Fixing the Fixing Nut

After I visited with Dad I just lost all my oomph. I lay down on the couch and just sort of… drifted in and out, I guess. And then I realized how ridiculous that was. Why waste my day like that?

My bicycle has had some problems this summer – two or three times now the pedal has fallen off as I was riding it. Scott has hammered the pedal back in – but we both knew that was just a temporary fix. I’ve kept my bike trips to mostly short little outings – 5 or 6 or 7 miles – because I never knew when the pedal might fall off again and I might have to walk my bike home. I rode my bike to the post office this morning – but I was afraid to go any further because I thought the pedal might fall off. That, my friends, is no way to live a life. 

So when I roused myself off the couch I decided it was time to load my bike into Rosalita Ipswich O’Molenovich and take her to the local bike shop.

Skagit Cycle Center in Burlington totally rocks! Every time I’ve been there I’ve been greeted by friendly, helpful people. Today was no exception. It took just five minutes for Isaiah to fix the fixing nut on my bike.

And during those five minutes I met a nice man and his high school son who were waiting in line behind me to get the son’s bike fixed (even the customers are fun there!). I think the father had overheard me talking to Isaiah about teaching – somehow we got on the topic – and I told him I was a high school teacher. The father asked me what was being fixed on my bike. I told him the fixing nut was being fixed. “The nut being fixed is a fixing nut…?” he asked, looking a little confused. “He’s fixing the fixing nut…?” I nodded my head in the affirmative. He grinned and said he was a little confused.

And then – because I recognized a fellow Humoristian – I said, “Yes. I’m a teacher. That’s what we do.”

He started laughing, and said, “It’s a conspiracy. Send our children home from school more confused than they were when they went in.”

I nodded my head. “Yes. Every day my fellow teachers and I get together and plot how we can confuse the young people…”

The son was cracking up now, too. 

I thanked the bicycle people and paid my bill and loaded my bike back up into Rosalita Ipswich O’Molenovich and headed to Fred Meyer’s. I was in one of those “browsing-in an-air-conditioned supermarket moods” – sort of meandering down aisles, trying to remember what I’d forgotten to buy the last time I was in there. And everyone I made eye contact with gave me a smile today. I bought the new Dan Brown book, some cat food, photo printing paper, grapefruit juice, an avocado (life’s necessities, right?) and headed out to the car. As I was walking to Rosalita Ipswich O’Molenovich I passed a young woman and gave her a smile – and she gave me a dazzling smile back, and even added a sort of shoulder hug – she brought her shoulders up like she was giving me a friendly hug. It was very sweet.

I love people. 

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“Are we almost there, yet”

I remember one time, as I was coming down
from a hike, when I got near the trailhead
I saw a couple hikers just starting out who
looked like they had a sense of humor.
“You’re almost there!” I told them. I had
judged correctly: They laughed.

Today as I was coming down from a hike –
just two quick switchbacks from the top –
a sweaty hiker asked if she was close
and I could tell her, “Yes! You’re almost
there! You’re going to make it!” It was
awesome to see the smile come to her face.

Today the hike back down was no bed
of roses, either. It seemed to go on forever.
The further I got down the trail the more
I felt my gait turning into the gait of an old
mariner – lurching from left hip to right hip
as with the rolling waves on the ocean.

I wanted to ask the people coming up if I
was “almost there, yet” – was I almost back
down? But I didn’t.

I found another way. The tired, sweaty
folks panting for breath showed me I still
had a ways to go. As I got nearer
the trailhead the faces weren’t as red,
the breathing not as labored. And when
I saw happy, smiling  hikers still fine-
tuning adjustments on their packs I knew
I was almost back to the beginning.

The hike isn’t just the getting there –
it’s the getting back.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Cat’s Pause: A Homonym Poem

The calico jumped on-two my covers as eye red
inn bed this mourning, and curled buy my feat.
Soon her little bro joined her up their. Calico
licked the we won’s face four a thyme and then
they were wrestling and boxing, and calico
was on her back, her pause rapped around
her we brother’s neck, while her back feat
playfully pushed against his wriggling bawdy.
He escaped and pounced on her a-knew and the too
of them bounced and bounded oar hour bed –
letting mi no it was thyme to get up and feed them.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Waving to the Amtrak

Scenes from Bellingham Bay

Okay, this tickles me: Whenever an Amtrak train goes zipping by I just gotta wave. I cannot help myself. So the other night Andrew takes the family out to dinner (it’s his Christmas gift to us) – and we’re all sitting there (Scott, Xander, Andrew, and Andrew’s girlfriend, Sierra) and Sierra and Andrew start talking about a trip they took on the Amtrak to Vancouver last weekend. And (this is the part that has me cracking up) apparently as their train went cruising by Bellingham Bay last weekend they saw me down on the boardwalk waving up at the cars. “Look!” Sierra said to Andrew as their train rumbled passed, “There’s your mom!” Hahhahahar!  Ain’t life fun?!

(I happened to take a photo of the train that day – little did I know my son and his girlfriend were on there.)

Amtrack train

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T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was two weeks afore Christmas and all through Eff Bee
not a creature was stirring – not a she, he, or me
We were prostrate and spent from the holiday bustle
not a twitch could be seen from the teeniest muscle…

Adventures of the Madcap Christian Scientist

T’was Two Weeks Afore Christmas

T’was two weeks afore Christmas and all through Eff Bee
not a creature was stirring – not a she, he, or me
We were prostrate and spent from the holiday bustle
not a twitch could be seen from the teeniest muscle.

