Category Archives: Uncategorized

What If God Was One of Us.

What If God Was One of Us.

When a person is a reporter such as I, they get to talk to people of a certain caliber. It’s just what we do. For instance, once I interviewed Jack Nicklaus. I stood that close to greatness and that was all I did. I had to record what other reporters asked because…sports.

Another time I was among a group of reporters covering the opening of a new exit on a tollway and—hold onto your wigs and keys—the Governor of Illinois was there and—wait for it—he hadn’t even been sentenced to jail yet.

After a while we can get a little jaded in our search to uncover the truth so, when I was recently sent out to interview the big guy, and I’m not talking about the Deputy Mayor of Bartlett, although he’s a big wig in Bartlett.

I’m talking about the Top Dog, the Great Kahuna, The Man Upstairs, The Chairman of the Board…wait…that’s Sinatra who’s only the Vice Top Dog.

Because this person is who he is, I was asked to keep his name out of print, but let’s just say the letters in his name are also the letters in the word dog. We will refer to him from this point as “G”.

Me: Hello, sir. It’s a surprising honor for you to take time out of your day to meet with me.

G: Don’t mention it. I have all the time in the world…Get it? All the time in the world is what I have.

Me: Yes, sir. Very amusing.

G: Because everything in the universe belongs to me.

Me: Uh-huh. So…How are you today?

G: Almighty. Omnipotent. My arthritis is flaring up a bit.

Me: You have arthritis? Can’t you heal that?

G: No need. I got something from my doctor. Doesn’t make me drowsy. And you know what they say; nobody likes a drowsy Lord of the Universe.

Me: Who says that?

G: Pretty sure I heard it somewhere.

Me: I’ll take your word for it.

G: It is the word of the Lord.

Me: Good to know. Shall we get started?

G: That’s why I’m here. Of course, as we just established, I’m everywhere.

Me: Uh-huh. What is your opinion of the 10 Commandments now that some time has passed? Anything you’d take out or add?

G: I was just thinking about updating them recently. I mean, it’s pretty much a given that you shouldn’t murder or steal, etc. The name in vain thing though, I’ve just thrown up my hands on that one. And coveting? Meh. What’s a little coveting among friends? Most people don’t even have oxen anymore.

Me: But isn’t the coveting thing, more or less, about thankfulness for what you have?

G: Sure. You know the old saying: if you’re on your toes looking over the fence at your neighbor’s stuff, you’re going to get a Charlie Horse.

Me: That’s not a saying, sir.

G: Well, it should be. They can’t all make the Book of Proverbs, you know. Anyway, let’s just say, try to mind your own business. Also, a wife shouldn’t be categorized as a thing someone owns.

Me: Very progressive, Sir.

G: Well, you know, you live, you learn.

Me: Any hobbies?

G: I’m a creative person, so I like to dabble here and there. I’m thinking of trying something new though. People just don’t seem to notice what I’ve put together. I mean, why should you need to tell someone to stop and smell the roses? They’re there! They’re waiting to be admired! As I always say, Gather ye roses while ye may.

Me: Pretty sure that was Robert Herrick, sir.

G: That’s because I inspired him to write that.

M: uh-huh…Anyway, is love all you need?

G: That and a good recipe for chocolate cake.

Me: What was your greatest miracle?

G: The 2016 Cubs.

Me: Very impressive.

G: It took some doing, let me tell you.

Me: I can imagine. What do you think of our political system? Any advice?

G: Could be better. For instance, I’ve always thought a good way to elect officials would be to hold a singing competition.

Me: What now?

G: Like The Voice. The preliminaries are like the primaries and the general election would be the top singers, singing for their life. Now, that’s something I could get into.

Me: What if the winner is no good at governing?

G: Begin another singing contest.

Me: Uh-huh.

G: One can only listen to the Messiah Chorus and Joan Osborne so much, you know? Yeah, yeah, God is good and yeah, yeah God is great. It gets tedious.

Me: Do you have any favorite musicians?

G: Well, I mean who doesn’t love The Beatles?

Me: What about all that mess with John Lennon saying The Beatles are greater than God? Didn’t that upset you?

G: They are much better musicians. I just can’t get the hang of a guitar after playing a lute all these years. Lennon’s been working with me. Did you know he learned to play on a banjo?

