Showing posts with label humour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label humour. Show all posts

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Don’t Let the Dog In and Don’t Let Daniel Out

Life was especially chaotic after the birth of our eighth and ninth children because everyone was still fourteen and under. It was difficult to keep a sharp eye out for my new bundle of energy, Daniel.
As our second youngest, Daniel's basic character has always been pleasant and easy-going. His eyes are still twinkling and a slight smile graces his face. Most troubles seem to just roll off his back and his small smile often changes into a mischievous grin as he sits back on the fringes of our family stage and observes the emotional drama of his six sisters unfold. Teenage Daniel has learned a lot from observing teenage sisters.
One year, a high school religion teacher noticed Daniel's deep grasp of the feminine mind. During class discussions, after a few male students stumbled out vague answers to her inquiries  the teacher would turn to the class authority on girls,
"Daniel", she'd call out," You had six sisters; what do you say?"
Invariably, as my son started giving his opinion, all the girls would slowly nod their heads in agreement.
However, this agreeable, laid-back young man, was a real handful as a baby and little kid. With his little eyebrows lifted up in surprise, his eyes wide open, making sure he didn't miss anything and with his tiny, wiry body, squirming with energy, he was definitely alive. As Daniel peered over my shoulder one afternoon, staring at a friend of Michael's, the 'stranger' blurted out,
"Boy, is that baby ever awake! "
That short statement basically sums up baby Daniel's personality.
Once he learned to crawl, he was into everything and made sure that he reached his destination with great speed. Sometimes, after running to grab and scoop up this little bundle of happy energy, before he could dive into trouble, I would realize that Daniel's hands and feet would be still moving, as if he was trying to crawl in the air.
The pivotal point, where his crawling speed accelerated dramatically, was when he discovered the bowl of dog food. If the dog, Leisha, didn't come to eat right away or left food in his dish, Daniel was immediately crawling over to it as fast as his hands and knees would move. He'd grab a chunk of dried food in his hand and start gnawing on it.
Was he using it to teeth on?
Did I not feed that baby enough?
Did little Daniel actually like the gritty, hard, dry dog food?
I don't know.
All I do know is that when we moved the dog dish and huge bag of food to the back entrance, trying to hide it from this baby, he still found the dog food. When he reached the dog dish, he dove into it, chomping with gusto. That spot became Daniel's destination every morning while I was trying to get six kids feed, dressed decently, with notes signed, homework done, lunches made and packed and hair brushed and braided.

Finally, I reached my limit. We decided to move the dog dish and food right out of the house to the wood shed, even if it meant that feeding the dog became more complicated.
Did that stop the baby crawling cruiser? Not after he was out one day and saw the kids feeding Leisha.
The kids had barely turned away from the shed when the speedy crawler made a beeline to the dog dish.
From that moment on, I'd yell from the kitchen, as the kids headed for the front door,
"Don't let the dog in and don't let Daniel out!!"
Some mornings, as older children struggled to keep happy, eager Leisha from bounding energetically through the door, Daniel would crawl as fast as he could, duck through everyone's' legs and try to squirm out the door. Then kids would call out,
"Daniel's headed for the dog food again!"

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Grammar Humour

gram·mar ˈɡramər/noun
the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general,usually taken as consisting of syntax
and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.

synonyms: syntax, sentence structure, rules of language, morphology; linguistics
“the editors of this newspaper need a refresher course in grammar”
a particular analysis of the system and structure of language or of a specific language.
a book on grammar.
plural noun: grammars
“my old Latin grammar”


Sunday, 19 April 2015

No More Mental Kung-Fu

Posted on my fridge right at my eye level (I'm 5'1") are quotes that are key to my sanity. When I feel at my wit's end, this quote makes me laugh and cuts through stress.
One in four people are mentally unbalanced.
Think of three friends.
If they seem fine,
You're the one.
 
I never fail to smile, even after reading these lines hundreds of times. This reaction pushes worry to the side. When I don't take myself too seriously by entertaining the thought that I might be slightly unbalanced, I immediately stop over reacting. My worries are now put into perspective.
 
Laughter is the best way to snap out of melodrama.
 .
Cognitive therapists love to tell us not to 'make a mountain out of a mole hill', however there are times
when everything actually is even worse than it seems, times when our world really does shatter. What then? I love to control but when my safe little world has shattered, sometime it was the only way I could step out of my comfort zone.
 
