There Goes Peter Cottontail … with his hardboiled eggs


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Here comes the turnip truck!



I’m so sorry for the extra long hiatus; but, you know how it goes: life overwhelms and some of us have spouses who refuse to let their other half be full-time bloggers because I don’t get paid any money to be a full-time blogger so I have to spend all my time and energy working at a bunch of time-consuming jobs so that I can bring home some bacon bits.

Such is my life.


My biggest regret was not reaching out to you all and wishing you the happiest Easter and/or Passover holiday. Easter is my most favorite holiday of all – I love everything about it: the hard-boiled eggs, the bunnies, the bubbles, watching people fall into food comas, the pastel colors, the flowers, the egg hunt, all the Jesus and Moses movies and going to church.

Going to church is my most favorite part of the Eater holiday.

I go to church on Holy Thursday (but I don’t get my feet washed because I was emotionally scarred freshman year of high school when Sister Regina – who was a lovely women except for this one incident – coerced me into getting my feet washed at the Holy Thursday Mass and I had nylons on and seeing as I couldn’t exactly take them off in the middle of church the priest washed the nylons too and so I had to sit through the rest of Mass and then walk home feeling like a wet rag).

I am wondering if Dusty had his feet washed…

I go to church twice on Good Friday, first at 3pm for the Stations of the Cross (it always kills me when Jesus falls the second time and Simon from Cyrene helps Him carry His cross) and next at 7pm for the Veneration of the Cross (I don’t actually kiss the cross like the rest of the congregation does – germs and all that – but I do a nice genuflection to show my respect and gratitude for Jesus and His sacrifice).

I go to church for the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday (because I love to hold the cheap congregational candles in the dark of the church at the beginning of Mass and curse as the hot wax melts and slips through the flimsy cardboard protection cover and all over my hand).

I go to church on Easter morning (because I love to see how many holiday bandwagon people come to celebrate Christ’s resurrection).

Even Christ can’t believe how many fair-weather friends he has on Easter and Christmas.

He would like to know where the heck you people are the other 50 Sundays of the year.


Each year, as Easter approaches, I watch every single Easter movie I own.

After reviewing my Easter movie collection, Jim decided it was too minusucle and needed to be beefed up and so he went out and bought me more! Before Easter I only owned King of Kings, The Ten Commandments, Jesus, and The Passion of the Christ. After Easter I added the following movies to my Holy stockpile: The Robe, The Greatest Story Ever Told and Jesus of Nazareth.


This year Easter was extra special because the family celebrated my parents 40th anniversary.

This is a picture of my parents:

Easter also happened to be my Auntie Donna’s 60th birthday.

This is Auntie Donna:


Another noteworthy tidbit: I gave up cussing for Lent. For 40 days and 40 nights I promised God I would not swear. Cussing has become a real problem for me, which is weird because I used to hate hearing cuss words. I still hate hearing other people cuss. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point, as I walked along my virtuous path, a gremlin snuck into my brain and took it over. My word of choice starts with an S and ends with a T.

My mom, RiRi Poppins (pronounced Ree-Ree Poppins), told me to put $1 in my rice bowl every time I swore during Lent and I was doing that until I couldn’t afford to do it anymore.

I was slowly going bankrupt in my effort to sacrifice and do good, so I had to change my rice bowl donation to a penny per cuss word. In the end I ended up donating over $30.00 to the poor.

That money is going to feed a lot of hungry children.

At least something good came out of my failure!


I wish that I could feed all the hungry people in the world a hard-boiled egg at Easter time. I love Easter food – especially those hard-boiled eggs!

My mom takes 3 days off from work just to cook and bake.

One of her specialty dishes is the Easter cookie, featuring the hard-boiled egg.

Yeah food!!!

There was so much food that Jim and I kept going to RiRi’s house for leftovers on the days that followed. It was awful because I couldn’t stop myself from stuffing everything and anything into my mouth – even after I was beyond stuffed. I just kept inhaling it … and paying the price later. My poor intestines.

Every dinner we ate that week followed the same pattern I established on Easter day:

First, I ate a few pieces of my mom’s other specialty, pita or pizza gania (RiRi doesn’t really know how to spell this dish, so I’m giving you what I got), which is essentially a pie containing hard-boiled eggs, cheese and meats like ham, sausage, etc.

Mmm Mmm Good!

Next, I devoured some manicotties and chicken masala.

Then, I inhaled some ham and veggies and more starch.

Finally, I moved on to the Easter cookies, cakes, Italian pastries and Ricotta pies.

When I was all done Jim rolled me out the door and brought me home.

Since then, my insides have been hating me… Despising me… Torturing me for weeks because I abused it so. They’ve made me promise to never treat them so cruelly again. Thus, I am becoming a fish-a-tarian (again). I tried this a few years ago and it was great except that I gained 30-something pounds. I will try to be smarter this time around – maybe eat more tofu and less pasta. Maybe I will even work-out.


A good time was had by one and all on Easter.

Following are some snapshots of people enjoying the day.

Jack opening an Easter basket from Ant T and Uncle Jim:

Jack’s dad enjoying his favorite Easter food:

Mikayla and Me:

Nancy, Jack B and Ant T:

Laura and Baby G:

Grandpa Ernie and Jackson B:

Turnip Salad:

My brother Steve leading the Easter egg hunt:

Uncle Jim takes Jack on his first Easter egg hunt:

Jack’s First Egg:

Jack shows off his first egg:

Auntie Donna, Uncle Frank and Jack:

Anthony and Mari stopped by for a visit:

Jack, Grandma RiRi and Grandpa Pat:

Scary Spice Turnip and her Mother – Mama Turnip:

Well, almost everyone had fun:

Jack tries to get away from Cat Turnip:

Cat Turnip’s little sister, Alexandra Turnip:

Clearly the day was all about Jack!


Next are snapshots of people on Easter night.

Uncle Frank fell asleep at the table around 9:00 PM:

Jim fell asleep in the basement:

At 10:00 PM Uncle Frank was still napping:

Sean and Jack fell asleep in the easy chair:

The Turnip Salad eventually passed out on the couch:

Don’t let the drool drop, Ally:

Uncle Frank was still sleeping at midnight:


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.



What I Was and Who I Want to Be


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Well, my rock-steady Followers, more and more people are starting to LIKE me. Seriously, two more strangers hit the “LIKE” button on my last post… and one dude from Arizona even signed on to be a regular subscriber. Thanks, Dusty!

Dusty is the code name I’m giving my latest stranger-subscriber so that my husband won’t be jealous that I’m calling another man (yes, he is male) by his first name. I chose the name Dusty because he is from Arizona and I imagine that Arizona is a dusty place where the earth sticks to the people who walk across it, which must stink if you are wearing flip-flops or the like. Dirty, crusty feet – yuck.

I don’t know that this is really true because I’ve never been there so I don’t know about the dustiness of the place or whether Dusty wears flip-flops or the like, but it’s true in my mind and that is all that matters. Isn’t it?

All this chatter about dust and dirt, flip-flops and the like reminds me of one of my favorite people in history: Jesus. Seriously, He is one of my most favorite people and I would love to sit down and have a cold beverage with him some day and ask him what his favorite food is (I think it’s his mama’s bread) and who his favorite apostle is (I think it’s John) and if he had ever thought about getting married before finding out he had to save all living things from themselves (I’m one of those people who romanticized his relationship with Mary of Magdala).

I am pretty sure Jesus and I would have been good friends – besties even – maybe we were in one of my past lives. Maybe I was the apostle John!

Uh oh! Look out, Jesus, Margaret Hyde is revving up her engine!

Maybe I called Jesus “Dusty” too – just for fun.

Maybe not.

The following is a picture of what I imagine me and the boys looked like just hanging out back in the day. Peter was such a camera hog – always had to be front and center wearing the flashy outfits.

I’ve digressed. Back to important matters: my mounting fame and notoriety. Last week within about five minutes of posting Set Your Course For Adventure, a beautiful, rising starlet living in Hollywood “LIKED” my post! When I clicked her blog site (she is also a WordPress blogger) I was awed by her photographs. Then I went to her official website and I thought “My goodness! I want to be her”. She is beautiful. In my mind I look like her, but when I look in the mirror I can’t see the resemblance. And she is famous. Her name is Elena and this is her official website:

 I hope it’s OK that I posted your official website, Elena. I think you’re wonderful and I would like to share you with my world.

Don’t be jealous, Dusty … Elena is prettier than you – and famous.

Just think of it: if Elena found me, maybe Oprah, Tina and/or Ellen will find me too! Maybe I will hear from them some day soon. Oh! I believe that it will be so! I really, really do. Thank you for giving me hope, Elena!

I’m sure Elena wants to hear how I spent my President’s Day, so I will share it with everyone. On Monday Jim and I had lunch with our friend, Colleen. I have no desire whatsoever to be Colleen, though I am grateful for her readership. Colleen has proven to me that she is a faithful reader of Under the Turnip Truck and I want to introduce you to her now, as I think that, should she continue to have unfortunate adventures like the one she told us about Monday, I will be making some fun of her in future posts.

This is Colleen:

Over fish tacos, Colleen told us all about how she went to the gym before work one day and took a Zumba class. Colleen says that Zumba does not make her sweat much. I think she does not sweat in Zumba because she is a lazy-butt who does not swing her hips fast enough. But who am I to judge?

This is Colleen in Zumba class:

After the Zumba class Colleen went to the locker room to shower and get ready for work at her big important job, but she got scared because she felt like the woman standing beside her was stalking her in a creepy sort of way.

This is Colleen’s creepy stalker:

Colleen was afraid the creeper was going to take out her fancy-shmancy iPhone and take embarrassing pictures of her and post them on the Internet; so, to avoid this nut she went back out to the gym and ran on the treadmill for a half hour.

This is Colleen running on the treadmill:

Running on a treadmill is very good for your heart health and if you run fast enough you can work up a wicked sweat and Colleen did just that. She just made pretend she was running for her life. She was so sweaty that her sports bra was soaked through at the end of her workout. She looked like someone dumped a bucket of water on her!

