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Monday, September 29, 2008


Scrabulous is now! Amen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Rest in p-e-a-c-e, friend.

I come to you today to report the passing of a dear friend. A friend I could always turn to, day or night. A friend who brought me great joy -- and at times -- great frustration. I'm talking about

(I would offer the link, but the result is now a Danica Patrick ad for domain services.)

Though happily married, I've been in a relationship with Scrabulous for probably close to two years. Not to worry, my husband was aware of this intellectual affair and he supported it. After all, if I could get my Scrabble needs fulfilled elsewhere, he didn't have to indulge me in a game he knew he would lose in the end.

It started out as an innocent internet search; we all know where those can lead. One word -- Scrabble -- typed into Google and life as I knew it changed. I found, where I could play the game I loved 24/7.

* Where the only cost to play was the hours of sleep I lost in the pursuit of "just one more game."

* Where most people were cordial and of good cheer and where those who resorted to foul language and bad sportsmanship were banned from participating.

* Where the differences between people in the United States, Australia, England and India were less important that the differences between their rankings (mine was 1748 when the end occurred).

* Where I learned acceptable "Q" words that don't require a "u," including qaid, qi and qintar.

* Where sometimes the games were long and linguistically passionate, while other times a "quickie" fit the bill.

* Where vocabulary was sexy. (Don't believe me? Check out this music video -- warning, includes the word a$$ and some "sexy" scenes.)

I knew its days were numbered. When Scrabulous was yanked from Facebook after pressure from Hasbro, I knew it was only a matter of time before my love would be forbidden. That time came yesterday. I clicked my Scrabulous bookmark and realized it was gone.

And so I'm here to say, thank you Scrabulous. Thank you for stretching my mind. Thank you for being there in my times of insomnia. Thank you for being a socially acceptable addiction. It was fun while it lasted. You will be missed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

This takes the cake.

My kids only had a half-day of school today, so I decided we needed a little "ohana" time, instead of having everyone spend the day in front of the computer or television or Xbox. But what to do?

I thought of going to the indoor water park, but then I remembered Charlie's arm is still in a cast. (How could I have forgotten?!)

I mentioned heading to the zoo or the Children's Museum, but Annie informed me that she's too old for those places. (How can you be too old for the zoo?!)

Mike suggested going to a movie, but it's so nice outside. I hate to waste the day -- and the money -- at the movie theater. (Besides, how is that different than sitting in front of a screen at home?)

So I opened the newspaper to look at the community calendar to see if there was something different that might be fun to do. My eyes fell to the following event:

Young Chef's Cake Walk
Students make, bake and decorate their own cakes.

"Hmm...," I thought. "This sounds promising."

Recipes include cake in a can and decorator's buttercream icing.

"Yummy! I love buttercream. Where do we sign up?"

Registration required. $35

$35?! $35?! Are you freakin' kidding me? For $35, I could buy 8 cake mixes and 8 tubs of pre-made frosting. Since it's been forever since I've made a cake from scratch, I don't know how much that would cost, but I bet it's not $35.

I think I might drive over there and hang out in the parking lot to see who is crazy enough to pay $35 for their kid to bake a cake. Then I'll hand them a flyer for my new business:

Kid's Pizza Kitchen
Make and bake your own pizza.
$50, pepperoni extra.

I figure in no time I'll be rakin' in the dough.

For more sweet laughs, check out
And if you are jonesin' for some cake now, hop on over to CakeWrecks, one of my favorite blogs.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: "The Waterboy"

Thanks to my friends Vicki (of Adventures of Bittyman and His Sidekick IttyBoy fame) and Sharon (mama bird over at The Bird's Nest) for introducing me to the concept of Wordless Wednesday -- which I've now violated by almost 40 words.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's a good thing I don't gamble.

Last week, I made the bold prediction that Big Tom and Little Tom (L.T.) would win it all on this season of The Biggest Loser.

Turns out, I'm the big loser because they were kicked off the show this week. After the notoriously bad second week of the competition where contestants historically lose little to no weight, Big Tom lost only 3 pounds, which Little Tom negated with his own 3 pound gain.

