An Update On The Other Nephews

So, I posted a pretty big description of the one mephew in the holiday wrap-up. I went to see the two other ones about a month ago, and have been wanting to write things down ever since. Soon I’m going to have to come up with nicknames for these little grabbers so everyone can tell them apart.

I talked about the other nephew chucking stuff and then, thanks to me, going “oops!” Well, my sister’s little guy does things in reverse. Before he throws something, he says something that sounds like “Sukie jukie!” The sukie part sounds like sushi, and the jukie part sounds like Jupitor. Yes, he made up his own code word for “I’m going to chuck this!” We have no idea where he got it from. He doesn’t go to daycare yet, so it’s not from there. But it definitely means “get ready, this is so going airborn.” Sometimes, when he knows he shouldn’t throw something, he gets this mischievous grin on his face while he’s saying it. There’s a whole logic to it, because when Tans was eating and some food flew over the edge of the dish, he said “Sukie Doggie!” Which I think meant “That dog is throwing her food around!”

He has been a little slower to walk, mostly because he’s a very caughtious little guy. But when I saw him last, he was grabbing our fingers and going “Walk!” and walking around with us. At one point, he even grabbed my finger when I was with Tansy and got me to walk with him. Maybe, just maybe, Tansy is getting less scary to him.

He is really trying to speak, and it’s adorable. He points at anything he wants to have more of, and says “Open!” Either that, or he makes the sign for “more.” His favourite number is 2, and I don’t think he quite knows what it means, but most times, 2 is the right answer. “How many eyes do I have?” “2!” And how many ears do I have?” “2!” “And how many noses do I have?” “2!'” Um, uh-oh.

Most of us have funny names. I am “Carrot” to him. That makes sense. My mom is “Nanna.” That makes sense. My brother gets referred to as “Holy Moly” which makes sense if you know that the last time he saw him, he said “Holy moly!” to him a lot. But for reasons we don’t know, He calls my dad “Ducky!” He knows that the rest of us, when talking to him about my dad, call him Grandpa,” but he is “Ducky!” We will even say “Where is Grandpa?” and he will point at him and say “Ducky!” The things kids will come up with.

He is really listening, and to more than just the words we say directly to him. When we went to see him, my parents and I stayed in a hotel room so we wouldn’t be crashing at either my brother’s or sister’s place. After we left, my sister said that she heard him saying “Nana, Ducky, Carrot, hotel.” again and again. Yup, the boy is a sponge.

I knew that he loved to sing and dance, but we got to watch him do it, while I learned that I know precious little about the songs that play on “Thomas the Tank Engine.” He had this little book that had the words to the songs, with buttons that would play the various tunes. I don’t know how some of the songs worked at all. The words didn’t seem to fit into the melodies! But my mom started getting into one of the songs, and he responded. Next thing we knew, he was sort of singing along and wiggling back and forth in time to the music. I think we sang those songs for a good 45 minutes. My sister called it the song circle.

The older nephew, the one that’s almost 3, believe it or not, is full of crazy energy. It was hard to get him to sit down and eat his friggin dinner! If you let him, he would eat on the move!

Steve found out about this series of books by Chris Ferrie that are all about scientific concepts for babies. We both agreed that that was meant for my brother to read to this little guy. So, I went a little nuts and bought him 3 books from the series: one about quantum physics, one about Newtonian physics, and one about rocket science. Apparently, so far, the quantum physics one has been a hit! My brother says he gets asked to read it again and again and again. He even sent me a recording of him reading it, and the little guy getting all into it. He really loves “the green guys!” Those would be the electrons, apparently.

It’s funny to watch him play with the toys intended for my sister’s kid who is about a year and a half. Even though he’s much older, he can still find them fun to play with.

And now, for the biggest news. On Tuesday, I got another nephew. The little guy who is all into Quantum Physics has a little brother. I really have to come up with nicknames for the nephews or this is going to get super confusing and hard to follow. I don’t think the older one knows what the heck all of this means, even though we’ve been trying to prepare him by reading books about little brothers and little sisters and all that stuff. I thought it was funny that when they got out the smaller baby seat, the little guy tried to climb into it. No, you’re too big for that now. He must have been wondering if he got to choose which seat he should ride in.

