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18 Jan
Image: Beyond Bliss Poodles

Image: Beyond Bliss Poodles

Just about every blogger I follow has done the Search Terms post. Because every one else was doing it, I did it, too. And, no, I would not jump off a cliff if everyone else were doing it.

For the uninitiated, the Search Terms post is about the terms people type into Google that then lead them to a blog. I know lots of bloggers who have really cool search terms in their records, like “the most beautiful chickens.”

Me? I get people who are either really kinky or really worried they’re kinky. A while back, I wrote about accidentally seeing my son’s penis. Since then, my top five search terms always include at least three referencing “son’s penis.” Today’s top search term was “son wants to drop out of high school.” I sympathize; my son has spoken the same blasphemy, causing me to write a letter to Dave Grohl. When I finally become a Twit, I will tweet Mr. Grohl and see if he tweets back—or whatever is supposed to happen. Hey! I should do that! Blog Fodder!!

Of course, the next three terms included “son” and various words for penis. Coming in at number five was the disturbing “dark skin women titties.” I don’t think I ever want to meet that person; I certainly don’t want him (I never said I wasn’t sexist) anywhere near my daughter. And it better not be my son.

Because I am completely preoccupied most of the time and when I am not preoccupied I am being interrupted, I only recently discovered that my computer keeps track of the terms I have searched. I research just about every situation I encounter so my Google search history has become a sort of historical record of Janice.

Some search terms I remember using, like “shark socks.” My son’s girlfriend has a sock fixation. Among her favorite foot coverings is a pair of Batman socks, complete with little capes. My son decided she needed shark socks, so I searched for shark socks. I was hoping for something ferocious, but most were really lame and barely recognizable as ferocious man-eaters. I did find a very cool pair I could have knit for Girlfriend, but I’m pretty sure the “don’t knit a sweater for a boyfriend” caveat probably has a corollary: don’t knit socks for a girlfriend, especially if she’s not even your own girlfriend. My son settled on Robin socks to go with the Batman socks.


I frequently search for information related to my kids, like “how much water should a 10-year old drink,” “puberty for girls,” “good curfew for teen,” and “getting high with morning glory seeds.”

The reasons behind some of my search terms seem mysterious if you aren’t particularly familiar with me. “Three squatting myths that refuse to die” could be about Occupy Wall Street or whether squats are harmful to runners’ knees. You might think I was planning a murderous rampage if you saw “how many rounds can a semi-automatic rifle shoot in one minute,” but the opposite is true.

Some of the things I’ve searched are just plain gross, like “phlegm and coughing after exercise.” Some I’m not even sure I actually searched. While I agree with the sentiment, I have no idea why I searched “and i feel so much depends on the weather” or if I even searched it. I know I didn’t search “pandas” and “giant panda coloring pages.” I bet if I looked in my print queue, I’d find someone printed  35 copies of a Giant Panda coloring page. I also bet she’ll soon be searching “discount price on ink jet cartridges.”

I have a pretty good idea who searched “when will Earth die.” I know I never would because I just get depressed when I think about it and, with bipolar disorder, I don’t need any help getting depressed. I do a lot of searching about bipolar disorder and bipolar meds. I remember why I searched “forgetfulness and Lamotrigine,” but I don’t remember what I learned.

I search medical issues for my family, too. Recently, I searched “kidney stone pain,” and “Edward Hospital ER wait time,” then “ureteral stent,” and finally, “can probiotics stop diarrhea.” I learned that kidney stone pain is worse than childbirth, particularly if the person who is experiencing the kidney stone pain has lousy veins in his right arm and the medical worker doesn’t listen to the person’s wife when she says the veins in the left arm are better until he’s blown out two veins in the patient’s right arm. And, yes, probiotics can help stop diarrhea. You’re welcome.

Following the flurry of kidney stone related searches and their attending life events, I did something I swore I’d never do, so I’m glad I only swore it to myself. Looking for a cheap thrill, I’ve searched “standard poodle puppies” for the past two days. Yup, I’m reduced to looking at pictures of puppies to escape the fun and frivolity of living with a man in constant pain, a daughter who regularly criticizes everything from the way I wake her up to the way my bingo wings flap when I shake a pair of dice, to a son who is more mercurial than Mercury.

The poodle puppy pity party was effective. For a few minutes, I imagined myself and FiFi, jogging along the prairie path, the wind ruffling our hair, Fifi perfectly trained so that even the occasional pheasant didn’t cause her to break stride. In fact, poodle puppy pictures were so soothing that I upped the ante today. I’m blaming a book I am currently reading but I’m still almost ashamed to admit what I’ve been doing. In fact, I think I’ll do a search: “is it weird to look at baby pictures on the web.”