So they fell below the yellow line and it was between them and the yellow team (Coleen and Jerry). In the elimination room, the Toms were double-crossed by the orange team (Ed and Heba) who wouldn't have even been there to vote this week if the Toms hadn't saved their big butts in last week's elimination.

In the post-elimination interview, L.T. said the funniest thing ever in the history of The Biggest Loser:

"Of course I'm mad. I came on a fat loss show and I gained 3 pounds. That's like going on a makeover show and they make you uglier."

Oh, I wish he was still gonna be on. Maybe someone will give him his own talk show. Or at least invite him on Ellen. Because everyone loves the funny fat guy.

Back to the show...I love it, but it kind of stresses me out, which makes me want to eat.

Mike was on his way home from a meeting while the show was on. I knew he would be driving past Mickey D's and could easily stop and pick me up something. Hmm...

Then I told myself that it would be pretty ridiculous to eat a quarter pounder while watching The Biggest Loser.

So I just had a Happy Meal instead. With a Diet Coke.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A boy and a hockey stick

This morning, Robbie was playing with a mini hockey stick. First, he built block cities and used the hockey stick to wipe them out as quickly as he'd built them.

Then, he put on a most enjoyable concert from the base of the fireplace, wildly strumming the imaginary strings of his makeshift guitar.

Then the stick became a putter as he attempted to make par with a pair of rolled up sweatsocks. All of which amused me and made me delight in his 5-year-old imagination.


He slipped the hockey stick down into the leg of his pajamas, with the blade end of the stick resting against his hip. He put his hand on the blade, holding it as a sheriff might hang onto a gun in its holster.

"Robbie, what are you doing?" I asked.

"Quiet Mom," he said looking at me with perfect determination in his eyes. "I'm goin' on a catshoot."

Quick! Somebody hide the cat!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Superman's got nothing on me.

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret. By doing so, I'm going to trust you to keep this secret with me. Because if word got out about my little secret, people the world over would be hounding me for autographs.

Ok, here goes...I have x-ray vision. No, really, I do. I know you're thinking that only Superman has x-ray vision. But honest to gosh, I do too. I've used it three times today alone.

Not that today's the first day I've been aware of this superpower of mine. I think I've had it for about, well, almost 15 years. Hmmm....interestingly enough, that's how long I've been married. Funny coincidence, huh?

I know you're having a hard time believing me, so let me give you a few examples.

* This morning we were getting ready to go to Robbie's soccer game. Mike came out of Robbie's room with one cleat in hand, stating that he couldn't find the other one. So he sent Charlie in the room to look. No luck. In I went with my super x-ray vision and located the cleat lickety-split behind the closet door.

* Annie was packing for a sleepover and couldn't find her hairbrush. I told her the last I saw the brush, it was in my bedroom next to the bed. Apparently the brush had fallen to the floor and was hidden by the quilt. Poor girl couldn't find it. But thanks to my x-ray vision, it was SuperMom to the rescue!

* The last time we had hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, there was general disappointment that we had no ketchup to go with our meat. At least that's what everyone thought until I got up, opened the refrigerator door, looked right at the shelf where at least two other family members had looked before and found the ketchup right behind the pickles.

I don't want to brag or make anyone feel inferior because of my superpower. But I'm just so thankful to have my x-ray vision. It sure makes life easier...for everyone else.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

C'mon down! You're the next contestant on The Biggest Loser!

May I have your attention please? The fall line-up of television shows is making its debut this week. Have your DVRs, Tivos and old-fashioned VCRs ready. It's "Must See TV" time!

I really don't have that many shows I watch routinely, but you can bet your couch potato patootie that one of them is "The Biggest Loser." This season the variation is "The Biggest Loser: Families." Four husband and wife teams are training with "I feel your emotional turmoil" Bob, while four parent-child duos are toiling under the dictatorship of "I will kick your butt and laugh while doing it" Jillian.

I definitely think this might be the first BL season where someone dies. Either one of the contestants will drop dead during a challenge or Jillian's team will form a mutiny and pummel her to death with medicine balls.

I'm going on record now to say that I think this year's Biggest Losers will be The Toms -- father and son Tom Sr. and Tom Jr.

