For those of you not fortunate enough to have followed last year’s contest, a small word of explanation:

My family is weird. Just…odd. The immediate family, the extended family, on both sides and all branches of the family tree.  Last year, in honor of Jesus’s birth, we decided to amass the ugliest Christmas sweaters the world has ever seen. (Don’t ask. I don’t know either.) With no rhyme nor reason, we showed up in all of our finery:

2008 Entries

This year, we refined the rules into two categories. Embellished and Fugly Off the Rack. Because really, there’s homemade ugly and there’s why-in-the-name-of-all-that’s-holy-would-someone-manufacture-that? ugly. And this is where our categories separate.

Honestly, I don’t have all the photos in yet. (You know who you are!) But I’ll post what I have and add to the mix as they trail in.

———First up we have Fugly Off the Rack:—————-

Marvelous Marva (or “Mommy” to some of us) is modeling an untouched, Some-Kind-of-Blunderful frock that surely makes me want to weep. Shiny presents stick to her bosom and in case she ever wants to, oh, I don’t know…tie Santa up…?…she has ROPE stuck on there, too. Nicely played, Mumsay, nicely played.

MARVA: "Seasons Beatings! For the S&M crowd we have this black little number complete with festive restraints!"

 Next, we have yours truly modeling a hot little number SO ugly, even a crappy picture does it justice. I found this little beauty in a secondhand store and have the resale tag still attached to prove it. HOW, I ask you, could someone have let this little baby go?

KELLY: "As a Christmas gift, can you ever really go wrong with flowers and a big red bow? Yes, evidently you can."

Here we have Marvelous Marva’s hubby Tim in a fashionable frock with Old Saint Nick himself adorning the front! I’m not sure this qualifies as ugly, it was a gorgeous blue that matched his eyes. Then again, it DID have a stocking stuck to the arm that not just anyone can pull off. Hmmm…you be the judge!
And finally, we have the Doublemint Twins. Steve and Marci, aren’t they cute? These newlyweds arrived in equally icky sweaters celebrating the holiday season. BONUS points to Marci for wearing ugly Christmas socks to match! (My apologies for the lousy photographs. One of these years I’ll invest in a nicer camera. ) 🙂

Are they cute, or are they cute?


In our next category, we have  sweaters for the artsy-craftsy folks who just can’t leave Ugly Enough alone. You have to admire their dedication and wonder just where these little gems will wind up when the season is over. Somewhere, there’s an old folks home about to get FANCY.

These three lovely ladies are a Mother-Daughter-Sister combination. I’d tell you exactly who’s related to who, but what fun would that be? And besides, I get so confused.

I’m loving the general state of fugliness those sweaters entail, but bonus bravo points for the head wear. Seriously.

Oh. All. Right. Mother and Daughter are on the ends. You're so nosy!

(L to R) DIN, MARSHA, HILLARY: "Lady Gaga, eat your heart out!"

To the left we have Din, sporting a festive pink number complete with a snappy head scarf that would make RuPaul proud. (You GO, girl!)

In the center, Marsha models her pom-pom Nutcracker army. (I will not take the cheap shot, I will not take…) It comes with a wreath trim which is just hideous enough to showcase below:

Why?  Just...Why?

MARSHA: "You KNOW you want one. Yes you do!"

Now who wouldn’t want that bad boy hanging in their closet? Not only can you wear it for Christmas, but it works for Marching Band, Veteran’s day, 4th of July, a gay pride march, you name it. So versatile!
Next, we have Hillary all by her lonesome wearing quite possibly the fugliest sweater I have ever seen. And I’m IN this contest! 
Miss America watch OUT!

HILLARY: "I FOUND Elmo squashed on the road. Honest!"

Bows with bells? check.
Hanging presents? check.
Christmas lights?
Run over Elmo, dried, skinned and turned into a boa? check, check and double check!
It’s too bad I’m not an official judge. I’d have to award her extra points for the sassy shoulder scarves…or is that a cape? If that’s a cape, I’m bowing out of this contest right now. Better to openly admit defeat than to be uglied right into oblivion!
As I said, these are the photos I have to date. As I get more, I’ll add them so check back! Feel free to vote in the comments section for the garment you find the most offensive. Remember, we have two categories, so vote for one of each. I never got a copy of the official rules, so I don’t care if you’re a contestant or not. Vote away!