Extra credit: There is an inside joke about the Boy Wonder socks. Guess what it is and I’ll write a post about your blog next week.


Oh, no she didn’t!

15 Jan

My daughter is a fountain of funny kid stuff.

Every evening, my daughter tells me when she would like to wake up. Last Thursday, she told me to wake her at 5 a.m. so that she would be awake by 6 a.m. to study for a test. I have no idea why it takes her an hour to wake up, but it’s her beauty sleep so I go along.

Five a.m. I woke her, saying “Sweetie, it’s 5 o’clock.”

“I’m tired!” she groused.

Five fifteen. “Peanut, it’s time to get up.” Grousing was the reply.

Five thirty. “You told me you wanted to me to wake you at five. It’s five thirty.” Again, grousing.

Five forty five. “Leave me alone!” was the reply.

At six a.m., I told her it was six a.m. and went downstairs to make my tea, telling her I was going downstairs to make my tea. I left her grousing self to get dressed.

At seven a.m., I came up stairs. (Even at seven, she had plenty of time to study.) I was greeted like this:


“Sweetie, I tried waking you up for an hour.”


Confused, I said, “What was I supposed to do that I didn’t do? I tried to wake you up and you kept telling me you were too tired.”

“If you were a regular mom,” she said, “you would have said, ‘GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED!’ ”


My kids say funny stuff, too 12

18 Dec

I recently attended an event in which my daughter flipped her body around in ways that frighten me. In other words: a gymnastics demonstration. My son had to attend as well, much to his dismay. Rather than watch his sister perform, he sulked in the hall. Performance over, we headed to the car along with daughter’s friend and her mother. My son was nowhere to be seen.

Me: Where could he have gone?

Friend’s mom: Maybe he ran away with the circus.

Daughter: Nah. He hasn’t got the talent.


My kids say funny stuff, too 10

4 Dec
Photo: HLNTV

Photo: HLNTV

The scene: my bedroom. I’m getting dressed while my daughter watches.

Daughter: You’re fat, Mommy.

Me: I am NOT fat!

Daughter: Well, you’re not fat like that lady on TV.

Me: What lady?

Daughter: You know . . .the one who got run over by a forklift.

Me: What are you talking about!?

Daughter: Oh, you know . . .Honey Boo Boo’s mom.

Solitude, Invading Molecules, and The Scarlet Pimpernel

9 Nov

There is someone in the house. I don’t have to see or hear them. I know by the way my skin prickles and my brain reels. There is someone in the house besides me. I feel his molecules, because I know it’s a man, invading my space making it impossible for me to work. I feel seen, observed. I feel this way every time my husband takes vacation days.

The problem isn’t that he’s in my hair, though it feels like he’s in my hair. The problem is that he’s here at all. He’s actually leaving me alone. Most of the time you wouldn’t even know he’s here. Except that he’s here. When I leave my office to warm my tea or let the dog out or have a snack, there he is. And he’s doing nothing while I’m trying to do something. I go to my office and he doesn’t follow me but I still can’t work. It’s like the molecules he breathes seek me out and watch my every move.

You’d think that feeling observed like this would make me more productive, but it doesn’t. My husband likes my writing, he supports my writing, but I can’t do it in front of him or his molecules. So I check Facebook, then email, then read other bloggers’ posts. I comment and check Facebook again. I go back to email to see if the blogger has responded to my witty comment and the cycle begins again.

This morning, while I was cleaning the kitchen, he woke and came downstairs. I had spent the morning listening to my daughter wail about how she’d ruined her model of the atomic structure of the iron atom. She wailed about it for fifteen minutes then mysteriously stopped wailing. “I didn’t ruin it after all,” she said gaily. I sighed. She went to school.

I had about a half hour in silence. I like silence. Even the dog knows I like silence and only barks when absolutely necessary. Normally, I have hours and hours of silence. But not this week.

I’ve been tolerant of having another human in my silent house. And, really, my husband has been considerate, only engaging me when I’m within a ten-foot radius. He even listens to his music with noise-canceling headphones.

This morning, though, he interrupted my kitchen cleaning ritual with dialogue from 1934’s The Scarlet Pimpernel.

I like the movie; we like the movie. We quote the dialogue to each other, particularly the idiotic poem Leslie Howard pens as the foppish Sir Percy Blakeney, who is actually the infamous Pimpernel, fearless rescuer of French nobility following the Revolution. The poem begins like this:

They seek him here,

They seek him there.

Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.

It goes on, ending with “That damned elusive Pimpernel.”

