Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's a Word Lover's Holiday!

Today is generally acknowledged as William Shakespeare's birthday, and, were he still alive, he'd be a very creepy 450 years old. Eeew.

However, potential zombification of the Bard aside, for a wordnerd like me, this is a day bordering on sacred. The English language owes much to this imaginative man. In fact, I have a flip book that allows me to create my own Shakespearean insults. It was a gift from my parents one Christmas, and I love it. (I really need to use it more. But the good gendarmes in the local burg where I reside have this thing about reading whilst driving, so I'd have to memorize lots of it to use the insults on fellow drivers. Or create an app. But I digress.)

While some might think of Shakespeare as inherently stuffy, and iambic pentameter a curse of the gods, there's a surprising number of phrases coined by the man that are still in use today.

Don't believe me?

Here's twenty words credited to Shakespeare's invention and ingenuity with language.

Still not convinced?

This is a list of fifty words and phrases that have entered the popular lexicon because the Bard penned them first. (There are a couple of duplicates with the other list, but these two are by no means exhaustive.)

In fact, Shakespeare is so embedded in our language that references often show up in the most punishing of ways...

In fact, Shakespeare got quite often rewritten during cold and flu season at my house:
TB, or not TB, this is the congestion
Consumption be done about it?
But of cough, of cough...
But not for a lung, lung time.
Oh, come on. You knew I was nuts already.

Shall we compare the Bard's words to a summer's day? Or shall we apply them to...say... wrecks?

Shakespeare! The gift that keeps on giving!

And since I'm such a giver today, I'll offer you this. Ever wondered what Redneck Willie Shakes would sound like?

Now you know.

You're welcome.

Monday, April 21, 2014


On Saturday morning, I received the sad news that my dear friend Brigid's big brother had lost his battle with cancer.

It's rather odd to grieve the loss of someone you've never met in person...but that you feel you know well, because of his sister's occasional stories about him.

I confess, he sounds very much like the kind of big brother I would have liked to have, except that I have that small problem of being the eldest child in my family. (I've had to "adopt" big brothers.)

This was somewhat unexpected news, but unsurprising, since I knew that B's Big Bro had been fighting stage 4 cancer for quite awhile. He was on my personal prayer list, and I knew how deep the love between Brigid and her brother was. I hated the thought of her facing another loss, especially so soon after losing her dear Barkley.

And so I prayed for Big Bro, as I thought of him, for his healing. For his family's strength. For their dad, who is also in frail health. For Brigid's strength and peace as she watched from so many miles away. For Partner in Grime, as he supported Brigid through whatever might come. For Big Bro's wife and doesn't matter how old you are; losing a parent is like losing a part of yourself, and a very scary prospect.

As I read the email Brigid sent me, my heart dropped. The odds that I ever would meet her brother this side of glory were slim to begin with, although I would have liked that. I had a physical ache in my chest, for I could only guess at how deeply Brigid was grieving. Like me, I know both she and Big Bro have a bedrock-deep faith that assures this "goodbye" is really just a "see you later," but that only slightly eases the pain of having to wait an indeterminate time before that "see you later" reveals itself.

I had no doubt that God had answered my prayer. Big Bro had been healed, spectacularly so, and was whole again—no more pain, no more nausea, no more failing body, no more ravages of the disease that claimed him too soon (not that there's ever a good time to lose one you love). Was it the healing we all wanted? I'm pretty sure I can safely say no. But he's healed all the same. The Big Bro I am confident I'll meet someday has his glorious red hair back.

I'm sure Barkley is wiggling all over Big Bro. There's been a joyous reunion with Big Bro and Brigid's mom and stepmom. And, in the meantime, we on this side grieve and wait.

Big Bro died on Good a way, oddly appropriate. Even as my heart broke for my friend and her family, I couldn't help but acknowledge the hope that we, almost 2000 years after the crucifixion of Christ, know is embedded in the pain and despair of Good Friday itself. Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter Sunday, no resurrection of Jesus, putting Death in its own grave. It is because of Jesus's resurrection and triumph that we know death here is not the end.

It's how I can say with absolute confidence that they will meet again, the next time in a place with no sorrow, no pain, no death.

Big Bro, thank you for helping to shape Brigid into the woman she's become. I'm honored to call her my friend. In a way, I miss you. I look forward to the day when we meet. Until then...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

More Things That Should Not Go in the Wash

I decided this morning that, clearly, the overflowing hamper by the twins' room indicated I needed to do some laundry.

Hubby was going to be gone all day for Ambush Paintball (lucky him) with the teens, so it was going to be just me and the Fries.

I figured that giving myself the easy goal of washing and drying two loads was doable. That way, I wasn't going to stress or panic over not getting enough laundry done over the course of the day.

Of course, the fact that I'm now writing a blog post about laundry has probably clued you in to the fact that things didn't go as planned.

Everything seemed to come out of the washer juuuuust fine.

I tossed the load from the washer and several shirts of mine into the dryer. (My shirts had sat in the dryer too long, and I am far too lazy to just iron the dumb things. I'll toss 'em in with a load of wet clothes and everything will come out mostly wrinkle-free as long as I get to it in time. Which is a whole other story.)

