Comments from the Peanut Gallery

Taking one day at a time...

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  • Monday, February 28, 2011

    Wishful Thinking...

    Tomorrow is March 1st. It's hard to believe that the year has been going by so quickly, so far. Three-and-a-half more months of work and I'll be off for the summer. That's really only fourteen weeks away. Yeesh. Where did all this time go?

    Before I know it, the twins will be potty trained. Okay, wishful thinking. I think I'm pretty content with them being babies/toddlers, especially since they're my last.

    March...does that mean we can say goodbye to the snow soon?

    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Flower Child At The Round Table...

    Livie is as girly as they get. She loves to decorate her hair with pretty barrettes. As you can see, she's quite a colorful character. I love when she does her hair like this. She's original, sparkly, creative, and very resourceful.
    I love her with my whole heart. She's going to be the flower girl in my niece's wedding in three months, you know. And she's going to be a dazzling one! She's such a free spirit, my flower child. I love that about her. She's also got a competitive nature, too. Her creativity, though, is amazing. She writes books and illustrates them herself. And she thinks a lot about the world, philosophizing more than some adults. She's my little beatnik, my poet in a black turtleneck and beret, my female Kerouac with a touch of Dorothy Parker. I'm a sucker for Dorothy Parker.
    Nothing can tame that spirit. She was born with it. How I wish the whole world could be like Livie! She knows how to be diplomatic, is sincere, and speaks her mind. She's articulate, assertive, and she is compassionate well beyond her years. Her vocabulary is vast for her age.
    She'll be five years old in forty days. Hard to believe she was ever a preemie.

    Saturday, February 26, 2011

    The Why's Of Men...

    (because they are plugged into a genius)
    (they don't have enough time)
    (they don't stop to ask directions)
    (because their balls fall over their butt-hole and they vapor
    (You're laughing, aren't you??)
    (so they won't hump women's legs at cocktails parties)
    (you need a rough draft before you make a final copy)
    (don't never happened)
    ( C'mon guys, we laugh at your blonde jokes!)
    And the personal favorite:
    (because a vibrator can't mow the lawn)
    Remember, if you haven't got a smile on your face and laughter in
    your heart...Then you are just an old sour fart!
    One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his
    sweat-shirt, seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me,
    'What setting do I use on the washing machine?'
    'It depends,' I replied. 'What does it say on your shirt?'
    He yelled back, ' University of Oklahoma .'
    And they say blondes are dumb....
    A couple is lying in bed. The man says, 'I am going to make you
    the happiest woman in the world.'

    The woman replies, 'I'll miss you...'
    'It's just too hot to wear clothes today,' Jack says as he
    stepped out of the shower, 'honey, what do you think the
    neighbors would think if I mowed the lawn like this?'
    'Probably that I married you for your money,' she replied.
    Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man?
    A: A rumor
    ------- ---------------------------------------
    Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man; Love to
    forgive him; And Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray
    for Strength, I'll beat him to death. AMEN
    Q: Why do little boys whine?

    A: They are practicing to be men
    Q: What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath
    and calling your name?
    A: You did not hold the pillow down long enough.
    Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail?
    A: Rename the mail folder 'Instruction Manual.'

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Melts My Heart...

    Every time I watch the videos of Jack playing the piano, it melts my heart. Beethoven? Dvorak? At six years old? Noodling around for a few minutes and then playing melodies of classical music in single notes and in chords? He was born with this; it's nothing any human or any textbook can teach. It's just IN him.

    I can't stop looking at the videos. Pinch me. Is this a dream?

    Unbelievable. Surreal.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Count With Me...

    How many more days until spring break? How about summer vacation?

    This has been a very long winter. Sigh. I need some sunshine.

    That is all.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011


    The worst thing about three-day weekends is getting back into the swing of things. Bleh. I love the extra time at home, but Tuesdays always wind up feeling worse than Mondays do. Does that make sense?

