from behind closed doors

Dear Homeowner,

We regret to inform you that several individuals placed in our care are no longer eligible to continue residence in our facility.

In the uppermost level of the facility, several bagged items have greatly exceeded recommended levels of frost. In particular, the contents of the bag of store-brand Mixed Vegetables have become inextricably melded together.

In the Lower Level, in the departments known as “Vegetable Crisper,” we have become concerned about the rapid degeneration of one Bunch of Celery and several Zucchinis (aka “Courgettes”).

On the Main Level, a large container of Plain Yogurt has only recently expired, yet it is only the most recent such instance. There are several partially used jars of Salsa, Spaghetti Sauce and Various Condiments which should no longer be considered Viable for Consumption. While many are not yet visibly spoiled, our records indicate that these items have been in long-term care far beyond recommended time limits. We have been notified that the opening of the jar of Sweet Pickles, in particular, most certainly pre-dated the birth of your first child.

Additionally, there are many other items whose earthly remains may no longer be identifiable by visual means. There is a glass container which houses, according to our records, what had once been a portion of Canned Black Beans. We consider it advisable that these remains be removed from our premises and disposed of posthaste. Failure to do so may result in additional spoilage and potential generation of new life-forms.

Please remember that while we strive to provided the utmost in Low-Temperature Care, our ability to maintain levels of ick-free storage depends on your upholding your portion of the contract. Should these matters not be resolved in a timely matter, we may consider closing our facilities to further new items.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.


Your Refrigerator and Freezer

This week’s Monday Mission was to post in the form of a letter of regret. I have done so. Perhaps regrettably. To find more regrettable letters, check your mailbox. Or stop by Painted Maypole.

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

How are you this year? I hope this holiday season finds you well. I know it can be a stressful time of year, especially when you have a lot of people to shop for, and elves to supervise. I’ve heard how those reindeer can get out of hand, too.

Anyhow, as you probably guessed, I’m writing to ask you for what I want for Christmas.

I really have enough stuff, thanks, so I don’t need any trinkets or doodads. I’ve got more books than I have time to read, more DVDs than I have time to watch, more cooking equipment than I have time to use. We have far too much stuff.

So, please, no more stuff.

Actually, what I’d love would be for you to take away some stuff. So, when you come to our house, please arrive with your big bag empty. It might be helpful if you come when your sleigh has been unloaded, too. I mean, we have so much stuff it might take more than one trip. Is there any chance you could also rent a van? You might want to bring a few of the elves along, too.

I’m hoping you can leave us with the things that we really use, and those items that have true sentimental value. You’re supposed to know these things, right? I mean, you know if I’ve been bad or good, so for goodness sake, you must know which pants are too tight. Not to mention that I haven’t worn that pair of shoes in about 5 years or that I have never once used the double boiler.

I also trust that you can find good homes for all our excess stuff, so it can be put to good use, or at least recycled.

Gratefully yours,


p.s. While you and the deer are up on the roof, would you mind giving a good scare to the squirrels that have found their way into the attic? Or perhaps you could offer them a ride on your sleigh. A one-way trip, if you know what I mean.

This was brought to you by this week’s Monday Mission, which called for a post in the form of a letter to Santa. Hosted by Painted Maypole (who is usually quite nice, but is on occasion naughty).

You may have already won!

To: United States of America
Northern Hemisphere, Planet Earth
#3 Solar System Way

From: President’s Clearing House, Awards Division

Dear Occupant,

CONGRATULATIONS!! You are a winner! You may have ALREADY WON these fabulous VALUABLE PRIZES:

* Front-row TICKETS to a history-changing event!
* The keys to a SHINY NEW optimism!
* A SPACIOUS and expansive outlook!
* Restored dignity and respect from EXCITING destinations around the globe!

In addition, you may soon qualify for GRAND PRIZES including:
* Improved access to health care and education for you and your family and many more!
* Exciting new alternative energy resources!
* Diminution of poverty!
* Diplomacy!
* And much, much MORE!

In order to CASH IN on these amazing prizes, you must ACT NOW, or the opportunity will pass you by. In order to redeem yourselves, you must continue the momentum for change.

The Awards Division

Disclaimer: You need not subscribe to this idealism in order to benefit.


This post was brought to you by this week’s Monday Mission, hosted by Painted Maypole, which offers FABULOUS PRIZES for posts written in the style of a “congratulations, you’ve just won” letter.

