Derring Do and Adventure in the Land of Social Distancing

So I’ve been pretty much wearing black for the last five months. Although I’d like to say that I’ve been doing this in protest or something – it’s really just because I’ve not had any interest in my clothes. I have, like, five black tops and I just rotate them over my black shorts or my black jeans and I don’t spend much time thinking about it. But today it occurred to me that maybe that’s affecting my psyche. Maybe I should make some effort. So I put on a purple top; Put on my new capri blue jeans; I EVEN went so far as to put on a pair of dangly earrings – and my smiley mask, of course. And then I got myself in the car and drove to Sisters Espresso and showed off myself to Brooke. “See? See?” I mumbled through my mask, “I’m not wearing black today?! And see – I’ve got new capri pants! And I’m even wearing earrings!!!” Brooke (I so love her! ) gave me the exactly right feedback and encouragement I needed for making an effort.

I ordered a lavender green iced tea for myself, and then I looked across the espresso shop to the drive-thru window and yelled across to the bearded man, waiting patiently in his truck: “I’m buying you your drink today!” He smiled. “Sir, are you expensive?” I asked. He nodded his head yes and grinned. (His order wasn’t expensive at all.) “I’m also taking your punch on my punch card,” I informed him, pointing to my Sisters punch card, and he laughed.

And so ends another tale of derring do and adventure in the land of social distancing.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

 

Fricasee Fracas Flummoxed

fricassee fracas flibbertigibbet flummoxed
prestidigitation preposterous obsequious
bovine blunderbuss balderdash brouhaha
cacophony kiester kerfuffle
discombobulated debacle
ubiquitous shenanigans hooligans
twitter-pated rutabaga gesundheit doh
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

I just felt it needed to be said.

“I don’t have a license for this thing.”

In celebration of Mother’s Day, here is one of my favorite Moz stories (from October, 2016):
Took Moz (88 years, 10 months) to the dentist this afternoon, and ohmygawd – it was like going to a comedy club! We’re filling out all the forms in the waiting area, and Moz has to put her signature on another one. “Again?!” she asks, exasperated. Laughing, I tell her to behave herself, and she says, “Don’t make me laugh – I’m trying to sign this thing.” She finishes signing the paper and hands it back to me. “You know,” she says, “I’ll get all these papers signed, and then next week I’ll die.”

Missy, the dental lady comes out to get her, and Moz gets up to follow her with her walker. “Watch out,” she says, “I don’t have a license for this thing.” Missy starts cracking up.

Missy gets Moz situated in the dental chair, and turns the light on to start working on her teeth. Moz tells her to feel free to pluck any chin hairs she finds. Missy starts laughing. She hands Moz a glass of water to rinse. She asks Moz how she’s doing. Moz tells her, “I’m full of it.” Missy grins, and asks, “You’re full of it?” Moz says, “Water, that is.” And Missy cracks up.

Missy and Moz find out they were born three days apart at the end of December. “When you’re born at the end of the year, everyone always makes you a year older than you are,” Moz complains. And Missy adds, “Merry Christmas and happy birthday!” Then they discover they’re both left-handed, too!

Then Hansrolf comes in. Hansrolf is my favoritest dentist, ever. He’s like a stand-up comic. He and Moz immediately take to each other. Moz tells him she came here for the entertainment. She tells Hansrolf he should give Missy a raise. Hansrolf says what he needs to do is get all of us out of there – he is out-numbered and we are ganging up on him. Moz responds with some smartassery, and then she notes, “I probably shouldn’t have said that, eh?” And Hansrolf says, “Not just before I start working on your teeth, no.” Moz is still embarrassed about her chin hairs, and Hansrolf grins and says, “Don’t worry about any chin hairs. We’ll just work around them if we find any.”

They end by telling each other Norwegian jokes. Here’s Moz’s: “Ole says his wife is an angel. Sven tells Ole, ‘You’re lucky. My wife hasn’t died, yet.’” Hansrolf laughs so hard he almost falls off his chair. 🙂

(Here’s a photo from Moz on her honeymoon. She and Dad were about to climb a formidable spire somewhere in Colorado.)

