Sunday, December 28, 2014
It’s my birthday month!
Here are some birthday facts:
I was born feet first. My mother liked to tell me that if I had been born in a primitive country they would have left me on a flat rock to starve to death or be eaten by dingoes. To this day I have an irrational fear of flat rocks.
When my father was told he had a daughter he said a bad word, which my mother recorded in my baby book. I suspect the last three words I will say in this lifetime will be bad. It's in my DNA.
My baby brother was born fifteen months after me. He bit me a lot. In all my baby pictures I’m wearing long sleeves to cover the bite marks. The official story is that my brother was colicky, but I suspect demon possession and foul play.
I grew up small, wearing a size two in the first grade, and big kids used to sit on me on the school bus. I never climbed the rope, but I could read before anybody else in my class.
In high school, I attracted my husband by wearing pink shorts and a pink “Sweet Honesty” t-shirt. I haven’t worn pink shorts in a very long time, but I still wear “Sweet Honesty” perfume. He’s still attracted.
We married and had four children—none of which were born feet first—but all of which have birthdays and belly buttons.
I spent the WORST birthday of my life hanging from the second story eaves of our house in North Carolina, cleaning the gutters out before the big ice storm froze the water and gutter sludge in the gutters, forcing it up under the shingles, causing our roof to leak. It had already started to sleet when Sherwood made me climb the ladder, because he was too tubby to climb the ladder, and I wasn’t strong enough to hold a tubby man on a two-story ladder.
It was terrible. There were frozen earthworms in those filthy gutters, and my gloves iced over in minutes, if not seconds. I couldn’t move my fingers, so I just sort of clubbed the icy muck out with my hands frozen into rigor-mortis claws. I cried. The tears froze to my cheeks. I sad bad words and condemned my husband’s use of procrastination as an alternative lifestyle choice. I turned forty-four that day and aged twelve years.
The moral of the story is that it would have cost forty-bucks to have a truck full of ethnic gentlemen from Mexico clean out our gutters. They were sad when I didn’t hire them. I was sad too.
This year was a good birthday year. I turned fifty-plus, mowed the yard, and cleaned out the chicken coop.
It could have been a lot worse, believe me. My family could have put me out on an ice flow shaped like a flat rock.
Linda (Birthday Babe) Zern
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Pig guts. That sounds about right.
Facing humiliation is one of the skills I list on my resume.
It has been my observation over a lifetime of humble pie eating that as soon as I start thinking that I am ‘all that and a bag of chips’ one of my new cherry red Steve Madden stilettos falls in the toilet and I have to fish it out with a body part not covered with a glove.
NOTE: The phrase ‘all that and a bag of chips’ is a silly jumble of words meaning that I feel like I look pretty darn good in my cherry red Steve Madden stilettos, and I can eat a bag of chips and not gain weight.
And that’s how it went last Sunday while I was teaching my Sunday school class. They’re called Sunbeams. They’re four-years-old. They love me, mostly because I always bring snacks and I own a lot of puppets. I love them back, mostly because they remind me that there is still hope in the world.
I am a rocking four-year-old Sunday school teacher. I thought.
Last Sunday, in the spirit of Merry and Christmas, I brought my Fisher Price nativity set to class. We spent time setting up the manger, Mary and Joseph, the ever popular baby Jesus, the animals, the little wishing well, and the cat. The cat is so popular that it tends to get tucked away in little pockets and stolen, but that’s an object lesson for another time.
We had a blast, setting, arranging, and pretending. Standing over the neatly displayed crèche scene, I said something profound and wise and teacherly to my Sunbeams.
Something like, “And that children is why we should be kind and loving and . . .”
Not checking behind me, I went to sit down in my teeny, tiny four-year-old chair. It wasn’t there. I hit the ground butt first, collapsing onto my back, staring up at the ceiling.
And finishing my sentence, I said, “. . . we should try to be more like Jesus.”
