The Recycled Tacky Gift Exchange




Once again we celebrated with family and friends at our annual Christmas party. Children and adults decorated ornaments, cookies, and a gingerbead house (which Husband had assembled the night before using brute determination)...

Read More...

Volunteering: A Tale From The Trenches

She was unhappy then; she's unhappy now. Bianca wants to be, in her words, sitting under a tree with a book but has found herself instead in this communal situation where everyone is in everyone else's pockets. She doesn't want to play bingo or cards. She's tired of the social activities designed to keep the residents busy. She wants to be independent -- cook for herself, be on her own timetable -- but her circumstances don't allow that... Read More...

18, 19, 20 Kids and Counting and the Tater Tot Casserole Recipe: Updated

Lying in bed last night, eyes wide as saucers, I gave up on sleep and went to the kitchen for a cup of tea. Flipping through the cable channels (yes, my life is dominated by media) I came across "The Duggars: 17 Kids and Counting" on TLC. I am strangely fascinated by this family...

Update: "The ultimate Christmas gift from God," said Jim Bob. Well, it's "18 Kids and Counting" now...
Read More...

Why Was Jim's Gift to Della Ironic in "The Gift of the Magi"? Updated



These were the words used in a search query by someone (likely a high school freshman) who found StoryRhyme.com. To the seeker: I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you didn't read the story, did you? Because if you did, you'd know that O. Henry's use of irony is not exactly subtle. In fact, if at first you didn't know what irony meant, you would after reading "The Gift of the Magi..."

Update: Jim And Della's Gifts; Irony... Okay, since it's the season of giving and since I don't want to feel like I've got spiders in my soul like The Grinch, I'm directing this post to the many of you who are seeking the answer to the question: What is ironic about the gifts Jim and Della gave to each other. Also, what were they really giving...

Read More...

An Appreciation of Dorothy Sterling

Yesterday, our friend Ira (I guess you're officially a contributor now) sent a link to an L.A. Times article on the passing of author Dorothy Sterling at the age of 95; he thought her story would be worth noting on StoryRhyme.com... Read More...

Behind the Story: "Lighting The Chanukah Lights With Emily"

Laura finds herself in a classroom full of enthusiastic, well-groomed and always polite high school freshman eagerly waiting for her to teach them the proper way to diagram a sentence... Read More...

Bye, Bye, Bettie



Yes, she was the “notorious” pin-up girl in sometimes ridiculous-looking outfits, but she retained a lovely lightness about everything she did...

Read More...

Behind the Story: Emily's Handmade Christmas

The spirit of the holidays, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, is really about giving to others. The saying "'Tis better to give than to receive" is true. As we get older, for most of us, there's not much that we need. Read More...

StoryRhyme.com's December Poll


Growing up, part of our family tradition was going out every year to pick out a tree with Dad. I've kept up the tradition of fresh-cut trees until just two years ago. Lazy? Maybe a little. Now we have a beautiful (okay, well, it’s fine) artificial tree. All we need is a little pine air freshener and we're set.

Go on, vote. The poll’s right over there in the right sidebar...

Oh and if you have the time, share a Christmas Tree story..!

Read More...

Truth & Quakers

So do we always want to hear the truth? I don't think so. When we ask our partner how we look, don't we really want them to tell us, "You look fabulous"? When we ask for the opinions of others, aren't we looking for validation? How do we live in community together if we don't shade the truth a little for those we love? Do we really tell the host or hostess that dinner was awful..? Read More...

Everything You Wanted to Know About Leif Ericcson Day But Were Afraid to Ask

StoryRhyme.com, your source for all sorts of interesting facts and tidbits. Tune in next week as we celebrate the accomplishments of Millard Fillmore...
Read More...

That Thanksgiving Cat: Updated!

Suddenly I hear shooting and two dogs run off. My neighbor Raul has come out with BB gun blazing... Read More...

Some Helpful Thanksgiving Tips


This holiday, take a deep breath and relax with some of our very own StoryRhyme.com helpful hints. Here's number 9: Don't serve that greenbean casserole with the canned mushrooms and shoestring onions because it's just gross...

Read More...

Thoughts on Wildfires

Southern California has been burning the last two days. There are fires all around us, the air is thick and as I look outside, the sky has cast an ominous orange glow over the backyard... Read More...

