Tuesday, October 26, 2010



    In the 80s I was a single mother living in Southern California.  I apparently needed to make it up to my children, for them to enduring having only one parent.  I was determined to be a SUPER mom and went out of my way (and into the wee hours of the morning) to insure that they weren’t short changed in the parent department.
                                                  One of my,  MANIC, projects was Halloween costumes.  They simply HAD to win a prize at the local parade.  Somewhere in September I would begin the CRAZED activity aimed at achieving MY goal.
           Old sheets came out of the closet, paper mache materials were accumulated, poster board and other items were purchased.   The various paints and markers came out of hiding.  The apartment began to take on the appearance of  the back streets of Tijuana . The kids would ignore the flurry of activity as, by now, (YEARS) they were used to my CRAZY projects and all the clutter and CALAMITY that went with them.  My poor son bore the burden of my creativity.

          I loved paper mache' however, I failed to realize the weight involved.  Like an idiot, I covered the mache' head with plaster of Paris so it would be stronger.  The head of my son's first WINNING costume was so "nose heavy" that he kept falling over forward.  After he fell head first into the bushes, and over onto his hands/knees (and over a witch, a bear and a ghost) he finally got the hang of it.  He had to walk with his hand holding up his snout.  Poor kid had a sore neck and arm for days.  He also lost part of his tail when a robot (deliberately) stepped on it.

         The head of my son’s second WINNING costume was so large that he couldn’t see out of the holes which caused all kinds of interesting accidents.  One of which was stepping off the porch and missing the steps.  He ran over his sister several times, and complained about the echo making him go deaf. He finally  had to hold onto the head (with both hands) in order to position the holes just right.  More sore arms etc.  Not once did he call me a lunatic (well, I couldn't hear most of his comments under the pumpkin head).

          By the third WINNING costume I finally got it right.  It was perfect and my son’s favorite costume. The paper mache head was only a partial skull cap and eyes.
However, (and you knew there would be a however, didn't you) people kept stepping on his flippers (and without the enclosed headpieces as before, one could hear that the what had first sounded like just grumbles were actually cuss words).          


              My daughter was easy.  She liked princesses, angels and clowns.  With the sewing machine burning up the midnight oil I managed to make her three winning costumes, too.


Sunday, October 17, 2010


Occasionally I get serious, and this is one of those times.  Please stay with me.  I will go back to my goofy self the next time.  I promise!

According to various sources, 4.7 percent of American adults are estimated to live with ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).  I have a feeling that the percentage is much higher than this, since ADHD is highly under diagnosed.  Most of ADHD individuals are males.  However, I happen to be one of the lucky females to experience this disorder first hand.
As an infant I was very hyper. Once I found out I could get up and move all hell broke loose (according to my parents).  At six months old I could get out of my crib, crawl to the front room, grab cigarette butts from the ashtray and scramble under my parents bed to EAT them.
There was no keeping me in. My parents tried closing the door but I would just push something up to the wall, reach over, and open it anyway.  No fence or barrier could keep me put.  Phrases like, “Where’s Karen?” or “Has anyone seen Karen?” were frequently heard through out the house, the yard, and the local supermarket.
Everything I did was at a dead run.  My parents even had to move from a two story  to a one story home because I would come flying out of my room and fall down a full flight of stairs EVERY DAY.  I received several concussions before the move.
I suffered through school with phrases like,  “You just aren’t trying hard enough.”  “If you would sit still and pay attention you would… …” “Stop your daydreaming”, or “You aren’t living up to your potential!“  I struggled with math and spelling. The only thing was I ALWAYS gave EVERYTHING my best effort and I was TRYING to pay attention.
Adults with ADHD tend to develop coping mechanisms to compensate for some or all of their impairments.   I took copious notes, wrote lists, talked out loud to myself, praised myself when I did good, as well as scolded myself when I didn’t.
At age 40 I had yet attributed some of my behaviors to ADHD.  To me it was normal to have several thoughts, ideas, songs, stories, plans, memories, etc. playing simultaneously in my head.  I heard someone describe it like constantly switching the channels on a TV. That is so true.  I had no control over so many of my thoughts and actions.  I was VERY impulsive (dor to dor salesman loved me).
If I was doing something and my attention was drawn elsewhere I would completely forget what I was doing in the first place.  For example, I would start with cooking dinner.  Then the phone would ring.  I would finish the phone call and sit down to watch television.  I would watch television until the smoke triggered the fire alarm.  This was almost a daily event in my life.
It was so bad that I had to put a list by the door to help me remember every day things (turn off the iron, the gas, the stove etc). I had to force myself to stop each time I left the house and touch each item on the list so I wouldn’t forget.  It had to become an obsession.  I had to rubber band important medicine to my deodorant so I wouldn’t forget it (for some reason I always remembered my deodorant).
When electronic planners came out I scrimped for two months so I could buy one.  I was able to set it to remind me.  It was a lifesaver until I lost it and had to buy another one (another 2 months of saving).
I won’t go into the long boring story of how I realized that I had ADHD. But, with one lousy little pill and it ALL went away.  I couldn’t believe it I could think.  I didn’t lay awake nights with my mind spinning.  I could safely cook diner without burning up a skillet every week.  My life changed.
A lot of people do not believe that there is such a disorder.  I have come up against many professionals and private individuals who truly believe: “They just aren’t trying hard enough.”  “If they would sit still and pay attention they would…” “They’re spoiled!” 
           Oh, the emotional damage these people do to those who have this disorder.  Don’t be one of those people, PLEASE.
          The sound you just heard was me jumping off my soap box and into one of my usual messy situations, one of which I will post next Monday.  Thanks for staying to the end.  Also, the medication didn't solve all the issues, hence the crazy situations I get myself into.
kt 2010