Many times devastating circumstances have ended one way of life for our family but something new always rose out of the ashes. I had to learn to relax and patiently let the process unfold naturally.
 .
Again melodrama really did not help. I always say that I finally can laugh in the face of tragedy.  Christian Cognitive therapy came to my rescue.
 .
That old proverb, "Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill", has saved my sanity many times. Laughter puts every thing into perspective. Although stuck in retched circumstances, I still can change how I feel and how I think. Cognitive therapy is a powerful tool. I can often change my thoughts and focus on all the blessing is my life, instead if everything that is going wrong and my emotions change as well.
 
For example, I still can see, hear, use all my limbs and I don't have a chronic illness.

 .
But what about the times when you simply cannot change your thoughts?, when you can't snap out of anxiety or panic? My family coined a phrase for crazy thinking that leads to stress. Repeat this phrase and it is once again laughter what will put a stop to your running brain, guaranteed.No more Mental-Fu Can't you just see your thoughts sparring with each other in a match that neither of them can ever win, especially in the middle of the night? Really, humans are so illogical, we are comical. So this is my wise advice.
 .
To quote the Reader's Digest, "Laughter is the best medicine.
.
Laugh and Let God take charge.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Joyful Chaos: Dining With Eleven


Listen as I struggled to gather my crew every night for a family meal.
“Oh good, you’re done barn chores. Perfect timing; dinner is almost ready.”
“Two more minutes, everybody!”
“Joseph I’ll help after we eat, okay?”
“Mary, please run up and open Jean’s door and shut off the music.”
‘Dinner is ready!”
“Grace, I know you love that book sweetheart but, remember, no reading at the dinner table.”
“Where’s Mark?”
“Honey would you lift up Daniel into the high chair?”
“Are we all here? Anyone missing?”
Ah, dinner time in a large family.
Dinner was the highlight of the day with everyone clambering to share their news or simply squeeze in comments into the cacophony of voices. It was a humorous symphony which sounded perfectly in tune to my ears. High pitched baby squeals combined with loud, boisterous little boys.and the quavering of a male teen voice balanced teenage girl’s chatter. Dad’s reassuring bass tones soothed my shrill calls for everyone to listen to the toddler’s newest word. The highlight of this often unruly symphony was the spontaneous laughter punctuating the entire meal.
Life around the dinner table was relaxed and happy because I allowed my children to behave in age appropriate ways. I did not demand adult perfection. The consequences of this decision were messy but well worth the time it took to mop up after meal time. It meant I did not shovel neat, tidy mouthfuls of food into a toddler because we let little people feed themselves as soon as they reached for the spoon. It meant including three-year olds in meal prep, sending five and six-year olds running out to the garden for vegetables and allowing a ten-year old to make the dessert. In other words we valued participation over a neat and tidy kitchen and orderly meal times.
Now I am reaping the rewards of decisions which sent some visitors into sputtering, spirals of incredulity as they eyed my kitchen and the messy faces of my little people after a meal. I feel vindicated when I look at my grown-up kids; they all love to cook and entertain, especially for each other. Just drop by for a quick hello and inevitably they will cajole you to stay for a delicious meal.
It is a simple fact- there is no better way to form deep relationships than conversation over a home-cooked meal. In fact there is no better way to encourage the development of a warm supportive family than with great food and relaxed conversation around the dinner table.
God delights more in joyful chaos than in miserable, tight perfection.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Sock and Laundry Humour

To Pair or Not to Pair That is the Question  
When all the kids were at home, I had 154 stinky socks to wash every week, at the bare minimum and socks
disappeared into mountains of laundry. I could never find them all.
Do you have any idea where 154 socks can hide every week? I had to look between sheets, under Chesterfields and chairs, behind closet doors, inside wet boots, in school bags, under toy baskets, inside of pant legs and even, if I was lucky, in one of eleven dirty clothes baskets and still I could not find them all.
had to pair all the socks!
Or Did I?
That was the brilliant, out of the box sort of question I asked myself one day.
New solution:
Buy lots of black socks in every size. Surely some semblance of a pair of socks would be easier to find.
That was the new plan.
I simply tossed the black socks into a wicker basket with a three-foot circumference and a height of two and a half feet and hoped for the best.
However, I had managed to overlook one important fact. I had six daughters. Little girls don’t like black socks. They like pink socks. To make matters worse my mother bought cute socks with frills and bows and patterns that the girls really needed and loved.
None of them were the same! So although I used the toss and throw method of pairing, some mornings found us frantically searching for some appearance of a pair.
At times I had to literally toss the newly discovered pair over the upstairs railing. One of my kids, who already had their coat and school bag on their back, would catch them in mid-air. They quickly pulled on their socks, stuffed their feet into boots or shoes and flew out the door, barely making the school bus.
People joke about washing machines eating socks. Rationally, I know that this is a silly answer to my dilemma, but the more I think about it, the better I like the whimsical answer. I could kill myself trying to control everyone’s sock habits but really, life is much, more interesting if we relax a bit and joke about our failings and foibles.
It seems lots of people have sock problems, not just large families. So, I present sock jokes for your humourous enjoyment  
                                                                                             


