Monthly Archives: August 2015

You may be a teacher if…

My grandson begins school today. I don’t mean that my little toddler boy is going to go off with his toy backpack and play alphabet games at pre-school. I mean my big, just-turned-five-and-how-did-that-happen grandson is going to actual school.

Royce's first day!

Royce’s first day!

He has a backpack full of school supplies and a head full of last minute instructions on how to behave at school and he is off to the races.

As a grandma, I’m proud of this fact, but I’m an even prouder teacher. He is about to make some teacher’s head spin with his engineering projects and his overwhelming preference for the color orange. And that got me to thinking about what it really means in this day and this age to be a teacher.

Now I know that we are all supposed to be teachers in one educational way or another. However, those of us in the classroom trenches know that to be a teacher in the school when all of those backpack toting little darlings walk through the door is a special, awesome, hair-pulling, screaming good time.

If you can simultaneously help a child edit their writing, take roll and lunch count and get everyone on their feet for the Pledge of Allegiance on time, you may be a teacher. Multi-tasking takes on hysterical new meaning in the classroom. I have literally found the right chapter of the book for one student with one  hand while searching frantically through my desk for the stopwatch which is beeping uncontrollably with the other. And I still had a foot free to shove the wastebasket at the third kid of the morning to achieve vomitus flu in my classroom!

I hear frequently that God is not found in our public schools. I would chuckle at this misinformation if I wasn’t so busy offering up my own prayers to generate as much learning and as little damage as possible each day. That is in addition to the students who are sitting in their seats offering up sincere and genuine prayers that the teacher will believe their reason for not having homework done or will grade the test they are about to flunk on the curve. God is in the public schools, ladies and gentleman and He is probably holding His head in His hands a lot while he is there!

Teaching requires a sense of humor and it requires you to disguise that sense of humor most of the time. It you can listen to a student regale you with the tale of their Christmas vacation when Uncle Harold had too much eggnog  and landed in the tree and not crack a smile, you’re doing pretty well. If you can hold it together when little Jimmy mispronounces the word “prostrate” while reading imagery poetry, you’re doing better than most, since “lying there prostate on the ground” conjures up some hysterical imagery for me.

A teacher must be prepared to impart knowledge while fielding any number of interesting sideshows. For instance, if, in the middle of reading “Casey at the Bat,” you suddenly find yourself refereeing a battle between two students arguing over who owns the tired-looking pencil they found on the floor between their desks, you have hit one of the high points of the teaching profession. And they don’t cover in college what the proper procedure is if your post-holiday essay on “What I Got for Christmas” turns into a show-and-tell between two boys who both think the superhero undershorts they got were the best!

Yes, I am so excited about my little grandson headed off to school. 20150831_083045And I hope his teacher is prepared for all his tape-and-string concoctions and his insistence that yes, even grass can be orange in color. I have faith in her or him,  though: a teacher is the perfect person to answer the burning question on the mind of every kindergarten child—“If I eat glue, will my insides stick together????” Have a great year, all of you teachers and all of you students!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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Signs that YOU TOO may be an insomniac!

Well, folks, it’s 1 a.m. and here we are, up and at ‘em instead of down for the count. The world of the insomniac is something that is difficult to explain and it’s something that cannot be fully understood unless you, like me, suffer from chronic insomnia. However, I’ll attempt to give you some idea of the problem if you’d care to listen and for me at least, I’m not doing anything else, like sleeping, so I’ll take the time.

Where I should be sleeping...

