Orphan, Widow, Single Mother – Still Alive

Forty years ago in South India there was a girl who was born the second of three sisters. When she was very young her father became ill and died. The mother could not bear the thought of raising three girls alone and since she had a history of mental illness, the girl’s mother also took her life. That day the girl became an orphan.

The girl and her older sister were sent to live with an Aunt in Mumbai and there they were treated slightly better than household servants. When they were old enough, they traveled to Rajasthan to attend Bible College. The middle sister was sickly and worry-prone from childhood so she was soon married to a relative of her older sister’s husband to relieve her family of the burden of caring for her. Unbeknownst to her, her new husband was also sickly and on top of that, terribly unkind to the girl. Nevertheless, she soon became pregnant and bore a daughter of her own. Not long after, her terrible husband died. That day the girl, who was now a woman, became a widow.

While I lived in India the woman and her child came to live near her older sister who was married to a member of my staff. The woman, who was a true orphan and a true widow and a true single mother was also one of the most annoying people I have ever met. That sounds mean, doesn’t it? But it’s true. The crazy part is, I loved her. I loved her in spite of her annoying and pushy ways. I loved her through all her (many) physical ailments and doctor’s appointments when the doctor would scold her for not taking her medicine or doing what she was told to get well. For some reason, God had given me an abundance of grace and love toward her, it surely was not from myself.

Over three years ago I left India and have not returned. I have not seen or heard from the woman, my friend, since then. She has no access to computers and would not be able to type even if she did.

Last night I saw I had a Facebook message from an old staff member in India – the brother-in-law of my friend. When I opened Messenger there were five words: Hi from Princy and Justy.”

My first thought was, Wow, she’s still alive.

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5minutefridayThis post was written for Five Minute Fridays where many many lovely people link up to write for just five minutes inspired by a single word. Today’s word: Messenger. Find link here.

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New Delhi/ New Deli & My Inner Snob

On Saturday I asked my girls to think about where they wanted to go for lunch after church on Sunday. I suggested a few places and decided to let them choose. On the drive to church and my oldest daughter was advocating for one of the Indian restaurants in town.

We love Indian food, but the Indian restaurants around here are fancy schmancy and it is way too stressful to eat there with my 5 and 7 year olds. When I explained this to my daughter she insisted that I had suggested the restaurant as a choice for lunch the day before. She even got the eleven year old on her side.

They were so insistent that I started to believe that I must have suggested it in a moment of insanity even though I KNEW I never would have. I let it go, as I always do. Arguing with children is futile.

I kept thinking about it and as we walked into church it hit me – I had suggested the “new deli” in town and to my daughter’s brain that translated to “New Delhi” = Indian food. Everything became clear.

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All four of my children are native Hindi speakers and English is their second language. For  the oldest, especially, this can cause confusion. Heck – kids are confused and confusing most of the time even when they share your mother tongue.

With their diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds my girls also tend to be sponges. This can be great! This can be not so great.

1284For the last few days, my seven year old (who has always been my language powerhouse) has soaked up the expression, “no more” from somewhere. I’m entirely used to my children speaking with accents, mispronouncing things and misusing words, but for some reason, every time G says, “no more” instead of “anymore” I feel a fire start to burn at the back of my neck and I have to hold myself back from biting her head off. I am consumed with a need to track down where she picked up this horrid expression and then squash the culprit. This is very unlike me.

My inner snob.

My inner snob.

At moments like these I realize that my inner snob is popping out. She’s pretty laid back most of the time and seems content just keeping me in check. True to her nature as a snob, she tends to ignore the children with their malaprops and mispronunciations. Most of the time she shrugs her shoulders and goes back to doing whatever it is that she does.

I suppose “no more” must be her hot button.

Things could be worse: Bad Words

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Declutter Your Prose: Three Phrases to Avoid in Your Posts

I promise you, if I see what is described in #2 at the beginning of a post, I will not read it. I read a lot of blogs and I pretty much don’t read any of them that are cluttered as described in this post. Good stuff, worth reblogging.

The Daily Post

On The Daily Post, we want to help you improve your writing and offer concrete advice to craft clear, crisp prose. As an editor on WordPress.com, I read many, many posts each day on our platform; it’s worth pointing out words and sentences that might detract from your writing.