Thursday, 6 November 2014

Those Bothersome Bugs

Once again the school had sent notes home about another outbreak of head lice but of course I was confident that we had never had and never would get lice. Over the phone, the school secretary asked me to check Rachel’s head. Since she was in morning kindergarten, Rachel had missed the head check that afternoon. It seems that lice epidemics thrive in the younger grades and slowly spread through the entire school.
I laughed and said, “I just washed her hair last night; I really don’t think she has any but I’ll check anyway.”
I called Rachel over to a bright window, parted her hair and peered closely at her scalp. Her head was literally crawling with bugs! After screaming shrilly, I picked up the phone again only to hear the secretary say,
“I guess that is a ‘yes’, Mrs. Juneau.”
I was mortified; Rachel’s head was covered and another daughter saw a bug crawling on her forehead in a mirror at school!! I get itchy just remembering Lice Week. Of course, the school assured me that lice like clean hair but that did not reassure me at all. In the end, all Rachel’s siblings had at least a couple of nits. No one could return to school until they were completely lice and nit free.
Do you have any idea the work that faced us?
In those days health nurses and doctors told us to wash all bedding, favourite stuffed animals, throw pillows, afghans, towels, combs, hair brushes and hair accessories, hats, mitts, scarves, sweaters, clothes, pyjamas and house coats and finally both sets of snowsuits (the good set and the farm set). In addition, it was necessary to vacuum Chesterfields, chairs, rugs and anything touched by a head of hair. Those directions amounted to almost 60 loads of laundry! I filled a bathtub almost to the ceiling with stuff I had to wash. I solemnly swear, I do not exaggerate but that was not the hardest job in the next few days.
I had to wash ten heads of hair with awful smelling shampoo, then comb out every nit with vinegar and a special fine-tooted steal comb. Are you familiar with the saying, ‘oh quit nit -picking’? Well, it takes on a whole new meaning after you’ve tried to pull every sticky nit off single strands of hair on eleven heads.
So what does a slightly paranoid, overwhelmed mother do? She arranges everyone according to age and size to simultaneously check each others’ head. At least that helped with the more obvious eggs.
However, I was given a wonderful gift. A couple of my kids became expert nit pickers. The best nit pickers were the detail oriented offspring, who were slightly obsessive-compulsive; I grew to treasure that particular weakness during the next couple of weeks because one overlooked nit could explode into hundreds of offspring in a matter of days. Now that could cause a nightmare!
I wished I could say that this episode was the one and only “Battle of the Bugs” our family endured but kindergarten classes are notorious hotbeds for lice; the kids are always head to head examining something utterly fascinating with friends.
At least the next time lice hopped on a Juneau head we were battle ready.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Loveable, Annoying Pet

Shadow was the most quirky, amusing and utterly annoying pet we have ever owned. A drooling, big black lab mix with overgrown feet and an overgrown personality, Shadow was an integral part of my children’s lives for 13 years.
This dog grew up with cats.They could cuddle up beside him or lay on top of him and he barely raised an eyebrow. He tossed mice and fish around like a cat and sometimes he played more like a cat than a dog.
Shadow could not stand to be left out of any activity.Thus the name Shadow . This carnivore snuck up and snatched what ever the kids were picking from the garden and eat it- corn on the cob, green beans, strawberries, raspberries…Every week, we collected day old bread, distributed to families in need and of course fed our own family. Any extra went to the pigs. This jealous dog would  dash in to the pigs’ feeding trough, grab a bun or long french loaf and dart away as the pigs charged after him. In a perfect doggy way, he would bury the stolen treasure. Then Shadow would sit, with his back to his stash and guard it. The funniest scene would be in the winter when the french loaf was only half buried, Shadow seemed confident that his bread was invisible. He sat and pretended that he was innocently looking around and enjoying the scenery and not guarding illegal, stolen goods.
Although Shadow had webbed feet and loved to swim, he was reluctant to get wet.The only way to persuade him to swim in the lake and cool off was to cast a bobber with a fishing rod and reel it in as fast as possible. At least once every 20 casts, Shadow would manage to snap up the fishing bobber. It was hilarious because he would keep diving in after that stupid bobber till he was ready to drop.
Our dog’s curiosity caused many mishaps. One night when a porcupine shot 30-40 quills into his face and nose, Shadow could only sleep with his face hanging over the top step in the hall. It took hours of patiently sneaking up while he dozed and pulling the quills out one at a time. We tried to restrain this monstrous beast many times, but he always shook us off .
Then there were the few times, a skunk sprayed him at close range and he rolled the stench into the kitchen floor. Have you ever smelled fresh, Strong, skunk spray? Our eyes teared, heads ached and our lungs burned. The entire house REEKED for days after!!! I even tried washing the floor and Shadow with tomato juice. What did work was liquid Tide.
Shadow hated thunder storms.If he was alone in the house he would jump through  glass windows and doors or scratch frantically at screen windows or doors smashing, ripping, and destroying wood, frames, what ever prevented him from escaping.
In 13 years this rampage happened TOO many times and after every incident, Michael would yell
“That’s it!! This dog has to go!!”
Our older “kids” would shake their heads, smile and say,
“Dad, really, Shadow is part of the family and you just can’t get rid of a family member, no matter how poorly they act.”
Michael, would then glare at the miscreant, and demand,
” Go lay down, you bad dog.”
Suitably chastised, Shadow would slink away and keep a low profile for a few days….but only a few days.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Changing Ingrained Patterns With Humour and Insight