Unfortunately when Colleen went back to the locker room and pulled out her professional business suit and pretty blouse, she realized that she forgot to bring a nice regular bra to wear with it! Had she not gone back out to the gym to avoid her stalker then she would not have ruined her sports bra and she could have just worn that under her pretty blouse.

This is a picture of Colleen’s sports bra:

For those of you that do not know Colleen, it is important to point out that she is very well endowed and so you can imagine her predicament. She tried to dry the sports bra with one of the hair dryers in the locker room, but had no luck. The sucker was drenched.

If only gyms provided the should-be-popular bra dryer pictured below, Colleen would have been home free.

Alas, Colleen had no choice but to go to work and button up her suit jacket, British-soldier style.

Although she was completely covered up, Colleen was still uncomfortable and walked around the office hugging herself. This only attracted unwanted stares from concerned co-workers who were afraid she had a stomach bug.

That was when Colleen decided to go to Macy’s to buy a new bra. While at Macy’s, Colleen found some nice bras to choose from, which she took into the dressing room to try on. According to Colleen, the dressing room was very claustrophobic with the walls and doors going all the way to the floor. This turned out to be a problem when Colleen was exiting the room because the door was stuck closed and she couldn’t even get on her hands and knees and crawl out! Poor Colleen.

Following is a picture of the dressing room Colleen was apparently subjected to using … I can see why it was claustrophobic for her.

She thought she heard a man and his son talking outside the dressing room, but if they were there they left without helping her.

Colleen proceeded to scream for help and yell and bang for over 25 minutes before finally recalling a skill that she acquired at some point on her sinful life’s journey and she used her credit card to jimmy the dressing room door open.

Colleen and Co. during her sinful life’s journey:

After saying a little prayer of thanks, Colleen bought the bra and hightailed it out of there without taking a moment to tell the sales person that the dressing room door was broken. Rude. God only knows how many more people got stuck in there before anyone said something. Well, Rude-Girl, I hope you are enjoying your bra and living happily ever after.

Apparently incidents like this are typical for Colleen. Now imagine, if Colleen’s regular work days are fraught with stalkers, bra-hunts and criminal-like activity, what is her dating life like? I can’t wait to find out!

Our waitress at this little luncheon, Robyn H, was quite lovely, although she didn’t seem to know what to make of crazy Colleen. Can you imagine her thoughts upon returning to the table to check on us and accidentally overhearing sordid details about stalkers, bras and breaking and entering?

Robyn H is a genuinely nice person. I can tell these sorts of things about people due to my skills as an empath. Robyn H wasn’t being fake nice hoping to get a good tip out of us at the end of the meal – she was truly concerned about our lunch-time enjoyment. And after overhearing Colleen’s chatter, she feared for my and Jim’s safety.

Robyn H is also very pretty and trendy and I want to be her.

This is Robyn H:

Notice the hip feather earrings she is wearing in the above photograph. She said her friend makes them and told me where I can get a pair:


I went to the site, but they seem to be out of the green ones Robyn H was sporting and those are the ones I want because I love green because Elphaba is green. Robyn H, do you think Miss Whitney will make a special pair of green earrings for me to buy?

And notice her funky nails! They are cheetah print like my living room rug.

In my attempt to be like Robyn H, I bought those Sally Hansen stick-on nail polish thingies she was wearing Monday, but I didn’t get the same results.

I put my nail polish adhesive tape on last night and this morning some of my zebras either ran away or chipped away. Until they make the sticky part of this nail polish stronger and offer lengths in small, medium and large, I would not recommend the average person buy this product. Colleen bought a package of these things too, but after my disaster she is afraid to try them out.

Maybe only model-like girls know how to use them correctly and that is why Robyn H had such good luck with them. Hers had already been on for a week when we saw her. Maybe it’s just me that can’t use them. Hopefully Colleen will try them out and comment so that we all know how the process worked out for her. If she had good luck, well then, there goes my model theory. Stay tuned!

Listen, Followers, do yourself a favor, if you find yourself at the Legal Test Kitchen in Boston, ask for Robyn H to be your waitress and tell her you rode over on the Turnip Truck to say hello. I’m sure she will be thrilled.

Oopsy! Plugged another business!  Sorry Ernie. Ernie is one of my Followers who hates when I plug businesses for other people. He is also the father of one of the men (Sean) I featured in the mullet edition, so what does that tell you?

This is Ernie’s son, Sean:

I burred Sean’s face to protect Ernie’s identity.

Back to Ernie…

Sorry, Ern-dawg, I had to plug those businesses! People need to know that other people exist in this world who are talented and nice. I hope you don’t love me any less. And, please let me know if you want me to advertise your daycare business in a future post, I will be more than happy to do so!

Heck! I will advertise for you right now! Why wait?

Ernie is a wonderful daycare provider. He watches Jack 2 times a week. He plays old-school country music for Jack. He feeds Jack. He changes Jack’s diaper. Some daycare providers don’t give kids the time of day. If you are a daycare provider, please know that I AM NOT talking about you.

Don’t they look jolly! For more information on how to get in touch with Ernie just comment here and leave him all your important information… he’ll get back to you when he is good and ready.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Set Your Course For Adventure…


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Hello Followers – new and old!

Yes, folks, the turnip truck has a new passenger! And she is a complete stranger to me. Never met the woman in my life, but she subscribed to my lil’ ole blog anyway. She apparently heard about us through a short little grapevine and from someone who is not even an official subscriber herself. Imagine!

Her name is Erin from Massachusetts.

This is Erin from Massachusetts

Not only is Erin from Massachusetts my very first Stranger-Subscriber, she was the 40th person to sign up for the ride. That makes her extra special. Welcome aboard, Erin from Massachusetts. Most of us are glad you decided to take the trip.

What is your prize, Erin?

It’s a trip down memory lane!

First, I should warn you, Erin from Massachusetts, that most of my followers hate your guts now. Many of them have confronted me and demanded to know when they will be featured in an Under the Turnip Truck article. I told them they will be featured when and if I deem them worthy. I have not done this yet and because I have not done this yet people are crying like little babies.

In addition to Erin from Massachusetts, I also had another stranger “like” my last post! And I don’t even know anyone who knows her! She doesn’t even live near me – she lives in another state. I learned that she also writes a blog, so I decided to creep on her WordPress site and discovered that she is a real writer – talented. I was a little intimidated at first, but decided that she is adding some esteem to my blog just by riding on the turnip truck one time! So, go and visit her site – those of you who like to travel and experience new adventures will love her work.

In writing about these recent stranger-followers, I realize I’ve been remiss in acknowledging my very first subscriber-follower. I want to take a moment now to give props to my friend, MBB. MBB was the first person to subscribe to Under the Turnip Truck. MBB even has sleeping dreams of me becoming a famous person. In her dreams she sees me becoming an award-winning author when I grow up. I think she is right. MBB is very connected with our Lord and I believe that if she dreamed of me being famous then our Lord must have told her it will be so.

Who am I to question this divine inspiration?

MBB and I have always gotten along like peanut butter & jelly. We have so much in common. She is Holy and I strive to be Holy. She has an amazing singing voice and I make pretend I have an amazing singing voice. And she is besties with Charo – one of my most favorite entertainers in the world – and I would love to add Charo to my besties list.

Margaret Hyde is getting her car ready now; but, don’t worry, Charo, she will never find you.

MBB met Charo during a benefit concert at which they were both featured performers. Following is a publicity poster from that show.

Proceeds from this concert went toward the preservation of a musical instrument called castanets. MBB and Charo fear that castanets will one day become extinct if they don’t do something about it now. So, help these girls out – go out and buy a pair of castanets! They are fun to clank around and a great stress-reliever … for the person clanking them.

All this talk of Charo, strangers and the adventure-seeking traveler Lesley Carter at reminds me of a dream I had as a young girl, a dream which fell into the gutter when I was trying to “find myself”, but found Jim instead. Once upon a time, I wanted to be just like Julie McCoy! Julie McCoy was the best cruise director that ever sailed the open seas.

Do you all remember Julie?

And Gopher? And Isaac? And Doc Bricker? And Captain Stubing?

They were awesome.

Don’t they look sharp?

I applied to every existing cruise line twice and was ignored by all of them each time. That’s when I met Jim, forgot I was looking for myself and consequently that dream rolled into the gutter.

Que Sera Sera, I guess.

For those of you who are too young or too forgetful to remember, Julie McCoy, Gopher, Isaac, Doc Bricker and Captain Stubing staffed the fictional Princess Cruise Ship called The Love Boat. The Love Boat wasn’t the ship’s real name, but as they never used the real name on the show everyone just assumed it was called The Love Boat.

Can you guess who my favorite Love Boat guest star was?

















Yes, my favorite guest star was by far Charo! Charo played a saucy Spanish entertainer named April Lopez. According to Wikipedia, she made 8 appearances on The Love Boat.

 Here is Charo singing The Love Boat theme song – Charo style! I think she stole some of those dance moves at the end of the song from me. Seriously.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Happy Birthday to Me!


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Here comes the turnip truck!

That’s right, my dear Followers, today is my birthday!

In the above photograph I am at a birthday party, but not my own. It was Kerry B’s birthday party and the picture was taken a long, long time ago and it was not January, but September. So, not quite an accurate portrayal of the girl I am today, but who cares? I decided to use this picture because I looked better then than I do today and since it’s my birthday I can make all the wishes I want and one of my wishes is to look younger.

Did you know Oprah and I share the same birthday? That’s right! She was born on January 29th too – only she is a little older than I am.

I wonder what she did to celebrate. Did she buy herself a new Beetle Bug in which to tool around one of her many estates? Did she sleep in? Did she have a lemon flavored popsicle? Ope, if you are reading this little blog of mine, feel free to comment and let us know how you spent your day.

And here is something super crazy that happened to me this year – my Bestest NC: Kerry B and my Bestest MA: Margaret Jeckyll-Hyde each gave me a card with similar pictures on the front.

Kerry B's Birthday Card to Me

Margaret Jeckyll-Hyde's Birthday Card to Me

The minds of my bestestes are becoming psychically linked! This is so exciting! I feel like I had something to do with this phenomenon. I’m a regular Dr. Frankenstein!

