Friday Fun

Aloha Friday


Aloha! Kailani is the brain-child behind this fun Friday meme. If you feel inclined to answer my question, please post your answer in the comment section. Sound fun? Of course it does! Want to answer more questions? Hop over to An Island Life and play along!

(Please feel free to answer the question below, even if you’re not playing Aloha Friday!)

My question:

How is your personality like your mother’s or father’s?

I would have to say that I get my compassion from my mother. She’s always one of the first people to volunteer for things and to help people out. My mom is also very creative and does a lot with her hands. I’m creative, but my creativity bleeds through my writing.

My father is a very logical, no-nonsense sort of person and I definitely share those same traits. We also lose patience with people and tend to prefer quiet places as opposed to big noisy places. There is no room for stupidity in our lives. 🙂

Summer Fun

Summer Fun: July 31st

Are you ready for some fun ideas to keep your kids busy this next week?

Here are five ideas to get the creative juices flowing (and please, take these ideas, build on them, make them your own, use them as a springboard for bigger and better ideas):

Day One – Make fingerpaints with soap flakes, water and food coloring with your child.

Day Two – Tell your child a story about looking both ways before crossing the street. Take him/her on a walk and show how to look both ways as well as use a street crossing signal.

Day Three – Ask your child to organize the coins in a coin jar. If your child is older, has him/her to roll the coins. Go to the bank together and cash them in. Talk about the importance of saving every penny.

Day Four – Play some online educational games with your child. Here are some great places to start. And here are some educational resources for parents.

Day Five – Look for community service activities that can include your child.

Crafts for the Kids (by age)

Featured Craft of the Week:
Handsome Tree Skirt

4 to 5 year olds
Pipe Cleaner Pals

6 to 8 year olds
Mini Piñatas

9 to 12 year olds
Ten Terrific Clothes Decorating Projects

Here is a fun activity from the book, “A Lithgow Palooza!”:

groovy-face2 Bibliomancy

The ancients tried to foretell future events and uncover hidden meanings by consulting randomly selected passages from sacred texts. Essentially, these wise owls would bring their Big Questions to a Big Book as if it were one of those Magic Eight Balls. “Will there be peace?” “Will the crops be bountiful?” This palooza is about bringing the little questions — “Will I pass that spelling quiz tomorrow?” “Can I have a dog?” — to a big book like the dictionary and seeing all the funny, clever ways your kids get the answer they’re looking for.

arrow-right-side What to do:

A fun, funky way to use the dictionary for your own devices. Take a dictionary — the bigger and fatter and more authoritative the better — and lay it on the table in front of you. Think of it as a kind of crystal ball — you will ask it a question, and it will present you with an answer. Now carefully formulate your question. The way you pose your question is important, in the same way it is important, say, not to ask for everything in the world when you close your eyes and blow out your birthday candles but rather be selective and precise, in order to increase your chances of seeing your dreams come true.

Close your eyes and think of your simple, careful question. It can be about anything — your family, your friends, school, sports, or other hobbies. You probably know what you want the answer to be. Ask your question three times out loud, then open the dictionary to a random page and drop your finger anywhere on that page. Open your eyes and find the dictionary entry closest to where your finger has landed. If you land in the middle of a definition, refer to the word being defined. Then start working the angles of the word and definition, being as creative and clever as you have to be to get the answer you’re looking for.

For example, here’s my question: “Will I do well in my script reading on Saturday?” I open the dictionary at random, drop my finger, and find I’ve landed on the word eyehole, which is defined as “a hole to look through, as in a mask or a curtain.” Did someone say, “mask?” Actors are often described as wearing the masks of the characters they play. Also, everyone knows the masks of tragedy and comedy. And “a curtain” must have something to do with a stage curtain. Now I’m feeling very certain I’m looking through an eyehold in a stage curtain and seeing myself do very well indeed on my script reading!

Other random samplings illustrate the power of bibliomancy:

“Will I do well on my spelling test?” gets inclined. I think that means you are inclined toward spelling and are likely to do well.

“Can I have more dessert?” gets prayerful, which suggests that if you ask prayerfully, sincerely or earnestly, you just might get two scoops.

“What activities should I do in the fall?” gets fusion, which means a merging of distinct or separate elements into a whole. Hmm. Sign up for wrestling and tap dancing?