That’s Morses. Not Horses. Not Sources. Not Forces or Courses or even Norses. I’m looking for the extended MORSE clan who swore to enter Ye Olde Ugly Sweater Contest 2009. And just where are my kinsmen?

YOU! Go Home!


Y’all need to send those fugly sweater pics to me PRONTO! C’mon, chop-chop!
Although really, you poor saps haven’t got a chance. I bought MY ugly Christmas sweater in July, and that bad boy is a winner if ever I’ve seen one!
But still…for appearances sake,
let’s make it official. Forward your pics to me at  KTrainor @ Paperweight Productions .com .
For those of you just tuning in, a recap: 
A: Yes, I confess I’ve been MIA. Too many projects, not enough hours. Bless your heart for peeking in here! 
B: No, I’m afraid you can’t actually compete in The Ugly Sweater Contest unless you are a relative, BUT
C: You CAN peek at Last Year’s Contest if you need some Christmas cheer!  

I’ve been inexcusably MIA. Not just here, either. I’ve been pretty much absent from the internet. Since I spend all day working on the computer, that’s really saying something! Working a lot of hours + a trip from MI to SD, and you have a tired little blogger. I’ll try to do mo’betta soon. In the meantime, Big Howdy to all my peeps!

The Thinker

The Thinker



I’m trying to think of a good post. Really, I am!

Yesterday, while I tried on shorts in the local small town store. (It seems GV is no longer overpriced for the dumb rich folk.) Right there in the dressing room, in front of God and ev…well, in front of God and the mirror, anyway–Gloria Vanderbilt lied and said I was a size 12.


The Culprit

The heifer.

Since I’ve been a 16 for quite some time now, I think not. I’d like to pretend Gloria is just being kind, but I secretly suspect the old gal’s on crack. It can happen to the bored elite, you know.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been lied to by a fashionista, either. Liz Claiborne lives in HappyLand, where everyone is  petite.

I’m not kidding.

And so, dear friends, this missive comes to you with a warning. Don’t. Trust. Retailers. Because really, where will it end? Abercrombie sweatshirts with tags that say “You’re so smart to pay double what this sweatshirt is actually worth! Buy, sheep, BUY!”  ?  Designer jeans with “Damn your butt looks good!” printed on the inside?  ‘Tis Madness. MADNESS!

I will not take the cheap shot, I will NOT take the cheap shot!

Fisher the cat loves to cuddle around tree trunks. He rubs up against them, purring like crazy. As soon as the sap begins to run, our long haired feline becomes a matted MESS. Sometimes we can wash/comb it out, other times the poor boy gets shaved. Today was a clipper sort of day.

First off, Fisher doesn’t like the car. He yowled and growled all the way to the vet’s office. Next, they gave him shots. He was NOT amused.

And then out came the clippers, and he knew exactly what was coming. I wasn’t holding him down. I wasn’t about to shave him. I didn’t give him shots and I didn’t put sap in his fur in the FIRST place! Yet I was the one he hissed at. Repeatedly. Now there’s gratitude for ya.

Humorous Pictures
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

I love to mow the lawn. I love tools, actually, and what is a lawn mower if not a ginormous motorized tool? I love the power, the efficiency and the ability to be dangerous to any stubborn greenery that DARES cross my path.

Seriously, turn me loose in your lawn and I’ll mow that sucker right now.


The problem, which is really no problem whatsoever, is that my husband sees no discernible method to my mowing pattern. In his eyes, I’m randomly driving like a crazy person. For some odd reason, this irritates him.

I DO have a pattern. Yes I do! And it makes perfect sense. I mow in squares.

This is not an odd thing to do. It’s not like I mow in octagons or isosceles triangles. Yet somehow my husband does not ‘get’ my multi-sized, multi-directional squares that fit no grid known to man. If I start the process I have to finish because even though I could come back 3 days later and know precisely where I left off, my husband is hopelessly lost, wandering the the yard and murmuring obscenities under his breath.

