Category Archives: Uncategorized

Random thought on a cold winter morning

Static electricity plus fleece pajama pants, plus three hairy dogs = too much fur for peanut butter on a waffle to be a good breakfast choice.

Didn’t think that one through.

Spam, spam, spam, spam…

Spam comments. Hate them or be amused? In my post on Brainstorms & Bylines, I’ve chosen to be amused. Okay, I’ve chosen to make fun. Tomato, to-mah-to.

Spammer Grammar #1

Seek and Ye Shall Find… Maybe

Me: I dashed off a draft of a short story yesterday. I know where I want to send it, but it’s too short. Like, 1,500 words too short. Where am I going to find ALL THOSE WORDS!?!

Husband: In a dictionary?

It’s All in How You Spin It.

My husband has started telling people I’m bent AND twisted.

What can I say? I’m a multi-tasker.

And you thought the Energizer Rabbit had it bad…

Easter postcard circa early 20th century

Easter postcard circa early 20th century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This morning’s conversation with The Boy regarding his busy night at work.

Me: “So, they kept you hopping all night?”
Him (without missing a beat): “Like the Easter Bunny on crack.”

Yes, he’s definitely the child of a writer.

March Madness

P basketball

Image via Wikipedia

Every year, March rolls around and life at my house screeches to a halt as an irrational, semi-rabid man moves in. He takes up residence in the recliner, hogs the remote, and shouts at the people inside the television.

It’s my job to pretend that everything is normal while, in my best soothing voice, saying things like:

“Honey, the referees can’t hear you. It has something to do with them being on the other side of the glass. And four inches tall. And on television.”

This earns me The Look. A scathing glare that suggests I have no idea what I am talking about. That look, with its wild-eyed, laser intensity, may be the exact reason why they call it March Madness.

In fairness, I don’t know what I am talking about. In fact, at this time of the year, I’m usually a basketball widow. I don’t watch the games. I don’t pretend to know the players’ names. Don’t bother me with statistics and shooting percentages. When it comes to basketball, you just have to accept that I do not “get” it. Well, you do if you are anyone other than my husband. For hubby, hope springs eternal. He remains certain I can be converted.

This is a free piece of clipart from http://ww...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve always believed being basketball stupid was my way of keeping the universe in balance. As long as I didn’t have  to know anything about the playoffs, hubby didn’t need to get wise about things like, say, mammograms. But, after you’ve been married to a person for so many years, and have spent a goodly portion of that time trying to cure him of madness without success, you begin to take on a “if you can’t beat them, join them” philosophy.  Madness, it appears, is contagious.

This explains why I decided to toss my dollar into hubby’s office pool during the playoffs last year.

I doubt the amount of knowledge I’ve gained about college basketball will jeopardize the balance of the universe. I did pick up a few important tips on filling out brackets that I’d like to pass along to other non-followers out there.

Tip 1: Teams have names. This sounds like a no-brainer, I know. Of course the teams have names. Serious bracket-fillers know ALL of them, not just the small handful they watch on a regular basis. Apparently, this is a vital part of being able to fill out a bracket. Make flash cards. Study. Your life could depend on it. You just have to trust me when I say it is not in your best interest to have conversations like this:

“Honey? Which team has the little blue men?”

“What?”

“You know, the little blue men who played the orange guys a couple of weeks ago.”

Baksetball Player With Ball Vector

Image by Vectorportal via Flickr

Tip 2: Take your bracket seriously. Brackets should not be joked about. Ever. I learned this when I came across my husband as he peered intently into his computer monitor.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Filling out my bracket,” he muttered. “This guy at ESPN has a list of who will win each game.”

“So, it is like, what? Your own personal basketball genie?”

He turned away from the monitor long enough to flash me The Look. “This is how I pick my teams,” he said, covering the paper like he was afraid I would cheat and copy his answers. “Why don’t you go fill out your own bracket? Don’t you have some little blue guys or orange men to pick?”

“It’s blue men and orange guys. Besides, mine’s done,” I answered.

“Did you close your eyes and poke the paper with the pencil to pick teams?”

“I would never do anything so silly,” I assured him. However, I said nothing about the Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Mo system.

It would have earned me The Look.

Tip 3:  The most important tip ever. Once the games start, if your bracket is doing better than your spouse’s, ESPECIALLY if you had to ask him twenty times to tell you which team is made of blue men and which team had the little orange guys, do NOT clap your hands and announce it in a cheerful voice. Do not dance around the room and sing the My Bracket’s Better than Your Bracket song. Do not pump your fist in the air and say things like “Booyah! Take that, ESPN basketball genie!”

Trust me. The end result? Madness.

This piece originally appeared in the March 2007 issue of Today’s Woman magazine.

Frog Talk

Copyright 2011  Barbara A. Tyler
With love, to my favorite frog.
 

A frog eye in its protruding eye socket, close up.

