Think I’ll Go Eat Worms . . . Not

I was going to describe yesterday’s trip to buy school supplies, complete with my mixed feelings of shock, pride, and inadequacy when hunting down a calculator with required square root, exponent, and cosine functions—for my fifth grader*—and trying hard to set a good example for Sunny in my favorite office supply store, when all I wanted to do was join the chorus of, “If you get one, I get one, too!”

But this morning, a friend of mine—you can thank her later—sent me the latest in an off and on conversation we’ve been having about a flow chart she’d sent me:

Mongolian Death Worm

I’d said that the whole thing looked sadly familiar, but that I really wanted to kill off a character with a Mongolian Death Worm.

She told me no.

I persisted, claiming that I really needed an interesting plot point, and she finally said this morning that I was welcome to kill off my characters (I’m paraphrasing slightly) but please NOT with a Mongolian death worm:

“First, how would you explain that it got there? Second, what the hell is a Mongolian death worm anyway?”

I gave it a generous second or two of thought and answered:

“Mongolian Death Worms are a delicacy in the finer Asian danger-fusion restaurants right now.  If you remove certain parts of the worm, all the diner experiences is a warm glow and, an hour or two later, a colonic purge that is near-orgasmic in its intensity.

So it would be very easy to simply ‘forget’ to remove the certain parts of the worm (or switch worms) so that the diner/victim experiences an excruciating, karma-satisfying death.

Or so I imagine, since I refuse to google ’em.”

She e-mailed me back, saying that she’d changed her mind and I HAD to drop a danger-fusion restaurant in my new WIP and murder someone via Mongolian Death worm.**

I’m taking that as a victory of sorts.***

SandwormIt turns out that she’d been picturing these Dune-like sand worm things—which I have to admit would take some finagling to be a realistic murder weapon outside of Frank Herbert’s universe^—while I’d immediately assumed it was a sort of hagfish/tapeworm thing, with a hint of fugu and maybe a soupcon of that psychotic shami kebab in the “Polymorph” episode of Red Dwarf. 

I don’t know what influenced my friend’s vision, but  mine stems from my fascination with what people will Hagfishhappily eat if they think it’s trendy—other people, I mean—and my inability to rationalize the existence of the hagfish.^^

And this fascinates me, how two people can come to completely different assumptions.

Three, really, because after I described the Death Worm differences to a co-worker,^^^ she looked at me for a second and said, “Oh . . .  I thought it was something from the Kama Sutra.

Now there’s  a game of Clue . . .

What’s YOUR Mongolian Death Worm Like?

What Would YOU order at a Danger-Fusion restaurant?

Is fifth-grade math going to be THAT COMPLEX?!?


*Found it in pink.  Who’s the Mom?  I’m the Mom.  Boo-yah.

** “It was Chef Antoine!  In the Bathroom!  With a Mongolian Death Worm!”

***Though I’ll have to set it aside for the right story . . . or the really, really wrong one I’ve always wanted to try . . .

^”It was Paul!  In the subway!  With a Shai-Hulud!”

^^I don’t lie awake at night or anything, but ugh.

^^^When you giggle in a library break-room, people ask questions.  Oddly, they don’t seem to mind the answers.  And sometimes they run with them . . .

K.I.D.S.* to the Rescue: Securing Mom

Psst:  Welcome to everyone who landed here from “Freshly Pressed”!  I’m thrilled that my post was chosen and overwhelmed by the response—thank you, and I hope you like the place!


In the car to school yesterday morning:

Me: Do you have your seatbelts on?

Jane: Yes, but Sunny doesn’t.

Sunny:  Yes, I do.  I just clicked it. Do you, Mommy?  I didn’t hear it.

Me:  Yes, but it didn’t make a loud sound.

Jane:  Oh, no!  Mom’s not secure!

Mysterious FaceMe: What?  No, I—

Jane:  She’s been compromised!  We have to secure her!

Me: Um . . . How?

