Monday, February 28, 2011


I have never been an athlete. When I was a kid, girls' sports were not nearly as big as they are now. And even if they had been, it's doubtful it would have ever occurred to my parents to involve me in them. After all, I was the girl who required remedial gym classes for hand-eye coordination and balance. My parents encouraged me to sing in the choir and join the yearbook staff rather than embarrass myself as part of a sports team.

While I may never have been an athlete, that doesn't mean I don't appreciate their abilities or enjoy watching sports. On the contrary, compared to most women, I love sports, and I'm delighted that my daughter Abby is already showing great potential as both a soccer and softball player.

Twice in the past week I've had the opportunity to reflect on the special something that is the female athlete. Last Monday was Abby's first ever fast pitch indoor softball practice. Her team of 4th and 5th graders bravely joined a group of older girls who had been practicing for weeks. What I saw in these young ladies was engagement, dedication, hard work, and enthusiasm. They were stepping into new territory and embracing it. I love that through sports, these girls will grow up strong, confident, and knowing they are more than a pretty face or a cute outfit. I felt such immense pride in watching my daughter listen and learn, fail and succeed, and give this her all as she does with everything she takes on. I thought of the woman she's soon to become and was in awe of her potential.

Ivy Classic Champions 2011
Yesterday, I saw the woman Abby will be some day. She and I joined my friend Emily at the University of Pennsylvania where the Quakers gymnastics team was hosting the Ivy League Championship. Emily is a former Penn gymnast, and a remarkably strong, confident, intelligent and accomplished woman. In the stands we were surrounded by her former teammates, and on the floor we watched the young women who now represented the best of Penn.

Again, "awe" was the word that came to mind. It was more than just the gut-wrenching flips and twists and displays of raw athleticism. It was the fact that these young women were the epitome of commitment, perseverance, and courage in an age when that is increasingly rare. I was struck by the level of spirit, teamwork and support they demonstrated, especially given the individual nature of the sport. Add to that the fact that these women are not only athletes but among the brightest students in the country. I thought to myself, that's my Abby in just a few short years (can you tell I think she's something special?).

While I have enjoyed my own accomplishments and feel I present a strong female role model for my daughter, I will always wish I had experienced what it means to compete physically as both an individual and part of a team. My hat goes off to Abby, Emily, the Penn gymnasts, and all those girls, young and old, who demonstrate dedication, teamwork, strength, and competitive spirit on fields, in gyms, and on courts each and every day.  

Now, if you're like me and have never experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as a competitive athlete, visit Emily's blog, Mothers of Brothers for "A Piece of Me."

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Heartbreak of Psoriasis

Since childhood I have had psoriasis. For those of you not familiar with this skin condition, it basically appears as thick, red skin with flaky, silver-white patches called scales. I imagine it's the stuff that the average leper appeared to have in biblical times. I was going to include a picture from the internet, but frankly when I Googled  psoriasis images they were so disturbing I couldn't bring myself to do that to you. Honestly, there were body parts I couldn't even identify, and some I was rather surprised to see. Who knew you could get it there??

It's not contagious in the least, though many clueless uninformed people have avoided me like the plague when it's flaring up. I believe it's my psoriasis that helped develop my self-deprecating sense of humor. If you make fun of yourself, no one else has to bother.

Since adulthood I have had fewer flareups than I did when I was a kid. Unfortunately, however, some of them have been doozies. For a family trip to Costa Rica several years ago I was covered from head to toe. My face even got into the game which it never had done before. Generally, the facial area is exempt from "the heartbreak of psoriasis." 

After being relatively clear the last couple years, my skin is showing signs of preparing for an all out attack. This is not particularly convenient given my new gym membership. For tang soo do I could hide all my imperfections in long sleeves and pants, but at the gym, I'm going to look pretty silly covered from head to toe and sweating bullets. In addition, I have an April vacation to the Outer Banks with friends, and a trip to Puerto Rico in June for work. Put me in a bathing suit and I feel terribly exposed and rather creepy. Needless to say, it was time for a trip to the dermatologist, and off I went.

What I determined today is that going to the dermatologist is more painful than the psoriasis itself. I had a 9:30 a.m. appointment, and they called three people ahead of me. Either they triple booked 9:30, or were seriously behind schedule. Thirty minutes in the waiting room did nothing to improve my already fairly rotten mood. And then, after they ushered me into the exam room, had me strip down and dress in that open-butt back gown, I waited another 15 minutes or more.

