next belt in karate.  They each broke their board and earned their yellow belt.  Here they are putting on their yellow belts for the first time.



And here they are with their teachers.  The lighting was tricky, but not as bad as in the gym.  I had to bump up my ISO to 50 bazillion and even then, the shutter speed was only 1/25.



And somewhere in the middle of the day, there was this lovely hanging outside my window.



Wait!  I did two after pictures for the spider.  I like the above one better, but here’s my other after shot:

Last are these mushrooms outside of Target.  Before:

And after being processed through Wonderland:

That’s all, guys.  No humor today.  Just a few before and after shots.

Rats, Mold, Eyeballs, and Pecan Pie

Below is one of the best stories ever about an eyeball.  Not sure how it’s possible to cringe in horror and laugh until you cry at the same time, but it is.

It was written by my friend, Bridgette, after she read yesterday’s blog post about eyeballs.  I think I pulled a muscle from laughing when I read it this morning, and had to share it with you:


So I was reading Jackie’s note of the day and it was all about eyeballs.  As I started to write a quippy (is that a word) reply I realized I’ve been lacking in my notes as of late, and so I decided to expand the quip into the full story.

Well Jackie basically traumatized her boys today by teaching them about the gelatinous texture of eyeballs.  Her sons have translated this to meaning that eyeballs can have the consistency of yogurt, so be careful on a hot day.  Shame on you Jackie.  This is why Homeschooling has a bad name.

But I happen to have an eyeball story that will reassure (or further traumatize) her boys.  About 7 years ago I owned a stall in a shared sort of flea market store. It was a shambles.  The ceiling fell in twice and we named the rats that ran around “Scamper and Thumper.”  People rarely stayed long enough to notice the vermin because of the pervasive smell of mold which we liked to cover up by spraying Lysol and Febreeze around the place.  One woman lit vanilla candles for a time until she forgot about one and set her dresses on fire.  So we wouldn’t stand for it.  We had some boundaries.

The store was covered with pegboard walls and we used hooks that slotted into them as display hangers from which to hang our sundries.   One day while avoiding Scamper, I wasn’t quite paying attention as I bent down to pick up a hanger to hang up a dress.   And I stabbed my eyeball, yes my eyeball, on the metal hook that stuck out.  (The kind you see in old shops with bags of cheap 2 for a dollar candies hanging on ‘em)  Yes I bounced my eyeball off a metal hook with my eyes wide open.  Next to me was a pile of clothing to be hung up.   To the far right was a display shelf with lots of “bed in a bag” type comforter sets.  In front of me was Nelle (of the vanilla candle fame) talking to a customer.   The pain was so instant and precise that I jerked up and fell on top of my pile of clothing.  Since that didn’t make the pain go away my body launched into the “run….die….die.. or beat yourself senseless until you go unconscious and can’t feel the pain” mode.  And so I began hurtling myself across the back of the store.  This entailed me bouncing my upper body off my pile of clothes and then vaulting towards the stacks of bed in the bags.  When this didn’t help I bounced into a display rack and knocked over a stand of  Halloween decorations.

I repeated this action about five times without making a sound because the pain was of the vocal cord paralyzing variety.   Finally when I did make a sound it was in reaction to Nell and her customer slowly turning around and seeing me flailing around like a cat that’s fallen into a washing machine.   And of course the natural reaction to seeing the horrified looks on their faces was to burst out laughing into mad shrieks.  I simply could not stop laughing long enough to explain to them what had happened.   And of course this exacerbated the situation nicely.  They thought I was insane. (I am but they didn’t have to know that.)

When at last I had been taken to the hospital, the doctors called all their interns and nurses down to look at my eye. (This is a clue that you are really damaged in case you didn’t know.)  Apparently it looked the same way that it does when you drag your thumbnail down the side of a Styrofoam cup.   I was informed that I was lucky I hadn’t hit it at a different angle and pierced it.  I was also told that injury to the eye was the most painful of injuries to the human body and that unfortunately the medication they used to help me even open my eye in the first place was so addictive that they couldn’t give me any more drops.   Instead I got Percocet.   I stayed in bed for a week.

