Aunt Corky’s Top Ten

Yes, we like the quirky nicknames in my family.
It’s my aunt’s birthday. It was also my Yiayia’s birthday. It’s not a coincidence that two such amazing ladies shared a birthday even if they weren’t blood related. The universe is not that random.

10. She is a Trekker. Not a Trekkie. Keep it straight.

9. She knows captains don’t belong on away missions.

8. She owns and uses snowshoes.

7. There are always frosted beer glasses in her kegarator.

6. Carefully picked jigsaw puzzles are the highlight of weekend visits.

5. Tennis balls are a necessary pet owner investment.

4. She knows that in-laws do not stop being relatives after a divorce.

3. I get a birthday card every year, even if it comes with the Christmas present.

2. She calls my kids her grandchildren.

1. Someone so loved by so many Golden Retrievers has got to be a kind and generous person full of laughter.

Blogging Etiquette Conundrum

If you are a blogger, you know that a blog comment is the cyber version of a piece of birthday cake (the flavor of your choice). In fact, a blog comment may even be better as it is calorie free. Heck, even a sympathy comment from John makes me feel good.

Knowing all of this, I always want to pay it forward, blog style, and leave a comment. However, I don’t want to just comment for commenting’s sake. Just saying, “great post” or “I love this post” makes me feel like I just wrote “Have a nice summer!” in someone’s yearbook. I want my comments to contribute to the dialogue. There should be some meat on the bone. The only problem is, I don’t always have something like that to say. Sometimes I read a post, think, wow, that was great, but I can’t think of a good comment. That blank corner of the last page of the yearbook is just screaming for “Can’t wait for senior year!”

So my question to you is….

How do you feel about blog commenting? Is the visit stat enough? Are you OK with a “checking in” comment? Or are they the low-fat, sugar free version of comments? Do you leave them?

Have I used enough metaphors in just two hundred words?

Erin’s Top Ten

Goodness, January has a lot of birthdays! Which is good. It gets my lazy blogger butt in gear.

This one goes to the first non-relative, my fellow mother-in-arms, Erin.

10. She has read ALL the parenting books and articles.

9. She has not listened to all the parenting books and articles.

8. Despite hating cheese, she loves fettuccine alfredo.

7. Sharing wine is one of her most passionate hobbies.

6. Naptime bonding means Buffy episodes on Netflix.

5. She understands budgeting gas for a minivan.

4. Grilled turkey is the perfect opening to the holiday season.

3. She is such a good friend that she planned pregnancy just so she could be pregnant at the same time as me then again with my sister.

2. She loves my might-as-well-be brother, Sam, a whole whole bunch.

1. Her sense of humor coupled with her sense of morality make her one of the strongest moms I know to two of the sweetest and brightest little girls I know.

This One Is for My Aunt Thana

People, the birthdays just keep coming!

10. Give her an hour’s notice, and she will have the world’s largest pan of macaroni and cheese ready for any event.

9. Everything Thanksgiving there is a chocolate cake with peanut butter icing for my birthday.

8. She makes decorative plates cool.

7. I’m not sure the last time her hot tub was actually used for tubbing purposes, but it makes a great stage for her Christmas village.

6. She turned her garage into a room just to make sure the whole family could have holidays together.

5. She understands the woes of being the oldest.

4. She has 1,367 godchildren, but each of us feels like the only one.

3. She is the best teacher who ever taught. Period.

2. Her house always smells like something was freshly baked.

1. She is the kind of Christian Jesus meant people to be.

My MIL’s Top Ten

Next up is my mother-in-law!

10. She has Star Wars and Avenger cookie cutters.

9. If you need any kind of fabric of any pattern or color, she can reach into her sewing room closet and find it.

8. She made each of us giant, Santa-sized reusable Christmas present bags.

7. Pink is a great color for a male Shih Tzu.

6. Because of her BJ’s Wholesale Club membership, we haven’t bought baby wipes in well over a year.

5. Ricotta cheese cookies

4. Milk chocolate and M&M pretzels

3. Our initials are embroidered on everything.

2. My kids L-O-V-E going to Nana’s house.

1. She has the absolute biggest heart I have ever seen in one person.

John’s Top Ten

So this is a series I want to start for the next year. The Top Ten Reasons I Love Someone. I plan on posting on important people’s birthdays. John gets to be the first.

