Mama Diaries

Monday, June 30, 2014

How to Get Gum Out of Your Hair

I went to the hair stylist today to get a little trim.  The lady is so nice, and we always have the most interesting conversations.  Today's conversation was particularly interesting.  It started off with me saying I only wanted an inch or two cut off.

"You and me are a lot alike," she responded.  "We need long hair, because we're really feminine, and it just wouldn't be right to have short hair."

I nodded in agreement.

She continued.  "I remember when my mom chopped off all my hair.  I was devastated.  Permanently.  I still haven't recovered."

"Wow.  That must've been really traumatic," I said.

"It was."

I told her about when my mom chopped my hair off when I was six, because it had so many knots, and she couldn't get it all untangled when the school bus showed up in front of the house.  She just chopped it all off, so I looked like a boy.  That was a very bad day!

The hair stylist nodded in sympathy.  She then explained how to get knots out without chopping off your hair.   Then she added something else.  "Do you know how to get gum out of hair?"

I shook my head.  "How?"

"Peanut butter."

I figured this would be good.  "How does peanut butter get gum out?"

"You put it in your hair, and you let your dog chew on it.  The dog will work on it, and pretty soon the gum will come out."

I tried not to laugh.  "Do you have personal experience with this method?"

She nodded.  "I did it on my daughter, and worked perfectly."

So ladies and gentleman, this is expert advice from a hair stylist.  To get gum out, all you need is peanut butter and a dog (probably a small one rather than a giant German Shepherd)!  

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Little Too Much Sugar

My mom just had her sixty-fifth birthday, and to celebrate the occasion, my kids and I had a little party for her.  It began with a trip to a restaurant, where, after the dinner, the entire crew of waiters came out with a hot fudge cake, belting out something that sounded like the Happy Birthday song.

Mom decided to take the cake back to the condo where we were staying, and share it with us.  Little did she know, I had another cake there for her.  I pulled out the German chocolate cake.  "Surprise!"

She clapped her hands together in glee.  "More cake!"

So, the lady divided the hot fudge cake, cut a piece of German chocolate cake, and topped it all off with ice cream.

I looked at her plate.  And then I looked at her.  "Mom, don't you think that's a little too much sugar?"

She shook her head.  "Nah!"

Then my boy grabbed the sugar jar.  He poured at least an eighth of a cup of sugar into his cup of peppermint tea.

I looked at my kid in disbelief.

My mom laughed.  "Now that's a little too much sugar!"

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sand Castle Under Siege

When I go to a beach, I like to build sand castles.  Probably because I'm still a kid at heart.  So while the kids and I were at a beach, and they were playing in the water, I shoveled sand into pails and created an enormous pile of sand from which to carve a castle.   I worked on this monstrosity for at least two hours. (And no, I don't have pictures.  Sorry.)

When I was done, I admired my masterpiece.  It had five turrets and an ascending and descending staircase.

"Mama," my son said.  "That's really good!"

After my hard work, I decided it was time to grab some lunch. I headed to the picnic pavilion to get out of the sun. My kids joined me.  While we were chowing down on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, a group of five kids, armed with water guns launched an attack on my castle.

My son spotted them first.  "Hey!" he shouted. "That's our castle!  Leave it alone!"

Did they listen?  No.  They pelted my castle with more jet streams of water.

"Don't worry about it, Bubba," I said.  "They're having fun."

He scowled and finished his sandwich.

When we were done, and the kids had finished their attack, we went over to assess the damage.  The staircases were completely obliterated, three of the five turrets had crumbled, and the castle was about half of its size.

"Poor castle," said Bubba.  "Guess you have to build another one!"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fish Bait

While the kids and I were on vacation, we spent a lot of time hanging out in the water at a lake resort.  We noticed quite a few fish swimming around and decided it might be fun to feed them.  We crumbled up a slice of bread, waded into the water, and dropped the crumbs around us.  Soon we were surrounded by a lot of hungry fish.

"Mama, are they going to eat us?" my son asked.

"No, Bubba.  These are sunfish and minnows.  They don't eat humans."

He looked at me skeptically, and backed off while the fish continued to swarm me.  Pretty soon, I was out of bread crumbs.  But the fish wanted more. They started bumping into my legs.  A few spied my toes with their red-painted nails.  Apparently they thought my toes looked like hot dogs with ketchup, because the darn fish started nibbling on them.

"Bubba," I said.  "Maybe I ought to rethink my last comment.  These fish are trying to eat my toes!"