Do you mow in a particular pattern? Are you one of those people who go the full length of their yards, leaving fancy long lines the neighbors all envy? Do you mow around all the trees, and then carefully finish the rest? Do you wander yonder, mowing over the ‘big stuff’ or just say “Screw It!” and let it grow?

Do tell. Especially if you mow in odd little squares.  ;0)

HOORAH! Woot-Woot-Woot!  Yesterday I happily boxed up Satan’s Minions our chickens for transport to their new home! (Oh allllll riiiiight. So I didn’t really help. I supervised, didn’t I?)

dance-cowBegone, winged beasts! Oh pestilent poultry! Fowl land mine leavers most foul!  I command you to LEAVE THIS PLACE!  *Walks the yard holding a cross at arms length, swinging an incense orb in her other hand.

I. am. so. HAPPY!

For those just tuning in, I have a real thing about chickens. Their beady eyes, flappy wings and terrifyingly bold nature freak me OUT. Me noooo likey. I’ll spare the regular readers, but do a search for “evil chickens” in here and you’ll have reading material up the yazoo.

I was especially happy to see them leave after I spooked them by accident –with a plastic bag of all things– and one of them flew up in my face and hit me hard enough to bend my glasses. In. My. Face. In-my-FACE.


*Waves goodbye while giddily breathing into a paper bag.

The absolute last, final word: Alektorophobics, you are NOT Alone!

On the carpet. Hunched over, looking green and ready to do that thing that dogs do. On the carpet. On. The. CARPET!

Survival Mode!

I sprinted to the front door in my jammies calling, “DexterDexterDEXTER..!” in a blind panic, tripping on a toy, stubbing my toe on a door frame and mowing over the cat along the way.

But we MADE IT.  All manner of awfulness occurred outside. Can I get an Amen?

illWhy do sick dogs aim for the carpet?

Why do dogs chew up their toys and gag on small pieces?

Why do bloggers disappear into oblivion for a month and then announce their return with stories of Dog Yutz?

I cannot explain these things. But. I’ve gotten a TON of work finished in the past few weeks, so now I get to play on my blogs again. Yaaaayyyy!

Missed ya.

Going MIA for a bit

For the third and final try… (This post has disappeared twice on me. Shall we go for a third strike?)

So much to do, so little time. Unfortunately the blogs need to take a breather while I get some things accomplished around here. Wish me luck! ;0]

Any theologian can tell you the signs are there. Profound weather changes, sin running rampant, and Pat Boone singing Metallica.


What are you looking at, Punk?

‘Tis madness!

My first encounter with this version of Enter Sandman was as some guy’s ringtone. I honestly thought it was new because I’d never heard it before. (Pretty sure I would have remembered this little baby.)

How have I missed this little gem for so long? Has my head been firmly planted in the sand? Or elsewhere? I just can’t imagine how this one flew under my radar. Enjoy!

*Applauds Mr. Boone for sheer attitude.


Only my husband…

Only my husband would wear this tee shirt to an elementary school Parent/Child fun night.


Since my hubby bears a vague resemblance to Chuck Norris, I cringe just a little more than usual.


Anybody else have a spouse with a cheeky sense of humor?

Michigan is the epitome of weather weirdness. A few days ago we fished in beautiful, warm weather. (I use the term ‘we’ loosely, as my contribution to the fishing expedition was hiking in and out supplies and relaxing by the campfire.) The day was perfect–spring temps, t-shirts, billowy clouds and singing birds. Our faces actually got sunburned, but it was worth it.

And then…

The next morning we woke to an ice storm. Will this winter never end?

Random oddities from my house. Got any random oddities from yours?

1. I once named a pictus cat (aquarium bottom feeder) ‘Stevens’ just so I could call him Cat Stevensfish. ba-da-BUMP!  (You have to be at least 40 to get that lame joke.)

2. Currently, we have a kitty named ‘Fisher’ and in the aquarium, a red bellied pacus named ‘Cat.’  According to my husband, this is so we can call the cat ‘Fish’ and the fish ‘Cat.’ (And you thought the Cat Stevensfish joke was lame!)