Now try it yourself with questions of your own. Use a dictionary or specialty references such as dictionaries of slang, cliches, or allusions.


Picking Up a Stranger

Oh, I need to write this down before I forget it happened … like next week.

Kevin and I went to lunch yesterday. Actually, we go to lunch every Wednesday … that’s not what I wanted to remember.

Though it’s nice to know I wrote that little tidbit down because years from now, when we’re old and sitting in our rockers and yelling at each other to be heard Kevin will say,

“Remember when we used to go to lunch together every Wednesday?”

And I’ll say, “Huh?”

And he’ll repeat his question, only a few octaves louder and I’ll cup my ear and yell, “WHAT?”

And then he’ll scream it a few more times and I’ll be all like, “Honey, we’ve been married for 50 plus years and even though I know what you’re thinking most of the time, I still haven’t mastered the art of reading lips so, SPEAK UP!”

But anyway …

We were leaving McAllister’s Deli (by the way, have you had their panini’s?! WOW. Good stuff) and we were in the parking lot, in my car, when we see this woman zig-zagging her way through the parked cars. We didn’t think anything of it and I kept right on talking.

Kevin stops me and nods toward my window.

“Uh, I think that lady wants to speak to you.”

I whip my head around and this nice-looking (as in nice, not as in gorgeous), is standing right outside my door giving me a hopeful and friendly smile.

I roll my window down and give her a questioning smile.

“Hi. I hate to bother you. But I was wondering if you could give me a ride to my house. I only live four blocks from here and I have an abscess on my foot and it’s killing me to walk on it.”


“Are you going to kill us?”

Was my first thought, but of course, I didn’t say that out loud.

Actually, my exact words were, “Oh, briwqutgcl bitlaiudf/?”

Yeah, I have no idea what that was supposed to be, either. I was shocked. I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean, the whole dangers of picking up strange people spiel ran through my head and yet, she really did look like she was in pain.

Or she was a very good actress.

I looked at Kevin. He looked at me. I looked back at the woman, gave her a hesitant smile and then looked back at Kevin while mouthing the words, “Should we?”

He nodded and I took a breath before pushing out the words, “Sure. Absolutely. Hop in.”

And then she shot me in the head and my spirit came back to life and now you’re reading the words of a ghost.

Not really. I unlocked the doors to my car and waited for her to climb into the back seat.

I took off and she started in with the sweetness.

“Oh. Thank you both so much. You looked like such a nice couple and I really need to get home. I’m sure glad I wasn’t walking my dog, I’m not sure what I would have done!”

And I’m thinking, “I’m not sure what you would have done, either.” Because let’s be honest, you know my feelings about dogs and in my car?! Ugh.

Okay, fine. I’m lying. I would totally give her and her dog a lift home.

We all awkwardly laughed and she gave me instructions to her house. Which really was only four blocks from the restaurant.

So, I pulled over, she got out and that was the end of the story.

Sort of anti-climatic, wasn’t it.

But my question to you is: would YOU have done the same thing?


Finally, After Three Years, the Braces Come Off

And really, the title says it all.

It all began in August, 2006. I took Dude in to start phase two of the teeth straightening process.

Phase one began when he was in third grade. Dude had a narrow mouth — in essence, he had too many teeth for his mouth.

Or as I used to say, he had a head full of teeth. 😀

Because he didn’t have room for all of his teeth, they were coming in at strange angles and overcrowding one another.

So, I took him in when he was about nine, and they put him in braces. In addition to the braces, they also put in some sort of palate contraption that I had to stick a metal rod into and crank three times a day for two weeks. This stretched out his palate and made room for all of his teeth.

It was not fun, and it was painful for Dude. But it was either that, or pull teeth and I didn’t want to pull teeth — he needed those teeth, we just needed to make ROOM for those teeth.

They took the braces off after one year and said to come back in to start phase two after all of his baby teeth had fallen out.

So, shortly before he turned 13, I took him back in and they put braces on him again and we started the actual straightening of his teeth.

The Beginning of Braces - 2006

It’s been a looooong three years. He hasn’t been able to eat anything chewy (like taffy, Starbursts, caramel, etc), or to bite into anything, like an apple or corn on the cob. And he’s had to endure food in his teeth and cut gums.

And let’s not forget about the adjustments and the pain that went with those.

