Meet the Punchers

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When I was a kid, there was a family in the neighborhood. I’ll call them the Punchers, because that was something they really enjoyed. (Besides, they might hunt me down and beat me if I identify them.)

The Punchers are directly responsible for much of my parental anxiety.

They had a kid my age – a girl, even! She just loved to hit, but she did not love reciprocity. I preferred to play with the neighborhood boys even though they weren’t my age. It was safer.

Of course, sometimes I had to play with her. Her mom would come over and threaten to punch my mom if I didn’t.

The Puncher kids went to public school, which colored my view of public school kids and public school in general.

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Ahem.

One day, I was having dinner at the Punchers, and Mrs. Puncher asked me about parochial school.*

The brother (who was about 4 years older) interrupted my answer to ask why he didn’t go to parochial school.

“You think we’d pay for your education?” she laughed, “That would be a waste of money!”

The Punchers all thought this was hilarious, and their son didn’t seem the least bit hurt.

Anyway, I thought about them recently when I heard my kids were playing musical chairs in school. I have only one experience with musical chairs, and it’s from Puncher girl’s birthday party. When the music stopped, she punched the crap out of me until I gave up my chair.

Thank goodness, those aren’t the rules of the game, even in public school. Still, my kids are lukewarm to the Darwinian nature of musical chairs.

In our school, it’s more like,

“Here’s a chair, old chum. Trust me, you need it more than I do.”

“Ha, ha! No, thank you, I insist!  I prefer to watch those other poor souls duke it out for dwindling resources.”

“Right-o! That’s what passes for entertainment nowadays…”

Monocles and spatter-dashes are big at my kids’ school.

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Maman, do pack more of those nummy fruit leathers!

And punching is so-o-o last year.

*Parochial school in the eighties had a whole ‘nother set of problems.

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When You Walk into a Poo Storm

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Everyone knows there are some things you just don’t post on social media, right? I mean, we’ve learned our lesson with this woman , these guys , and this

Social media’s not a free-for-all! Other people see it. More people than you realize. (Wake up, dummies!)

But what about those days when you post something seemingly innocuous? Like, “Look at this pretty rainbow!” with a picture of a pretty rainbow, and you get comments. Lots and lots of comments…

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Warning: actual rainbow.

“It must be nice living in a temperate climate where it rains and you can take shelter in your comfortable house with your expensive phone, and by the way, check your privilege!!!

“Unfortunately, some of us can’t see rainbows at all because of colorblindness. :/”

“Stop trying to foist your Judeo-Christian symbolism on us!!”

“It’s Adam and Steve, not Adam and Eve! Wait, you know what I mean… NOW look what you made me do, you $%&#@!!”

“This rainbow reminds me of my huge LuLaRoe sale* – here’s a link!”

… and that’s just the replies to your original post, not to mention all of the infighting that results in your friends’ comments.

Sometimes, it seems like you can’t post anything without stepping in a steaming pile. When that happens, it can throw you for a loop,

  • Remember these people are all just reacting to a sliver of who you areblog intersect what happened

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    Go to your happy place!

  • It’s not worth the psychic energy
  • You can take it down

Take it down?!? But, but, my freedom!!

Look, I’m just saying: it’s an option.

Once upon a time, a very silly, fleeting thing happened in a very specific place. A place most of the world doesn’t know or care very much about: Milwaukee.

During the entertainment segment of a Brewer’s baseball game, four people dressed as sausages raced each other around the field. As they ran, a player from the opposing team thought it would be hilarious to hit one of the sausages with a baseball bat. (You know, like you do…)

It was an unfortunate but funny story, and someone made a shirt out of it, and it said, “Milwaukee: Don’t Whack Our Wiener,” and I bought the shirt.

Not for myself, for my husband.

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You’re welcome, baby!

We didn’t even live in Milwaukee at the time, so he wore it in Atlanta when we were hiking.

WELL.

Neither of us anticipated the looks we were about to get, and when a family with little kids came along, my husband had the good sense to leave the trail and turn his shirt inside out.

I still laugh about the whole thing. Him, not so much.

In conclusion, social media is just like everything else. You never know when someone’s going to make a stink, so don’t be surprised.

Anyone looking for a very clever Brewers’ pop culture souvenir T-shirt, let me know: only worn once!

*I do not like LuLaRoe. Please stop trying to sell it to me. Thank you.