Jane (opening her homework folder):  Let’s see . . .  Brown hair—check!  Black jacket—check!  Huge purse—check!

Sunny (in her super-serious, squirrel-breathing-helium voice):  Roger that, sir!

(a short pause in which I almost pull over)

Jane: Double extreme laughing—check!

Sunny:  Double check!

Me (getting myself under control):  Where did you get all this?

Jane:  We’re professionals, Agent Mom.

??????????Sunny:  Yeah.  Proffeskinals.  What’s in my ear?

Me:  Your pigtail holders have butterflies, remember?

Sunny:  No, Janie put something—

Jane:  Those are our comm ear things.

Sunny:  Ohhhh.  So you can hear me?

Jane:  Well . . . You’re right there, but if you weren’t, yeah.  Favorite color, green?

Me:  Yes.

Jane:  Favorite food—

Sunny: Hot dogs!

This image shows tree brussel sprouts.

Jane:  Not you—Mom.

Sunny:  Oops!  Um, Brusskel sprouts!

Both kids:  Ewwwww!

Jane:  That’s her all right.

Me:  We’re here.  Everybody out!

Jane (getting out of the car):  You’ve been secured, Mom!  Congratulations!

Sunny:  Hooray, Mom!

Me:  Thanks—I could use a little security.  And hugs.

And I got them, too.


* Kids Imagining Dauntless  Stuff

Stuff My Kids Said: T-Rexs, Old Shoes, and Ladybug Jelly

We were sitting at the dinner table, trying to get the kids to try jicama*and discussing other veggies we adults hadn’t had in a while, like kohlrabi, leeks, Brussels sprouts— to the loud horror of the ten-and-unders—and fennel.

“What’s fennel?” asked Jane.

Fennel (Photo credit: Satrina0)

“It looks kind of  like a celery ball with ferny stuff on top,” I said.

“It sort of tastes like licorice,” Watson added.

“And,” I said, “it’s supposed to be good for flatulence.”

“What’s flatulence?” Jane asked.

I told her.

“Oh,” she said.  “But  I already have that.”


Jane and my husband were staining the pieces of Cooch’s Bridge* for her Academic Fair project.

“It looks like honey,” said Sunny, who wasn’t allowed to get within five feet of the project, because she wouldn’t change out of her winter white knitted pinafore dress.

Lady bug (Coccinella septempunctata) on a leaf

“Honey is bee barf,” said her sister.

“No it isn’t!  Daddy, is honey really bee barf?” said Sunny.

“Sort of,” said my husband.

Sunny wrinkled her little nose. “Then what’s ladybug barf?” she asked.  “Jelly?”


During the announcements after the Peace yesterday, the congregation was asked to think about what they’d like to see happen in our church.  We were asked to share our thoughts.

Variations on community outreach, various classes, bazaars, and better public recognition were all mentioned.

Then Jane raised her hand from her acolyte seat.  “I’d like to see a Tyrannosaur Rex fire a missile through the stained glass window wall and stomp down the aisle toward the altar,” she said.  “Because that would be so cool!

“Well,” said our priest, after a pause, “that would take care of our recognition problem . . . But Episcopalians don’t traditionally throw missiles.  Or missals,” she added, to much laughter.

Meanwhile, I was doing my ostrich impression in the choir pews.  The nearest tenor leaned over to me.  “Whose kid is she, anyway?” he whispered.

“I’ve never seen her before in my life,” I said.  “You want her?  I’ll throw in her college fund.”

“Sure,” he said.  “Can’t wait to see what happens when she’s elected Bishop.”


Old shoe (Photo credit: diskostu)

On the way home from school last week:

“Does grandpa have a Mommy?” asked Sunny.

“He did,” I said.  “She was my grandma.  But she died about nine years before you were born.”

Really?  Why?”

“She was over ninety years old, honey.  Her body wore out.”

“Like an old shoe?”