Where I should be sleeping…

There are signs that you could be a chronic insomniac. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. If you find yourself watching the clock at 10, 11, 12, 1, 2…maybe even 3, you could be a chronic insomniac. In fact, a chronic insomniac can tell you what time it is without the necessity of looking at the clock. They judge it by the grit in the eyes and number of times they’ve twisted over in bed.
  2. If you find your mind racing on such wildly diverse and ridiculous topics as whether or not Donald Trump will make all of us wear our hair in stupid styles if he is elected president, you might be a chronic insomniac. If you get up and go to the bathroom and actually try out some possible hairstyles just in case, you are definitely in our league.
  3. If you worry in the middle of the night about how much time you spend worrying, you might be a chronic insomniac. If you worry about being up in the middle of the night, worrying about the time you spend worrying, you may be too far gone to get help!
  4. If you are currently experimenting with at least three different aids to help you sleep, you may be one of us. If those aids include Melatonin, muscle relaxants and warm milk, you are probably up in the top ten of chronic insomniacs.
  5. If you spend your late nights surfing the Internet, exploring such fantastic sites as “Ten things you didn’t know about Leave it to Beaver,” you are definitely suffering the late night, non-sleep blues.

I’ve tried everything from meditative yoga, to regular bedtimes, to eating or drinking certain things before bed. Did you know that if you eat egg yolks and drink pink lemonade two hours before bed, you will have a full night’s sleep? Of course, it doesn’t work, but I like pink lemonade and egg yolks, which is more than I can say for straight vinegar, which is another suggestion!

I have come to accept that being a chronic insomniac is a part of my life’s makeup and, just for the record, I hope it’s not a part of yours. However, if it is, come on over about 1:30 a.m. I’ll be drinking a big glass of vinegar and watching the “Ten Things I Didn’t Know (and didn’t want to) about Leave it to Beaver.” On second thought, just play the re-runs…that would surely put me to sleep!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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I’m in Love with George

Before anyone says anything, I know I’m married to Roy. But for a couple of years now, there have also been two little boys in my life…and in addition, there has been a monkey named George. And quite frankly, I love them all, but George has fast become a favorite with me.

For any parent of young children, you know, of course, that the George I refer to is a cartoon monkey named Curious George. George lives with the Man with the Yellow Hat. No name is given for the Man with the Yellow Hat and that is understandable to me. If I were the roommate of a small, mischievous monkey who was clearly smarter than me, I wouldn’t give out my name either!

Royce's Curious George doll

Royce’s Curious George doll

I met George when my older grandson Royce, began watching his morning show on PBS. At first, I will admit I was pretty derisive about the monkey who inevitably caused a mess or colossal misunderstanding and the clueless banana-colored man he lived with. It didn’t take long, though, before I began to see him in a new light.

George is universally well-liked. Of all the characters he runs across in his adventures, only the crabby little dog in the lobby of his building doesn’t like him and even then, they occasionally see eye to eye on things.  George tries to help everyone, he runs errands for his roommate, helps the local businesses solve their various problems and even helps out at the country house.

Through it all, my grandson Royce and then his younger brother Arthur have watched with avid faces and childish giggles the antics of this genial little monkey.  He teaches them math, music, English (even though he only grunts) and most of all, he teaches them that the world is full of wonderful things and they are all right there for them to explore.

Royce and Arthur visit my home regularly, and when they do, we always make time for George, whose qualities of humanity are high, especially for a non-human , and  he is an excellent model of caring compassion, whoever it is. The show is a fetching combination of child-like innocence  and almost genius behavioral lessons.

Royce as Curious George for Halloween

Royce as Curious George for Halloween

Someday, my boys won’t want to watch this wonderful, lovable monkey. I will miss that so much. I will miss their grinning faces and childish laughter. I will miss the fact that Royce never goes to sleep at night without clutching the stuffed version of Curious George I gave him a year ago. But for now, I will be so grateful for the devotion my boys show to their friend, Curious George and I will be even more grateful for the positive and protective influence George has had on my sweet little boys.

So yes, I am in love with a monkey named George and regardless of what the boys eventually decide, I think I always will be.

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Vacation – not exactly what I wanted…

I’ve always loved the Vacation series of movies with Chevy Chase. Most especially do I love the first one, with the ever-optimistic Clark Griswold  taking his family in a new car through a series of catastrophic vacation blunders until in the end, he finally snaps and his car is a wreck.

