Monday, April 30, 2012

DIY - Piece of Cake - Parenting Plights & Delights



One of my favorite parenting memories is when we threw our oldest daughter, Tulip (nickname), a Sweet-Sixteen party. We wanted to make it an occasion to remember. In order to hire a DJ, we had to cut back on other costs, so I decided I could do the cake myself. No sweat.

We expected over 50 guests, so I baked four cake mixes, which required two roasting pans. I transferred the first layer onto a large tray, but the middle of the cake stuck to the bottom of the pan. Okay, no big deal. I scraped out the middle and fit the pieces back into place like a puzzle. There were huge fissures, but extra whipped cream would take care of that, and no one would be the wiser.

The whipped cream covered all the cracks perfectly. Mm-mmm! The tricky part was getting the top layer out of the other pan in one piece. Tulip grabbed one side as I grabbed the other. We flopped it out onto the bottom layer. Dang! The top had split down the middle. No worries, though. Lots of whipped cream would easily hide that.

Camouflaging the cracks used up all the whipped topping. I still had to cover the sides, so I sent my 17-year-old son to the store for some frozen whipped cream in the tubs.

He returned in a jiff with two cans of whipped cream and told me he couldn't find it in the tubs, and besides, the cans were cheaper anyway. I wondered how he knew they were cheaper if he never found the tubs to compare them.

So, I sprayed a fancy ripple of cream all the way around the cake. "Beautiful!"

Within 30 seconds, the canned whipped cream liquefied and ran down the sides. I rushed the monstrous cake into the fridge as it was too big for the freezer. Then I wiped the dripping trail off the floor.

Ten minutes later I checked on the cake, only to find whipped cream running down the shelf and into the veggie drawer. As I went to remove the sticky mess, the shelf gave way from the weight and collapsed into the drawer below.

Somehow I retrieved the cake in one piece, set it aside, and cleaned up the fridge, but first I sent my son back to the store. He returned with the tubs.

After spreading the tub whipped cream to the sides, I topped the cake with strawberries. Now all I had to do was write "Happy Birthday Tulip" with a tube of decorator frosting.

Darn it! The tube didn't come with a tip, so I dug out the decorating kit I'd bought two years prior but had never used and squeezed the frosting from the tube into the cylinder.

I soon discovered why that kit was such a bargain. It required muscleman strength to press on it to get the frosting out. My face was red after writing "Happy." I shook the numbness from my hands and decided to replace "Birthday" with "16th." By the time I wrote "Tulip," I was thankful I hadn't named her Elizabeth.

That night I pulled the cake out of the fridge. Voila! It was gobbled up in no time. The guests were clueless as to the comical scene that had played out just before they arrived, and that was my last attempt at a monster-sized cake.


Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you'd like to share? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I'd like to thank all those who have shared their stories. 
These posts wouldn't be the same without your input.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Baby Escape Artists



How young is too young to challenge a baby's problem-solving skills? 
At seven and a half months, Punkin is off to a great start. 

I probably shouldn't encourage him to escape. He's already trying to climb out of the playpen yard, inching higher and higher with each new day. He challenges himself.

Some babies are happy to stay put, but others, no way. 
They are our future explorers, inventors, athletes, innovators. 


This baby's parents couldn't figure out how he was getting out of his crib, 
especially with the mattress as low as it could go, 
so his dad put a video camera on the dresser. 
This is only 50 seconds. I guarantee his skills and perseverance will blow your mind.  
What will he grow up to be? He's definitely going places!


Even if your baby's not a climber, they have other methods of outsmarting their parents.
Baby Gate Escape Artist - 21 seconds long. 

Parents must be on their toes 24/7. 
What Baby couldn't conquer a day ago, an hour ago, a minute ago, 
he/she succeeds when you least expect it. 
Be prepared!

Believe me, I know. My husband and I have raised four little monsters (term of endearment).
Now we're enjoying our grandchildren. It's even harder to keep up at our age. 
Who needs a workout at the gym?

  Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you'd like to share? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I'd like to thank all those who have shared their stories. 
These posts wouldn't be the same without your input.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Palindrome Poem

April is National Poetry Month. One of the most amazing poems I've ever read was written by C. Sonberg Larson. We belong to the same critique group, Books Born Here. I'm honored that Larson gave me permission to share it with you.


SAMSARA

Crying, mother young.
See eyes, watery and blue, skin wet, soul ancient.
Breathing.
Birthing another.
Light blinding. Sterile, white room.
Cold air.
Screaming. Intense pain. Wailing. Pushing.
Rushing blood, warm, out held hand.
Red appears, light filters, skin and womb.
Here, I am, wondering, waiting. Vulnerable and hairless. Dependent.
Lives past, toiling and suffering, mistakes noted.
Repeating life. Again chosen.
Gone are months of warmth and safety.
Awaiting birth.
Miracle or retribution?
Unfair, so unfair.
Retribution or miracle?
Birth awaiting.
Safety and warmth of months are gone.
Chosen again. Life repeating.
Noted mistakes, suffering and toiling, past lives.
Dependent. Hairless and vulnerable, waiting, wondering, am I here.
Womb and skin filters light, appears red.
Hand held out. Warm, blood rushing.
Pushing. Wailing. Pain intense. Screaming.
Air cold.
Room, white, sterile. Blinding light.
Another birthing.
Breathing.
Ancient soul, wet skin, blue and watery eyes see
young mother, crying.

**Please note that this poem is a palindrome—it reads the same forward and backward**

C. Sonberg Larson has been writing stories since the age of seven. Larson is an ongoing member of SCBWI,as well as critique groups Books Born Here and Invincible Ink.  Larson is expected to release a body of work for sale online in the fall. 


I hope you enjoyed C. Sonberg Larson's palindrome poem. Do you like poetry? Do you have a favorite?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Locked Out! - Parenting Plights & Delights


You're in for some giggly treats today, friends. Has your kid ever locked you out? If so, I'm sure one of these stories will bring back some funny (or maybe not) memories.


Laughingmom from Where's the Funny Here? said:
We had date night interrupted because our son had locked everyone including the sitter (his uncle) out of the house. Uncle got fired as a sitter.


Robyn Campbell (mother of seven) from Putting Pen to Paper said:


As you know we live on a farm, so one day I left them all in the house alone! I was only going down to the mailbox. Five minutes tops. I dilly dally in the quiet. When I got back I could not get in the front door. Or the side door. Or the back door. *sigh* I knocked. I banged. I screamed, "Let Mommy in, please!" I peeked in the window though the curtains and saw them sitting on the couch. Laughing. They were playing a joke on me. The one that feeds them. The one that went through the pain to have 'em. They would NOT let me in. I had to take a screen off a window and climb through. Waaahaaaaaaaa 

It was not a pretty sight. Me climbing through a window. When I finally got in the house, there they were. Sitting on the couch. Giggling. 

Suffice it to say, I always slipped the house key in my pocket from then on. 


About 13 years ago, Mariam Taguchi shared one of her favorite parenting stories with me. She had taken her oldest daughters to her niece's baby shower. Mariam's husband, Derek, stayed home to look after 23-month-old Noelle, who was too rambunctious to take along. 


While Mariam was enjoying herself at the shower, she received a frantic call from hubby, who ran to the neighbor's to use their phone. Derek had stepped out front for a moment and Noelle closed the door and locked it. 


"She's in the house crying and crying," Derek said. "You have to come home NOW." 


"Stay calm," Mariam said, then told him where she hid the extra key.


By the time Derek got inside the house, he found a mess in the kitchen. Noelle had spilled water from the dog's dish all over the floor, in addition to throwing dog food everywhere. He then discovered his free-spirited toddler had taken off her clothes and was running through the halls, screaming with laughter, which Derek had mistaken for hysterical crying!


  Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you'd like to share? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I'd like to thank all those who have shared their stories. 
These posts wouldn't be the same without your input.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

(A version of Mariam Taguchi's story appeared in the Highland Community News in January 1999.)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Flash Fiction Just in Time For Friday the 13th

Photo and effects by Lynn Kelley


Last Friday Debra Kristi's blog featured a flash fiction story she wrote, inspired by weird, Twilight Zone ceramic critters in her hotel room. She challenged others to write a flash fiction piece based on one of the photos in the post. Considering my squirrelly personality, the picture of the squirrels pulled me in, and I gave it a shot. 


When I emailed "Winner" to Debra, she commented that my story is a good one for Friday the 13th. How about that? I didn't realize it's the 13th! Yikes!


Let me warn you that flash fiction isn't my forte. I found this quite challenging. So here goes:


Winner

            Flora won a solitary getaway at the prestigious Pine Kliff Resort, famous for its rim-of-the-world panorama.

“What kind of screwy contest awards a trip for one?” Hubby Chet balked at holding down the fort of whiny kids and critters so her frayed nerves could mend. “Frayed nerves, frayed nerves,” echoed through his brain. He finally caved in before she drove him nuts.

That Saturday, Flora grinned before entering the penthouse suite for some alone time. Once inside, her eyes twitched to adjust to shadowy fixtures. A chandelier with crystal pinecone bulbs blinked like a strobe light, illuminating a red velvet comforter, polished ebony floor, and golden faux leather sofa.

She spotted a pair of ceramic squirrels on a Manzanita coffee table. Acorns and peanuts encircled them. Cheesy.  

 Stepping toward the window to raise the blackout shades, floor planks shifted under her like a carnival funhouse. Earthquake!

Before she could duck, another jolt tossed her right smack onto her tailbone. Dazed and panting, she trembled as a drumroll thundered, accompanied by screaming whistles. Laser beams from the chandelier flickered like lightning as the room quaked and walls split.

Smoke and pine fumes poured in. Flora coughed and pulled her sweater over her nose. Sharp pains stabbed her forehead. The temperature dropped below zero. Shivering, she curled into a fetal position. I’m gonna die here.
 ***

Chet kissed Flora’s head as she spoke gibberish on a gurney at Mercy General. “Will she recover?”

Zane Fitch, game show host, shrugged. “It’s nice if they heal before their episode airs in six months, but no guarantees.”

“Why didn’t she tell me?”

“Didn’t remember. Her memory was erased when she signed the waiver.” He patted Chet’s shoulder. “Don’t look so glum. Flora not only won $500,000, but she’ll surely become a Virtual Lobotomy favorite.” 



Now you know why my blog is called "Random Acts of Weirdness." 

So, have you ever wanted to be on a reality TV show? 
If you don't want to answer that question, how about this one: 
Are you superstitious? Do you like to stay home on Friday the 13th?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Forgotten Easter Eggs - Parenting Plights & Delights


Every Easter my husband's family gets together at Jim and Linda's. The highlight of the day for the kids is the egg hunt.

After the egg hunt, Jodi Frobenius and her son Fro got creative with the plastic eggs. 

A younger Frobenius designed a stylish new Easter bonnet/hat. 

About 15 years ago, 10-year-old Donny found a faded egg in one of the bushes. Jim rushed over and carefully took it from him. "We don't want it to crack," Jim warned. He knew it was an egg from the year prior, now faded from the elements.

When the kids found out it was an old egg and might be rotten, they followed Jim to the trashcan as if he were the Pied Piper. They were curious to find out what a rotten egg smelled like. The egg had a tiny crack, just enough to give them a good whiff of its stench.

P.U.! It made some of them gag, which is why Jim and Linda hide eggs outside. It could have been a disaster if it had rotted inside the house. So if you hid real eggs, you might want to double-check to make sure you found them all. And if you had an indoor egg hunt, I hope you used the plastic eggs.

