LennyMud: The New Jersey Ceramics and Pottery Maker Who Shares My Sense of Humor

My friend Lisa’s birthday is today. Lisa is a delightful 2017 addition to what Marovich calls my “collection” of people. Together, we’re the mash-up, “D’Nisa.” While Lisa has many stellar qualities, I especially treasure her word play skills–par excellence. Her comment about the Christopher Walken Closet the other day had me dying. Lisa is one of the few friends who loves the Bob’s Burger intros and Burger of the Day titles as much as I do. Some make me hyperventilate in giggles. Just as with my bff since kindergarten, Darlene, or my bff since 7th grade, Marovich, Lisa is a joy to shop for–I just buy what I love, and I know they’ll love it, too (the exception being that with Marovich, lipstick shopping is officially OFF the table. Don’t ask.) So I was browsing online for Lisa’s birthday gifts and discovered this hilarious ceramics and pottery maker called Lennymud in New Jersey. If I made ceramics, this is exactly the stuff I would create. And then I read the owner’s bio. Now I want to be president of her fan club. (Weird coincidence — I may have called Jack “The Spawn” before.)

ABOUT LENNYMUD

Lenny is the name of my studio cat. I make the pots and Lenny breaks them: this way I never run out of shelf space.

Lenny is not for sale. Probably not.

I know my shop name makes me sound like a 50 year old man who smokes cigars, but I am a female who is sometimes told that she looks ten years younger than her real age. (My husband says the nicest things in the dark. When he’s drunk.) I am the mother to two, adorable children that I like to call The Spawn.

I like to make stuff. Sometimes I like to work with clay and other days I like to draw or paint. I work a busy day job– my Etsy shop lennymud.etsy.com is a hobby or perhaps a midlife crisis. You are invited to stalk me on my facebook fan page here http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lennymud/179831098733257
or follow me at Twitter: LennyMud.

And yes, it’s ok if you call me Lenny.

Based solely on @LennyMud’s artisan output, she is just the sort of person D’Nisa would hang with, if she only lived closer. Here’s what I mean:

The Lionel Cheese Platter! Perfect for your next AA meeting!

For me, tea is just a beverage masquerading as lame coffee, but this mug could make me like it…

I mean, seriously. Who DOESN’T need this teapot?

 

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How Little League Could Improve the “User Experience”: 12 Tips

Someday when my son is lying on his shrink’s couch recounting the many ways I’ve screwed up his parenting, I will point to this blog as proof positive that I actually attended some of his Little League games. How else would I have snapped this photo? Attending these games is typically Dave’s duty, but since he’s out of town, I’m stepping up to the plate (see what I did there?). I pray this Little League season ends before his San Antonio trip next weekend!

75, partly sunny, and a mild breeze– the only perfect weather Little League game of this season.

All of you User Experience (UX) experts out there, please apply your mad skills to improving Little League for the parents. The Sister Wives crack up at my total lack of interest in children’s sporting and performance events (but if Jack were playing indoor tennis or volleyball, this would be different) but as of today, my sports ennui is bordering on sheer hatred.

This morning’s Chicagoland shit show–a Little League game in 48-degree weather with pouring rain–was the final nail in my sports attendee coffin. There is no good reason, in my mind, to make parents and their children suffer like that. For those of us with hypothyroidism, that is, the majority of us living in the “goiter belt,” recovering from being over-chilled takes forever.

As I sat there fuming–for the 10 minutes I lasted on the cold, aluminum bleacher bench before retreating to the car and watching the game through binoculars–ach, who am I kidding? I don’t own binoculars. Anyhow, as I sat there fuming and attempting to text my displeasure to the Sister Wives and my friend Lisa with my 1 bar of AT&T signal, I began compiling a list of ways we could all improve the UX, from my perspective. Your results may vary. Soccer and lacrosse parents, feel free to borrow.

  1. Games should only occur on days when it is partially sunny and 75 with a slight breeze, and never on Mother’s Day or other holidays. And they should be scheduled for after 10 a.m., within 5 minutes of home.
  2. The concession stand should have indoor seating–aesthetically pleasing–and be sponsored by Starbucks, Peet’s Coffee, or some hot beverage company of that ilk.
  3. The bleachers should have a clear, protective roof that doesn’t attract heat (this would also protect against the liability of being hit in the head by a foul ball, while I’m busily reading my phone and not watching the game)
  4. Cushioned seating with a back rest would be even better than aluminum bleachers.
  5. Even better? A cabana I could share with friends, like the ones in Las Vegas surrounding the pool, that would perhaps have a fire pit in the middle for making s’mores as we “watch” the game.
  6. There should be an app developed to vibrate and nudge me when my child is actually doing something interesting on the field.
  7. A wait staff taking orders from the parents would be a nice improvement – sort of like the local iPic movie theater in South Barrington I so adore with the gourmet sliders.
  8. Cocktails. Bloody Marys for the morning games, Leinenkugel Grapefruit Shandies for the evening games.
  9. A covered pathway back to my vehicle would be great–my clothing from this a.m.’s total drenching is still in the dryer.
  10. A televised game I could watch from the comfort of my warm bed and never leave the house would also be a nice option.
  11. Joining a league with Matthew McConaughey or Peter Dinklage’s children, so I could steal more surreptitious glances than Jack steals home plate…that could make me not mind it all so much.
  12. To add insult to this morning’s injury, Jack’s dirt-caked uniform from his slide into 3rd base–right as the game was being called due to rain–stained the powder-gray cloth upholstery in the car. So…this got me thinking an on-site car detailing service might not be a bad idea. Also, a baseball uniform cleaning service, delivered to my front door, would be much appreciated (the domestic goddess that I am not placed a panicked call to Sister Wife Maura for advice on getting the dirt stains out of Jack’s uniform).