10. He reaches the high stuff.

9. He lifts the heavy stuff.

8. He does not play golf. Or hunt.

7.He makes everyone feel welcome.

6. We giggle (yes, giggle) at almost all the same stuff. (Muppets, mostly.)

5. He doesn’t make fun of me for reading books about Mr. Darcy’s throbbing manhood. Much.

4. He wears Hawaiian shirts with pride.

3. I get to prepare dinner while listening to live music.

2. He will dress up in women’s green nylons, size double queen, to be Robin to his son’s Batman.

1. We are a great team.

To My Husband, On Our Anniversary

Nine years ago sometime around 5:30 or so, John and I walked around a table three times, making us husband and wife in the eyes of the Greek Orthodox Church.20121221-065641.jpg For me, we had been bonded that way for about two years, but the ceremony is always a beautiful thing. And ours was no different. It was a wonderful day announcing our shared life to the world. And there was lots and lots of alcohol and Greek food. And Poinsettias  and Christmas trees!

Last year, John did this for me on our anniversary. I still don’t know how to say how much it touched me.

I have no talent on level with his music. All I have are my words. So inbetween the blank spaces, I am going to try and tell my husband I love him and our life together the only way I know how.

On that day our life was mostly possibilities. The future was full of possible vacations, vehicles, jobs, pets, friends, family, especially family. Children were the biggest possibility.

Today, many of those possibilities are realities.








Many of them came to us because we struggled. Together we faced the obstacles of living a mortal life; infertility, adoption, pregnancy, finances, lawn care, hurricanes, losing loved ones. Along the way, we have been disappointed. We have disappointed each other. But mostly, we have loved and loved hard and gotten what we wanted and needed. We made it work because we are fierce in our love for each other.

Fierce enough to cry when we wanted to shout.

Fierce enough to hug when we wanted to walk away.

And always, always we laugh. More than anything in our lives, I think laughter has saved our sanity. That moment when dinner is spilled, kids are crying, we’re exhausted… we can look each other in the eye and laugh. Because we got each other, we got this.

Also, we also laugh at this…

Rizzo the Rat: How do you know what Scrooge is doin’? We’re down here and he’s up there!
Gonzo: I told you, storytellers are omniscient; I know everything!
Rizzo the Rat: Hoity-toity, Mr. Godlike Smarty-Pants.
Gonzo: To conduct a proper search, Scrooge was forced to light the lamps.
[the lamps come on]
Rizzo the Rat: How *does* he do that?

(I would have included the video, but this clip is not, apparently, online. I know, right?! And I bet after he reads this, John will find it. Sigh.)

…every time we watch it. (What you thought I would stay serious through the whole post? You must be new here.)

I have been known to say that motherhood is the defining occupation of my life. But that is only possible because John made me his wife. Because without him, without us, I would not be a mother, certainly not the mother I hope I am. John and the relationship we have makes all other wonderful things in my life possible.

It’s a wonderful life.

Thank you, Growly Bear, for making it so.

Love, me too


Name That Tune for Realsies

On December 2nd, we went to a wedding. There was an open bar. This took place in the car driving home from my mother-in-law’s who had been watching the kids. The bold lyrics are me. The italics are John.

Silent night, holy night

Silent night, quiet night

All is calm. All is bright.

All is come. All is (either bright or night, uncertain.)

‘Round yon virgin mother and child.

‘Round yon virgin children.

Holy infant so tender and mild.

Holy infant so tender and mild.

Sleep in heavenly peace. 

Sleep in heavily peace.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Sleep in heavenly peace.

There is a small pause in the car. Before….

Deck the halls with boughs of holly.

Deck the halls with balls of horry. (Yes, he went there.)