In essence, the kid has been through A LOT these past three years.

But even though we hated putting him through all of that, we knew it was necessary. We felt it was our duty, as his parents, to arm him with yet another arsenal to succeed in life.

Because let’s face it, if you have bad teeth, you are:

A. Self-conscious

B. Less likely to be hired (because if you look at it from a business perspective — who wants a person with bad teeth representing their company?)

C. Less likely to find a mate (who wants to kiss someone with bad teeth?)

D. More likely to take care of your teeth later in life if you’ve been raised to take care of them to begin with.

We are a family of bad teeth.

My husband’s family has had problems with their teeth. I can’t even tell you the number of times, or the amount of money, we’ve spent on Kevin’s teeth. Kevin’s father was so embarrassed of his bad teeth that he finally had them all pulled and now wears false teeth. His mother has had all sorts of cosmetic work done on her teeth because she too felt self-conscious.

Jazz had a funky cone tooth, growing right between his two upper teeth, and had to have it cut out when he was three. (That cone tooth was hereditary and ran in my husband’s family).

I have a teenage niece who has two teeth that STILL haven’t grown in because her gums are so thick that the teeth can’t break through them. This same niece also had a bottom tooth grow in sideways and had to have oral surgery to have it removed.

Two of my sister’s baby teeth had fused together into one tooth and she had to have it pulled out.

I’ve had two eye teeth that came out TWICE, EACH. I also have a small mouth (HA! I know what you’re thinking, hush), and one of my bottom teeth has come in behind my other teeth, but over the years, I’ve used my tongue to push it back into place which caused my lower eye tooth to turn sideways to make room.

When I was pregnant with Dude, I didn’t consume enough calcium and the little stinker started taking what he needed from me, which weakened a molar and caused it to break in half. This happened while I was pregnant, so I couldn’t really do anything about it at the time, and by the time I remembered, it rotted and I had to have a root canal.

So yes, we’ve had our fair share of teeth problems. And yes, it was bound to be passed onto our sons.

And today, after enduring so many years of pain, discomfort and inconvenience, Dude FINALLY had his braces removed.

His appointment was for 8:00 a.m. I woke him up at 6:30 so he would have plenty of time to eat breakfast and shower before we had to leave.

We got ready and I took a picture shortly before we left.

Before Braces Came Off
(Note the expectation on his face).

We arrived at the office, he checked in and they called him back right away (in fact, they were waiting on us to arrive).

For an hour and a half, I sat, read and fretted. I remembered back when I had sat in that same waiting room and waited for Dude to have his braces put on. I remembered his glassy, and somewhat pained expression, as he came out with a mouth full of hardware to meet me. I remember that first day and the pain he endured as his mouth got used to his braces.

And my heart bled. And I began to wonder if we had made the right decision, putting him through all of that.

But when they were finally done and he came out smiling from ear to ear showing off his perfect teeth, I knew we had done the right thing.

The whole dentist office stopped what they were doing, lined up in the hallway, turned up the muzak and clapped when he came out.

I had tears in my eyes (because I’m just emotional like that).

His doctor shook his hand …

At Dr. Bauer's Office

and they gave him a parting gift: a card and a cup wrapped in colored cellophane.

The background of the card was popcorn (another food that is a no-no if you wear braces) and said something about how nice it was to be able to eat the foods he wanted to now. And they also put a movie ticket into the card, too.

I thought that was so nice!

When he tore off the cellophane and saw that they had stuffed a cup full of candy in it, we all just burst out laughing. How ironic that his DENTIST gives him candy!

We thought it was hilarious.

Dude did say that there were a few moments, when they were removing the braces, that he panicked. Because the glue is so strong, they had to use pliers to yank it off his teeth. He said it would pop and he felt like they had broken his tooth. But it was all good and was merely part of the procedure.

So, the journey is over and Dude now has a mouth full of straight, pretty teeth.

After Braces Came off
(Note the easy, relaxed grin).

They did put a permanent retainer on his bottom teeth. It looks like this, only not quite as long. This will ensure that his teeth don’t shift out of alignment in the future.

I also have to take him back on Monday to pick up his upper retainer. He’ll wear that one at night to keep his upper teeth from shifting around.

Dude is also going in to have his teeth cleaned on Monday, too. Wouldn’t it SUCK if after all of that, he had a cavity?