P.S. After the game, we drove through that same McDonald’s I mentioned in yesterday’s blog. The Arby’s subterfuge agent was no longer working the drive’ thru’ window.

If you have any ideas to add to this groundbreaking list, feel free to add your comments!

 

My Restaurant Alias

If you attend C2E2 this weekend, be sure to visit Dave Dorman at E-1 in Artists Alley. “E,” as in “Easy-to-Remember” and 1 as in, also easy to remember. (I’ll be there Sunday!)

Ever been waiting to be seated at a crowded restaurant when you heard the hostess yell out a ridiculous name? Yeah, that was probably me. In honor of Mystery Science Theater 3000s new comeback on Netflix, I’ll probably start leaving the name “Tom Servo” with the hostess, but my old standard is Nipsey Russell. This makes me giggle like a 12-year-old schoolboy every time I hear it uttered–loudly–in a busy restaurant foyer. I can’t explain it, but it tickles my ribs. Juuuuust riiiiight.

The Man. The Legend. Also, My Restaurant Alias.

One of my many favorite things about The Simpsons is Bart Simpson’s frequent prank-phone-call-to-Moe’s routine. For your reading pleasure, here they are. (I may have to borrow Ivana Tinkle one of these days…and hopefully, the hostess doesn’t threaten to carve her name into my back with an ice pick…)

Some Enchanted Evening

Bart: Is Al there?
Moe: Al?
Bart: Yeah, Al. Last name Caholic?
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. Phone call for Al… Al Caholic. Is there an Al Caholic here?
(The guys in the pub cheer.)
Moe: Wait a minute… Listen, you little yellow-bellied rat jackass, if I ever find out who you are, I’m gonna kill you!

Some Enchanted Evening

Bart: Is Oliver there?
Moe: Who?
Bart: Oliver Clothesoff.
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. (calls) Oliver Clothesoff! Call for Oliver Clothesoff!
(Marge picks up the extension)
Listen, you lousy bum, if I ever get a hold of you, I swear I’ll cut your belly open!

Homer’s Odyssey

Bart: (with Lisa) Is Mister Freely there?
Moe: Who?
Bart: Freely, first initials I. P.
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. Uh, is I. P. Freely here? Hey everybody, I.P. Freely!
(the customers laugh) Wait a minute… Listen to me you lousy bum. When I get a hold of you, you’re dead. I swear I’m gonna slice your heart in half.

Moaning Lisa

Bart: (with Lisa)
Moe: Yeah, Moe’s Tavern, Moe speaking.
Bart: Is Jaques there?
Moe: Who?
Bart: Jaques, last name Strap.
Moe: Uh, hold on. Uh, Jock… Strap… Hey guys I’m looking for a Jock Strap.
(laughs from all) Oh… wait a minute… Jock Strap… It’s you isn’t it ya cowardly little runt? When I get a hold of you, I’m gonna gut you like a fish and drink your blood.

One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish

Bart: (with Lisa)
Moe: Hello, Moe’s Tavern. Birthplace of the Rob Roy.
Bart: Is Seymour there? Last name Butz.
Moe: Just a sec. Hey, is there a Butz here? A Seymour Butz? Hey, everybody, I wanna Seymour Butz!
(realizes) Wait a minute… Listen, you little scum-sucking pus-bucket! When I get my hands on you, I’m gonna pull out your eyeballs with a corkscrew!

Principal Charming

Bart: (in Principal Skinner’s office) Hello, is Homer there?
Moe: Homer who?
Bart: Homer… Sexual.
Moe: Wait one second, let me check. (calls) Uh, Homer Sexual? Hey, come on, come on, one of you guys has got to be Homer Sexual!
Homer: Don’t look at me!
Moe: You rotten liver pot! If I ever get a hold of you, I’ll sink my teeth into your cheek and rip your face off!
Skinner: You’ll do what, young man?