    While it's a four-day work week, it still doesn't change the fact the Tuesdays are pure hell and the rest of the week feels like it's dragging.

    Does anyone know how to make the transition easier? I feel so disoriented after having such an awesome long weekend. Of course, as soon as I find out the solution, it'll be the weekend again.


    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Chuckle For The Day...

    A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment.

    Suddenly, the man realized that the next day, he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote
    on a piece of paper,

    "Please wake me at 5:00 AM." He
    left it where he knew she would find it.

    The next morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't wakened him,
    when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed.

    The paper said, "It is 5:00 AM. Wake up."

    Men are not equipped for these kinds of contests.

    Monday, February 21, 2011

    The Winter Boots...

    Did you hear about the teacher who was helping one of her reception class pupils put on his boots?

    He asked for help and she could see why. Even with her pulling and him pushing, the little boots still didn't want to go on. By the time they got the second boot on, she had worked up a sweat.

    She almost cried when the little boy said, "Teacher, they're on the wrong feet."
    She looked, and sure enough, they were. It wasn't any easier pulling the boots off than it was putting them on. She managed to keep her cool as, together, they worked to get the boots back on, this time on the correct feet.

    He then announced, "These aren't my boots."

    She bit her tongue, rather than get right in his face and scream, "Why didn't you say so? " like she wanted to. Once again she struggled to help him pull the ill-fitting boots off his little feet. No sooner had they gotten the boots off when he said, "They're my brother's boots. My Mum made me wear 'em." Now she didn't know if she should laugh or cry. But she mustered up what grace and courage she had left to wrestle the boots on his feet again.

    Helping him into his coat, she asked, "Now, where are your mittens?"

    He said, "I stuffed 'em in the toes of my boots."

    She will be eligible for parole in three years.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

    The Gifts Autism Can Bring...

    Every day, I learn something new about my son Jack. Yesterday, I learned he has a serious musical gift. It's not that I didn't know it before; it's just that I saw him apply it in a way I'd never seen him do before. Quite frankly, I'm in shock.

    We've all known how great his voice is when he sings. We did not know, however, that he could play the piano with a trained ear. He's teaching himself how to play by using classical music. And he's using chords.

    He played Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" and Dvorak's "Going Home" (Symphony No. 9) yesterday at my Mom's house. Floored us all. Right now, I'm trying to digest what I witnessed, keeping in mind that he's only just turned six. I'm not going to put any pressure on him at all. I want him to enjoy his gift and play because he loves it. Music is the elixir that calms him down. He's a completely different boy when he can sing, listen to his favorite classical pieces, and make his own music. He's even begun to play songs that he's written inside his own head. He's tenacious and keeps playing until he gets it right, not getting frustrated at all. And once he finishes a piece, he's so proud of his accomplishment!

    This kind of talent is not common. I need to make sure that we are very careful with how we help him exercise this gift. It will open many doors for him in the future.

    The irony in all this is that, at one point during my pregnancy with him, we were going to name him Wolfgang.

    Saturday, February 19, 2011

    According To Jeff Foxworthy...

    If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you live in Chicago.

    If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in Chicago.

    If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in Chicago.

    If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in Chicago.

    If "Vacation" means going anywhere south of I-80 for the weekend, you live in Chicago.

    If you measure distance in hours, you live in Chicago.

    If you have switched from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again, you live in Chicago.

    If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in Chicago.

    If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in Chicago.

    If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit, you live in Chicago.

    If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in Chicago.

    If driving is better in the winter because the pot holes are filled with snow, you live in Chicago.

    If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in Chicago.

    If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you live in Chicago.

    If you find 10 degrees "a little chilly", you live in Chicago.

    Having been born and raised right here in the city (and raising my own family here), I can tell you for a fact that Jeff Foxworthy is not wrong about these things. Heh.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    Roller Coaster...