How do doctors stay in business with that kind of customer service? I can't imagine showing up to a meeting or sales call 45 minutes late and getting away with it by simply saying "sorry for the wait." And actually, they rarely say "sorry."  As I sat and stewed and waited, I considered asking one of my doctor friends about this purely medical phenomenon, but then it occurred to me I have no doctor friends. Instead, I'm flush with lawyer friends. And now I'm wondering what that says about me.

So anyway, the dermatologist was a nice, perky young thing who at least had the decency to take her time with me. Looks like we're going to try a new ointment, a treatment that has never actually cured me, probably because I don't have the patience to apply it to each of my individual 100 spots and dots. If that doesn't work, we'll give ultraviolet light treatments a shot, saving self-injectibles as a last resort. Fun stuff.

Still, when you consider all the ailments, conditions, and diseases one could have, I figure I'm getting off easy. And these periodic outbreaks keep my ego in check for those times when I'm turning heads for my stunning beauty. It's okay to laugh now...

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Random Musings, Part 4

While I could tell you about the very large and quite old naked behind I saw in the locker room at the gym the other day, or how I cried my heart out when I told my master instructor I was leaving our martial arts school, I think I'll go with something a little more upbeat. It's time for Random Musings, Part 4: 
  1. How exactly does one lose a shoe on the side of the road?    
  2. When your child wants to go to a friend's house in the morning before you've showered and dressed, do you change your underwear before you put on clothes, or wait till after you've showered later?
  3. At what age does a boy start closing cupboard doors when he's done with the dishes?
  4. Does anyone actually follow those Local Traffic Only signs?
  5. And speaking of traffic, did you notice you never hit a red light when you're waiting to read or send a quick text?   
  6. If I'm not supposed to use a certain pillow for sleeping, what's it doing on my bed? 
  7. Just because Ikea sells frozen mashed potatoes doesn't mean you should buy them.
  8. And speaking of food, why do I save leftovers that I know we'll never eat?
  9. At what age does a boy start throwing out empty boxes of cereal, microwave popcorn, and fruit snacks instead of leaving them in the cupboard?
  10. Why do news stations report the ocean temp from December through March? Is someone actually contemplating a swim?
  11. Coffee, donuts, muffins. You'd think Dunkin' Donuts would smell like heaven, but it actually smells like hell. What's that about?
  12. The college professor rule should apply to waiters/waitresses. If they don't appear within 15 minutes of you receiving and finishing your meal, you can just leave.  
  13. Why do some people flush before they use the toilet? Do they think there might be something in there that will reach out and pinch them?
  14. At what age do boys start to match their shirt to their pants? 
Finally, I'd like to know why bad things happen to good people. Please pray for Rob's cousin Karen who suffered a mild stroke two days ago. This follows the heartbreak of a lost pregnancy less than two years ago.

And I whine when the funkapotomus comes to visit...

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Lonely, Red, and Tempted

    As I sit here and eat my Friday morning powdered donut, I thought I'd tell you about my first experience at the Healthplex last evening.

    Overall, I'd say it was lonely. One of the very best things about World Class Martial Arts is the camaraderie. We're like one big dysfunctional, but happy family. Well, maybe I was the only dysfunctional one, but you get the idea. We were teammates, comrades, and friends. At the gym, I was a lonely wanderer in a sea of buff bods, self-consciously going from machine to machine with my dorky clipboard of instructions. Not a friendly face to be found.

    This is not me on the machine
    While my weight training time went smoothly enough (though I'm not as strong as I thought I was), the elliptical machine was another matter. I almost fell off more than once. Now I'm not the most graceful or well-balanced person (in more ways than one), but this was just plain awkward! If you hold the moving handle bars and let one hand go to scratch an itch or turn the page in your magazine, you're completely off kilter. Or, at least I was completely off kilter. I had to remember to first transfer my hands to the stationary bars in order to remain in position if I needed the use of one of my hands.

    By the time I had finished my 30 minutes, I'd gone a measly 2 miles and burned a lousy 200+ calories which I then consumed at home in two Snyder's of Hanover sourdough hard pretzels (did you know they are 100 calories each!). When I reached the locker room, I discovered my face was beet red and I looked close to collapse. It's a wonder someone didn't stop and give me chest compressions. Oh, and did I mention I'd been on level 1 the entire time? Clearly this cardio thing is going to be an uphill climb for me.