I travel a great deal with my husband, but it is a sad fact that I could very easily be the female version of poor old Clark. I have gone through a series of mis-adventures over the years, but by far the worst was a car trip through the southwest where we fixed the car at every stop and never did get everything running smoothly. We finally landed in a very small town in Arizona, and they managed to at least get it working so it didn’t die on the road. I, however, declared that Arizona would be colder than the South Pole in winter before I ever showed up there again. I should have stuck to that declaration. This year, somehow, Roy talked me into vacationing in the southwest. That’s right, folks; Arizona—in June!

I knew we were in trouble before we had even headed south. The night before we left, there was a terrific rainstorm. It washed out the bridge we were to take south. This might have been a sign from God that we ignored. No problem though, we just drove miles out of our way through interesting places like the town of Bob. Interesting  fact—the town of Bob has a population of 11…one of them must be named Bob, right?

We finally made it to Denver after mistaking a military base for a bathroom break. The nice men at the gates with guns explained that we were wrong.  In Denver, we spent the night listening to a hail storm outside. In the morning, our very new car was sporting any number of hail dings and looked a little like a car with the measles.

However, it was vacation; we needed to carry on. Outside Durango, we observed a sign which said, “Watch for migrating wildlife.” I gave a laugh, “Now there’s an interesting sign. I wonder where they’re….” At that moment, we bagged the “migrating wildlife” with a 2013 Fusion. The deer came out of nowhere at top speed, hit the side of our car breaking the mirror and the headlight and pushing in the side front panel until we couldn’t open the driver’s door.

You should have seen the other guy...

You should have seen the other guy…

With the use of a mechanic’s jack and some sturdy tape, the car was again made drivable, but by now it looked a lot like Chevy Chase’s station wagon in Vacation. All we had missing was the wheels turning in!

We took that sad car all through the vacation with people giving it double takes all over the place. We traveled to Silverton, Colorado, where we were in a snow and sleet storm. We took it to the Grand Canyon where the fog was so thick, we couldn’t see anything but fog. And then we took it to Las Vegas, where the temperatures were a heart-stopping, knee-buckling 106 degrees! And through it all, the bent up, hail-dinged, mirror-cracked, taped-up light car seemed to keep on going.


The “view” at the Grand Canyon

The final straw came when we got back to Denver. We parked the car for the night on the street as we were staying with my daughter. Unfortunately, we parked it in an area meant for residents of the housing property. The following morning, the car was gone. I’m sure someone took a look at that banged up mess and supposed someone abandoned it there. We had to go 20 miles away to the tow company and pay $250 to get that semi-wreck back.

Roy swears that when he got in the car, the steering wheel grabbed him by the throat and the car snarled, “What the heck, Roy? Next year, take the other car!”

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Reasons I Miss the Dog

We lost our Golden Retriever, Ammie, in May. It was a real blow to my husband, who loved his hunting dog and spoiled her to the point that his family nicknamed her “The Princess.”



After the dog died, I comforted Roy the best I could, but I confess that in reality,  I put my feet up and relaxed because without a dog, things could be easier.

I celebrated like this for more than a week (okay, maybe a little longer) and then I realized that something was wrong. At first I couldn’t pinpoint it, but when I finally investigated, I discovered to my dismay, that it is possible that I MISS the dog!

For one thing, what do I have to torment Roy about? I can’t talk about my red-headed rival or bug him about his favoritism towards the Princess. It’s no fun to make jokes about how much he loved the dog when he just lost it. I’m not terribly sensitive to his affection for the dog, but even I can’t be that much of a jerk!

Second, I miss the dog because now I can’t blame her for the mess in the house. With dog hair and toys, she was always a good fall guy for the house being a mess. Without her, I must just face the fact that I’m a slob!

Third, I miss the dog because it means now when Roy wants to take a walk, he wants me to go along. Before, the dog was his companion, but now, it’s me. And I don’t walk as well or as fast as the dog. Nor do I like the feeling that I’m a poor replacement for the Princess!

I miss the dog because she entertained my grandsons. She would play with them, run around with them or play fetch. My oldest grandson spent his annual visit to Grandma’s house informing me that I don’t play catch (or fetch) as well as the dog did! My younger grandson found meals boring because his favorite activity has always been drop the food on the floor and laugh at how fast the dog scoops it up. Now, Grandma just whines at him for dumping food on the floor! It’s not nearly as much fun, but it works.