Me: I did not. Back to the commandments. Anything you’d add?

G: Oh, sure. If I knew people were going to chew so loudly, I’d have certainly addressed that.

Me: Okay.

G: And people who talk at the theater and concerts and movies. Sometimes I feel like smiting. Good me. If you have to talk go somewhere where you don’t bother anyone, like—Also, put the carts back in the cart corral and hang the clothes back up when your done trying them on.

(At this point a bit of thunder could be heard).

I mean, just don’t be a jerk. Road rage, really? Save your anger for what really matters: like when they cancel all the good TV shows.

(Thunder gets louder).

Me: Huh. Well, that’s about all I need—

G: Wait. One more thing. Stop abusing the less powerful in general. For the love of me! It takes nothing away from you to be kind. (At this point he covered his eyes with his hands.).

(Lighting flashes and rain begins.)

G: Karma’s a thing! And Instant Karma is going to get you…hold on…I’m being told that Lennon wrote that. (Whispers.) He can be a real poop about his music.

Me: Anything else?

G: Well, sometimes he gets crabby about McCartney still touring.

Me: Understandable.

G: I mean, good golly, that boy can entertain.

Me: Yes sir. And he’s pretty cute too.

G: You’re welcome.

Me: Any final words?

G: The love you take is equal to the love you make. As the great prophet said: People can love you just the way you are.

Me: Wasn’t that Mr. Rogers?

G: And?

Me: Nothing, Sir.

G: What was I saying? Oh! Once you love yourself, apply that to your fellow human beings. You know? I should have put that into the book. Imagine. Nothing to kill or die for. A brotherhood of man.

Me: Um, two back up comments. 1: You did make that rule. It’s known as the Golden Rule. And 2: You’re quoting Lennon, again.

G: (Holds up a finger) John! Play something else!

Me: So you can hear him sing whenever?

G: Whenever he’s in the mood. Artists, you know?

Me: Well, thanks for…everything. Please tell John we miss him.

G: You’re welcome and he knows.

Me: Okay—well…

G: Don’t eat too much sugar!

Me: I won’t.

G: It’s not nice to lie to me.

Me: Sorry.

G: I forgive you.

Me: Thanks.

G: Don’t take any wooden nickels.

Me: Thanks. I’ll try not to.

G: I’ll see you later.

Me: Much, I hope.

G: (Pantomimes locking his lips and throwing away the key.)

Me: Well, that’s not disconcerting.

G: (Shrugs) (sings) It’s the circle of life and it moves us all. I wrote that!

Me: Yes, well…it’s lovely. Goodbye, sir

G: Goodbye! Love you!

Me: Goodbye, sir. Thanks for…everything.

G: Thanks for thanking me. Amen.

Me: Amen.


Why a Jamboree and More!


I like to stay neutral here on my blog, mostly because this is my world and what I say goes unless I’m tired and suggest something untoward, in which case, just go on with your lives and don’t wake me up whilst doing so.


Anyway, in the light of a certain speech made at a Boy Scout gathering, I have a few questions that I feel need to be addressed. First of all and of the utmost importance; what the hell is a Jamboree?


Have you ever turned to your colleagues at the end of a difficult work-week and exclaimed, “Hey Fellas! How about we attend a jamboree?”


Seriously, is that how it works? I’ve never worked in an office in my life. I’ve been a preschool teacher, waitress, store clerk, reporter, etc…and not once was a Jamboree mentioned until this year and of course, I have tirelessly researched that fact. Don’t confuse me with the truth.


In any case, is a Jamboree anything like a Hullabaloo?


To clarify, if you’re over 50, you’re probably picturing an American Bandstand knock off of that name, and you would be correct. If you’re under 50 you’re probably thinking, What’s a Bandstand? Well, you won’t hear it from me, go write your own blog about current pop music, ya punks and Paul McCartney.



According to Mr. Webster, a hullabaloo is a noisy and confused situation which begs another question; I can see why the show was noisy, but what were yesterday’s teenagers confused about when they were watching Paul Revere and The Raiders? Perhaps it was the Knickerbockers and tri-cornered hats or perhaps because Sammy Davis Jr. hosted one week. Something about him doesn’t scream let’s scream at him if you get my drift.