    I think the most interesting part of my first night at the gym came in the locker room, not when I saw my face, but when I saw the vending machine. While the drink choices were standard healthy fare, the snack machine offered Fritos, chips, candy bars, and more! Are you kidding me?? I work like a dog and then you tempt me with my favorite junk food? And next week I'm supposed to talk nutrition with my trainer. Ha!

    Overall, I think this whole Healthplex thing is going to take some getting used to. Perhaps if I go with a friend I'll feel more at ease. But then again, I'll probably spend my time comparing myself to that friend and that could work against me. Or our friendship.

    My goal for my next visit includes reaching 2.5 miles, burning 300 calories, and navigating safely through the parking garage (I think it's actually more likely I'll be killed in there than on the elliptical machine). Wish me luck!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    If I Join this Gym, Can I Still Eat Cheesesteaks and Drink Beer?

    There was no denying it any longer. The passion was gone. It had been months since I felt the desire that once stirred within me. I knew a change was needed, and today, I took the leap.

    I joined a gym.

    For the past eight years, my fitness efforts have been centered around one man and one school. Master Aaron and World Class Martial Arts. Master Aaron has been very good to me and for me. He recognizes and knows how to respond to my dangerously unstable quirky emotional state. He's been a pro at motivating me. He's become a friend. Without him I would not be a second degree black belt today. But over the past several months I've become unfocused, disengaged, and overwhelmed. I've reached a point in my training where I no longer feel I can reach the next level of performance. Quite possibly I've maxed out on my potential as a martial artist. I know Master Aaron will disagree with me, but my decision is made and I have the pricey contract to prove it.

    My decision to join the Healthplex in Springfield was not easily made. When joining a fitness center there's much to take into consideration:
    • Monthly expense (we know I'm cheap frugal)
    • Proximity to home
    • Available equipment and classes
    • Timing of classes
    • The clientele
    Let's be honest, the folks you'll be working out with are an extremely important factor in the decision-making process. Fitness centers vary tremendously in whom they attract. In fact, the Planet Fitness chain has a successful ad campaign based on exactly this. In addition to the muscle-heads, as a rule I also want to avoid:
    • The beautiful people whose workout clothes are cuter than my "going out" clothes
    • The young, bubbly, and impossibly thin crowd
    • The health nuts who drink carrot juice while standing around talking about the hottest new vegan restaurant
    • Anyone who is my age or older but looks way better than me
    Clearly, I am never going to find such a place, so the Healthplex seemed as good a place as any. It's close to home. It's got a zillion classes to choose from (I'm a class kind of person. I get motivated by having people around me who might judge me if I don't put in real effort). And Rob is already a member so I didn't have to pay the obscene initiation fee.

    So we'll see how this turns out. I've got my first appointment with a trainer tonight and I'm prepared with my answers when she asks what my goals are:
    • To lose the stuffing that's been hiding all my buff muscles
    • To fit more comfortably in my current wardrobe
    • To be able to continue to eat whatever the hell I want
    Not too much to ask, is it? 

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    For the Romantically Challenged on Valentine's Day

    It's Valentine's Day. I'm thinking I should write something about love. Or romance. Or the Hallmark conglomerate. But I feel so unqualified to write on these topics. The thing is, I'm not the lovey-dovey or romantic type. And it's not just because I'm busy working, raising children, feeding our four-legged friends, taking care of a home, and trying to avoid outgrowing another pair of jeans. I think I've always been romance-averse. For example:
    • I recall no childhood fondness for Disney princesses and princes on white steeds. I guess I never felt the need to be rescued.
    • In high school, if the boy I liked sent me a love letter and it had any misspellings, the romance was over before it started. I think I may have circled the errors in red pen and returned to sender.
    • As a young girl, I never fantasized about my wedding day which books, movies, and reality-based wedding shows would have you believe every girl grows up dreaming of.
    • I don't love chocolate.
    • Or champagne.
    • I don't see the point of negligees. 
    • Or decorative pillows on the bed.
    • I don't need to snuggle afterward.
    • I don't like to cook for my man. Or my kids, for that matter.
    • I think greeting cards are stupidly expensive and I only buy them for my husband because he buys them for me.
    • I once threatened to beat my husband if he ever bought me ridiculously over-priced roses on Valentine's Day.

