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If you are a girl and you love shoes than we have something in common. For me, it used to be more important for the perfect shoe to look great, than to be comfortable. I have squished my foot into a much too narrow shoe and wore way too high of heals just because the shoes accented my outfit perfectly. The older I get the less I care. Maybe because now, I have children to buy shoes for, this leaves fewer dollars in my account to spend on myself. Recently, I became aware that a shoe fetish could start very early.  On a girl’s trip to Target I was amused to see my daughter’s and niece go into the direction of the shoes. They didn’t care they were in the woman’s section. Their eyes lit up and smiles spread across their face quicker than flowing water fills a crack. Expressions of oohs and awes rapidly poured from their mouths. Before I knew it, boxes were being pulled off the shelf and these pint-sized girls were trying on shoes ten sizes too big. Each of them had their own idea of spectacular. My youngest daughter immediately went for something with a bit of bling –bling. A flat shoe with shiny pink sequence and a tiny bow were her favorite pair. She didn’t care that they were strapped together by that impossible piece of plastic. She worked those shoes the best her tiny body could. My oldest daughter opted for the high heel. It was definitely a pair that grabbed my attention. I didn’t know whether to laugh because she had my taste or to cry because she walked better in them than me. Okay, maybe not better but surprisingly well for a seven year old. My niece was a bit more conservative and picked a pair of black ballet flats. Her taste in shoes was very simple, much like herself. You could tell a lot about a person from the shoes they wear. Are they exciting and like to take risks?  Perhaps, the risk-takers choose the high heels-it’s about being a head above the rest. To take the heels off means you come down to the average level, and that is not interesting enough. A simple shoe may indicate a laid-back person. The easygoing person who doesn’t need much to be happy. They don’t take life or themselves too seriously. Maybe the person who chooses the shoes decorated in bling- bling wants to be noticed. I am not a psychiatrist but I know the personalities of my daughters and my niece. And they picked the perfect shoes to match their essence. Today, my youngest daughter did something hysterical. Her aunt gave her a brand new pair of boots and she was anxious to get them on. After watching her prance around the kitchen showing her shoes with attitude I noticed something did not look right. I unzipped the boot to find the cardboard insert still tucked inside. She opted for looking great rather than comfort. My girls may never truly walk in my shoes but  I see a little bit of me in both of them. I hope the shoes they choose leave footprints to be admired.

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Thank God the tooth fairy knows how to be sly. My daughter lost her tooth while brushing her teeth yesterday morning. Mornings are always very hectic in our house. We rush to try and get two kids up, dressed, fed, and out the door in enough time so they won’t be marked late for homeroom. Because she lost the tooth at such a crazy time, I hurried up and put the extracted tooth into a baggie and placed it on a shelf in the kitchen. The Tooth Fairy has been very kind in the past, handing out lots of money. Knowing I didn’t have much cash on me I advised my daughter that this time she might not get as much as previous times. She seemed to be okay with that and went on her way. Throughout the night I kept reminding myself to slip a buck or two under her pillow once she fell asleep. But last night Mommy was exhausted and retired much earlier than usual, forgetting to put a surprise under the pillow.

As I opened my eyes I was greeted by my husband standing over me. “The Tooth Fairy forgot to leave our daughter something,” he said while shooting his eye daggers at me. I jumped from my bed and ran into my daughter’s room. “Did she forget?” I asked. You could imagine how relieved I was when she said “I didn’t look under my pillow yet, daddy told me to wait.” I had an idea; I thought I would run downstairs and slip some money next to the tooth on the shelf. I would explain that the tooth fairy had to leave her present next to her tooth. But to my shock the tooth was not there. She remembered to put it under her pillow. How was I going to slip money under her pillow while she was resting in front of it? I did the first thing that came to mind. I grabbed five dollars from my son’s bank (I will be sure to replace it at a later date) ran upstairs and gave her the biggest hug. “Happy Halloween I said as I wrapped my arms around her and sneakily slipped the money under her pillow. “Now let’s take a look to see what she left.” Whew-the day was saved, she got her gift and I got the satisfaction of knowing I wasn’t responsible for my child hating the tooth fairy. One day I will tell her that it was her brother’s money she was so happy to get. If he knew his x-box stash was broken into I think there would have been bigger problems for the Tooth Fairy. I had a long talk with the Tooth Fairy and explained that she must get more organized or she will have to have her wings clipped. I hope she listened.