Blood Feud

Moe(answers the phone) Moe’s Tavern, where the elite meet to drink.
Bart: Uh, hello. Is Mike there? Last name, Rotch.
Moe: Hold on, I’ll check. (calls) Mike Rotch! Mike Rotch! Hey, has anybody seen Mike Rotch lately?
(barflies laugh) Listen, you little puke. One of these days, I’m going to catch you, and I’m going to carve my name on your back with an ice pick.

Treehouse of Horror II

Bart: with Mrs. Krabappel and one of the Sherri/Terri twins
Moe(answers the phone) Moe’s Tavern. … Hold on, I’ll check. Uh, hey, everybody! I’m a stupid moron with an ugly face and big butt and my butt smells and I like to kiss my own butt.
All(laugh)
Barney: Ho ho, that’s a good one.
Moe: Wait a minute…
Bart(hangs up and laughs)

Flaming Moe’s

Moe: (answering the phone) Flaming Moe’s.
Bart: Uh, yes, I’m looking for a friend of mine. Last name Jass. First name Hugh.
Moe: Uh, hold on, I’ll check. (calling) Hugh Jass! Somebody check the men’s room for a Hugh Jass!
Man: Uh, I’m Hugh Jass.
Moe: Telephone. (hands over the receiver)
Hugh: Hello, this is Hugh Jass.
Bart(surprised) Uh, hi.
Hugh: Who’s this?
Bart: Bart Simpson.
Hugh: Well, what can I do for you, Bart?
Bart: Uh, look, I’ll level with you, Mister. This is a crank call that sort of backfired, and I’d like to bail out right now.
Hugh: All right. Better luck next time. (hangs up) What a nice young man.

Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

Moe: Moe’s Tavern, Moe speaking.
Bart: Uh, yes, I’m looking for a Mrs. O’Problem? First name, Bea.
Moe: Uh, yeah, just a minute, I’ll check. (calls) Uh, Bea O’Problem? Bea O’Problem! Come on guys, do I have a Bea O’Problem here?
Barney: You sure do! (everyone laughs)
Moe: Oh… (to phone) It’s you, isn’t it! Listen, you. When I get a hold of you, I’m going to use your head for a bucket and paint my house with your brains!

New Kid on the Block

Moe(answers the phone) Yeah, just a sec; I’ll check. (calls) Amanda Hugginkiss? Hey, I’m lookin’ fer Amanda Hugginkiss. Why can’t I find Amanda Hugginkiss?
Barney: Maybe your standards are too high!
Moe: [to phone] You little S.O.B. Why, when I find out who you are, I’m going to shove a sausage down your throat and stick starving dogs in your butt!
Bart: My name is Jimbo Jones, and I live at 1094 Evergreen Terrace.
Moe: I knew he’s slip up sooner or later! He unsheathes a rusty knife and heads out of the tavern.

New Kid on the Block

(Laura Powers with Bart)
Laura: Hello, I’d like to speak to Ms. Tinkle? First name… Ivana?
Moe: Ivana Tinkle, just a sec. (calls) Ivana Tinkle! Ivana Tinkle! Hey, everybody, put down your glasses. Ivana Tinkle!The PTA DisbandsThis isn’t at Moe’s; Moe is taking over as the substitute teacher for Mrs. Krabappel’s class during the strike
Moe: OK, when I call your name, uh, you say “present” or “here”. Er, no, say “present”. Ahem, Anita Bath?
(laughter from kids)
Moe: All right, settle down. Anita Bath here?
(laughter)
Moe: All right, fine, fine. Maya Buttreeks!
(more laughter)
Moe: Hey, what are you laughing at? What? Oh, oh, I get it, I get it. It’s my big ears, isn’t it, kids? Isn’t it? Well, children, I can’t help that!
Moe runs out of the classroom crying.

Homer the Smithers

Burns: I’m looking for a Mr. Smithers, first name Wayland
Moe: Oh, so, you’re looking for a Mr. Smithers, eh? First name Wayland, is it? Listen to me, you; when I catch you, I’m gonna pull out your eyes and stick ’em down your pants, so you can watch me kick the crap outta you, okay? Then I’m gonna use your tongue to paint my boat!

Bart on the Road

Homer: Hello, I’d like to speak with a Mr. Snotball, first name Eura
Moe: Eura Snotball?
Homer: What? How dare you! If I find out who this is, I’ll staple a flag to your butt and mail you to Iran!

