Monday, January 30, 2017


MONDAY MORNING CLEANING BLUES:  Why is it that vacuum cleaners become invisible when you start searching for them in your house?

Monday, January 23, 2017


Sherwood on Tracker, Not Charlie the Wonder Horse
Sherwood’s horse, Charlie, made it to the nine-mile mark on the Osceola Sheriff’s Office fundraiser trail ride, and then he (the horse, not Sherwood) folded up like a camel on the side of the trail. Sherwood jumped off. It wasn’t very far to jump, he later reported.

Possibly he was colicky (the horse, not Sherwood). He wasn’t. 

Possibly he was going lame. He wasn’t. 

Probably Charlie the Horse was tired and didn’t want to walk another step. It is quite likely that Charlie the Horse is smart, lazy, and thinking ahead. 

Sherwood brought him home early from the fund raiser, whereupon he (the horse, not Sherwood) ran out to his buddy (Tracker), frolicked, whinnied, and got back to the serious business of eating his weight in salad.

Note to self: Try to outsmart the horse in 2017.

I was supposed to be out riding with Sherwood and Charlie the Wonder Horse, but having contracted my traditional New Year’s viral snot head, I felt lousy and stayed home. At 3pm, when Sherwood’s horse was giving up his will to walk, I smelled smoke. I was already in bed and wrapped in a bathrobe, sans brassiere or eyebrows.

I leaped to my feet, sniffing like a bloodhound. Smoke, burning rubber, and the odor of my own panic mixed about my head like gnats looking for a sweaty cowboy. Something was on fire. I checked outside to see if my neighbor was burning crazy crap. Nope. 

I screamed for my cell phone. It did not answer. I got lightheaded. I raced to find my phone. It was next to the bed, in its spot, charging—the sneaky bastard. Dialing 911 and struggling into my bra, I breathlessly reported a possible house fire. 

The ladder truck, fire chief, ambulance, and a cop roared into the yard ten minutes later. Facts: the garbage disposal tried to burn my house down; it was too hot to touch; there was a short in the wall switch; the fire fighters checked for heat signatures in the wall and turned off the power; they insisted I get an electrician.

The boss fireman said, “Lady, this is exactly the kind of thing that burns down houses.”

All the firemen were cute. I still had no eyebrows.

Note to self: Start the kitchen remodel even if I have to take a sledge hammer to the garbage disposal myself. 

Two Sundays before these incidents, Sherwood tried to cut off the end of his thumb with a pocketknife, while trying to hack his way into a cinnamon candy cane. But that’s a story for another day—same year—but another day.

Ahhhhh . . . 2017 . . . I’m worried already.

Linda (Sniffle Gal) Zern

Monday, January 16, 2017


When I realized that my kids, a third and second grader, could not read, write, or compute basic mathematics, I took them out of public school and began homeschooling. No one seemed worried that they were growing up to be illiterate dunces, but a lot of people were very concerned that they would not be “socialized” properly or get to go to the prom. As their mother, I was more concerned about phonics than cummerbunds.

Over the years, I have found the socialization arguments . . . well . . . muddled. What exactly is socialization? And will I recognize it when I see it?

“I hate my family,” the young college student said, flipping a trendy fringe of hair out of his eyes. “But they’re paying for my college so I’ve got to go home for Thanksgiving. What a pisser.”

Wanting to be social, I tried to figure out how to respond, because being curious and interested in others is my favorite social strategy.

“Maybe you should pay for your own college?” 

“Are you nuts?” he spluttered.

I thought it might be possible.

In a moment of companionable socialization, I shared with some of my classmates that college algebra was giving me hives and panic attacks.

A highly social young man offered to help. He whipped out his cell phone.

“Just put this,” he said, holding up his phone, “in your sock and then I’ll show you how to get the answers for the test by texting.”

“You’re assuming I can text,” I said. 

“Are you nuts?” he said.

No! Just arthritic—and honest.

Recently, before class, I was chatting socially with a few of my young college classmates. One highly social young man (I know he was social because he NEVER stopped talking about himself) began regaling us with tales of his high school cheating years.

“Yeah, so I had the answers written on my arm, from my wrist to my juggler vein.” He laughed. “When the teacher got wise to it, I smeared the answers off, destroying the evidence.” 

Everyone joined in his clever, social laughing.

“Don’t you feel bad about cheating your way through high school?” I asked.

“Are you nuts?”


When my wildly educated professors use the “F” word in class or hilariously cop to having smoked dope once, twice, or always, I realize that they’re just trying to be hip and social and one with the organism known as “the group.” I get it. I was a social creature once. 

Now, I’m just nuts, because I don’t care what the group thinks about my being a drug free, sober, religious, monogamous, honest chick. It’s not social. I know. But it does allow me to sleep better at night. 