You can tell he sort of gets what’s going on, because when he was at daycare, he started running around going “I’m a big brother!” along with his best buddy who also recently became a big brother. Man, he’s adorable.

I think that’s about it. The next time I will have updates, there will be a new little baby to write about.

Have A Giant Holiday Wrap-Up

Holy crap, it’s 2018. I feel like these holidays snuck up on us, then jumped on us, and now I’m still in disbelief that they’re over. In a small sense, they’re not quite over because I haven’t seen the nephews on my side of the family and we might see them this weekend, but everything else is over.

I think the Christmas season would have been a bit merrier if there wasn’t a roving cold going through the family making people sick one after another. This cold/flu/whatever the heck wasn’t messing around. It sent some pretty tough people to the doctor, and hung around plaguing some other pretty tough people for a week or two. It seems to hit you, then just when you think you’ve fought it off, it comes back for a second round of punches. I haven’t got it yet, and I really hope I don’t.

We got tons of time with Steve’s sister’s little guy. That boy can move, climb, do stairs, and his new favourite thing is throwing things. Food, toys, things that aren’t toys…you name it, if it’s within range, it’s probably going for a trip if you don’t catch him in time. I accidentally taught him a new word, but I think he misunderstands its meaning. Whenever anything would clatter to earth, I would say “oops” or “oopsy” or “woops.” Now, he says them after hurling something to the ground. Um, oops.

He’s adorable and a lot of fun. One hilarious thing he does is if you sing a song like “the wheels on the bus,” he doesn’t sing, but he does all the hand actions, and if you’re not singing, he stares at you. He also loves it if you laugh and cover your mouth when you do it. Like most kids his age, he loves having the same book read over and over. I think I could read the “Grandma and me” book from memory. I was almost hoping he would bring it to me and ask me to read it.

Watching him move around puts a whole new perspective on the world and how many things could be scary in it when you don’t know what they do. You can suddenly lose your balance and fall over. You can fail to realize you are under a table, stand up and bash your head. Doors can pinch your wee fingers. People way bigger than you can accidentally bonk you. There are hot things, sharp things, things that look like smarties that aren’t, things that look like they could be fun that aren’t, things that were fun that now no longer are, and they’re all waiting for you to set them off. How in the world do we survive this stage without crumpling into sad heaps of fear?

But instead of being scared, he is full of curiosity and wonder! Many times, you can hear him say “Ooo!” or “Wow!” as he looks at something. He is full of wonder, wondering what that is that he has just found, and we are forced to wonder what he just found and what that might mean.

He also makes it very clear that modesty is a learned thing. He got this adorable, fuzzy bathrobe for Christmas. He came down to show it off to us, and he looked like this little bundle of fuzz with hands and feet sticking out. Then, in a flash, the robe fell off and there he was in his birthday suit, and he didn’t care! He ran through the basement and we had to convince him to put it back on. We had to watch out that he didn’t just stop and pee on a random book. Oh no, “Grandma and Me” might be “Grandma and Wee!”

He got several adorable toys, and their songs and sound effects will follow me for quite some time. One was this little barn with animals and songs.

That video doesn’t have all the songs in it, and it even cuts off the end of one of them, but it has 3 of them that are chasing me around. I’m a terrible person. In the one that says “you give them all the things they need, and you get love in return,” I wasn’t thinking, and for a moment I was mortified. “What? Did it say you’ll get lunch in return?” I thought. Thankfully, I kept my mouth shut and heard what it really said.

Another big hit was this firetruck.

To the dad in this video, go ahead and let Dannie chuck it. It will survive just fine. I don’t think we’ve heard half the things it will say, but it likes to sing the song about “heading out to help, everyone in town, in our red firetruck, hear the siren sound.” We also heard a lot about seeing the flashing lights, and putting the ladder up and down.

There were some other big hits he got, but I can’t remember what they’re called so I can’t find the videos. One was a digger with a little backup beeper on it. Now, when I hear a real backup beeper, I keep hearing “Cat power!” in my head.

He also tested Shmans’s tolerance for little kidlets, and she was amazing. He would fall over her, hug her, try to feed her his bottle of milk, and she took it like a champ. How many times did I pet her and find her with sticky spots where he had probably been? Poor Shmans.

