Bizarro Day on Facebook

Facebook is an unusual animal. If you can tame the beast and teach it to do your bidding, it is undoubtedly one of the best networking tools in the world. In 5 minutes, you can find out any piece of information, survey all of your friends, or arrange a social engagement from start to finish. I found a bike seat on Facebook. I find recipes on Facebook. I stalk people on Facebook.

But you have to be careful that the beast does not tame you and teach you to do its own bidding. It is easy to sit down for 5 minutes and then look up two hours later, having no idea that you’ve been sitting there so long. Doing nothing. Really.

Last night I became friends with a dog on Facebook. I just hardly even know what to say about this. There it was: a Friend Request. In my Friend Request section. Lucy Pug, the dog of my best friend in my childhood neighborhood, was there in my box requesting me as a friend on Facebook. I stared at that request for a couple of minutes while my finger wavered on the mouse button. Finally, I selected Yes. Sure, Lucy Pug. I’ll be your friend. Far be it from me to be the lady who won’t be her friend’s dog’s friend on Facebook. It’s a mouthful, I know. Two minutes later, a message came up. It said simply: Lucy Pug has accepted your friend request.

Wait a second. What?
She accepted MY friend request?
Apparently I hadn’t been asked to be her friend. She had suggested that I ask her. And I never saw it coming.
And I requested that a dog become my friend.

But at least she said yes.
At least there’s that.
If that dog had turned me down, this would be a whole different blog.

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The Generation Gap

So tonight we took young Spemma to church with us. As we were sitting on the pew before church began, she ruffled Mama’s Boy’s hair and basically messed it up. And then a three way conversation commenced. The conversation was between Spemma (18), me (40), and Melissa (38).

Me: Hey. You are messing up his Robert Redford hair.
Spemma: Who is Robert Redford?
Me: What?! Who is Robert Redford? Come ON.
Me again: The Natural?
Spemma: The What?
Me: Oh, forget it. Horse Whisperer? No, you wouldn’t know that one.
Melissa: Oh, he was in a broadcast news movie with Michelle Pfeiffer somewhat recently. She might have seen that one.
Spemma: I don’t know who Michelle Pfieffer is, but I did watch a broadcasting movie one time.
Me: Oh, for crying out loud. You don’t know who Michelle Pfieffer is either?
Melissa: I’m going back to my bench where I don’t feel so old.

Sheeeeeee.

You sly dog, you

Writing, writing, writing.
Oh, the writing.
The clock is ticking and I am in the thick of a deadline, loving every minute of it and trying not to waste time spinning unnecessary wheels. I’ve gotten some good advice over the last two weeks and some of it has perhaps saved me already.

Due to my needing to actually get work down, we moved out scary couches from the living room and moved in a small desk from upstairs. The living room is perhaps my favorite room in the house.  It’s not particularly charming, but it is flooded with natural light and it’s just a happy, cozy place to be.

And besides being well-lit, it is now the place where I am, which means it is often where my children want to be. I welcome this and we set them up a place doing this or that, when they want it. Sometimes they come in and color. Sometimes they play a computer game. Sometimes they put on music and shake their groove thangs.

Today it was Beloved and the Computer games. She wanted Starfall.com and she likes to listen to their songs, while singing along herself. As she was going to TOWN today, I realized that my Canon PowerShot was on my desk and Beloved was sitting on the other side of my desk. So like the sly dog I am, I set my camera on my computer, aimed at her, and started to record. She never knew I was taping. This is a little slice of our life and her personality. I could just snarf her up some days.

Besides the general preciousness of looking into the heart of a 4-year-old, there is a moment at the end that makes me laugh. I was trying to turn off the camera during a fake, explosive cough. Why I felt I had to conceal the powering OFF, I do not know. All I know for sure is that I did NOT power it off because I didn’t hit the button with enough force. So what we have is a badly orchestrated theatrical choking.

And a little girl who melts my heart. Completely.

Introducing Spemmangelo Snapp

That is one rockin’ name, I can tell you. I wish it were really mine.

Allow me to introduce you to the most extraordinary person living in my house right now.

It’s me.

bahahahaha.

But the honorable mention goes to Spemma.

