Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baseball, Terrorism and Some Curiously Strong Mints

At the age of 38 I am still amazed that there are things I don't know about myself. For instance, I recently discovered that I am a huge fan of Texas Rangers Baseball. Unfortunately, with five children to feed, I don't get to attend games at the stadium very often. Recently, however, we did attend a game as a special occasion for our son's birthday.

Upon arriving at the Stadium we held out our tickets and began the process of passing through the security screeners. First, I must say that they were all very courteous and friendly. This always makes it easier when I have to open my purse and reveal its contents to a total stranger. Since 911, this has become a common practice when entering almost any public venue. I don't mind having to go through the screening process to ensure the safety of everyone in the stadium. However, on this occasion, I happened to have a bottle of expensive red fingernail polish and a small tin of peppermint flavored Altoids - The Curiously Strong Mints. They politely informed me that these items would not be allowed into the stadium and offered to transport me via golf cart back to my vehicle to safely deposit my items. I appreciated the offer but decided to walk back to the van by myself. This would not have been a problem except for the fact that, on this occasion, I forgot my keys at home. To complicate things, I told Will and the kids to go on without me and I would meet them at our seats. After the long walk to the van, I discovered that I had forgotten my keys. Will, as usual, had his cell phone ringer turned off so he didn't answer the phone when I tried to call him 16 times on the way back to the gate. I was left with no choice but to reluctantly dispose of my nail polish and breath mints before going back through the security process.

The lesson - don't take your purse to the ballgame. All you really need is your cell phone, credit card, one form of ID and your keys. All of these should fit in your pockets easily. So, I was a little bit disappointed about losing the equivalent of the price of at least three gallons of gas, but I got over it and went on to enjoy the game.

Three months later I was at home watching the Rangers play the NY Yankees. It was the bottom of the 9th inning and Derick Jeter was up to bat. He hit a foul ball down the first base line and THEN I SAW IT! As the ball flew past the foul line and almost into the crowd, an older bearded gentleman in the front row jumped out of his seat and reached over the rail into the field in an attempt to capture the baseball with what appeared to be a four foot long ALUMINUM FISHING NET! At that moment, it all came back to me. How is it that my small metal box of Altoids - the Curiously Strong Mints - were a threat to national security, and yet this man was able to take his metal fishing net into the baseball stadium? I know that the Altoids box says that they curiously strong mints but I think the four foot long metal object being waved in the air was a much greater security threat.

Go Rangers! I'm cheering for you. but I seriously think you owe me at least three gallons of gas.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Perfect Gift - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

I'm not sure where this story originated but I have seen it posted on several blogs and emails.

Ladies, before you read this, go the the bathroom and empty your bladders. This is so hilarious I almost peed my pants. Seriously, I have given birth to five children and it doesn't take much to make me lose it. This story is so funny I had to stop to wipe the tears from my eyes so I could keep reading. So, Enjoy!

The Perfect Gift

Pocket Taser Stun Gun, a great gift for the wife. A guy who purchased his lovely wife a pocket Taser for their anniversary submitted this :
“Last weekend I saw something at Larry’s Pistol & Pawn Shop that sparked my interest. The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my wife. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized taser The effects of the taser were supposed to be short lived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, allowing her adequate time to retreat to safety….
Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-a batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was disappointed. I learned, however, that if I pushed the button AND pressed it against a metal surface at the same time; I’d get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs.
Unfortunately, I have yet to explain to Betty what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.
Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn’t be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries, right?!! There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul) while I was reading the directions and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh & blood moving target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie (for a fraction of a second) and thought better of it. She is such a sweet cat. But, if I was going to give this thing to my wife to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised.
Was I wrong?
So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, and taser in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a major loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. Any burst longer than three seconds would be wasting the batteries.
All the while I’m looking at this little device measuring about 5″ long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference; pretty cute really and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, “no possible way!” What happened next is almost beyond description, but I’ll do my best…
I’m sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, “don’t do it master,” reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny little ole thing couldn’t hurt all that bad.. I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the heck of it. I touched the prongs to my naked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION!!!
I’m pretty sure Jessie Ventura ran in through the side door, picked me up in the recliner, then body slammed us both on the carpet, over and over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, with tears in my eyes, body soaking wet, both nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position, and tingling in my legs. The cat was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, “do it again, do it again!”
Note: If you ever feel compelled to “mug” yourself with a taser, one note of caution: there is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You will not let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by a violent thrashing about on the floor. A three second burst would be considered conservative.
SON-OF-A-… that hurt like …..!!! A minute or so later (I can’t be sure, as time was a relative thing at that point), collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My bent reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they up get there??? My triceps, right thigh and both nipples were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, and my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs.
I’m still looking for my testicles. I’m offering a significant reward for their safe return.”

Wow! What a thoughtful gift and he was so wonderful for testing it to make sure it really worked before giving it to his wife!