And if he wasn’t testing her patience, there were other doggies who would join in. This was so funny. I brought her into another gathering and kept her in harness. There were two little tiny dogs and several children there, so I was hoping to keep her calm. But this one dog thought there was something wrong with her and just kept poking at her. Sniff her eyes, sniff her harness, sniff her butt. It made me think of how we test responses of people who are in comas by shining lights in their eyes or pinching some skin to see if they flinch. Shmans was not responding, and this made the little dog more insistent. I realized that she would not leave her alone, so after getting approval from the people who owned the house, I let her loose. I don’t think I have ever seen two happier dogs. I think the little dog was sure she had just resuscitated Shmans, and Shmans was so happy to let loose. For the rest of the afternoon, the two dogs could be found playing under the table and being goofballs.

Tans was also amazing because about 3:30 in the morning when all this craziness was set to start, Tans barfed on our carpet. It seems I haven’t documented this fully, but at least once a year, Tans will barf. It’s always in a different month of the year, and we’ve started calling it playing barf bingo. The first two episodes have been talked about, but it happened again in August of 2015, then November of 2016, and just when I was a little too confident that we would make it through 2017 without incident, there it was. She had gotten sick once earlier in the week, but I only saw the evidence after I had fed her her breakfast, so I couldn’t make her skip a meal. Everything seemed to be going along ok, and then on the morning of Christmas Eve, we awoke to what sounded like someone slowly pouring a bottle of water on the floor. Yuck! So that breakfast got skipped, and despite everything being nuts, she didn’t have another upset through the whole holiday insanity.

Tans and Trix didn’t play much, but they got a couple of sessions in. Trix still likes to bark. But Trix is definitely getting older. I can actually hear her legs shuffling along. Don’t get me wrong, she can move, and she did a lot of moving to try and chase people around the kitchen all holiday, but the shuffle is audible. I think she might be moving a little better now, since the poor beasty had to have a toe amputated because it was full of some nasty cancer. They say the cancer didn’t make it to the bone, so she might be ok, but yikes! I don’t know if I’ve lost my mind, but Trix’s head looks noticeably smaller than Tans’s. Is this just something I’ve never noticed before or could it have shrunk? That’s probably not possible, so I’m going to go with the idea that I’m nuts and Trix’s head has always been smaller. Finally, she has this obsession with water, so much so that we have to restrict it, and we have to keep lids down on toilets and bathroom doors closed so she doesn’t try to suck water out of the shower drain or slurp it out of the john. We had to keep the little nephew out of the bathroom anyway, and couldn’t leave water down because if we did, he would probably make his own lake with it, but it’s so strange to see Trix need the restrictions. She hasn’t drank out of a toilet since she was new with me. I told her no and that was that. Now, it’s like she’s driven by a compulsion to drink more than she could ever need. In fact, Brad says if you let her, sometimes she would drink until it just comes back up. She has been tested for all the physical things that could make her thirsty and they come up normal, so we’re left with the conclusion she is doing it because old dog is old. I definitely am trying to get my Trix snuggles in when I can, again, because old dog is old. She seems to think I’m a decent person still, thank goodness.

Steve’s dad moved at the end of November. Now, we should never run into last year’s problem of not being able to get him to Christmas stuff. His place is much smaller than he had, but I think it’s perfect for him, and we all fit in it, even with two dogs and a baby walking around. It was neat to finally see it, since we hadn’t been there yet.

I have learned that I can be such a baby. Steve’s stepdad bought this game called Pie Face. Basically, there’s this apparatus with a chin rest and another part that’s slathered with whipped cream. Every time you turn the handle, there’s the potential to get a splat of whipped cream to the face. So, you have to spin the dial, and whatever number it comes up with, you have to turn the handles that many times while your chin is resting on this chin rest. If you manage to spin it the prescribed number of times without getting splorched, you get the points. In our game, you got double the points. In any case, once you make it to 25 points, you’re safe.

Here’s a video of some people playing it.

Let’s just say that’s not the way I looked. Apparently they have hilarious video of me. I look like I’m playing Russian Roulette. I know my face was all screwed up, and I did not like turning that handle. I kept hearing people saying “She looks like she’s going to have a heart attack!” It was a fun game…there was just something really freaky about never quite knowing when you were going to get covered in goo. That sounds gross.