And I'll be watching it all unfold because I LOVE this show -- singles, couples, families, whatever. I love it because I love to watch fat people get skinny (and healthy). I mean, if it's not happening directly to me, the next best thing is sitting on the couch eating ice cream and watching it happen to other people, right?

And who knows, maybe someday it will happen to me. Maybe someday, I'll be a contestant on The Biggest Loser, plugging sugar-free Jello and Orville Redenbacher 100-calorie packs in a not so subtle product placement.

I've already thought of what I'd put on my application form.

Why I should be on The Biggest Loser:
1. Because ringing in the New Year in maternity pants when you're not pregnant is pathetic.
2. Because the people at the McDonald's drive thru recognize my voice.
3. Because the most exercise I get on any given day is walking from my office to the printer down the hall.

I even have reasons why Mike and I could be contestants on The Biggest Loser Couples:
1. Because our pet name for ourselves is the "Pillsbury Dough Couple."
2. Because restaurant servers break out in fist fights over who gets to serve us. Fat couple = fat bill = fat tip.
3. Because when we cuddle at night, we're so big we don't "spoon," we "ladle."

So, someday it may be me baring my midriff and my weight for all of America to see. (I hope I'm on Bob's team.) Until then, pass the remote control and the mint chocolate chip.

Monday, September 15, 2008

My life in words

Have you been to If not, hustle on over there -- are soon as you are finished reading my blog, of course.

You create "word pictures" by either typing or copying and pasting a bunch of words, text from a website or linking to a website and the Wordle Fairy draws your word picture. Then you decide how you want it to look -- horizontal, vertical, every which way. You can even choose the font and the colors.

Thanks to Krista at Everyone's Child for giving me the idea to put my Wordle picture here. This first one is what I came up with when I just typed in words that I feel describe me:

Note: To see my Wordle's better, click on them. You'll be taken to Just be sure to come back!

When I let Wordle pick up the words from my blog, this is the picture it gave me:

Which means I better start blogging more about Annie and Robbie soon or I'm gonna be accused of playing favorites.

Warning: Wordle is ADDICTING! You'll find yourself creating word pictures for your children, your spouse, your favorite football team or even for your favorite beverage:


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Eating crow

Waiter, I'll have an order of crow, please. And a Diet Coke.

When I was young, I broke my arm four times. Each arm twice. Four years in a row. The first three times my mom, being the good nurse that she is, refused to believe I had a serious injury and waited for a period of time (the longest a few days) before she took me in for x-rays.

I swore that when I became a mother, I would not do that. If my kid said he was hurt, by gosh I would believe him.

Waiter, could I have that crow battered and fried, please?

Yesterday Charlie had a soccer game. On the way to the game, we learned that one of his soccer teammates had been pretty seriously hurt in a football game earlier in the day. Charlie asked a lot about his injuries, how it had happened and if he was going to be ok. (He is.) Then he started re-living all of his on-field injuries, most of which were bigger in his head than they had been in reality. I could see where this was going.

"Charlie," I said. "If you get hurt today, you are not to lay on the ground moaning. You need to shake it off and get back in the game."

"But what if I'm running my fastest and I run into their biggest guy really hard? Can I stay down?"

"Only if you are bleeding or there are bones sticking out."

Charlie's reputation as a seasoned injury actor is well documented. I was trying to head off at the pass any plans of a repeat performance.

Just as I had predicted, about 10 minutes into the game, Charlie had the ball and was streaking downfield toward the opposing team's goal. He collided with a defender and landed a bit awkwardly.

"My wrist! My wrist!," he screamed as I sat watching from my chair about 5 feet away.

"You're fine. Shake it off," I called to him.

By this time he was rolling on the grass, the 12-year-old referee was hovering over him and the coach was on his way out to where Charlie lay moaning.

"Amy, I think he's really hurt this time," said one of the other soccer moms.

"He's fine."

"Amy, go over there," Mike said.

"He's fine," I said, while reluctantly getting out of my chair and walking over to him.

"Charlie, get up. Your team needs you," I told him, not especially sympathetically.

"Mom, it huuurrts!"

"Charlie, your team has no subs. You have to get up."