And that food on the floor is one of the main reasons I miss the dog.

"The Princess"

“The Princess”

I spilt some eggs on the floor a week ago. I stood there and wished the mess would clean itself up, but of course, this did not happen. There was no dog. There was no eager tongue, ready to lap the whole thing up and leave the floor cleaner than it had started.

Then, of course, there was the goat-like tendency of the dog . She would eat anything; plastic, cloth (she really liked dirty dishcloths), and various pens, pencils and particularly markers. She would eat it all and then promptly regurgitate it all over my floors. This happened on a regular basis….oh, wait a minute, I guess I don’t  miss that. Without the Princess,   I don’t have to worry about the three Ps in my house(puking, pooping, peeing). I don’t miss the dog hair everywhere either. Oh! And I don’t miss the impromptu snacks the dog had by jumping up on my counters to consume whatever she could find.

So, in fact, I don’t miss the dog as much as I thought. This could be serious. I just told Roy he could get another dog. I don’t suppose I can take it back now, huh?

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Because Every Lucy Must Have Her Ethel…

Everyone has at least one of them. That person, the one person with whom you can be in the worst situation with and you can turn to them and say, “Don’t worry, once we get out of this, I’ve got an even better idea,” and they are with you! Lucy had her Ethel for these things and I have Diane.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Diane and I are not out there, doing illegal things, trying to get on to “Ricky’s show” or something, but we do have a great deal of fun with the adventures we do concoct.

Although Diane is my cousin, I really don’t remember us growing up together. I began spending time with Diane when I was in college. She was in the midst of raising three little boys, I was getting my college degree and not enjoying the experience. Until I began spending time at Diane’s house. Those are some of my fondest memories of my years in college. We could talk about anything, laugh at what her boys were doing and dream of how we would be in the future.

Diane saw me through romances,  my wedding, my first child; she was always there and she always seemed a little smarter than me(which I believe she is). She was always the voice behind when I concocted wild ideas. It was never, “No, you can’t do that.” It was more like, “Well, okay, we’ll do it that way if you want, but maybe we should try….” Definitely, she was the Ethel voice of reason behind my Lucy wild ideas.

Jackie and her Cousin Diane

Jackie and her Cousin Diane

Then, it was time for Diane and her family to move on and have their own adventures. I thought perhaps our friendship would fade, but happily, I was wrong. We spent hours on the phone—not every day—but often enough. We would have each other rolling on the floor with our descriptions of the things going on in our lives. So many nights I would crawl into bed late, my sides aching with laughter and a smile on my face from our conversations.

Children, careers and grandchildren take up so much of our time these days, but nothing wipes out this friendship. We don’t get together as often as we should and frequently when we do, it’s to go shopping. Diane should have been a designer with her artistic eye. She can put an outfit together and make it look good on me faster than anyone I’ve ever met.

I’m sure we’re quite a sight in the stores, with Diane flitting on ahead, giving her infectious chuckle as she exclaims, “Oooh! Look at this! Look at these skirts..oh boy, the clearance rack!” I’ll be dragging along behind going, “No, Diane, stop looking, I can’t buy any more…ooo! Where did you find that; it’s gorgeous!”

I imagine that Diane and I will remain friends until we’re little old ladies, shopping for dentures and hearing aids and good back braces together. Whatever we find, though, as long as I let my “Ethel” do the choosing, this “Lucy” will be one fine-looking old lady!

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My Nursing May Be Hazardous to your Health

For those who know me well, the following statement will not come as a surprise: My nursing skills could be fatal. You need a band-aid? I might be able to help—provided its not bleeding or icky. You need someone to tend you while you’re sick? Forget me; you’d be better off with a construction worker using a sledge and a jackhammer.

Just to give you an idea, let’s explore Roy’s last illness. He doesn’t get sick very often because he knows what kind of nursing he will get and he wants to live. But, one day he came home with a scratchy throat. lozenge-462867_1280When he was foolish enough to admit to it, I followed him around the house for a day holding out orange juice and some throat lozenges I found in the back of the medicine cabinet. The orange juice burned his sore throat and the throat lozenges expired in 2010, but he took them both just to get rid of me.

