Monthly Archives: August 2011

Beyond Technical Difficulties

Have you ever wondered what a broken LCD screen looks like?

This is used to be our television.

My daughter was just trying to be obedient. I had asked her to put away her video game and get ready for bed. She has a kiddie karaoke machine that plugs into the back of the TV. As she was trying to pull out the little plugs, she pulled the whole television set out of the armoire and onto the floor. The only thing she hurt was her heart…well, and the TV.  From the outside, the TV looked fine and I thought maybe we’d dodged an expensive bullet until my oldest son and I manhandled it back into the armoire and turned it on.

And saw the jagged crack and the technicolor lines.

It’s actually kind of pretty in a screensaver kind of way, but not in an optimum television viewing experience kind of way.

I showed Kelly when he got home and we both agreed that although it was an expensive thing, it was just a thing. We assured our daughter that her brothers couldn’t vote her out of the family for breaking the TV they’re allowed to use to play video games and she finally calmed down and went to sleep.

I was going to wax poetically about how we can find beauty in the brokenness and how we may look good on the outside but be broken on the inside and maybe throw in a line or two about how good it feels to be forgiven, but at the end of the day, it’s still just a broken television. With a cool screen saver on a broken screen.

In other news, I have a dress-up event tonight. I’m not in a dress-up place today. I’m in a Piggly Wiggy “Big on the Pig” t-shirt and gym shorts kind of place. Guess I’ll need to change places.

In the meantime, I need to straighten up this house before the babysitter gets here. Or at least clean the bathroom. Which brings me to my questions of the day:

1. Do you clean your house for the babysitter? I’ve run out of excuses for why my house is always upside down when the sitter comes. “We just moved in,” doesn’t work because she knows we’ve been here a year. I used “We just got back from a trip” two weeks ago. “This is how we’ve chosen to live” just seems so fatalistic.

2. What do you feed your sitters? Every time my mom started slapping fish sticks on a cookie sheet, I knew we were having a babysitter. We never had fish sticks any other time. Do you have a meal that you always serve when the sitter is responsible for dinner? I used to order pizza but we ordered pizza this weekend. I think I’m going to try a recipe that Jennifer Faddis sent me on Twitter when I was bemoaning the fact that I was uninspired by the defrosted  chicken breasts in my refrigerator. Let me tell you, my Facebook friends started pulling chicken recipes out of thin air! It was amazing! I had to go buy more chicken today so I can try out more of the recipes! I’ll have to share them with you as I use them.

Jennifer’s recipe calls for 1/2 a bottle of Catalina dressing, a packet of Italian dressing, and a jar of whole berry cranberry poured over chicken breasts that then bake for an hour-ish. Sounds yummy! The only problem with this recipe is that it’s not going to make me any more excited about dressing up and leaving my house. Hopefully there will be leftovers.

So tell me how you treat your babysitters and then go forth and have a great Monday!



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Sponsored by the Grammar Nerd

Thank you to those of you who traveled through the Internet with me this week! I don’t know when I told you last and I know I don’t say it enough, but I really do appreciate each one of you who takes the time to stop by and read what I’ve written here….and  occasionally elsewhere.

Speaking of writing, I thought I’d bring a little discussion a few of us were having on my friend Tanya’s Facebook page over to Snoodlings. In case you’ve forgotten, my daughter and Tanya’s youngest daughter are BFFs. They even have the shirts to prove it.

Unfortunately, the girls have outgrown those shirts so I’ve been looking for replacements. We were shopping in Target the other day and I saw a shirt that I thought might fit the bill:

Then I looked a little closer. Class, can any of you tell me why I refused to purchase this shirt?

I could not in good conscience purchase this shirt because it has an unnecessary apostrophe.  Why is it B-F-F-apostrophe-S? This would seem to indicate that something belongs to the BFF. Snoopy’s dog house, perhaps?  My comment on Tanya’s page turned into a round table discussion about the improper use of apostrophes to form the plural form of words. I actually felt a little giddy that other friends felt as passionately about the apostrophe as I do.

Now, look. I know that I make grammatical errors daily when I talk and when I speak. In fact, I’ll probably make many more in this post than I usually do simply because I’m being such a grammar snob.

That said, I am always on the lookout for needed edits. Like on grammatically incorrect t-shirts. Just in case you think Target is the only offender, look at this t-shirt from Old Navy:


Online article on

Old Navy is reprinting thousands of collegiate t-shirts because instead of saying, “Let us go!” their t-shirts seem to imply a defeatist team spirit. This team won’t persevere because it “lets go.”

Punctuation and other grammatical mistakes can be funny. One of my favorite books, Eats, Shoots and Leaves is all about punctuation errors that convey meanings that the writer did not intend.

Some blunders cross over from the amusing category into one that makes me feel the way I do whenever I hear someone scrape a fork across a dinner plate.

I’m looking at you, America’s Got Talent.

