Perfectly Boring

For Martin Luther King Day we just did regular things instead of three-day-weekend things. The boys got haircuts, I got in some workouts and a pedicure, Kevin roasted a chicken, I  binge-watched Alone, we went to my nephew’s basketball game, Rocco made a new friend, Leo memorized his monologue, and V cram-wrote an essay. The weekend was as boring as it was lovely.

All this is to say I’ve got nothing to blog about, so I will do what I do to make myself more fun as a substitute teacher: put up some cat pix and videos.




The cat pictures, too, are boring but lovely.

They’re getting older and bigger, just like my human kids. It’s louder now when their heads thump on the ground during wrestling bouts. Just like my human kids.

We started taking them for walks. When we get the leash, Boba purrs and runs toward us.


Matcha is not sold on the idea yet.


She spends most of her time sniffing around the door trying to find a way back in while Boba paws at the other side of the door, trying to find a way back out. He cries throughout the day now, which he never used to do. I’m not sure if outside time is a net gain or loss for his happiness.

Don’t be sad for Matcha though; her happy place safely inside, flying.

So now you know that’s how I get my classes to behave: by promising them cat videos if they can get their SS packets out in 60 seconds.

Of course, when I sub I always bring Mei Mei, our family’s stuffed duck. Mei Mei loves participating in class discussions and pointing out trash on the ground. He got jealous of all the cat pictures I show the kids at school, so I had to take some of him as well.

Here he is drinking from a faucet:


Looking for his sock monkey Mo Mo under the fridge:


Sleeping in a cute position (what a faker!):


Going for a walk. He spent the whole time complaining the leash was too tight.


Playing with his favorite toy:

The things we do for our pets.

New Year’s 2023

While we’re not big fans of New Year’s, we are fans of our New Year’s Eve party, and specifically of the mystery Lego game we  play. Ahead of time, each person builds something out of Lego bricks and snaps a picture, then takes it apart and put it in a bag. At the party, guests take a bag and build what’s in it without seeing the original. The replicas look like derpy versions of the originals. My favorite was the llama, which started out looking like this…


and ended up looking like this.


I just want to hug it!

Another attempt somehow spawned an extra llama plus a feeding trough, all from the same Lego pieces!


What started out as a parrot ended up as that same parrot’s shady older cousin.


Fortunately, in the next round he pulled things together as Mall Cop Parrot.


There was a clock tower that somehow got shorter with each build:



A polar bear eating a penguin.

(As McStreamy pointed out, polar bears exist at the north pole and penguins at the south, so the only way this is possible is a tragic zoo mauling.)

And  a WWII-era Orca. Yes, that’s a rotating machine gun attached to its face.


As is tradition, the adults left the party at a reasonable hour and Kevin went to bed so I stayed up with the kids. Without my tech support, none of the countdown shows would cast to the TV or do full- screen mode, so the stroke of midnight found us all crammed around my phone, watching a 1 x 2” video of a toothpick-sized Space Needle erupting in fireworks. At least, we think that’s what it was. It might have just been a commercial for a Sonicare or something.

And like that, the holidays were over.

Usually the post-holiday blues wait a while to come, letting me think I escaped them before sneaking in the backdoor. This year, though, they came before holiday break was even over. On Sunday I took the family to see Puss In Boots to forget about being sad. It worked, but only for a little while and now Kevin keeps asking if I want to rub his belly.


I think I’ll go with the llama instead.

White Elephant Christmas Spectacular

I love Christmas music. All through December it brings me back to the old-fashioned kind of Christmases of my grandparents’ youth. I insert myself into each of the songs, singing yuletide carols by the tree while Jack Frost nips at my nose and the night wind whispers to the little lamb.

As lovely as those songs are, and as they’re about me and my Christmases, they are also not at all like my Christmases. For example, where is the carol about playing poop shoot in front of the tree? Or the one about unwrapping phallic pieces of art? Where is the song titled But What Happened to the Plastic Fetus?

Alas, there is no Christmas carol for us, but at least there this blog post which may lack some of the rhyme and brass, but if you imagine the whole thing being sung by Michael Buble, we’ll call it close enough.

Come, let us harken back to a Christmas past, a Christmas of the year last, when we won the white elephant gift exchange by walking home with Smokey Sue (she smokes for two!). You probably remember her from most of your nightmares of last year.


Well your nightmares are over (or at least will be more interesting) because we gave her a little makeover. She is no longer Smokey Sue, she is now…


Take a minute. Let your hearts be aglow with her merry show.


There was much cackling and rubbing of hands in our dungeon—I mean basement—over the past couple months.

Smokey Sue had originally come from my brother’s family, so when they looked at the big pile of white elephant gifts on Christmas Day, they steered clear of this one.


They went for something safer.


Which made this moment even better.

Mwahahaha. (Sounds a little like falalalala, right?)


What was in the decoy, you ask?


Ah yes, the tiny babies of the cucumber photos! Here they are, in their own Christmas special. Warning: eat in good lighting.

Another favorite gift (there were so many, many good ones) was a Magic Jinn that guesses what animal you’re thinking of, but not just any Magic Jinn—one whose nose button had broken off, so it came with a pencil that you had to stick in its nose to make it work.


There was also a game of Poop Shoot that my oldest sister had an uncanny knack for winning.


And this blanket of baby Vincenzo. He will be going to college with my nephew this January, and he didn’t even have to write an essay with a personal story or show documentation of his volunteer hours and AP classes to get in.


This next gift gave Disco Sue a run for her money.


My sister gifted it to me years ago when she was into glassblowing. She said it was Dr. Seuss-inspired. You may feel it was something-else inspired. Or you may not, depending on how long it’s been since you were a seventh grade boy. As dear as the piece was to me I had regifted it to a sibling for their birthday and they gifted it to someone else for their wedding who gifted it to someone for a baby shower and so on until it disappeared. Poof! Gone! I thought we had lost it for good, but turns out it had just been crashing at my sister’s place in Vegas for a decade. It made for an awkward moment when it went through the X-ray machine at bag check.

As it came down to the last gift, we thought our stomachs couldn’t handle another bout of laughter. But then my younger sister, the vegetarian, opened the final gift.


So none of this would make it onto a postcard by Courier & Ives. All of this might land us on Santa’s naughty list for next year. But it’s not so bad when the wandrin’ path down leaves you laughing all the way.

A beautiful sight, we’re happy tonight…
Laughing all the way