While I’m all weirded out by getting splattered with whipped cream, some people really don’t like those gift exchanges where you can trade gifts with other people. At one gathering, the way it works is everybody brings something kind of generic that anybody might be able to enjoy. If you’re a woman, you bring something more feminine, if you’re a guy, you bring something more masculine, so there are enough things and everybody gets something. So, all the women draw cards and pick from the girls’ pile and show everybody what they got. Then they draw again and choose to either keep what they have or trade with someone else. The people who drew higher cards have a greater chance of leaving with what they want. Then the guys do the same thing.

There’s this one guy who just hates this game. He always gets annoyed when someone takes his gift, or in the old days when anyone could take anything, when he would end up with a more girly gift. Apparently, he has always been not the biggest fan of this game, so it’s not because he’s getting older or anything. It’s almost become a sport to make him trade, just to watch him get all sad. Yes, we’re evil. I don’t know if he just wants to get something and keep it, or if he can’t remember all the things and it’s too hard, but every year, he gets annoyed. If he would just be cool about it, we’d probably leave him alone.

So that’s the run-down of our Christmas craziness. Like I said before, we decided not to go out last night to hopefully head off this stupid cold. So it’s back to work with me. We just have the nephews on my side to see and then we’ll be all done.

What can I say about 2017? For us personally, it was a pretty decent year. We all were healthy, the nephews got a little older, we went to some shows, everything stayed relatively ordinary, which is the way we like years to go. As for the world, that was another story. It’s never good when every time you look at news, you just keep saying “That can’t be real! That’s not possible,” but it is. It is frightening to see so much open racism and hatred, but I’m happy to see a lot of resistance to that hatred so it’s not all bad. I really hope 2018 can bring better things for everyone.

Please Don’t Nuke Us, North Korea

I wanted to post this song when all the fire and fury stuff started, but then life got away from me. With North Korea doing more missile tests, Now is as good a time as any.

Get your lyrics right here.

I’m not dragging them over here, because they actually have links explaining context of some words, which I think is so much more awesome. They do have an advertisement thwacked right in the middle of the lyrics, so boy oh boy was it ever tempting to copy and paste. But I’ll be good.

This little paragraph caught me, which I hadn’t even considered, and made it that much funnier.

About “The North Korea Polka (Please Don’t Nuke Us)” 1 contributor
In a stupider version of the Cold War, two ill-tempered overtly sensitive world leaders with nuclear arsenals are spewing threats at one another. But one side loves accordions, so Last Week Tonight tries to appease North Korea by calling in America’s best in that instrument, Weird Al!

Yes! It’s true! North Korea does love their accordions! I just read My Holiday in North Korea by Wendy E. Simmons, and there were certainly lots of accordions mentioned in there.

Because I just read that book, I had lots of weird thoughts about that song beyond the expected “ha ha ha you’re funny and weird” that I would have had anyway. I actually wondered, if people in North Korea heard that song, if it would even make sense to them at all, and if it would do the exact opposite of appease them.

So, from what I understand of North Korea, they’re pretty cut off from the rest of the world. I know there are media-smuggling operations trying to make it less so, so not everyone is in the dark, but the fact that smuggling of media is necessary tells you the information isn’t exactly free-flowing. They have their state news, and everything is super controled. So, would they know what fidget-spinning is, or Tinder, or heck, would they get any of the slang in there?

And as for my thought that it would actually piss them off more, here’s why I say that. From what I read in the book, which I admit is the view that people in North Korea want foreign tourists to have, everyone talked about Americans as “American impirialists” who destroyed their country and culture. So, I can’t imagine having an American Impirialist stand up there and basically say “You guys are totally insignificant to us” having a very good result. I’m picturing two kids wrestling and the big one says “Is that all you can do?” What does the little kid do?

I know, I know, it was supposed to be funny, and I’m not saying I actually think it is the only diplomacy avenue being used, and it’s not like it’s getting blasted into North Korea or anything. I just thought it was interesting to look at it from another angle, an angle I wouldn’t have even considered had I not read that book.

Hogewey: What A Neat Idea

While we’re on the subject of dementia, I heard about this whole Hogewey village idea, and thought it was kind of neat. Basically, it’s a little village set up for folks with dementia that doesn’t feel like a nursing home. It has actual stuff in it, like restaurants and a grocery store, and all the people who work there have training in dementia, so it’s pretty safe, and people aren’t locked down. Here’s a basic description.