Homer The Moe

(Homer is looking after Moe’s.)
Bart: I’d like to speak to a Mr. Tabooger, first name Ollie.
Homer: (excited) Ooh! My first prank call! What do I do?
Bart: Just ask if anyone knows Ollie Tabooger.
Homer: I don’t get it.
Bart: Yell out “I’ll eat a booger”
Homer: What’s the gag?
Bart: Oh, forget it…

24 Minutes

Ahmed Adoodie

 

Buckle Up, Buttercups! It’s College Tour Season

My male partner in crime–my cousin Jeff–took his daughter Leah to an out-of-state midwestern college (that shall remain nameless) for a tour this morning. Aaaand…she won’t be going there. Today could’ve been fodder for an SNL skit. I know this because Jeff called me tonight while they were driving back. The hills of western Wisconsin are filled with cell phone dead zones, which made his retelling of the story even funnier, because he’d almost reach the punch line, and the comedy gods would disconnect the phone. We called each other back 15 times to finish the story.

Jeff and his daughter were led through the campus by two Asian tour guides–Seiko and Gunther. It’s not every day you meet an Asian guy named Gunther, so this was fast becoming a FARGO episode. Seiko, the girl tour guide, was a math major. I mention this factoid because it erupts later in the story. Lest you assume I am making an Asians-are-good-at-math crack, that might make you the racist! Gunther, on the other hand, was a fishing and agriculture major.

To Jeff’s great comedic fortune, this was Gunther’s virgin voyage at playing tour guide. Seiko did her level best to remain positive while trying to engage Gunther into the conversation. Every one of Gunther’s answers only served to further erode his credibility.

Some nondescript, generic university…

As Seiko was showing Jeff’s small tour group the dorms, she asked Gunther which dorm he lived in.

“Oh,” he looked down. “I commute from home.” From there, his reactions were barely on life support.

“So…Gunther,” Seiko asked with as much feigned chipper cheerleader chatter as she could muster, “What made you choose this Midwestern University?!?”

“I didn’t get into the Naval College I applied for, so I just ended up here,” he shrugged, his monotone voice devoid of any joy. Jeff started searching for hidden cameras. Surely this was some sort of a YouTube prank. Or Gunther was setting foot on campus for his first time, part of some witness protection program.

Like two warring, passive-aggressive newscasters, Seiko would try throwing the tour guide lead to Gunther, and he’d just toss it right back at her, with a “No, that’s okay, Seiko…I think you’ve got this…”

Seiko finally got Gunther to talk about one of the buildings. The math building, where Seiko spends most of her time. “Gunther, why don’t you tell our guests about this building?”

Gunther looked down, sullen. “You mostly only go into that building for math classes,” he mumbled. “Except for one class…that’s where I took my public speaking class.” At this point, Jeff and Leah couldn’t even look at each other, choking back their chortles.

Gunther had yet to master the walking-backwards-while-talking part of this gig. He had no self awareness of his personal space, narrowly missing many landmarks and human collisions. Other tour groups were glaring at my cousin Jeff, as if Jeff was somehow responsible for reining in Gunther! These are the ridiculous situations Jeff always finds himself in, getting blamed for stuff that is never his fault, which always make me double over laughing. Jeff can keep a poker face…until he catches a side glimpse of my shoulders quivering in silent giggles. Jeff, Leah and I were all in agreement. It was a very good thing I didn’t join them.

The best moment occurred at the very end, when Jeff overheard Seiko tactfully taking Gunther out of earshot and querying him, “Umm, Gunther…didn’t anyone show you the tour guide script?”

“What? There’s a script?!?” In that singular moment, Gunther demonstrated that he did, indeed, have a pulse.

Jeff spoke up, trying to make Gunther feel better about things. “Gunther, care to join us for lunch?” Leah glared at her father.

“Thanks, man. I can’t–my ride’s here,” he declined politely, his tilted head gesturing toward the nearby parking lot.

Jeff and Leah are pretty sure the middle-aged woman behind the wheel was Gunther’s mom.

 

 

Top 8 Things From 2016 I Won’t Be Missing in 2017

If you have kids at home, then you are more keenly aware of the nails-on-a-chalkboard trends riding the wave through 2016, thanks in no small part to YouTubers (and the Viners, before they were disemboweled). I’ve been thinking about all of the ear-itating stuff Jack has said and done ad nauseum in 2016, and I came up with this list, and in the 11th hour, added a new one of my own.

#1. Dabbing. That weird gesture where they put their head down in the crook of their bent arm. Or, as I call it incorrectly-on-purpose, just to agitate Jack, “Dabbling.”

#2. “Getting triggered.” According to Jack, all of the authority figures in his life “get triggered” at him. This is Generation Z’s nicer way of saying “pissed off.”

#3. Bottle flipping. Enough already with the fucking bottle flipping! Oy! That sound!

Bottle flipping, country style, with the cousins.

Bottle flipping, country style, with the cousins. I almost felt sorry for the birds for a nano-second. Almost. #SorryNotSorry

#4. “Deez nuts.” A viral YouTube video kicked off this phrase, which ended up on one of Jack’s favorite t-shirts, as in “Deez Nuts for President.”

The Quirky Video Where It All Began...