Seriously, though, this election has had me so excited that I feel like I’ve won the lottery. I have been alternately giddy and moved to tears. At the same time, I know that Obama’s election is a step in the right direction, not the final destination. (A breathtakingly huge step, mind you.) I am eager to see what’s going to happen. And I want to figure out what I can do to help bring about the changes that I believe are possible.

an excuse note

Dear World,

Please forgive the recent behavior of our country, especially during this election season. Please understand that it has been a difficult 8 years for us, and that we have taken leave of our sanity. (See attached note from doctor.) We hope to recover from this ugliness soon, and will hopefully be able to make up for it come January. We hope that we will be given ample opportunity to earn extra credit in the areas of diplomacy, health care reform and intensive efforts to break ourselves of our debilitating fossil fuel addiction. Should we fall short in our efforts to make progress towards these goals, we will expect to receive detention and a very poor grade on our global report card.

Some of US in the U.S.

This post was written for this week’s Monday Mission, hosted by Painted Maypole, which called for posts in the form of an excuse letter.

some words

Dear E,

I don’t know where to begin, because I have so much to say.

You are an amazing person, and I don’t think I’ve told you how much I not only like you, but admire you. You have a strength and wit unmatched in my acquaintance. Even with all that’s going on in your life, you can still make me laugh. You still offer me support.

I’m sure you realize that it’s a testament to you how your family and friends are rallying around you. You strike me as someone who doesn’t like to ask for help, but there are so many who want to help. There are so many who love you.

Ever since I learned you were ill, I have been torn. I have wanted to spend more time with you, but I haven’t wanted to intrude. I don’t want to be a pest.

I can’t believe how long it’s been since our used bookstore romps and binges. Or since we went outlet shopping. Or even how long it’s been since we just went out for a movie or dinner together. I guess that’s one of the ways in which parenthood changes things. But now I find myself wishing we’d found more opportunities. More opportunities to at least hang out and do nothing.

I always like seeing you and your family. Your husband is one of the nicest people I know. (“One of the nicest?” you ask. Well, possibly the nicest. But I haven’t taken a full inventory and measured the niceness of everyone I know. I do know quite a few nice people. But I can’t think of a nicer person just now.) He is smart and funny and likable, just like you.

Your kids are cute and beautiful and impressively bright. I love how much H looks like you, and acts like you. And R is such a force of nature. Even when they are driving you crazy, they are still wonderful. I love to hear you talk about them. Because you are funny and clever, and yet your devotion to them shows.

You guys have been models for us in the parenting department. You’ve given such helpful advice when I’ve asked, though you’re not someone to foist unsolicited advice on others. (If you did, though, I expect it would be good advice.)

I love to talk with you about books and movies and music. You have such a wide range of tastes. You love great literature, but you still enjoy some cheesy sappiness.

I love that you don’t hold back when you don’t like something. You have a talent for cutting through the crap.

Another thing I admire about you is the way you have been happy with your life. While I know you have had hard times and that there are things that don’t go the way you’d like, you have not let those things dominate. I was always impressed to hear about how much you loved your jobs, for example. Not that I thought you had bad jobs, it’s just that so few people I know actually like their jobs. Most people I know are always trying to figure out what else they can do with their careers. Part of me thought that with your talents and intelligence, you could have some sort of higher profile career, or maybe something more directly creative. I could see you as a professor. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn you had Jane Austen-like writing talents.

I’ve wanted to tell you these things.

And then there’s something else. I know you sometimes read my blog. And I feel like the biggest dork in the world bringing this up. I have wanted to write about you, but I haven’t done so out of respect for your privacy. I write all sorts of silly stuff on my blog, as you have seen. I write about all sorts of random crap. Part of me feels like it’s tacky to write such light and silly stuff when people are going through such heavy and serious times. When you are going through such serious times. But I know that you like to be cheered. So I actually often think of you when I am getting silly. I hope you know that my pants have been for you. (Well, I will admit that I have learned to appreciate pants as much as squid. Which is another gift that you’ve given me. So the pants are for me, too. We can share the pants.)

And I have felt like an ass even worrying about what to write in my blog when you are going through some of the worst possible crap life can deal.

But there it is. I want to tell you these things, but I also want to share them. Because you have been in my thoughts so much that it feels like a lie to continue not to talk about you. And because I think you deserve to get some recognition. From me and whoever reads this, of how fabulous a person you are. I want to acknowledge how terrible this is, how grim things are in spite of how hard you’ve been fighting. I’d give you a medal if I could.

I’d say I can’t imagine what things must be like for you. But that’s not exactly true. I have been imagining. And my heart aches.

I’m scared for you. I’m angry that this is happening to you and your family. I want to do something to change things, but of course I can’t. And I’m sad, too, of course.

But I’m also happy that I get to have time with you. I’m so glad to know you.