Fa la la la la la la la la

Fa la la la la la la la la (He wasn’t drunk enough to flub that.)

‘Tis the season to be jolly.

Is the season to be jorry.

Fa la la la la la la la la

Don we now our gay apparel.

Dawn we now our gay party. (I am assuming he had the wrong dawn.)

Fa la la la la la la la la

Toll the ancient yule tide carol.

I don’t know the goddamn words.


Sorry. I don’t know the gosh darn words.

Fa la la la la la la la la

Fa la la la la la la la la

Another short pause

John: You’ve got the words. I’ve got the tune.

Me: Excuse me? My tune is fine.

John: I might not know the words, but I know the key.

I take the high road.

The first noel the angels did say

Noel, noel, angels did say

Was to certain poor shepards in fields where they lay.

Was to certain poor shepards in fields where they lay.

In fields where they lay, lay keeping their sheep

In fields where they lay, lay feeding their sheep

On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Noel, noel, noel, noel

Noel, noel, noel, noel

Born is the king of Israel

Noel, noel, noel, noel

Me: Lay feeding their sheep?

John: Yes. That is the right word.

Me: No, it’s not. It is keeping their sheep.

John: What does that mean? Keeping their sheep? They feed their sheep.

Me: They keep the sheep. They keep them safe. They aren’t feeding the sheep while they are laying in the field.

John: CJ, do you keep or feed sheep? CJ?

CJ is asleep. Leila is asleep.

Me: NPR?

John: Sure.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Name That Tune!

OK, we will get to the actual story in a moment, but I just wanted to say a little about my November. By now we all few know that I am not the most prolific of bloggers all for my own reasons. However, in November, I was completely off the blogosphere, not really reading posts either, because I was attempting NaNoWriMo. I felt if I had time to write or read, it should be used on my novel (I hate using that word. For some reason, it makes me feel pretentious. I have no idea what that says about me. Probably another post. Or twenty.) Now, I already had 21,000 words done for Oops, Said God, so I wasn’t shooting for 50,000. I was trying not to be driven by word count because I knew that I would just disappoint myself. My goal was to just write more than I would have usually. I am an excellent writing procrastinator.It is one of my most developed skills. For example, I present that I have been working on my *whispers novel *unwhisper since somewhere around the turn of the century. (Yes, that is twelve years to you math whizzes. Turn of the century makes it sound much longer doesn’t it? Like I started it when women wore corsets.) That averages to about (opening calculator app) 1750 words a year. (See? Gold medal in procrastination. If only I was in a novel writing class with deadlines and grades. I would have had that sucker pumping out of the computer lab printer at least two hours before it was due.) So pathetic. Still I kept at it. I really love the idea, and I love my book (a little easier than novel. Again. NO IDEA WHY.) I was a little stymied about the ending. I wasn’t entirely sure where it was going, so that slowed things down. I figured out part of it about three years ago when I was teaching.But then the beginning of grad school and then momhood were excellent procrastinating tools. I finally banged out a plan for the full second half earlier this year (with the inspiration of a lovely notebook supplied by my thoughtful husband), but by then I had started graduate classes again, and toddlers are way time intensive. I made the promise that I would do NaNoWriMo as I would be done with classes. My overall goal was to be done before 2013.

That’s not going to happen. (Do you know how hard it is to write with no “u” key or an “enter” button? Well, it is very hard! Especially when you know there is a new Chromebook somewhere in the house, hiding for Christmas.) But I wrote over 5,000 words in November. Compare that to my yearly average from the last paragraph. That is pretty amazing, percentage-wise. And I still got to enjoy it. Thanksgiving and the bunch of things going on around it got me off track, but I plan on making myself write at least once a week. I figure if I can keep up with my November numbers, I can be done in four to five months. Not too much over my original end of year goal.

So that is why I haven’t been on the blog for an even longer stretch than usual.

What? Oh, right, Name That Tune is the subject of this post. OK, so you want the story of drunk John and sober Duffy arguing about Christmas carol lyrics now.