Image via Wikipedia

Buried inside me is a closet romantic. I keep her locked up like a mad aunt, but every now and then I hear her tapping on the walls. She doesn’t read steamy novels or watch 10-hanky tear-jerkers on TV. She doesn’t need rose petals on the coverlet or strolling violins. When my romantic gets loose, all she really wants is quiet conversation. She doesn’t care if I kiss the frog and he becomes a prince.  She’d rather I kissed the frog and he learned to stay up talking until three in the morning.

Despite my best efforts, my frog seems more devoted to snack foods and ESPN than to the art of conversation. While I’m talking about happily ever after, he’s nodding agreeably and looking for cheese in a can.

I recently peeked around my frog’s sports page. “We never talk,” I said.

“We talked yesterday,” my husband shrugged.

“Discussing what’s for dinner isn’t talking.”

“My lips were moving,” he said.

He doesn’t get it. It’s not just about talking. It’s about communicating. Connecting. Being in the same flow as another person. it’s about knowing the right words and getting them out into the air where they can breathe. It’s about love. If my frog loved me and wasn’t keeping me around just to wash his socks, wouldn’t he talk to me?

I don’t mean he never says anything. He speaks. He talks about work, sports and the kids’ next dentist appointments. He’ll name his wishes for the grocery list and bounce around the social agenda until it fits the space on the calendar. So technically, he’s speaking to me. He’s just not saying the right things.

“He’s not following the script again, eh?” my girlfriend says over the phone. Exactly.

See, my inner romantic is also a scriptwriter. She writes beautiful lines for my frog: “How awful! What happened then?” “No, I don’t think you are being whiny.” “Don’t worry, I love you anyway.” All my frog has to do is say them. Instead, he says, “Stop being silly. What’s for dinner?” This frustrates me. I know what he’s supposed to say. Why doesn’t he?

I could tell him, but it spoils the mood when I feed him his lines. And it makes him look at me funny. Besides, I want him to know what he’s supposed to say.

Girlfriend conversation isn’t like this. A girlfriend knows exactly the right words to say to console me. She will stop what she is doing to help me obsess over my thighs. And when she says she loves me, I never doubt her for a minute. Girlfriend conversation is like that. It feeds the psyche and the soul.

Frog talk feeds my neuroses.

“Honey, does your hair look like that on purpose?” my frog will ask. Or: “I smell smoke. Is dinner ready?” Or: “You said what to my mother?” These are not the things my inner romantic wants to talk about.

Determined to help my frog discover the joy and romance of conversation. I set out to create the right mood. I turned off the television. I’ve found that the glow of ESPN is distracting. It hypnotizes frogs.

“What’s up?” my frog asked.

“Just thought we’d talk.”

Panic lit his eyes.

“It’s not hard,” I reassured him. “Say anything.” My inner scriptwriter had a whole list of romantic “anythings” ready for the frog to pick up and run with . Things like compliments. Things like sweet nothings.

“Okay,” my frog said. “Honey?”

“Yes?”

“Did you know that we’re out of cheese?”

My inner scriptwriter flung her computer at a wall and kicked her wastebasket.

“What?” my frog asked. He looked genuinely baffled.

“Never mind,” I snapped. The scriptwriter didn’t know what my frog’s next line should be. She was still stomping around in a huff. No matter. I retreated to the shower and pummeled my romantic yearnings with hot water.

When I emerged, the house was dark except for an orange glow coming from the living room. Definitely not the light of ESPN. More like the light of a room on fire. Well, that’s it. I thought. I’ve finally pushed him over the edge. He’s torching the place and getting out while the getting is good.

In reality, my frog had gathered all the candles in the house and lit them in the living room. The radio played softly in the background. And it wasn’t a sportscast.

My frog looked up from his position on the couch and smiled. He caught my hand and gave it a little squeeze. It wasn’t until I snuggled into his embrace that I realized he hadn’t said a word.

But then again, he didn’t need to.

Frog Talk originally appeared in Family Circle Magazine as: My Husband, the Frog Prince (3/9/04).


What’s in a Name?

This blog came into being because, more than a decade ago, I suffered a bout of temporary insanity and became a humor columnist. For several years I wrote a monthly piece for Today’s Woman magazine, won a few awards, took some humor gigs at Family Circle and amused myself to no end. Now I want to give some of those pieces (and my new fun stuff) an online home. You, my friend, are looking at it. No, don’t avert your eyes and pretend you weren’t looking. I saw you. Yes. I did.

Because every blog needs a name (it’s in the rule book and everything) I was determined to give this one a name with meaning. But what to call it? Thus began days of head-pounding frustration as various names occurred to me and were immediately discarded for various reasons.

A Nutter Fine Mess – implied mental instability.
The Mad Chatter – Ditto.
Bubba – Do you see a pattern yet?

In the end I settled for an old standby. What better name to use than the handle given to me by a trusted friend? Plus, I’m already using it as my Twitter name. Two birds, one stone. (Which, now that I think of it, would have been a fantastic blog name. DRAT! Maybe for my next project.)

Oh well…

Welcome!