Turn up the music, feel the beat, don’t try to stop yourself just do what comes naturally, Dance! I love to watch people dance. Music produces an electrical current in our bodies which causes our shoulders to raise up and down, our legs to move back and forth and our arms to sway erratically. We groove to the rhythmic sound and allow ourselves to become part of the melody. Our body finds harmony with the beat. Dancing is a beautiful thing, whether you’re good at it or not. It’s a way for children to release their silly’s and adults to get rid of some stress. Even infants who cannot yet walk find themselves swaying their tush back and forth to the music. A dance floor of dancing people is a room of happy people. This past weekend I was at a wedding and I danced my butt off. Well, not actually, but it felt that way the next morning. The dance floor becomes a meet and greet.  Strangers dance up to you so they don’t have to dance alone. Friends encourage each other to enter the middle of a circle and show what they got. And Brides step onto the floor wearing their best accessory, their smile.

Reflecting back on my night I realized there are lots of categories dancers could fall in.  You got your Woo Hoo’s-the circle of older ladies that dance carefree and loud, shouting out joyful expressions with each groove. They can also be the mothers who are high-fiving each other on the dance floor because they finally got a night out. You have your two sets of Bumps and Grinds- The first set is the younger girls who dance together hoping to show off their sexy side. They use their girlfriends in front of them like a pole a stripper would use to dance. The more their girlfriends cheer them on they sexier they dance. The second set of Bumps and Grinds are the couple that uses dancing as a way to ravish each other, without actually ravishing each other. There are the Elegants- the couple who would never touch each other inappropriately on the dance floor. Their moves are in sync and their eyes stay lovingly fixated on each other. Every move appears to be choreographed and you can bet they have taken some type of ballroom dance class. There are the Awkwards- Their moves are a bit more forced and they lack the ability to really let go and get lost in the music. It is obvious they are concentrating more on how others perceive them than they are on dancing. A dance floor wouldn’t be a dance floor without the Circle About’s-these are the dancers that use every inch of the floor. They circle in and out, maneuvering their way around, oblivious to the other dancers. They are fun to watch and make the people sitting down want to at least give dancing a shot. I love to watch all of these dancers because for a small moment in time I get to witness people enjoying life. Rejoicing and using the flexibility our bodies provide. But this moment can also be bittersweet. While so many of us are laughing, dancing, and using our bodies, their are other people watching, wishing, and remembering how it felt to dance. At some point our bodies will fail us and we will no longer be able to race up to the dance floor and let it all out. We will be forced to watch from afar. On that day we will want to remember that we danced while we could. So, no matter what type of dancer you are embrace it. For there will be a day that we no longer dance but knowing we did will make that day a bit easier.

In the last two days I have been reflecting. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and peeking in at myself from an outsider’s point of view. I have had a few good laughs at my own expense. I saw myself dancing around a circle, with toddlers and their mothers, banging a tambourine while having no clue my zipper was down. I watched as I  approached  parents of my children’s friends, embarrassed by the white dish detergent splashed against my thighs and knees. It wasn’t until the other day in the dollar store that I realized I have a problem. I am oblivious to the obvious and only become aware when it’s too late to correct the way I look. We took a family trip to the dollar store to purchase some Halloween decorations and see if there were any items that would help perfect the kids’ costumes. Standing in the hair accessory aisle I was beginning to become frazzled. My two year old was begging to be taken out of the cart while my six years old was pleading for ten different toys he had piled into the cart. I attempted to have two separate conversations at the same time. “Sweetie, you cannot get out of the cart until Daddy gets back. And for you little man I said only five things.” I turned to see if my husband was coming and I saw a woman staring at me. At first I just thought we caught each other’s eye at the exact moment and she wasn’t actually staring it just seemed that way. But then I saw her go to say something then stopped. Now I was curious and my facial expressions showed it. She put her hand to her mouth. I could tell she was uncomfortable and a bit apprehensive. “Do you know your sweater is on inside out?” she asked. 