Bubba got real serious.  "Mama, you'd better get out, because if Jaws comes, you're going to be shark bait!"  

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mama's Clunker

I'm back!  The kids and I have returned from a vacation to Tennessee and Ohio.  It was a lot of fun!  Naturally, I have a few stories to share from the trip.  So, I'll spend a couple of days telling you about them.  The first involves a car and a very stubborn Garmin.  I bet you can't guess whose car!

Prior to embarking on the trip, I had planned the course which we were to take.  I always do that, because inevitably the Garmin loses satellite connection and has no idea where I am.

As I pulled out onto the main road, the Garmin immediately had a problem with the route I had chosen.  "Recalculating," it said.

I kept going.

"Make a U-turn," it said.  I didn't.

This went on for twenty minutes.  Finally, it got on the same page as me, and we went merrily along for almost an hour.

Then it started again.  It refused to let me take the main interstate up to my destination, and insisted that I get off and follow a different route.  I gave it a Mama growl and acquiesced to its wishes. I had a strange feeling that I supposed to listen to this computerized hunk of metal.

Fifteen minutes down the new route, I heard a terrible scraping sound.  The sound of metal against the ground when you're going seventy miles an hour is not a good thing! I spotted a gas station and pulled in.
There were many people standing around, and when they heard my clunker making its grand entrance, they all stopped and stared.

"That doesn't sound too good," one nice lady said.

"I'd have to agree with you," I said, getting down on my knees to have a look under my car.  A piece of metal was hanging off from the exhaust system, dragging on the ground.  I said a few choice words in my head, which I won't repeat here, and tried to remove whatever it was.  That thing was stuck.  I couldn't tell if I had run something over, or if it was part of my car.

"I have no idea what's wrong, here," I said. "But I think I need a little help!"

The nice lady got on her phone and called her husband.  The man arrived in no time, and took a look.  "Yep," he said.  "Your heat shroud is coming off."

"My heat shroud?" I asked.  "Is it important?"

"It helps your car not overheat, and protects the catalytic converter," the nice man explained.  "I can unscrew it for you and get it off so it's not dragging."

Of course I was very concerned that I would have to discontinue my trip and go home, but the man assured me it would be okay until I got back. Which it was.

So that's how our vacation started.  But I guess I have to thank my Garmin angel for steering me down another path.  Who knows what would've happened if I had remained on that interstate!  

Friday, June 13, 2014

A Chip Off the Old Block

My teenage daughter was in the kitchen making breakfast this afternoon.  (Yes, this afternoon. She's a bit of a night owl.)  I heard the blender going and wondered what in the world she was making.  About ten minutes after that, I noticed a putrid odor.Something was burning. I knew it was time to investigate.

What I found was a huge mess, and something that vaguely resembled a pancake sitting in the skillet on the stove.  My daughter was standing there, with a wooden spatula in her hand.

"Girlfriend," I said.  "What exactly are you doing?"

"I'm making banana pancakes, Mom."

I nodded, trying not to say anything sarcastic.  "Do you need any help?"

"No, Mom.  It's under control.  I'm making them just like you do - burnt!"  

I want to let you know, I'll be out of the office for a little while, so I won't be posting.  But don't worry,   I'm sure I'll have a ton of stories when I return!  See you when I get back!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Versatile Blogger Award

Rachel, over at When a Lion Sleeps, Let it Sleep (good advice, Rachel!) bestowed on me the Versatile Blogger Award.  Thank you so much, Rachel!

I've done this before, actually a few times, but since there are many new visitors here, I'll do it again, so you can learn a little more about me.  I'm supposed to give you seven random tidbits of information about myself.  Then I'm supposed to pass this on to seven more people, which I'm not entirely sure I'm going to do, since I'm the Mama, and I make up my own rules.

Here are some random things about me:

1.  I am a professional musician who plays and teaches violin, viola and piano.  I have a lot of stories I could share related to my life as a musician, but  I'll share just one:  In 2004, when I was five months pregnant with Bubba (my second child), I had the brilliant idea to compete in the Paris International Viola Competition. I don't know what I was thinking, being so sleep deprived and sick from the pregnancy, but since I'm crazy, I did it anyway.  Circling over Charles de Gault airport, waiting to land in Paris, was the worst.  I tried really hard to not throw up, but I couldn't hold it back.  The flight attendant provided a nice brown bag, and everyone stared at the poor, pathetic pregnant woman as she heaved up her insides.  Totally embarrassing!  (For those of you who are interested, I somehow managed to be a semi-finalist in the competition.  I think the judges felt sorry for me.  Either that, or they found me extremely amusing.)