Today, I rose at 7 a. m. with The Empress of the Fine Chinese Whine. My vacationing husband rose at 10 a.m. and came down for his morning coffee. He was cheerful. He was quoting the Scarlet Pimpernel poem, he thought.

“They seek him high,” he said. “They seek him low. Those Frenchies know not. . .”

“Stop yourself!” I said. “You’re doing it wrong! I think I’ve been pretty good about you being here all week, putting up with your molecules all up in my face, but you have no idea how the poem goes!”

To his credit, he stopped. To my credit, I poured a cup of tea, went to my office, closed the door, and wrote about how my husband’s molecules, supportive and understanding as they are, drive me crazy when they aren’t supposed to be here in my solitude.

Next week, he’ll be back at work and so will I. Alone. In silence. Now, though, my teacup is empty and I’m hoping the Scarlet Pimpernel isn’t waiting for me in the kitchen.

A month of many moustaches

5 Nov

I’m torn. November used to just be the month of turkey, cranberries and raking leaves. Now, though, November seems to have developed a split personality and both of those personalities are calling me.

November is National Adoption Month.  My family was built through adoption; many of you know I’ve written about the idiotic things people say about adoption and adoptees. I promise I’ll write more about adoption this month, and not everything will be snide. Really. I can do it. You’ll just have to trust me.

November is also Movember, a month devoted to raising awareness of prostate cancer and male mental health issues. I have my own mental health issues to deal with, so I’ll stick to prostate cancer for this post.

I first heard of Movember through a magnificent™ Canadian blogger, Le Clown. “Movember” combines the words moustache and November, because participants raise awareness of prostate cancer by growing moustaches.

Because I learned of Movember through a Canadian, I assumed it was started by Canadians. Turns out Movember is an Australian brainchild. Now, though, Movember is a worldwide movement. While I don’t have a prostate, I do have a few men in my life, including my husband.

Like all cancers, prostate cancer is best treated in the early stages, but prostate cancer screening is controversial. My husband’s doctor uses PSA tests; your doctor might not. I asked my husband about his adventures in prostate cancer screening solely as an example.

Me: Why did you have to have that biopsy of your prostate?

Him: Because my PSA was high.

Me: That’s all?

Him: No, my prostate was enlarged . . .

Me:  He knew that from, you know, sticking his finger . . .

Him: Yes! God! Stop!

Me: Ok, so ewwwww. That’s all? He just put his finger in and knew?

Him: Will you stop!? No! I couldn’t pee.

Me: What do you mean you couldn’t pee? I hear you pee in the middle of the night all the time. Are you saying you sleep pee?

Him: No, but you might have noticed peeing takes about a week. Since drinking water is also recommended for my health, each glass of water extends my time in the bathroom by another day. (He does, indeed, take an inordinate amount of time peeing.)

Me: Ok. So you needed the biopsy. What was that like?

Him: It was like someone put a tiny AK47 in me and sprayed the inside of my ass with bullets.

Me: (hysterical laughing) Ok. Did you have to ask for the screening?

Him: No. It was just part of my yearly exam.

All with my husband’s end ended well but he and I have reached the age when humiliating exams need to be undertaken on a yearly basis. He gets a finger in his butt and I get a mammogram. I try to convince him that having your boobs squashed flat in three different positions on both sides is far more of a trial than having one itty bitty finger inserted in his down there. He’s not buying it.

There are many ways to make a statement this Movember:

•  grow a mustache and let everyone know why

•  donate to Movember or your favorite cancer foundation

and, if you have a prostate,

•  talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screening.

My kids say funny stuff, too: Halloween Edition

30 Oct


Halloween in Chicago is a dicey affair. You’re as likely to have foul weather as fair, but most often, the kids are trick or treating in hat, coat and mitten weather.

My daughter has chosen a vampire costume. It’s really kind of cute, complete with cape and stand-up collar. And it is sleeveless. Mommy would have made a very nice costume with nice warm long sleeves, but Mommy is big and dumb. All of Mommy’s ideas suck.

Big Dumb Mom: You should wear a long sleeve shirt under it. I’m afraid you’ll be cold.

Daughter: That’s dumb, Big Dumb Mom. Your ideas suck. (Ok, she didn’t really say that, but I can’t remember what sass came out of her mouth.)

Big Dumb Mom: Well, what will you do about the cold?

Daughter: I’ll just have to suffer the consequences of being cute.

Note: My kids say funny stuff, too is based on the fact that many, many moms have funny kids and post the funny things they say, but I owe a debt of gratitude to

Hers is one of the best funny kid stuff blogs out there and I’m humbled by her hilarious offspring.

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