I got an awesome birthday sign from Jack.

I also got some really wonderful gifts and cards and emails and texts and phone calls and such from my parents and in-laws and family and friends. However, of all the gifts I got this year, my favorite is the painting Jim did of me and Jack!

Jack B and Ant T

Isn’t it awesome!

There were many exciting and crazy things happening in the world the year I was born. Here is a list of a few of them (according to the birthday card my mom gave me):

  • Richard Nixon was President of the United States of America
  • Roe v. Wade legalizes abortion
  • The war in Vietnam ended (Yeah!)
  • Watergate hearings begin. Nixon declares, “I am not a crook!”
  • English Leather Soap-On-A-Roap costs $2.00
  • Median sales price of a single family home, $28,900.00
  • The 110-story World Trade Center is completed in NYC
  • McDonald’s introduces the Egg McMuffin
  • The Rocky Horror Show was a big hit
  • Billy Joel’s Piano Man and Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road are released
  • Sonny and Cher are on TV
  • Secretariat wins the Triple-Crown
  • Willie Mays retires
  • George Foreman KO’s Joe Frazier
  • Neil Patrick Harris was born the same year

Can you guess what year I was born?

I’ll give you a hint: It was in the 1900s.












While you think about it I’m going to finish my next blog article … Charo here I come!

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Take A Crack At It Instead!


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Here comes the turnip truck!

I hope everyone had a Happy and Guilt-Free New Year!

I say that knowing in actuality 98% of you probably dealt with stressful fights, personal tantrums, hurt feelings, exhaustion, the stomach bug, evil family members (I’m talking about you, Brian), gluttony and Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve With Ryan Seacrest … among other horrible and soul-depressing things.

It’s the way of the holidays. By the time New Year’s Day comes around we are sick of ourselves (and everyone else) and we want to start all over again. Enter January 2nd, a day on which many of you decide on and enforce those notorious New Year’s resolution(s).

So. How’s that working out for you?

That’s what I thought.

Don’t worry – now that you’ve completed the first week of making sincere efforts and sacrifices, your enthusiasm for and dedication to all things resolute will start to wither away. A few more weeks of emotional misery and you will give up those silly commitments (at least until next January) and return to an almost-normal life.

Realize that if you continue on the same path you’ve been traveling year after year, your life can never be completely normal again. Why? Because, friend, you are a failure. You’ve failed to uphold those depression-induced pledges that you made to some uncaring and vengeful New Year’s god and now you must pay. You are fraught with regret. You are a diminished version of your former self. You are up a creek without a paddle.

The older you get, the more resolutions you make. The more resolutions you make, the more resolutions you break. The more resolutions you break, the more diminished you become. After years of this noxious cycle you are left a mere shell of the vivacious person you once were.

Those fireworks of yesterweek are but a distant and fuzzy memory.

Cheer up, friends, and stop beating yourself up. There is still hope and you can reverse the damage you’ve already done with a simple adjustment to your phraseology! So get a glove – or a bat as the case will be – and join my ballgame!

Since less than 10% of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, I think the best resolution any of us can make is to not make any at all. Seriously. Cut yourself some slack.

If you really want to start fresh and feel good about yourself come 2013, I have a suggestion for you: rather than making a New Year’s resolution, take a “New Year’s Crack At It” instead. According to the free, on-line dictionary I found, to take a crack at something means to “try to do something; have a go at doing something.”

Having a go at doing something is way better than resolving to complete something completely because once the resolved attempt at doing something has been reached you’ve succeeded!

Taking A Crack At It Examples

Take a crack at losing weight:

Go to the gym just once and walk on the treadmill for 1 hour; once you do this you will burn enough calories to count towards attempting to lose weight. You will also be about $132 poorer, but that is beside the point.

Yeah you! Success!

Take a crack at eating healthier:

Eat a bean, a tomato or a lettuce leaf just once and your attempt at eating healthier is complete.

Yeah you! Success!

Take a crack at being a kinder person:

Smile at a stranger, pick up a fallen handkerchief for a damsel or damso (male version of a damsel) in distress, or lower your voice to bearable when yelling at helping your partner to see his/her/its flaws and you are a quarter of the way up the kindness ladder.

YEAH YOU! Success!

Personally, I have not decided what to swing my bat at yet. Right now, I’m happy just to exist from day-to-day while images of rose petals dance in my head. I am happy the way I am … at least for this fleeting moment.

2012, we welcome you and the opportunities for success that you offer.


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


I Want an Elephant for Christmas!


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Here comes the turnip truck!


Tis’ the season to be JOLLY – so why the heck are most of the people I see or converse with so disgruntled? Come on folks – even Ebenezer Scrooge turned it around! Learn from his mistakes. Haul out the holly. Deck the halls. Rock around the Christmas tree … or the menorah … or the Kwanza cup … or whatever else makes you happy.

Whatever your belief system, just leave the barrel behind this week and find the JOLLY in everything.

My husband Jim always finds the jolly in things – regardless of whether it is Christmas time or a sizzling summer month. Unfortunately, one of the things that makes him feel so jolly is wearing a ridiculous headband when he goes out for a run. I’ve repeatedly tried to get Jim to understand that emulating Paulie Bleeker from the movie Juno is just not cool.

Paulie Bleeker

Nevertheless, Jim insists that Paulie is his hero and so he continues to sport the ludicrous look. In fact, when Jim drew our Christmas card picture this year (see above) he insisted on drawing himself running with a headband. You’ll notice that I blurred out Jim’s face again. I had to. It is my duty as a loving and protective wife to prevent him, to the best of my ability, from dorkifying himself for all to mock. Poor Jim.

So today is the eve of Christmas Eve – I hope you have all finished shopping by now. God help the people on your Christmas list if you have not. One year I waited too long to start my shopping (I went out on Christmas Eve) and there was nothing left in the store except picked-over Chia Pets. My Uncle Anthony was the only recipient of the Chia pet who actually attempted to grow the Chia’s hair (Uncle got a ram Chia). Unfortunately, the poor pet must have had Alopecia or something because his hair only grew in small patches all over his body. Poor Chia.

Ram Chia

I’m actually thinking of purposely buying my dad, Pasquale, a Chia pet for Christmas this year. He really wants a live dog, but, according to my mother, “that will never happen in [my dad’s] lifetime”. Maybe RiRi Poppins (my mom) is descended from Ebenezer Scrooge. Bah Humbug! Poor Pasquale.

Poor Pasquale

You might be wondering what I want for Christmas. Well, the truth is, the love and adoration of my followers, family and friends is just not enough. This year, I would like an elephant for Christmas. Seriously. I want to do what my friend Katie did and adopt an elephant! This is ironic because one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time is I Want an Elephant for Christmas!


Just to make sure that Santa receives my Christmas wish list, I’ve asked Jax, my Elf on the Shelf, to put in a good word for me with Santa. Jax smiled upon hearing my request and so I know that he will try to hook me up with the man in red! Thanks Jax!

My Elf on the Shelf

As I close this post, I want to wish everyone HAPPY HOLIDAYS. I hope that whether Santa is good to you or not, you will find the time to haul out the holly, rock around something symbolic and, most importantly, find the Jolly in everything you see or do.

As a gift to all my followers, below I am providing a link to my favorite Christmas song of all time. You can probably change the word Christmas to whatever you want without breaking any major law, so feel free to do so.


Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Turkey Terror


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Here comes the turnip truck!


Find the Barrel, Kermit!

I want to wish all my readers, dedicated and not, a Happy Fall – or Faux Spring – and a Happy Thanksgiving too!

This Thanksgiving I give my sincere THANKS
to all the Under the Turnip Truck readers
– especially my subscribers –
for your support.

My fans out there in Maine are representin'

I also give THANKS for all my friends, but especially for Margaret and Kerry B.

Margaret and Kerry B allow me to have fun writing my blog articles at their expense. They’ve always given me positive feedback and I appreciate them so much.


Kerry B

THANKS to my family for allowing me to have fun with them too – Jim, Nancy, Sean, Jackson (like he has a choice), Mom, Dad (his special feature will be seen in an upcoming post and he will love it), Mama B and Papa B, cousins Cat and Scary Spice and brother Joe.







Mama B

Papa B

Cousin Cat

Cousin Spice

Brother Joe

THANKS to Jim, too, for proofing my posts before I publish them and for being brutally honest when they stink and need to be rewritten.

THANKS to God for making me crazy.



Has anyone been able to tear themselves away from this blog long enough to go outside and enjoy the balmy weather? Seriously, it’s just days before Thanksgiving and my spring-summer garden got confused and started to re-bloom!

My Foxglove on November 21, 2011

This Thanksgiving I’m grateful to have a beautiful and bloomed garden to look out on as I eat my turkey.

Not everyone appreciates the shift to warmer weather; unfortunately, for some, the mild temperatures are drastically interfering with their way of life.

Ralph, our homemade scarecrow, is not enjoying the warmer weather at all. When he was first born back in October, on a crisp fall day, he was so energetic and took his job very seriously. Now, he is letting himself go, literally, and his hay organs are falling out all over the place. He looks like he’s had one too many beers and he doesn’t even drink. He has no energy left to scare away the neighborhood kids anymore. He has lost his hoot-spa! Poor Ralph.

My Ralph on November 21, 2011

This Thanksgiving I’m grateful I am not Ralph.

This, and the polar bears are dying too. It’s true. They’re drowning because they aren’t good distance swimmers and all the ice batches have melted away. It used to be that a polar bear would swim from ice batch to ice batch looking for food. They would also use their time on the ice batch to take a load off and rejuvenate before the next leg of their swim. Now there is no food to be had and they end up dying from exhaustion because they can find no oasis to rest upon.

Man is capable of making snow for all the ski bunnies, maybe he can make a few ice batches for the polar bears too. Come on, folks, it’s our duty to help these helpless creatures. If you don’t they will die and if they die you won’t be able to ogle at them in the various zoos around the world anymore.

This Thanksgiving I’m grateful I am not a polar bear.

The polar bear’s plight is just another reminder that Al Gore is right and the Earth is imploding.