The Quirky Video Where It All Began…

#5. “In my butt.” Jack binge-watched “The Office” and got hooked on the character Stanley’s droll go-to comment for the location of pretty much anything.

Me: “Where’s my pen?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Me: “Where’s my car keys?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Me: “Where did I leave my coffee?”

Jack: “In my butt.”

Yeah, I hear this one several times a day.

#6. “I forgot.” I can’t blame this one on YouTube or The Office. This is Jack’s most consistent response to these queries:

  • “Did you brush your teeth?”
  • “Did you do your homework?”
  • “Did you practice your guitar?”
  • Did you bring home your Friday folder?

Oddly enough, I never have to ask “Did you play video games today?” “Did you watch YouTube?” “Did you eat?” “Where’s your phone?” (To which he’d reply, “In my butt.”)

#7. “Dank.” Remember a while back when “sick” suddenly meant cool? As in “Dude, that skateboard is sick.” Well, now the term I usually apply to damp, cold, musty basements has been flipped to mean “cool.” In an ironic sense. This new, stupid term is oft referenced as in “dank memes.” Fyi, parents, here’s the stoner source DNA on this adorable little catch phrase:

Those kooky stoners, always cutting edge on the catch phrases.

Those kooky stoners, always cutting edge on the catch phrases.

#8. Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP Holiday Gift GuideMy bff since kindergarten sent me this treasure beyond measure — surely Gwynnie is just doubled over somewhere laughing that anyone takes her seriously. Then again, if those rumors about steam-cleaning her vagina have an ounce of freaky truth to them…Time for me to put some perfumed vegetable oil in a sexy bottle with an eye dropper, start selling it on Etsy and call it a day. There’s a sucker born every minute…apparently with a split ends condition that I’d rather not know about.

screenshot-2016-12-08-19-32-45

Things You Might Overhear at My Family’s Thanksgiving Celebration

Few moments in my life are funnier than the comments bubbling up during meals spent with my crazy family and equally crazy friends (who are like chosen family.). Since my cousin Jeff and I can basically mind meld, all it takes is a quick exchange of glances to kick off some of these running dialogues during Thanksgiving dinner. Here’s my Top Five List of Oddball Things Said During Meals Together (family and friends edition), with a (T) behind those you might overhear at my family’s Thanksgiving.

screenshot-2016-11-23-11-27-05

  1. “I have a torn labia.” One of my guy friends said this when I asked him what kind of shoulder surgery he was recovering from. He meant to say “labrum,” but somehow, labia is what came out. I was in hysterics for a good half an hour afterwards. I felt guilty laughing because he looked so pained and embarrassed, but that only made me laugh harder. I choked on my coffee this morning, just remembering this one all over again.
  2. “No man can refuse this p***y!” A certain uber-tall cousin of mine grabbed his right ankle and lifted his long leg over his head, uttering these words in the middle of a Sizzler Restaurant during lunch one day, mimicking Grace Jones in the Eddie Murphy movie, Boomerang.  Unbeknownst to him, as he was sitting in front of a column, there was an entire table of people behind him, whom I was facing, who did not appreciate his Grace Jones imitation, making this even funnier. I waved my hands wildly about in the “stop” motion, but he misinterpreted my gesturing as “Stop making me laugh!” I couldn’t stop hyperventilating in giggles long enough to warn him to stop.
  3. “Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben!” (T)This line from Blazing Saddles is uttered every time someone tries to push food on us at Thanksgiving, when we’re already way too stuffed.
  4. “It’s only wafer thin…” (T) –– This alludes to the epically disgusting, never-ending puke scene in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. John Cleese offers up a wafer-thin mint to an obese man who has eaten so much, he explodes. In the end, all that remains is a beating heart, dangling, encased inside of a rib cage.
  5. “Go make yourself a danged quesadilla!” (T) — To say this correctly, you have to make quesadilla rhyme with Sarah Palin’s hometown, Wasilla. This line, from Napoleon Dynamite, is typically said later in the day, when dinner has settled and someone interrupts our Euchre game long enough to announce they have a taste for a turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich. I also say this to Jack, pretty much every day we’re home together and he asks me to make his lunch.

This year, Jack and I are celebrating Thanksgiving with my extended family over the weekend, so tomorrow will be a quiet day at home, watching “Holes” and Napoleon Dynamite, wishing the pilgrims had kicked off this holiday with Beef Wellington rather than turkey. And what are your plans? Need ideas for side dishes, cocktails, main course recipes, cooking time, gravy techniques, family games or table decor tips? Check out my freshly curated Pinterest Holiday Entertainment board. Consider this your new go-to resource filled with infographic goodness and everything you’d need to know for holiday entertaining. Also, I learned a great trick on Saturday with my baked brie — using apple butter instead of apricot preserves gives it this apple pie flavor that is simply amazing. Give it a whirl!