Here are three ways to copy edit your writing and declutter your prose:

1. In this post, I will explain . . .

When we draft posts, we naturally dump our inner monologues onto the page. And that’s good — that’s the beauty of free writing and cranking out first drafts: we have material we can later rework, cut, and move around.

Before you hit “Publish,” scan your intro for phrases like “In this post, I will explain…” or “Today, I will write about…” and similar phrases. In your drafting process, just let go and type. But when you’re…

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Grateful – Yet Always Wanting More

There is something a little nerve-wracking about having only five minutes to get inspired and then write. As the time draws near to open up Five Minute Friday and reveal “the word,” my heart starts to pound and my chest tightens. It feels a bit like meeting someone new and I’m excited and nervous about it all at the same time.

Today’s word is Grateful. I could write mountains on this topic.

However, as I sit here with two minutes remaining I am reminded that no matter much I have been given (and I am so very grateful) that I always seem to want more. That’s not necessarily bad, but on a cold and rainy night when I think about how grateful I am to have a roof over my head and a warm bed to snuggle down in, I am simultaneously reminded of those who have no home and have no bed. Snow, wind, rain, heat – where do they go?

But here I am, grateful for a new couch that someone recently gave me but at the same time, eager to have a new floor put down in another room so that I can move the couch out of my office. Along with the couch came a menagerie of children who have claimed it as their own. I want my office back. I want a new floor in my kitchen and while they’re at it, how about new steps out front and…

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This post was written for five minute fridays. Find link here.

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I dream big.

I may be a sweet little (mostly) humor blog, but I dream big.

One of my recent goals was to get on bloglovin’. It may not seems like that big of a deal to you, but there is a learning curve to this blog stuff and I’m still curvin’ or learnin’ or somethin’.

Anyhoo, I follow blogs on bloglovin’ – the cool DIY ones. The snaz-zay ones. The ones run by people who actually earn a living from their blogs because they work super hard, are creative, and work super hard. Bless them.

I really just want to connect and make people smile. But I want to make MORE people smile, so I joined bloglovin’. It wasn’t hard and I even got the widget (that’s a weird word) up.

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A Fictional Tale about a Fish Named Fred

There was once a hypothetical fish named Fred.

FREDHe was a big old, pale, butt-ugly Kissing Gourami who had been left to his own devices for far too long. Hypothetically, he lived alone in his tank. (Rumor has it that he ate all the other hypothetical fish.) Neither he, nor his master, took the time to clean the tank, so, in this hypothetical world, it was green and gooey and, needless to say, the nastiest hypothetical thing you have ever imagined.

One day Fred’s owner died, leaving Fred alone in the world save one lone relative who could not take him in. The Lone Relative, hypothetically, asked old friends of Fred’s master to please find someone to take poor old, ugly Fred in.

Hypothetically, the family friends asked everyone they could think of if they would take in a lone Kissing Gourami. They asked the cleaning man, Sal. They asked the Pre-K moms at school. They even, reluctantly, asked their hypothetical friends. No one could take in an old ugly, ornery Kissing Gourami. Hypothetically, they even considered Craig’s List and a Yard Sale, but never went that far.

In the end, hypothetically, they sold the dresser that the fish tank was resting on to an old Russian couple, so Hypothetical Fred had to go. Hypothetically, this occurred on the rainiest day anyone had seen in a long time. Rivers of hypothetical water rushed down the sides of the street from large drops of monsoon rains.

The family friends worked together and drained the water from the tank and then netted a somewhat freaked out Fred and put him in a Beta bowl that was much too small, much too cold and certainly, much too clean, hypothetically, that is. Family Friend Brother, hypothetically, repeated over and over again that Fred was “going to croak” in the small Beta bowl. At last, Family Friend Mother, Brother & Sister devised a plan to give Fred one last chance at life. Brother would dump Fred into the rushing waters of the street (hypothetically) and we (I mean, they) would hope for a miraculous adaption from filtered, heated water, to cold rain runoff.

Alas, Brother and Sister, hypothetically, watched from the window as Fred’s pale pink body resisted the flow of the water and was eventually washed a few feet downstream sideways.

The Family Friend Family consoled themselves with imagining that Fred’s hypothetical chances in the rain runoff were better than his hypothetical chances in the toilet bowl. And they couldn’t quite help chuckling at the thought of an unsuspecting person walking down the street catching sight of a big old, pale, butt ugly Kissing Gourami peering back up at them.