(Note: Some of these facts about polar bears and Al Gore’s theory might be slightly inaccurate.)

Al Gore

So, go ahead and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather while you can because in another decade we will all be extinct.

Speaking of extinction …

This Thanksgiving I’m grateful I am not a turkey!

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Secrets Exposed

Here comes the turnip truck!

Hi Oprah. Hi Tina. Hi Ellen.

There seems to be a few followers who are slightly bored and/or annoyed with the constant stream of Margaret articles (David E and Nancy B). Whether they are really bored or annoyed or just jealous, I’m not sure.

In any case, I’m a real-life writer now and we real-life writers write about what we know. I know Margaret. Now, should anyone else feel a bit of Margaret-overload, I ask you to hang in there because things are about to get twisted.

This blog is actually not about Margaret’s wonderfulness, but about how Margaret almost killed an innocent. In this article some of her deep, dark secrets are exposed. This is the point in Margaret’s living eulogy where things take a turn toward the unexpected and you realize she ain’t as great as I’ve made her out to be. Margaret has a dark side. It’s true. She is a regular Dr. Jeckle and Ms. Hyde.

These are the real Margarets

This blog also features the first of a new series of articles on my Bestest, NC, Kerry B.

Kerry B and Me

Happy reading!


(Don’t worry David E… the end is in sight.)

My Friend Margaret

A Living Eulogy
Part V of VI

Part V
Margaret always tries to be kind and loving like Dr. Jeckle, but sometimes her inner Hyde takes control and makes her do bad things. She kept it hidden so well, until one night her secret was exposed.

This is Margaret Hyde

It all began the night Margaret ran over a poor and innocent bag lady.

Margaret's Weapon of Choice

One night, when Margaret was speeding to a play rehearsal, she hit a bag lady (Margaret is an actress in her spare time and that is why she was driving to play rehearsal).  If Margaret were standing over me now and reading this she would want me to tell you that she did stop to make sure the lady was OK, but the lady just screamed and screamed at her like a crazy.  Margaret would also want me to tell you that she (Margaret) did call the police and tell them of the homicidal incident. When the police arrived on the scene to investigate they could not find the hide or the hair of that crazy bag lady – they deducted that she fled on foot never to be seen again.

Margaret says that, in the end, “It was that lady’s own fault for walking on the sidewalk. What was she thinking anyway?”

I responded to this accusation saying, “I don’t know what she was thinking, Margaret. I don’t know.”

I thought about asking Margaret why the heck she was driving on the sidewalk to begin with, but I didn’t because she seemed so shaken up by the situation.

By the way, have I mentioned before that Margaret is a wicked good actress? She is.

This is Margaret Jeckle seconds before she turns into Margaret Hyde.

When I showed a picture of Margaret to my little nephew Jack he freaked out. They say children can sense when something or someone is pure evil.

Jack's reaction upon seeing a picture of Margaret Hyde

Enough about Margaret, I now need to tribute my Bestest, NC, Kerry B.

This is Kerry B

Kerry B and me have been through a lot together since secretly becoming friends in the late 1990s. As I continue to blog, I will chronicle these stories in a series I call:

Me and My Friend Kerry B

An Outrageous Tale of Misadventure and Fortune

Before I chronicle our stories of misadventure and fortune, I need to tell you a bit more about Kerry B. You’ve already learned (because I’m sure you’ve all read all the previous blogs and if you didn’t read ALL the previous blogs what is your problem?)  that she loves rodeos (and rodeo clowns), country line-dancing, and wrestling. What you don’t know is Kerry B is fashion-challenged. It’s true. In fact, her fashion faux pas having gotten her into quite a few pickles in the past.

Kerry B and a Pickle

I discovered that Kerry B was 
fashionably challenged early on in our friendship. The two of us were invited to a swinging house party one summer night late in August. When I arrived at Kerry B’s apartment to pick her up and she hopped in my car I could tell something was off, but I didn’t want to stare because staring is rude. God made me kinder than that.

Instead, I decided to nonchalantly observe her later in the night.

Nonchalantly observing Kerry B proved easy enough, as she made a spectacle of herself dancing that night. She has the weirdest dance moves. And please don’t think that Kerry B was a dancing drunk because she was not. Kerry B used to be a teetotaler.

As this dancing teetotaler whirled around the living room of this tiny house, I got a look at her feet and I was horrified! Kerry B was wearing sandals … with socks!

I scrambled to get my camera and take a picture. I figured she must not have a mirror in her apartment and could not see how ridiculous she looked. Unfortunately, Kerry B was moving so quickly I could not get a great picture of her fashion faux pas (well I couldn’t get a great picture of the socks and sandals – the 1980s jeans are another story and I’m not going there with her because, as you will see, I’ve had a hard enough time breaking the footwear habits). Here is what I did get:

So, I developed the pictures from that night and showed her how ugly her footwear was and assumed she would be as horrified as I.

You know what they say about assuming things.

She was not horrified in the least! Apparently, she wore (and wears) socks with her sandals because she didn’t (and doesn’t) want her feet to get cold. I know you must be wondering why she doesn’t just wear sneakers with the socks, but she said she likes the ventilation the sandals give. To each his own, I guess, and all that sort of thing.

Over the years Kerry B has sported this look over and over again, but at least her taste in sandals has consistently improved (and I used that term loosely). Look below to see Kerry B’s footwear style progression.

Kerry B even wore socks and sandals the day she married Larry S, but she smartly did not let the cameras catch her secret obsession with hideous footwear. She knew that if she did she would be mocked.

Kerry B hides her socks and sandals as Photographer Me attempts to take a picture

I’ve told Kerry B several times that there has never been an era – not before Christ or after Him – when wearing socks with sandals was/is acceptable. She doesn’t care.

As you can imagine, Kerry B does not always make great overall fashion choices either, but what can a friend do? Sometimes, you just have to sit back and chalk it up to one of those “things that make you go HMMMM.” That is what I did with outfits like the two that follow.

Once upon another time, Kerry B, me and a bunch of friends (and some extra freaks who wanted to be our friends) went out dancing. This is the outfit Kerry B specially picked for that outing:

Kerry B felt like a HOTTIE as she trolled around the bar buying drinks for strange men

Then there was the Christmas when we were going to the mall to take our picture with Santa Claus. There was a soft flurry floating down from the heavens that day, but nothing to get excited about – except for Kerry. She decided to bundle up to not risk getting frostbite. This is the outfit Kerry B specially picked for that outing:

This darn outfit ruined our holiday picture

I can’t help but wonder where Kerry B gets her fashion sense from. It is not Mama B that is for sure. Mama B is always very stylish when I see her and when Kerry B goes out anywhere with her, she (Mama B) insists on dressing her (Kerry B) because she (Mama B) doesn’t want to be embarrassed by association. Still Mama B is proud of her daughter in spite of how she (Kerry B) turned out.

Mama B and Kerry B

That means Kerry B dresses like her father, Papa B.

You know what they say about apples and trees.

Me and Papa B

Jack loves to see pictures of Kerry B in all her interesting outfits.

Jack's reaction upon seeing a picture of Kerry B

No matter how questionable the fashion choices Kerry B makes are, it does not matter to me. She is one of my bestestes and she is like family to my family and I refuse to ridicule her just because everyone else does. God made me better than that.

God apparently forgot to make Margaret better than that.

Remember that story I told you at the start of this article about Margaret driving onto a sidewalk and nearly killing an alleged bag lady. Well, as it turns out, the alleged bag lady was none other than Kerry B! Though this incident happened years ago, I only found out about it recently as Kerry B tearfully told me her secret during a Skype call. I had been wondering why the heck she up and moved to North Carolina, home of a tornado or two, without any warning. Now I know.

Apparently Margaret (Hyde) was very jealous of Kerry B. She could not handle sharing me with anyone else, so she decided to take Kerry B out of the picture for good. For months Margaret (Hyde) trailed Kerry B and learned her ways and rituals. She knew that Kerry B loved to eat at the 99 Restaurant on Rt. 18 in Weymouth, MA and that she insisted on taking a little walk down the street and back right after she ate dinner so that she would not be all bloated when she got back into her car.

Kerry B decided to go to the 99 Restaurant the evening of the day we took our picture with Santa Claus and thank goodness for that – all that padding she wore to protect herself from frostbite also protected Kerry B when Margaret (Hyde) careened into her with the blue Buick (shown above) and sent her flying.

Kerry B quickly got up and tried to run away but Margaret Hyde leaped from the car and grabbed her by the goggles and told her to leave me alone forever or else… Kerry B ran away as fast as she could and moved to NC shortly afterwards.

To cover all her bases, Margaret (Hyde) called the cops and pretended like the whole thing was an accident and pretended she tried to help her intended victim. The coppers believed her and, if memory serves, I think one of them asked her on a date. Margaret is a very good actress.

Margaret is also a troubled soul and I’ve made it my mission to help her in her time of need (I’m afraid of her). I forgive her like the Lord forgiveth the homicidal Roman soldiers, because I believe she knows not what she does (she made me say that – she knows what she is doing. SHE KNOWS!). I will not abandon her now and I will always keep her as my Bestest, MA (because I’m afraid if I don’t she will run me over too). To do anything to the contrary would be dumb and God made me smarter than that.


Thou shall not steal, or maim, or kill...

Without Kerry to laugh at and hang out with, I find myself all alone and mostly friendless and, at times, pathetic. Oh what a wicked web we weave when we start stalking single white females.

Pathetic Me

I am beginning to think that Kerry wears a disguise and comes back to Massachusetts to costume Margaret for her various plays.

You know what they say about payback.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Costume Room

Here comes the turnip truck!

Hi Oprah. Hi Tina. Hi Ellen.

Well, my followers, the turnip truck has gone GLOBAL!

That’s right! I have my first subscribers from across the oceans and the skies and residing near the home of the famous Roman Forum in Rome, Italy.


My first European subscribers during their last visit to the States!

I enthusiastically thank my European fans for riding on the turnip truck! It is a pleasure to have you on board.

Onward we move.

Perhaps you’ve started to feel sad because you thought you weren’t going to hear more about Miss Margaret any time soon; well then, it’s time for you to turn that frown upside down!