Stupid Human Tricks - I learned it on Sesame Street

We have all done something stupid in our past. You know what I'm talking about...something that you knew you shouldn't do but you just had to do it. The impulse was so strong that you just couldn't stop yourself, and before you knew it you were right in the middle of something you couldn't get out of. You couldn't go back as if it never happened, and you didn't know how you were going to explain yourself if you got caught....and you knew you would get caught. The train had left the station and there was no going back – that stupid.

This is the story of one of my stupid human tricks:


1974: I was a huge Sesame Street fan. Occasionally they would show a clown jumping out of an airplane with nothing but an umbrella and he would float safely to the ground. Or, sometimes he used balloons and would float from the ground up into the sky.

I was a naturally curious and analytical child, even at the age of four, so I decided that I would do my own experiment. What was the worst that could happen? Actually, that thought never entered my mind. It worked for the clown, so obviously it would work for me.

I knew it would work because I saw it on Sesame Street!
So, umbrella in hand, I climbed up into my favorite tree - the only one I could actually climb - balanced myself on a limb about four feet above the ground, opened the umbrella and jumped. Suddenly I was lying on the ground, umbrella crumpled, and experiencing the bone jarring pain of the impact. I didn't cry and there were no witnesses to run to my aid. Immediately I knew where I had gone wrong, so I ran inside the house where I just happened to have two inflated balloons with strings attached. Obviously, I had not tried the correct method. I don't know why I chose the umbrella when the obvious choice should have been the balloons.
After all, I saw it on Sesame Street!

So, once again I climbed the tree - with balloons in hand this time. Out on the limb I went and without hesitation I took the four foot plunge to earth with all of the confidence of a true daredevil (I was also an Evil Knievel fan), never doubting that I would float safely to the ground - NOT!!! Again I hit the ground with a thud that jarred my bones so hard my ears started ringing.

I couldn't believe it. I saw it on Sesame Street over and over for as long as I could remember. Why didn't it work? OK - obviously it didn't work because I was too close to the ground when I jumped. Fortunately for me, that was the only tree I could climb because all of the really tall trees were inaccessible - otherwise I would have tried it again. I don't know where my mom was at the time so I never got caught. That was the end of my daredevil/crash dummy career. I lived to tell the story, and at the age of 38 I'm happy to report that I have never broken one bone in my body.

Back in the 70's "disclosures" weren't really a big thing. Today you find disclosures on everything including your hairdryer telling you not to use it while taking a shower - DUH. I don't know if Sesame Street still shows the clown jumping out of the airplane, but if they do they should definitely show a huge disclosure before the jump saying “DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS AT HOME". Who knows, I might have listened if they did.

There are probably enough unsuspecting children who have tried this stunt and suffered serious bodily injury to qualify for a successful class action lawsuit.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Give, Give, Give

We all have a choice and an opportunity to give regardless of our circumstances or current financial standing.

Yesterday I watched a video of a 14 year old girl in Uganda. My oldest daughter is 14 so I gave close attention to the video. Hot tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened to her story of being orphaned as a baby, abused by her aunt and then forced into prostitution just to survive on the streets as a young teenager. She didn’t choose to be orphaned or to be forced to live on the streets and sell her body every day, and she didn’t know that she would one day have the opportunity to change her life. This was her entire world and her only means of survival. It was her daily existence - her only reallity.

We have all heard the horrific stories of starving, orphaned children in Africa. You can’t turn on late-night television without seeing fundraising programs sharing sad stories and heartbreaking photos while asking for your financial contributions. So why was this one different? Maybe it was guilt because I have seen so many heartbreaking stories and done nothing. Or maybe it is because I am a mother and shutter at the thought of my own children ever being forced into a similar situation.

These children are victims – victims of war, circumstances beyond their control, ignorance, hate, violence, hunger, disease…and worst of all, these children are the victims of apathy. For years we have seen and heard their stories and yet here in the United States, a world away from the pain, we have done little or nothing. After all, what can we do to make a difference? Any contribution I could make is just a microscopic droplet in the ocean of need that these children represent.

My 14 year old daughter keeps complaining that all of her friends have cell phones and she does not. Oh, the horror of it all! She doesn’t have a cell phone and nothing I can say has convinced her that this is not really an important or serious problem. No, this is not another “Shame on you America for your selfish greed” complaint. However, this is another “Wake up America” reminder. As you sit there in your air-conditioned houses watching cable TV while waiting for your pizza delivery, take a moment to consider and be thankful for what you have. Then take another moment to consider what you can do or give to change the life of just one child in Africa or anywhere else in the world. Don’t let today be the day you do nothing.

Below is a great website I just found where you can watch the video “Prossy’s Testimony”. This is the story of the 14 year old girl I mentioned above.

Please go to the following website for “Love the Unloved”
Click on “visuals” in the bottom, right corner
Select "videos"
Watch the video "Prossy's Testimony"
Get your heart broken, and GIVE

You may be wondering what I am going to do about this problem. First, I wrote this blog to get your attention. Second, I am currently working on a project to teach my children small, easy ways to raise money to give to children in need. We are saving and collecting aluminum soda cans to recycle for money. No, it’s not big but it is a start. I’m teaching them to take trash and turn it into a treasure for someone who just wants to be loved in Africa.