How to insult someone in 140 characters or less

Alec Baldwin Spews Hate on Bachmann: ‘Inarticulate and Full of *&$#%’

I don’t care if it’s Twitter, saying that somebody is “inarticulate and full of *&$#%” is like lambasting someone for being a “bad speler” or saying that “she have poor grammar skills.”  I mean, if the best insults you have are expletives, can you really call someone else inarticulate?  Twitter does permit 140 characters, right?  The following articulate quotations are all less than 140 characters (omitting the bracketed words from the GW quote). 

“The {foolish and wicked} practice of profane cursing and swearing is a vice so mean and low that every person of sense and character detests and despises it.”  George Washington

“Profanity is the weapon of the witless.”  Anonymous

“Profanity is the common crutch of the conversational cripple.”  David Keuck

“When a man uses profanity to support an argument, it indicates that either the man or the argument is weak – probably both.”  Anonymous

“Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully.”  Anonymous

Expect the expected

“Mommy, do you know where the pliers are?”

This question, from Katie, is not a normal occurrence.  I wasn’t sure whether I should be proud…or very very worried.

“Why do you want pliers?”

“Oh, we’re making necklaces and we need them for the ends.”  Of course.  Silly me for getting a bit excited at the prospect that she was spending her summer delving into electric circuitry.

“Did you look in the toolboxes?” I suggested.

“Oh,” She said, “OK.”  With a shrug that seemed to say: I’ll give it a try.  I’ve looked in all the reasonable places I could think of, why not the toolboxes.

She hasn’t returned, so I assume that she found one.

Maybe we’ll do circuits next summer.

Rough afternoon

I’m babysitting the most placid 16 month old on the planet.  He’s snuggled on my lap with a toy in each hand and staring up at me with his serious brown eyes with sinfully long dark lashes.

If I were his mother, I’d be frustrated that I can’t get anything done. 

But since I’m the babysitter, I’ll just get caught up on blog reading.

June in Georgia and the Army

I attended a sit-down dinner last night with about a hundred other people.  I can’t even remember the centerpieces – perhaps blue and red carnations? – but I won’t forget that strewn decoratively around the centerpiece on the white tablecloth were dozens of coffee beans

We presumed a foreboding of tedious speeches.  The coffee beans could be consumed if necessary.


It’s been over a year and I still can not get used to the deference shown my husband based on his job.  Nobody calls him “Bill” (few people call me “Michelle”).  When speaking to me, nobody ever says “your husband” or even “he” or “him” when it is obvious whom they mean.  It’s always “The BC” or “The Colonel.”  Every single time, I ask myself “Who?” before I realize they mean Bill. 

Fortunately, in a year, he’ll be back to being just another LTC among hundreds of LTCs.  At least I hope so.  It doesn’t do a man any good to spend too long with people kowtowing to you.  Humility is a virtue hard to cultivate when you are a VIP.


I was actually a bit early for the dinner last night, so I thought I could make a quick trip to the commissary.

I forgot it was Monday.  Not all, but many commissaries are closed on Mondays.  However, I’ve spent most of my time living near Fort Belvoir, and that commissary is usually open on Mondays.  I can’t get used to something that is actually very standard.


The Okefenokee Swamp is on fire.  It has been since late April.  We are about a hundred miles northeast of the fire, but we can see and smell the smoke all the way up here.  On Saturday, when I drove down to Florida to meet my mom and pick up my girls, I spent over an hour in thick smog.  It’s not very pleasant, but it’s interesting and amazing at the same time.  I would think that a hundred miles is more than enough distance to dissipate the smoke, but apparently not.  I can’t imagine how horrid it must be closer to the blaze.


Now that our days are less congested with activities and the temperatures are oppressive, I thought it would be a great time to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy out loud as a family.  I’ve told the boys that they can’t watch the movies until they’ve read the books, so they are eager to get going with this project. 

Of course, as soon as I mentioned this to them, I had another thought.  I turned to Bill and asked, “Do we even own the books?”

