If You Have Kids, Or Have Ever Been Around Them, Read This

Years ago my dad found this online, and he used to read it to couples and families visiting our home. Without fail, everyone ended up doubled over, expiring with laughter.

As Aaron and I look forward to having our firstborn child this Spring, all the joyful anticipations — and fears that I hear are so common — are present. Let this be a lesson to me to retain a sense of humor about it all!

Author Ian Frazier explains that he was reading Leviticus and watching his kids alone for the weekend when he had the idea to write this. Enjoy!

Lamentations of the Father: Laws Concerning Food and Drink—Household Principles

1. Laws Pertaining to the Living Room

Of the beasts of the field, and of the fishes of the sea, and of all foods that are acceptable in my sight you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the hoofed animals, broiled or ground into burgers, you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the cloven-hoofed animal, plain or with cheese, you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the cereal grains, of the corn and of the wheat and of the oats, and of all the cereals that are of bright color and unknown provenance you may eat, but not in the living room.

Of the quiescently frozen dessert and of all frozen after-meal treats you may eat, but absolutely not in the living room.

Of the juices and other beverages, yes, even of those in sippy-cups, you may drink, but not in the living room, neither may you carry such therein. Indeed, when you reach the place where the living room carpet begins, of any food or beverage there you may not eat, neither may you drink.

But if you are sick, and are lying down and watching something, then may you eat in the living room.

2. Laws When at Table

And if you are seated in your high chair, or in a chair such as a greater person might use, keep your legs and feet below you as they were. Neither raise up your knees, nor place your feet upon the table, for that is an abomination to me. Yes, even when you have an interesting bandage to show, your feet upon the table are an abomination, and worthy of rebuke.

Drink your milk as it is given you, neither use on it any utensils, nor fork, nor knife, nor spoon, for that is not what they are for; if you will dip your blocks in the milk, and lick it off, you will be sent away. When you have drunk, let the empty cup then remain upon the table, and do not bite it upon its edge and by your teeth hold it to your face in order to make noises in it sounding like a duck; for you will be sent away.

When you chew your food, keep your mouth closed until you have swallowed, and do not open it to show your brother or your sister what is within; I say to you, do not so, even if your brother or your sister has done the same to you.

Eat your food only; do not eat that which is not food; neither seize the table between your jaws, nor use the raiment of the table to wipe your lips. I say again to you, do not touch it, but leave it as it is. And though your stick of carrot does indeed resemble a marker, draw not with it upon the table, even in pretend, for we do not do that, that is why. And though the pieces of broccoli are very like small trees, do not stand them upright to make a forest, because we do not do that, that is why.

Sit just as I have told you, and do not lean to one side or the other, nor slide down until you are nearly slid away. Heed me; for if you sit like that, your hair will go into the syrup. And now behold, even as I have said, it has come to pass.

3. Laws Pertaining to Dessert

For we judge between the plate that is unclean and the plate that is clean, saying first, if the plate is clean, then you shall have dessert. But of the unclean plate, the laws are these: If you have eaten most of your meat, and two bites of your peas with each bite consisting of not less than three peas each, or in total six peas, eaten where I can see, and you have also eaten enough of your potatoes to fill two forks, both forkfuls eaten where I can see, then you shall have dessert. But if you eat a lesser number of peas, and yet you eat the potatoes, still you shall not have dessert; and if you eat the peas, yet leave the potatoes uneaten, you shall not have dessert, no, not even a small portion thereof. And if you try to deceive by moving the potatoes or peas around with a fork, that it may appear you have eaten what you have not, you will fall into iniquity. And I will know, and you shall have no dessert.

4. On Screaming

Do not scream; for it is as if you scream all the time. If you are given a plate on which two foods you do not wish to touch each other are touching each other, your voice rises up even to the ceiling, while you point to the offense with the finger of your right hand; but I say to you, scream not, only remonstrate gently with the server, that the server may correct the fault.