He got up, sat on the sidelines and iced it for the rest of the half.

"Amy, I know how Charlie is, but I saw that fall. It looked pretty bad," said one of the moms.

I acknowledged that I was sure the initial fall hurt and his wrist might be a bit sore, but I thought his carrying on was mostly for the drama.

Does that crow come with fries?

During the second half, he went back in the game and I watched him closely to see if he would forget about the "hurt" wrist in the heat of competition. He had a few good runs, but did seem to be a little less aggressive than usual.

With about seven minutes left in the game, he fell again. I could see it coming. Again with the tears. Again with the "my wrist!" Again, over to the sidelines with the ice. I went over to where my future Screen Actors Guild member sat next to the coach.

"Charlie, I'm sure your wrist is sore," I said, trying a softer approach. "I think you're ok, but I'll give you some ibuprofen when we get home."

After the game as we were packing up our chairs to head home, someone asked if he needed more ice. I said I thought he was fine with the (no longer cold) insta-ice pack he already had. In my own defense, his wrist really wasn't that swollen.

So we came home and went about our afternoon. I did notice that he wasn't using his left arm much, so I gave him some ibuprofen. I thought about taking him across the street to our doctor neighbor, but she wasn't home and he really didn't want to go.

After he was asleep, I went into his room to see how he would respond if I touched and squeezed his wrist.

"Don't do that!" he sleepily muttered.

Hmmm...maybe I was wrong.

Caw! Caw!

This morning as he was getting dressed for church, I saw that he was pulling on his pants with just his right hand. So, after church I called my mom and asked if it were her, would she take him in? Amazingly, she said yes. Guess she's learned her lesson.

So off we went to the urgent care center. Where they took x-rays and where I could see with my own eyes before the doctor even pointed it out to me, a fracture in his left wrist.

Waiter, could I get a side of guilt with that crow?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

10 Tips for Terrible Parenting

At about 4am this morning I couldn't sleep (do you sense a pattern here?) and found myself whiling away the hours until daylight perusing the internet. Over at, I found a link to an article on Ten Terrible Parenting Tips.

I read it and decided to make my own list of tips, which may either inspire you if you revel in mediocrity or may help you realize you're not such a bad parent after all.

Amy's 10 Tips for Terrible Parenting*
  1. Keep the tube of Icy Hot next to the tube of Desitin and accidentally apply the wrong one to a little one's rashy bum.

  2. Repeatedly dip the baby's pacifier in sugar to encourage him to be quiet.

  3. Dress your toddler daughter like a mini-harlot and then scratch your head and wonder why she's pregnant at age 13.

  4. Laugh when the teacher tells you "we really must discuss Junior's continuing desire to pee on the playground."

  5. Address a child's fear of the water by throwing her in the deep end of the swimming pool and telling her "c'mon, you can swim."

  6. Wait a bit too long to jump in and rescue above child.

  7. When your child falls on the soccer field, holler at him to get up and get back in the game because the team has no subs.

  8. Deny ever saying the above when you're sitting at the urgent care waiting to have the injured limb x-rayed.

  9. Drop your child off at school and drive away before realizing that school is closed for Thanksgiving break.

  10. Tell same child to hitch a ride home or wait until 5pm to be picked up.
*Disclaimer: Some of these acts have actually occurred, though the perpetrators shall remain nameless to protect the guilty. Others have been observed, while still others have been merely imagined. I'll leave it to you to figure out which is which.

Feel free to click "comments" and leave your own tips for terrible parenting.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Salvation is in the struggle.

When I started this blog, I wasn't exactly sure where I planned to go with it (see my profile). In general, I intend for it to be a) entertaining and b) enjoyable for me to write. I try to be funny and lighthearted in most most of my musings. But every once in a while, something happens in my life that makes me go hmmm...

That happened to me today and I don't want to let it pass without sharing it with you all. I was talking to a friend of mine. (Ok, he also happens to be a priest. Now don't all you Methodists, Mormons, Hindus and Hare Krishnas run away. Stay with me...) We were talking about life and its ups and downs and he said to me "Salvation is in the struggle."