The thing is, when I think back on this story all I can remember is the laughter, not the pain.  I remember thinking “They must think I am a complete psycho right now.”  Also I’m clumsy normally and tend to trip over things and have no coordination.  Patricia reminded me of this when I took her to the break room last week and promptly tripped over the foot stands in her wheel chair.   I had warned her I was clumsy.  She remarked, “You really are aren’t you?”

Anyway long story but this is sort of my badge of warning in life.  I never react the right way.  I trip and stumble and laugh at the wrong time.  Cry at the wrong time.  Cheer and flail about.  In the end you might not know it, but I’m laughing at myself the whole way thinking about how I must come across to others.  And eventually, even those who wish to be kind will say, “Wow you really are a messed up piece of work, aren’t you?”  But they say it with a smile and that makes it all OK.


Picture of the day:

The best pecan pie in the world.  Imported from the top of Mount Olympus directly to the Blue Parrot Bistro in Gettysburg.


Song stuck in my head all day:  She Blinded me with Science.


Eyeballs, Jelly, and a College Professor

By the end of our Science lesson today, both boys were rolling around on the ground, clutching at their eyes, and begging me to “stop, for pity’s sake…just stop!

It started out benignly enough, but we soon ran into this in the textbook.   Read the first line:

The eye may look solid, but it really is not?  What?!  The boys were beginning to become alarmed.

Now go back and read the rest.  I’ll wait for you….

Eeewww.  Did you get that?  “…a tough material that holds the eye in the shape of a ball.”

So, what happens if we accidentally rip open our scleras?  Will our eyes ooze out of our heads?  I mean, we just learned that eyes aren’t solid, so logically…our eyes would ooze out of our heads!  So gross!

It got worse.  Next was this:

This was when Boy10 started to go limp with horror.  “The pupil is a hole in our eyes?  There are holes in our eyes?”  By the time he was done asking, his voice was a high-pitched squeak.  He was squinting at me when he asked, afraid to open his eyes all the way lest something fall into the hole in them.

And then there was the culmination of gruesomeness with this line:

The light travels through a clear jellylike substance?

That’s just so gross, I have to type it again—the light travels through a clear jellylike substance.

So, if your sclera breaks, on your non-solid eye, it really will ooze out down your face.  Oh disgusting!


Darling Husband had off work again today.  He came into the room just when I was telling Boy10 he could either work on his science homework or read his book.

Darling Husband’s ears perked up and he said, “He wants to do his science.  I”ll help him.”

“It’s just a workbook page about eyeballs.”

“That’s fine!”  And off they went.

The next thing I know, Darling Husband has created science experiments, delivered a compelling lecture and is holding a question/answer session in the kitchen.  There were homemade volcanos erupting and chemicals bubbling on the stove.

He does this every time.

See, Darling Husband’s master’s degree isn’t simply in “science.”   It’s in science, with an emphasis on teaching science.  And he teaches science part time at a college.

Did you catch that?  There’s a college professor living in my house with a master’s degree in teaching science.

I have no idea why I’m still the one teaching these kids science.


Picture of the day:

There was a pretty sunset when I was driving home from grocery shopping.  I pulled onto the side of the road for a picture.

Defatted Peanuts and I Could Have Sworn There Was Chocolate In There

Major revelation today!


The type of revelation that rocks your world.  That makes you question everything you ever thought you knew.

It’s days like this that make you wonder what rock you’ve been living under, and force you to face the fact that you’re not the brightest bulb in the pack.

I just found out today that…..

…..there is no chocolate in Reeces Pieces!

I’ve lived almost forty years thinking there was chocolate in Reeces Pieces!

No, let me amend that.  No one ever ate Reeces Pieces until E.T. came out.  I certainly didn’t.  The orange and yellow box was ugly and I didn’t want to eat ugly candy.  But if E.T. ate them, then, by gum, I was going to eat them, too!  (Kids are dumb and easily manipulated by marketing.)