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Speaking in Shorthand

My cousin Jeff and I share the language of shorthand, born of years together appreciating the same pop culture, inside family jokes, and death-defying adventures, the latter involving my ’73 Cadillac. When we’re together in person, a shared glance speaks volumes. We’re fluent in reading each other’s micro-expressions. There were times we’ve shared the same the brain in ways that were downright eerie, like the time Jeff’s dad, my Uncle Mick, died in an ultralight plane crash. Within a few month’s time of his passing, I had a vivid dream that Uncle Mick was in between Jeff and me, and we were all holding hands, walking over the border from Illinois into Wisconsin. I have this weird affinity for remembering my dreams every morning, but when someone passes over and I have these super-vivid dreams, they are different from my regular dreams. I know I’m supposed to pay attention. I called Jeff’s house to tell him about my dream and his roommate Kelly answered the phone. I told her about it and she freaked out. Jeff had just regaled her with the story of the very same dream from the night before. And then there was the time we were playing Scattergories (we’re a competitive, game-playing family–Jeff was part of that marathon Euchre match I mentioned recently) and we both were tasked with naming a villain with the first letter “I.” We both wrote down “Injun’ Joe,” surprising everyone with our weird groupthink.

When anything funny bubbles up in everyday life, and it often does, as we both see the comedy in everything, Jeff and I shoot each other a fast text. Aside from Blazing Saddles and Throw Momma from the Train, Chris Farley-isms are our oft-quoted go-to phrases. If you’ve never seen SNL’s “Best of Chris Farley” DVD, it’s a must for any comedy collection. (And the recent Chris Farley biography, “The Chris Farley Show: A Biography in Three Acts” co-written by his brother Tom, is a must-read. For me, it was a gripping, emotional roller coaster of laughter and tears.)

Such an unforgettable life of comedy and pathos.

Such an unforgettable life of comedy and pathos. I’m always thankful to my BFF Darlene for loaning me this book.

The first text today from Jeff (the 2nd text was not for mixed company, so I won’t poke the bear) gives a snapshot of our never-ending conversation, replete with the reference to Farley and Sandler’s Zagat’s Restaurant Guide skit on Saturday Night Live:

 

This scene doubles me over. Every. Time.

This scene doubles me over. Every. Time.

The shorthand of our shared language in a never-ending conversation.

The shorthand of our shared language; it’s a Jerry Seinfeld-esque, never-ending conversation about nothing, but it means everything to me.

 

It takes just a moment out of your day–maybe five seconds–to send a text and show someone you care. If there’s a takeaway from today’s blog, it’s just a reminder for everyone to take the time. Send that text. Jeff and I both learned that hard lesson the day of that devastating ultralight crash. Life’s too short.

My Pre-Mother’s Day Celebration: Adding to “The Collection”

Since Dave was in Nashville doing a signing for Free Comic Book Day Saturday, two of the Sister Wives and I decided on Cooper’s Hawk for a wine-soaked pre-Mother’s Day celebration. Little did I know, I would get the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all–the first-hand retelling of one of my all-time favorite dysfunctional family stories. I collect these funny stories in my mental Rolodex like some folks collect comic books.

Spontaneity is “Sister Wife” Ophelia’s middle name. It’s what I treasure about her. She rolled in late from an all-day cooking class in Chicago, texting that she was bringing two surprise guests. They were all feeling no pain when they arrived, and hilarious conversation flowed. (It seems the chef they spent the day with at cooking school now wants to cook for all of us at a suite in Las Vegas…Ophelia is that rare person who attracts these bizarre situations as much as I do.)

As I was getting acquainted with my two new friends (as my BFF Marovich puts it, “Denise adding yet a few more to ‘The Collection'”) it suddenly dawned on me that one of them, Jocelyn, must be the neighbor Ophelia once mentioned with the World’s BEST Dysfunctional Family Thanksgiving story. It was as if someone had scripted the Thanksgiving version of Christmas Vacation. Truth stranger than fiction. And Saturday night, I was lucky enough to hear it all from the source DNA. It was just as epic the second time. I’ll try recapturing it for you here, but minus the facial expressions and physical gestures, well, forgive me if I don’t do it justice.

Christmas Vacation, meet Your Spin-Off: Thanksgiving Vacation!

Christmas Vacation, meet Your Spin-Off: Thanksgiving Vacation!

Jocelyn is kind by nature. Kind enough, in fact, to invite her brother-in-law Sparky to their Thanksgiving celebration. Sparky was single, but dating a former stripper with five kids from differing baby daddies. Jocelyn’s husband warned her not to invite Sparky, but Jocelyn prevailed. She was feeling sentimental. Thanksgiving was family time, after all, and they should all be together. Sparky called and informed her that he was not only bringing his stripper girlfriend Astrid, but also three of her kids, and Astrid’s sister. Now Jocelyn had to double the amount of food she was making, but she did so without complaint. She was determined to make it work.