    Dear Lord, I'm like the Grinch who stole Valentine's Day!

    I guess my only saving grace is that Rob and the kids know I love them because:
    1. We tell each other "I love you" everyday.
    2. We occasionally slow dance in the kitchen.
    3. I regularly do the laundry and clean the house.
    4. We're good huggers.

    And, really, my husband gets off easy because I'm so low maintenance (at least where affection and romance are concerned).

    For those of you who are making your loved one tiramisu, writing him or her a poem, or producing a special video love note, I salute you. May everyday be Valentine's Day in the rose-colored world you live in!

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Cookies? Cookies, anyone?

    Abby became a Girl Scout this year. I too was a Girl Scout back in the day. In fact,  my mom still has my nicely pressed uniform with my sash and all the trimmings. Abby is enjoying the Girl Scout experience a great deal. It's right up her alley, collecting badges for all her accomplishments. She thrives with that kind of reward system. I don't recall my Girl Scout days with quite the same fondness. All I really remember is being benched during a meeting for repeatedly misquoting "Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers." I got the "pepper" part wrong (use your naughty imagination). I highly doubt it was intentional on my part, unless I was just trying to make everyone laugh. Anyway, the benching didn't sit well with me (no pun intended) so I quit soon after that. But this post isn't about my criminal Girl Scout past. It's about the cookies.

    Let's start with a brief Girl Scout cookie history, shall we?  These delightful little goodies go way back to 1917 when members started baking and selling their cookies as a way to finance troop activities. Twenty years later the Girl Scouts licensed the first commercial baker to produce the cookies sold in councils nationwide. The only time the Girl Scouts stopped mass production of cookies was during WWII when butter, flour, and sugar were in short supply. Instead, Girl Scout swimsuit calendars were sold. Today, two licensed bakers produce a maximum of eight varieties, including three mandatory ones (Thin Mint, Peanut Butter Sandwich, and Shortbread). All cookies are kosher. Fun facts you never knew, right?

    Recently, Abby and I had our first shift publicly selling the goods for our troop. We were stationed outside the Swarthmore Co-op grocery store. My immediate thought upon securing this assignment is that Swarthmore is probably the last place you want to sell artificially flavored food items loaded with preservatives. This is where the most haughty and superior intelligent and health-conscious people in America live. Not exactly our target market. While we did okay (Abby turned the box so the nutrition and ingredients panel wasn't immediately visible), I did note that there are a number of popular avoidance techniques, including:
    • Eyes cast down: These supreme avoiders will not make eye contact under any circumstances.
    • Play deaf: Pretend you didn't just hear that cute little girl ask you if you wanted to buy cookies.
    • Been there. Done that. Tell her you already bought some.
    • Cry poverty. As if Swarthmoreans aren't loaded.
    • Catch ya next time. They say "I'll be back," hoping you won't be here on that occasion.
    Despite the rejections, Abby thoroughly enjoyed her time hawking sweets. So much so that she (we) has shifts at the Acme in Granite Run this Saturday and Sunday from 2:00-4:00 p.m. If you're out and about, stop by. I'll be the one giving folks the stink eye if they even think about passing us by.

    Emma and Abby outside the Swarthmore Co-op

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    I'm So Glad Cinderella Hasn't Eaten My Daughter

    "Princess myth may be misleading our girls"

    That was the "no duh" headline of an article by Julia Bard, former deputy editor of Newsweek, on page 2 of Monday's edition of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Ms. Bard was writing in response to the book Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein.

    According to Ms. Bard's article, Cinderella Ate My Daughter (which I think is a great, though slightly creepy title) aims to dissect the princess myth and the "pretty, pink-clad toddler." It disturbs the reader with statistics that include the 12,000 teenagers who got Botox injections in 2009, and warns us of the cult of Disney which now targets newborns with onesies in the maternity ward. Orenstein moves beyond Disney to call out Bella from Twilight, an increasingly sexual Miley Cyrus, and even a newly glamorous Dora the Explorer (I'll have to take her word for it on that one).