3. Our 80 lb. rottie mix is deathly afraid of the neighbor’s chihuahua.

4. Our house eats hand towels and then regurgitates them into the wash. Despite my best efforts, there is never a hand towel available in the kitchen or the bathroom.  I put them out– really, I do –and they immediately disappear. As a result, I wash LOADS of hand towels, yet I’m forced to dry my hands on my jeans. *sigh*

5. I am mentally incapable of  keeping track of a cup of coffee. I drink the stuff every day, and yet I cannot finish a full cup without forgetting where I put the doggone thing down. I leave them in the bathroom, on dressers, on the front step…  By noon I’m usually on my 3rd or 4th coffee mug. When I do dinner dishes, I send the kids on a cup hunt to find any I lost all day. Do they make The Clapper for coffee cups? I really need to buy one!

Sooo…that’s random weirdness from my house. What can you share from yours?

My fuzzy hero

Daughter #1 with my fuzzy hero

My husband was out of town last night. In his absence, Dexter the Dog slept next to our bed instead of his favorite spot in the hall. At some point during the night I had a nightmare…and evidently got rather vocal about it.

Enter my canine hero.

Dexter is an 80 lb. rottie mix who is absolutely NOT allowed on the furniture. But this was no ordinary evening–something was wrong. Someone (he thought) was hurting his Mama! 

I awoke from a very creepy nightmare to the sound of deep growling. Next thing I know, Dex is standing on his hind legs, front paws on the bed beside me, snarling and baring his teeth and ready to shred whatever nocturnal beastie would dare to hurt his Mommy!

He was just as shocked as I was when he saw no one else was there.

Instant embarrassment! Dex dropped to the floor, tucked his tail and hung his head in shame. He’d been on the furniture! And growling! At MOM! I got out of bed and told him what a good dog he was and hugged him tight. My pj’s smelled like dog after that, but who cares.

Every woman needs a strong defender who loves her. 😉

A furniture store, I’ve discovered, can be a conversational epiphany. The husband and I were browsing this week while killing time between appointments. We decided to price out mattresses, since we’re both sick of sleeping on The Pad of Pain. As we wandered through the store and spoke to various salespeople, I discovered that there is a language barrier between furniture sales folk and real people. And so for you, dear readers, because I care…I’ll decipher the code:


#1: What the mattress department calls “body impression memory” and “snug cushioned comfort” I call “4- aspirin morning sag.”  


#2: What the high-end, fussy wood furniture folk call “intricate detailing” and “exquisite design” I call “Who in their right mind has time to dust all those nooks and crannies with Q-tips?” 


#3:  When the overstuffed suede leather couch salesman says “Scotchgarded and highly stain resistant,” that means “Dump a glass of water and you might be ok, but Kool-aid and dog vomit are forever.”


#4:  Glass table tops and all things stainless steel evoke terms like “clean, functional beauty.” In Realspeak, this means “scratched, gouged and/or dented fingerprint magnet.”


#5:  “Love seat” equates to “Uncomfortably close for casual conversation” and “too damn short to take a nap on.”


#6:  Words like “Unique,” “One of a kind” and “Local Artisan” actually mean “Extra zero on the price tag. Possibly two of them.”


#7:  When a salesperson shows you a couch with a hidden storage area and says it’s “perfect for storing a comfy throw, newspaper and remote control,” you can bet money he’s speaking in kid-code to the tot holding your hand: “Perfect for hiding a sippy cup of milk and a half eaten PB&J for a month and a half.”


#8:  “You can’t put a price on this kind of quality” is Salesspeak for “You’d better lie down on that mattress before I read off the grand total.”


#9:  When spoken by a furniture salesperson, “Would you care for a cup of coffee?” translates to “Go ahead–spill it. Preferably on this $8,000 leather couch.” Even if you nix the coffee, beware of salesman #2 creeping up from behind to scare the bejeezus out of you.  As a general rule, if you pee on it you’ve bought it. 


#10:  (And this is the biggie, so listen up.) When you’ve made your selection and extended your Visa with one trembling hand, the salesperson will smile warmly and say something like, “May I have your license as well? Just for verification purposes, you understand.” MAY-DAY. This statement is not what it seems! ‘Verification purposes’ really means, “I’m giving this to the super ninja computer geeks in the back room. They’ll run your credit from here till doomsday, Loser, because clearly you can’t afford to buy this thing. We need to make sure if you die before this Queen mattress is paid for, your life insurance will cover the cost…with interest.