So, there it is. I’ve said a bunch of stuff I’ve wanted to tell you, but haven’t managed to say in person. I have more things I could say, too. But I’ll stop here.

I hope that you won’t be offended that I’m writing this so publicly. If it bothers you, I will take it down. But in any case, you are required to forgive me. Because I selfishly can’t bear the thought of alienating you.

Much love,


you just didn’t get it, dude

Yesterday’s Monday Mission, a project calling for posts in the form of a rejection letter, which I found to be a somewhat challenging mission. It’s not that I’m unfamiliar with rejection letters, mind you. It’s just that I couldn’t decide where to go with it. I explored multiple options. I posted the pirate one, but I also wrote another one. And not wanting to be wasteful, I’ll post it today.

Ms. Alejna, dude,

It’s a total bummer, but I gotta tell you. You didn’t get the job, man. It sucks, I know.

Your resume was, like, the awesomest. And you totally rocked the interview. We were all like, “woah, she knows her shit.”

But then there was this other dude. Or dudette, really, like yourself. And she rocked the interview even harder. Her quals weren’t as good, and for a while, we were all like, “can she even do the job?”

But then we went out for a beer, and we flipped a coin. And it was tails. Ouch, man.

It sucks to be you. And it sucks for me that I gotta be the one to tell you. Mr. Wilcox pulled a rock when I was sure he’d be all about paper, freakin’ paper pusher. And so I got stuck with it. Whatever.

Yeah, well, right. Ya know. It sucks, and all that. But if it makes you feel better, this place kinda blows sometimes.


William R. Bartholomew, III

Vice President, or Something Like That
Acme Stuff, Incorporated

unable to offer you a position at this time

Dear Mr. Rackham,

I regret to inform you that we are unable to offer you a position as nanny in our home at this time. While we truly appreciated your time and efforts in coming to the interview, we feel that there is not a good match between you and our family.

Both little Emma and Neil were greatly intrigued by your colorful anecdotes. When Neil admired your stylish eyepatch, it was very considerate of you to take it off to let him wear it. The empty eye socket greatly impressed both children. However, I’m sorry to report that both children have been visited by frequent nightmares since the interview.

In addition, their teachers have sent home notes expressing concern that both children have been using increased amounts of inappropriate language at school. Neil was reported to have asked the lunchlady, “what’s crawled out of th’ bung hole, me hearty wench?” while Emma allegedly made another first grader walk the plank during gym class. When queried about this, Neil simply responded “Arrrr!”, and Emma scowled and waved what appeared to be a cutlass at me in a menacing way. (If this item was a gift from you, I must stress that this is far too generousa gift for such a small girl.)

You clearly have some strong ideas about discipline, and Mr. Smith and I appreciated all of your advice. However, we feel that corporal punishment, especially using the cat-o’ nine tails, is somewhat too harsh to use with children under the age of 7. There is also the matter of personal hygiene. We had hoped that our nanny would work with us to foster a reverence for cleanliness and neatness. However, both children have been quite taken with your statement that “washin’ more than twice a year be fer lily-livered scalliwags.”

While we had only expected that you would stay for the 45 minute inteview that we find typical, it showed great initiative that you were intent on moving in with us at that time, and remarkable perserverance that you chose to camp out in our yard upon hearing that we were not yet ready to make a decision about the position. We must ask, though, that you please consider departing as soon as you can pack your trunk and retrieve your parrot.

We wish you success in your search for employment.

Mrs. Jane Smith

p.s. Enclosed please find the names and address of a family on the far side of town who may be in need of a nanny.


This post is offered up as part of this week’s Monday Mission, which asked for posts in the from of a rejection letter. It can also be considered a follow-up post to last week’s submission of a resume.

On the topic of rejection letters, though, you should really check out this one, which is the funniest rejection letter I’ve seen.

breaking the spell of procrastination

I’ve lateley spent some time thinking about procrastination. And not just about procrastination, but about procrastination. The word, that is. Perhaps because I’ve been spending a lot of time procrastinating. Inspired by Sage‘s Word Wise Wednesday tradition, I thought I’d share a bit that I’ve learned about the etymology of procrastination. Remarkably, the meaning of the word has not drifted far, at least according to the Online Etymology Dictionary:

1548, from L. procrastinationem “a putting off,” noun of action from procrastinare “put off till tomorrow,” from pro- “forward” + crastinus “belonging to tomorrow,” from cras “tomorrow,” of unknown origin. Procrastinate is recorded from 1588.

It’s terribly unmysterious.

I was quite interested to note, however, the description of the word as a “noun of action.” In my experience, it often seems to be more of a noun of inaction. And what’s more, observe that one can spell the word inaction from a selection of the letters of the word procrastination. Coincidence? I think not.