Thanksgiving Day came. Sparky, Astrid, and their crew arrived. Astrid presented Jocelyn with her contribution: a small, square Michelina-sized box of mac & cheese as their (we are Midwestern, so I hope you understand) dish to pass for the meal. Jocelyn graciously accepted the meager offering. For the most part, the meal went fine, and everyone was well behaved. Jocelyn’s aunt wanted to hit a Black Friday sale, so she and Jocelyn left and shopped for two hours. When they returned, that was the start. Thanksgiving Vacation. 

As Jocelyn opened the front door, the entire house was reverberating with the percussive thump-thump-thump of dance club music emanating from the basement. Jocelyn’s elderly mom, aunt and uncle sat upstairs, trauma written all over their faces.

Hands over her ears, Jocelyn braved her way to the basement with a mission to turn down the music. She couldn’t have possibly prepared herself for what she was about to see: Sparky’s stripper girlfriend Astrid, riding the pole in Jocelyn’s basement, while Astrid’s sister was grinding away on a pool stick between her legs. As Jocelyn was stepping into the room, the two sisters merged together, grinding on each other. Jocelyn reports her 9-year-old son’s eyes were bugging out of his head. Jocelyn’s husband was just sitting there in stunned amazement, drink in his hand, slowly raising his other hand to shield their son’s bewildered eyes.

In a flash, Astrid’s daughter got in between the grinding sister twosome, twerking with a familiarity no 10-year-old child should have.

Jocelyn had been married to her husband for nearly 20 years at this point, and never had an issue with Sparky. But this Thanksgiving Day, Sparky was drunk. Caught up in the spirit of things, he tried grinding on Jocelyn. Tried being the key word. Chaos accelerated from totally out of control to insanity in a nanosecond. Jocelyn’s husband flashed her the “I told you so” look as Jocelyn screamed at Sparky to “keep his fucking hands off of (her).” Their nine-year-old’s eyes protruded further, as if that were even possible.

Jocelyn raced upstairs to see what Astrid’s other two kids were doing. She found Astrid’s 13-year-old son standing with his back to her, his iPhone extended at arm’s length, taking panoramic footage of Jocelyn’s upstairs bedroom, casing the joint. As he slowly turned around to complete his panoramic shot of her bedroom, he discovered her in frame, hands on her hips, a fully formed “WTF?” glare on her face. He stopped in mid filming. Jocelyn screamed at him, demanding he erase the footage. He insisted he never took any. It seems gaslighting was his super power. Jocelyn raced back downstairs to the basement. She had to get Sparky to convince this defiant teen to erase the footage. Sparky exclaimed, “You can’t yell at him! He has RAGE issues!” Uncle Sparky never thought of protecting his niece and nephew from Astrid’s volatile, rage issue kid.

Two years later, sadly, Sparky and Astrid are no more. Their true love couldn’t conquer Astrid’s need to have sex with many people. Sparky stopped paying her bills and moved out.

To date, Sparky is still single.

God, how I loves me some dysfunctional family stories. I have a library full of them–from my own family.

Introducing My Newest Business Offering: Meme Editor

Yes, I am that jerk. Admittedly. The one who judges people by their spelling and grammar. Judgey Judgerson. The “Grammar Geek.” Let’s just get that out of the way. Just as musicians can listen to a symphony and that one wrong note jumps out at them, the same thing happens to me, even when I’m reading for pleasure, which I do often. I believe the texting generation has destroyed many people’s ability to spell or punctuate correctly anymore, and I steadfastly refuse to text “u” when I mean “you.”

This.

This.

 

Just had to add this one, from a Facebook friend who read this blog.

Just had to add this one, from a Facebook friend who read this blog.

However, I think there’s a business opportunity at play here. I am now officially offering my proofreading services for meme creators. I’m offering to charge any meme creator 50 cents per meme to avoid the embarrassment of putting a typo-riddled meme out there, representing them poorly in perpetuity. It only takes me a mere second to spot the problems–like the unfortunate misspelling of “discreet” in this one below–so I could power through several in hundred in an hour and actually earn a decent living! I should probably add tattoos, signage, and gravestones to my suite of proofreading service offerings.

There are so many memes out there that I adore, and I’d really love to repost them, but I just can’t bring myself to be visually represented by typos. Here are some examples:

When Webster's Dictionary is your friend...

When Webster’s Dictionary is your friend…

And this one…yes, even Alan Moore (if this is really his quote–without an extensive Google session, one never knows) doesn’t escape my scrutiny, but I loved the sentiment so much, I just had to post it, despite my inner turmoil over the missing apostrophe:

When apostrophes are your friend...

When apostrophes are your friend…

Then there’s this guy’s direct message to me on Facebook. As my friend Allyson said so eloquently, “I don’t know if I’m more disgusted by his intentions or his grammar.” That actually made me LOL!

