Hey, Darwin! Watch This!

17 12 2014

The Darwin Awards* are given to those people who die in such an idiotic manner that “their action ensures the long-term survival of the species, by selectively allowing one less idiot to survive.”

Two cheeky gents from England have reviewed 318 Darwin Award winning cases and, upon finding that almost 89% of the “winners” were men, published a study called -


My background is one where the adage “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics” has helped prevent me from being dazzled with bullshit on more than one occasion, so let’s consider two alternative conclusions:

  1. The conclusion presented by the study: Men are idiots who do stupid things.
  2. The more likely conclusion: Men and women are idiots; men just have had more freedom for a longer period in history to perfect the doing of stupid things.

I think the latter is the more likely, if less sensational, reality.

Women are closing the gender gap in education, careers, and political power . . .  and alcoholism and heart disease . . . it’s only a matter of time until we catch up with these dudes, too.

Now, hold my beer and watch this!




A Different Christmas Song

10 12 2014

Ho! Ho! Hum.

Everywhere I look, there is someone bemoaning the season.  Folks are out of sorts because they’re out of work, out of money, out of energy . . .

For many, just plain out of gratitude.

This will be the fifth Christmas without my beautiful Jessica. She was only twenty when she left us. She still believed in Santa Claus.

When I think of that enormous loss, the un-healable wound, I think I need a different Christmas song: Everything I Own https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q1kB0R4Ijs  sounds about right. Then I remember what a magnificent gift it was to have had such a wonder-filled twenty short years.  I also remind myself that there is no going back, only going on, and that to accept the sadness but refuse all the goodness that still surrounds me is just wrong.

It stinks not to be able to fill your child’s Christmas stocking. It is lousy that you can’t get off work to visit your friends.  Things were better before you lost your job.  I don’t dismiss ANY of these kinds of problems.  I must, though, take exception to the idea that you let your holidays be defined by what you can’t do or don’t have.  In spite of the hardships, which visit every one of us, I wish you a happy season, filled with the celebration of what we DO have.

Don’t find yourself singing a different Christmas song.  Sing FA-LA-LA-LA-LA at the top of your lungs, even if your gay apparel is a few years old and your holly’s a bit wilted! Consider the people in your life who make you smile and warm your heart. Tell them.

Joy to the world.

Let It Go!

3 12 2014

Although I have not seen Frozen and I have (perhaps luckily) heard its big song less than a half dozen times, the refrain is playing on a loop in my brain.

After what feels like a hundred years (really been about eight), at the end of this month, I am leaving my positions on the boards of my state craft guild* and my local chapter.**  I am sure it is what I want, what I need, and what the organizations need, but I do it with mixed feelings.

Many of you, I am sure, have found yourselves in similar circumstances: you’ve dedicated a large chunk of your energy, your brains, and your passion to a cause, an event, a job and one day, you wake up and realize you have no more to give.

You’re exhausted.



You know it’s time for you to turn over the reins to someone else. You’ve done your fair share and then some . . . but you feel a little bit funny walking away, even knowing that you truly NEED to take back your self.

I’ll admit there are a few ugly reasons that keep me from simply feeling relieved at unharnessing my self-imposed yoke. First, I feel an unreasonable pang of guilt for leaving a post (feels like quitting – I hate quitting!) that I know will be better served by fresh ideas.  Perhaps, it’s more that I fear that my value as a person is diminished, now that I am not a recognized member of the varsity . . .

The worst, shamefully, is that I fear giving up control within these two organizations to which I have been so deeply devoted.  It’s a selfish and silly feeling, but, there it is. What if those who succeed me do not treat my babies with the same love and respect?  What if they decide to cut their hair, change their names, or let them speak French???

They will – because they accept the role for the same reason as I did – to serve the organizations and help them prosper – exercise the same care and invest the same thoughtfulness and assert the same passion as I did these last several years.

If familiarity does not absolutely breed contempt, it surely breeds stagnation; it is time for me to let it go . . . or in the words of another famous movie songstress, Lili Von Schtupp,  Let’s face it – I’m exhausted!


*Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen www.pacrafts.org

**Yellow Breeches Chapter www.ybcrafts.org

PGC Thanks Cert

Happy Thanksgiving

26 11 2014

Tomorrow’s THE BIG FAMILY holiday – Thanksgiving.

So, what things make me thankful?

Well, I am thankful to be sitting at my niece and nephew’s kitchen table, safe and warm, after a wild three hours of driving in the first snowstorm of the season, including one brilliant, scary, WTF moment when my windshield wipers suddenly just stopped working.  Nothing like slush and snow and zero visibility at highway speed to make any trip more exciting! A quick pull off the road, a few minutes of cursing, engine off, engine back on, and – presto! – wipers working again.

I am thankful that, tomorrow, we’ll have a table groaning under the weight of delicious food.  I am also thankful that we won’t be sitting in a linen-bedecked formal dining room, stiffly making polite conversation, and pretending we’re all having a lovely time . . . I am thankful that we’ll be eating all that delicious food in front of a very big TV, where we will all be happily hollering at referees, coaches, and football players; helping ourselves to seconds and thirds and calling pumpkin pie a vegetable course.