    The article caught my attention because just this weekend I found myself thinking that perhaps the tide is changing where images of women are concerned. While we'll always have Disney's princesses and Hugh's bunnies, I've been encouraged by the women I've met in books and movies recently. For example:

    • Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. She's brilliant. She's focused. She's an excellent role model for girls everywhere.
    • Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy. She's crafty. She's brave. She's a survivor. She experiences age-appropriate teenage angst without sacrificing her sense of self.
    • Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium trilogy. She's tough as nails. She's a fighter. She's wickedly smart. She's in control. Lisbeth may be the strongest female literary character ever.
    • Mattie Ross from True Grit. She's 14-years-old. She's determined. She's gutsy. She's self-assured. She's inspiring. She's a welcome sight in the world of cinema.
    Today my daughter Abby turns 10. She's never been into princesses, but she thinks cheerleaders are pretty cool. Never been partial to the color pink, but loves to paint her nails any combination of colors in the rainbow. She's all-girl today, but more importantly shows every sign of becoming a successful, focused, determined, confident woman in just a few short years. Somehow I doubt that images of Miley, Cinderella, or even Snooki are going to turn her into a Botox-injecting 19-year-old. I think it's her exposure to the honest, self-assured, intelligent, and compassionate Freakin' Angels in her life that will leave much more of an impact than anything Hollywood can throw at her. Happy Birthday, Abby.

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    My kids went away for an exciting weekend and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt

    I'm sure it happens to most parents eventually. You reach that point when your children's lives become infinitely more interesting than your own. I had my first taste of that this weekend. Abby was in the Poconos for a birthday get-away weekend with the girls (and yes, she's only ten), and Ian was in Solon, Ohio for a Science Olympiad competition. This left Rob and I to our own devices, trying to fill the void left in a house with no children. On Friday night he ditched me to go play poker (not cool, right?), so I left him to spend the night at my parent's house. On Saturday I cleaned the house while he worked, went to the gym, and got a haircut. Do we know how to whoop it up when the kids are gone, or what? To be honest, we did get a little nutty Saturday night with a 7-course Italian meal with free wine at Mama Maria's in "Souf " Philly, but that just left me feeling bloated, woozy, and old.

    So I'm wondering if there's an average age at which you wish you could exchange lives with your children. While I don't desire returning to the angst of the teenage years, there are definitely elements I wouldn't mind embracing again, including:
    • The nonstop giddiness of time with friends (although the Freakin' Angels do a pretty good job of getting giddy, we still have our fair share of unfortunately heavy issues)
    • The thrill of your first crush
    • The rush of competition whether it be on the playing field or in pursuit of academic excellence 
    • The excitement of new adventures
    • The stick figure that I complained about at the time
    My sense is that the college years will be the most difficult for me to withstand from an envy perspective.  The combination of higher learning, a new found level of friendships, and that first taste of freedom is literally and figuratively intoxicating. Those college years mean having the whole world open to you with nothing but possibilities. I'd go back to them in a second.

    So what say you, fellow Freakin' Angels? When do you think your children's lives will become more interesting than your own? Or are you already there? Or are you one of the lucky ones whose life is so ridiculously exciting that this will never be an issue? Do tell!

    Thursday, February 3, 2011

    If I Had a Hammer, I'd get to Swear and Sing!

    For the second time in the past 12 months, there is construction (and a good bit of destruction) taking place in my house. As I've probably whined about previously mentioned before, home improvements are stressful, on a marriage, on the kids, on the general infrastructure of your entire life. Still, if all goes well, it's worth it in the end to have a new space which you're not embarrassed for friends and neighbors to see. Here's hoping we'll be throwing a Phillies Opening Day kickoff bash in our newly refinished basement come April.

    The subject of today's post, however, is not the stress of renovations, or my basement, or even Opening Day. Today I want to tell you why I think I'd like to be a construction guy. Or gal.