If you don’t, go play with your little fidget things. When I was a kid and I wanted to fidget, I had to use my fingers! And I was happy to have them!


So…Hullabaloo. It’s different from a Jamboree in that, according to the dictionary, a Jamboree is a “noisy and unrestrained carouse” while a Hullabaloo consists of confused teenagers wondering what a carouse is and if it was less confusing than Shindig.


Above: Your Grandma not screaming at Sammy Davis Jr. 


Now, Shindig, which has nothing to do with what happens when you walk into the open door of a dishwasher and create another bruise on your leg. Instead, it was another kid oriented pop/rock show that was a replacement for Hootananny, a folk music show and did anyone notice that music related shows in the 60s had odd names? Good thing MTV was invented to be more succinct and then abandon music for ding-dongs participating in shenanigans, which speaks for itself.


Not that it’s a big hoo-hah, but still, isn’t a hoo-hah what the kids call their nether regions? I don’t want to cause a kerfuffle on The Internet as I’d rather not break new ground.


Also, remember what the word thong used to mean? If not, a word of advice, don’t go to a shoe store and ask for one or, if you must, ask someone with a few gray hairs.


So, what have we learned? First we learned that a Jamboree is a noisy and unrestrained carouse and not a mixed cocktail, although it seems there was a mixed cocktail of attendees this year’s Jamboree and also, unexpectedly, shenanigans.


Also, we have learned that Hullabaloo is similar to Shindig and Hootenanny and that you shouldn’t say hoo-hah or thong to Millennials as it amuses them and may turn into a melee.


Clear enough or is it more of a Jamboree?

Why a Puppy


So we have a puppy. Her name is Ella. I didn’t want one, but it turns out it’s mandatory, like death, taxes and having panic attacks during campaign periods.



My son found her mug shot on the Internet. She was behind bars for what we can only assume was a urine related incident, either that or death by adorable…ness.


She is a mix; Yorkie and something other than a Yorkie. We’re not sure what because, after asking a dog groomer and two vets, the best they could come up with was: a Yorkshire Terrier and some sort of terrier that is not a Yorkshire Terrier. It’s hard to say what the mystery addition is, except to say she is long and tall. I think it’s possible that she’s actually two short, skinny guys in a dog suit.


From what we can see of it, she has an adorable face. Her bangs (or fringe if you’re from the UK and can’t help saying things wrong, adding a u to words and eggs to everything else), partially obscure her face to the point that I think she might have cut someone else’s bangs too short in another life and is thereby facing her Karma.


She has two ears, which is a plus for just about everyone, except for people who live next to airports and air horn factories and Ella’s house.


These ears don’t seem to belong to her, as if she tried on a Great Dane’s ears and forgot to give them back. They seem to work independently from the rest of her body as well as each other, especially when she barks. Each utterance brings about a new configuration. Bark! One up, one down. Bark! One back, one up. Bark! One down, one juggling kibble.


We’ve had plenty of time to enjoy this phenomenon, as it appears Ella has been sent with a very urgent message on the level of R2D2, one that we have yet to decipher, but she is determined to deliver. It better not be, “I like chicken” or “Squirrels are ne’er-do-wells” or we have spent an inordinate amount of time with our ears ringing for nothing.


She has a condition, which our vet refers to as “The Zoomies”. (This is the same vet who declared her a Yorkie and something that’s not a Yorkie, so we are not sure if this is an official diagnosis). This condition takes place first thing in the morning when Ella feels the need to be convincing as half Yorkie/half Greyhound or coyote (pronounced Ki-yote to sound fiercer). She runs laps outside, pausing only to maul our nine-year-old Miniature Schnauzer/Yorkie. At first, this came as a surprise to our older dog, Rain, after all, with Ella’s face it’s kind of like being mugged by Shirley Temple.


Once the Zoomies subside, she ramps down to crazy, throwing her toys for herself and continuing to maul our Rain, who, over time has become resigned to her fate, yet cleverly signed up for Kung Fu in her spare time. She’s just that smart.


Once Ella is completely worn out she morphs into the animal we decide to keep. She blinks her eyes in exhaustion, reaches out to be picked up and settles in for a nap, where she adorably stops biting and fighting and sleeps the sleep of the damned…or the innocent. Doesn’t matter. She’s quiet and we can hear ourselves think.