    The past few days were a roller coaster of emotions for me for various different reasons. I'm so glad it's Friday and I've got the weekend to be a blob. I've pretty much had my limit of love, hate, frustration, sadness, happiness, and anger. It's left me with a bittersweet aftertaste in my mouth.

    I just want to be a blob and not feel a thing for the next few days. Would that be so bad?

    Spring better come soon. I need some warm sunshine to drench my soul with.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Inner Peace...

    If you can start the day without caffeine,
    If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
    If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
    If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,
    If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
    If you can take criticism and blame without resentment ,
    If you can conquer tension without medical help,
    If you can relax without liquor,
    If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

    ...Then You Are Probably .........

    The Family Dog!

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011


    A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day, drinking iced tea and visiting with her mother. As they talked about life, about marriage, about the responsibilities of life and the obligations of adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance upon her daughter..

    "Don't forget your sisters," she advised, swirling the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. "They'll be more important as you get older. No matter how much you love your husband, no matter how much you love the children you may have, you are still going to need sisters. Remember to go places with them now and then; do things with them."

    "Remember that 'sisters' means ALL the women... your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other women relatives too. You'll need other women. Women always do."

    "What a funny piece of advice!" the young woman thought. Haven't I just gotten married? Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely my husband and the family we may start will be all I need to make my life worthwhile!"

    But she listened to her mother. She kept contact with her sisters and made more women friends each year. As the years tumbled by, one after another, she gradually came to understand that her mother really knew what she was talking about. As time and nature work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman, sisters are the mainstays of her life.

    Here is what I've learned:

    Time passes.
    Life happens.
    Distance separates.
    Children grow up.
    Jobs come and go.
    Love waxes and wanes.
    Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
    Hearts break.
    Parents die.
    Colleagues forget favors.
    Careers end.


    Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach. When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end. Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you....Or come in and carry you out.

    Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers, Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family: all bless our life!

    The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I.. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other. Every day, we need each other still.

    There are more than twenty angels in this world. Ten are peacefully sleeping on clouds. Nine are playing. And one is reading this blog entry at this very moment.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2011


    I became confused when I heard the word "Service" used with these agencies:

    Internal Revenue "Service"
    U.S. Postal "Service"
    Telephone "Service"
    Cable TV "Service"
    Civil "Service"
    State, City, County & Public "Service"
    Customer "Service"

    This is not what I thought "Service" meant.

    But today, I overheard two farmers talking, and one of them said he had hired a bull to "Service" all his cows. BAM!!!

    It all came into focus. Now I understand what all those agencies are doing to us.

    You are now as enlightened as I am!

    Monday, February 14, 2011

    A Love Story...

    If you didn't see this on the Tonight show, I hope you're sitting down when you read it. This is probably the funniest date story ever, first date or not!!! We have all had bad dates but this takes the cake.

    Jay Leno went into the audience to find the most embarrassing first date that a woman ever had. The winner described her worst first date experience.

    There was absolutely no question as to why her tale took the prize!

    She said it was midwinter... Snowing and quite cold... And the guy had taken her skiing in the mountains outsideSalt Lake City , Utah . It was a day trip (no overnight). They were strangers, after all, and had never met before. The outing was fun but relatively uneventful until they were headed home late that afternoon..

    They were driving back down the mountain, when she gradually began to realize that she should not have had that extra latte. They were about an hour away from anywhere with a rest room and in the middle of nowhere! Her companion suggested she try to hold it, which she did for a while. Unfortunately, because of the heavy snow and slow going, there came a point where she told him that he had better stop and let her go beside the road, or it would be the front seat of his car

    They stopped and she quickly crawled out beside the car, yanked her pants down and started. In the deep snow she didn't have good footing, so she let her butt rest against the rear fender to steady herself..

    Her companion stood on the side of the car watching for traffic and indeed was a real gentleman and refrained from peeking.. All she could think about was the relief she felt despite the rather embarrassing nature of the situation.