Because let’s face it, without inaction, procrastination just wouldn’t be the same.¹

You may also be interested to learn that, in addition to inaction, the following words (and many, many more) can be made by using letters of procrastination:

pasta, carrot, onion, poi, toast, pots, coin, top
trap, scrap, ration, nation, station, Patton, stint, coot
tint, print, caption, croon, tiara, stair, star, icon, coop
scoop, poo, poots, crap, strip, carrion

and, you may be happy to learn


And do you want to know what got me a-ponderin’ about procrastination, and the words one can spell from its letters? I realized that one can spell…pants.


And of course, realizing that made me want to come up with a full-blown anagram for procrastination with pants. It’s been tricky, but here are my candidates.

Croatian roi pants²

coir pants ration³

I think my best attempt is this one:

Rio pants action: R

¹ Actually, without inaction, procrastination would end up something like prorast. And where would that get us?

² Using the a French word roi, meaning “king.” Or alternately “Croation iro pants,” using a Japanse word, iro, meaning “color.”

³ Where coir is a fiber that might be a bit rough for pants.

sinking my teeth in

I’ve decided I need to organize my things. I have a tendency to make lists of things, willy-nilly, whenever the urge strikes. Any old day of the week. Whether it’s blue dudes on a Saturday, balls on a Friday, or pigs on a Sunday, or cheese on a Tuesday. Willy-freakin’-nilly, I tell you.

So I was all like “hey, I should pick a day. Have a thing day. A themed thing day.”¹ So to go all out with the alliteration, I’m going with Thursdays. Thus creating the Themed Thing Thursday.

So in honor of the onset consonant of the words theme, thing and Thursday, the voiceless inderdental fricative, my first official theme of things for this Themed Thing Thursday will be teeth. Because without teeth, it’s really hard to say things.


A few things toothy

  1. ϴ or theta.
    The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbol for the voiceless dental (or interdental) fricative. This sound is usually written “th” in English, though the sound is nothing like a t followed by an h. (Note also that not all instances of “th” are stand-ins for theta: there’s the evil twin ð, too. Sometimes called the “eth.” It’s the voiced dental fricative. You know, the one in the.)
  2. The Tooth Fairy
    A legendary individual who pays children for losing their teeth. In the version of the myth I grew up with, when you lose a tooth, you put it under your pillow when you go to bed. In the morning, you wake up to find a coin in place of the tooth. The explanation for this phenomenon is not that the tooth has metamorphosized, but that a strange woman, possibly with wings, sneaked into your room while you slept, and felt around under your very head for the tooth, grabbed and pocketed said tooth, and then left you a small payment. This was supposed to be a comforting tale.
  3. The Wikipedia Tooth Fairy page has a whole bunch of fun popular culture references to the tooth fairy by the way, such as the episode of the Simpsons where Bart loses his last baby tooth, or Darkness Falls (2003), horror movie about an evil tooth fairy.
  4. The movie Toothless (1997)
    I had actually never heard of this movie until some soul out there tried desperately to find quotes from the movie. I have no idea why. I’m assuming it was the same person, trying variations of “quotes from the movie toothless” and “toothless movie quotes.” And they kept getting my post on movie quotes where I quote the “tough and ruthless/rough and toothless” bit from Kentucky Fried Movie. Anyhow, the movie “Toothless” was a TV movie from 1997, and looks to have been pretty sucky. Kirstie Allie played a dentist turned tooth fairy.
  5. Speaking of dentists, there’s the movie Marathon Man (1976) (And also the novel by William Goldman, author of The Princess Bride.)
    The story features a famous (or infamous) torture scene involving an evil, sadistic dentist. (“Is it safe?”)
  6. Little Shop of Horrors. A 1960’s B movie that was later adapted to a Broadway musical which was later adapted to another movie. The main story is about an alien man-eating plant, but it also features a sadistic dentist. (Clearly, some people have issues with dentists.) Steve Martin plays the dentist in the 1986 movie.
  7. Just in case you fear that all pop culture portrayals of dentists are unfavorable, Monty Python offers this counter-example, featuring heroic feats performed by a member of the BDA. (“It’s a man’s life in the British Dental Association”):

  8. And speaking of Python, what list of teeth could be complete without those big pointy teeth from the Holy Grail. You may be happy (or dismayed) to learn that you can now purchase associated merchandise, such as slippers and hand-puppets featuring rabbits with big pointy teeth.


¹ I’m also inpsired by some folks I admire who have their own weekly theme days, like KC’s Medical Advice Mondays and Sage’s Word Wise Wednesdays.