When I tackle myself and try to change by brute force,  all that happens is that I become even more inflexible and unchanged. 
Usually a sense of humour snaps me out of this conundrum.
Positive quotes, especially humourous ones, act like quick shots of cognitive therapy by changing my thoughts
.As cognitive therapy says, thoughts precede emotions; change your thoughts and your emotions change.


Whether you think you can or can't, you're right. - Henry Ford

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. 
– Christopher Reeve

We become what we think about. - Earl Nightingale

Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless.
 - Thomas Edison
There was never a genius without a tincture of madness. - Aristotle

If not us, who? If not now, when? – John F. Kennedy

Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. – Jack Canfield

Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs. 
– Farrah Gray


Certain things catch your eye, but pursue only those that capture the heart. – Ancient Indian Proverb

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. 
– Maya Angelou

I suppose leadership at one time meant muscles; but today it means getting along with people. – Mohandas Gandhi

If you're going through hell, keep going.
 - Winston Churchill

We're never gonna survive unless we go a little crazy. - Seal

Believe you can and you’re halfway there
. – Theodore Roosevelt

To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence. – Mark Twain

Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.
 – Tom Peters

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. – Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson

A loving heart is the beginning of all knowledge.
 – Thomas Carlyle

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Even Pets Can Have Chores

No able-bodied human or animal would live in my house without contributing in some way to our household
Our pet guinea pig pushed his luck one day when I discovered why Guinea pigs are called PIGS. It is because they eat just like real pigs that’s why.
I was losing patience with ours; every time I opened the fridge that little rodent would squeak like crazy, begging for another vegetable.
One day, I marched out into our garden and pulled out an entire stalk of broccoli and stuffed it in the guinea pig’s cage. I stuffed the entire cage with greens, mini broccoli and a thick, fibrous stalk. The wire door didn’t even close completely.
The next morning the entire plant was gone, only a few tough, stringy fibers left. When I opened the fridge door, that guinea pig started squeaking for food once more. I couldn’t believe it; his stomach should have burst open.
Then I made a decision.
No able-bodied human or animal would live in my house without contributing in some way to our household. I decided that this particular animal was going to trim the grass around the house. I gathered the oldest four kids together and explained that we were taking the bottom off the cage and placing it right beside the house where there were no gardens. Every few hours, someone would move the cage.
It was a brilliant idea.
The kids thought it was hilarious that a guinea pig would have a household chore and I was quite pleased to have a little more peace in the kitchen.
However, I forgot to consider that we lived in the country. Foxes, coyotes, wolves and even owls love to snack on rodents. One morning the cage was knocked over and all that was left of this little guinea pig was his gizzard. David was sure that it was no ordinary predator that had attacked our guinea pig. No, it was a big, black bear and he knew that to be a fact because he could see,
“the big, bloody, footprints down the lane!”

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Time for a Smile

And God promised men that good and obedient wives would be found in all corners of the world. Then He made the earth round...and laughed and laughed and laughed...


Sunday, 20 July 2014

You Will Laugh Inspite of Yourself

Age is of no importance unless you’re a cheese. – Billie Burke

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow. – Mark Twain
Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It’s already tomorrow in Australia. – Charles Schulz