Havoc is not the only condition she imposes when she is awake, however. She makes us laugh when she unconvincingly menaces her mirrored image. She makes us all mushy inside when she looks up at us with flattened ears and smiles. She creates a healthier environment when we desperately attempt to ward off future Zoomies by walking her around the neighborhood at what, for us, seems a pretty steady clip, but, for her, seems to be a frustratingly slow stroll.


For Rain, she has brought a friend to play with and cuddle with in sleep, neither of which was approved of by our late Lhasa-Apso, Grace Greco who seemed to find it weird when we would take her lovies and throw them as hard as we could into another room and demand some space in which to sleep.


Over all, and for the time being, we’ve decided to keep this creature that is almost potty trained and sometimes attempts to eat our rocking chair, which I think makes our family tolerant in the extreme. Consider our reaction if our son came home with a girlfriend and said person almost always used the toilet instead of pooping in our closet and also relaxed by settling down for a gnaw on our furniture.


Plus, there is hope for the future, because, all dogs, like all children, become adults and make us cry when we thing of when they were new and everything they did was darling in our memories. So, we’ll sit back and enjoy what we can and suffer through what we have to, knowing full well one day we’ll say to one another; remember when Ella used to bark at her reflection in the window, in the same way we currently say; remember when Grace hated it when we threw her toys? And cry just a little.



Why Chris Martin owes me a refund


So. I went to see Coldplay for the third time last month. Those of you who’ve read my blog, know me or have driven next to me in traffic know I love Coldplay, specifically, Chris Martin and believe he is magical. Not like a unicorn, because they only exist in the mind of the truly innocent and that guy from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, but still as magical as one can be without the ability to spew glitter on demand. On second thought…


I was depending on Chris Martin to help me recover from my Annus horribilis, which is not Latin for hemorrhoids but Horrible Year, a term I learned from Elizabeth the Second after she tripped over a Corgi three years back.


My year, however, has actually been worthy of whatever award they give First World People when life has smacked them about for more than a week or two.


Hold on to your wigs and keys, as Dave Letterman used to say when he cared about what I wanted to see on TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love Stephen Colbert and watch him most every night, but I wish I could have my cake and eat it too and, also that Dave would pop up from time to say something smart and snarky before sinking into his beard again, while Stephen Colbert continues to amuse.


Anyway, here’s a list of what has gone on in my life since March 2016. Ironically, I was given a mood leveller in hopes that I would stop dragging my nose on the ground on a regular basis, instead, it knocked me on my ass for 5 weeks while I laid in bed trying not to move my head, which caused vertigo and a plethora of unpleasant symptoms no one truly wants to hear or experience, trust me.


As I pulled slowly from that sinkhole, I fell into the larger crevice of my father’s death, followed closely with my big brother teetering on the edge of death for a number of weeks and then, one week after her 16th birthday, my dog, Gracie Louise Greco barked at her last mail carrier, successfully sending him from my porch, gripped in terror, or so she likely thought.


By this time, it was late June and I pinned my hopes on Chris Martin, who, most likely was blithely unaware and mostly goofy, because as Dr. Phil says, the past is the best predictor of the future.


I had bought my tickets last December, splurging mightily and shockingly to my more pragmatic friends. As a freelance writer, I won’t be taking any solo trips to Paris or even Peoria any time soon. Still, I thought, I love my Coldplay and I took a leap of faith that I would continue to receive a fairly regular, two or three gigs from The Daily Herald on a monthly basis, thereby paying off Chris Martin in hopes he didn’t send out one of his goons to break my kneecaps. Luckily for my legs, I did so and proceeded to squirm and squeal in anticipatory joy for the weeks leading up to the concert.


The concert was at the end of July and I would be in the second row between the stage and one of two runways. He would probably have to sit in my lap to perform a couple of songs as I intended to be in his way. My hope was that I would have my face splashed on the evening news: Local Woman Arrested After Chris Martin Incident.


Sigh. I dreamt of it nearly every night, knowing that this would end my losing streak and begin a new age of delight and peacefulness if I managed to ignore the conventions and subsequent elections.


Unfortunately, and apparently Chris Martin caught wind of my upcoming intent to violate my probation and removed the two ramp, replacing them with one ramp down the middle of the floor. The following ensued.