 

Screenshot 2016-04-05 17.19.16

There isn't enough alcohol in the world to make me gravitate toward someone who spells and disrespects women this way...

There isn’t enough alcohol in the world to make me gravitate towards someone who spells and disrespects women this way…I mean, “I’d” NEEDS an upper case I and an apostrophe!

I once dated someone who emailed me some love poems, riddled with typos. Since he wasn’t the type to write love poems, nor was he overtly romantic, I honestly couldn’t discern his intentions in sending them to me…so I edited them in red ink and emailed them all back to him. All I could think of was that he must be merely sharing someone else’s poor grammar with me. That should have been my red flag. Yeah…as you might surmise, that relationship ended.

For those who don't wish to pay me .50 cents. Your loss.

For those who don’t wish to pay me .50 cents. Your loss.

So…if you have a meme you want to post, but you’re really not sure if the correct spelling is two, to, or too, I’m your girl. Send it to me FIRST. That is, after you Paypal me .50 cents.

And finally, THIS.

And finally, THIS.

 

 

The Racquetball Chronicles: What IS It About SNOOPY’s Laugh?

My BFF Marovich and I resumed our racquetball war this morning, after taking several months off. I knew I was at risk of injury when Marovich’s tight headband flew off and landed in the server’s box, in her mad exuberance to whale on the ball. I lost the first game 21 to 3.

Since we hadn’t seen each other in a while, we took a break outside of the court to catch up on news. And that was when she shared this ridiculous tale. Fair warning: This probably won’t be nearly as funny to those of you reading this, but I literally cried my makeup off laughing. This story demonstrates our shared, stupid, juvenile humor. You know, the humor that probably only we think is funny.

SNOOPY laughing himself right out of the library.

SNOOPY laughing himself right out of the library.

So Marovich started out her story by asking me if I’ve ever heard SNOOPY laugh. I had, and I started giggling, straight up. If you have no idea what SNOOPY laughing sounds like, please watch this brief, :25 second clip of SNOOPY laughing in the library:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SH9MAhDvNjo

(On a side note, I especially love this clip because SNOOPY gets kicked out of the library for laughing, which is like an animated retelling of Marovich’s and my 7th grade year.)

Marovich and my friend Chrissy were shopping at TARGET and they came across this SNOOPY toy with the laughter sound chip. At that very moment, Chrissy made it her mission to nail the pitch-perfect impression of the SNOOPY laugh. She worked hard on it for many days to get it down, exactly right.

She and Marovich hosted Thanksgiving dinner for Chrissy’s side of the family, and Marovich dared Chrissy to do the SNOOPY laugh every time someone said something even mildly funny. Chrissy did. Several times. No one blinked. No one laughed. No one thought anything was weird. Which, you know, is kind of insulting that someone in her own family–all of them, in fact–actually tuned her out, thinking, “Oh, that’s just Chrissy’s stupid laugh…”

So while we were sitting outside of the racquetball court, I pulled up the YouTube video of SNOOPY laughing, and that’s when we started laughing so hysterically, I cried my makeup off. I had visions of Chrissy doing this stupid laugh at Thanksgiving and everyone sitting around the table deadpan, nonplussed. One of the guys who was taking over our court after us walked in on me howling with laughter, and without even knowing what the hell was up, he started laughing. We went back into the court to play out our remaining 10 minutes. Every time I was about to serve, Marovich would throw her head back in that SNOOPY pose and do the SNOOPY laugh, and I’d lose the strength of my serve. She was Delilah to my Samson. By some miracle, I was still winning 7 – 3 when the clock ran out.

Marovich knows when I am way too deep into one of our conversations, I don’t pay attention to whatever else I’m doing. This has led to many funny stories over the years, like the time I drove up and yelled our coffee order to the garbage can at Dunkin’ Donuts, with Marovich sitting in the passenger’s seat, dying of laughter as I was looking over at her with my WTF puzzled face. (In my defense, the garbage can had this weird lid on it that could have been mistaken for the squawk box.)

So today was no different. I drove us to racquetball. As we exited and hit the parking lot, I pressed my key fob, with Marovich following me towards my black SUV. I couldn’t figure out why the damned door wouldn’t open, and uh-oh, when did I get this new scratch in the paint on my driver’s side? Marovich snorted, “This is a Nissan. This isn’t your truck.” So we walked over to the next black truck, tried to get in, and again, the key fob didn’t work. “This is a Chevy,” she pointed out, exasperated. By now, Marovich took it upon herself to find my Highlander, before I made a career out of attempted breaking and entering into every black vehicle that wasn’t mine in this parking lot. “Third time’s a charm,” she snarked, followed by, “This had better go in your fucking blog.”

I can hear her SNOOPY laugh all of the way from here.