I’m worried, because I think I’m passing along my unawareness to my children. My kids have played for hours with shoes on the wrong feet before I realized they put them on the wrong feet. My two oldest are at the point that they want to do everything by themselves. No help from mommy is needed or wanted. My son got his first taste in how it feels to be me. Sunday mornings are always hectic. We wake up early for church, usually twenty minutes before we are supposed to be there. We have learned to get ready quickly. I wake up get myself dressed, run a comb through my hair, and throw on a pair of shoes. I wake up both of my daughters and get them presentable as speedily as possible while my husband helps my son get dressed. This past week we were running very late, so there wasn’t time for a fast check over before running out the door. It wasn’t until after mass at breakfast that I noticed my son’s pants. He was standing in front of me leaning on the counter. I looked at his little tush in his brand new pants and knew something looked amiss. There were no pockets and I was sure they had them in the back. I gasped when I realized it was because they were on backwards. The zipper was outlining his cheeks and the button poked into his back. I tried to tell him through tears and laughter that he accidentally put his pants on wrong. He could care a less and thought it was funny. Watching him laugh at himself made me proud. Yes, maybe I unintentionally passed along an unfortunate trait but I also passed along something else. A sense of humor is a wonderful thing to have. When you possess the ability to laugh at yourself you come to the realization that life is much funnier than a lot of people believe it to be. And sometimes your shortcomings provide the best comedic relief.       

“Mar, are you serious?” The sound of my husband’s voice once again woke me from my dream like state. Our two years-old was in the middle of us. She has been sleeping with us because she has a tendency to fall off her toddler bed onto the hardwood floor. Despite the fact there are railings on each side of the bed which are supposed to help prevent that.  

After hearing the disgust in his voice or should I say disbelief, I opened my eyes and saw my cupped hand raised to my daughter’s mouth. What was I doing? Handing her a cup of invisible juice. Apparently she awoke from her own deep sleep and loudly started requesting juice. In my comatose stupor I actually believed that tricking her into thinking I was giving her juice would work. What my husband saw was my daughter swatting at my cupped empty hand. Crying because I was not giving her what she so badly wanted. I mustered up the energy to pull myself up and out of the bed and trekked downstairs to get her a glass of juice.  This morning when she woke, my husband greeted her with an empty cupped hand and asked if she was thirsty. He thought she could go for a nice glass of… invisible juice. It was one of those moments in life that I will never escape. When my son asked my husband if they needed money for their pumpkin patch field trip my husband responded, “Nah, I’m sure mommy will pack us some invisible money.”

     This time of year makes me look back to when I found Miranda. Miranda was an ugly looking broad hanging out on a bale of hay next to a cash register. Her posture was tilted, hair was frizzy and she had dried glue stuck to her back. I fell in love with her anyway. It was because of her that I found myself.

     I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. There were lots of occupations I thought I would be good at but none that I felt I was meant to be. As a young girl I thought I would like to teach the deaf after reading about Helen Keller in grade school. I took a sign language class after high-school. For a presentation speech I taught the class how to sing I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE CHRISTMAS IN SIGN LANGUAGE. I enjoyed it but still I felt there was something else and this wasn’t it.