One week before the show I got a letter from Satan AKA Satan. Dammit, Spellcheck, I’m trying to write Satan and it keeps changing it to Satan.   Hang on. Ticketmaster is the accepted term, but, just for the record, I agree with Spellcheck.


So, the letter was from Ticketmaster, telling me, due to a production change and I was now sitting in the 24th row, unless I wanted to return those tickets and try to do better, which I did. I ended up choosing 12th row floor tickets, which seemed to be stage right, but turned out to be stage Southern Illinois.


Yada, yada, Big Storm, yada, yada $49 parking, yada, yada, jumping kids obscure any view I might had in the steam bath that was the floor of Soldier Field. One more yada, yada, huge storm, buckets of cold water. Concert is cut short, or so I heard as I was in a cornfield in Springfield.


My friend and I muddled our way back to our car in a deluge and it took three days before ducks stopped following me, thinking I was a lake.


So, suffice it to say, I am less than cured of my 2016 malaise and am open to ideas of how to get past this year without having to live through autumn and Satan. Winter. I meant winter. For the record, Spellcheck is on a roll.


By the way, I still haven’t received my refund from Satan. (Ticketmaster. Not Winter.)




Why Parents Should Be Particularly Wary of This Immigrant

Why Parents Should Be Particularly Wary of This Immigrant

Sometimes an issue is so overwhelming that it can be hard to clarify a position on the subject. That’s why I’ve created a very short list of questions designed to help you, the reader, come to a conclusion on one of the most difficult subjects of our time. The other issue is how to use your electrical devices once your kid leaves for college, but that’s for another time.

So, answer these question yes or no.imagesYou don’t have to keep score or write anything down, just answer yes or no and don’t wander off and I will tell you where you stand.


If an immigrant were to cause grievous harm to you in order enter the country would you still want this person to be allowed to immigrate into the USA?

If upon arrival an immigrant were to rely on you for food, housing, and all of his or her basic necessities would you want this person allowed in?

If this person had no knowledge of the English language?

If this person expected to go to school on your dime?

If this person had particularly dirty habits?

If this person were to loudly disturb your rest?

And finally: If this person were drooly and poopy and cried incessantly for no apparent reason, then what?

If you answered no to any of these questions it is not time for you to have a baby. If you answered yes, you’re an empty nester and have ordered tissues straight from the manufacturer since school started in September.

Pretty close, wasn’t I?

If, once you had completed this test, you were on the verge of painting signs and standing next to the Post Office protesting, this the wrong site for you, but thanks for up-ticking my counter.

Now, I realize there are some of you who are feeling nit-picky because the questions were formed to make you think we were talking about immigration. For those people, I have a question: What’s the second thing most babies hear after an announcement of their gender?

And your answer is? If you answered “what were we talking about?”, welcome to my husband’s world. If you answered Welcome to the World! Bingo! A baby is an immigrant.

Let’s go over these questions once more. Many of you who encountered the painful arrival question thought ‘that’s why we have drugs’, but some of us didn’t get the drugs and some of us got a broken Coccyx instead and some of us only expecting a little gratitude and the return of our babies immediately because 26 is just too young for this wild world.

Next? Obviously, your baby can’t make demands that you care for him or her for 18 plus years but it is the custom and dropping your baby off with the nice lady next door and heading west is frowned upon. So, pony up!

As far as not speaking English, that’s kind of cute for the first two weeks, but if you’re going to summon people to your bedroom at 3 AM with an ear piercing screech you better be able to at least make up a story on what’s wrong. Imagine someone screaming on your porch at 3 AM waking you from a lovely dream, causing you to put you nice warm toes on the ice cold floor. When you fling open that door would you begin to guess what was wrong with this person or chase him away with an object lifted over your head? How do I know what kind of objects you have at your house? Fill in that part yourself. AM

As all parents know, kids expect to be sent to school without complaint, especially not concerning your hard earned money for “school supplies” or “shoes”. And this is before college! Start saving when you’re a new immigrant and you may have enough to send your money hungry eating machine away to school causing the price of tissues to soar through the roof at home.

As far as dirty habits, I know of more than one child who used excrement as a medium to express their angst about whatever babies are upset about, mostly Target from my experience. But if your creative baby does this sort of thing, rejoice! He or she may grow up to an artist! Or a musician! Or an actor! Or a worker at McDonalds! Same thing!

