Christmas Tree Hunt

No, the hills are not on fire; this is just what it looks like when you live inside a cloud.


We don’t dream of white Christmases here. We dream of wet ones, because we don’t like to be disappointed.


But hey, a few clouds and puddles can’t dampen our spirits!

Except maybe this guy.*


He has the look on his face of someone who only uses a handsaw once a year.


Okay, so it was wet. So my husband made his usual comments about the perfectly fine pre-cut trees at Costco. So my kids are not ones to wear flannel shirts and knit hats and stripy scarves.


The day was not picture perfect, but you have to admit, these are pictures.


And they’re my kind of perfect.


Pasta with chicken sausage and broccolini
Pumpkin pie

*My overheard comment of the day was when Kevin walked past a group of people who were having a tough time figuring out what to do with the tree they had cut down. “Look, there are six of us here and that guy just walked by carrying a tree by himself. I’m sure we can figure this out…”

Cool Sub

I subbed in a fifth grade classroom on Friday—one that can be quite challenging. We had a rough time together in September. I didn’t think I’d come back, but I gave them one more chance and then they Rick Rolled me IRL and I told them that was a dank meme and I only tolerate fresh memes, and since then we’ve gotten along just fine.

Still, I always feel the need to be prepared when I sub in their classroom, so I asked Vincenzo for some cool words I could say to the kids.

He said I should find a time in the day when I can say “cracked.” I wasn’t sure how to use it so I asked for an example. He said, like, if I’m playing video games and I’m popping off and my k/d ratio is high, then I can say, ‘I’m cracked.’”

I told him it was unlikely I’d be playing video games with the kids, even though I have a sweet gaming computer (which is true, and the students are obsessed with it), but maybe we’d play chess and then I could yell out, “Yeah! I’m cracked at chess!”

“No,” Vincenzo said, “you can’t be cracked at chess. There are only certain things you can be cracked at.”

I said, “Well what if I’m an egg and I’ve just been smashed on the counter?”

“That one I’m not sure about…”

I said, “What if I’m a human and I smash a dozen eggs on my forehead and it’s not even dented?”

“Yes, then you’re cracked.”

“Yeah,” I said, remembering the time I smashed a dozen eggs on my forehead. “I was so cracked.”

“No, no, no,” Vincenzo said. “Cracked is present tense.”

My brain started to implode a bit.  “So I can’t say, ‘I’m cracking it,’ or ‘When I was popping off on video games and my k/d ratio was high yesterday, I was cracked?’”

“No,” he said firmly.

“Wait, what exactly does ‘cracked’ mean?”


My brain finished imploding. Without a brain, it was much easier to follow the next part of our conversation.

Vincenzo explained, “Like the word ‘cracked,’ you could never say ‘I’m goated’ or ‘I’m goating’ because it’s an acronym. It stands for Greatest of All Time. Tom Brady is the original goat.”

“Ohhhhh, so it’s GOAT, not goat.”

Vincenzo looked at me weird. He couldn’t hear the capitalization in my voice.

“Okay, this one makes sense,” I said. “So if I’m teaching a sentence diagramming and I explain the dangling preposition so well that the kids stand on their desks and cheer and some maybe even cry tears of joy, I could yell, I’m a GOAT!’”

Vincenzo shook his head. “No, let me make a correction. Tom Brady is not a GOAT, he’s the GOAT, so you can’t say, ‘I’m a GOAT,’ but you can say, ‘Tom Brady is the GOAT,’ and in all other cases, you say ‘I’m GOATed,’ but you can never say “I’m the goat.”

“Wait, so if I pop off in video games, I have to say, ‘Tom Brady is the GOAT!?”

Vincenzo face-palmed. “Maybe ‘GOAT isn’t the right word for you. Let’s try flex instead.”

I asked him a lot of questions about flexing, and here’s a summary of what I learned:

Flex is cool word to say. You can use it in any tense—past, present, future, subjunctive pluperfect etc. etc. For example, if there’s a challenging math problem you could say, “If you want to flex, you can try the challenge problem.”

If you plan to solve the problem in the future, you’d say, “I’m going to flex.”

While you’re solving the problem, you can say, “I’m flexing!”

After you’ve solved it, you can say, “I totally flexed that.”

And, of course, in the pluperfect tense* you could say, “I would have flexed that problem if Mrs. Beto hadn’t taken up all my math time talking about how cool she is.”

Flexed is…flexible. I get it.

You’re probably thinking now that MrsMouthy is cracked. She’s dropping knowledge bombs all over this blog and flexing so hard she’s totally goated.

And that, of course, is totally poggers.


Indian take-out!

Halloween 2021

We are not a thematic family. You would be hard-pressed to come up for a theme that involves a penguin, a dragon, and Bob Ross.


I tried to tell Vincenzo Bob Ross was more of a blue denim shirt guy and he certainly wasn’t a gold chain guy, but V didn’t care. He liked his look.


He also could have called his costume “my dad as he would have been in the 70s,” as this was Kevin’s real hair in high school.

kevin hs

Seriously. I married that.

Back to Halloween: we had quite the crowd for pizza and trick-or-treating.


A couple of my favorite costumes:



Once the pizza was eaten and the candy was trick-or-treated, the kids all went to the basement, dumped their buckets, and began the economics lesson that we call “candy trading.”


It was like the stock market floor, with kids calling out names of candy bars and holding fingers in the air to show how many, everyone yelling at once, candy being tossed overhead, plus a healthy amount of jostling and grabbing. I missed filming most of the madness, so here is one of the milder moments:

And now Halloween is over, which leaves one question: Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet?

Jamaican “patties”
Roasted broccoli
Spanish rice
Candy shop pizza