Hogewey creates a familiar, “normal” environment that dementia patients understand, says van Amerongen.
The citizens of Hogewey share a house with about six others, and are classified according to one of seven lifestyles.
For example, former tradespeople often live together in homey accommodations and eat a lot of Dutch comfort food. Those used to an upper-class lifestyle may join the Gooi group, named after a posh Netherlands region, and are more likely to feast on French cuisine in a stylishly decorated abode.
Each household has at least one health-care worker present who helps with housework and other tasks.
Residents are free to stroll all through town.
“You will see [residents] sitting in a restaurant with a glass of wine or buying a box of chocolates from the supermarket,” says van Amerongen of those who still understand the concept of money. A worker and a resident from each house walk to the market daily to buy groceries.
Employees organize day trips to nearby shopping centres or towns. Special bikes allow two people to sit side by side so residents and health-care workers, volunteers or family members can cycle in pairs.
Nearby townspeople frequent Hogewey’s amenities, and often go to concerts or the annual Christmas fair. On Sint Maarten, a Dutch holiday similar to Halloween, children knock on residents’ doors to sing songs in exchange for candy.

I know some people think the whole Hogewey thing is evil and wrong, but I feel like it gives people a better quality of life, and a lot of the stuff in the village isn’t an act. They’re having real interactions with people, and people outside the community come in too. It’s a lot better than a fake bus stop outside a nursing home that is used to lure people back home who are trying to leave. Unless I’m missing something huge, I think it’s a great idea, and hopefully it becomes more accepted than rare.

I Like The Blue Umbrella Idea, But…

A little while ago, I saw a tweet about a new program to create dementia-friendly communities. I thought this was an interesting idea, so went to read about it. I guess it’s part of this blue umbrella program that seems to be an initiative of the Alzheimer Society. The society provides training to businesses about how to give better customer service to someone who might have dementia. They can also get included in a directory of businesses who are considered dementia-friendly. Finally, they can stick a blue umbrella decal on their window to indicate they are dementia-friendly. Another part of the program involves making these pins available to people with dementia to wear and self-identify as someone with dementia.

I am totally down with all the training and getting listed in a directory. The more aware and empathetic people can be about any group of people, the better they will be, and I suspect dealing with customer service when you have trouble remembering or communicating probably feels pretty daunting, so maybe having a directory of friendly ones might be kind of nice. Having decals in windows of businesses might get people talking, and although the current generation of folks with dementia might not remember that that blue umbrella is good, eventually we might come to recognize it as much as we recognize the accessibility symbol, so future generations might benefit. The hitch in the plan, for me, comes at the self-identification pins part.

I have seen a lot of good in humanity. People have gone out of their way to help me find something or someone, and they certainly didn’t have to. So, probably most people, once they learned what that pin meant, might be super helpful. If they see a person wandering seemingly aimlessly, and they have a blue umbrella pin on, they might put the pieces together and offer some help. But I worry about the unscrupulous part of the population, and fear that people with dementia wearing these identifier pins might become really easy targets.

Think of it this way. Maybe I’m over-generalizing, but my understanding is a lot of people who are in the early stages of dementia either don’t realize they have it or don’t want to admit it. If a person is at a stage where they feel they need to self-identify, it must be pretty serious. So, imagine if that person is walking down the street and someone spots their pin, sees an opportunity and starts talking to them. Before too long, they have walked into the bank and convinced them to take out a large amount of money. Does that sound like an unlikely scenario?

I can hear a warring voice saying “a blind person’s white cane identifies them as blind, and a person with low vision might carry an ID cane to show they have low vision, and they don’t actually use that cane for a purpose other than identifying themselves as having low vision. How is that different than wearing a pin?” I have two answers to that. A full white cane actually helps the person by making sure they don’t kiss a tree or fall down some stairs or trip over something. It will help blind folks appear less blind because they’re not crashing into everything and everyone. With regards to an ID cane, it is probably closer to an umbrella pin, but the key difference is the person holding it isn’t dealing with memory and communication issues, so has more coping strategies to be able to ward off con artists.