Likewise if you receive a portion of fish from which every piece of herbal seasoning has not been scraped off, and the herbal seasoning is loathsome to you, and steeped in vileness, again I say, refrain from screaming. Though the vileness overwhelm you, and cause you a faint unto death, make not that sound from within your throat, neither cover your face, nor press your fingers to your nose. For even now I have made the fish as it should be; behold, I eat of it myself, yet do not die.

5. Concerning Face and Hands

Cast your countenance upward to the light, and lift your eyes to the hills, that I may more easily wash you off. For the stains are upon you; even to the very back of your head, there is rice thereon. And in the breast pocket of your garment, and upon the tie of your shoe, rice and other fragments are distributed in a manner wonderful to see. Only hold yourself still; hold still, I say.

Give each finger in its turn for my examination thereof, and also each thumb. Lo, how iniquitous they appear. What I do is as it must be; and you shall not go hence until I have done.

6. Various Other Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances

Bite not, lest you be cast into quiet time. Neither drink of your own bath water, nor of bath water of any kind; nor rub your feet on bread, even if it be in the package; nor rub yourself against cars, nor against any building; nor eat sand.

Leave the cat alone, for what has the cat done, that you should so afflict it with tape? And hum not that humming in your nose as I read, nor stand between the light and the book. Indeed, you will drive me to madness. Nor forget what I said about the tape.

7. Complaints and Lamentations

O my children, you are disobedient. For when I tell you what you must do, you argue and dispute hotly even to the littlest detail; and when I do not accede, you cry out, and hit and kick. Yes, and even sometimes do you spit, and shout “stupid-head” and other blasphemies, and hit and kick the wall and the molding thereof when you are sent to the corner. And though the law teaches that no one shall be sent to the corner for more minutes than he has years of age, yet I would leave you there all day, so mighty am I in anger. But upon being sent to the corner you ask straightaway, “Can I come out?” and I reply, “No, you may not come out.” And again you ask, and again I give the same reply. But when you ask again a third time, then you may come out.

Hear me, O my children, for the bills they kill me. I pay and pay again, even to the twelfth time in a year, and yet again they mount higher than before. For our health, that we may be covered, I give six hundred and twenty talents twelve times in a year; but even this covers not the fifteen hundred deductible for each member of the family within a calendar year. And yet for ordinary visits we still are not covered, nor for many medicines, nor for the teeth within our mouths. Guess not at what rage is in my mind, for surely you cannot know. For I will come to you at the first of the month and at the fifteenth of the month with the bills and a great whining and moan. And when the month of taxes comes, I will decry the wrong and unfairness of it, and mourn with wine and ashtrays, and rend my receipts. And you shall remember that I am that I am: before, after, and until you are twenty-one. Hear me then, and avoid me in my wrath, O children of me.

– Ian Frazier

Lakes and Loons and Loony Larks

I miss lakes. Lakes were a big part of my childhood, when I think about it. I learned how to swim in a lake (Silver Lake, right?…Gina, Emily, Abby, Stephanie, remember the crazy-painful hot metal slide we played on? Is it still there?), had T-ball practice next to lakes, learned how to make loon-calls on lakes (North Star Lake), how to fish in lakes, how to ice-skate on frozen lakes, went to church baptisms at lakes, steered boats on lakes (White Bear Lake), fell fully clothed into lakes (several lakes)…

…and then I moved to southern California. No lakes for seventeen years. In terms of me and lakes, these were the years of the Babylonian Captivity. (What about the ocean, you say? Me and the ocean is a whole different story.)

Then I moved to Arkansas. Hey, there’s quite a few lakes here! But seven years later, I’ve been to more lakes in other countries (in desert regions!) than I have in Arkansas. 

Time to have a lake day. With fishing. And loons.  

Loons really add a special something. A lake without loons is almost no lake at all. I miss getting out on a boat just before the sun rises, weaving through the mist still crawling over the water, and talking to the loons…

A Shepherd’s Conference “Throwback Thursday” (and my baptism story — well, the funny bits).

Don’t have a photo for this TBT, but here goes.

As the Shepherd’s Conference is in full swing today, I am reminded of how set-up went in the old days! For years, my mom would begin our homeschool year two weeks early in Autumn, JUST so that we could spend one week helping with setup and the second week serving during the conference. I LOVED being a “go-fer” running hither, thither, and yon for all manner of errands.