Then, the poor man developed a cough. Now, I have to admit that when it comes to other people coughing, I’m selfish.  At the first cough, I fling my hand, my sleeve or the nearest gas mask over my face. I’ve seen all those epidemic movies, you know. All those diseases that wipe out whole populations always begin with someone coughing. Roy is on his own with a cough, because I am not dying of some mutated plague that begins with him coughing!

The fever came next. He dragged himself home from work and went straight to bed. Of course, plenty of rest was what he needed. I did my nursing  job by flinging open the bedroom door every ten minutes and inquiring, “You okay?” The first time I let the cat in. She climbed on top of him and he was forced to get up and  throw her out. The second time I checked, I found a spider on the door. My shriek caused him to sit straight up in bed, convinced, I’m sure, that we were under nuclear attack at the least.

At that point, he was ungrateful enough to request that I leave him ALONE. Of course I could do that. All he had to do was ask.  I left him alone  for an hour, then tiptoed in and whispered in his ear, “You any better?” He wasn’t, especially after he jerked his head up in surprise and cracked it on my jaw. I left him for another hour, then opened the door so slowly that it made that weird, creaking noise. He turned over in bed with a sigh. “I still feel lousy,” he muttered.

“I’m so sorry, what can I get you?” I asked in my most understanding nurse’s voice.

“I would love some takeout from HuHot,” he said.

“But honey, I’d have to drive for four hours to get you take out from there,” I protested.

“Good; maybe go twice then,” he punched his pillow, pulled the blanket over his head and rolled over on his other side.

For those of you who think it couldn’t have happened that way, you’re right. I did leave out some parts, like when I brought him aspirin and water and dropped the aspirin under the bed and spilled the water on him. Then, there was the cold pack I put on his feet while he was sleeping, because they told me it would help with fever—it didn’t.

If you’re worried about Roy, though, he did recover his health. But I think it might have been in spite of my nursing efforts; not because of them. My nursing skills should probably come with one of those government hazard warnings!

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Nailing It!

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:

Back in the heady, early days of our marriage, Roy and I had a dream of building our own house. We would let someone else frame up the outside, we fantasized, and then we would work together, using the labor of our hands and the rhythm of our own love to build the inside.

Then we woke up and realized that our marriage would never survive a full-out, building your own house experience. We learned this through painful experiences in remodeling or repairing things in our existing home. The pain, the tears, the whining—and that was just Roy, whose idea it usually was! To put it in Roy’s own, sweet words, “One of us would have gone off the roof; and it would almost have been an accident!”

It isn’t that I’m a poor assistant. It’s that I have to assist at all. Roy is one of those perfectionists, who measures everything to the exact second and I am a “slop-it-up-and-call-it-good” type. So, while I am standing there, holding it against the wall, Roy is standing back, measuring, trimming, leveling, to make sure it’s right. Frequently he attaches it to the wall to the phrase, “Put a nail in it, for pete’s sake, before I let go and drop it on your head!”

It isn’t just nailing things up which creates a problem when Roy and I go into construction together. We don’t play and paint well together, either. I need drop cloths and tape around the edges and I still make a mess. Roy can paint anything without a single drip or smear. The biggest fight we have had in recent history was after he carefully edged and painted  the white ceiling and then left me to roll paint on the yellow walls. When he arrived home from work, I pointed proudly to my finished work.

“What’s that spot up there?” he pointed at a spot on the edge of the ceiling.

“Oh that? Well, I got too enthusiastic and the roller hit the ceiling a little, but I painted it over with white, again,” I was a little defensive.

“I can see that, because now there’s some white on the yellow wall, and by the way, the white didn’t cover the yellow on the ceiling.” It goes without saying that there was no compliment on my painting job….or further conversation at all….or supper, for that matter!

Varnishing has always been one of the biggest issues for us, because we have re-done so much furniture and worked on cabinets. I am pretty good at sanding although I’m not a fan of it. I can even stain, when it becomes necessary, although Roy is much better at it. But varnishing with the perfectionist is not fun.