So, there you have it. If you are over 25 or 30 and younger than Hugh Hefner if you’re a guy, you too can own your own little bundle of immigrant and watch helplessly as they steal your time, rest, money, ability to talk like an adult, (First two years only. Seriously.) and heart. Did I mention that?

They’ll steal your heart and never give it back. So plan accordingly. Have all of your fun now because you’ll never have a moment’s rest from worrying about them and the place where your heart used to be will ache consistently when they leave, taking that particularly valuable organ with them as well as your extra crock pot and mismatched place settings. You can’t say I didn’t warn you. It’s what happens when you have open immigration.

Why You Should Still Be Good For Christmas

Why You Should Still Be Good For Christmas

Well, Christmas is upon us and, I guess we’re all wondering the same thing,

unless you’re a child, in which case,

Santa is real. Now go hang your stockings and don’t be

creeped out by the idea of an old dude watching your every move. I’m sure it will turn out all right no matter what your parents told you about stranger danger. After all, they put you on said old guy’s lap despite your piteous protestations and everything turned out all right. Didn’t it? Now, go watch TV or what the new age equivalent is.

Are they gone? Good. Let’s talk about the subject each and every adult has discussed at some point in their life, usually when they are drunk: Does Santa keep watching even after I quit sitting on his lap? The answer is, that sounds creepy as well. But back to your/my question. Yes, Santa is also watching you, only instead of coal, he enlists his buddy Karma to dole out what we deserve.

I know what you’re thinking; Holy Crap! He’s been watching me sleep all this time. Yep. Even when I…Yep. But try not to think about that or you may need pills of some sort or another.

But back to Karma, which everyone knows is from the Sanskrit and means: He who is hoped to return bad behavior when truth and justice seems to have been texting. (Maybe that’s Superman, but you get my drift.)

Here’s how it works. Santa watches everyone, year round, (which, in any other circumstance would be recognized as stalking) and judges adult behavior by a point system ranging from: Hey! to Forget Karma. You’re going to hell in a hand basket.

Because I have made the good list every year since 1985, (never mind) Santa has shared his rating system with me and I, hoping that Santa is being distracted again by Grand Theft Auto, will now share some of the behaviors which will bring you precariously close to smelling sulfur rather than ginger snaps this Christmas.

Minus Five Points

Avoid Passive/Aggressive behavior during the holidays. Example: That’s a lovely Christmas sweater and in no way does it make you look like a squashed tomato that has been kicked around on the floor of Santa’s toyshop.

Minus Three Points

Be charitable about other’s taste in Christmas decorations. “It looks like someone threw up Christmas” is not acceptable commentary and there will be consequences.

Minus Seven-Ten Points

Do not hit anyone with any form of electronics while shopping for gifts for your loved ones. Even if a Samsung 50 inch TV is on sale for $2.99, if you wallop your fellow shopper, you will lose points. (Double negative points are deducted if this behavior occurs on Thanksgiving and the person sporting the colorful black eye is a close relative or friend that has their slimy hands on your future Samsung….or your children’s. Yeah, it’s a present for them.)( (Lying will get you nowhere. Santa knows about the Super Bowl.)(

Minus Nine Points

Giving a gifts which are an attempt at pointing out the givee’s flaws is an absolute no-no. Books which discuss the folly of another person’s religion, politics or personal hygiene are completely banned unless you’re absolutely correct.

Minus Five Points
Part A: Sharing baked goods is always a good idea to add points to a sagging Karma score unless you add an ingredient to which the recipient is allergic in order to prove it’s all in their heads.

Part B: Eating all the cookies yourself before your family arrives home and masking the smell of those with the Hershey’s Kisses inside with Lysol is an egregious transgression. Plan on baking your next batch in the oven-like atmosphere beneath the earth.

Part C: Putting a few cookies aside for Santa absolves the transgression.

Minus Seven Points

Dressing your pets in outfits. Stop it. Just stop it. Santa doesn’t like anyone impersonating him, his elves or reindeer and, as a side note, your cat is plotting your death.

Minus…meh…let’s say 2 points.

There is absolutely no swearing while putting up your Christmas Tree or helping Santa’s negligent and lazy elves by putting together a toy which boasts, “More than 1200 pieces!”