I was nine years old when E.T. came out and I’m thirty-nine now, so…..

I’ve lived for thirty years thinking there was chocolate in Reeces Pieces!

I’m not sure why I thought that.  It’s not like there was any false advertising going on.  The box clearly states, “Peanut Butter Candy in a Crunchy Shell.”

It’s not like you can taste any chocolate in them, either.  I guess I got carried away with Reeces Peanut Butter Cups, which do have chocolate, and made broad assumptions about Reeces Pieces.

And yes, I read the ingredient list just to be sure.  And now I’m wondering if the second ingredient on the list has always read “Partially Defatted Peanuts.”

Partially Defatted Peanuts?  What?  I’m a little nervous about eating something that has Partially Defatted Peanuts.  If I’m going to eat peanuts, I want all the fat!  Isn’t the fat in peanuts good for you?  (Yes!)  So why would they defat it?

Partially Defatted Peanuts sounds like something someone made up to soothe a hysterical person:  “No, no, dear!  There’s no fat in this candy.  It’s ok to eat it.  We…uh…defatted it!  Yes, that’s it!  We defatted it.  Well, most of it anyway.  We, er, partially defatted it.”

Defatted is not a word. Eating food with made up words makes me feel like a mouse sniffing at the cheese on the unsprung trap.  Partially defatted peanuts…are they worth the risk?  SNAP!

Maybe I’ll just stick with popcorn for my snacks.  Especially since I never got around to eating it last night.

Mutiny in the Lizard’s Lair

Darling Husband was off work today, so he took the picture.

He wasn’t very happy about it.  I think I gave him too many instructions all at once.

“Frame it from the top of my head to just under the scarf…*click*…no, not like that–you have to include the window, too…*click*…it’s blurry–look for the little red dot–yes, there is a little red dot, you have to hold down the button halfway to find it…*click*…no, no!  You framed it wrong, didn’t you hear what I said? Just to the top of my head…*click*…No, that’s all wrong, let me change the zoom…*click*…you have to tell me when you’re going to take it…are you taking it *click* yet?…I was talking in that one, take it *click* again…”

It wasn’t going well.

It was meant to be a picture of me wearing my scarf and Steelers hat by the window that Darling Husband opened so that the arctic air could get inside our house, a la Doctor Zhivago.

You ever see Doctor Zhivago?  There’s a scene where the husband of the house got too hot mowing the lawn in the middle of a Russian September, so he opened the window, and the next thing everyone knew, the entire house was covered with half a foot of snow on the inside.  They all had to wear their scarves and football hats until they could convince the Darling Husband to shut the window!  

In a very emotional scene that won five Academy Awards, the shivering wife begged the husband, “Darling Husband…please, shut the window!  For the children!  Do it…for the children!”  Meanwhile, the Darling Husband was wiping his brow and had freshly mown grass stuck in his beard.  “But, my wife, if they’re cold they can always put on more clothes, while I can’t take any more off!”  And the wife wails, “Then how can we continue to be together?!”  And she runs to the train station and flings herself under the train.

I meant for him to take a picture of me standing in front of the window simply looking at the camera.  Not attempting to smile or be cheesy.  Just looking.

But Boy10 kept dancing about trying to get me to laugh, which made me turn and say, “Would you knock it *click* off!  Hey!  I wasn’t ready!  I was yelling at Boy10!  Take the picture again!”

But Darling Husband and the boys were too busy congratulating themselves that they messed up my “simply looking at the camera” picture.  Then, in a show of mutiny, Darling Husband flatly refused to work with me on picture taking anymore (I might have heard the word ‘bossy’ but I can’t prove it) and I was too lazy to set up the tripod.

So…picture of the day:  Me, freezing in the house in the middle of September, wearing my hat and scarf.