    Upon finishing however, she soon became aware of another sensation. As she bent to pull up her pants, the young lady discovered her buttocks were firmly glued against the car's fender. Thoughts of tongues frozen to poles immediately came to mind as she attempted to disengage her flesh from the icy metal. It was quickly apparent that she had a brand new problem, due to the extreme cold.

    Horrified by her plight and yet aware of the humor of the moment, she answered her date's concerns about' what is taking so long' with a reply that indeed, she was 'freezing her butt off' and in need of some assistance!

    He came around the car as she tried to cover herself with her sweater and then , as she looked imploringly into his eyes, he burst out laughing. She too, got the giggles and when they finally managed to compose themselves, they assessed her dilemma. Obviously, as hysterical as the situation was, they also were faced with a real problem.

    Both agreed it would take something hot to free her chilly cheeks from the grip of the icy metal! Thinking about what had gotten her into the predicament in the first place, both quickly realized that there was only one way to get her free. So, as she looked the other way, her first time date proceeded to unzip his pants and pee her butt off the fender.

    As the audience screamed in laughter, she took the Tonight Show prize hands down. Or perhaps that should be 'pants down. 'And you thought your first date was embarrassing. Jay Leno's comment...'This gives a whole new meaning to being pissed off.'

    Oh and how did the first date turn out? He became her husband and was sitting next to her on the Leno show.

    Happy Valentines Day, folks!

    Sunday, February 13, 2011


    Today is Jack's birthday party. Lots to do, so this post is a short one. Heh.
    Have a great Sunday!

    Saturday, February 12, 2011

    One Foot Shorter Than My Mother...

    I took yesterday off, but my day was not one entirely of leisure. Jack and Liv had dental appointments yesterday morning. I absolutely LOVE the pediatric dental practice they go to. They're well worth the money. Both kids had no cavities and Jack even got a full set of mouth X-rays done; we have a picture of his X-rays on our fridge. He had a blast! They both got new toothbrushes and presents for coming and doing a great job. It was yet another awesome experience there.

    Then we came home and made red velvet cupcakes in the shape of hearts. We frosted them and decorated them with Valentine sprinkles, too. It wasn't as messy as I'd thought it would be. We also made a red velvet round cake for Papa. I cut it into the shape of a heart, frosted it, and had the kids decorate it with more sprinkles. What a great idea to keep them busy for a little while.

    After that was done, I took Jack to his doctor appointment. It was his normal 6-year physical and he's in tip top shape, as usual. He's now 41lbs. and 45" tall, which makes him tall and skinny, pretty much. He gained 5 pounds in one year and grew 1.5 inches. The best part of going to the doctor was when I opened all the blinds in the room so he could get a good look at all the airplanes passing by. The hospital is in the flight path to the airport, so Jack could see all the planes while they were pretty low and looked HUGE. He was in total awe.

    I can't believe he's almost four feet tall and will be losing his baby teeth soon and getting permanent molars this year. Wasn't this kid just born? I can't even begin to imagine him with missing teeth or permanent teeth that seem too big for his little face. I guess I still see him as a baby sometimes, even though he's a full-blooded kid now. Sigh.

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    Worker Bee...

    I took today off from work. Jack and Liv have dental appointments at 8:15am, which I made six months ago because it was supposed to be just a day of meetings where I could come in a little bit late without a problem. Today was supposed to be a day without students, but because of days we missed due to last week's blizzard, they've made today a day of attendance for students to make up one of the snow days. Rather than walk in late, I just took the day off and decided to throw in Jack's 6-year check-up in the afternoon, just to kill two birds with one stone. We're getting a lot done today.

    Jack's birthday party is on Sunday. Having today off will give me a head start on getting the house in order for our guests. It should be a fun time!

    Sometimes I feel like a little worker bee, when all I ever wanted was to be the Queen. It's a good thing I know how to manage my time. There's plenty of time to be the Queen when the nest is empty. For now, I'll enjoy every moment knowing that I don't waste a single minute. It'll pay off someday.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Happy Birthday, Dad!...