    This will make no sense whatsoever to my father who knows that I can barely hammer a nail in straight, much less hang drywall. But here's the thing. I've been working at home on a couple occasions since these guys started on my basement, and perhaps unbeknownst to them, I can hear everything they say and do perfectly from the room above. And I gotta tell you, in a strange way, some of it appeals to me. For instance:
    • The bad language. I once yelled "what the hell?" at work and it didn't go over big. Probably because I work for a Christian organization. Nevertheless, I think it would be fun to let the potty words fly whenever I felt like it, just like the guys in my basement.
    • Singing at the top of my lungs. Is everyone who does construction required to listen to hard rock or heavy metal? Perhaps I'd change the station format, but I like the idea of bursting into song whenever the spirit moves me.
    • General "shooting the shit" as my dad would call it. I don't have much opportunity for general chit chat in my job, but then I'm not filling a french drain with loose stones. I imagine I would enjoy imitating the prairie dog from the BBC You Tube video for hours on end ("Alan, Alan, Alan, Al!").
    In addition to the sounds, there are few inherent elements in construction that appeal to me:
    • The plan. You've got a plan that someone else gives you. All you need to do is take care of your part. I like the idea of someone else creating the plan and only being responsible for the follow through. Of course that assumes I agree with the plan and don't think the planner is a moron.
    • At the end of the day, you're done. Aside from the grit and grime, I can't imagine these guys take their work home with them. They're not losing sleep wondering whether the next book they publish is going to sell a sufficient number of copies. They probably don't even have to scour the trade magazines for the next great drywall idea. They do what they can while they're on the job, and then they walk away, or possibly go bowling as my contractor does on Wednesday nights.
    • They work their bodies hard. I hardly work my body with the exception of an occasional trip to the bathroom or the clothes dryer. Like my friend Em says, if it wasn't for doing laundry when working at home, we may never leave our desk or chair. And my butt just spread another 2 inches while I typed this. I like the idea of feeling physically exhausted at the end of the day. I might actually fall asleep when I close my eyes, instead of lying there for an hour, worrying about that next book release (see point above).
    • A daily sense of accomplishment. I like lists. I particularly like marking stuff off my lists. I like feeling a sense of accomplishment that isn't undone within 30 minutes by an unruly dog or a child. I think putting up a wall, building a staircase, painting, or installing electrical outlets would definitely feed my need for making visible progress.
    • You get to wear a hat. And jeans. And ratty sweatshirts. Given my hair issues, wearing a hard hat or a baseball hat could save me a whole lot of angst.
    The only problem with my grand plan to become a construction gal is that, as I mentioned above, I can't hammer in a nail straight. Nor can I effectively manage a jack hammer. And I'm afraid of electrical wires. I don't particularly like getting grit in my mouth and ears and nose. Painting becomes tedious. I especially hate cleaning up after my work. And  I also can't visualize finished projects.

    Looks like I'm going to need another job where I can swear, sing, and imitate prairie dogs. Oooooh, I've got it! I can be a mom!

      Tuesday, February 1, 2011

      The Day the Funkapotomus Came to Town ( A Short Story)

      Once upon a time, the Funkapotomus came to town. The day he arrived was much like any other of that cold, cruel winter. Bitter winds, gray skies, and a sense of gloom held the town in an icy grip. The medical establishment reported an increase in the number of pale faces, aching backs, and hollow eyes, and the media warned citizens of an alarming new “snow rage” syndrome.  

      But while everyone in the village experienced a slight touch of winter madness, the Funkapotomus only had eyes for one. It wasn’t her shapely physique that drew him in, for that had been lost to time. It wasn’t her eyes that held him spellbound, for they were ringed with dark circles. It wasn’t her long flowing hair, for she had lost it recently in a styling accident. It certainly wasn’t her smile, for no one had seen that in days. It was her heart and mind. The Funkapotomus knew that they were open to the angst that he so generously offered.

      The Funkapotomus was no amateur when it came to wrecking emotional havoc. Where mere sadness was sufficient for some, he determined that his favorite new victim should be tested with a kaleidoscope of emotions to keep her guessing and groveling at his feet.

      He started with a healthy dose of stupidity, engaging her in the classic move of inserting foot in mouth. She insulted some, and made unfathomable word choices in her previously successful attempts at being humorous.

      Second, he infused her with an abundance of pride with which she bragged obnoxiously of her offspring’s accomplishments.

      He doused her with cattiness, small-mindedness, and self-centeredness for good measure. 

      Then he sought out her seldom seen evil side with which he tempted her to bring ill will into the literal and figurative sanctuary of her soul.   

      When even he tired of her casting despair and gloom over everything and everyone in her path, the Funkapotumus injected her with enough lethargy to cause her to take to her bed where she could do no further harm. There she stayed, unwilling to dress, to feed her offspring, or to contribute in any way to the needs of her humble abode.

      When his favorite girl at last acknowledged that the Funkapotomus had indeed sought her out there was nothing left for her to do but weep. She cried herself to sleep in the arms of the one man in the village who knew of her demons, and he vowed to fight her tormentor, the Funkapotomus, till the end of his days.

      The End.