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Although we’ve all read  “Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout,” we tend to let the recycling pile waaaay up.  And then fall over.  And then pile on top of the fallen-over pile.  And then we miss recycling day because it’s every other week instead of every week and we can ever remember which one it is and the truck comes at the crack of dawn and…well, there’s always a pile of cans, paper, and Amazon boxes next to the back door.

Monday, I noticed that handwritten notes on wee scraps of paper had scattered across the kitchen.  I picked them up, unsure which kid they were from, since they have nearly identically dreadful handwriting.  I saw this:

Note to Yemen

As I gathered them, I saw that they were all little notes passed at the Model UN conference Julianna attended at Johns Hopkins a few weeks ago.  She was representing Yemen on a reproductive rights panel (not a nuanced position, to be sure).

The other side of the note from Italy

The other side of the note from Italy

...PS  Come alone.

…PS Come alone.

uh, Columbia?  You're coming off a little needy.

uh, Columbia? You’re coming off a little needy.

Evidence of the Middle Eastern conspiracy

Evidence of the Middle Eastern conspiracy

"Do you like Israel?  Check one:  yes    no"

“Do you like Israel? Check one: yes no”

I don't even know what's going on here, but I like this kid.

I don’t even know what’s going on here, but I like this kid.

The fact that most of the kids have the same handwriting they had in 3rd grade, makes these all the more hilarious to me.  If I’d been able to see an i dotted with a heart, it would have been perfect.

the full pile

the full pile

I’m pretty sure the floor of the actual UN is just littered with notes like these.  It explains a lot, really.

This week’s source of mirth has been the pack goat vet care class Julianna took last weekend.  The what?  Pack Goat vet care class.  Through 4-H.  See, apparently you can take a goat hiking with you and it can carry some of your gear.  I find it easier to just drive up to a campsite and unload from my car, but some people prefer to load up a goat.  “But you don’t have a goat,” you say.  That is true.  However, in 4-H, you can lease an animal to train it and show it.  So, rental goat.  Julianna’s rental goat lives at a friend’s house.  The friend’s dad is one of the Pack Goat leaders.  Last weekend, they had a vet come out and show the kids (ha!) how to do some basic goat vet care stuff.

Turns out, step number one in all goat-related vet procedures is “Get enough people to hold down the goat.”  This notion has amused the crap out of us all week.  “So, what do we need to do first today?”  “Get enough people to hold down the goat.”  It’s like a 4-H minyan.  Nothing is official unless you have a goat restraint quorum.

So she learned how to give a goat CPR…in case they OD or something.  And how to bandage their legs.  And, of course, how to take their temperature. Which is just what you imagine.  Today the 4-H leadership group were writing 30 second radio spots.  Julianna’s began “Have you ever had to stick anything in a goat’s butt?” and went on to say you get to do all sorts of things you didn’t think you’d ever do in 4-H.  One of the other kids actually said that her opening line “didn’t make me want to join 4-H.”  Seriously?  Is your soul dead, child?  Another pointed out–a valid point I think–that she never said exactly WHAT she was putting in a goat’s butt.  So then we laughed about a project that just involved seeing how much a goat butt would hold.

I have trouble seeing how the actual hikes can be half as much fun as saying “goat butt” several times in one day.

When I tidied up the family room the other day, I also brought the doll house up out of the basement.  I’d gotten it at Goodwill a couple of years ago, with the dream of turning it into a haunted house that I could trot out at Halloween.  Like so many grand schemes, it hasn’t happened.  But I have found that both Ben and Lily will play with a house if it’s in the family room, so I thought I’d put it out for a while.  Sure enough they were into it like a cat with a shipping carton.

This morning, as I was waiting for the coffee to steep, I noticed the sun streaming in the front windows of our house and, thus, through the windows of the dollhouse:


Luckily, I looked closer…




Apparently, that nice Tarantino boy came over to play.

Too much Lego for too long and now look at us!

It’s all Andi’s fault that I did NO laundry today.  Waste your precious time here:

Minifig Maker

I didn’t want you to miss this.  If you never saw Atari games in the early 80s, you aren’t going to care about this, but if you did, please continue.    From the mightygodking blog, via monkeys for helping:


This, my Mac-loving friends, is hilarious.  The real genius is that for just a split second– even though you know it’s from the Onion, and thus, is satire–just for a moment, it almost seems real.  You have to pause the feed when they show the “predictive sentences” and read them.