The Allure of Cheap Hair Products: Hair Diary Part 3. Hens Are Not the Same as Roosters

I think I'm getting to be an old hand at this dyeing stuff. Well, I have done it twice now. Go to the drugstore with the top of the old box (very clever). Husband suggests I go lighter this time (to replicate Michael's results). Sound advice; right (from a guy who goes to SuperCuts)..? Read More...

15 Strange Things I Saw in the Harriet Carter Catalog


First of all, we're way too cool for this catalog (or so I thought), yet it comes anyway...

Read More...

May God Bless These United States of America

"To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to the stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear on cheerfully, do all bravely, awaiting occasions, worry never; in a word to, like the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common..." Read More...

Domo Arigato, Target

Domo, Domo-Kun, Target Domo.

Gift cards have now crossed over from the realm of the merely functional to become toys and collector pieces? This particular card features a cutout "Domo" with magnetic Halloween costumes (included inside the gift card packaging) so you can dress your Domo in different Halloween costumes...

Read More...

The Harry Potter Party



Charlie made decorations and signs for everything including a "Chamber of Secrets" sign that he put on the toilet tank; a "Leaky Cauldron" sign for the kitchen; and a "Platform 9 3/4" sign that we hung at the front door to welcome guests. Our Chamber of Secrets and Leaky Cauldron signs remain to this day...

Read More...

Road Trip: Remembering Grandma



At the age of 2, Grandma moved with her parents and brother from Kansas to the Arizona desert to homestead. Her mother (my Great Grandmother) taught school in the one-room school house and owned and ran the general store. Life was hard in the small ranch town. It was remote and often lonely...

Read More...

Interesting Times

I first heard the ancient curse, "May you live in interesting times," a few years ago. I've always liked this curse. It seems innocuous enough, not harsh like the traditional "May your cattle die and your crops wither" type curse... Read More...

New! JC's Blog's Monthly Poll

You can be the first to vote in our monthly poll. This month, in honor of the upcoming election, we pose the question: Whom would you vote for..? Read More...

17% Cooler. More Hamsters.

Enjoy our cooler hamster-powered layout (and try not to worry about your 401(k), we're not)...
Read More...

Of Halloween Costumes

Autumn's here, which means it was time to get the Halloween box down from the garage shelves. Charlie's now tall enough to do this himself (growing like a weed), and immediately started pulling out old costumes. Before I knew it, we had a space alien visiting. Charlie takes Halloween very seriously and has been known to wear his costume around the house for a week...

Read More...

LightSpeed Update

If given the choice, I'd rather take a nap than have to learn something new...

Read More...

Behind the Story: "The Andrew Mason Illustrated Field Guide to Unknown Dragons"

Scanning, building, linkiing, coding pages for Mason and Andrew's guide is a bit of an undertaking (Husband has the dark circles under his eyes to prove it). So much so that if it weren't for the persistence on the part of one of our young friends (frequent phone calls to the house), this undertaking may not have taken place so, um, quickly (11-year-olds are not known for their patience and forbearance)...
Read More...

Behind the Story: "Hiccup The Burping Dog's Birthday Party"

I made a dogfood cake and gave the dogs individual treats. We attempted to put party hats on them (except for K.C. who was a nasty little thing), and took pictures. What good are dogs if you can't put hats on them once in a while for your own enjoyment..?

Read More...

The Federation for Relevance Presents Free Slogans - Limited Time Only...

I glanced over after Husband snorted while watching TV. He was watching one of those Proposition ads that have been so ubiquitous the past few months. The ad had been sponsored by the "Union of Concerned Scientists." He was laughing...

Read More...

New Tricks for a Somewhat Older Dog

Intuitively I know that change can be a good thing, but for me, change often falls into the category of it's good for you, like eating your vegetables or cutting donuts out of your diet. Not always the most fun; sometimes a challenge. Fifteen years of doing one thing one way are now at an end... Read More...

"HFCS is Good..!"

"Something's happening..." When my son was in kindergarten, I started noticing that there was something different about the kids. Their body shapes had changed since I was a kid. More children were pudgy or overweight. With each passing grade, I noticed this more and more...
Read More...