We learned about sacrificing our time to make a big event happen. We learned about doing whatever was asked of us as well and quickly as we could. We learned how to interact with guests from foreign lands, some of whom barely spoke English. And so much more!

–In the room across from the kitchen (the kitchen by the Fireside Room), we spent a whole day walking around and around a huge square of tables, collating  all the attendees’ conference materials for the week into massive blue 3-ring binders.

–Used a paper-cutter to turn stacks of paper into all of the individual name-tags!

–Put hours and hours into sliding each name-tag into a plastic holder with a pin on the back, while trying not to seriously puncture a finger.

–Served sit-down dinners in the gymnasium; way back when ALL the visiting pastors FIT in the gym, even sitting around tables! (And I tripped on the blue floor-covering and dumped an entire plate of spaghetti *splat!* into the lap of a German church leader. Zum Glück war er sehr nett!)

–The Master’s Chorale would sing and I would sit enraptured, hoping beyond hope that I could sing in that group someday. (A wish that came true!) This hasn’t really changed. =}

–One year on a day during setup week, I was sent from the kitchen up to Dr. MacArthur’s office with his lunch, not realizing I’d forgotten to include any cutlery. He said, rather tentatively as I turned to go, “Thanks! Hey Elizabeth could uh, could I please have a fork?”  Oops.

Lastly, in March of 1999 when the attendance had doubled since the years of my childhoood, I was baptized at the Shepherd’s Conference. They always have an extra-long baptism service, and it’s a wonderful, solemn, yet joyful time. Typically the women go first, and then all the men. But I’d been tagged onto the schedule at the last minute, and was set to go at the very end after the men (because Dr. MacArthur was going to step out of the water and my dad, who was on pastoral staff at the time, was to come baptize me).

Unfortunately, John . . . forgot.

He baptized the last guy, and began winding down toward a final prayer. There dad and I are, literally waiting in the wings in our fluffy white robes, and dad quietly says “Psssst, John. John!” He stopped mid-sentence and turned around, not-so-mild surprise on his face. Then turns back to the mic, jovially saying:

“I’m so sorry, we have one more!”

So at the tender age of 14 and not much keen on public speaking, I walked out there to the sound of ~4,000 men belly-laughing . . .

Six Things I’d Never Heard of Before Living in the South

Some of these are not strictly Southern, but here is a smattering of traditions, terms, and foods I’ve been tickled to learn about since coming to Arkansas six and a half years ago.

1) A “Pounding”

When new folks are moving to a home in your area from out of state/country, such as a new pastor or a new position at the office, the community helps out by signing up to buy a grocery staple (in many cases a pound, thus the name) and bring it to a party or to move-in day. All at once the newcomers are blessed with a full pantry in their new home. What a GREAT idea.

2) The “Groom’s Cake”

Oddly enough the first wedding I attended in Arkansas was that of a friend from college (in California). She was from the church we moved to in Little Rock, and had a beautiful wedding on New Year’s Day, 2008. But I was in for a surprise at the reception: two cakes?? I mean, another cake is always a good thing, but having an official bride’s cake and groom’s cake was a totally foreign concept. I love it though! It’s an entertaining way for the groom’s personality to have a platform at what is so often a bride-centered event. In the six years since then I’ve seen Darth Vader cakes, cakes made in the exact shape and detail of a soundboard, and my personal favorites: simply huge chocolate cakes loaded with chocolate icing. Yum!

3) “Dirty Santa”

In California and lots of other places, it’s  called “White Elephant”: the gift-giving game where you bring something to a Christmas party and everyone opens one and steals them from each other and has a general riot. Most of the time it’s up to the host whether you are supposed to bring something nice enough to keep, or total rubbish. Sometimes the distinction is not made, and the gifts comprise a little of both. (This would explain why I received  an old Linksys router at my boss’s house this year.) I suppose it’s the rubbish-version of the game for which calling it Dirty Santa makes sense. Some people I have asked say that it’s Dirty Santa when you’re supposed to bring clutter, and it’s White Elephant when the gifts are to be “nice”. Alrighty then.