We lay all unblinking in our respective beds
while visions of gift-wrapping swirled through our heads
And clad in our jammies and our way cool madcaps
we had the vague hopeful hope our bodies would take naps.

Holiday jangles and jingles pinged through our brains –
Presley, Crosby, and Mathis taking us down memory lanes –
and would we remember every member to be gifted?
We mentally went through our lists, hoping none were omitted.

There were homes to be decorated and cards to be sent,
parties, caroling, and cookie-making, and we hadn’t made a dent.
But with a collective sigh we remembered there…

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Semi-Annual Job Review for Our President

Semi Annual Job Review
Dear Pres. Trump –

Bless your heart. You must be feeling mightily frustrated. You’ve discovered by now that being President of the U.S. isn’t at all the same as being the CEO of a corporation. You can’t just fire people from citizenship in your country if they don’t do what you order them to do. You can’t boss Senators and Representatives around like they’re your employees. You can’t scramble around the laws of the land like they don’t apply to you. You’ve discovered that you don’t actually own America. You are not the boss. You’re supposed to work for the people now. You’re supposed to be their servant. You are the employee. Your actions can be questioned. Your sketchy alliances with foreign powers can be scrutinized. You can be removed from your position.

I know. I don’t blame you if it’s all making you a little grumpy. But take heart. There’s hope for you. You can learn. It’s not impossible. You can take this opportunity to actually make the country a better place for your employers. Maybe you’ll hear what Bernie Sanders has to say about health insurance for all – and you’ll be like, “Oh! What a great idea! Let’s do that one!” Or maybe you’ll take the time to talk to the athletes who are using their First Amendment rights and kneeling, and you’ll find out why they’re doing that – and you’ll be, like, “Oh! Let’s see how we can fix that for you!” Maybe you’ll visit Puerto Rico and realize it’s, like, actually a part of the United States – and maybe you’ll decide to do what you can to help the people there. Heck, maybe you’ll decide to do what you can to help your neighbors who are dealing with death and destruction in Mexico, too.

– Karen, one of your employers

Long Live Humoristianity!

On August 20, 2007, Karen says:
I’ve decided to create a new religion. People belonging to this religion will call themselves “Humoristians.” Here are the 5 tenets:
1) You must be able to laugh at yourself.
2) You must be able to recognize how ludicrous your beliefs might appear to others.
3) You must want nothing but good for everyone, everywhere in the universe.
4) You must have a natural aversion to meetings, committees, and scheduled events (as we will be having none of those).
5) You must enjoy the humor of Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Tom Lehrer, and Jerry Seinfeld (if you’re a Jerry Lewis kind of guy, you might want to think about starting your own religion – although we wish you nothing but good).

So, have I told you about the time I started my own religion? After I’d been on the Amazon religion discussion forum for a month or so I woke up one morning with the voice of God (or something) in my head, telling me it was time to, yea and verily, start my own religion and stuff. I had not been on the forum long, but I had been on long enough to realize that the one thing that seemed to be desperately needed was the opportunity to laugh at ourselves. It seemed to me that some people were taking themselves and their beliefs waaay too seriously.

I started a thread called “Humoristians” and was soon joined by some of my favorite characters on the forum – atheists and agnostics, a pantheist, several Buddhists, a Lutheran, a Methodist or two, a self-avowed sophist, a couple of people with Mormon roots, a Discordian, and a host of other personalities from a wide array of beliefs, backgrounds, and geographic locations.

And ohmygosh, it was fun!

Our fledgling little church grew rapidly and reached people around the globe. One of the highlights, for me, was when we heard from a soldier in Afghanistan who told us she’d found our thread when she was recovering from an illness and our nonsensical little dialogue totally cheered her up.

Eventually we all drifted off the forum and the Humoristian temple there closed its doors. But we met up again with each other on Facebook, and Humoristianity continues to live – although in a different form. (The founding and history of the Humoristian church can be found in our book, The Humoristian Chronicles.)

I have a difficult time relating to people who can’t laugh at themselves, or let me laugh at myself. And I have a difficult time relating to people who feel the need to “correct” my thought, manage me, fix me, or “pray” for me without being asked by me to do so.

I have found that sermonizing bossy britches busybodies can be found amongst pretty much every group of people – both religious and non-religious. I tend to avoid sermonizing bossy britches busybodies – even the Christian Scientist ones. Maybe especially the Christian Scientist ones. This may sound weird, but I really have very little in common with those Christian Scientists who can’t occasionally laugh at themselves and their circumstances. We may all believe that God is “Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love” (the synonyms given by Mary Baker Eddy in the Christian Science textbook), and we may all believe that God heals, but if a Christian Scientist can’t laugh at herself then her approach to life and its challenges is going to be very different from mine. I believe I actually have more in common with, say, an atheist Humoristian than I do with a Christian Scientist non-Humoristian.

Just as Bossybritches Busybodies can be found in pretty much every group of people, Humoristians can, too. I count amongst my friends Jewish Humoristians, atheist Humoristians, Christian Scientist Humoristians, and Buddhist, Catholic, and Methodist Humoristians, among others.

There are times when, if I were to be asked what religion I affiliate myself with, I think I might actually be inclined to answer “Humoristianity”. A sense of humor about life, and about themselves, is the one thing the people I feel a kinship with all have in common – whether they call themselves atheists, Catholics, Christian Scientists, Buddhists, pantheists, Lutherans, Methodists, or Mormons.

Long live Humoristianity! Long may we don her Groucho glasses and play her kazoos!
– excerpt from The Madcap Christian Scientist: All Things New

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