Whenever really stupid crap happens to me, I think of Amy.  She must be so thrilled.  So this one’s for you, Amy:

I went to Baltimore today to meet Janet at Ikea.  We’re trying to get this birthday party business going (I’ll fill you in later) and needed to get some stuff.  We had a fun, leisurely time.  Had lunch, chatted, checked out, loaded up.  I checked my phone for the time and saw that there was a message.  I hadn’t put it in my pants pocket and had, apparently, missed a call.  I give a listen.  It’s the school, saying that there will be a two hour early dismissal (I’m assuming a fear of icy roads, it was rainy and cold) and that they can’t get ahold of the Talberts, our emergency ride family.  Two hours early is 1:45.  Current time–1:31.  Time needed to get to school from Ikea–about 75 min. if there’s no traffic, which is a ridiculous notion.  First, I call Caroline (mother of said Talberts) and get her voice mail.  Call the school, tell them that I’m in Baltimore and headed for them (“well we called in plenty of time and there’s no aftercare” yes, thank you) but won’t be there for a bit.  Assure front desk that I will keep looking for someone to take the kids and swear that they can go with anyone that looks familiar.  “If the kids know the family, it’s fine!  Just let me know where they end up!”  This does not seem to sit well.  Which is stupid, but that’s for another rant.  I hang up and Ben calls from his classroom, saying that if someone else is picking him up, he needs a note.  I’ll fax it from the back seat, hold on.  I get his teacher on the phone, explain the sitch, she vows to hunt down someone to take my children and I should just hang up and drive carefully.  I vow my love for her.  She calls back, says she can’t seem to find them a ride, but will just stay with them, in her room, until I arrive.  I vow to make her all the jingle balls she can eat.  I get a call from the front desk, Caroline is there, do I want to talk to her?  Yes.  She says she will take the kids to her house, after making a stop at Home Depot to buy a doorknob (that’s important later.  Hold on to that.).  Woo.  Stress dissolves, I put back on Car Talk podcast, and drive on to Frederick.

I arrive at Caroline’s house about an hour after talking to her.  She’s not there yet.  I knock on the door and her 12/13 year old son answers the door.  He is bewildered by my presence.  I assure him that his mom will arrive soon, with my children and his siblings and he lets me in. I am, however, surprised I beat them home, and just the weensienst bit concerned b/c the roads are supposedly icy somewhere and, of course, someone else has my kids which means they are in constant danger b/c of my neglect.  I tell Owen I’m going out to the car to get my phone.  I call Caroline to see where she is–no answer.  They’re in a ditch.   I go back into the house to await the bad news and to pee b/c I’ve had to pee like mad for about 45 min.  I set my phone down and pop into the bathroom and close the door.  Flip the switch and…nothing.  Okay, light’s burned out.  I’ll just pop the door open, secure the location of the toilet and pee in the dark.  There’s  no doorknob.  Just a latch bar, holding the door closed quite nicely.  I wiggle it.  No response.  Okay.  First, pee, then think.  As I sit down and let go I have the fleeting thought “what if the whole bathroom is broken b/c they’re remodeling and there’s no water and the toilet isn’t even hooked up?”  But I am reassured by the sound of water in the tank, do my business, flush (phew) and contemplate my trouble.  I know that Owen has disappeared into the house again to escape the horror of talking to your mom’s weird friend and mother of the girl you most hate (love, who is he kidding?) in the whole world.  It occurs to me that it would probably utterly mortify him to have to free me from the !bathroom! so I set to wiggling that latch again.  As my eyes adjust to the dark, I get Bloody Mary in the mirror, so that’s nice.  But still no dice.  I accept that I either get help or be trapped in the dark, in the bathroom when the police show up to tell Owen and I about the accident.  He’ll need me there.  I must get free.  With visions of trying to talk him through handing me my phone through the little space where the knob goes or of his dad coming home and taking off the hinges to free my lame butt, I call Owen.  I’m on my knees, shouting through that hole and he finally hears me and comes up and opens the door using the doorknob they keep out there so they can use the door.  He is, clearly, horrified to have to deal with Mom’s friend in proxemity to the bathroom, and scuttles away as quickly as he can.

I try again to call Caroline and and her phone rings on the desk next to me. Oops. So even if she’s unhurt in the ditch, she can’t call for help.  Should I go look for them?  Nah, I’ll just settle in with a book.  Owen shows up and calls his dad, who suggests that maybe she went to my house.  I call there, nothing.  And then they’re home, having stopped for ice cream after the doorknob, truck undented by ditch-time. Caroline is mirthful at my tale, I’m glad to tell it b/c lord knows I was in the dark thinking “Well, this’ll make a good blog post.”  We round up and head out, but I yell “Hey Owen, thanks for letting me out of the bathroom!” as I go.

I’m all busy and stressed and unlikely to string together two coherent sentences for a bit.  So enjoy.  A blog for endless amusement: Sexy People.  It’s just horrific studio portraits, one after another.  I know you think you have some bad ones.  You were wrong.

Imaginary Tess helped me waste far, far too much time. has unleashed a monster in me…

And look, I’m my mom!

And maybe my dad…

And I think the most important part of information here is that I actually went and made myself up for these…And you know I could do it some more, too.

Julianna found this on the Flip Video camera.  It may be–and I do not exaggerate–the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.  Okay, it’s in the top ten.  Can’t forget that cat that jumps up off the bed and hits the wall.

I liiiiike piiieeee!


July 2020