And now we have two, yes two, Doctor Who episodes to catch up on.  And a brand new bag of popcorn waiting to be eaten.  So, I’m signing off until tomorrow.

A Good Man Doesn’t Yell At You When You Make Him Late Because You’re Having a Photography Moment

Started the day off by going to church.

The service starts at 8:00 and we flung ourselves into the car at 7:52…which is when I noticed the spiderweb hanging off the side mirror.

Screeching halt!

Just so you know, if I’m ever late to an event, I can guarantee it’s because I’m either having a medical emergency or taking a picture.  Normally I hate being late.

And so does Darling Husband.

So, while I took a few frantic shots (7:53!), Darling Husband practiced his calming breathing techniques.  He didn’t say a single word about me taking pictures with only 7 minutes to go before the service began and the car wasn’t even started yet. ‘Course that could be because he was clenching his jaw so hard he couldn’t unclench it enough to splutter at me.  I’m sure the nervous tic will resolve itself in a few days.

The pictures turned out pretty bad, because we had to go.  See:

Wait a minute…people use their photo editing software to make pictures look somewhat like this on purpose.  I’ll use the software to make my bad picture work.  Like this:

After church, we always stop at the grocery store and Darling Husband buys stuff for his work lunches and the boys get donuts.

But I really hate going into the grocery store.

Darling Husband rarely goes grocery shopping and he only sees the glamorous side of grocery shopping.  I, on the other hand, am tired of the long hours on the set and in hair and makeup and realize that grocery shopping is actually hard work.  I avoid going in the grocery store whenever possible.

So, this is a picture of my donut on my lap in the car, which is where I sat and ate and quietly read while Darling Husband bustled about in the grocery store.

Wait–that picture is no good!  You can barely see the donut!  Here, I’ll help you to see it better:

And yes, it tastes even better than it looks.  You can feel the sugar shocking your system while you eat it.  It’s divine!  And a rare treat.  You guys don’t think I eat this stuff all the time, do you?!  That’s just crazy talk.  I only eat the billion calorie donut every other month or so.

Then, I went out to buy a present.  But the day!  The colors!  The clouds!  So beautiful!  Had to take pictures!

Here’s the lightpost in the parking lot.

Wow, is that ever a boring picture.  It looked so pretty in person, but that’s sure not coming across in the picture. Maybe I can head back to the editing software and do so many edits that I can fool you into thinking it looks artistic:

Are you fooled?

But still–the colors!  The clouds!

I took a detour down a side road so I could take pictures.  The subjects are somewhat boring, but at least they give you a sense of the colors of today:

Ended the day at Li’s Buffet where I stuffed myself with green beans.  No one makes green beans as good as Li’s makes green beans.  No one.  You really should go there sometime.  Tell me when, and I’ll meet you there and I’ll even let you use my chopsticks.  I have a set of 12 chopsticks and I carry them with me all the time.  You just never know when you’ll need a good set of chopsticks.

Dang it!  I just realized we didn’t get our frequent eater card stamped today.  I hate when that happens!

I’ll Bet You All Never Knew I’m A Hero. No Really–The Police Officer Said So.

So yesterday I got an overwhelming urge to go outside and run as fast as I could down the street to the end of the block.

You ever get that sort of urge?  No?

Well, I do.  Usually it’s after watching a Doctor Who episode where they have to outrun a lumbering Dalek or plodding Cyberman.

I don’t usually act on it,but this time I thought, “What the heck.  I’m gonna go run.”

So, I said, “Boys, let’s go run!” and intellectual-type Boy10 groaned and stayed inside, but physical-type Boy7 danced about getting his shoes on.  I got my running shoes on, too, and off we went.

But as soon as I started running, I remembered the last time I ran as fast as I could down a street.  Or, more accurately, up a street.

It was 17 years ago.  I was 22 years old and it ended badly.  Well, badly for me.  But great for Diane and her mother.

I’ll tell you the story:

I was 22 years old.  Married.  No kids.  Living in an adorable apartment on the second floor of a house in Arbutus, a quiet suburb of Baltimore.