I glanced into the face of a cherubic little boy. He smiled at me and said, “I moved your chair, Sissa [Sister] Zern.”
“Yes. I see that.”
I stayed where I’d landed on the floor for a few more minutes, splayed out like the Wicked Witch after that house had fallen on her and spent a few moments eating humble pie with a side serving of awesome sauce.
Linda (Yum-Yum) Zern
Thursday, December 4, 2014
Friday, November 28, 2014
|**Bobwhite was a college guy who sat next to me in my creative writing class. The only thing that made Bobwhite the College Guy angry was people who believed in absolutes. He made this declaration with absolute certainty.|
It was a declaration that made me mildly uncomfortable because I, of course, only believe in “absolutes.”
I absolutely believe that certain teenagers who tell you that they are “ready and able” to drive the family van, will, in fact, run that van off the road at fifty-miles per hour through a barbed wire cow fence—at the first available opportunity causing $4,123.13 in damages and an ulcer epidemic among the adults in the family.
I absolutely believe that two-year olds, left on the back porch by themselves, when told not to eat the dog food, will eat the dog food after soaking it in the dog’s water.
I absolutely believe that college students, who do not pay taxes, car insurance, or their own meal allowances, are excited about the re-distribution of wealth—mostly other people’s.
Bobwhite believed that human beings didn’t even know why they did what they did, but after they did it, they try to figure out why they’ve done what they did, so they’ll know stuff about why they do what they did for future doings.
I don’t pretend to understand that sentence.
He also believed that human beings are motivated to do what they do by chemicals, genetics, and reality television. He also believed (with no apparent historical precedent) that the future looked brighter than the past, because of all the information available on-line, of course. If we can just stuff enough information into people, they will not want to rip-off the old folks pension plans.
I remain skeptical—also menopausal. I believe that thieves with a lot of education are just educated thieves or politicians.
Bobwhite’s basic premise was that human beings without education or Google Earth have no ability to exhibit will power or self-control above that of the average poodle.
Wanting to put his theory to the test, I asked him, “Do you mean to tell me that if I get the urge to smash your head in with a brick, it won’t be my fault, but a combination of menopausal hormones, urban blight, and Irish angst.”
Bobwhite said, “Exactly.”
When I get into these deep philosophical discussions at school the other students sit in a semi-circle starring at me to see if I will stroke out.
Turning to the semi-circle of my fellow students, I said, “Girls, go get me a brick. I want to test out Bobwhite’s theory.”
I was serious.
Oh, those college kids are so adorable, but they’ve got a lot to learn. It’s true that the two-year old will eat the dog food, but she won’t eat it forever. It’s also true that teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to drive until they’ve joined the Army or the Peace Corp. And college kids eventually become taxpayers and want to know, “Who the heck is this FICA guy?”
The truest absolute of all is that the fuzzy thinking of the young and freshly educated will sharpen right up as soon as someone they are closely related to decides it’s a hilarious idea to drive around town with a fake bomb in the trunk of the family car.
Linda (Absolutely Me) Zern
** Name has been changed because I am not an absolute dweeb.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Linda Zern's book, Mooncalf, was a very enjoyable read. I take pleasure in historical fiction. Not growing up in Florida, I was able to learn a bit more about this magnificent state that we live in and it's southern roots in a much more vivid way than from a text book. Her descriptions were lively. The many ways that just the Orange groves and it's treasures and findings are brought to life from a child's eyes are enchanting and even startling at times.
Also, each character has very distinct traits that help them be brought to life. I enjoyed figuring out the characters instead of being 'told' how they were. As a mother, I especially felt for Leah's mom and thought about how abandoned she must have felt.
This is a special story because it's two in one, bonus!! It puts a new thought process into reading, challenging us just enough. Being told from two completely different life styles between children's innocent eyes is refreshing. Adults make things that should be so simple, like true friendship, more difficult than they should be because they think 'they know best.' How wrong we can be.