No, of course not.  Fortunately, the used bookstore in town had copies.  It was my lucky day.


The other evening, the doorbell rang, and once we shooed our vicious dog away, I opened it to find my elderly neighbor standing there with a watermelon.

“Are you gifting me with a watermelon?” I asked.  She was, and actually gave me two since I had such a large family. 

I’ve got great neighbors.  We have always been fortunate in finding good people wherever we are.


After the nasty sand gnats become less troublesome, out come the deer flies that circle you several times before picking a nice tender spot to chomp on.  Both the gnats and the flies travel in swarms, so there is no escape once they spot you.  Now that the flies have pretty much died off, the Georgia humidity is kicking in.  It wouldn’t be so bad, but the A/C in this house is inadequate.  I suppose 84 degrees is better than 94 or 100, but it’s still hot.


Such is Army life: several friends are moving away next week.  I hate goodbyes; I think we all hate goodbyes.  We’ll focus on the petty annoyances of packers and movers and landlords and remain in denial about the bigger life changes happening. 

And also, in the Army, it’s not necessarily goodbye forever.  You never know what old friends you might find at your next duty station.

And I’m re-learning that it is much harder to be the one left behind.

Together again

Everybody is home.


On Wednesday, Fritz and Billy and some other boys were on their way to the chapel at Scout camp.  A thunderstorm approached and lightening started striking close enough nearby that my boys stated praying Hail Marys.  It must have been quite frightening, because Fritz said they tried to teach George, a Protestant, the Hail Mary, too.

I’m thrilled that my boys: 1) were on their way to the chapel, 2) turned to the Blessed Mother in a time of need, 3) were comfortable expressing their faith publicly, and 4) were happy to share their faith with a non-Catholic.

Fritz reported that “it didn’t work.”  I’m not sure if he meant that he was unable to teach George the Hail Mary or that the lightening didn’t stop.  It was too late last night to get into a theological discussion about how having Mary pray for you “at the hour of your death” might actually be the answer to your prayer, rather than deliverance from a bad storm.

Happy that my boys weren’t on the nightly news, too.


It was after dinner by the time they returned from camp last night.  I instructed them to leave their stuff in the car and I would deal with it on the morrow.  There was no way I was having stinky clothes dragged into my house to sit and wait for me to wash them.

Unfortunately, Katie had been complaining of an earache and I decided to take her to the walk-in appointments available at 9 am Sunday mornings.

Two footlockers full of a week’s dirty laundry sitting in a closed car overnight do not provide a pleasant aroma for the 30 minute drive into town.


When the girls came home, they observed the work I had been doing all week: namely, cleaning out their bedroom and their brothers’ bedroom.  It is nice to come home to clean surroundings, although they haven’t figured out that if mom is in doubt about something being trash or treasure, mom leans heavily in favor of trash.

Jenny commented that “the upstairs is very clean, but the downstairs is very messy.” 

Anybody want to take my kids for a week so I can finish what I started?

Big Successes

With 4 kids gone this week, I set as a goal to get most everything ready for next year’s school year.

For the record, we’re not completely done with this year.

But I really want to enjoy my summer and not have school planning hanging over my head all July.  So, I have sorted and inventoried my books, made lists of what I need to purchase, and, best of all, done the lesson plans for all 5 students for the whole year.  This is a tedious job.

Everybody has their own system, but, for me, what works is a weekly checklist of all the assignments.  Yes, quite often my students are shuffling through multiple pages when they get behind in certain areas, but it really helps us to see how much we have left to do.  I use Mother of Divine Grace with minimal substitutions, so I just plop those lesson plans into an Excel spreadsheet.  Then I print out all 32 weeks and take it to Staples where they will spiral-bind it for a small fee.  Last year I printed the 32 weeks on 16 pages, but I didn’t like that, so I’m back to 32 pages.

The younger grades are, obviously, a bit easier to do since I saved the files.  It’s the oldest child whose lesson plans take the most time.  And I finished that this morning – WOOHOO!  I am doing a victory dance.