2.  Before kids, I was a PADI Scuba instructor.  I have lots of stories related to that, too, but I'll limit it to one:  I was on a night dive in Cozumel, Mexico, swimming along, minding my own business, when an octopus decided to suction cup my face.  Yep.  I got a grand eight-legged hug from the cephalopod that covered my entire face.  Talk about a little startling!  I managed not to panic, and got the thing off of me, but it left me in a nice cloud of ink. Oy!

3.  I've always been interested in science.  If I wasn't a musician or author, I'd be a scientist (and probably make a lot more money!)  I enjoy studying genetic engineering, and had also considered being a pediatrician or brain surgeon.

4.  This is a weird one.  Sometimes I have dreams where I see things happening, and then the next day or sometime later, the things happen just as I dreamed them.  The first time I remember this happening, was when I was eight years old.  I dreamed I was in school.  I saw the girl chosen for the May crowning, I heard what the teacher said, and I even saw a paper fall off a desk. The next day it all happened just as a saw it- even the paper falling off the desk. It was the strangest thing.  Has that ever happened to anyone else?

5.  I've always wanted to skydive.  It's on my bucket list.  I'll probably end up doing it when I'm 83 years old!

6.  I love to travel.  It's my goal to visit every continent and every state in the United States.

7.  The two things I wanted to be when I was a kid were an astronaut and an opera singer.  I still find outer space fascinating.  But I'm sure none of you would want to hear my opera singing skills!

Okay.  That's it.  I'm running out of time here, so I'm  not going to select 7 people.  If you have less than 200 followers, please take this award!  Hope you enjoyed reading these random things about me.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lost in the Garden

Every week during the summer, I take my kids on adventures. We go someplace we've never seen before.  This week's adventure was to a museum.  After we'd viewed the inside, we decided to wander around the outside.  The grounds were quite extensive, and most of it was wooded.  We followed a trail down into the quarry garden.  After walking through that for about an hour, we decided we'd seen enough and made our way back to the museum building.  Except we had a little problem.  We saw the building, but we couldn't get to it because we were at the bottom  of a vertical rock cliff.

"That's where we have to be," I said to my son. "But we have to find the way to get up there."

Bubba looked at me.  "How about we climb the wall?"

"Did you bring any rock rappelling gear?" I asked.

He shook his head.

"Then we need a Plan B."

"We can walk around until we find a path that goes up. Follow me." Bubba led the way.

After about ten minutes of wandering, we found ourselves back at the same wall, looking up at the building.

"Dude," I said.  "We're going with my plan:  Plan C."

"What's that, Mama?"

"Find an intelligent person, and ask where the way out is."  So that's what I did.  I located a gardener, asked her how to get out (which was a rather complicated and ambiguous explanation), and navigated us out of that quarry garden.

When we were out, my son had this to say:  "Mama, your Plan C was pretty good.  Asking directions is a smart idea."

Let's hope he remembers that when he's an adult!

Monday, June 9, 2014

The Tooth Fairy Experiment

First, I want to let you know that I'm a guest on Janie Junebug's blog.  I'm talking about bullying - something that happened to me when I was a kid - and sharing some thoughts on it.  Please stop by and visit!

Now for the story:

My nine-year-old son has a loose tooth.  Which means the tooth fairy should be paying a visit to our house soon.  I've told my son already that I'm the tooth fairy.  And Santa Claus.  And the Easter Bunny.  But he doesn't believe me.

"I'm going to do a little experiment," he said.  "I'm not going to tell anyone when my tooth comes out.  I'm just going to stick it under my pillow and see if the tooth fairy comes."

"But dude," I said.  "If you don't tell me you lost your tooth, how am I going to leave some cash under your pillow?"

He looked at me very seriously. "Mama, you're not the tooth fairy.  And I'm going to prove it!"


Friday, June 6, 2014

Dog Tired

In case you haven't figured it out, our hundred pound German Shepherd, Schultz, is a little bit crazy.  I think I mentioned a while ago, that he likes chasing the light from a flashlight around the yard in the dark. He begs to do it every night. So we let him go out, and run him until he can barely stand.  I know it sounds like torture, but he loves it!

Last night, he had two runs.  At dusk he started begging, so I took him out.  We did it for ten minutes, and then I brought him in.  Apparently, that wasn't enough.  When it was completely dark, he begged again.  We took him out and ran him at top speed for a full twenty five minutes!  I was exhausted just watching him sprint that long!