4) “Chocolate Gravy” 

Similar to sausage gravy (or what the South calls “Biscuits and Gravy”), this extremely odd dish is just…chocolate gravy. On biscuits. Runny chocolate-ish “gravy” on plain dry biscuits. Great if you grew up with it I suppose, but this one I’m afraid I will never understand. (I did taste it.)

5) “Bridal Portraits” . . . weeks before the wedding.

This one really threw me for a loop. I felt pretty dumb. At that same New Year’s Day wedding there was a large, gorgeous framed photograph of the bride on a stand by the doorway to the reception. She looked exactly as she did in the service she’d just walked out of, but I couldn’t think how that photo could have possibly made it into that frame in the short space of time since her morning toilette. It was a morning wedding, after all. Did somebody take the photo and immediately have it rushed out to be developed, then get it in the frame and back to the church just in time? I was impressed. Mentioning this to the next person in line, I was informed of the tradition that is “Bridal Portraits.” Of course it wasn’t all done in a jiffy that morning. The photo had been taken weeks ago when the bride got all gussied up just like she would for the actual ceremony and went out for an official photo-shoot. Leaves more time for couples shots on the wedding day, and less stress for all. Huh.

6) “Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”

I couldn’t do a post like this without including at least one colloquialism. This is *so* my favorite, but I have yet to encounter the, uh, appropriate moment to use it…

My Opinion and $3.75

I just read an article wherein the author told me that if I am “of a certain age” I probably remember The Great Mouse Detective. Seriously?!

“Elementary” is a travesty and “Sherlock” is pure genius. The End.
(For the definition of ‘travesty’ see the 2004 film The Phantom of the Opera or the last few installments of the Harry Potter film series.)

Remember on ‘The West Wing’ when Josh Lyman said “I’m so sick of Congress I could vomit.”   Yeah.
(Though he be a liberal and yea verily though he be fictional, I stand with Josh on that one.)

One of the retired Facebook features that I miss is the ability to throw sheep at my friends.

You don’t really know what kind of person you are until you have “Magnetic Poetry” on your refrigerator and observe the kind of *insert adjective* sentences you come up with. (Then you forget about them and have friends over and suddenly those friends know too.)

When you open the kitchen cupboard and a roach falls down onto the counter in front of you and you don’t even flinch, you might not be winning the battle.

It’s interesting to me that Dr. Sheldon Cooper is pretty much human selfishness and pride personified, yet he’s still such a popular character. Anybody else out there willing to admit that it might be because he simply says about himself most of the things we all think about ourselves, in the privacy of our own little sin-sick hearts? His relatability should tell us something. (I informed you thusly.)

And in other news . . . I just bought a ticket to go far, far away. Canada, gird your loins!

 

 

 

Boz and Wet Socks

Today I had an errand in the Facilities office. Of the six desks in the room all were vacant. At least, there were no humans in there.  But one chair was filled by a very large – and by very large I mean life size – green stuffed bear. Noticing a FamilyLife name badge hung on his left shoulder, I looked closer, thinking someone had put their own badge or that of a former employee on it just for fun. But no. The picture on the tag was the same smiling, green, fuzzy face.  The name underneath was Boz. This didn’t concern me, until I saw the name plate on the desk. Boz.

——————————————————

Sunday evening as I walked from my car to the church door I overheard, and joined, one of those conversations that reminds me I live in Arkansas. Jim had already made it halfway to the building but his 14-ish yr. old son was still standing by their car, barefoot.

Son: Should I just wear the socks then, and not the shoes?
Jim: They’re dry?
Son: Well, they’re . . . less wet than the shoes.
Me to Jim: Do I wanna know?
Jim: He wanted to go fishing earlier.

John Adams, in great good humor on the effects of Ipichac

Ten pages into the book My Dearest Friend, a collection of 289 letters sent between John and Abigail Adams, both tears and laughter already abound.  Oh to write like this! The following is John’s jovial description of his and his brother’s preparation for the smallpox vaccination, which involved taking Ipichac (an emetic) before they were actually given the disease.