If you use MODG and would like to have these checklists, I will happily share my hours of labor with you.  I have through Grade 8.  I make no guarantees of accuracy, or promises that you will like my abbreviations.  Some subjects still require you to look at the syllabus, and I may have added or subtracted things (for example: piano practice is on the top beginning in Grade 2).  But the spreadsheets are able to be edited.  Let me know if you are interested.

He’s the best

I’m falling in love all over again.

My husband has just spent the last hour playing chess and checkers with my brother, Glenn, who has Downs Syndrome.

And even though he’d really like to get in the shower, he promised Peter he would play “restaurant.”  He’s the waiter, with a French accent.

Isn’t he awesome?

Working Vacation

Yesterday’s success story was finally getting my husband to join me in being an official resident of the state of Florida.  He has a driver’s license and both cars now have Florida plates.  So long, New Jersey.

Florida does not have a plate for the front of the car, so Bill said he’d look around and find me something.  The front grill looks very bare.

He suggested something glittery that said “Michelle.”  Can you imagine?

Several weeks ago I was eyeing the camo steering wheels covers at a local store.  I have nothing against camo steering wheel covers, but they are definitely not my husband’s style.  I thought it would make a funny practical joke.  He caught me looking and threatened to pimp my ride with Betty Boop paraphernalia.  I decided the laughs weren’t worth the expense.


Speaking of practical jokes, several weeks ago, Fritz took an empty beer bottle, filled it with water and hammered the cap back on.  He put it in the fridge hours before Bill came home.  I didn’t see him, and didn’t notice anything suspicious when he loitered in the kitchen that evening when Bill came home from work.

It was a well played joke.

It doesn’t bode well for our future if we don’t sharpen our wits.


In order to register the cars in Florida, we had to drive the cars to Florida.  We went to Fernandina Beach, which isn’t too far away.  And there’s a beach.  Bill left an hour before me to take care of his license first.

I was almost to Florida when my car started shimmying very very badly.  I pulled over and expected to see a flat tire, but they all looked fine.  As I sat and texted my husband, who was 25 minutes away, a police officer pulled over to see what was wrong.  He looked at my tires as well, but suggested the problem could be internal.

“You wouldn’t know it until it blew out.”


We agreed I needed to keep it slow (55 mph in a 70 zone), and he left.  After I got back on the road, Bill called and said perhaps the lug nuts were loose.  Since I was near an exit, I took it and checked those.  They seemed fine.  He texted that I should find a service place, but I saw only gas stations at that exit.  I decided to get back on the highway and limp the ten miles or so to the exit closest to Bill and deal with it then.

On the curve to the entrance ramp, the left rear tire blew.

I am very grateful that it was there and at that low speed then at highway speeds with traffic.  One’s car does fishtail when something like that happens.

Safely to the side of the ramp, I called AAA and they promised to send someone to put on the spare tire as soon as possible.  I appraised Bill of the situation and he said he would be over as soon as his license was done.

I thought about changing the tire myself.  I have changed tires before.  Not on this car.  Not in a while.  The last time I started to change a tire, somebody pulled over to help.  It was in my neighborhood, and I knew him.  I wasn’t sure I wanted a random stranger’s help in this situation.  The biggest reason I decided not to do it was that it was the left rear tire, only a few feet away from the edge of the ramp.  I really didn’t want my little kids witnessing mommy being dragged off by a tractor trailer.

So I waited and when the pickup truck showed up, the person who got out to change my tire was…

…a girl.

I texted my sister that fact and she texted back: “Are you sexist?”

“No,” I responded, “just embarrassed.”

I helped by keeping an eye on traffic.  And I’m glad I didn’t have to kneel down in the gravel in my nylon board shorts.  She was wearing jeans which are much better suited for that sort of work.


The rest of the day was calmer.  After the clerk checked my VIN and mileage, I headed to the beach.  We sat and waited a bit for a thunderstorm to pass and then spent a few hours watching the fish jump out of the water. 

This may be our last summer here, so we’re enjoying the ocean as much as possible while we can.