That’s not even funny to talk about.

So. We’re done. Well, Dude is done. He can finally move past this teeth issue.

Now I can concentrate on Jazz. His consultation meeting is in September.

Our teeth saga is not quite over yet ….

Follow me on Twitter!

More from Write From Karen


Video: Hurts So Good

Kevin’s band, Midnite Thunder, played at Cartoons this past Saturday. (Kevin is the guitar player on the right). Here is one of the videos I took that night:

The quality stinks, sorry about that. I was sitting near the back (there was a birthday party and they took up most of the front section) so I couldn’t get any closer.

Kevin was not happy with their performance, they couldn’t seem to get their endings in sync. But the man is never happy with his performance, so that’s nothing new.

I sat with my in-laws (thank goodness they came, otherwise, I’d have been totally alone and my LOSER status would have been confirmed for all to see). And I actually had an alcoholic beverage (okay, two) this go-around. I haven’t had a drink-drink in oh gosh, YEARS. I’m just not that big into alcohol.

And I hadn’t planned on having a drink that night, but I got there before my in-laws, and I was sitting by myself and feeling like a (bigger) loser, so I went ahead and ordered a Vodka Collins.

OMG! I had forgotten how YUMMY Vodka Collins were! They taste like a kicky lemonade, in case you’ve never had one.

(Don’t worry. I drank water after my second call for alcohol and was quite sober (ish) to drive home afterwards. I kid. I was fine, folks. Seriously).

So, there I am, drinking in front of my in-laws. I felt weird at first, and even more weird as my buzz came on and I had to put all of my energies into enunciating my words so I didn’t SOUND drunk in front of my in-laws, but it was all good and besides, this is who I am.

Take it or leave it.

The dancing girl — you know which one I’m talking about. I was told she was not drunk. 😯 Whatever. I’m not here to judge. I DO, however, admire her guts to get out there and have a good time and at the very least, she was entertaining to watch.

The band is playing again this Friday night, July 31st, at The New Key Largo. I think I’m going to take the actual video camera this time (as opposed to taping on my Canon PowerShot) and see if I can’t get some better footage.

And this is assuming I’m level-headed enough TO tape them because hell yeah I’m having another Vodka Collins.

Because I’m WILD like that. *snort*

(By the way, I Tweeted about this, in case you’re interested).

Prompt Fiction

Picture Fiction: Dude

(This was originally published January 18, 2006).

Warning: Language.

Taking a random photograph from Flickr and weaving a short story around it. It’s Picture Fiction!


“Dude, I swear to you, I’m not lying.”

Ben waved a dismissive hand. “Whatever man. I can never believe what you tell me.”

Jon faked a wounded look.

“Don’t look at me like that,” Ben chastised. “Remember Cindi?” His eyebrows arched like parenthesis turned on their sides.

Jon winced. “That was a joke, man. I didn’t lie to you, per se, it was simply an omission of truth. I swear I had no idea Cindi was dating that big ass wrestler guy.”

“Uh huh,” Ben nodded, not looking convinced.

“Anyway, I’m not lying this time. Amber and Tina invited us over Friday night. We’re supposed to be at their house around 10ish with a 12 pack in hand.”

‘Who did you talk to, exactly?”


“Ha! I knew it! Amber wouldn’t talk to you, EVER, cause she can’t STAND your ass. She thinks you’re all immature and stuff.”

Jon placed a hand over his heart. “Kill me, dude. She said that?”

Ben just shrugged.

“I swear, if I’m lyin’ then I’m dyin. Call her up, ask her for yourself?”

“And make a total ass out of myself? No way, man. I like this Amber. I’d like to take her OUT. If I call and you’re totally bogeying me then I’ve blown my chance.”

“What can I do to convince you I’m not shittin’ you?”

Ben turned away.

“Ok, OK! You’ve reduced me to extreme measures. I’m gonna tear my Levi’s, my FAVORITE jeans man, to prove to you I’m not lying.”

“Whatever, dude. You’re nuts.”

“No, really! I’m gonna do it!” Jon plops down in Ben’s computer chair. “Seriously, I will.”

“I’ve known you since fourth grade, Jon. I ain’t falling for your….”

Jon grabs a pair of scissors from Ben’s desk drawer and snips the cuff on his right pant leg.