Spemma is living with us for the summer. We are hoping to somehow secure her for life, (possession is 9/10 of the law) but have not yet figured a way to do that.  I know her birth parents will want visitation. We are willing to work something out with them, providing we can agree that We of Little College Funds (indian family name) do not have to put her through her remaining 2  years of college.

Whatever. That’s neither here nor there, really. It certainly is not the point of this blog. Not that it  has a point. You should know that right up front. It’s pointless. If you are strapped for time, just move on.

Spemma speaks spanish at garage sales, for which we were recently grateful. She also speaks some other strange languages that I am still attempting to learn so that we can communicate in the 30 minutes when she isn’t handing fried chicken. Here are a few recent examples:

“Probs” = Probably, though I did have to rule out the abbreviation for “problems”. Context has now proven this to be “probably.”

“Bob” – you, me, anyone. Everyone is named Bob.

“MaFa” – pronounced Mah-Fah. Short for Marriage and Family class. Hmm.

kkk – Does not seem to stand for Ku Klux Klan. Seems to be some sort of emphatic version of “OK.” Honestly, I have no idea. I’m very confused.

There are others. I will list them as they come to me.

At any rate, besides being multi-lingual and exceedingly interesting, Spemma is just pleasant to have around. It is hard to get past her pat answer of “My pleasure” when you thank her for a thankless task (she has obviously been brainwashed by her employees), but we are trying to believe that folding our underwear or washing a nasty plate with dried ketchup on it truly is her pleasure.

And speaking of pleasure, she brought home a little experiment tonight. And she made us try it.  And here it is.

And here’s a typical scene from the garage sale. If I could have gotten her off this couch, I might have sold it.

But probably not.

Go home, Barter Broads. This isn’t 1882.

At the last garage sale I ran, there was a neighborhood “shopper” who I highlighted in the Garage Sale Aftermath blog. We called him Mr. Ferris. Mr. Ferris has descended from thieves and neer-do-wells and has learned the lifestyle well. He tried to steal my ipod, which was right next to my chair, pinned under my personal, a-little-green-at-the-top, perfect banana. He knew better. We all know that he knew better. He knows he knew better.

But because garage sales in my tiny town seem to share the same 12 people at every one, I knew I’d see Mr. Ferris again. That’s how these things work. Today was another garage sale.  I have, over the last few months, thought through appropriate things to say to him. I wanted to make my message clear while still presenting a Christlike mindset. But even Jesus wasn’t fond of thieves. But I guess the Temple is also different from the random garage. Either way, I had planned on writing him a little note and setting some really strict ground rules. He was not going to be given free reign, like he apparently had during the last go-round. But there are a lot of things to be done in order to pull off a reasonably successful garage sale, so my personal correspondence to Mr. Ferris did not happen. Even so, my mind was set.

The sale started at 8.  The vultures began swirling at 7:30. The non-English speaking vultures were swirling by 7:45 and we were completely annoyed by 7:46. By 7:50, there were fist o’ cuffs and by 7:54, the police had arrived on the scene. And the sale wasn’t even officially open yet.

I’m just kidding about the fist o’ cuffs and the police. Not that this would have been unjustified, I can assure you.

The non-English speakers looked to be sisters in their early 70s. Let’s call them Contigi and Consuela. They wanted to buy some things. To pay for these items, they wanted to offer us acorns out of our own yard. But I had a secret weapon to combat their foreign thievery. I had Spemma (Spanish Emma). Spemma can old her own with old Spanish ladies. Within moments, there was a conversation going on, thick with numbers and “No, Cinco.” About this time, a truck full of bi-lingual fellas showed up who, after shopping and paying REAL MONEY for merchandise, got involved in trying to make Contigi and Consuela see the error of their ways.

To this moment, I don’t know if they were primarily cheap (to a FAULT), unintelligent, uncultured in the rules of garage sales, or dishonest. It may have been a combination of some of the above. What I do know is they were a problem. A HUGE problem. And it was amusing for about 14 seconds. Actually more like 4.

You know what I really hate at garage sales? I hate it when someone just picks and picks and picks at you over 75 cents and when you finally agree to ridiculous terms, they hand you a twenty.  Well, now. Looks like you could have afforded my original price, doesn’t it?