"Salvation is in the struggle." That really struck me. In part because it is spiritually significant given that as Christians we know that without Jesus coming to earth as man, salvation would not be ours. But the statement is also applicable in so many other parts of life. If we think spiritually of salvation as our triumph over death, then our triumph over life's smaller issues comes from our struggle to get past them.

For instance, acing a test in school that we really didn't study for is good. Acing a test that we studied for with great concentration for many hours is even better. Our efforts -- the struggle -- make the reward -- the salvation -- that much sweeter.

If we endeavor to lose weight and are able to drop 15 pounds just by cutting out snacks, terrific. But if we invest time and energy into changing the way we eat, getting more exercise, getting better sleep, our struggle makes achieving our goal that much bigger.

I don't think that "salvation is in the struggle" means that those for whom things come easily should not be or are not pleased with what they've achieved. But it says to me that the "prize" is not only the achievement of whatever it is we seek -- a good grade, a more fit body, a more peaceful existence, greater communion with our God -- but that the process by which we achieve it is as important as the achievement itself.

What do you think?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

I saw this avatar above on a message board the other day and just got a good laugh about it. So I thought I'd share it.

Do you remember the good old days of Sesame Street -- when Mr. Snuffalufagus was still invisible, before anyone questioned whether Bert and Ernie are more than just roommates, when Cookie Monster would never dream of eating salad and no one would dare suggest that he should.

If you lived on Sesame Street, which character would you be? Head on over to to find out.

Here's what it told me:

You scored as a Ernie
Ernie is a dreamer with a strong imagination. He's always thinking, imagining, and playing word games. He's mischievious and a bit of a trickster. He's good natured, bubbly, wise, playful, naturally outgoing, very affectionate, and spontaneous. He always has a good time and he knows he is funny. This crafty free-spirit always finds a way to come out on top!

Seems about right. Plus, our hair kind of matches.

If you take the quiz, come back here and let me know how you scored. Have a sunny day!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Games people play...or...Mommy's legs are broken

In our house, a lot of time is spent playing games. Mostly of the sports and video game variety. Last weekend our schedule looked like this: football, soccer and soccer on Saturday, followed by another football game on Sunday.

But I have a favorite game that I like to play, too. It's called "Mommy's Legs Are Broken and She Can't Get Off the Couch."

There are a few basic rules to this game:

1. It can only be played when there is no where anyone has to be, because Mommy's legs are pretty much required for driving to soccer practice.

2. It can only be done when Daddy is not home. Otherwise Daddy will try to play too and it's just not the same.

The great thing about this game is that other than the two above, there are no rules. No uniforms to be washed (though jammies are recommended), no equipment necessary (though the phone and the TV remote are allowed).

The game generally starts when one or more children ask for something that said child/ren is/are perfectly capable of getting for themselves.

Kid: "Mommy, can you get me a glass of milk?"

Me: "Nope. Sorry."

Kid: "Why not?"

Me: "Because Mommy's legs are broken and she can't get off the couch."

Kid: "Arrgghh! Not again! I hate this game."

Which is how you know this is a real game, because there are members of the "opposing" team saying not so nice things to your team.

From there, the game is totally up to the Mommy.

"Can you please bring me a Diet Coke?" -- Pleases and thank yous and other common courtesies are still expected. Mommy's legs may be broken, but her sense of social etiquette is not.

"Can you pick up all the shoes and take them to the right rooms upstairs?"

Generally, this game is a good way to get things accomplished, like having the family room picked up, without Mommy having to be the one to do all the work. Once the children get the hang of the game, they will try to play too. This is never allowed. Kids legs are never broken. Only Mommy's.

The game can end in a variety of ways:

1. Mommy's had enough rest that she feels ready to take on the family again (which has yet to happen in my house).

2. The doorbell rings and a stranger is at the door, so Mommy must get off the couch because children are not allowed to open the door for strangers.