“No,” I said, slightly stung.  “Like a woman who had a long, happy life and raised a family and worked hard and had fun and friends and did everything she wanted to do and just . . . wore herself out.”

“Oh.  Like an old shoe.”

NoNot like an old shoe.  Um . . . More like a remote controlled car when the batteries run down.  Except it’s difficult to replace a human being’s batteries.”

“That’s what I said.  Like old shoes.”

“What are you talking about, kiddo?”

“Jenny’s shoes used to light up, but now they don’t, ’cause the batteries died.”

“Oh . . . Right.”

lost kids shoe (Photo credit: jontintinjordan)


*Jane did and thought it was weird, but Sunny suggested starvation as an alternative.

**Site of the only Revolutionary War battle in Delaware.  The British were trying to get the Philadelphia and the militia were ordered to delay them at all costs. First time the American flag flew over a field of war.  Built out of popsicle sticks and a couple of dowel rods.

Stuff My Kids Said*: Kisses and Canine Rituals

funny pictures history - Rad Kids are Rad

This past Sunday, it was announced that our church is having a blessing of the animals service later this month and all furry, scaled, and feathered family members were invited to “partake of the sacramental blessing.”

My kids were hoping that they could take Watson’s Jada Mae Swissie Dog instead of a photo of our venerable cat Toby.**

When we arrived home, I sent Janie downstairs to ask my MIL and Watson what they wanted for lunch.

A few minutes later, Watson came upstairs with a strange expression and said, “Do you know what your older daughter just said to me?”

I covered my eyes.  “Hit me.”

“She said, ‘I have two questions:  One, where do you and grandma want to go for lunch?*** And two, can Sunny and I take your dog to church and sacrifice her?'”


Sunny is a huggybug, but she’s very persnickety about kisses, preferring to receive dry butterfly ones to her cheek and wiping off most of them with a sleeve and an offended little nose wrinkle.

Last night, when I kissed her goodnight as dryly as I could and she said, “MOM-meee! Yuck,” and immediately scrubbed it away with the cuff of her pink princess monkey jammies.

So, naturally,  I did what any other loving mother would do.

“You think that one was bad?” I said, pouncing and delivering  several loud, smacking smooches all over her little face, ignoring the squeals and giggles.

“There,” I said and went over to kiss Janie.

“Don’t worry,” I told her.  “You’ve been a pretty good kid today, so you only get one.”

“I don’t mind, Mom,” she said.  “I don’t think your kisses are yucky.”

There was a pause.

“I got more,” said Sunny.

“What?  You don’t even like them,” I said.

“Well . . . I still got more than she did.”‘



*Sorry, Laura—I couldn’t resist.

** Who isn’t a particularly mellow animal when he’s taken out of his home environment—and this about blessings, not exorcisms.

***Please note that my original question about lunch didn’t imply a restaurant setting.  Please further note that the question my child actually asked did.  That the answer to that question netted me my Fortune Cookie Breakfast the next day has no bearing on this matter.

Eleven Years Later . . .

“Mom, what happened to the Twin Towers?” asked Janie at  dinner this past Sunday.

I put down my fork, thinking about how to explain, and my mother-in-law stepped in.  “They flew two airplanes into them,” she said.


“Terrorists,” we both answered.


“Because they wanted to kill as many people as possible in as big a way as possible,” I said.  “So everyone would see.”

Her eyes went wide and her brown wrinkled.  “But why would they kill all those people?”

“So that everyone would pay attention.  They blamed out country for everything that was going wrong in the world, and they wanted everyone to know.”

“That’s not . . . why didn’t they just talk to us?”

“Because they’re mean,” said my mother-in-law.  “Mean and evil.”


“They wanted to scare us into doing what they wanted—so they would feel stronger,” I said.  “Like bullies.”

“Did it work?” she asked.

I hesitated again, but no one else spoke.

“They scared us,” I told my daughter, who was conceived in April of 2002.  “But they didn’t stop us.”