Varnish is thin, and clear and drippy. Roy is pretty good at applying the varnish well, but one of these days he’s going to get a face plant with a full varnish brush when he follows along behind  me and cleans up the varnish drips I leave.

He’s a firm believer in three coats of varnish. You know what that means: put on the first layer, wait forever for it to dry, sand it lightly, apply the next coat and etc. By the end of the application of the second coat I’m ready to be done, but Roy is still lightly sanding and wiping down on the third coat three days later. I tried to help with the sanding once, but he got upset because I may have sanded so hard I took off all of the varnish and some of the stain. Some people are so picky.

Roy, prepping for hanging drywall

Roy, prepping for hanging drywall

So, as you can see, the dream of building our own home quickly faded on the horizon of our lives and because of that, we have for the most part remained happily married (don’t check this fact with Roy when we are doing repair work). However, this week, we are hanging sheetrock in a room in the basement and so, it probably means that you don’t want to ask about the status of our relationship. Roy has elected to use a manual hammer for this project rather than a nail gun. I think that’s probably a lot safer, don’t you?

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At Least I Keep My Ears…

In a world full of artistically creative people, I believe I got the short end of the paintbrush when it comes to the visual arts. I can write, yes, but painting, drawing, sculpting; these are all foreign concepts to me. From the first time the kindergarten teacher looked at the stick horse I had drawn (much larger than the people) and observed the little lump of clay squished between my fingers, she swallowed hard and said, “Well, isn’t that….nice.” What she was really saying was,”Michelangelo and Van Gogh have nothing to worry about.”

This isn’t something that weighs very heavily on my mind most of the time. After all, Michelangelo had to lie on his back and paint over his head and Van Gogh had some issue which caused him to cut off his ear, so I’m just as well off, right?

Every so often, however, I put myself in a situation which illustrates my lack of ability and such was the case this week. There is a new trend in parties in which women gather together, have snacks and wine and paint pictures. I’ve often wondered about these parties, but this week, I got to go to one.

We sat down before blank canvases set on small table easels. I followed the instructions of the woman conducting the lesson and went up to get myself some paint. A plate with black, white and then some purple paint. I set it back on the table beside the canvas. The canvas promptly toppled over and fell in the paint. I took this as a bad sign. I’m pretty sure the canvas intended it as an aborted suicide attempt.

I thought at first that we would be choosing our subject and I had my large stick horse with the too small legs and the rabbit ears all ready, but alas, it seems we were all to draw a scene with a sun or moon and graduating shades of paint topped by a dead tree full of scroll branches and a swing. Okay, I could do that.

While everyone was painting their graduating shades of paint around a white center, the leader was admonishing us to blend the different layers. I thought I did that, but by the time I was done, it looked more like that weird tunnel from the twilight zone. When the leader wanted our attention, she would call out, “Ladies, ladies, ladies.” We were to respond with, “Yes, yes, yes.” And have a drink of wine.

As it happens, I don’t drink alcohol (although I thought about changing this policy that night), so I had brought a huge glass of Sprite. I love Sprite, so when she said, “Ladies, ladies, ladies,” I had a big slurp of Sprite. This created two problems, however. One, I couldn’t her instructions over my slurping and even worse, I had to running to the bathroom, so I missed even more instructions.

I managed to get a dead, black tree on the canvas in front of the Twilight Zone tunnel, but my branches didn’t curl in that scroll that she had made. In fact, the branches looked more like an open safety pin and a baby’s curl. I tried to make a tire swing (wanting something a little different) and my first attempt looked slightly pornographic. When I was done with the picture, everyone walked by and, using the same tone and look as my kindergarten teacher, said, “That’s…..nice.”

The "finished" product.

The “finished” product.

It’s okay that I’m not good at painting, though. At least I didn’t have to lie on my back and paint over my head and I wasn’t required to chop off either of my ears. But the next time I’m invited to one of these drink and paint parties, I’m going to drink and let somebody else paint!

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