3. The house catches fire and Mommy must evacuate.

There you have it. The basics of my favorite game, "Mommy's Legs Are Broken and She Can't Get Off the Couch." Coming in a boxed set with bonus margarita mix to a store near you this holiday season.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Virtual vacations

There is a lot of stuff to see and do on this great world wide web. What we find out there may inform us, may excite us, may infuriate us, and may entertain us (as I hope this blog does for you). But sometimes what we find offers us a small window to stop this crazy merry-go-round and lose ourselves for a short while in what I like to think of as virtual vacations. Here are my favorite spots for doing just that:

Inspirations Photography: This is my friend Cat's site. I met her on a Catholic Mom message board. She's a phenomenal woman and an equally amazing photographer. She shoots all the pictures herself in her home state of Utah, then selects just the right quote to go with the image.

StoryPeople: This site is full of funky art tied to insightful (and sometimes off-the-wall) musings of artist Brian Andreas. I first discovered them on a trip to Maine about 8 years ago and have been a fan ever since. One of my favorites is called "Illusion of Control:"

If you hold on to the handle, she said, it's easier to maintain the illusion of control. But it's more fun if you just let the wind carry you. -- StoryPeople

And not nearly as relaxing as the other two, but equally inviting to get lost in for a few minutes (or hours!) is Scrabulous, where you can play Scrabble against real people in real time for FREE!

Here's hoping you find time in your day for a virtual vacation. And if you have a favorite spot, please share it.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I am awake and fat.

It's 12:18am and I am awake. Wanna know why I'm awake? Because the machine that's supposed to help me get better quality sleep was choking me with the air it was forcing into my nose and down my throat. And because every time I turned over to try to get into a more comfortable position, the vacuum hose that connects my face to the machine would pull taut and yank me back like a dog on a leash. Think those old Tom and Jerry cartoons where Spike would try to chase Tom when he was still chained to his dog house.

This is the second mask I've tried. The first one made me look like a rebel fighter from Star Wars. While that may have piqued my husband's interest in me, it didn't do much for my sleep habits. So I switched to a smaller, nose-only mask that, if I open my mouth, makes me sound like Darth Vader breathing. Again with the Star Wars similarities. I wonder if George Lucas has money in these things?

Wanna know why I torture myself with this crazy machine? Because I'm fat, so fat that I stop breathing momentarily during the night. It's really just for a nanosecond or so, but long enough that my brain wakes me up and says, "Hey chubby, breathe." After all that waking and falling asleep and not breathing and waking again, I can emerge from a "full" night's sleep feeling like I haven't gotten any sleep at all. I understand the argument behind the concept of sleep apnea. But part of me can't help but think it's just the latest socially acceptable ailment to have. Like everyone whose anyone has sleep apnea and a cpap machine to go with it.

My doctor told me that once I got my cpap machine, I'd probably begin to lose weight because I (theoretically) would be sleeping better, which would mean more energy for exercise and less desire for caffeine and sugar to pull myself out of exhaustion every few hours of the day. Nice theory, but so far, the only thing I've lost is the ability to sleep in a comfortable position. So here I am -- awake and fat.

I've been fat for nearly 30 years, if memory serves me correctly. And I don't mind saying it because what's the point of denying it when it's right there in front of -- and behind -- me. It's not that I haven't tried to lose weight. Like many people of ample size, I've tried a million diets:

* The one-bowl diet. Eat whatever you want, but you can only use one bowl. Guess they should have specified the size of the bowl.

* The cabbage soup diet. It's not my fault that my great-grandmother's cabbage soup recipe calls for potatoes, butter and sausage.

* Nutri-system. They actually pay me not to tell anyone I was ever associated with them (Oops. There goes this month's check.)

* The grapfruit diet. Virtually impossible for anyone with severe acid reflux, which is aggravated by citrus fruits, and which is often a side effect of -- c'mon, say it with me -- being fat.

* Weight Watchers. Anyone who tells you "nothing tastes as good as being thin feels" has never tried a double scoop of Maggie Moo's dark chocolate and cinnamoo ice cream mixed with almonds on a waffle cone.

* South Beach Diet. This one might have worked, except it wasn't in my budget to buy a side of beef every two weeks.

I've considered weight loss surgery. But I like food and hate expulsive bodily functions too much.

I even spent four months getting up insanely early to go to a fitness bootcamp. I thought for sure that would be the key to shedding a few pounds. I enjoyed it, though I did notice after I started coming to class regularly, the instructor started toting one of those portable defibrillators along with her. At the end of four months, my big transformation? I gained 3 pounds -- I guess must be true that muscle weighs more than fat.