And you, Miranda Cosgrove.  I like iCarly as much as the next forty-one-year-old mom, but Miranda’s song “Dancing Crazy” drove me crazy.  Especially the part where she sings “I don’t know where I’m at.”

You don’t know where you are, dear.

My kids laugh at my “Grammar Geek” ways. They also find it amusing that I don’t like certain words that are part of everyday vocabulary. I’m not talking the “bad” words like S.U. (“shut up”) or words that rhyme with “trap” and “smart,” for some reason, I cringe whenever I hear the word “moist.” I just don’t like the way it sounds. I don’t think I’m the only one with word issues. If I remember correctly, my childhood friend Alison didn’t like to hear anyone say the word “toe.”

On the other hand, I have a list of words that I love to say. I have always loved the word “sprocket.” I’m not even sure what it means, I just like the way it feels in my mouth.

Ah, words. They’re fun.

So, I need to know. Do I have any fellow grammar nerds out there? Do any of you have words you love or hate?  Come on! Crazy loves company!


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We’re Taking A Field Trip

Today I’m over at Jeff Noble’s place talking to Freshman Me about Five Things I Didn’t Learn in College, so come with me. It’s worth stopping by if only to see the picture of us that he posted from our OBU days. I don’t remember having an allergic reaction that night that would have made my face swell up like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but maybe I did. Of course that wouldn’t explain the hair. Or the bow. Marla Taviano, you should stop by just to see the bow.

For those of you who may not be Facebook friends, yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that my daughter informed me yesterday that she doesn’t think bows “are her style.”  As a Southern Mom who spent her teenaged years in the 80s I was, as you might expect, crestfallen. And nothing hurts more than a fallen crest, let me assure you. But my friend Marla who is not from South told me that she has never really understood the obsession we Southern Girls have with big bows. I’d explain it, but I don’t guess I really have a good answer. It’s just part of our DNA, I suppose.

But back to the picture and in its defense–and it needs its own public defender–it was 50s Night so I was dressed in a costume. Yeah. That explains everything.

Anyway, stop by and say hi.

And while you’re out, you might want to stop by my friend Teresa’s blog. She has a guest blogger there today, too. (Were we supposed to have guest bloggers write our posts today? I never got the memo!) Her Marine friend Mike had a good word that made me think.  UPDATED: I just read this post from my friend-through-a-friend “NotNed” that I want you to read, too.  So get to reading already!

We can meet back here tomorrow and talk about what we learned on our trip around the Web.


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Kicking It New School

We got back from our road trip adventure last week and I’m still trying to figure out which end is up because I still feel a little upside down. I joked on Twitter/Facebook last week that I wish I had a stunt double, but I think I’m starting to find my groove again. That said, I’m not sure when I’ll get around to telling my road trip stories, but I did want to get back in the blog swing of things.

Today was the first day of school in a new school for the little Snoodles. I have two second graders and a fifth grader this year. I hopefully have some great pictures in my good camera. Unfortunately my good camera and the one computer we have that still works  are not playing well together. I took some “after the first day of school” pictures on my phone to send the family, so those will have to suffice for today.

 (They aren’t flashing the “peace sign,” they’re reminding you that they are second graders this year. I stole this idea from my college friend Sara.See? I was stealing people’s ideas way before Pinterest made it cool!)

And here’s the fifth grader:

I smudged out the name of the school with my untouchable photo editing skills. How impressed are you by me?

The first day of the school usually gives me a really bad case of the melancholies. Yes, I know it’s easier to take care of appointments and run errands and go to the grocery store when the kids aren’t with me, but I can’t help but miss them all the same when school starts. God has blessed me with the job of mothering these three incredible little people and I really enjoy our extra summer time together. Look at these faces? Can you blame me?

My friends who are a little further along the mom trail than I am gave me some very good advice when my kids started school. They said I should plan something fun for the first day of my school to take my mind off my baby birds who are now one year closer to leaving the nest.  This year, another mom friend of mine and I treated ourselves to Starbucks and a pedicure.

I chose this color because: A. Even though it’s still summer degrees outside, I wanted something that reminded me of fall.  B. It reminds me of Sus‘s go-to color: OPI Root Beer Float. I guess you could say it’s her “signature color.” (Name that movie.)

The kids said they had a good first day and they’ve all agreed to go back tomorrow so I’m going to go ahead and put a mark in the “win” column.

I don’t have a witty segue to the next part of this post because it’s been a long, full day and I’m ready to move on to the “do nothing” portion of my evening, so consider yourself transitioned.

I hate to miss the “coming attractions” trailers at the movies. I even watch them (at least the first time) on DVD movies. I don’t fast forward  the clip of next week’s show when we’re watching our favorite TV programs on the DVR. So it’s only appropriate that I give you a few “coming attractions” for some upcoming Snoodlings posts.

Tomorrow, I’ll actually be posting over on my friend Jeff Noble’s blog. He pastors a church in a college town and is doing a series of guest posts about Five Things You Didn’t Learn in College.  He was gracious enough to ask me to contribute and my post will be up some time tomorrow. I’ll come by here and post the link in case you want to stop by and say hi over there.