Hypothetically, of course.

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Zany

zany final

Names for posts I may never write:

Why Does My Bathroom Smell So Weird?
My Kids are the Worst Magicians Ever.
My Office Mate Plays the Same Songs Over and Over Again, and They’re All Depressing.
I Didn’t Shower Today and I Got A Lot More Done.
I Don’t Care for Tomatoes on My Salad.
Sometimes I Sing Opera Real Loud, to Keep the Crazy Away.
There’s Nothing Worse than Aspirating on a Piece of Broccoli.
I Would Never Hide Grammy’s Tacos.
Automatic Toilets Don’t Flush for Me.
The Milk on My Cereal Tasted Almost Over the Hill, But I Ate it Anyway.
If You Massage My Feet I Remember Better.

Yuck! Ocupado

Attention Bathroom Door Non-lockers: While using the bathroom in a public location – please lock your door. While it may not be a big deal to you to be visited on the toilet while doing your business, it sure is an unpleasant surprise for the viewer – i.e. Moi. 

Sincerely, Scarred for Life.

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Public Bathroom.

You would think that the above plaque would be unnecessary. Sadly, no.

Is there some sort of thrill that is derived from being walked in on while on the pot?

Are certain people simply forgetful?

Is it a matter of just not caring?

What are you, a locker or non-locker?

Some months ago my youngest daughter came down from our house into the public office area to use the bathroom. If you read my Naked in a KFC Bathroom post you’ll know that she needs to disrobe to poo. In this case she merely removed the bottom half of her clothing and, for a little while, proceeded to walk around the populated office area wearing only a shirt and nothing else, thankfully I work with my parents and brother. Soon after, she was back on the pot doing her business. As I left her in there to perform she called after me, “Mom, shut the door, someone might see me.”

Proving without a doubt that being seen naked on the toilet is exceedingly more embarrassing that being seen naked anywhere else.

Weird Things I Witness

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Once I went over to ask a neighbor (of a home I was cleaning out) when trash day was; I caught the woman at the exact moment she found her beloved cat dead. I started to comfort her and then the cat came back to life. Seriously, it moved and then walked away.

By the way, trash day is Friday.

I was in Express at the local mall a few weeks ago near the back door that opens onto the parking lot. While I was looking at a table of jeans near the door (searching desperately for my size – why are there never any size 12s? Plump girls need jeans too) a man came in from outside. He was standing near the jeans and I heard him call over another man. Within a couple of seconds both men grabbed a huge pile of $80 jeans each and ran out the back door.

I can’t make this stuff up.

A couple years ago while I was watching the New Year’s Eve fireworks over the Delaware River flaming ash was falling from the sky. I watched a piece of ash land a few feet behind me and light the grass on fire. Simultaneously a piece landed on a man’s pant leg and lit his jeans on fire.

I always wondered if that could happen.

On the topic of fire, while I was driving down the local highway last week I realized that the car in front of me on fire. The entire bottom of the car was flaming. I pulled way back and made sure the driver knew.

He eventually pulled over and jumped out. I drove on home.

I don’t know why I witness this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s because I am a single parent of four young children and therefore am required to be hyper aware of what is going on around me at all times. Maybe I am just in the right place at the right time. Maybe it’s a gift.

What weird things have you been witness to?

Me & You: Friend

There is something utterly sad about someone without a friend. My dad told us yesterday that the reason my neighbor Bill’s family (father & daughter) did not have a service for him after he passed away a few weeks ago was because they could not think of a single person to invite.

I cannot find a word to express how sad that is.

However, I am a FIRM believer that to have a friend, you have to be a friend. You have to put yourself out there and make it happen.

Initiate a conversation

Invite someone over or out to eat

Follow up with what you said you would do (like get together some time)

I am blessed to have a BFFF. (Best Friend for Freakin’ Forever, pardon my French)

When I was broken and alone, she pursued a relationship with me. She made it happen. Had me over. Opened up her life and her heart to me. I’m so glad she did.

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She also goes with me to the tattoo parlor, takes me in when my heart is broken (twice), celebrates random holidays with me so we won’t be alone, remembers all those special events that no one else does, the list goes on…

Nothing Beats a Best Friend.

5minutefriday

This post was written for 5 minute Fridays. Find link here.