So here I am. Still fat -- and still awake. Think I'll go see if there's a Richard Simmons infommercial on.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What's in a name?

Seems that names are news these days.

Last week when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, after everyone finished asking "who is she?," many followed with the question "Where'd she get those names?," referring to her children Track, Bristol, Willow, Piper and Trig.

The New York Daily News ran a story explaining some of those choices, including the note that some of the names come from Alaskan cities.

Then on Friday, Cincinnati Bengals player Chad Johnson announced that he's legally changed his last name from Johnson to Ocho Cinco, Spanish for "eight five," to reflect his #85 jersey.

I'll give him this, Ocho Cinco sure is a lot more fun to say than Johnson. And I suppose Ocho Cinco fits on the jersey better than "ochenta y cinco," which is actually the Spanish translation of 85.

It's not just the rich and famous who feel the need to change their monikers. Bill, a friend of ours from church, changed his name to Will when he changed employment. I'm not sure what made him feel more like a Will than the Bill he'd been for 30 some years. Maybe Will seemed more powerful or more intelligent or maybe he was secretly channeling Commander Will Riker from Star Trek: The Next Generation? Several of us tease him about his mid-life crisis and now refer to him as WillBill.

All of this makes me think about how we named our children. We did the customary perusing of baby name books and checked out the listings of the 100 most popular names (we didn't want anything in the Top 10).

I read the obituaries faithfully, in search of good names that were no longer being used by someone. And I wanted names that could have nicknames because growing up, I was the only one of my siblings whose name couldn't be shortened. Michelle was Shelley. Jeffrey was Jeff. Angela was Angie. I was just plain old Amy and I always felt gypped.

Mike had his own test of a name's worthiness -- how it would sound upon introduction.

For a boy: "Blank M., damn glad to meet ya!'

For a girl: "Blank M., so pleased to meet you."

So we came up with what I think are three good, solid names that have nicknames (which we use) and that are not overly popular, but are "normal" enough to be found on a pencil (another prerequisite).

Someday Annie might choose to go by Anna, which is fine by me. I already call Robbie "Rob," which suits him, I think. Charlie will always be Charlie -- never Chuck, except to his 2nd grade math teacher to whom I gave a dispensation to use the name.

As for me, I'm still Amy with no nickname. But the name I prefer the most is "Mom."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

After making 20+ blog entries, I felt it was time for me to answer the question, "just who is this faceless woman who thinks she's funny?"

I didn't intend to be anonymous for so long. But I had a heck of a time finding a picture that:

a) I am in
b) Fewer than 4 of my chins are showing
c) I have my hair and make up done.

Well, 2 out of 3 isn't bad.

This picture was taken a few weeks ago by Annie after she "styled" my hair. I am not intentionally raising my eyebrows -- I just couldn't put them down because she'd given me a poor woman's face lift with all those tight ponytails. I think the style shows my home-color job growing out over my temples quite nicely, don't you?

So now you know who I am, feel free to leave a comment to tell me who you are and let me know you were here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The underwear question

There are just some conversations that even the most experienced mother cannot anticipate. Charlie brought one to me last night.

Charlie: "Mom, do you wear underwear all the time?"

Me: "Yes."

Charlie: "Even with your pajamas?"

Me: "Yes."

Charlie: "Even when you're dead?"

Hmmm...I never thought about it.

Is it appropriate to arrive at the pearly gates going commando? Does God really care about the state of our undergarments once we are dead? (Which begs the question, does God really care about the state of our undergarments while we're alive?) Did the guy who wanted to stand up during his own wake prefer boxers or briefs for the occasion?

Would I want to wear fancy panties or cotton grannies for the life ever after? A sensible solid or something with a pattern that says "I had flair in this life?" Of course, it will all be between me, God and the undertaker.

So to answer your question, Charlie, I definitely want to wear some type of skivvies when I go to my final resting place, though I'm not sure right now what style I would choose. Once I have it figured out, I'll have to go back to my "Last Wishes" entry and add it to the list.