    Today is my Dad's 70th birthday and he's accomplished quite a bit in the last year.

    My Dad has a Facebook account that he updates several times a day; he has a Nook and downloads and reads many books on it (and also goes online with it); and his cell phone is an Android, which he has many apps on and knows how to use them all. He's become techno-savvy in a short period of time, with many devices.

    It's hard to believe that he's a 70-year-old card-carrying member of the Geek Squad. He certainly keeps his mind active, that's for sure.

    Happy Birthday, Dad!

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    Jury Duty Scam...

    There's a new scam going on. This has been verified by the FBI (their link is also included below). Please pass this on to everyone you know. It is spreading fast, so be prepared should you get this call. Most of us take a summons for jury duty seriously, but enough people skip out on their civic duty that a new and ominous kind of fraud has surfaced.

    The caller claims to be a jury duty coordinator. If you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth, so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Give out any of this information and bingo, your identity was just stolen.

    The fraud has been reported, so far, in 11 states, including Oklahoma, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, and more. This (swindle) is particularly insidious because they use intimidation over the phone to try to bully people into giving information by pretending they are with the court system.

    The FBI and the federal court system have issued nationwide alerts on their websites, warning consumers about the fraud.

    Check it out here:
    And here:

    Yep! It's true
    Please make sure and pass this on.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011


    My son Jack is six years old today. It still feels like he was just born. Six years have gone by so fast.

    He's a little man, you know. He loves his three sisters and has as much fun as any other kid does.

    He's my buddy, my little J, the reason I was born. I'm so glad he picked me to be his Mom. I don't know anyone else who could love him more than I do.
    I love you, Jack. I love you more. I love you most. I love you all the way to the moon and back. You have no idea how lucky we are to have you. You opened my eyes the day you were born. Happy Birthday!

    Monday, February 07, 2011

    Not Surprising At All...

    I am sooooooo not surprised that Christina Aguilera does not know the words to our national anthem. She's barely educated at all in anything other than Hollywood. However, I would've expected her to know that song by heart, especially since she opened up the Super Bowl with it.

    Uh, can you say EPIC FAIL?!

    See for yourself.

    What a moron!

    Sunday, February 06, 2011

    That Cheshire Cat Grin...

    Six years ago this evening, I embarked on the induction of labor with my son on his due date. It lasted 48 hours before they gave me what would be an emergency C-section. He just didn't want to leave his Mama. Cervidil and Pitocin were his enemies.

    It's hard for me to believe that I spent two whole days in labor with this boy who now looks like such a little man all of a sudden. It snuck up on me.

    His long, long legs and long, narrow feet that poke through his socks now...
    His dark, full eyelashes that make wind when he blinks...
    His strong core muscles...
    His quirky facial expressions...
    The way he looks me directly in the eyes when he speaks to me, as if he can see into my soul...
    That Cheshire cat grin...
    His passion for airplanes and light poles...
    His voice when he sings and how that must be what heaven sounds like...

    Two days I labored with this child. If there is one thing I could ever change in my entire life, it would be to have never been induced; I would've let him come out on his own terms, not mine. Although, he really did come out on his own terms and he let me know it...48 hours later.

    I love that kid more than he'll ever know. In two days, he will be six years old. It feels like I've known him my whole life. Or maybe his birth was simply the day I actually started living. Children have a way of bringing out the love inside you that you never knew you had.

    Saturday, February 05, 2011

    Deep Freeze...

    We're headed toward a deep freeze next week. I mean really, really cold. We're talking 4 degrees for a HIGH one day. That on top of all the snow we've just gotten, it looks like Antarctica in my backyard.

    Six months from now, however, it'll be 90 degrees for six days in a row and we'll be bitching about how much we're using our central air. C'est la vie!

    Seriously, though, it really does look like Antarctica in my backyard and my entire neighborhood. The mountains of snow are just that...mountains. If it weren't so damned cold out, I'd send the kids out to play in all of it. I just don't want them getting frostbite.