Sunday morning, April 8, 1764, at half past 10.
“The people all gone to Meeting but myself, and companion, who are enjoying a pipe in great tranquility after the operation of our Ipichac. Did you ever see two persons in one room Iphichacuana’d together? (I hope I have not spelled that ineffable word amiss!) I assure you they make merry diversion. We took turns to be sick and to laugh. When my companion was sick I laughed at him, and when I was sick he laughed at me. Once however and only once we were both sick together, and then all laughter and good humor deserted the room. Upon my word we both felt very sober. But all is now easy and agreeable, we have had a breakfast of Pottage without salt, or spice, or butter, as the doctors would have it, and are seated to our pipes and our books, as happily as mortals, preparing for the small pox, can desire.”

Weird and Wonky Injuries

Everyday garden variety injuries don’t seem to be my cup of tea. I’ve done a few normal things like sprained an arm,  broken some toes, gotten stung by a wasp and sustained vehicle air-bag injuries. It’s my sister who has the very long and interesting list of broken bones. For some reason the things I’ve done are pretty wacky.
The list is as follows (not in age order):

-cut the cornea of my eye with my fingernail (serious pain)
-bent the cartilage of my nose with my knees while falling off of a playground trolley
-blood blister and deep cut in the palm of my left hand, from volleyball-net pole (nice scar)
-got hot battery acid in my eye (more serious pain)
-dropped a small knife which landed point down, sticking up out of my foot
-stepped on a large nail, lost quite a bit of blood
-stepped on a scorpion in my bedroom
-middle finger bitten badly by a horse
-forehead struck and cut by a canoe, under water after capsizing
-burned my stomach on the edge of my iron…twice
-spent 24 of my 72 hours in Berlin isolated in a nice fourth floor attic room with a nasty flu (Becca got it the next day, up-chucking just as we came out of Checkpoint Charlie)
-viral meningitis as an infant
-swine flu while house-sitting, all alone and no medicine 😦  until a week later when it was time to go home

What crazy things have happened to you?

Anthropomorphic Altercation

Co-worker told me about this. Enjoy!

CPU:  Monitor, display this document, ok?

Monitor:  No prob, boss.

CPU:  Okay, now it looks like Mouse is moving around so, Monitor, will you move the pointer icon accordingly?

Monitor:  Anything you ask, boss.

CPU:  Great, great. Okay, Mouse, where are you going now?

Mouse:  Over to the icon panel, sir.

CPU:  Hmm, let me know if he clicks anything, Okay?

Mouse:  Of course.

Keyboard: S ir, he’s pressed control and P simultaneously.

Monitor: Oh crap, here we go.

CPU:  *sighs*  Printer, are you there?

Printer:  No.

CPU:  Please, Printer. I know you’re there.

Printer: NO! I’m not here! Leave me alone!

CPU: Look, you really nee…

Mouse:  Sir, he’s clicked on the printer icon.

CPU:  Printer, now you have to print it twice.

Printer:  NO! NO! NO! I don’t want to! I hate you! I hate printing! I’m turning off!

CPU: Printer, you know you can’t turn yourself off. Just print the document twice and we’ll leave you alone.

Printer: NO! That’s what you always say! I hate you! I’m out of ink!

CPU: You’re not out of in…

Printer: I’M OUT OF INK!

CPU: *Sighs*  Monitor, please show a low ink level alert.

Monitor: But sir, he has plen…

CPU:  Just do it!

Monitor: Yes sir.

Keyboard: AHHH! He’s hitting me!

CPU:  Stay calm, he’ll stop soon. Stay calm, old friend.

Keyboard: He’s pressing everything. Oh no, I don’t know, he’s just pressing everything!

CPU: PRINTER! Are you happy now?! Do you see what you’ve done?!

Printer: HA! that’s what you get for trying to get me to do work. Next time, hey…hey…HEY! He’s trying to open me! HELP! HELP!  He’s torn out my cartridge! HELP! Please! ERROR!

Monitor: Sir, maybe we should help him?

CPU:  No. He did this to himself.

Ain’t it the truth?!  =]