My Friend Margaret

A Living Eulogy

Part IV of VI

Part IV

Following is a photograph of Me and Margaret from our last show together: To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. We played sisters. Can you see the family resemblance?

Disclaimer:  Before I tell you about her next virtue, I want to disclaim that Margaret is really so jealous of me in every show that we do together because I always get the awesome costumes and she gets the not-so-awesome ones.

I believe Margaret believes that compared to those given to herself, my costumes are typically so much more flattering or interesting or glamorous or colorful or, as is often the case, they are all of these things at once. Margaret always tells people that I am tall and striking and that costume designers are inspired by my statuesque physique. I believe she is correct. This physical attribute is just one of the many gifts God gave me. I am blessed. Margaret has her own gifts.

To be costumed so beautifully show after show is just my reward for enduring comments like “she is just big-boned” or “at least she’s healthy” all my life. Margaret, being a petite creature, never heard such abominations growing up. She was one of the lucky ones.

The first show Margaret and I did together was La Cage Aux Folles. Following is an example of one of the 10+ outfits I wore during that production and an example of the only outfit Margaret got to wear.

Me. Note: This picture is NOT photoshopped. It is really me.

Margaret … and people say I’m pale. Doesn’t she look great as a red-head?

It seems to me Margaret and I looked more like sisters in La Cage than we did in Gillian. It must be the red heads of hair each of us was sporting back then.

I digressed. Back to the Living Eulogy…

Part IV

Margaret is a very awesome actor (that is the true part – it’s one of her gifts), but it is not this talent that makes her so stupendous – it’s her selflessness. Margaret is always choosing the less-than-awesome costumes when she is in a show [with me] so that her friends (and by “friends” I mean me) can have the stunning ones. And she never regrets that choice. (That is a lie – the costume designers force the frocks on her whether she likes it or not.)

In closing, I would like to bring this post full circle and drive the truck back to the Roman Forum. Following is a photo of me and Margaret in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Margaret always denies being in this show with me, but the proof is below. I’ve diagramed the picture for you because I know you won’t recognize Margaret unless I do.

Poor Margaret. On the upside, my costume really shows off my healthy, big-boned thighs.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts!

Here comes the turnip truck!


Well, my followers, it all comes back to the turnip.


My sister Nancy recently attended the Jack O’ Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Zoo in Rhode Island. While at the festival she made a stunning discovery about the history of the Jack O’ Lantern and its relationship to the turnip.



As you know (and if you don’t know it is time to come out from under the truck) every October millions of people carve ghoulish faces into gourd-like orange fruits. Some of these machete-wielding professionals have made pumpkin carving into an art.


As you can see, some of the more gruesome artists spend hours and hours whittling terrifying faces into their respective pieces of fruit; while the less daring designers paint some sort of dorky, clown-like face on the sphere-shaped objects.

Uninteresting Painted Pumpkins

Back to the turnip. The practice of decorating a Jack O’ Lantern originated in Ireland, where large turnips and potatoes served as an early canvas. It’s true. Further, the name “Jack O’ Lantern” comes from an Irish folktale about a man named Stingy Jack.

Once upon a time, an Irish blacksmith by the name of Jack had the misfortune of bumping into the Devil in a pub on All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween). Seeing that Jack was as drunk as a skunk, the mean old Devil tried to take advantage of him in his weakened state. But the Devil was a dummy and the drunk tricked him. Jack made a clever bargain with the Devil.

The story goes that after some light conversation Jack offered up his soul to the Devil for one last drink; but, Jack was very stingy and didn’t want to pay for his (or the Devil’s) drink. Instead he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a sixpence that Jack could use to buy their drinks. The Devil foolishly changed his form to pay the bartender; but, rather than using the coin to buy the drinks, Jack put the coin in a bag with a silver cross. Jack knew that the cross would prevent the Devil from changing back. Once he trapped the Devil, Jack agreed to free him if the Devil promised not to claim his soul for ten years.

And so it was written. And so it was done.


The ten years flew by and before Jack knew it there was the Devil all up in his grill again on some back-country road. The Devil told Jack that he had come to collect his soul. Jack pretended he was cool with the idea, but he was still not ready to die. He wanted just a few more years to sew some wild oats. So, Jack resorted to trickery once again; he asked the Devil if he would first climb an apple tree and fetch him an apple. The Devil, always willing to aid a man in need, was happy to help Jack out – dying wish and all of that.


So the devil climbed the apple tree, but just as the Devil reached for the apple, Jack pulled out his knife and carved, Zorro-like, a big old cross on the tree’s trunk. Jack wouldn’t let the Devil come down until he promised never to claim Jack’s soul again. The Devil didn’t want to stay up in the tree for eternity so he acquiesced.



Eventually it was time for Jack to die. This time Jack was ready for death. He was excited to die because he always wanted to see Heaven. Unfortunately for Jack, Heaven didn’t want to see him. Upon his arrival at the pearly gates, St. Peter sent him packing. Jack was too much of a repugnant creature to allow in.




Jack was only sad for a moment until he remembered his old friend the Devil.




So Jack took a little trip to Hades, but upon his arrival at the fiery gates the Devil sent him packing. Still bitter over the nasty tricks Jack played on him, the Devil claimed that he could not allow Jack to enter Hell because he – the Devil – was bound never to claim Jack’s soul.


I guess the last laugh belonged to the Devil.


The Devil’s heart, having been warmed by the fires of Hell, softened a bit for his old rival and he took pity on the miserable old soul. Always willing to help a man in need, the Devil sent Jack away with a beautiful burning ember to light his way.



Jack put the coal into a carved-out turnip and has been doomed to roam the earth in darkness ever since.



After this incident, the Irish began to refer to Jack’s damned soul and ghostly light as “Jack of the Lantern,” and then they just called him a “Jack O’ Lantern” because “Jack of the Lantern” was a mouthful.



As for the Devil, the soul collecting gig wasn’t working out for him in Ireland, so he moved on to Georgia (the one in the United States of America) and opened his practice there. Unfortunately, the first soul he tried to steal belonged to a fiddle player named Johnny, but that is a story for another day. Let’s just say that the soul stealing thing didn’t work out in Georgia either.


In fact, the Devil was such a failure that he never wanted to show his face in Hades again and decided it was time for a career change. Putting his despicable talents to good use, the Devil is now a successful lawyer on Wall Street.

Back to Jack (O’ Lanterns). In Ireland and Scotland, people also began to make their own versions of Jack’s lantern by carving spooky faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them in windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and all the other wandering evil spirits. Don’t ask me what they did during the great potato famine of 1846-1847 because I don’t know. I’m guessing that’s when they all high-tailed it to America.

When they arrived in America, these immigrants brought the Jack O’ Lantern tradition with them to share with their new countrymen. Americans, trying to one-up the immigrants, taught them that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, would make better Jack O’ Lanterns.

This story reminds me of the Pilgrims and Indians story of 1620 without the Pilgrims, the Indians, the Turkey, or the Rock.

So, that explains the Jack O’ Lanterns, but I bet you are still wondering how the costumes came to be. Well, hundreds of years ago, on Halloween, it was believed that ghosts came back to earth to haunt the living. Thus the living were very afraid that they would meet these ghostly entities if they left their homes, but if they didn’t leave their homes they couldn’t go out and collect candy from all their neighbor-friends.

What to do?










Wear masks, that’s what!











A Scary Mask (Origin: Never-Never Land)

To avoid being recognized by the evil ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. They would also leave bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts or they would try to prevent them from entering their homes entirely by frightening them away with the symbol of Jack’s condemned soul – the Jack O’ Lantern.

Back to Stingy Jack. For years it was a dream of mine to help lost souls like Stingy cross over into heaven. Seriously. Since I was a wee child I’ve dreamed of communicating with the dead. I wanted to lovingly escort all the wayward goblins and ghouls that are aimlessly floating around the Universe over to the “other side”. I bet floating around heaven would be loads better than being stuck in the ‘tween.

Alas, although I made a sincere effort to reach out to these otherworldly beings they refused to connect with me. It’s like they don’t even know I exist – or worse, they don’t care. This makes me mad. It makes me so mad that I’ve tweaked my dream a bit and today I have a new dream.

Today I want to be a Ghostbuster!

That’s what those negatively charged forces of energy get for ignoring my attempts at good-will. I AIN’T AFRAID OF NO GHOSTS! Now I’m gonna grab my Proton Pack and blast their butts into Never-Never Land!

Ghostbuster Me

What did I expect? Elphaba warned us all in the musical Wicked that “No good deed goes unpunished. All helpful urges should be circumvented.”


If you would like to hear the song No Good Deed in full, click PLAY on the You Tube clip below.

Back to my dreams. I also dream of being Elphaba – either in real life or on stage. I’m not picky. I’m not much of a singer either so I have a better chance of playing this misunderstood, viridescent, animal rights activist in real life than I do on stage.

Elphaba Me

I think the two of us would meld together really well because she is misunderstood and I am misunderstood, her skin is green and I look good in green, she wants equal rights for all her animal friends and I think all people who abuse animals (or people for that matter) should be blasted into Never-Never Land along with the previously mentioned ghouls and goblins. Good thing I have a Proton Pack!

My Proton Pack


Now, did anyone see my Proton Pack?

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Keep On Keeping On!

Here comes the turnip truck for a quick pit-stop!


Just a reminder that I’m taking a week off from posting anything of significance, but you can look forward to a SCARY Halloween edition next week.

In the meantime, make sure you read the last post titled: TWEET THIS!

It may take you awhile to read TWEET THIS! so start now!

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Tweet This!


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Here comes the turnip truck!

Hello Oprah, Tina, Ellen and Margaret.

So, this week’s blog is a long one and because it is so long I suggest you don’t read it all during one sitting. Stretch it out over a few days or weeks if you want to. In reviewing my work schedule for the next month, I already know I won’t be able to write again for a couple of weeks. Lots to do, Friends. Lots to do.

For your convenience I’ve separated this blog into chapters so that you can easily step away from it and find your place again at the next sitting. Of course, I’m assuming you don’t have the forgetful disease highlighted in an earlier post.