    Homebound, it is. Sigh.

    Friday, February 04, 2011

    Our Day...

    Happy Anniversary to the love of my life! We've been married twelve years today. I remember eloping to Maui like it was yesterday. I love him with my whole heart for so many reasons.

    In the last twelve years, we've had two dogs, one apartment, one house, his back surgery, two blizzards, four children (one set of twins, all C-sections for me) within five years of each other, a couple bouts with my post-partum depression, and six years of Jack's autism. That's a lot in one lifetime, let alone twelve years.

    This last blizzard we've seen this past Tuesday and Wednesday was quite a doozy. He spent more hours shoveling and snowblowing before the snowblower's belt just finally snapped. Ugh. That meant more shoveling for him while I watched all the kids, despite crippling back pain. He loves us. What more can I say?

    I can't think of a better way to have spent the last twelve years of my life. My soulmate and I are on this amazing journey together and I can't wait to see where it takes us in the future.

    I love you, Hubby! I love you all the way to the moon and back.

    Thursday, February 03, 2011

    Hell Has Frozen Over...

    CPS has issued another snow day again today. In yesterday's post, I mentioned that it's been twelve years since we've had a snow day here in Chicago. Now, we get TWO! Amazing! Then again, there ARE more than twenty inches of snow on the ground, which will be followed by -20 to
    -40 below zero wind chills. Some schools don't even have any power.

    In some places, the snow drifts are higher than my children's heights. The dog doesn't know whether to shit or go blind. The streets are impassable and it's just plain dangerous out there. I'm glad I don't have to go to work and the kids don't have to go to school.

    This kind of storm is rare here. It sure was beautiful, watching Mother Nature do her thing, though. I took lots of pictures, too. It was so much fun playing in the snow with the kids. Thankfully, Hubby did all the snowblowing. It was no easy task, that's for sure.

    I wonder if the schools will open tomorrow. I'm guessing they will, but a plow better come down our street by then or I'm not going to be able to go anywhere.

    Wednesday, February 02, 2011

    Snow Day...

    This is Hubby with icicles hanging from his beard after snowblowing the first time.

    Yep, we're having an official Snow Day today. I'm home from work and the kids are home from school due to the blizzard. It's pretty bad out there. By the time I'd gotten home from work yesterday, the mayor was already announcing that CPS would NOT have school today. Duh.
    Ya think?

    It's only been 12 years since our last snow day. Seriously.

    On the agenda for today:
    *jewelry-making with Liv
    *playing in the snow with Jack and Liv
    *jammie day

    I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    Origins Of Some Phrases...

    In George Washington's days, there were no cameras. One's image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are 'limbs,' therefore painting them would cost the buyer more… Hence the expression, 'Okay, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.' (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)

    As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year (May and October). Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn't wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence the term 'big wig.' Today we often use the term 'here comes the Big Wig' because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.

    In the late 1700's, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The 'head of the household' always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal. To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the 'chair man.' Today in business, we use the expression or title Chairman' or 'Chairman of the Board.'

    Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee's wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman's face she was told, 'mind your own bee's wax.' Should the woman smile, the wax would crack, hence the term 'crack a smile'. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . . Therefore, the expression 'losing face.'

    Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in 'straight laced'... wore a tightly tied lace.

    Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the 'Ace of Spades.' To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren't 'playing with a full deck.'

    Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV's or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to 'go sip some ale' and listen to people's conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. 'You go sip here' and 'You go sip there.' The two words 'go sip' were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term 'gossip.'

    At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid's job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in 'pints' and who was drinking in 'quarts,' hence the term 'minding your 'P's and Q's.'

    One more and betting you didn't know this!

    In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon. There was only one to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a 'Monkey' with 16 round indentations.

    However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make 'Brass Monkeys.’ Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.

    Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, 'Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’ (All this time, you thought that was an improper expression, didn't you.)