I know we need to do something, so I don’t want to spit in the face of this program. Dementia isn’t physically visible like an artificial leg or a wheelchair, so it’s harder to spot. I get that. But do we want to make it so easy to spot that we end up sticking a “mug me” sign on people? Maybe, if you’re going to give folks a thing to carry around that is identifiable, make it serve a greater purpose for the person. Maybe the pin has a button on it that calls a trusted caregiver or family member. Then if the person gets lost, they can call home. Or, if someone sees something fishy, they might be able to get the person some help by getting them to push that pin. Just give it some greater ability to assist than “Hey, I have dementia. Do with that info what you will.”

I Found A Good Yoga Class

So, I’ve mentioned a few times in passing that I’ve tried yoga and liked it. It’s been a long time since I’ve done it. I’ve wanted to, but I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about the initial introduction where the instructor potentially freaks out and says she can’t teach me and I’ll take so much help. I know that only happened once, and we ended up being pretty good together, but it’s the fear that it’s going to happen that discourages me. I don’t know what it is, but as I get older, I become less willing to put myself out there and fight for what I want. I hate that about me, but it is what it is. If I really need something, I will fight tooth and nail for it, but I don’t feel like fighting for something that’s supposed to be fun and stress-relieving.

Then, I saw a note on my awesome job’s announcements page saying that we were going to have yoga over lunch once a week in the office. I have seen it before, and thought about it, but I never wanted to give up a lunch hour. My secondary reason was I did not want to humiliate myself in front of coworkers…yeah, because that’s logical, sure.

This time, when I saw it, I gave it a little more consideration and read the description, and the description actually said they teach to all abilities, and even mentioned vision impairment. I was so moved I almost cried…and I took the plunge and signed up.

And I don’t regret it. The instructor is friggin great! She says she teaches so that people can actually follow along with their eyes closed, and it works. And if I get it wrong, she’ll just come over and sort of help me out a smidge. During the most recent session, she actually told me that I was doing super well…so you know that she’s explaining things really clearly, because if anyone is going to get confused, it’s me. Does anyone else find some yoga teachers explain poses in a really strange way? They talk about scooping and lifting your heart and opening your chest and all these really strange descriptions that don’t make sense if you’re not watching them…at least for me. This instructor is really straightforward and finds a couple of different ways to describe the same thing…until we get it.

I’m noticing a few things. I can definitely feel I’m getting older, because it’s harder to do the things that just felt good when I did it the last time. Or maybe I should say I can definitely notice I haven’t done yoga in 12 years. That’s probably more the thing. I also have to remind myself to get in the right breathing rhythm more than I did before. But it feels good to be doing it again. Maybe when this class is over, I’ll find an evening class to keep it going…or maybe check out those Yoga for the Blind mp3’s you can get. All I know is I don’t want to stop doing it just because I’m feeling kinda shy.

Shmans even seems to enjoy it…although she really hopes that my yoga mat is her bed. No. Good guess, but no. I’m happy to say that I’ve never found her compelled to get up and give me a great big smooch while I’m in a downward dog or something. I guess she was giving the instructor funny looks some of the time. I wonder what she’s thinking. Maybe it’s because, at the end of the session, the instructor goes around and puts a little dab of essential oil on the hands of people who want it. Maybe the Shmans thinks it’s some kind of treat. Weirdo! I do know that she’s extra wiggly after we’re done.

If anyone in the KW area is interested in yoga, they should really check out Active Souls. They’re pretty awesome.

Welcome To Our Place Of Worship, Distructicon 6152. May The Good Lord Bless And Keep You

So here’s a question with no good answer. When Superintelligent AI Arrives, Will Religions Try to Convert It?

My immediate, emotional reaction is oh god, please don’t. Considering how many of the world’s problems religion is at best indirectly responsible for, the last thing we need is a civilization possibly more advanced than our own warring with and discriminating against itself and us. Besides, if one of the goals of these superinteligences is to have them help us scientifically, do we need to fill them full of doctrine that can often tend to run counter to science and logic? What good would that do? It would only confuse things.

But on the other hand, humans crave information. We thrive on it (ok, most of us thrive on it). So it would only stand to reason that a being capable of processing more information than any of us could even begin to imagine should be fed as much of the stuff as possible and allowed to draw its own conclusions as it was designed to do. Maybe that would go fine. Maybe it could teach us mere humans some sort of great, universal truth we’ve all been missing for centuries. But what if it doesn’t? What if it becomes a living embodiment of those emails people used to forward about taking the bible literally? And remember, it’s smarter than we are. What do we do if that happens? Can we do anything?