When Kellie Hajjar (Peter Salhaney’s Auntie and Godmama) suggested I market her CD on my blog, I told her I didn’t do such things with or on my weapon of social media. My blog was only to make people laugh… and originally it was a vehicle for reaching out to Oprah, Tina and Ellen. The truth is I didn’t want to be responsible for pitching anything to my family, friends and/or strangers that might have sucked and as I hadn’t actually listened to her CDs before this conversation I didn’t know where they fell on the sucky-to-sensational spectrum.

Well, guess what? I was very impressed by this singer/songwriter’s amazing talent!

I popped Kellie’s CDs into my computer the morning after she gave them to me and from the first note I was toe tapping away while working my body to the bone.

Working My Body to the Bone Me

So, yes, I will market Kellie Hajjar and her Collection O’ CDs to the entire world! Note: even though, to-date, I’ve only listened to the two CDs she gave me, I’m sure the others rock the jazzy-meter too. How can they not? Trust me – Kellie is well on her way to Famousville and I’m going to ride her coattails all the way there.

Me riding Kellie’s coat-tails to Famousville

Move over Margaret! I am going to be Kellie’s Mama Rose too!


Mama Mia Rose Me

Kellie, I’ll make you a star, Baby!

In addition to being your Mama Mia Rose, I can also be your sole DOO-WOP GIRL. It will be wonderful. I’ll be my own Mama Mia Rose too!

Think about it… think about it … THINK ABOUT IT!

And, then have your agent call my agent.


Following (this paragraph) is one of Kellie’s CD covers – I refurbished it a bit. OK! OK! … I doctored the CD cover and put myself in the background because that is what I do and Kellie said I could anyway. I’m the one with hat and the yellow dress.

Kellie’s CD Cover Refurbished

I know what you are thinking, “Toni, what is up with the bright yellow dress you are wearing in that photograph?” Well, friends, my name used to be Lola and I was a showgirl, but that was 20 years ago when I worked The Techno. (The Techno was a dance club of my own imagining.)


Today the building that once housed the afore-mentioned dance club thumps with a different techno beat. The building itself retains the famous name, The Techno, but the dance club of 20 years ago has transformed into a safe-haven for washed-up social media innovators. (Sadly, these innovators let technology consume them and then they went crazy.)

The word TECHNO is now an acronym for Technologically Evolved Computer Hermit Nutsoes Organization.

Typical Techno Inmate

The average age of the home’s organization’s clientele is 30-40 years old. Many of the folks in residence here just couldn’t keep up with the ever changing changes in social media and they went bazurk. On the upside, they are all very rich when they enter this facility!

To make residents feel “normal” the following sign hangs on the outside of each person’s bedroom door:

The Techno is a nice place. Real nurses maintain the clients’ medication, eating and exercise schedules.  Exercise activities include, but are not limited to, group sports such as: synchronized swimming, soccer and Frisbee. Individual-based sports like archery are not encouraged at The Techno because being alone all day is exactly how the clients at The Techno got into this mess beautiful and charming facility in the first place.

NOT Allowed at The Techno

Unfortunately, when they are ready to move on (or when the organization sucks them dry and they have no money left), they wander the streets looking for a new life purpose. Fear not, to date each person evicted from this facility has found gratifying work in the arts and have sworn off all technology forever.


In truth, Kellie Hajjar doesn’t really need my help marketing her CDs because she is more connected to the world than I am.

Firstly, she is not afraid to use her cell phone. I am because cell phones can give you brain cancer. Margaret and some of my other friends mock me because I think this, but the joke is on them because it has been scientifically proven.

Laugh at this Margaret & Co.

Nextly, Kellie has a Facebook page (I do not), she has been on radio shows (I have not), she sings in cool clubs (I do not), she is a party/club DJ (I am not), and people – especially senior citizens – actually like her (sadly, this is not true for me either – especially after posting Boom Boom Pow: The Senior Citizen Remix).

I think Kellie felt connected to me because we are both writers and artists and because she thinks I’m cutting an edge into Social Media like she is. She thinks that I’m hip and trendy. Why wouldn’t she think this? After all, I have a cool and fun blog with only 34 (of the awesomest) subscribers! If my assessment of Kellie’s thoughts is correct, then she has grossly misjudged me. I’m not the social media maven I seem to be. I’m sorry Kellie. You deserve so much better.

While I do blog (, have a website (, and Skype with a few friends (Kerry in North Carolina) and family (Federica in Italy), there is not much else I enjoy doing on the technological front. I know. I know. Compared to the rest of the entire world I’m a freak. I can’t help it. I am terrified of what technology can do to me and I don’t want to end up in The Techno with the other crazies. I hide away from all such deadly temptations when I can.

 Look, I wasn’t born under a turnip truck nor did I fall from one. I understand how technology in general and social media specifically has enriched lives and made things easier for people. And I admit that there are certain things that are fun to do, like writing this blog or Googling all my weird ailments; but, I miss the simple life. Whatever happened to the days of Ole when people read books by the warmth of a fireplace and sent messages to each other via The Pony Express.

The Pony Express

Whatever happened to the days when all women had to do was get up, take a bath and sew handkerchiefs all day. Whatever happened to the days when women could visit with neighbors on a whim, take walks in the fresh dewy air and go shopping for pretty dresses and corsets whenever they wanted to? I want those days back! Other than the various civil wars that raged, life was simpler then.

These are the times I miss the most in my past-life recollections.

Past Life Me


I don’t have a Facebook page because I prefer to communicate with people the old-fashioned way: in person … on the phone … through email.  I don’t really have time for the friends and family I currently own – adding more elements (people) to the mix would be a mistake. Plus, for the most part, I’m friends with the people whom I like and if I don’t like you why would I want to be friends with you? I certainly don’t want The Unwanted to use Facebook to find me or friend me or poke me or creep on me and I don’t want to talk to them.

There are, however, a few people from my past that I would like to chat with again like my old college chum: Joy Korngut. Joy Korngut, are you out there? Joy, if you are out there write me a letter and snail mail along.

Have you seen this woman? Her name is Joy Korngut. She is the one on the left.

 I don’t Tweet either because Tweeting is for the birds. To all you Twitter aficionados I say: TWEET THIS! … and please leave me alone. I really don’t want to join your cult, but thank you for asking me … several hundred times.

Tweet This!

I also find the ceaseless updates that people constantly share on the countless social media sites annoying and useless. Though I know there are many of you who would disagree with me, I do not care about other people’s bowel movements, eating habits, goings-on, likes or dislikes. I do not care about anyone’s status, political or religious viewpoints, or what’s on their mind.

I do not like green eggs and ham. My name is really Sam.

What scares me the most is that within the underbelly of all that is social media there festers the immense potential that anyone who accidentally (or intentionally) plagiarizes, defames or popularizes other people can have their pants sued off for wrongdoing. It’s too stressful and I don’t want anyone to take my pants away. Everyday I wonder if this innocent little blog of mine will lead to trouble. Should I abort now? Will George Lucas (should he stumble across this blog somehow) be mad at me and sue because I “tampered with” one of his Star Wars photos. It was all in good fun, George. Please don’t hurt me.


My iPad-wielding husband loves all things media related. He loves to Google, to giggle and to play Angry Birds. He loves finding out about the goings-on in the lives of the people closest to him via Facebook. I think his love is misplaced.

This is Jim perusing the pages of Facebook.

My Suggestion: If you truly want to stay in touch with your friends and family then invite them over for coffee, tea or cocoa and show them recent photos you’ve taken; and, if you have important information to share with these people that can’t wait for a visit, call them on the phone and talk to them about it.

Doesn’t this look cozy?

It seems we are all abolishing the persons in personal relationships.

Jim has lots of “friends” on Facebook – about two of them are real and the rest of them are not.  Jim got into this predicament because he keeps accepting requests for friendships from people he doesn’t know or can’t remember just because he feels bad clicking the “ignore” option.

FYI: This is what the Block/Ignore button on Facebook looks like.

Truth: Unless you are famous, most of your Facebook “friends” do not really care about what you have to say unless you really, truly care about what they have to say first. But this is okay. Don’t be sad. Because the chances are you don’t really give a toot what others have to say either – unless they are on the cover of People Magazine. I’m not saying this is true for everybody – just 99% of the social media-using community.

This is Kim. People care about what Kim has to say because she is pretty, she is rich and she is famous.


Although I’m not technologically advanced like Jim is, we do agree on one thing and that is the true allegation that smart phones are turning human beings into robot-like beings little by little.

This person was once flesh and bone. If only he had known about The Techno he could have been saved.

Look, I like my cell phone in spite of the health risks using it presents (How else would Margaret and I communicate?), but I know when to put it away! It seems that every time Jim and I go out to dinner, whether we go to the bar down the street or a fancy-shmancy restaurant, there is always, without fail, a minimum of one couple sitting together and ignoring each other while they play on their phones for the entire meal. I guess that Angry Birds game really is addictive.

An Angry Bird

We’ve also gone to dinner with friends who are constantly checking/sending emails, or checking/sending text messages or Googling their latest disease.

Friends, I ask you: Where is the love?

Where is the love?

I understand that people want to keep their cell phones at hand in case of an emergency (you never know when Angelina Jolie or Arnold Schwarzenegger will be calling you for a date). But I also know that if there’s an emergency my loved one(s) – or the hospital – will call me repeatedly in a matter of minutes until I pick up the phone. It is not okay for you to keep your phone on the table beside your water glass, dinner plate or in your hand. Nor is it ever okay to start any technological communication at a dinner table unless you are calling 911 in an emergency.

Here is a helpful hint for all you worry-warts who are afraid you will ignore an important call: set a special ring tone (the same ring tone) for your local hospital, police department, fire house and important family members and should this ring tone blare when you are out with friends you can answer it. However, you must instruct your loved ones and all emergency personnel not to call you unless it is really, really important.


In the end, nobody wants to die because of technology, so if you must use it please be responsible – especially when operating a motor vehicle.