And there you have it–Salesspeak vs. Realspeak. The next time you’re headed to a furniture store, you can go in armed for bear. Don’t let the big smiles fool you…those furniture sales folk are really hard core.

my-monkeyI’m gonna catch the little beasts one of these days.

We run two businesses out of our home; my husband’s trucking company and Paperweight Productions, my writing and design business. With two sets of books, invoicing and filing systems, y’all…I need office supplies. The problem is, I can never seem to find any.

I bought mechanical pencils for me. The points are always sharp. Boy howdy! And my kids the sneaky imps kept spiriting them away. Eventually, I gave in, bought both my children huge packs of mechanical pencils and myself a pack of plain yellow #2’s. Why steal Mom’s ugly plain pencils when you have nifty mechanical ones, right?

My ugly pencils are all gone again.

I have one — count ’em — ONE broken mechanical pencil with no eraser on my desk. It’s not as though the children have no supplies of their own, I buy them supplies all school year, plus keep a community drawer in the kitchen. But no, they prefer to raid my home office.

Looking around, I see that my big eraser is gone. My good ruler has departed and in its place is a clear one that’s hard to read with edges so pitted it doesn’t make straight lines. My stapler is empty, my tape is almost gone, my sharp office shears have a notch in one blade and I’m almost out of printer paper.


I’m going to take a deep breath, count to 10, and think positive thoughts. Then I’m going to hurt somebody. 

Although oddly enough, I seem to have a never ending supply of paper clips. I have no idea where they come from, but I use them constantly and the supply never dwindles. Paper clips are, however, a poor substitute for writing utensils and printer paper.

If you should hear loud yelling at around 3:30 this afternoon, take no notice. It’ll just be me re-establishing boundaries. To wit, when my children get home from school there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

I doubt I’ll get much out of their backpacks–I’ll have to stock up again. And this time I’m using Dexter the Dog’s method to settle territorial dispute:  I’ll just pee on everything.

Way back in November when I turned the-age-that-shall-not-be-mentioned, (Just kidding. I’ll mention it. I’m 39.9), I requested to be teased mercilessly about my impending birthday for a shot at blog post fame. I have to say you folks came through, and Mom2three, blogless heifer that she is, made me laugh the hardest with:

Kelly is so old, she watched “Good Morning, America” when it was called “Good Morning, Neanderthals.”

Kelly is so old, her high school mascot was a locust.

I admit it. I peed a little. Thank goodness they were both hers or I would have declared two winners.

Now, M23 requested a small roast, (foolish woman), and I’ve been lying in wait until I was sure she’d forgotten all about it. I do believe it’s time. And so today I bring you The Official Mini-Roast of Mom2three.

M23’s real name is Megan. It’s not MAY-gen like every normal baby book name, it’s MEE-gen. Now MEE-gen hangs her hat in the South, and as most of you know I’m from Michigan. Her pronunciation of her name has a whole different ring to my Northern ears. On the phone, MEE-gen sounds like MAY-gen to me.

“Ha! This is MAY-gen!”  “May-gen who?” “Not MAY-gen, MAY-GEN! Mom2thray! From on-lahn!” “Mom to who?” “Thray! It’s may!”I’m sorry, but we’re happy with our phone service.”  “I don’t wanna sale you anythang you big dope, it’s may, MAY-gen!” 

(Note that the insult was the only thing I understood. This may very well be what brought about the war between the North and South.)

MEEgan with an EE and I have been friends online for some time. How much time, I really cannot say. I’d ask her, but I’d never understand her response.

I’m just saying.

Why look…here is our lovely Mom2three now!


Ok, so maybe that’s not her now, but wasn’t she cute in high school?

Back off gents, she’s married. She still looks good, too. At F-O-R-T-Y! (Did I just say that? Out loud? You didn’t hear it though, right? Don’t tell her I told you. She’s still got that beatin’ stick, I just know it.)

And honest, she doesn’t look the age-that-shall-never-be-named.

Really–she hasn’t aged a day.