People much more qualified than I to sort these things out have no real answers, so I’m not going to pretend I do. But this much I know. There’s a reason I’ve never been in a hurry for us to create a sentient being that will be able to out think us. If you give anyone power he’s eventually going to figure out that he can use it, and that never ends well. Yes these things are going to theoretically be smarter than us, but remember, we’re filling them with human knowledge and perspective. In some ways that hasn’t done us any good, so why should we think this would be any different?

It’s Not Fan Food, It’s I Feel Fat Food

We live dangerously close to a Dairy Queen, so sometimes we get blizzards. For a while, we used to get the blizzards of the month, but then they took those away and brought in these Royal blizzards. That was the closest I could get, they don’t have their own page, but they do have their own heading. I have decided, after trying all of them, that they are DQ’s version of the Tim Hortons Creamy Chocolate Chill.

Just look at the descriptions of these things.

Royal \Oreo
OREO® cookies blended with creamy vanilla soft serve then filled with a perfectly paired fudge center.

Royal New York Cheese Cake
Cheesecake pieces and graham blended with creamy vanilla soft serve then filled with a perfectly paired strawberry center.

Royal Reese’s® Brownie Blizzard® Treat
Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups and chocolate brownies blended with creamy vanilla soft serve and filled with peanut butter topping.

Royal Ultimate Choco Brownie Blizzard®
Chocolate brownies, choco chunks, and fudge blended with creamy vanilla soft serve and filled with fudge topping.

There used to be a Rocky Road one too, that was full of caramel and some kind of marshmallow goop.

Those blizzards sound amazing…until you eat them. Steve described it as what happens if you let a six-year-old make his own sundae at a buffet with a sundae bar. They put everything in it, and think it’s going to be awesome. Then, after they eat it, it doesn’t seem so awesome anymore.

I feel like a bit of a fool for trying all the Royal Blizzards, but I think I’ve *finally* learned my lesson.

And…while we’re talking about Dairy Queen, what the hell is their slogan supposed to mean? “This is fan food, not fast food.” So…are they trying to say that their food cools you like a fan? Maybe…except for all the hot stuff they make. Do they mean that people who are big DQ fans come in and take a turn making the stuff? That might explain these Royal Blizzards. Maybe they were invented by a pack of six-year-old fans who wanted to eat all the things. Whatever it’s supposed to mean, it’s dumb. It’s about as dumb as “Campbell’s: We all soup.” Whaaa?

Christmas Musings

Here we are, December 23 and once again I’m wondering how the heck we got here. When I was little, I remember being told that as I get older, the years will go faster and faster. I thought that was a load of crap, after all, time is time, and how can it possibly go any faster? Well, now I understand what they were saying, and agree 100%.

I lucked out pretty well this Christmas, although some people will be getting their presents a little later. Part of that was me taking a little while to get something to work, I can’t say what it is because it hasn’t been delivered yet, but I had the thing crafted last Friday, but it has to be shipped to me first because it’s part of a present. It’s on its way to me now, but that means it won’t arrive in time.

I got the sweetest present from Tansy’s puppy raisers. They got me a gift certificate to a local spa. That’s just amazing, and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I’ve always wanted to try that place. I guess it’s time now.

Because I’m terribly bad at not saying things when they happen these days, I neglected to mention the birth of two new nephews. Steve’s sister had her baby back in April, and my sister had her baby in July. They’re both adorable in their own ways. When Steve’s sister’s baby starts seriously moving around, we’re all in trouble. But with all these itty bitty nephews around, it’s got me thinking about the silly things I thought about certain Christmas carols when I was wee. So here we go.

I already mentioned my thoughts on “Sleigh ride” in this very synthy post, but what I neglected to do was include the original.

When I listen to it now, I think what must have happened was the first time I heard it, I was half asleep. If you’re drifting in and out of sleep, the combination of the whip, those Disney characters yowling along, and the ending would have combined to make a perfect storm of eeeeeek!