Texting and driving is bad … unless, or course, you are looking for a death sentence – yours or someone else’s. Seriously, there is nothing you need to text that is so important it cannot wait until you have safely parked your car … and, no, being stopped at a red light does not count as being parked, folks.

‘nuf said

I know that many people enjoy keeping track of the time on their cell phones, but this, too, is annoying. If keeping track of the time is so important to you then WEAR A WATCH! That is what we did in the olden days.

My friend Di-Di told me that she heard that wearing a watch to a job interview can actually cost you the job. She says that “they” say wearing a watch is a sign to some short-sighted employers (short-sighted is my word and not Di-Di’s) that you are not hip or technologically savvy. I don’t agree with this viewpoint. I think there are some really cool watch designs that can make a person look very modern and trendy. See below for some examples.

Take your pick…

Plus, my husband works for a watch company – they sell watches by the dozens – and they are having their best year ever! The watches his company sells are worn on one’s wrist, they are not inserted into cell phones.

Alas, I do see the irony in a social-mediaphobe like myself writing a blog like this. I also recognize that most people don’t even care to read the contents of this blog – and if you are still reading it the chances are you are only doing so because I begged you to and you are a good friend and I thank you for the support. But please know that for as many blog supporters as I have, there are a hundred more who wouldn’t succumb to my constant requests to either subscribe or even glance at my blog and I don’t blame them one bit. All things technical overwhelm them …

and to avoid social media overload they just shut down.

Ouch… Someone call The Techno!

All joking aside, if you are a creature who maximizes any and all social media resources, then give a local girl a chance and let your followers know that Kellie Hajjar’s music is fantabulous and worth twittering or posting about.

Her only downfall is that she thought I was more phat and funky than I actually am.

Phat and Funky Me

Good luck, Kellie!

I’m going to Google the symptoms of a broken foot now … I hope I won’t need a cast.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


What Were They Thinking?

Here comes the turnip truck!

Hi Oprah. Hi Tina. Hi Ellen.

One day we four will laugh together for real.

Hello again my lovely followers readership. As promised, following is one more reason to worship Margaret.


My Friend Margaret

A Living Eulogy

Part III of VI

Part III

Margaret writes the most beautiful eulogies for people before they are even dead. (Whom do you think I got this idea from?) My husband, Jim Gross, and his family cried and cried at the praises she sang of him (my husband) when his (my husband’s) dad died.

Are you confused yet? I don’t blame you. Let me try to explain. When my dad-in-law, Bob, died back in February (2011), Margaret posted a beautiful and lovely obituary of sorts, which I entitled Tribute to Jim, on the funeral home’s website. I did a little digging and I found that article in the archives of the funeral home’s website. Here is the entire excerpt from that piece:

Although I never had the fortune to know Mr. Gross personally, I am confident that this was an extraordinary man to have raised a son as remarkable as Jim. (Note: Jim’s mom had a lot to do with how he turned out.) I have known Jim and his wife Toni for years, and I count them among my closest friends. Jim is one of the most selfless, genuine and loyal people that I have ever known. The Gross family will be in my thoughts and in my heart during this difficult transition.


Margaret, Mat and Harry

Live In Peace

Although I can’t say for certain, I’m guessing that anyone who stumbled across this living eulogy was confused for a minute and then thought that the person who wrote such accolades for an alive man on a dead man’s website wall was an oddball, as Jim’s family did when they read it.

A Confused Person

Then, just as Jim’s family did, they probably cried at the beautiful testimonial they had just read.

A Crying Person

Jim is a nice guy.

Unfortunately, Margaret wrote this little plaudit for Jim before she saw pictures of him sporting The Mullet back in the day. I bet she would have felt differently had she taken the time to research Jim’s past.

Jim Gross and The Mullet - Jim's face is blurred out to protect his identity

I doubt Margaret would have been friends with Jim had she met him during this awkward period in his life. She would have been too embarrassed to be seen with him. I would have felt the same way. It’s a good thing Jim and I met and married later in life or he would still be single. What was he thinking?

Margaret and Jim - Jim's face is blurred to protect Margaret's identity

Today’s young, hip people are probably asking themselves what the heck The Mullet is and questioning how bad it could have been and/or is. Allow me to enlighten you, Young Ones. The picture above features Jim with a shortish, red Mullet, and the picture directly below features a man (staring at a wall for no apparent reason) with a longish, brown mullet. These are not weird-looking hats. These are heads of human hair. I know. It’s so crazy.

The Mullet: An Example ... Can you guess who this hair model is? (Hint: Keep reading!)

The Mullet was (and is) a hideous hairstyle that is short at the front and sides, and long in the back. The Mullet was popular in the 1960s and 1970s, but did not become well-known until the early 1980s – and as unbelievable as this is to believe, it remained popular into the 1990s.

The erroneous belief that The Mullet was ever even acceptable in civilized societies is due, in part, to the fact that Hollywood actors made the darn thing look cool! This is just an optical illusion though. Adding a leather jacket to anything can increase the object’s coolness by about 75%.  In the photo below, actor John Stamos (as Uncle Jesse from the TV show Full House) makes The Mullet seem like a retro and rockin’ hairstyle. It wasn’t. What was he thinking?

Uncle Jesse is a nice guy.

Uncle Jesse and The Mullet

We can’t really blame Jim for Mulletizing his head because there was a time when many, many men and women were rocking that look. Somehow The Mullet people did not realize how ugly and unattractive it made them seem to the people with normal hair cuts and to any aliens looking down on Earth and monitoring our world’s goings-on. I’m sure the aliens were completely baffled by bizarre phenomenon sweeping over a large part of our world’s population.

A Confused Alien

I wonder if the Aliens ever contemplated an intervention like we do with addicts who aren’t thinking clearly. If they did think about intervening they were obviously too scared to follow through in the end.

More bad news: The Mullet is making a comeback along with parachute pants, leg warmers and fluorescent outfits.

Why does this hair-do keep coming back?

Parachute Pants - AKA Hammer Pants


A Fluorescent Outfit


Folks, we coined the phrase, The 1980s: What Were They Thinking, for a reason. Please stop reviving the ugliness. Please.

And, NO, Young Ones – this is NOT a joke. Stick to the retro Geek-Chic that is all the rage now. It’s much more in vogue than any look from the 1980s.

Geek Chic for Women

Geek Chic for Men

My brother in-law, Sean Bell (Jack’s dad and the hair model from above), also wore out The Mullet, but Sean was worse off than Jim because a lot more photographs exist of Sean from that period than exist of Jim. Plus the Irish Strap that overwhelmed Sean’s jaw line didn’t help his look any. (An Irish Strap is a creepy looking beard that I think originated in Ireland.) What was he thinking?

Sean Bell and The Mullet - Sean's face is blurred out to protect his identity

Sean also grew a rat’s tail. Young Ones, below are examples of rat tails and humans (normal and mutant).

Specimen: The Original Rat’s Tail

Specimen: The Original Human

Specimen: New Breed of Creature = ½ Human-½ Rat

Sean and I would not have been friends had I met him during this crazy hairstyle phase of his. I would have judged him unfairly and thought him too weird to be my friend … or relative for that matter. I’m glad he is over it now.

Sean is a nice guy.

Sean Bell and The Mullet - Sean's face is blurred out to protect his identity

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


Toasts & Tiaras

Here comes the turnip truck!

Based on the last round of comments I’m getting the feeling that my sister Nancy (Jack’s mom) is a little jealous of all the attention that Margaret is getting. So the focus of this post will be Nancy. For more on Margaret you will need to catch the next truckload of turnips.

The following is not an excerpt from Nancy’s living eulogy, but it is an excerpt from the toast I gave at her wedding.

Eulogy or toast – it’s all the same.

When I was writing the toast, I had a ball trying to recall or unearth funny, wild and/or crazy stories about Nancy – stories that would help the wedding guests know her a bit better. I wanted stories that reflected Nancy’s vibrant personality. After using a bit of personal recall and interviewing many people, the Stories of Nancy took shape. That shape was an oval. And so the stories go…

This is Nancy

Nancy is a beautiful, confident, hard-working (and rapidly approaching middle-age) woman.

My husband Jim loves the story of how Nancy was born a BHOA (Big Head of America – a term I first heard from my friend’s friend, Lynn), and he wanted me to include it in the wedding toast. At first I said: “Absolutely not! This is her wedding day and I cannot speak of the BHOANESS! Nancy is extremely sensitive when anyone brings up the subject. Best to leave that story alone.”

But Jim persisted and I said: “What the heck! She sort of grew into the size of her head after about 7 or 8 years. I should think that by now we can all talk about this somewhat traumatic time in her life and laugh. OK! I’ll do it!” And I did.

This is Nancy

I also told a story about the time my family vacationed in the hills of Italy. At the time, Nancy was a young child. During this vacation my siblings and I were lucky enough to visit a very distant relative’s pig farm (our parents made us do it).

By the time we reached the pig farm, we were disgruntled because back at the hut, which my dad called  “a nice-a house”, we were forced to use a mud hole in the ground as a toilet. It was very gross. Anyway, my siblings and I stood outside a pig pen staring, repulsed at the filthy, squealing creatures. We were very unhappy.

Perhaps the pigs sensed our disgust or they heard our spiteful comments about their way of life. Whatever the reason, those pigs broke through their pen’s protective barrier, chasing us through the slimy quagmire. We ran for our lives, slipping on the glop beneath our feet. Nancy, being as small as she was then, couldn’t run fast enough – I had no choice but to hoist her up onto my back and carry her the rest of the way to safety. This was difficult because of the BHOA issue. Nancy’s head had not yet grown into her body and it kept bobbing everywhere, throwing me off-balance.


At fist I didn’t want to use this story either because Nancy claims she still has nightmares about those pigs. But my mom felt this was a story of survival and thought that I should absolutely share it with the world (or at least with a room full of our nearest and dearest), so I said: “What the heck! That moment in the history of her life can’t be too tragic because she continues to indulge in Easter ham year after year with no problem.  OK! I’ll do it!” And I did.

Still a Pig

After finding out about my little scavenger hunt to find stories, Nancy’s best-friend-in-the-world-Kate wanted me to tell everyone about a hilarious moment Nancy experienced at the gym a few days before her wedding. As it turns out, Kate thought the moment was hilarious. Nancy did not.