Luh ewe, heifer. dance-cow*runs like hell!*

Grandpa Greg and Sister Skinny Rat were over for pizza. We’d just sat down at the table, and plates and forks clanked, ice cubes tinkled in glasses and everyone dug in to help themselves. Ems reached over to help herself to some breadsticks. Looking around for the dish of marinara she said,

“Grandpa, will you please pass the marijuana sauce?”

Dead silence.


Oh how I wish I had a photograph.

We live in the house of Stack-and-Pack; a two bedroom we outgrew long before we added two children and pets to the mix. Many moons ago we ran out of traditional storage space, and as a result we tend to go UP.

We’ve stacked, added shelving, bought taller dressers and bookshelves. We even built a cat perch atop our monstrous, fully enclosed guinea pig cage. The cat loves to sun himself up there and watch the guinea pig move around. (We had two guinea pigs, but recently lost one. The cat was not involved. lol!)

litter-boxWhen Dexter the Dog began snuffling the cat box, I began to worry. It’s a covered cat box, and if Dex ever trapped Fisher inside, there would be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Just in case, it too was moved upward, on top of the guinea pig cage, where it’s worked out just fine.

Until now.

This morning I heard from the other room the oddest sound. I stopped typing just to listen. sssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… What the heck? ssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhhhh… And then a horrible, anguished yowling from the cat. As I jumped up to investigate, the dog came running from the direction of the noise with a look that clearly said, “I didn’t do it! Wasn’t me!”


Again I tell you, I wish I had a picture! It seems our rather robust cat, who tops the scales around 20 lbs in winter, had used the facilities and attempted to exit the enclosed cat box. Instead, he tipped it forward, where it landed hole-side-down on top of the guinea pig cage. My kitty cat was trapped inside his litter box, face mashed up against the top of the cage beneath him, with no way out. Meanwhile, the litter flowed out of the box, into the cage and all over the floor.


Fisher may never poop in a box again.

*Kelly picks up a gauntlet and hurls it to the floor! It bounces, lands on her toe and she whimpers just a bit before going back to her speech*

I’ve been trying to challenge myself a bit more with reading material as of late. I wanted to read some of the ‘classics’ just so I could tell myself I did it–not for a school assignment years ago, but recently, and just for me. At first it was a little awkward to read novels out of my comfort zone, but I stuck with them and I’m glad I did. The writing is different but impressive in its own way. I think you should give it a shot, too! (Bonus–when your kids have to read these in high school you’ll actually be able to answer questions without Cliffs Notes. Woooo!)


So far, I’ve read and enjoyed:

Animal Farm (George Orwell) A great starter because it’s short, easy to read and easy to see the subtext behind the story.

1984 (George Orwell) More difficult, but I liked this one so much I read it twice in a row and bought my own copy.

Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury) Slightly easier to read than 1984. Again, liked it enough to buy a copy.

And because I am insane, I decided to really stretch myself and I’m currently reading The Iliad (Homer – translated by Richard Lattimore) which is a novel-length poem about the battle of Troy. I had to read the first 4 pages 3 times and check the Glossary a few times to figure out who was who, but now that I’m into it I’m really enjoying myself. If you know anything about Greek Mythology or have seen the movie Troy (loosely, and I do mean loosely, based on The Iliad) it would be helpful background for this book. This one is the hardest by far that I’ve read, and sometimes I have to re-read a page or double-check a person in the glossary, but I’m getting through and enjoying it immensely.

Waiting patiently on my end table are The Double, Notes From the Underground and The Eternal Husband (all by Dostoevsky – translated by Constance Garnett) as well as The Screwtape Letters (C.S. Lewis). No input on those as I haven’t read them yet, but I’m betting after Homer they’ll look a whole lot easier. lol!

I challenge you to challenge YOU. Go to the library and find a classic to sink your teeth into. You may find it more enjoyable than you think. When you do (or if you have), let’s hear your recommendations.

What are YOUR favorite classics?

I’ve been doing a lot of mental housecleaning and prioritizing. Yeah, I know. I’m almost a month behind for New Year’s resolutions. Procrastination is on my list. I figure I’ll get to it eventually.

This weekend I discovered something. We have come full circle. I am officially a GROWN UP who is owned by CHILDREN. Case in point:

Think back to early 1980-ish. I was in sixth or seventh grade. Do you remember holding your ginormous cassette recorder up to the radio speaker, fingers poised, and clicking Record the second a good song began to play? I still run across old cassettes missing the first 3 seconds of every song.