I went to college and majored in Computer Information Systems but I knew it was only because I thought it would be a high paying field. I worked for an insurance company and daydreamed about moving up the corporate ladder, but still, I knew it wasn’t for me. So, for a long time I walked around in a fog, searching for what it was I was meant to be. There was a nagging feeling inside my soul-I knew there was something. But what it was I didn’t know. I wondered how anyone ever really knew and what happened in their life to make them understand. I questioned whether I would ever find my calling. I married and had children and thought motherhood might be it. Maybe, I was simply just meant to be a mother. Still, the feeling wouldn’t subside. My eyes were opened the day I found Miranda.  I saw the light in the strangest of places because I looked at it right. (I always loved that similar lyric by the Grateful Dead)

     It was Autumn, my favorite season and I was going to buy some Mums, Pumpkins and a few decorations for the house. I gathered my purchases and headed to the cash register. As I was waiting for the woman to ring me up, I looked down and saw this very ugly witch with an eerie smile leaning against a pumpkin. Immediately I was drawn to her, she looked like I felt. On my bad days, I certainly can be a witch and if I could fly off on a broomstick I probably would. “How much for her?” I asked holding the witch up to the sales lady.  “You mean our Miranda?” Initially I had no idea who she was calling Miranda and thought maybe she was a bit loony. Sure enough she was talking about the witch. Apparently the workers fell in love with her too, despite the fact she wasn’t easy on the eyes and the stick she was glued to was broken off. “She’s broke, she replied. I didn’t care, if she was ugly, broke or missing an eye I just knew I wanted her.  

     After promising to take care of Miranda, I left and went across the street to the grocery store. While walking past the produce section it hit me. The first story I knew I had to write. It was about a little girl named …Miranda. By the time I left the grocery store, I had a beginning, middle and an end. Excitement flooded through me and I knew this was it. I was meant to… write. I went home, wrote my first draft, and found I wanted more. I finally understood what passion was. I always had it but never recognized it. I searched for many years hoping to find my essence, waiting for it to magically appear. And magically appear it did, thanks to Miranda. She inspired me. Because of the ugly witch I found beauty –From the moment I saw her I had a hunch she was meant to be in my life. For so many years I searched for the job that would pay well and thought that would bring me happiness. In the end I found something that I will continue to do even if I never receive a dime for doing it. If I judged Miranda on her appearance I might still be lost.

“Pathetic,” the sound of my husband’s voice uttering this word woke me from a deep sleep. “What?” I mumbled back. He could not believe that he heard the alarm clock music blaring from my daughter’s room down the hall and around the corner and I didn’t. At some point during the night he was asked to go sleep in her room (probably because of a nightmare). It’s he who sets the alarm clock, so in situations like this morning he expects me to wake him once it goes off. I do not think this is too much to ask and I would if I heard it the way he heard it. You see, I have a problem. The music of the alarm clock becomes part of my dreams. I have danced many times to the music that was supposed to be waking me up. There is always a situation in my dream happening at the exact moment the alarm clock goes off. For example, I’m at a party talking to some friends, in the midst of our conversation music gets turned on (actually the alarm clock) a friend smiles and says “Let’s Dance.” We be-bop through my dream laughing, grooving and spinning about through random rooms in a house I have never been in. I have also slowed dance with a handsome man (sometimes my husband, sometimes not-Hey I can’t help what I dream can I?). It’s not just the music that makes its way into my dreams it’s the news as well. Last week a male reporter was talking about how a horse in New York City got spooked and ran into a tree and died. The information being told became part of my dream and it haunted me for hours after I woke up. I dreamt of the crash. I’m no psychic and I’m sure the crash I saw in my dream was not the actual scene of the horse’s demise but it still felt very real. Years ago we lived in a small apartment on a busy street. Our walls were thin and there wasn’t much that couldn’t be heard. You would think I would have heard a fire truck’s siren going off across the street. I didn’t. I woke up the next morning went out on my back porch and started talking to the neighbor. It was then that I was told of the fire across the street and how the trucks were there for most of the night extinguishing the flames. What was scarier was my husband slept through it too. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had a dream that night of myself wearing suspenders and big boots standing on a ladder with a hose in my hand. Dreaming to me is like a drug; once I start I don’t want to stop, unless of course it’s a nightmare. I think dreaming is similar to what heaven or hell will be. We are moving about through worlds, dealing with situations, dancing like fools and having conversations with others. But it’s all done on a spiritual level. I like to think if we can live in our dreams than we must exist after death. And thinking like this makes the idea of death a little bit easier to swallow.