It was a sunny summer day and Nancy decided to go to the gym and pump some iron. Her first stop was the barbel contraption.  Apparently, Nancy was mid-squat when her exercise pants split open, exposing her polka-dotted undies. Those nearby heard the cheap fabric tear and turned to see what happened. When they spotted the funny-looking undies they started to laugh – loudly.

Polka-Dotted Undies

Mortified, Nancy tried to put the barbel back on the holder-thingy and leave, but the shame that was washed over her in that moment caused her arms to shake violently making her lose control of the metal beast, which she then swung into the nearby enormous weight stand, knocking it over and generating even more of a raucous. By this time the entire gym was looking in her direction and everyone was pointing and laughing. Nancy left the gym crying and then promptly called to cancel her membership. She never wanted to see that lot of laughers again.

Weight Stand

 I told Kate that she should be ashamed of herself for breaking the trust that Nancy had placed in her. Nancy told Kate this secret in confidence and assumed it would go no further. But Kate insisted that the story wasn’t told in confidence and that it was definitely not a secret, so I said: “What the heck! If we can’t all laugh at life’s little snafus, where would we be?  OK! I’ll do it!” And I did.

This is Kate

I wish I hadn’t included this story in my toast. I think Kate lied to me. I think this story really was a secret because ever since that fateful week, I’ve noticed Nancy turn green and run out of crowded rooms where large groups of people are gathered and laughing. These innocent folks were only enjoying their respective jovial conversations. They were not laughing at Nancy, but that didn’t seem to matter. I can only guess that she recalls the scarring gym incident whenever she hears a group of people – any group of people – laughing near her. Oopsy.

On the flip-side of the character coin, Nancy is a headstrong, stubborn, extremely assertive (and rapidly approaching middle-age) woman.

When Nancy wants to do something – whether preparing for a marathon, bungee jumping or sky-diving – she does it passionately.

I remember the time she ran for political office in Weymouth, Massachusetts. Nancy ran as a republican. Nancy got all of her friends and family to stand on street corners and hold signs with her name boldly imprinted across it. As I recall, Nancy never actually held one of those signs herself, she just posed for pictures with strange little children and bossed her minions around.

The Campaign Bumper Sticker - I did not put this on my car because I think bumper stickers are ugly

A Scene from the Campaign Corner Featuring: Nancy, a Strange Little Boy, a Headless Body, a Mutant Mouse and The Sign

Because I admired her ambition, I stood in the freezing cold rain outside the polling building for hours on end the day of the election, holding one of those obnoxious signs. Because I stood in the freezing cold rain outside the polling building for hours on end the day of the election holding one of those obnoxious signs, I caught a vicious cold. Because the cold was so vicious, it took me months to get rid of it.

Ironically, I’m not a Republican and I couldn’t even vote for Nancy because I lived in another city at the time.

Nancy didn’t win, but she earned a Q for the title Queen. Wear that tiara proudly, Nancy!

This is Queen Nancy

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.


May the Force Be With You and Don’t Forget the Tostitos!

Here comes the turnip truck!

Hi Oprah. Hi Tina. Hi Ellen.

And, hello again my lovely followers readership. I’m trying not to refer to my subscribers as “followers” anymore because “followers” makes it sound like I’m running some sort of cult and I’m not. This is just a blog and I am just the writer of this blog and you are just my people. So don’t let anyone trick you into thinking this is a cult of any sort. Cult leaders brainwash innocent and common people and the only person I’ve consistently and successfully brainwashed is Margaret – and she is not innocent or common.

I do, however, like to use The Force on people – especially my husband Jim. The Force is a sophisticated way of convincing people to do your bidding. Brainwashing is a more ferocious way of achieving the same goal.

Jedi Masters: Mace Windu, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Princess Toe-Nina

By using The Force – again, a more dignified form of mind control – I will fix Jack’s little pooping problem (Reminder: Jack is my 2-month old nephew). Currently, Jack poops like Mount Vesuvius explodes. Seriously. It is disgusting. (See Post #5: Find the Barrel Kermit for more detail.) I will start by buying him a plunger for his first birthday. At first he will play with the plunger like it’s a toy then eventually, when he starts potty training, he will use it for its intended purpose and he will have fun doing it! He will think of it as a game.

And don’t go writing nasty comments… I am well aware that Jack cannot control his poop cycles at present. I am just saying… it’s gross. Besides, if we start brainwashing teaching kids important lessons (like cleaning up after yourself) when they are really young these lessons will eventually become engrained in their psyches. (To Jack’s future spouse who will be so happy I taught him the joys of cleaning a toilet when he was young: “You’re welcome.”)

Baby Jack

And don’t you go passing judgement on me either. You are ALL brainwashers. Yes, it’s true. You are. Every single one of you has brainwashed a young mind in your lifetime, but without The Force to guide you, your methods have been unforgivably cruel.

There is a theory that when a baby comes out of his/her/its mama’s womb, his/her/its brain is a tabula rasa. A tabula rasa means “blank slate”. More specifically the term often refers to the human mind at birth as having no innate ideas.  On this slate any half-witted shmo can impress upon it directions (either in hieroglyphics or regular writing) on how one should think, act, feel, behave, etc. (See. It’s my parents’ fault. They wrote weird things on my impressionable young slate.)

A Blank Slate

This impressing of ideas onto the slate takes place until the day we die unless we do something to mess up the inputting. There have been plenty of times when people of a certain age decide they want to start over and they erase everything that was written on the slate over time so that they can rewrite their story. This is not a good idea.

Mr. Forgetful

People attempt to rewrite their history for several reasons. Sometimes people erase their past because they don’t want to remember the other people or events in their life because those other people and/or events are/were horrible. Sometimes people erase their past because they want to reinvent themselves – a librarian longs to be a spy or a horse jockey longs to be tall. Sometimes people erase their past because they want to experience all that fun again.

Unfortunately, after most people erase everything from the slate they can’t remember how to write on it again.

Darn it! I should have written the directions down.

Know that I am not referring to folks who have a true forgetting disease here. I’m talking about the people who forget to buy items their partner put on the grocery list. I’m talking about the people who make pretend they don’t see you and/or know you at the Hallmark store. I’m talking about the people who make plans with you to go out to dinner and then cancel at the last-minute because they got a better offer, but they tell you that they forgot. That is who I’m talking about.

The hardest part for a person who is “being forgotten” is accepting the fact that someone doesn’t want to remember them. Some humans have such gigantic egos that they think the world revolves around them. They want all inhabitants of the Universe to always remember who they are or who they were and their list of accomplishments. We are all – whether we admit it or not – ego-driven people. We can’t fathom the idea that anyone would choose not to remember us and all our narcissistic obnoxiousness. 

People, you need to get used to the fact that we are all forgettable in the end. Just like the Tostitos my husband forgot to buy yesterday.

Multigrain Tostitos

Fear not, my young Forget-Me-Nots! You can help the forgetful person create new memories; but, please be sure to use your imagination and make the world a better place for yourself. To do this well you have to train to be a Jedi Master and I recommend you wear a disguise (remember the person is forgetting you on purpose so you don’t want them to know you are wiggling your way back into their life). Begin your training by manipulating your significant other, your child or your pet. Persuade them to do things for you and to believe that their only goal in life is to service you and make you happy.

For example, after the Tostitos incident, I used The Force on Jim to get him to give me a foot massage, to clean the bathroom and to buy me a new outfit. You may think this was simple brainwashing, but you are wrong because not only did Jim do these things for me – he actually thinks he enjoyed doing them! Remember, the difference is in controlling your subject’s emotions, as well as their thinking. You also want them to think that they came up with the idea on their own. So, you might say something like: “Jim, don’t you think you would enjoy giving me a foot massage?”

Maybe in the end when we are tearing up the nursing home together Margaret won’t remember how I had fun manipulating her thoughts and emotions in our younger days. Maybe she already forgot. That’s OK by me. I will always know that if it wasn’t for me she never would have ended up with her two cats.  She loves those cats so much and that is all I can ask for.

You are probably saying to yourself: “Margaret has two cats?”

Yes. She does.

Here is the story of how the cats came to be part of Margie’s life: A while ago I started making fun of Margaret because she likes to drink alone in bars (her beverage of choice is Milk) with only her nook to keep her company. I told Margaret to stop being such a loner because she was making the other bar-goers uncomfortable. I told her that the rest of the people in the bar, who only want to go out and tear it up for a night, end up depressed and deflated because they feel so sad and sorry for her when they see her sitting all alone with her milk and her Nook in the corner. I also told her they probably all wonder and take bets on how many cats she has at home.

I then constantly asked Margaret how Portia and Peknuckle, her cats, were doing. At this time Margaret didn’t actually have cats, but I had fun playing with her mind. After this went on for a while Margaret reprimanded me via text because she was starting to believe she really was a crazy cat lady who drank alone at bars with her Nook. No matter which way you bake it, a brownie is still a brownie, Margaret.

A Nook

I ignored Margaret’s pity-party, paid her no mind and included the part about Portia and Peknuckle in her living eulogy (excerpt below) because I was sure that one day this idea of mine would come to fruition. And it did a few weeks after the eulogy was “published” – the cat part, the bar and Nook thing was already a reality.

 The day Margaret texted me to tell me she adopted a ragdoll cat named Peknuckle was a very happy day for me. Happier still was the text announcing that she had adopted a ragdoll kitten named Portia. Two down 98 to go! You’re welcome, Margie.

Portia and Peknuckle


My Friend Margaret

A Living Eulogy

Parts I ½ and II of VI

Part I ½ of VI

Much like Lola who was a show girl with yellow feathers in her hair and her dress cut down to there – Margaret enjoys drinking in bars alone with her Nook. It’s too bad that Lola didn’t have a Nook to keep her company – she would have been better off in the end. Just ask Margaret.

Part II of VI
Margaret is a wonderful and crazy cat lady. She has two cats that adore her – their names are Portia and Peknuckle. I like these cats because they are elegant like Margaret.

Until next time…

I’m turning off the turnip truck.