Santa understands that these activities can be stressful, but as Mrs. Claus always says, “It’s
Christmas! Cheer the $%^ up!”

This list may put me on the naughty roster, but I love you all just that much and am willing to risk Karma’s black claw of Justice, (or is that Batman), to make your Christmas the holliest, jolliest of them all. Merry Christmas and Don’t Worry About Me!

Attention: This list is not affiliated with Santa Claus, St Nick or any of his industries. All rules and persons are fictional (except the part about leaving Santa cookies) and no character is intended to refer to any real person, living or dead. Caution! This list has been closely associated with a scam intended to procure Christmas gifts for the writer. Also, Karma is not a person.

Why I’m Sharp as a Tack


As we age, we’re told that stimulation of the mind is a necessity if we want to keep up with the likes of Pat Sajak, which doesn’t seem  to be setting the bar very high, but one can only hope.

Now, where did I leave that British pop star?

Now, where did I leave that British pop star?

With that in mind, I’ve developed a few hobbies to keep my brain power in tip top shape, or at least hovering above the where-are-we-going-to-put-mom level.

A few years ago, my personal mother demonstrated this level while visiting my home. While sitting on my deck deciding which plant she would trim into oblivion as soon as my attention was diverted, she reported back to me that she was worried about a particular bird which hadn’t moved for hours. I explained that the bird was painted on the side of a bird feeder and thus far had never moved and proceeded to mock her for the rest of her visit.

Because I am weird enough without the benefit of older age, I’ve decided to take up some hobbies which will keep my brain running on as many cylinders as it takes to at least recognize painted birds from the able-to-fly-away kind.

One of my favorites is throwing out the caps to bottle and jars which are still in use. The idea is to toss the lids to say, olive oil into the trash while cleaning up the kitchen and then, when you get to the putting stuff away portion of the evening, wondering where the hell the lid to the olive oil is.

This exercise necessitates two things: the decision to search through the leavings of a family meal in order to retrieve the cap or to create a substitute from items you have around the house. For extra points, don’t use bad language.

Another brain power enhancing activity requires that you never return anything to where you initially found it. This exercise is particularly helpful if you have a spouse who returns things to their proper place, thus alleviating the participant of the arduous job of finding the keys, purse, glasses, remote control or life saving medicine in order to begin the brain stimulating activity of finding necessary objects. Once again, extra points for not swearing or accusing your family of moving the objects in order to make you feel like you’re losing your mind, (which you are).

The next example requires family members to talk in a normal tone of voice. You are only permitted to ask for a repeat one time, after that you will need to guess what the family member is trying to convey. The bonus is that, often what the family member is saying is hilarious and nonsensical, although these same people are required to pretend that what you heard was not even close to what was actually said. For instance, your husband can turn to you while watching television and say: I saw Bob today, to which you would correctly reply, “This show isn’t even about pandas!” Once again, bonus points are available for not accusing said loved ones of speaking softly.

Try getting a crush on a 36-year-old rock star. Although these activities are more geared to keeping the mind youthful and not revisiting immaturity, done right, this activity can stimulate the brain, etc. Here’s what you do; attempt having a sexual fantasy about say, Chris Martin. Now try to imagine an outcome in the real world that wouldn’t include the words, “I’m very flattered…really…but…” This takes some serious brain power.

Nearly everyone I know over 40 plays this next brain buzzing game, but if you don’t remember when MTV had videos 24/7, here’s how it’s played. You wake up injured and your job is to guess exactly what happened while you were asleep which would result in a sprained head. Or, you reach for your babushka, (Old lady for scarf,) and you suffer an attack on your shoulder which can only be described as !@#$! !@#$%^&! Your job is to come up with a more fascinating, yet still believable story which precludes old age as a factor in your injury. For instance, despite her claim of “conscious uncoupling” Gwyneth didn’t take well to my greeting her husband by winking and saying, “Hey Good Lookin’! What’s Cookin?” So she twisted my arm.

There are those who prefer crossword puzzles or trivia, but these activities necessitate items which, as a person of years, will always be missing when the mood to poke at the recesses of your brain arises. Yet, at any given moment you can strain a muscle while fantasizing about Chris Martin as you throw important items in the trash, in the midst of finding you…your…what was I looking for?