Ben laughs and shakes his head. “Bro, you’re crazy.”

“Believe me?” Jon taunts.

“No way.”

“Fine.” Jon grabs the edge of his pant leg and begins pulling. He continues to tug on the material winding the piece around and around his leg. He triumphantly holds up a long strip of denim. “Believe me now?”

Ben laughs and shakes his head. “Your mom is going to kill you man. All right, we’ll go.”

Jon grins. “Cool dude, now loan me some money for new jeans.”


Fighting the Battle to Sleep (The Clinic)

If I’ve ever doubted Kevin’s feelings about my blogging, I don’t have to doubt them anymore —

He took a picture of himself all hooked up at the sleep clinic last night so that I could blog about it.

Have I mentioned lately how much I ADORE this man!??!

(I love his expression in this picture. He’s 1/3 tired, 1/3 apprehensive and 1/3 embarrassed. Poor guy).

If you’ve missed out on what’s going on, Kevin has sleep issues. He’s had them for like … forever. Seriously, he can’t remember a time in his entire life that he HASN’T had sleep problems. He’s tried all sorts of diet combinations, adjusted his sleep hours, changed his sleep venue and nothing has worked.

He finally threw in the towel this past month and went to see a sleep specialist.

When he described his symptoms (waking up with headaches, stuffy nose, not being able to go back to sleep), the doctor thought it might be sleep apnea.

Which I’ve been telling him he has for years.

But to accurately figure out what is going on, they needed to observe him while asleep.

So, last night, he reported to sleep duty.

He was not allowed to drink any coffee after noon. This also meant, he couldn’t have any chocolate because it had caffeine in it. He also had to shave so the sensors would stick to his face.

And of course, he couldn’t take a nap. Which was really hard because he had a gig Saturday night and didn’t get home until the wee hours of the morning.

At 7:15 p.m., he packed an overnight bag with his “jammies” (he doesn’t really have jammies, *ahem* but he had to WEAR something), his toothbrush/toothpaste, some reading material and his glasses.

He was not allowed to take his cell phone (because of the distraction).

He arrived at the clinic and read a sign to go downstairs. He signed up and then sat down to await his name to be called.

When it was his turn (he said there were about nine rooms and seven of them were being used — a lot of people must have sleep problems!), they settled him into his room. They told him to put on his sleep clothes and when he was ready, to open the door.

The nurse then came in and started hooking him up to the wires. He said the nurse asked him why he was so tan; he told her that we had just gotten back from vacation.

Which is true, but that’s not the reason he’s so tan. We tan — together. Well, not together (though that would probably be more fun *ahem*) but we go to the tanning salon together. I don’t know why he’s so embarrassed to tell people that. A lot of guys tan.

I tan. WE tan. What’s the big deal?! (And he will die that I just told ya’ll that).

Anyway, he was then told to take his sleeping pill, which he did, and when he got sleepy, to press a button to let them know that he was ready to go to sleep.

He took a Lunesta started getting really groggy by about 10:30. So, he pressed the button and the lights went out. A voice then came over a speaker right above him and asked him to move his eyes first one way, then the other, to cough, to clear his throat, to take deep breaths, to hold his breath, etc., so they could test to make sure the connections were working.

Then, he fell asleep.

He says that he actually slept pretty good, of course. (Figures — it’s like when your car starts acting funny and you take it to the mechanic but the stupid thing works perfectly for him and he looks at you like you’re nuts).

I mean, I’m glad the man slept, but well, I was expecting him to stop breathing at some point in the night and they would have to come in and put him on a cpap machine so that he could get back to sleep.

And voila! His sleep problem would be solved. He would sleep and be happy, we’d all hold hands, sing Kumbaya and a huge rainbow would appear over our house.

Unfortunately, he didn’t have any problems. He did wake up at 4:00 a.m., which is “normal” for him. He laid in his bed for an hour before the tech came in and asked him if he was ready to get up.

It sort of freaked him out that they KNEW he was awake, you know?

So, he said yes, got up, got dressed, grabbed his stuff, came home, crawled into bed with me, which woke me up, and he went back to sleep while I lay there and tried to go back to sleep for another hour (which didn’t happen, thanks babe).

He’s supposed to find out his results in two weeks. Whatever happens, sleep apnea or not, I hope they’re able to help the man.

It sucks when you can’t sleep.