I read more and watched less TV this summer and as a result, I have some gently used books that I want to tell you about and then give away if you’re interested. My buckling bookshelves would thank you greatly and those posts will be coming in the not so distant future.

I had the opportunity to meet some of my favorite North Carolina bloggers while I was on my road trip and if I can convince some of them to let me borrow a few of their pictures from our meet and greet, I’ll be posting a little story about how the great big World Wide Web can make family out of complete strangers. I’m not kidding! I’m talking real and true actual family!

I thought I had one more thing to add to the Coming Attractions but for the life of me, I can not think of what it might have been. It’ll be a surprise.

So go get another squirt of butter on your popcorn and meet me back here.

It’s good to be home.


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Apparently It’s Genetic

Sorry I disappeared without a warning, although I do think I mentioned last time I was getting ready for Part One of my two summer road trips.

The “getting to” part of Part One went well. I stopped by the library before we left and checked out a few audiobooks, which is unusual for me. I like to read out loud, but have never been a big fan of having others read to me. I’m not sure if I enjoyed it as a child or not. I’ll ask my mom when she gets home and let you know.

Because I’m sure all of you will be unable to go about your normal life routines until you have that missing piece from my childhood.

UPDATE: I just asked my mom. She said I liked having books read to me before I learned to read. She said I learned to read when I was three and after that point, I didn’t like when people read aloud to me. She also reminded me that I don’t like for people to read over my shoulder or to read what I’m reading while I’m reading it. I may have some control issues when it comes to reading.

My family gave me XM Radio for Christmas so I can almost always find music I want to hear on the road, but if it’s a song I really like, I feel compelled to sing along, and after several hours of driving, my throat gets sore and my kids’ nerves get worn by my singing. I thought I’d give us all a break and give the books a try.

I checked out a few nonfiction books because that’s not a genre I like to read as much. I have several nonfiction books on my list of Books I Really Want to Read so I thought maybe I could scratch a few of them off this way. But then I wondered if I could count them on my Books I’ve Read list if I listened to someone else read them instead of read them myself. Most people wouldn’t think much about this decision, but these are the kind of things that keep me up at night. What do you think? Should I count them?

I wasn’t sure how long I’d last listening to the books. Kelly always has an audiobook to listen to on trips and I usually lug around my bag of books to read. I bring whatever book I’m currently reading, a follow-up book in case I finish the first one, and a backup book in case my follow-up book isn’t very good. I usually also have three or four magazines that I haven’t had a chance to read and maybe a few other books thrown in for good measure. This may explain why I have back issues.

I was listening to Malcolm Gladwell read his book Outliers. I remember a few years ago it seems like everyone was reading his book The Tipping Point. The library didn’t have that one so I thought I might try a couple of his other books. So far, this book is really interesting and I may have changed my mind about audiobooks! Of course, I was also thinking about trying to find the book at the used book store so I can read it…which defeats the whole purpose of listening to it. Apparently my control and back issues are not my only ones.

I think one of the reason I like this audiobook is that it is read by the author. I’m not sure why I thought I would like the book better if the author read it, but I think all of the audiobooks I chose were read by the author.

Actually, I may know why I like author-read books. They remind me of the time my friend Alison and listened to  E.B. White read Charlotte’s Web. I don’t remember how old we were, but I know we were still in elementary school. I had gone over to her house to play and her mom had brought home Charlotte’s Web from the library for Alison to hear. We must have grown tired of irritating her older brother because we decided to give it a listen. Mr. White was a wonderful author, but his audio delivery of his book was dry at best. I don’t think he ever meant for the recording to be funny, but Alison and I found it hysterical.

“No,” Fern shrieked,”you can’t kill Wilbur” as voiced by Mr. Robato gets me every time.

Before I started listening to the books, the kids indulged me in a little sing-along time. It was during our “jam session” that I realized that I may have inadvertently passed along my mondegreen gene. Have you all heard the song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People? It’s really catchy. And there’s whistling. I almost always like songs that including whistling or banjos. And if there’s whistling and banjos? Pure bliss.

“Pumped Up Kicks” doesn’t have banjos, but it’s fun all the same. Well, I thought it was, but I didn’t really know what the words of the song were. Neither did my kids. So of course, I Googled them.

They are not happy lyrics. I like our versions better.

For example, the actual lyric in the chorus is:

“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks
You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet.”

I thought they were saying, “You’d better run, better run, faster than my puppet.”

My youngest son thought it was, “You’d better run, better run, faster than my cousin.”

My oldest son thought it was, “You’d better run, better run, faster than my bunny.

I’m not going to tell them any different and we’ll just continue to sing it our way. And whistle. Because you can’t mess up the lyrics of a whistle.

I may be on the road Friday and I’ll be out of town next week, too, I think, so my posting may be a little spotty until I get back home. But I’ll try to check in with other updates on my issues and songs I misunderstood.

Happy Wednesday!


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