“You can’t scare her. She survived 2020.”

My dear Humoristian hooligans –

2020 has been a crazy ride, hasn’t it? Dad died on January 19th and two days later the first case of COVID was reported in our state (and the country). Dad had good timing. 2020 has brought COVID-19, murder hornets, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, plagues, pestilence, political insanity, and every emotion a person can possibly feel – grief, terror, anger, fear, and also immense love, gratitude, and, (especially lately) hope. And, sitting here, I just realized I’m not “ascared” anymore. At some point – maybe when the craziness reached epic and absurd proportions – the fear just dissolved. It was like – okay, what else you got? Bring it on, baby! I think it’s going to be hard to ever again scare anyone who’s survived 2020. (I just had a flashback of one of my favorite cartoons – a lady with a bun on top of her head, whistling in hell – and one of the devil’s helpers saying to him: “We can’t scare her. She was a middle school teacher.” As a former middle school teacher that one always cracked me up. I think that same cartoon could have the caption: “You can’t scare her. She survived 2020” and it would still work. 🙂

Keep working your magic, my friends! Keep shining your light! The world has need of your pluck and courage and unfailing kindness!
– Karen

A Stickshift. A Standard. A Manual.

Feeling mighty. I am woman.
Hear me roar.
Took the car in for an oil change –
the nice cashier brought up
a list of things to pour
into my auto. I listened
and then asked, “But my car
is a standard. Why would it need
automatic transmission fluid?”
And he nodded his head –
Yes, a standard.
“A stickshift,” I said,
wanting to be clear. And he stopped
short then. Peeked in my window –
Ohhhhh. A manual. And I got it –
who could have guessed
that a gray-haired Karen drove
one of those?! A standard doesn’t fit
the demographic
and isn’t it fantastic
that my father taught me to drive
on that old VW van?
The nice young cashier clicked
a button and my bill magically
became forty dollars less than
it had been.
I am woman. Hear me roar.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

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.  🙂