A Matter of Taste

19 11 2014

When my sister was in third grade, my mother had to go to school for a meeting with her teacher.  Now, any of you who know my sister will be scratching your heads, as she is, more than likely, the smartest woman you’ve ever met.  What would occasion a parent-teacher consultation about a brilliant and well-behaved nine-year-old?

Black Olives  .  .  .  Canned, Nasty, Tastes-like-cork, Black Olives.

It seems that the “teacher” had made my sister sit in the cafeteria from lunch period until the end of the school day, because she would not eat the black olives that had been served as part of the delicious and nutritious late 60’s version of school lunch.  My mother’s swift and direct response to the teacher’s demand for support in the black olive scandal was to say, “I would not eat something I did not like, if you made me sit there for a month; why would you think I would make my child eat something she does not like?  If she does not like something, she does NOT have to eat it.”

(Any of you who know my mother will be envisioning the teacher, hiding under her desk, in a cold sweat; she is as formidable as my sister is smart.)

I was reminded of this event and also recalled the many trials and errors and successes there were in learning what appealed to my sweet autistic child by this little bit of internet levity – http://www.sunnyskyz.com/blog.php?blogid=526%2FAll-Kids-Have-Picky-Eating-Habits-But-These-32-Toddlers-Take-The-Cakethat spawned a lot of pretty unsympathetic and downright nasty responses from some grown-up types.

As an adult with a fully functioning and well-educated palate, I can tell you that my mother NEVER made me try any food I balked at – much less would she have made me eat anything I did not enjoy.  As the parent of an autistic child, I also understand and appreciate that certain textures are not just unpleasant to some folks; they are alarming or even painful, so I would not be quick to dismiss the dislike of things like “banana strings” or crust. Here’s some good info about real reasons kids’ palates deserve respect: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maryann-jacobsen/8-things-picky-eaters-wish-their-parents-knew_b_6132398.html

I would also remind all those who are old enough to think they have the right to tell a kid she has to eat her broccoli that there are plenty of foods that would never pass their adult lips.  If you think kids should have to eat what is served, be sure you don’t skip the (slimy) green bean casserole or the (mushy overcooked) Brussels sprouts or the (bitter) cranberry relish on the Thanksgiving table next week.  .  .  .

You wouldn’t want to be sitting at the table with a full plate of disgusting-to-you-but-loved-by-others-so-you-must-eat-it-now-cold-as-ice food in front of you while everyone else was watching the game.


Seriously? You know I only eat Italian parsley, Mom!


Turn Leftish

12 11 2014

Today, I did something I rarely do – I was A PASSENGER in a car. Being the complete total control freak I am, I am almost never not behind the wheel, but I was feeling adventurous . . . One of the interesting parts of this experience was listening to the GPS lady’s well-modulated, yet insistent, directions.  It made me wonder about quality control in the digital age and what might happen should one of these tech trip advisors slide through the final inspection under less than a watchful eye.

With the assistance of my dear husband and the removal of any vestiges of political correctness filters, I offer you

The Top 10 Directions Given by a GPS “Inspected” by a Disgruntled Employee

10. You’re going to be late. You should have left earlier.

9.  You’re in the wrong lane. Oh, the berm, yea, that’s better.  Perhaps you would like a designated driver.

8.  Tourne à droite dans un kilomètre. TOURNE A DROITE IMBECILE! Just kidding, I’m still in English. Hey, you missed your turn.

7.  When you reach the corner, pull over and ask someone where the hell you are.

6. This right turn has been brought to you by Dunkin’ Donuts, Amazon.Com, the Koch Brothers and Steve.

5. Your turn signal has been on the last 4 miles. I know many people have a fear of commitment, but it’s time – just make the damn turn.

4. Get into the far left lane. Sorry, I thought we were in England – is everybody ok?

3. Deflate the airbag. No, the one sitting in the passenger seat.

2. Stay straight, stay straight, stay straight. A message of faith from the Westboro Baptist Church.

1. Call your mother; you’re lost.

The Next Laugh

5 11 2014

I am a lucky woman. I am happily married.

Here’s a little episode, a real conversation from a few weeks ago, between my dear husband and me that illustrates a key to said happy marriage. We’d both been out of sorts for a few days. We’d both been just a little bit cranky, a little bit blue, and were just a little bit tired of the other’s foul mood .  .  .

Dear Husband, half-smile:   Wish you weren’t so grouchy.

Damn Fine Wife, sideways glance:   It’s your fault. You started it.

Dear Husband, deadpan delivery:     Yes, but that was the 80’s.

We both knew we had not been easy to live with for a few days. Both of us were responsible for our own little thunderclouds and each of us had reason to complain about the other’s behavior. We could have had an argument – picked a fight over something unimportant, just to vent our mutual frustration with life at the moment. Lots of folks do that. (Dear Husband is a divorce lawyer, so we’re not just guessing about this behavior.)  We do not enjoy arguing, except about Jeopardy or sporting events, so we made a joke. We laughed.

When we share a laugh with someone we love, wonderful things happen. Trivial problems are put in their place. Unfounded or exaggerated bumps in the road simply cannot survive the sound of laughter. That means far fewer silly arguments and much more happiness.

If all else fails, blame it on the 80’s – they deserve it.



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