He could barely walk into the house.  He took two steps and plopped down.  We filled his water bowl and put it down in its spot. He got up, walked another two steps and lay down.  He looked up with his soulful brown eyes.

"What's the matter, Schultz?  Are you finally worn out?" I asked.

He got up again and made it to his water bowl.  He lay down, stuck his face in his bowl, and let his tongue hang in the water. He was too tired to drink!  Poor Schultz.

That's what I call dog tired!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Book Release and Slimed

Before I begin my story, I want to let you know that my blog friend, T. B. Markinson has a new book out today!  I'm helping to spread the word.


Elizabeth “Lizzie” Petrie has it all. She’s rich, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. None of this matters to her mom. Les-Bi-An. That’s all her mom sees.

Even though Lizzie insists her mom’s antagonism does not bother her, Lizzie distances herself from her entire family. When her brother, Peter, calls her out of the blue to announce he’s getting married, Lizzie’s entire life changes drastically. Peter’s fiancĂ©e wants to bring the lesbian outcast back into the family. Will this desire cause Lizzie to lose everything dear to her?

Sarah, Lizzie’s girlfriend, is ecstatic about this change in Lizzie’s personal life. Sarah, the hopeless romantic, wants it all, including settling down with the fiercely independent Lizzie.

Can Lizzie be tamed? And can she survive her family and all of their secrets? 

Author Bio:

T. B. Markinson is a 40-year old American writer, living in England, who pledged she would publish before she was 35. Better late than never. When she isn’t writing, she’s traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in England, or taking the dog for a walk. Not necessarily in that order. A Woman Lost is her debut novel.


Now for the story:

Our hundred-pound German Shepherd, Schultz, was being a bit feisty.  He had a lot of energy to burn, so we decided to take him to the dog park to blow off some steam.  As usual, the beast started drooling.  It's something about being around other dogs that triggers this disgusting phenomenon. Pretty soon he had two long strings of slime hanging from his jowls.    He gave himself a big shake, and the slime ended up right on top of his snout.

"Schultz, that's disgusting!" my husband said.  "Go wash yourself off!"  He tried to lead the dog to the water sprays which were coming out of the water play area. Schultz wasn't interested.  So I grabbed the beast by his collar and dragged him over.  I held him next to the water and wiped the slime with my hand.  Let me tell you how gross that was!  To make it even worse, the darn quadruped wiped his face in my jeans.   I now had slime on my pants.

A man standing nearby with his dog started cracking up.  So what did Schultz do?  He gave himself a big shake.  Slime flew onto the man's dog and his shirt.

After a moment of complete shock, the man and I started laughing.

Schultz didn't care. He wagged his tail and trotted off in search of another slime victim.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Full of Hot Air

My kids and I have been spending a lot of time at the pool now that they're on summer vacation.  Of course that meant we had to haul out all the pool toys and flotation devices.  We discovered the inner tubes were in need of some serious air, so my son offered to inflate them.  He unplugged the air stopper and started blowing.  And blowing.  And blowing.  About five minutes later, he stopped.  His face was red, and he was clearly quite exhausted.

"Mama, I think I'm out of hot air," he said.  "Can you do this?"  He handed me the tube and left.

I looked at the thing.  There was no way I was going to blow air into it - especially after he slimed up the opening.  I dragged it to the garage where I found a bike pump.  I hooked it  up and finished inflating.  I did the same with the other.

When I was done, I found my boy and handed him the inner tubes.  "Here you go, Bubba."

His eyes got big.  "How did you do that, Mama?  You must have a lot of hot air!"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Little Mess

Yesterday, I took my nine-year-old son to the music hall to hear an orchestra concert.  I made him wear a suit and tie.  He cleaned up pretty good and was looking rather handsome.

At intermission, he decided he needed a snack.  He was hungry.  I took him down to the snack kiosk, where he spied a large, frosted brownie.

"Dude, that's going to be messy!" I said.

"I have napkins," he replied.  "I'll be fine."

I must've been slightly out of my mind to agree to this, but since he sat through a rather long first half, I decided to go ahead and get it for him.

Sure enough, crumbs landed on his suit. I picked them off.  Frosting landed around his mouth.  When he grinned, frosting covered his teeth.

"Dude, you're a mess!"

He poked me with a chocolaty finger.  "I'm a kid, Mama.  Making messes is what I do!"

(We spent the rest of intermission cleaning him up so he at least looked presentable for the rest of the concert.  Somehow we got him fixed, but there will be no more chocolate brownies at intermission!)