Sunday, October 10, 2010


"Ugly Sucker"

     I am a retired teacher of learning disabled and behavior disordered (high-school) youth.  Often it becomes necessary to come up with unorthodox methods to maintain order in the classroom.  One student, in particular, presented me with quite a challenge.
     This student was transferred into my room from a hospital facility.   They were hoping to normalize him in public education (an experiment that failed, miserably).
     This young man had learned to get attention by throwing himself on the floor and faking an epileptic seizure.  He would thrash around, drool, cry out, and generally disrupted the whole class (even those next door).
     I tried to tell the IEP team that the fits were faked, but they would not listen to me (what did I know).  They were certain he had medical issues.
     To prove my point I brought a HUGH garden spider to class from home.  You know the kind I'm referring to.  It was a black and yellow, ugly sucker that spins a humongous web.  They are usually about 5 inches in diameter and the kind of spider that causes one’s skin to crawl.
     When he came to class the next day, I covertly released the spider onto the floor not far from this student's desk.  Then I walked a short distance, jumped and yelled, “Oh my goodness, look at that horrible spider.”  I went on to say, “Good thing you didn’t have an episode today because you would have been right there beside that nasty thing."
     That student NEVER had another episode in my classroom!   Interesting! 
     I apparently CURED him.
(Incidentally, I thanked the spider for a job well done and returned to his home in my back yard with the ants (read blog #1-5 to learn about my relationship with ants).

kt 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010


(REMINDER: the giveaway ends on February 28th at midnight - see #117 on 2/1 for details)

For those of you recently following, this is a reprint of an earlier post (with some graphic modifications)

Originally I started out hoping I could of think of ten STUPID things I have done during my lifetime.  Unfortunately, these twenty are just the tip of the iceberg!

  1.   Don’t step up on a tall step (especially when you have to pee). 
  2.   Check out which way the staples come out of a staple gun before
        you use it (or you can staple your work glove to your palm = See #38, What a Maroon!). 

Woops. wrong hand!

  3.   Don’t carry a ladder through a room with a ceiling fan (at least not upright).
  4.   Don’t try to fry eggs on your daughter's glass stove top (she has a mean left hook).
  5.   Speaking of eggs.  Don’t boil eggs in the microwave, either (Ka-pow!).
  6.   Don’t touch the drill bit right after you use it (unless you like pain).
This house was cut
in half by a maniac
wielding a circular saw
  7.   Circular saws can cut through sawhorses (and lots of other GOOD stuff).
  8.   Lawnmowers can throw a rock against a tree so hard that the rock can ricochet off
        (and hit you in the head). 
  9.   But, even more important, lawnmower blades can chop up grass shears 
        (and shoot them out the side as lethal projectiles - just ask my cat).
10.  A tarantula bite feels like a bee sting (and visa versa).
11.  Metal canoes can be bent in half (try not to be in them when they do).
12.  Don’t make a swimsuit out of terry cloth (think about it).
animated gif
13.  It's the gasoline vapors that ignite (in a big flash) not the liquid gass.
14.  Eyebrows can be burned off by ignited gasoline vapor (also eyelashes and the paper you are holding in your hand).
15.  You can’t paper train a male dog, (unless you also hang a paper on the wall).
16.  And while I am on the subject of pets, no matter how hard you try you can't get a cat to
       blow its nose (but trying to do so can teach them how to blow their cool).
17.  Copper bottom pans can melt off onto the burner (if you get them hot enough).
18.  Also, skillets are no good after they catch on fire (at least they stick like crazy).
19.  Paper plates don’t fare well in the dishwasher (they kind of clog up the works...don't ask).
20.  Don’t stand on the front porch and watch electricity, from lightening, travel up the wet sidewalk toward you (unless you want an electrifying experience).

Yes!  I have first hand experience with EVERY one.

Since spring is on the horizon and,  many projects are being planned, I am SURE there will be a part 2 coming soon. 

kt 2010


My granddaughter Kallie  (pronounced Kay-Lee, who is now 21) was the most adorable little kid you would ever want to know.  She was funny and loving and oh so very cute.  Her giggle would make anyone laugh, and her eyes always sparkled with joy.

One time, when she was about 8 or 9, she spent the night and I didn’t have an extra bed for her.   So, I folded out an aluminum cot.  It was going to be a cold night and I wanted to be sure that she was warm enough so I extricated a sleeping bag from my camping gear.

When asleep, Kallie would spin like a top.  That is why she wasn’t about to sleep with me.  I learned the hard way that a foot and the back of a hand thrown wildly over my face was a definite hazzard.  However, since she was such a wild one when asleep, I decided I needed to bungee chord the sleeping bag to the cot.  She was short so I just tied one at the foot and then put one over the top part that was underneath her and zipped the puppy up.

In the middle of the night, nature called.  I walked into the adjoining room where Kallie was sleeping and almost made the nature call right then and there.  A small night light was illuminating the following scene:  Little Kallie was laying face down on the floor. Her delicate hands hands were laced sweetly under her chin.  She had the Aluminum cot strapped to her back and was SOUND ASLEEP! 

I grabbed for my camera…..but RATS, no film!  So, I stood there (with my knees together) and laughed while I watched her sleeping peacefully.   After attending to my business, I picked her (and the bed) up, righting them both at the same time.  Before, I went back to bed I undid the chords so as not to repeat the incident.

The next morning I told her about her sleeping arrangement and we both laughed.  I told her that I was now going to call her my LITTLE TURTLE.