One Easter some joker--we know it was you, Mike Frobenius--hid a few raw eggs for the kids. Luckily, we were on our toes and saved them before someone ended up with egg on their face. (I know, not funny, but courtesy laughs are appreciated!)

Forgotten eggs can cause terribly embarrassing moments. I remember when my youngest child, Sunflower, was still a baby and I had a doctor appointment a couple weeks after Easter. I smelled something stinky in the diaper bag on the drive there.

Once parked, I dug through it and found a receiving blanket with some spit-up on it, so I took it out of the diaper bag before going into the clinic.

While I read a magazine in the waiting room, I realized the diaper bag still smelled. I looked inside it but couldn't find the source of the stench. When the nurse called me in, heads turned as I walked across the room, carrying Sunflower and the putrid diaper bag. I hoped people didn't think the nauseating fumes  were coming from me! *Cringe, cringe.*

The doctor never said a word about the smell, and he had to have noticed it in that small exam room. I guess he didn't want to embarrass me. Maybe he thought it was the baby. I just wanted to get out of there.

Once I got home, I was determined to get to the bottom of the smell once and for all. I took everything out of the diaper bag. Finally, aha! Mystery solved. In one of  the side pockets that I never used I found not one, but two cracked Easter eggs.

It turned out that five-year-old Lily had stuffed them in the pocket at the family gathering to bring them home. Out of sight, out of mind, until they crack!

Q.  What came first, the chicken or the egg?

A.  Neither--the Easter Bunny!


Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you'd like to share? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I'd like to thank all those who have shared their stories. 
These posts wouldn't be the same without your input.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.

(A version of these stories appeared in the Highland Community News in April of 1999.)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Don't Say That in Church - Parenting Plights & Delights


Yesterday was Palm Sunday. It brought back memories of years ago when my oldest daughter, Tulip, was 15 and had just signed up to be a lector at our church. Her lectoring debut was on Palm Sunday and the scripture was about Jesus's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem riding on a donkey.

Just before we entered the church, Tulip whispered, "Mom, I have to read the word 'ass' twice."

I knew she was nervous about speaking in front of the congregation. I told her that 'ass' isn't considered a bad word in Europe, and a lot of European children's books have it. "If that's what it says, then that's what you have to read."

Tulip made it through the readings without stuttering, blushing, or giggling. I was surprised that my dainty 90-pound daughter's voice carried all the way to the back of the church.

After Mass, Sister Concilio O'Keeffe, the second grade teacher, came over to us and complimented Tulip. "One of the best readers I've ever heard," she said in her lovely Irish accent.

I explained how nervous Tulip was about having to read the word 'ass.'

"Oh, no, it's not a bad word over in Ireland where I grew up," Sister said.

Tulip's younger sisters, Lily and Sunflower, had been listening intently.

"Well," 10-year-old Lily spoke up, "what are the bad words in Ireland?"

I cringed, but Sister Concilio laughed and said, "I think that's a lesson we'll have to skip."


With Good Friday approaching, I'm reminded of a note Laurie Lundquist wrote to me years ago, which shared a conversation she had with her six-year-old step-daughter, Madison, and her husband, Mark. They were talking about the crucifixion scene in the "Glory of Easter" production they saw at the Crystal Cathedral.

"It's a shame they had to do that on a holiday," Madison said.

"We, of course, got a good laugh," Laurie said, "and then we had to explain to her that Jesus being crucified is what created the holiday."

We never know what kids will come up with next, do we?

Do you have a parenting or grandparenting memory
or another story you'd like to share? 
If you're not a parent, memories from your own childhood count, too! 

Warning: I might feature your story in a future post. 
(Names can be changed to protect the guilty!)

I'd like to thank all those who have shared their stories. 
These posts wouldn't be the same without your input.

If you don't want to leave a comment but would rather contact me by email, 
here's my address: lynkelwoohoo at yahoo dot com.



(A version of these stories first appeared in the Highland Community News in April 1999.)