All Hands on El Gato

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I’m not trying to brag when I say we have an exceptionally tolerant cat. My family certainly can’t take the credit, he was like that when we adopted him. I suspect he might have been smuggled into a frat house as a kitten…

Lucky for us, because we’re obnoxious pet owners:

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The only thing he doesn’t like is when I was pretend he’s an accordion and I sing “The Famous Person Polka.” He nips at my face and jumps out of my arms.

Allegedly.

Our cat also LOVES to be loved. I say that about all cats, whether it’s true or not. With this one, however, it’s really and truly true. He demands two hands petting, thank you, so don’t even think about that coffee. PUT IT DOWN.

This summer, when the kids have a disagreement – let me just say, I really don’t care if they have a disagreement, that’s fine. I’m talking about when they have a disagreement that goes on long enough to impact me – I simply say, “All Hands on El Gato.” We go and find El Gato (not too difficult, he’s usually right there) and everyone puts two hands on him and he’s in HEAVEN with this sudden and lavish attention.

Usually that’s enough to move everyone on with their lives, unless the cat insists we stay there for another hour of petting and he will let us know when our spiritual healing is complete. Since he’s smaller than your average cat, our hands have to overlap, and soon we’re laughing and everyone’s forgotten who killed whom with a platinum sword.

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“That’s right, I’m like freaking St. Francis over here. I’m an instrument of peace, yous guys.” (My cat starred in Welcome Back Kotter.)

Pets have one job. Your dog won’t plow a field. Your cat won’t deliver brandy to you in an avalanche. They’re stress relief. Pets are living fidget spinners –  Use em, I say!

At least, I’ll use our cat while I can. I might have three more kid-arguments, tops, before I have to come up with something else.

Moms can’t get too comfy.

Unlike cats… toocomfortable

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to my sister and brother-in-law on their new bundles of feline joy!

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Just the two – she didn’t adopt five cats… I mean, that’s too many cats, right…?

If you have a pathological love of cats, check out the Katzenworld blog.

Like cat fiction? My friend, Debbie Manber Kupfer can fix you up.

Help Today – Join TrialNet!

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Many studies have cured diabetes in mice – it’s time to find a cure for humans.

This morning, I woke up from a terrible dream. In it, my son’s blood sugar was going up. First his meter read 614, and then 700. (Healthy blood glucose levels are between 70 and 100 mg/dL.)

My eyes flew open. I turned off my alarm and said, “I’ve had enough.”

I’m not the first parent or person with Type 1 Diabetes who has said this. My son says it every day! But there’s something about today. Today has an urgency about it.

I recently saw a pediatric endocrinologist give a speech about clinical trials. She spoke in great detail about TrialNet, a worldwide research organization dedicated to pre-diabetes screening.

So what? I thought. There’s nothing that can prevent someone from developing Type 1 Diabetes. Once the beta cells start going rogue and the immune system steps up to attack them, Type 1 (the inability to create insulin) is not far behind. My kid already has diabetes. There was nothing I could have done to prevent it.

But, there’s something almost EVERYONE* can do to prevent future cases of Type 1. We can join TrialNet, give a blood sample, and follow up. TrialNet tracks people for the antibodies present in patients with diabetes before it develops. They study risk factors like genetics, the environment, and exposure to other illnesses. They research interventions and possibly vaccines that could prolong the onset of diabetes and hopefully one day prevent it.

They may even discover a way to treat or cure people who currently have the disease.

*Anyone under age 45 can enroll in TrialNet anywhere in the world. Please consider becoming part of this important project!

Follow this link to learn more. Please share this post. THANK YOU.

Wizard of Ahs

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2successOnce upon a time, there was Toastmasters. If you wanted to give speeches (for work; I could explain, but let’s just say it was the olden days) you could join a club in your area – sometimes even at your workplace – and practice your presentations. THEN, someone else would give a speech about your speech, and other people around the room had tasks like “Who used the Word of the Day,” and “Ah Counter.”

The Ah Counter, or as some clubs called them, the Wizard of Ahs, kept track of everyone who stood up to speak that meeting and humiliated them by sharing how many times they used fillers like “um,” “ah,” “you know,” “okay,” prolonged “ands” and “sos,” aaaand, let me see, what else…?

Some people thought it was mean to have an Ah Counter because it was public shaming and negative reinforcement, but it certainly made people more aware. Tough love, we used to call it.