 

young moz

Am I a fashion plate?

Taking the dog for a walk. I round the corner and see my neighbor (and former student) across the road. “Hi Michael!” I holler. He looks over and smiles and waves. “Am I a fashion plate?” I ask him. I am wearing floral-patterned garden shoes, purple knee-high socks, baggy denim capri pants two sizes too big and covered in mud at the knees from gardening, my standard black t-shirt and a black fleece jacket. Michael grins at the picture I make. “I just don’t care anymore,” I tell him, laughing.

Michael joins me in the laugh and points to his beard. “You see my beard?” he asks. “I don’t care anymore, either.”

We laugh for a moment with each other, and then wish one another a good night.

Priorities have shifted.

IMG_2320 (2)

I might have been named Cretaceous.

From a side conversation with another “Karen”:
I was actually named “Nancy Jo” for three days. Then my dad took an office poll and “Karen” won. Yeah. I was named by Dad’s colleagues. Considering that they were a bunch of geologists, I guess I could have done worse than be named “Karen.” I might have been named “Sedimentary” or “Igneous” or “Schist” or “Cretaceous.” I never actually felt like a “Karen” until it became a comic meme. Now I love to tell people my name. With a straight face. My name is a great one-liner.  🙂

 

The Moz Molenaar Movie

If you google “Dee Molenaar” you’ll see there’s a new short film that pays tribute to Pop. I thought maybe it was time to make a little video to pay tribute to Moz, too – she may not have been as famous as Pop, but she was a force and a joy, and a beautiful blessing to all who knew her. My dad wouldn’t have lived the life he had if not for Moz. 🙂

Here’s a link to The Moz Molenaar Movie.

For Parent Math Teachers

For all the brave parents out there who are helping their children with high school math:

After a Day Spent Teaching Math

Function notation of a linear equation
Integer, whole, irrational, and real –
What would it cost to buy this meal?
Multiplying this, and factoring that –
How many cats would fit on that mat?
Parallel and perpendicular lines in a plane
When you subtract you lessen,
When you add you gain.
Exponents and polynomials and parabolas and lines
Angles and triangles, tangents and sines
Distributive, reflexive, transitive props
Substitution really just means doing a swap.
Slope intercept form and Pythagorean theorem
how many people would fill the museum?
The minimum’s the low point, the maximum’s the high
Mathematical equations are as easy as pi.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell, twitchy-eyed sometime math teacher

Feedback from Writer’s Digest for *Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad*

I received feedback from “Writer’s Digest” today for my book, Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad. The feedback meant a lot to me and was encouraging. In an effort to be honest, I’m going to post everything here – all the ratings, and all of the judge’s commentary – with nothing omitted. I think the judge gave me some useful feedback.

From Judge #34, 27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards:
***
Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.

Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5
Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5
Production Quality and Cover Design: 5
Plot and Story Appeal: 5
Character Appeal and Development: 4
Voice and Writing Style: 5

Judge’s Commentary:

What a lovely story about your dad. I enjoyed how much of a hero he was to you. I also liked how you ended your narratives with you and your dad expressing your love for each other. That was very heartwarming and rang true. You set your book up almost as though you were writing poems to him, reflecting how much he meant to you. Through your compassionate writing, you showed how important it was to keep that poetry going as he began to lose his mental faculties.

Having said that, because you brought me into your story and into your relationship with your father, I would have liked a small paragraph at the end of the book letting me know whether he’s still alive, if he’s passed, how he’s doing. You could preface it by saying, ‘At the time of this writing…’ I make this suggestion because, in the previous pages, you’d allowed me to be a part of your family and witness the deep love you had for each other. That’s why it’s important to let me (and future readers) know what happened at the end of your story. It’s a fitting close to a sweet book and an equally sweet relationship.

*Are You Taking Me Home Now?: Adventures with Dad* can be ordered through your favorite book store or ordered online through Amazon.