Well this weekend, I called to dd#1 from the kitchen. DD#2 came running, shooshing me. (Oh how I despise being shooshed!) I walked into the living room expecting to find my oldest on the telephone and none too happy she hadn’t asked permission first. Instead, I found a major attack of deja vu.

There sat my daughter with her Mp3 player pressed up against the computer speaker…recording a song off YouTube.


Seriously, I’ve figured it out. By day he is mild-mannered BLANDON, computer geek extraordinaire, typing 612 words per minute and able to do some really nifty things with a laptop the Pentagon is unaware of at the present time. The Geek Squad wants him as their King.


But later at night, when all of his co-workers are kicked back with a bowl of pork rinds in front of C-SPAN, Blandon removes his beeper and key to the storage closet, musses his hair, shimmies into black tights and a real cool ninja outfit and becomes BRANDMAN–righter of wrongs and keeper of the peace.

Brandman is no everyday superhero, either. He is part Gamer, part Weapons Specialist, and holds a plaid belt in tae kwon do. (That’s eight steps above black you know, and only ninja super heroes can get it.) This means he is proficient to whoop bad guy ass with a brick, a glock, or his left pinkie toe.

Brother-in-law has skills.

Sister Mouse has no idea her husband is a superhero. I think she wondered about the tights, but Brandman speaks a several languages in a multitude of dialects.  When pressed for information, he simply affects an effeminate tone and sashays a bit. My sister shoves the tights right back in the laundry pile and goes about her business.

Oh he’s gooood.

Personally, I uncovered the truth through careful observation of their sons–in particular their youngest, who appears to have a few super powers himself. All will be revealed dear readers, one day all will be revealed.

Should you look out your window tonight and see the Brandman symbol lighting up the sky, (a powerful search light illuminating the shape of a cordless mouse), or encounter a minivan with tinted windows and a DIE HTML, DIE  bumper sticker, take comfort. My brother-in-law is coming to save the day. I can’t show you a photo since he IS incognito, but I will say this much. He looks a lot like this guy:

blandon-1    blandon-3

Of course, that’s not always a good thing:


I’m curious…do you have any superheroes hiding out in YOUR family?

Snip, Snip!

catblowstI’m happy to say that Dexter the dog is recovering nicely from his neutering. A little too nicely, in fact. He wasn’t home an hour when he displayed a rather large…uh…happiness factor. Repeatedly.

Dude, I’m like your mother!  Put the clown back in the box!

I’m not certain, but I think he was eyeballing the cat.

We’re an English-speaking household, but ever since the girls were toddlers I’ve tossed the odd word or phrase from my rusty Spanish class days into conversation as a simple teaching tool. It’s become such a habit over the years that our whole family does it without giving it much thought.

It seems the pets have been paying attention.

I discovered, quite by accident, that Dexter the dog knows a little Spanish. We didn’t actively teach him Spanish commands, he picked them up on his own. Not bad for a 6 month old pup, not bad at all.

The first time I noticed a little something was last week.  I was coming out of the bathroom and almost ran over Dexter, who was camped out across the doorway. “Perdóneme,” (pardon me) I said, and He-Who-Normally-Lies-There-Like-Royalty actually jumped up and moved out of my way.


The next time I took note was a few days ago when we got ready to go to the store. The whole family had been outside awhile, playing with Dexter to get his wiggles out before we left. “¡Vámonos!” (let’s go) I called out, and Dexter made an immediate beeline for the van. It seems he wanted to go for a ride, too. 


And then last night my daughter offered Dex a treat to ‘speak’. Hoping for more than one, he kept barking. Forgetting herself, Tasha snapped “¡Cállate!” (something I usually yell at the TV as I hit the Mute button.)

Dexter went silent. 

This morning I decided to test him. After returning from our daily trip of taking the kids to the bus stop in the van, Dexter and I began our usual walk toward the house. Mid-stride I breezily commented, “Vámonos.” Dex did an about face and ran back to the van.

Smart doggie.  I wonder if he knows his huevos are coming off today.