And then I started another load after lunch, reset the dryer to finish drying the load (that 30 feet of dryer pipe from the dryer to the vent on the outside wall of the house is a real bear sometimes)...and thought nothing of it. I took the kids over to the playground behind the school around mid-afternoon and stayed until dinnertime.

It wasn't until I got home and pulled out the load in the dryer that I spotted the problem: pink. In irregular splotches. Everywhere.

The load of clothes was a bunch of jeans and blue/purple shirts.

No pink anywhere.

Except, of course, whatever had hitched a ride through (presumably) a pair of the kids' jeans. But...what was it?

Other than pink, of course.

I went up and questioned my three most likely suspects (to be fair, that's only because I had deliberately checked the pants pockets of Hubby's jeans before I tossed them in the washer). The only one who remembered putting anything pink in her pocket was Medium Fry. She said she put in a piece of pink chalk in her pocket, and thought she took it out later, but wasn't sure.

Medium is my elephant, and remembers almost everything with startling clarity, so I had to kind of trust her "thinkerator" (a term she'd coined earlier this afternoon).

I had to wonder, though, why chalk would've stained. Or adhered. Or whatever it had done. Theoretically, shouldn't chalk just kind of go mushy and wash out completely?

"New rule!" I announced. "Chalk does not go in pockets! It goes back in the chalk bin when you're done with it. Never in pockets!"

I spent quite a bit of time pre-treating everything in that load. Then I spent another ten to fifteen minutes cleaning out little bits of pink from the inside of my dryer. Once I was satisfied I'd gotten it all, I threw in the clothes from the washer.

It was when I checked the lint trap that I got the biggest clues of all.

From upstairs, I heard Medium ask Hubby, "Where's Mommy?"

"I'm downstairs in the laundry room, playing CSI," I hollered.

Itty-bitty pieces of heavily-laundered crayon wrapper.

Oh, Google...

I did a quick search for how to get crayon out of clothes that have been both washed and dried. Hey, look, a solution!

Fingers crossed that this works, because I simply cannot afford to buy all new jeans for my kids when they are on the ankles'-edge of outgrowing these ones.

"New rule!" I announced yet again, this time to pajama-clad Fries. "No crayons in pockets! Ever!"


Wednesday, April 2, 2014


My brother's attorney told ours today that he is appealing.

Hubby talked to him today. Bro, that is.

Bro basically wants everything the last court order would have given him, had he done any of the things the judge required: continued (court-ordered and -enforceable) visitation, increased time, up to and including custodial periods of every other weekend.

This is NOT in the best interests of children whose father has not bothered to attempt to see them in over a year and a half.

My brother can afford to appeal. His attorney, at present, is free.

Ours is not, and 3 Fries equals 3 cases, equals 3 appeal might cost us more to buy a fully-loaded Cadillac Escalade. But not by much.

We are devastated.

And we are very, very angry.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fifty Cents (No Foolin'!)

A week ago, Hubby and I woke early.

I had awakened half a dozen times in the night, sleeping fitfully, stress knifing through my ability to rest. Hubby slept better than I did, but still woke many times throughout the night himself.

He rolled over in bed and prayed while I shivered with nerves and fear. "Father," he said softly, "help her to feel the peace you've given me with one word: rejoice."

And then we spent six grueling hours in a courtroom, walking out without a decision, and facing more waiting.

In the words of wise Spanish philosopher Inigo Montoya, "I hate waiting."

Patience is so not one of my virtues.

Today, I picked up the kids from school and walked them home. We had a quick snack and I had them sign the card for the twins' teacher, who is switching over to another elementary school as a long-term substitute for the reading specialist there, who is going on maternity leave. The twins love their teacher, and it's been especially hard for Small Fry. So we put together a nice gift for the teacher, and walked back over to deliver it.

When we came home, I checked the mail. The peach card in the mailbox was a surprise. Somehow, we had received a letter that was postage due. We owed fifty cents to the post office.

I called Hubby, who speculated that perhaps it was a letter from one of the teens that didn't have enough postage or lost its stamp or something; the fundraiser letters for the youth group missions trip have been going out. The other possibility was that it was from the court. But even our attorney's office meters their mail; if the court did the same, how would it be short on postage?

Hubby said he would stop by the post office and pick it up before they closed.

I got a text as soon as he'd picked up the letter. "It is from the court. Rejoice!"

He had read through the first order (there's one for each kid), and it proclaimed that parental rights have been severed, we have been granted custody, and in 30 days' time, we can have our hearing to officially adopt the girls.

It cost us fifty cents to find out that life is permanently going to cost us a lot more.

While we're celebrating this, we know that this same paperwork is on its way to both Bro's address and XSIL's. I can't speak for XSIL, who didn't bother to show up at the hearing last week, but I know this will hurt Bro deeply. We love him, and that makes this very bittersweet for both Hubby and me.

I read through all three orders; they all essentially state the same thing, and they're dated for yesterday. That makes it convenient, as far as remembering when the 30-day appeal timeframe ends.

Our attorney has said that we can file the adoption paperwork right away; we just can't have the hearing until after the 30 days have elapsed.

At first, I thought it would be cool if the adoption hearing date was the same as the date that the Fries came to live with us. Hubby disagreed.

He wants to have one more day where he can have cake.

I think I agree with him there.