Uncredible Sources

Every now and then (and it happens way too often for my taste) we receive an email (usually a forward) that claims to uphold some truth, expose corruption, injustice; whatever the cause... Read More...

Life is Random and You Can Too

I recognize the name of an actress (who was popular back when I was paying attention to such things), and names I don't recognize but find out (by Googling them) that one is Tiger Woods' wife, some town’s soon-to-be ex-mayor, and a sports guy or two... Read More...

The Groovy Birthday Party



We tie-dyed about 30 shirts throughout the evening; and, of course, all the adults were the first in line. A couple of Charlie's friends came over in their new far-out tie-dyed shirts today and they looked, well, groovy... Read More...

Ubuntu

We are what we are because of everyone else... Read More...

Gravity: Friend or Foe?

.
Gravity has not been kind. I examine my face, looking for the right angle of attack for makeup application... Read More...

Ch-Ch-Changes (updated)

I feel like such a heel. His friends will all be starting school (right at the end of our street) next week, without him. Today he's blazing a new trail on his own... Read More...

My Worst Songs of the '70s List

Shag carpets, swag lamps, fake wood paneling, macrame belts, and leisure suits with white shoes. Billy Beer. This unique time seemed to spawn some really bad music... Read More...

Fossil Hunters



In upper 90s weather, with full sun, no shade in sight, we grab pieces of rock and break them open with our little hammers looking for anything interesting. I sat there and hummed "Breaking rocks in the hot sun, I fought the law and the law won..." Read More...

How "Elf" Saved Me From Despair

First Husband, then Charlie, then me. And I've had it the worst... Read More...

My '80s Mix Tape Revisited & I'm So Easily Entertained

Last night, my '80s mix tape as wished for on this very blog was placed into my hands. What should I wish for next? A winning lottery ticket? World peace..?

The other day, an interesting person out there found StoryRhyme.com using this search query: "How to Make an Elephant Trunk for a Dog." Well, as you all can imagine, this sent me over the moon. I am very easily amused and entertained... Read More...

Getting Happy

The little tyke sitting in front of us performed gravity-defying mid-air somersaults. He did not have a trampoline, but was propelled by sheer youthful exuberance. It was, um, "fun" to see how close he could get without actually crashing into us... Read More...

Behind the Story: Charlie and Ted The Space Guy


The idea of worlds within worlds is so interesting to me. After our recent trip to the Griffith Park Observatory and watching the planetarium show, I was inspired to write a story about Charlie's encounter with an inhabitant of one of those worlds within a world...

Read More...

A Tribute to Our Coffee Maker

When I woke up this morning and staggered out to the kitchen to make the day's first pot of coffee, I noticed that Husband had, the night before, lovingly cleaned and polished our little coffee maker. This is an elaborate process... Read More...

We Love "WALL-E" (And Why You Should Too)

The family has been down with a very nasty, overly-agressive, all-consuming cold for the last two weeks. (This has been particularly annoying for Charlie. Not only has he lost a week of precious summer being sick, he starts school two weeks early this year. Yikes!) So July 4th, feeling reasonably well, coughing kept to a minimum, we ventured out of our cave to the theater to see this movie, and a nicer July 4th treat we couldn't have had... Read More...

My 80s Mix Tape

Since there are no rules to blogging (at least none that I've heard of), I've decided to throw out something completely random for your collective consideration. So here's my list of picks for my Ultimate 80s Mix Tape, in no particular order... Read More...

Embracing My Dork Side

It's been so many years since I've read it, I'd forgotten so much. I've seen the movies (which were amazing), and didn't remember how different they were from the books. For instance, Tom Bombadil. I'd forgotten completely about him. Just what is he, we wondered? A quick Internet search of "Tom Bombadil" gave me over half a million entries...
Read More...

The Toxic Eye Roll...

"Eye rolling can be a predicter of divorce." What..? I roll my eyes at least 50 times a day (jeez, I’m doing it now). Over the time I've known my husband, I've rolled my eyes at him at least 5 million times... Read More...

Happy Father's Day

When I think back to my own dad, the overriding feeling I get is his love for us (and we weren't always the most loveable group, let me tell you). My dad was colorful, a real character. I have vivid memories of him mowing the front lawn in this get-up: Cowboy boots with black socks, green and blue bermuda shorts, sleeveless T, and cowboy hat... Read More...