Darling Husband and I were having a yard sale on a lazy Saturday morning.  It was about 7:00 and we were just starting to set up.

The air was cool, the sun was bright, the birds were chirping, when from up the street, we heard a thin wail wafting to us on the slight breeze.


It got closer.

Coming into view was a woman.  She was booking it down the street.  Her hair was a mess, she was in her pajamas, her eyes were wild, and her head was swiveling all around.

Is she insane?  Is she dangerous?  She was getting closer and closer and she was not slowing down.  Pound, pound, pound.  Closer, closer.

I tensed up and was ready to dash indoors if she proved to be violent.  Darling Husband just watched her approach.  She came to a screeching halt in front of us and said breathlessly, “Did you see my little girl?  Did you see my little girl and a big black dog?”

Apparently, her three year old little girl woke up while the rest of the family was asleep and let herself out of the house.  The dog went with her.

The little girl’s name was Diane.

Now, I didn’t have kids back then and didn’t want kids back then, and had no clue of the sort of vomit-inducing panicky terror a person can feel when they wake up to find that their child is gone.  Simply gone.  I didn’t understand it until 7 years later when Boy10 was born.  I remember holding him in the hospital and realizing that I would willingly die any death if it would protect my baby.  Even if I was shattered into a billion pieces and all that was left of me was one eyeball, then I’d roll my linty eyeball between my baby and the danger and protect him with my fierce glare.

Anyone with kids, and a very large number of you without them, know exactly what I’m talking about.

Back to the story:

When we let the mother know that we hadn’t seen Diane or the dog, she let out a horrible gasping sound and ran back up the street the way she came. “Diiiiiiiaaaaaaane!”

Darling Husband didn’t say a word.  He put down the trinket he was holding and headed across the street to the wooded area where there was a little jungle gym and a swing and started searching.

I headed the other way–down, down, down the street, walking somewhat slowly, staring carefully into all the back yards especially ones with children’s toys in them.  I turned a corner.

And was presented with the next street, which was on a steep hill.  A really-really steep hill.  A gigantic, enormous, really-really steep hill that would make any hill in Pittsburgh or San Francisco proud.

At the tippy top of the hill, right in the middle of the road, was a tiny glimpse of a little blonde head, just disappearing over the crest of the hill.


If I wasn’t fast, she could disappear into any number of back yards, or down a side street, or get hit by a car, walking in the middle of the road like that.

And even though I didn’t yet know about the vomit-inducing panicky terror of a lost child, and even though I didn’t particularly like children at that time (sorry, I didn’t–I’ve grown up since then), I knew that I needed to get to her immediately before she was harmed.

So, I took off.

I took off from a sedate walk into a full blown running-like-someone’s-life-depended-on-it run, up the steepest hill in Arbutus.

It was the fastest I’ve ever run in my life, and I could feel the muscles in my legs ripping apart.  I hadn’t run since high school and had spent the last 6 years stuck working in an office.  I never exercised, figuring my youth made it so I magically didn’t have to worry about keeping fit.

I made it to the top with my heart painfully pounding and feeling nauseated from lack of breath.

But there was Diane and the big black dog.

I worried that the big black dog wouldn’t let me approach the child, but as I said, “Are you Dianne?” the dog just wagged its tail and wandered off.   I scooped up Diane and started heading down the hill as fast as I could go.  I’m pretty sure that’s the first time I ever held a child. And dang it, if she wasn’t heavy!

And she peed all over me.

I made it to the bottom of the hill and rounded the corner, sort of wondering how I’d make it back up the street to my house.  By then, my poor little weak leg muscles were screaming bloody murder and starting to get noodly and floppy and I was starting to stumble.

A police car drove by and the officer asked, “Is that your child?”

“No.  It’s Diane.”

The officer took Diane into the car and drove her to her mother.

I never got to see the happy reunion and always wished I had.  In fact, I never saw Diane and her mom again.  They lived waaaaay up the street and I had no idea where they were.

