Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Japanese Thumb Trap

You can get these at a carnival, or the variety store... you know what I'm talking about, those little straw tubes, you slip a pinky into each end. IF you try to pull out, it just tightens up, no go. You can't get the fingers out because the harder you pull, the skinnier the tube gets and the more you're trapped. Instead, here's the genius part...you have to push in, the tube scrunches up and gets wider, and bingo, your pinkies are free.

It's like that with the eyerolling inlaws. Don't resist, go with.

Sample conversation:
YOU: Pass the broccoli
In Laws: You really need to be careful of anemia,
YOU: I know, I know, you're so right.

The key to this is to say it while you are shoveling in the broccoli. Under no circumstances use sarcasm. Drip with sincerity. After a few times, they'll stop mentioning it. Trust me.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Story of My Life 3

Rudolpho was a mean mean boy. And I mean that. I still get the willies when I think about the cats whose ears he cut off. Seriously. In those days you didn't know that meant you were going to turn into Jack the Ripper or whatever. And he didn't. He became a Pella Window salesman and a Grand Dragon of the Knights of Columbus. So go figure. But when I was one, he was thirteen and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. I got beat from here to Sunday, but never straight out, and no one to run to. So I figured out how to make myself invisible. It's a good trick. The other thing I figured out is that funny is good, crazy is good, and funny crazy is better. So if you can't be invisible, make them laugh and be nervous at the same time.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Family Resemblances

Dear Madrone, Please help. What do you reply when someone asks you who the baby looks like, particularly if it does not look like anyone in particular, or worse, it does, but not someone that it would be polite to point out the resemblance, if you know what I'm saying. Sign me, the Milkman.

Dear Milk, There is only one response that I recommend in this case, no matter if the baby looks like the twin of the father, the mother the next door neighbor, even the family dog. You say, and in this case sincerity isn't even required, because the person who is asking already knows what they think, and just wants you to confirm or to pick a fight (it's what's known as a trick question) Oh, The baby is a perfect mix of -----here insert the name of the parents--------. Trust me this will be the end of the conversation, and you can move on to something less dangerous, like politics or religion. God bless, Donna

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Bone to Pick

Dear Madrone, My in laws eat meat. I don't. They make me special dishes, no meat at all, tasty things, lots of eggplant, lasagne all cheese, you name it. And yet, they still roll the eye and make it their business to inquire after my iron levels and blood pressure and other items that are none of their business, but they are trying to be helpful. I don't think they mean to be rude, but it feels that way. What do I do, my spouse is a vegetarian,too, but he loves his parents. As he should. I am beginning to become aggravated, but I feel I can't say anythng that would make things better not worse Veggie, Vegas

Dear Veg, You are subject to conflicting rules. You can't get in between someone and his mother, and you can't pretend things are nice when they are not. The first course of action is to talk to your spouse about how you feel, but the way you put it is crucial. You can't say I think your family is crazy, why do I have to put up with them? Because he is putting up with your family, trust me, I don't even have to know the details, that's how it is. If that doesn't bring you satisfaction, and you still are having agita, you can use the Japanese Thumbtrap approach, which I will explain in greater detail, tomorrow. God Bless, Donna

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Story of My Life 2

My father, who was not a bad man, even if he wasn't a particularly good one, remarried ASAP. Not like he had someone hiding under the bed, we don't think, but then in those days, no one talked much about that sort of thing. Raised eyebrows, knowing grunts, that's what you had to decode, but where was I, my father, may he rest, got himself another wife pronto, who took on the nine of us, and proceeded to have four of her own. Madonna! It was a mad house. Let's see how many were we?

Me (Donna)

Let me tell you, it was not worth your life to turn your back on either your food, your clothes, or your pride. Anything and all would be snatched before you could say hey, that was MY ... fill in the blank, pillow, dessert, friend, air.. it was one big scramble. Now here's the part where you expect me to say, it was tough but we had love and laughter. Well forget that. We didn't have all that much love, and the laughs were usually at someone's expense. But hey, I'm not complaining. I'm not in jail or in the looney bin, and I managed to stay alive without killing anyone. Not bad.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Story of My Life 1

I was born. It wasn't easy, not for anyone. Not for my mother, who swore on her mother's grave that if she lived she would take a knife to the privates of my father so as to never go through this torture again. (PS. she didn't, live that is) for me, who was slapped on the a** and sent to a strega of a nurse, who shoved formula down my throat and thought I was ugly, for my 8 siblings who now had no mother, and for my father who was left with nine children and no wife- who he never believed for a moment would have un manned him and of who he was fond, in his way, which was not much. Not the best start for a fairy tale, or maybe the best start, who knows. But let's put it this way, I learned about the rules of family from day one. I broke the first and main one, which is to never get in between someone and their mother, I got in the way of eight, big time. Hey, you do what you got to do, and I had to get born. Guilt, who needs it? Not me.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Awkward Moment

Dear Madrone, I was at the health club the other day and Rosie, my son's first girlfriend's mother was weeping and moaning over the retirement of her hairdresser, and her disatisfaction over the state of her highlights. The following conversation took place ME: Rosie, you look fine HER: you didn't say Rosie you look stunning. ME: uh uh
HER: Gotcha, didn't I. ME: uh uh. What should I have said? We were at our exercise place, just finished 30 minutes,and she looked fine, not stunning. But I meant it as a compliment not an insult which is how she took it. Unintentional Insulter, Half Moon Bay

Dear Un, This is her problem not yours. Let it go. God bless, Donna