While Spemma was trying to secure some funds from this very terrible transaction, Mr. Ferris walked up. Awesome timing. As is his custom, he walked up all friendly like and started making friendly banter. I was emotionally ready for this one. I simply looked him in the eye and said, with a smile on my face,

“You tried to steal my iPod. Do you remember?  I remember,” I said and I motioned to the merchandise and finished it off with, “Everything here is full price for you.” He had a stunned look on his face. Was he stunned that a regular person of  non-CIA parentage could see straight through his super sneaky schemes? Or was he stunned that anyone would think him a cheat? He started to back away, obviously wounded, and said, “Well, that’s not a very good way to start out.”

And he left.

And I don’t regret anything I said or his leaving.

A garage sale is not an excuse for poor behavior or business tactics.

Contigi and Consuela were back 30 minutes later.  They wanted to make a return.  Did you catch that? They wanted to return a one dollar, working, lantern-style flashlight. I have several responses to this. They are as follows:

  • No.
  • No. If you want to return merchandise, shop at Target.
  • Actually, shop at Target no matter what.
  • Go away. We were tired of you 2 hours ago.
  • We do not accept returns.
  • No returno. No exchango.

She tried then to go find a little dish of some sort. She walked it up to us and said, “Este para eso?” which meant “This for that?” Apparently, she didn’t understand the “no returno, no exchango” policy.

“No.” (She had opened her mouth to speak again.)

“No.” Just no. No. I know you understand this. Latin, Italian, Spanish, and English. No. NO. We are done with you. Finito. Be gone.

They left. We sold. We chilled a little.

And then up walked Dirty Old Man. My local friends reading this blog will know who I mean. If you’ve been to a garage sale in this little town, you may have shopped alongside this creepy fella. But if you have hosted a garage sale, you have definitely met him. He comes to every garage sale. Every single one. And he shuffles up in his 86-yr-old pair of slippers and asks if we have any dresses in his size. Then he pulls out the fake one million dollar bill. Then he tells the dirty triplets joke. Blah, blah, blah. He doesn’t buy anything. He’s just looking for friends. Bide your time. Try not to vomit right in front of him.

Today he left out the three standard jokes that he usually tells (he has new material now!) and went straight for Spemma. He asked her to marry him. But just for the weekend. I think I could have had him arrested for this. I couldn’t worry about arresting him. I had to go get a vomit bucket for Spemma. I wasn’t sure which she’d do first, throw up or come back out dressed as a nun. Being a non-Catholic threw a wrench into the nun thing, so we revisited having him arrested.

He had a cold sore.

Gross.

Creepy and gross.

Noon arrived and we were totally shot and ready to close up shop. So that’s precisely what we were doing. And up walks Contigo and Consuela. Again. We just were not going to have any more of this. So we pushed Spemma out in front to spew the following phrases over and over and over again. “No mas. No mas. Finito. No mas.” That means, “No more. Finished. No more.”

We will not sell you anything. Nothing.

So you know what they did? They sat down on the couch we were about to move back into the garage and watched us pack up. Ten minutes they sat there. And they remained there until we started to pick up the couch on which they were sitting.

So we locked them in the garage.

They are still there.

That’ll teach em.

The Lace Trimmings of Speech and Socialization – According to Me

Appropriate speech has long been a topic of conversation in my house. Pretty much since they could spit out the uncouth potty humor, we’ve been laying the tracks for a Polly Pure vocabulary. There are many areas in which I am not as prudish as I should be. In this area, you can probably call me a prude.  The potty humor thing I’m still working on. We don’t have it completely rooted out just yet, mostly because I have laughed one time too many at the wrong thing.

I’m a firm believer that you are what comes out of your mouth. James tells us that we shouldn’t have blessing and cursing coming from the same mouth.  Ephesians 4:29 says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

I try to imagine Jesus having a conversation with a pal. I just bet he didn’t say the Aramaic equivalent of “crap.”  I just really don’t think he did. He didn’t hop around the line of what’s okay and what’s not like he was on hot pavement. And if He was pure in speech and action, I’d rather not make up excuses for myself. I’d rather get as far away from that particular line as I can.

With kids, this comes up constantly. Today, it came up a whole bunch. I have no idea why they were all magnetically attracted to this topic today of all days, but since it has been a running theme, I’m just going to blog about it.