Instead, I staggered home, took a shower and changed clothes.  A little later, when the dog had been found and everything was back to normal, the officer stopped by the yard sale and said, “Were you the one who found Diane?”


“It’s people like you that make this job worth it.  You’re a real hero.  Thank you.”

Aw shucks.  Digging a toe into the dirt.  Blush.

But there were repercussions.  I had seriously injured my leg muscles.  The next day when I tried to walk, there were blistering, searing razor-sharp pains shooting through my legs.  I could hardly move.   It took over a week to recover.

I made two vows to myself from that incident:

Number one:  if I ever had children, put locks on the doors near the ceiling.

Number two: Never ever let myself get so out of shape again that a mad dash for someone’s life leaves me in debilitating pain for a week.

So, yesterday, when I took off at from a dead stop to a full run, I remembered Diane and the hill and I stopped running full-tilt down my street.   Instead, Boy7 and I jogged for a little bit to warm ourselves up.

Then we ran full tilt all the way home.

Today, I took the boys roller skating.  I have to admit that my legs got tired a little earlier than they usually do, but for the most part, I’m none the worse for wear from my full tilt run yesterday.

And I had so much fun running around that I think I might take up running as a hobby.  Boy7 is game, and has plans involving timers and charts.

And it’s gotta be cheaper than photography!  Anything is cheaper than photography.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up–Serendipity Strikes Again

If I have to see another sentence fragment again, I’ll.

For the past few weeks, Boy7 has been learning how to tell the difference between complete sentences and sentence fragments.

This morning at 6:30 (eep!) I assessed an essay.  The writer of the essay has a master’s degree, so he’s had 17-18 years of schooling.  This guy was having so much fun writing long, drawn out sentences with lots of beautiful vocabulary words and references to centuries old documents, that by the time he got to the end of the sentences, he never actually finished the sentences.  They were just reeeally long sentence fragments.

And lo and behold, we turn the page in Boy10’s grammar book today and…it’s about sentence fragments. 

So, right now I’m teaching my 2nd grader about fragments, I’m teaching my 5th grader about fragments, and I’m teaching an 18th grader about fragments.

Just make it stop!


But on a good note, I got this email today from someone else whose essays I assessed a few weeks ago:

Dear Best Essay Assessor on the Planet (no, it didn’t really say that),

I PASSED!!!!! I’m an official NYS History Teacher!! 5 years of college and a year of studying!

Thank you for all your help and encouragement! Your and Mrs Valko tutoring surely helped! I recommend brooklynedu to anyone!


Unnamed Student

NYS certified history teacher

Ahem.  It should read “I’d recommend brooklynedu to anyone.”  And I’m pretty sure it should read “Mrs. Valko and your…”

No, I can’t stop critiquing his writing.  He paid me good money to critique his writing, and I’m not stopping now.

I replied:

Dear Unnamed Student!!


I’m so glad to hear that you passed!  Congratulations!  I re-read my assessments on your essays and I was really hard on you. Yikes!  But I’m glad it helped.

Hearing that you passed made my day.  Thanks for letting me know,


Well, would you look at that?  My sentence “Hearing that you passed made my day,” has a green squiggly line under it.  Why does it have a green squiggly line?  What grammatical problem does it have?

I clicked on the green squiggly line and it reads “Fragment (consider revising)”

Are you kidding me!?  People, I totally did not plan this.  I honestly wrote the first part about fragments, and ten minutes later clicked on the squiggle and got the fragment message.

That’s it.  I’m going to bed.  Tomorrow will be better.  There’s no grammar on a Saturday.


Picture of the Day:

I finally got to eat my salsa.  I didn’t have any chips last night, so I had to wait until today to taste it.  It was as good as it looks.  See yesterday’s blog for the recipe.

Went to a small party for Barbetta to celebrate her new CRNP status.  Ate Traci cake:


It’s late, so remind me to tell you tomorrow about running.