My Toastmaster days are over, and my YouTube days are in full swing. When I need to know how to pry the bumper off my phone, tie a gi belt, or suture my own wounds, I turn to the most trusted source on the internet.

 

The people in these videos are 84% helpful, but the AAAAHHHHHS! As I write this, my daughter is watching an origami tutorial. I keep hearing the word, “Soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.” And it’s only 4 minutes long!

Thank you very much, technology: everyone with an idea and a phone can make a video and upload it – and they do!

It’s enough to make a Toastmaster deviate from parliamentary procedure.

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Unprofessional! I’m out of here on my unnaturally long legs!

Lately, someone told me I need to stop writing a blog with all these wordy-words and switch to video. Well, I don’t want to! I like to read, and my readers like to read. I don’t usually have anything to “show,” and as a consumer of media, I’d rather read an opinion than watch someone bloviate for 12 minutes.

(If you see me in a video, brush up on your Morse code, because I will be trapped in a bunker.)

The next time you encounter a YouTuber or (even worse) a Facebook Live sort in real life, please, grind their phone under your heel for me. Or at least tell them practice and editing are their friends.

If you’re as old and croctchety as I am, find me on Facebook, twitter, or leave a note here!

Ender Yoga

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We begin with a gentle stretch. Inviting the breath. Coming to presence in this peaceful space. A space, and a time, that’s just for you.

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Ground the hands and the feet, lifting the hips toward the sky. Feel the lengthening. Warming shoulder muscles, warming calves…

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…and come up.

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Exhale deeper into dhanurasana. Remembering to breathe. Making space in the chest, opening the heart.

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If this is too much for you, modify the pose. Feeling strength and stability…

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… and releasing completely into savasana.

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…Namaste.

Starting Early

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“I am literally starving, but I have to hold up this wall.”

I live in a wonderful small town. It has one independent coffee shop, for which I am grateful because most of our town is choppers and mullets – we’re basically poor white trash, and before you get in a twist, I am in no way differentiating myself.

The coffee place gives you a nice discount if you bring your own cup, so I do (see above), and if it’s quiet, I stay there to drink it, but TODAY… I was behind two women who hadn’t seen each other in some time (long enough for one of them to bring a card and a cheerful bouquet, you know, when you want to embarrass the hell out of a so-called friend).

They were both in activewear (check out the video, if you don’t know what I’m talking about, but you DO) and they both had GIANT bags. They weren’t even hand bags, they were tents with handles. The bags were under their arms, jutting out in back, and they kept stepping back from the counter, and almost bludgeoning me with their GIANT-ASS bags. That was pretty annoying.

One of the employees started making sympathetic and then goofy faces at me at their expense, so I was NOT imagining their annoyingness.

Our beloved coffee shop in PWT’s-ville used to have regular and decaf, but now, in keeping with the times, they have regular, dark roast, and decaf.

BLOG threw up in my mouth

“Slow down – you’re blowing my mind.”

 

This was TOO MUCH for these women, who wanted to know the backstory of both regular coffees, and impart what they knew about the chemical processing of decaf. (Causes cancer, you say? Give me the whole pot!)

Once they heard the story of the coffees – “I vas born in var-torn Berlin…”  – they did NOT order coffee. NO! They wanted to hear all about the TEAS. What is this one? Optimus Prime?! OMG! Razzle-Dazzle?!?!?! Oh, gosh, IDK, what do you recommend?

I recommend you go ahead and order before I break my foot off in your ass.

At last, the woman behind the counter said, “Why don’t you give it some thought and come back when you decide,” which made them decide IMMEDIATELY on two iced mochas.

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Well, surprise, surprise, surprise!

They went looking for a table (out of the three that are in the tiny coffee place), and the one holding the flowers dropped the flowers… (passive-aggressive!) They both let up a wail that disturbed the one pot-bellied guy who sits there all day enough for him to flap his newspaper.

The server not making their mochas (my sister in impatience) came out with a broom and dustpan and assured them there was no damage, the place could take worse, and I think I even heard her say, “Calm down.” It was like having Elf and Ed Grimley together at last.

Once my coffee was ready (took 2 seconds!) in my reusable cup, I got the hell out of there, but now I wish I had stayed and collected more material. It’s episodes like these that feed my morbid creative instinct. Alas. Please comment if you have a snarky story to share. I’m a snark-fueled vehicle.