Play With Dog; Do Homework

A while back, my mother-in-law gave Charlie a dry erase board (complete with AARP logo) -- magnetic -- so, of course, it ended up on the fridge, which is almost covered, but there are still a few inches of white space left. Very few. My favorite piece of fridge art right now is Charlie's picture of a monster Hello Kitty drawn in the style of King Kong or Godzilla, towering over destroyed skyscrapers and swatting at airplanes, using his (her?) heat ray eyes to destroy a passing helicopter. The tanks have no effect on him...

Read More...

Anniversary and Cosmos

We're not so different, Carrie and I. Well, except for the expensive apartment, closet the size of my living room, $500 shoes, and $300 throw pillows. Oh, and my dog is bigger than all of the dogs in the movie put together. But other than that... Read More...

The Last Field Trip (Sigh)



Yesterday, I accompanied Charlie's class on his last elementary school field trip. Their personalities are emerging. The difference from last year's group: The first bathroom stop was not to use the facilities but to check their hair. The transformation begins... Read More...

Clean My House. Please.

I live with cavemen, I really do. Now, they're charming cavemen. The ladies love them, and they're very polite, but around the house, they really regress back to the ol' cave. My dog is a cave dog. His shedding has been in overdrive lately and I could fill at least one pillow each day with his cast-off cave dog hair...
Read More...

"Lost" & Found..? New! Now 30% More Lost...

Warning: Those of you who are wise and haven't been drawn into this show will not get this, and for the rest of us, do we..?

Finale Update: "Is he talking about what I think he's talking about?" "If you're talking about time traveling bunnies, yes."
Read More...

If I Knew Then What I Know Now; My Sister-in-Law

When Husband and I were prepping for Charlie to start school, we didn't think the school itself mattered as much as the parent-child involvement. While the aforementioned is certainly key, the other night, I felt a twinge of regret as I watched my sister-in-law doing some last-minute sewing. She was making a tiger for her classroom production... Read More...

Adult No Talk Good

At this point she raises her eyebrows, not expecting to hear this coming from the mouth of a 10-year-old. She then asks, "Do you have your pee-pee cup..?" Read More...

Chào Bạn

It's a kick to watch our world map filling in as we connect with the rest of the globe... Read More...

Mother's Day; Reflections on Motherhood

Before we had our son, Husband and I would think nothing of a spontaneous trip into the city for a midnight dinner at our favorite 24-hour dive. We were night owls; expert sleepers... Read More...

Behind the Story: "Charlie and Ruby (the brave)"

By comparison to Eli, Chance is a complete slacker. While Eli would patrol the yard constantly, Chance merely pokes his head out the dog door to see if it's worth his trouble to go out (and for Chance, it's usually not). We discovered that dogs, like children, are their own unique individuals. Eli lived to please us and couldn't bear to be scolded. Reprimands roll off Chance's back like water... Read More...

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: A Review (and the Discovery of the Weebeasts)

Over the weekend, Charlie and I braved the heat and traffic to make the scene at the 13th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at UCLA. We didn't know what we were getting ourselves into, which turned out to be a very large, very hot, very corporate experience; but there were some moments... Read More...

So Long, Swingset: An Earth Day Update



When the moment came to release Swingset (who, coincidentally, was ready to be released on Earth Day; who knew?). I have to admit to feeling a little twinge. Oh, wait. I'm anthropomorphizing... Read More...

Spread the Joy, Spread the Compost!

Happy Earth Day, everyone. Last year, Charlie and Husband made their own "hot" composter. Husband recently went into farmer mode and potted some heirloom tomato plants that our friend Bruce gave us, raised from his own seed stock. He's using our compost to feed the plants and they're very happy... Read More...

Behind the Story: "Camping with Charlie"

I know, we're wimps. Husband insists he's had enough from his scouting days to last him a lifetime... Read More...

Negative Pregnant?


Recently, while reporting a deposition, the attorney for the witness made an objection I'd never heard before...

Read More...

Behind the Story: "Hiccup, the Burping Dog"

He walks up to us as if he's about to deliver some important pronouncement and -- burps... Read More...