  I love how so many mother’s in the blogging world came up with catchy names for themselves. You have Writer Mama, Tired Mama, Overworked Mama and many more. I asked myself -What catchy name would you call yourself in reference to motherhood. Some brilliant ideas floated through my mind but after yesterday and the incident from last week’s Mommy and Me I came up with my perfect name. I am… Decorated Mama. Before you get the wrong idea, let me explain. I am not crafty, at least not in a conventional way. I am not known for my decor techniques (Believe it or not-my husband is better at that then me). My decorations are not bought and most likely would not be willingly copied. They are decorations that adorn my wardrobe and are always unintended. Whether it is an inconvenient splat, which was yesterday’s decoration or an embarrassing rip that I become aware of while standing amongst a group of people I can guarantee that I am always decorated. My girlfriend calls it Wardrobe Confession; she came up with this clever title after hearing my umpteenth excuse of why there was a stain, rip, drip, or missing button somewhere on my clothing. I try to keep up with fashion I really do, but I have come to accept that as polished as I try to look there is always something lurking, waiting to be seen. I am beginning to think there are invisible elves working very hard at making their selves laugh at my expense. After last week’s episode with the unzipped zipper flapping in the wind I thought that would be it for a while. I was wrong. My two-year old loves to pour the liquid into the dishwasher-which is exactly why I started buying those handy little tablets you just pop in and forget about. I couldn’t pass up the great sale on the liquid this week so instead of my child friendly tablets I opted for the liquid. Yesterday she insisted on filling up the dishwasher. At first I stood behind her proudly. Pride turned to panic as I watched her squirt it all over the door. I quickly grabbed it from her, or should I say wrestled it out of her hands. After enduring a half hour temper tantrum I was relieved when she finally stopped crying.  Because, Decorated Mama was desperate, I bribed her. I promised I would lay on the couch with her and watch Barney. While watching Barney we both dozed off and I couldn’t have been happier. That was, until I realized it was time to pick up my other two children from school. I jumped from the couch, my eyes were sticky and blurred because I fell asleep with my contacts in. The only thing I had time to do was squirt some saline solution in my eyes to moisten them and then I was off. As I was putting the car in park I happened to glance down. Splattered across my left thigh was what looked like white paint. I was confused; I had no idea what it could be. I looked over to my right leg and there it was again. Keep in mind I was wearing black pants. I sat in the car motionless thinking what am I going to do? I can’t go back home, they are being left out any minute. I did what any woman would do in my shoes. I licked my finger and frantically tried to rub the white goop away with spit. It wasn’t working. I had to suck it up and go wait for my kids decorated in …Dishwashing Liquid.  I walked up to the other mothers smiled and went into Wardrobe Confession.