Here’s our basic philosophy about speech.. As odd as it may sound, I think of it in terms of the public school behavioral system: Green, yellow, and red. We log potential vocabulary words by color. Red words are the definite ‘no, you don’t’ words for us. I would put “crap” in the red category, even though I said it as a teenager and I’ve already typed it here twice. If it would make my granny blush, it’s a red word. My 4-yr-old has twice today said “darn it” in fake frustration. I don’t know where she heard that and she doesn’t seem to recall, either. But for a 4-yr-old, “darn it” is Red. My rules, not yours. Do with it what you will.

Considerably more ambiguous is our list of Yellow words. Yellow words are words that I don’t let my own kids say but many of their very nice friends ARE allowed to say. “Oh my gosh” goes on this list. They are not allowed to say that because from more than 8 feet away, “gosh” sounds like “God” and I just don’t want my kids throwing that around. But I can name at least 40 people right now who say this and have no issue with it. I wouldn’t pick that fight. I won’t judge. But because of the controversy, the potential misuse, and my own feelings, it’s yellow and you don’t talk yellow in this house. I would also throw ‘stupid’ on the Yellow list. Adults and teenagers use it and know how to handle it. A 4-yr-old calling something or someone stupid just sounds sassy and presumptuous. Give yourself about 12 years and then Stupid to your heart’s content, little one. Again, this is my rule. Don’t try to talk me out of these. This is subjectivity. There’s no point in fussing.

Finally, we have Green words. Green words rock and the kids can say them as much as they like. ‘Love’ is green. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are green. A few other green words or phrases are as follows:

Would you please accept this $100 bill?

May I do chores for you, Dear Mother?

Let’s talk about Jesus.

Yes, Ma’am.

Can we sit on a bean bag chair and read while classical music plays softly?

So you get the idea. And this entire exchange is the conversation I had with my 4-yr-old today right after she spat out a very emphatic “darn it” with a smile sloppily glued across her face. I gave her the Red/Yellow/Green run down, emphasizing that we stay on GREEN as much as possible. And then I had to run back in the house to grab Todd’s wallet for him. Beloved and Snug were in the car, strapped in, and I could hear Beloved beginning her rehash of my speech as I was running back into the house.  She was lording it over Snug, because suddenly she had become the Green Speech Expert. When I returned, I heard,

“And ‘tree’ is okay. And we can say ‘flower’, right Mama? And ‘grass’ is good. Annnnnnd, ‘yard.'”

For a moment, I thought maybe she had misunderstood me and taken the Green thing entirely literally, but then she threw in “stop sign” and broke the pattern of shrubbery and all things photosynthesis.

In my thinking, forcing them to Go Green in their speech grows a more solid and robust vocabulary. I do allow creative substitutes. The under-14 set is  not allowed to say ‘stupid’ but I more than encourage some creative synonyms. How about ludicrous, obtuse, unintelligent, or thick-headed? Why say something borderline like ‘good golly’ when you can say ‘sweet sister of a howler monkey’? That’s much more interesting.

At least I think so.
And it’s my blog.
If you are feeling a little Yellow around the edges, may I recommend WordPress.
Or just go green.

🙂

Lies people tell themselves

  1. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  Really? Honestly, that sounds worse to me. You could take that to a more physical level and translate it to, “It is better to have eaten the fatty sausage and thrown it back up than to not have eaten the fatty sausage.” I just think skipping the whole deal is better, if you can’t keep the whole deal.
  2. There are no calories in Cheetos if you eat them standing up and 3 or 4 at a time…10 times a day.
  3. Repeat #2 with Double Bubble. Ugh. I sent the bucket to work with Todd.
  4. Teenagers are pains in the honk. Maybe YOU are the pain in the honk. Ever think of that? I’m planning on my teenagers being fabulous and wildly entertaining. If they are not…if they are in juvie hall for vandalizing and smoking airplane glue…I will discontinue this blog and strike this statement from ever existing. Because you can easily do that with the Internet, you know. Surprised you didn’t know that.
  5. Staying up and staring at a paragraph for 30 minutes is better than sleeping. Go to bed, Dummy.

On that note, I’m going. So much to say, but it will have to wait at least another 6 hours. Love to all.