New at the StoryStore... Dust Bunnies!


The dust bunnies have invaded... Read More...

No Reading Aloud (Allowed) in the Classroom? Fido Update.

Just how are we serving our children by turning them into unimaginative automatons? Who will be our future artists, musicians and inventors, not to mention the great scientific minds..? Read More...

Fido, the Butterfly



Yesterday, Charlie came home from school in a whirl of excitement, clutching a cardboard box. No one knew what happened to the poor thing, but Charlie, who has a reputation for being an animal saver, was sought out for his expertise...

Read More...

Behind the Story: "Emily's Very Own Bedtime Story"

He was a little nervous about going to school the next day and wondered about the reaction he'd get from his schoolmates... Read More...

Behind the Story: "Charlie's Hats"

There he was inside his homemade cardboard spaceship with his astronaut helmet on. In another picture he wore his pith helmet with vest full of tools -- insect net, magnifying glass, and compass... Read More...

A Must-Have Dragon For Everyone. The Marriage of Melinda.

Okay, this is one the coolest things we've ever come across on the internet... Read More...

Help Me Not to be a Bad Blogger

So, I know nothing about blogs, hadn't read them and wasn't really familiar with them, but one day Husband suggested I write a blog for our little site. "What do I write about?" I asked. "I don't know," said Husband very helpfully...
Read More...

Kathy, The Bunny Queen



Every night when the moon is out, Kathy the Bunny Queen takes her basket and goes outside...

Read More...

A New Mother Freaks Out

Poor Vicki describes waiting with her screaming baby while her bedspreads dry at the laundromat. She calls her husband, who's at work, for guidance, sustenance, words of wisdom. Anything... Read More...

The Dog Who Looks Up

As much as I implore him to come in, he refuses, holding his ground. The object of his ire..? Read More...

StoryRhyme After Dark: Sister Kathy's "Empty Nest"



We have children. We love them; we teach them; we enjoy them. But only for a few years... Read More...

Happy Birthday, Mary..!

Happy Birthday, Mary! My super sister. A humble country veterinarian who runs her practice with her husband veterinarian... Read More...

Charlie's Ants

At last, Charlie received his ants in the mail today for his Uncle Milton's Ant Farm... Read More...

Ratty



Last night in bed, I heard the familiar gnawing of a rat in the attic. Here we go again. Read More...

Bad Haircut, Part 2

Okay, I'm really questioning my hair judgment at this point. Refer back to first post (mousy hair). Read More...

Wanted: Raincoat and rainboots for a dachshund

Since this website is brand new and we're not finished putting it together yet (and when I say "we," I mean Husband) we've told very few people about it. Read More...

Subscription Unfulfillment

One day, about five years ago, Husband filled out a form online to receive a free one-year subscription to "Time Magazine." No strings attached (yeah, right). Sounds great; right? Read More...

Prospect of middle school.

I'm constantly freaking out over the prospect of middle school and am (probably) driving Husband, family members and patient neighbors a little crazy with my angst... Read More...

Painting. The bad haircut.

Have just finished painting our master bedroom and am happy at last. Major undertaking (for me at least)...

Got a bad haircut today. I miss Michael. He cut my hair for years. He moved to the desert a few months ago. Against my better judgement, out of desperation, I went to one of those chain salons... Read More...

Lord of the Rings? Politics.

Just finished reading a long, very boring article on the religious symbology in the "Lord of the Rings" movies (and books) in an online literary journal. I think I can sum it up much more simply...

Now, I know I said before that this wouldn't be a political blog, but I just had a thought to share. I think that Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh should get married and go on a very long honeymoon... Read More...

The Lake

The other day we went to the lake, my son (Charlie) wanted to look for new pets to bring home. To backtrack, when he was just a little guy, about four years old, we went to the same lake and he found a freshwater clam... Read More...

Why StoryRhyme and why this blog?

Why StoryRhyme and why this blog? My little family and I, we believe in reading. We believe that a child's imagination can take them anywhere they want to go, and while you may not have the physical means to travel the world, you can get there through books. Read More...

To use a pen name or not?

To use a pen name or not? What do you all think out there? As those of you who know me know already, I'm using a pen name for my stories, which has been a bit of an internal struggle for me. Read More...