This week I did something I have never done before. I participated in a Mommy and Me class. I had my first two children within thirteen months of each other. Shortly after my second child was born I started watching my sisters’ daughter. Within another year I was watching my other sisters’ son. Needless to say I didn’t have the luxury of attending the Mommy and Me classes. In a blink of an eye I went from having no children to caring for five. I had my third child a little over two years ago so my plate definitely became full. Leaving my house during the day wasn’t an option. Life flew by. Three of the five children are now in school all day and my nephew is in pre-school three days a week. For the first time in seven years I am home with one child. A friend of mine suggested I start Mommy and Me. She assured me my daughter would love it. I wasn’t so sure, I would. Not because I wouldn’t enjoy some mother/daughter bonding time with my youngest child, because, I would. The thing holding me back was the fact that I would be going alone. I didn’t have a sidekick friend accompanying me. What if there were cliques and I didn’t fit in. What if I was underdressed, or overdressed, would they be whispering as I walked by? I think all women have an insecurity complex hiding inside of them. I make friends easily, I am not shy, but I still know how it is to feel out of place. This, is what I was hoping would not happen. I threw on a pair of khakis, put some makeup on, ran a brush through my hair, strapped the baby in her car seat and drove to the hall. I was pleasantly surprised to be greeted by smiling mothers. I felt comfortable in the outfit I chose to wear. I wasn’t overdressed or underdressed. The first part of the session was puzzles. My daughter and I grabbed a few out of the storage bin, brought them to a table and put them together. It was exciting to see her enthusiastically putting the color coordinated puzzle together. I was beaming when she called out the colors correctly. After the puzzles we sat on the floor for music time. We swayed back and forth, snapping our fingers and clapping our hands, to kid friendly music. We walked around in a circle banging tambourines against our thighs while The Mickey Mouse Club song blared. I even engaged in small talk with other mothers. I felt good, my daughter was having fun and I was having a blast watching her having fun. The smile was still on my face when I got home. I felt a little blue knowing my other kids missed out on Mommy and Me. My smile quickly faded when I looked downward. The zipper of my khakis was down. Being the analyzer I am, I spent the rest of the day wondering when the zipper became unzipped. Was it down when I walked in? What about when I was walking in the circle banging the tambourine. Did I look like a complete idiot dancing about with my two year old while my fly was down? Did any of the other mother’s notice and were they waiting for me to leave to burst out laughing? It could have happened on the drive home which is what I am making myself believe. I will definitely be going back but this time I think I will opt for a piece of clothing that doesn’t have a zipper. But knowing my luck, I will decide to wear light colored pants, sit on a squashed candy bar, dance around to M-I-C-K-E-Y and only find out when another mother pulls me aside to quietly tell me.  

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Thirteen Things about  Maribeth
 In relation to me changing my blog presentation this week, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about trees. I love trees. They are the decorations that put beauty into landscapes. This is a tribute to thirteen trees and what they symbolize.


1…. Weeping Willow-(My all time favorite)-Willow tree symbolism- magic, healing, inner vision, dreams

2...Pine Trees (Reminds me of my childhood) Pine tree symbolism - creativity, life, longevity, immortality

3... Palm Trees (Represents places I would like to see) Palm tree symbolism- peace and opportunity

4...Birch Trees (I remember doing a Birch tree in Art Class and I loved how its trunk was striped) Birch tree symbolism- new beginnings, cleansing of past, vision quests

 4...Apple Trees (Makes you feel homey)  Apple tree symbolism- magic, youth, beauty, happiness

5...Chestnut Trees (The first boy I fell in love with lived in a house with a big Chestnut tree in the backyard. Chestnut trees symbolize LOVE.

5...Maple Trees (To me they represent richness and depth) Maple tree symbolism- balance, promise, practicality

6...Fig Tree (Reminds me of an older Italian couple my husband cut grass for in his youth. The husband would come out in his Sunday Clothes and pick figs from the tree.) Fig Tree symbolism-Divination,Fertility,Love

7...Lemon Tree (How Fun!)Longevity,purification,friendship,love

8...Oak Tree (I see it as sturdy,The one who has the most wisdom)Oak Tree Symbolism-Protection,Health,Money,Healing,Potency,Fertility,Luck

8...Cherry Trees (Cherry Blossoms are awesome trees and really know how to brighten a day) Cherry Symbolism-Death and rebirth, new akakenings.

9...Pear Tree (Reminds me of my neighbors' yard when I was a little girl. We hoped the pears would fall into our yard so we could taste them. Pear Tree symbolism-Lust,Love (Who would have thought?)

9...Bonsai Trees (The Karate Kid, I was captivated by these tiny trees after watching the Mr. Miyagi carefully take care of them) The only symbolis I found on these trees are Endurance.

10...Elm Trees (When bare they can be very haunting) Strength of will, intuition

11...Maple Tree (Absolutely gorgeous in Fall-The color is magnificient) Maple Tree Symbolism-

Balance,promise,practicality

12...Magnolia-(Romantic and whimsical)Magnolia Tree Symbolism-Fidelity

13...MONEY TREE (I have been searching for this one for a long time, if anyone knows its whereabouts please do tell :)

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