Frosty the Snow man only perplexed me because of its eyes. Two eyes made out of coal? Either Frosty must have been a very naughty boy to have coal stuck in his head, or the kids were digging into their own supply of lumps of coal they had gotten in the past. I was a little grossed out that they had saved corn cobs from when they had fresh corn, and just had them lying around so they could make a pipe out of one. I eventually figured out that it was probably that dried decorative corn stuff, but for a bit there, I was wondering why they were saving gross old corn cobs.

I know “”Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is supposed to be a little scary as in, “Behave yourselves because Santa is watching,” but for some reason it freaked me out more than a little. Maybe it was because so many times I didn’t know who was around the next corner, and would often get myself in trouble by saying the wrong thing when the school principal, for example, was right there. So, I would always try to figure out where Santa could be watching from. Now we know how Santa’s magical spying ability works, since you can’t spell Santa without NSA.

Whenever I would listen to Snoopy and the Red Barron’s Christmas, I would get mad whenever it would get to the line about “bringing peace to all the world, and good will to man.” For reasons only I will understand, I thought it said good will to men, and would immediately think “Why do men get all the good will? What about us?” Yup, I’m weird.

Last but not least, I remember when I stumbled across Bob and Doug’s Twelve Days of Christmas, and how frustrated it made me. I couldn’t figure out why they would make a professional album if they were so bad. They couldn’t sing, they couldn’t keep rhythm, they would babble through it, and they jumped from day 8 to day 12. Um, goofy kid Carin, that was the point. Oops.

Those are the only songs I can think of at This exact moment. If I don’t get a chance to say it before Christmas, merry Christmas and everything else to everyone. Also, let’s just hope we can coast through the final days of 2016 without having any more death and destruction.

A Probably Unhelpful Post About Explaining Trump To Your Kids

Parents wrestle with how to explain Trump’s win in U.S. election to their kids

I don’t have kids of my own, but in the last 2 years I’ve been lucky enough to become an uncle three times over. Those kids are obviously too young to understand any of this, but as I watched the reactions to last night’s events pour in on TV this morning, I couldn’t help wondering to myself, what if they weren’t? What would I tell them if they started asking me questions? Their parents are out here working hard day after day to teach them to be honest, decent and respectful, and meanwhile this Trump character, who is acting so blatantly for all the world to see like none of those things, is rewarded with one of the most important jobs in the world. How would I make sense out of that in a way that a young mind is going to understand, especially when I’m not sure I quite get it myself? Saying that sometimes life isn’t fair feels like a cop-out, but also like the only good answer because yeah, sometimes life isn’t fair. Some days the bully is going to get away with your lunch money. It’s not right, but that’s how it is. Sometimes the guy who cheated off your paper is going to get a better mark than you do. It’s not right, but that’s how it is. Sometimes some loud-mouthed jerk is going to cause a bunch of trouble and you’re going to get the blame for it while he gets a gold star and an extra cookie. It’s not right, but that’s how it is. None of those things are right, but they happen and you can’t let them get you down too much, and you certainly can’t let them stop you from working hard and eating lunch. Sometimes the bad guys win a few fights, but that doesn’t mean you stop fighting and don’t win in the end. If something feels wrong it probably is, even if sometimes it feels like you’re the only one who thinks so. Right now, Trump is President even though he’s said and done a lot of scary, terrible things. It’s not right, but that’s how it is. But because that’s how it is now doesn’t mean that’s how it’s always going to be. The bully who’s taking your money will get caught one day. They all do. The guy who copied off of you is going to look like a fool when he has to do something on his own. And the noisy jerk who wants everyone but him to take the blame for the problems he causes? The thing about guys like that is that they always end up pressing their luck a little too much and people wind up figuring out where all that noise is really coming from. And when they do, what goes around usually comes around. Trump is a little bit of all those people. He might be getting away with it now, but eventually he’s either going to have to shape up or face the music. As for you, you just do the best you can. You may not change the whole world all by yourself, but as long as you do your best to not be the things you don’t like, things are going to be ok.

Reading that back, I sound like somebody’s grandpa and I’m not even sure how much sense it all made because again, how do you make sense of this? But it’s something, I guess. If nothing else it made me feel a bit better. And if even part of it can make some kid somewhere feel the slightest bit encouraged and not lose his mind, awesome.

I feel for anyone having to have this conversation today. I’ll be honest, I’m glad I’m not you.