Besides, I’m the one those people try to cheat off of . . . the jerks.

Linda (Eyes On Your Own Paper) Zern

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Freckle Devil

FYI: I haven’t felt represented by a president in the oval office since John F. Kennedy. There I’ve said it. It’s out there. Alienated, ignored, marginalized and discriminated against, that’s how I’ve felt for decades, and my feelings are bigger than the head of the Statue of Liberty and therefore really, really big—also important.

Even my husband has been part of the problem. He looked at me the other day and said, “Hey! You have a lot of freckles. Have you always had that many freckles?”

We’ve been married for almost forty years. Who’s he been looking at?

“Yes, Dear. I have a lot of freckles, just like that actress that played Carrie in that horror movie where they made fun of the freckled girl and she crushed, stabbed, and burned them all to death with HER MIND.”

Yeah. Her. The freckled chick.

President Kennedy had freckles, red hair, and a permanent sunburn. He was my president. He made it okay to be a skinny white girl with freckles . . . but then the sixties happened and all the hippies got naked and tans without tan lines, and I was OUT. So for thirty years I’ve learned to live with the stigma of being really, really white except for the freckled bits.

Sure, every once in a while the fashion industry throws up a billboard with somebody sporting some serious freckle action, but it’s a token tribute, probably to keep us from crushing, stabbing, and burning them to death with OUR MINDS. 

In the Middle Ages, spots, marks, moles, or birthmarks were proof that the devil had been making out with you in the middle of the night, and then they drowned you in a barrel. It’s a miracle any of us survived to pass on the genes that cause freckles.

But here we are! Fact. No babies are born with freckles. It takes time and light to discover who the freckly ones are, and then it’s too late. By the time you figure it out they’re big enough to bite you if you don’t feed them. So, we’re here to stay. And President Kennedy made it possible to believe that even someone with freckles and a billionaire family can become president of the United States.

Being a woman of freckles has made me sensitive to the endless slights about how blindingly white my legs are or how many freckles I’ve acquired over the years. It’s been a rough road overcoming the feeling that I might like to crush, stab, and burn a gymnasium full of bullies to death WITH MY MIND. But I’ve squashed that feeling like a slug in my garden because I’ve also learned that feelings are like blood: gushy, messy, and designed to stay inside.

Linda (Freckle Devil) Zern

Monday, January 2, 2017

F is For Fun - Also Fatigued Dupe

Origin and Etymology of  the word FUN
English dialect fun to hoax, perhaps alteration of Middle English fonnen, from fonne dupe, First Known Use: 1727

The holidays are over and our family had so much fun I may need a transfusion of sensible rubber garden shoes and straight-laced body shapers. There was fun food, fun games, fun conversations, fun traditions, fun gift giving, fun movie going, fun birthday-candle-blowing, and just for good measure fun wolf howling. 

It was a jolly good time and a ton of fun. Thank God it’s over.

Fun is groovy, but I find it overrated at times. Fun starts out like a turn on that teacup ride at Disney. At first, it’s just a swirly good time, but by the end your neck is snapped back at a weird angle, and you’re praying for death. Swirly fun becomes a sucking whirlpool, dragging everyone down to the River Styx. And I know why.

Fun used to mean, in the old un-fun days, hoax. “Okay, all you silly peasants wrapping a dead tree trunk with maypole ribbons, ain’t we having some fun now?”

Sure, the peasants thought, beats digging through the muck all day. Their masters muttered, under their breath, “Fonne [meaning dupe].” 

And that’s how fun became the heart and soul of our modern world. Must have fun. Work equals muck. Anything muck related equals not fun. Dancing in circles around a dead tree trunk is better than muck lugging. Let’s dance. Or spin in a giant teacup until there’s vomit. 

Note: Fun is often circular in nature.

The flaw in this thinking is that all that muck lugging kept the peasants in gruel and giant turkey legs. We’ve forgotten that. We’ve forgotten that growing gruel and giant turkeys is work, and it’s kind of important work because if there is anything in this world that should be considered without fun, it’s starving.

It’s possible that fun has gotten a bit out of hand in our modern first world. Possible. 

More than peace, more than mercy, more than health, the young people that I know of pray to have fun. “Please [Lord] bless us to have fun.” No matter where they’re going, who they’re helping, or what they’re trying to accomplish. 

I wonder if our prayers aren’t better expressed, “Please, Lord, help us to learn, grow, develop, endure, empathize, understand, or move a lot of muck out of our lives.”

Now don’t get me wrong. The holidays were a ton of fun. And I wouldn’t trade a single minute of fun for anything in the world. But let’s face it; it’s time to get back the muck lugging that keeps us all in giant turkey legs.

Linda (Muck Witch) Zern 

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