family storytelling Toastmasters

What Is Your Talent?

What is your talent?

A question recently posed at Toastmasters was, “What is your talent?”

My talent is to destroy DIY home improvement projects.

I have been banned from ever touching any of my husband’s tools.

It all started many years ago.

There was a sketchy incident with one of the power tools.

It was big.

I am small.

I had to be rescued from a disastrous runaway belt sander.

My darling husband has never let me forget it.

Sometimes he’ll ask me to help him with something simple.

“It’s easy,” he’ll say, “Just help me carry this thing into the other room.”

That thing is always very heavy.

I can never hold up my end properly.

And I inevitably bump into the very things he told me to watch out for, creating a secondary DIY project with scratches, dents and gouges.

Last week I assembled a small bookcase.

I followed the instructions.

But when I got to the last piece, I couldn’t make it work.

The Grown Son stepped in to help.

Apparently the last piece wouldn’t work because I had assembled the whole thing backwards.

He took it apart and put it back together the right way.

Yep, my talent continues to shine.

family storytelling

It’s That Time of the Year

That Time of the Year


It’s that time of the year.

It’s time for our annual insurance renewal fiasco.

It happens every year.

The pharmacy wouldn’t release the prescription.

The birthdate was incorrect.

Excuse me?

We all have the same birthdates we have always had.

Nothing has changed in that department.

They told me to call the insurance company to straighten it out.

This entailed an entire afternoon of phone calls and lengthy holds.

It eventually got resolved in my favor.

I knew it would.

I received an updated text from the pharmacy that my order was ready.

Back I went.

Where the clerk told me they couldn’t release my order.

The birthdate was incorrect.

I took a deep breath.

A very deep breath.

I was about to go full Karen on him.

But then he looked through the computer records and saw that the issue had been resolved.

I got the prescription.

As soon as I got home, the kid remembered an additional thing that he needs from the pharmacy.

I need a drink.

family storytelling

A Fresh New Level of Hell

A fresh new level of hell


They don’t tell you, when your child is first diagnosed with type one diabetes, that the worst is yet to come.

When the boys were minors, I had the situation under control.

I was in charge.

I monitored the insulin, the blood sugar, the diet, the pharmacy, the insurance, the doctor appointments.

Now I need to hand over the reins.

“Don’t you have an endo appointment this week?” I asked the Grown Son.

“Don’t worry about it,” was the blow-off I received.

“But – ”

“I’ve got it covered. Stop treating me like a child.”

Well OK then.

A few days later he sheepishly confessed that he had missed his appointment.

He forgot all about it.

I told him that he would be responsible for the no-show fee.

I made him call the doctor’s office himself to apologize and to reschedule the visit.

“When is your new appointment?” I asked him.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ve got it covered,” he blustered.

And around we go.

I am completely unprepared for this fresh new level of diabetes-mom hell.


Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and dumplings


Today was a great day for comfort food.

It was a cold and gray and unsettled day.

I made a big pot of chicken and dumplings.

It didn’t solve any of the world’s problems.

But it was hot and delicious and comforting.

As Baby Bear would say, “It’s just right.”

family storytelling

Netflix and Chill

Netflix and chill


Bob was painting the back door.

At 7:00 pm, it was still not dry enough to hang the door back up.

The temperature had dropped significantly, as it does in January.

The house felt like Siberia.

I had no choice.

I had to go to bed.

I piled on several dozen blankets, and then I wrapped myself up in a weighted blanket.

Like a burrito.

I planned to watch some TV.

Instead, I fell asleep.

I woke up at 10:30 fully refreshed and also fully annoyed.

This is not what I expected from Netflix and chill.

family storytelling

Rats – Ewww

Rats - ewww


It’s pouring rain today, and it’s expected to rain all night.

I guess we won’t have our NYE bonfire after all.

Which may be just as well.

Bob said, at our last bonfire, that he saw a rat in the woodpile on the corner of our property.

Say what?

A rat?

That’s it, I’m leaving home.

I’m outta here.

Bob laughed and said there is always a rat in any woodpile.

Yeah, nah, I’ll pass.

That Hell Hole has just gotten a whole lot Hell Hole-ier.

Rats – ewww.

family storytelling

The Fire Pit is Complete

The fire pit is complete

The fire pit is complete.

But we have no chairs.

No one is selling patio furniture this year.

We have plenty of beach chairs, but Bob won’t let us use them.

They have pointy feet which will dig holes into the surface of the Hell Hole.

The surface that he labored to make level.

Bob might have to build us some Adirondack chairs.

With wide feet.

So we won’t ruin the surface of our Hell Hole.

storytelling teaching

A Woman Named Humble

A woman named Humble


Many of my English students adopt English names.

It’s not just for my class, it is for their entire business and professional identity.

In one particular corner of the world, the entire population seems to have perused the same outdated baby-naming book.

I have a lot of 30-year-old Herberts and Mildreds as students.

Some of them, however, choose random words for their names.

Today I had a woman named Humble in my class.

She probably saw a list of other virtue names such as Faith or Grace or Hope and assumed that Humble would work too.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that a humble person would never call herself humble.

Only a braggart would do that.

If she had asked for my opinion before she chose her name, I would have told her.

At this point, it’s none of my business.

I carried on with the class.

But I cringed whenever I said her name.


My Swan Song for 2020

My Swan Song


The sh**show that is 2020 just keeps on giving.

I did a load of wash with some Kleenex in a pocket.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the backyard, plucking thousands and thousands of Kleenex shards off of all of the clothes.

And cursing.

With any luck, this will be my swan song for 2020.


I Think I Saw Chupacabra

I think I saw Chupacabra


We took a long motorcycle ride on Sunday.

And boy, there was a lot of roadkill out there.

I’ve never seen so much of it.

There were racoons and coyotes.

And lots and lots of pigs.

I’m almost certain I saw chupacabra on the side of the road.

I guess y’all can rest easy now.

Unless there is more than one chupacabra.

In that case, carry on, and continue to worry.