But I have already written 581 words. And I know the attention span of the average blog reader (Of course, all three of you are above average.)

So I promise the actual Name That Tune post later this week.

A Day in the Woes of Hobbes

Hobbes is my dog. Sure he lets John walk him and feed him and warm him at night, but he worships me. I am his sun, his moon, his stars. He dwells in darkness without me.

But it went away.

I had kids.

My lap is not his alone anymore.

He has always been a dog that favored the terrier grumpiness.

Now, he just looks at me like this.

Here is a day in the life of Hobbes.

5 AM: Tall guy better be taking me for a walk this morning. I have pee mail to check and reply to.

5:15 AM: It’s raining? Turn around, Idiot. I ain’t getting wet.

5:20 AM: Dry food. Again. I hate this shit. Maybe if I roll one piece around my mouth at a time and let it get soggy, I can pretend it is delicious. GGGGRRRRRRRRR. Fuck off, Snickelfritz, this may be shit, but it is my shit. I do not care there is a gate of metal between us, back off! I will defend my sawdust bites with my last growl.

5:45 AM: Well, I sucked all that crap down. Now I really have to crap. It’s still raining. Fucker. I’ll just go under the piano.

6:00 AM: (Jumps on bed.) Dammit when did the smelly food droppers get here? No mom goddess room for me…. I know. I can sleep on her crotch. She loves that.

7:00 AM: Now they are awake! Leave the tail alone, little fuckers. Grrrrr. Watch the face! Goddamn, I hate the hot dog dance.

8:00 AM: Stop the tanturm, screaming girl child. If you didn’t want to share the banana, you shouldn’t have gotten down from the table. A bowl of Cheerios on the coffee table is also free game, whining boy thing.


At least she took the little fur pullers.

9:15 AM: Shut up, Snick, there is nothing out there but a leave. Dumbass.



Damn. The monsters are back too. And they are sticky! Stay back! BACK! GRRRR

Of course, I will finish your lollipop.

3:15 PM: What do you mean I can’t sit in your lap?! There is so room. SEE?! (wiggle wiggle grrr humph squeeze) Right here. Don’t breath too deeply.

Lay off the love, inane babbler. I hate you. Though you are warm. And yes, I do like goldfish crackers, thank you.

3:20 PM: WHY ARE YOU GETTING UP? That one’s butt didn’t smell that bad. I was comfortable, dammit.

3:23 PM: The lap is back. Yes, it is. I love you.

3:33 PM: AGAIN WITH THE GETTING UP?! No, don’t do that. I was enjoying Shaun the Sheep. I hate it when you play Wii. Keep that remote away from me, you ridiculously flailing spawn boy.

5:00 PM: Tall guy, it is about time you got home. Feed me.

5:02 PM: Dry food again?! Back the fuck off, Snick.

7:00 PM: I love enjoying my food and taking my time over a meal. Why is everyone else upstairs?

7:10 PM: Yay, tall guy is trying to drown the whiners. Go for it, tall guy!

Oh, just a bath? Well, serves the little shits right.

8:00 PM: No, girl thing, this pillow is mine! Enough with your shoo.

Mommy, you are shooing me too?! Why, why, how have I wronged you? Fine, I will get down.

8:03 PM: What? She sat up. That totally makes the pillow fair game.

Fine. I will be in your room. That pillow will have to do.

8:30 PM: Aren’t they asleep yet?!

9:00 PM: Finally. Wait, I can’t have this pillow either? But, I love you. Fine.

Did you know your crotch is really warm? It is totally the best sleeping spot. Oh wait, tall guy is here too. His crotch is bigger and warmer. But I still love you the best.

OH MY GOD, SNICK, YOU SO CAN JUMP UP ON THE BED. STOP WITH THE WHINING! tall guy, please, do something about that. You’re snoring. SNORING. Wake up and help the special needs dog already.

I can’t believe I have to put up with these beings. Except you, Mom. You are so special. Why have you forsaken me? I’d sleep on you, but tall guy really is warmer. Unless you want to give me the pillow.