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Kids Say Some of the Greatest Things!


We're facing our nest being officially empty at the end of next week - and I'm not talking about our bird house! Our oldest child Megan will turn 30 next month, and since her birth we've had kids at home, except for short periods as the kids were at summer camps or in their college years working in summer camps. But now after just one month shy of 30 years, this is it - The Empty Nest. Our daughter Nora has been living at home again for the last several years, having moved back in with us while our son Mark was still at home. But next Friday Nora moves into her own apartment.

My wife and I loved raising our family and enjoyed watching and helping our kids go through all the stages as they grew up. Some of our favorite times were during the years when they were little and often thinking out loud. Some of the things they said will always live on in our memories. Little kids are so refreshingly honest in their naïveté, evaluating and commenting on things from their limited perspective! We especially love young children, and all three of our kids seem to have picked that up from us - they are all pre-school or elementary teachers.

Today's instant vacation is some stories I've received from people recounting what young children have said.

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While I sat in the reception area of my doctor's office, a woman rolled an elderly man in a wheelchair into the room. As she went to the receptionist' s desk, the man sat there, alone and silent. Just as I was thinking I should make small talk with him, a little boy slipped off his mother's lap and walked over to the wheelchair. Placing his hand on the man's, he said, "I know how you feel. My mom makes me ride in the stroller too."

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Out bicycling one day with my eight-year-old granddaughter, Carolyn, I got a little wistful. "In ten years," I said, "you'll want to be with your friends and you won't go walking, biking, and swimming with me like you do now."

Carolyn shrugged and said, "In ten years you'll be too old to do all those things anyway."

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One afternoon while I was visiting my library, I noticed a group of preschoolers gathered for story time. The book they were reading was There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. After the librarian finished the first page, she asked the children, "Do you think she'll die?"

"Nope," a little girl in the back said. "I saw this last night on Fear Factor."

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Near our town in France there's a nudist colony. One day as I was driving along in the car with one of my grandchildren, a member of the nudist colony rode down our street on a bicycle. My granddaughter said, "Grandpa, did you see that?!"

I tried to change the subject, but my granddaughter was insistent, "Grandpa, did you see that?!"

I replied, "Yes, honey, let's look the other way," and tried again to change the subject.

My granddaughter said, "Grandpa, did you see that?! That's bad! That person wasn't wearing a helmet!"

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My sister had been ill, so I called to see how she was doing. My ten-year-old niece answered the phone "Hello," she whispered.

"Hi, honey. How's your mother?" I asked.

"She's sleeping," she answered, again in a whisper.

"Did she go to the doctor?" I asked.

"Yes. She got some medicine," my niece said softly.

"Well, don't wake her up. Just tell her I called. By the way, what are you doing?"

Again in a soft whisper, she answered, "Practicing my trumpet."

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On the way back from a Cub Scout meeting, my grandson asked my son the question. "Dad, I know that babies come from mommies' tummies, but how do they get there in the first place?" he asked innocently.

After my son hemmed and hawed awhile, my grandson finally spoke up in disgust. "You don't have to make something up, Dad. It's OK if you don't know the answer."

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Just before I was deployed to Iraq , I sat my eight-year-old son down and broke the news to him. "I'm going to be away for a long time," I told him. "I'm going to Iraq."

"Why?" he asked. "Don't you know there's a war going on over there?"

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Paul Newman founded the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp for children stricken with cancer, AIDS and blood diseases. One afternoon he and his wife, Joanne Woodward, stopped by to have lunch with the kids. A counselor at a nearby table, suspecting the young patients wouldn't know that Newman was a famous movie star, explained, "That's the man who made this camp possible. Maybe you've seen his picture on his salad dressing bottle?" ... Blank stares ... "Well, you've probably seen his face on his lemonade carton?"

An eight-year-old girl piped up. "How long was he missing?"

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My last name is a mouthful, so when my three-year-old niece learned to spell it, I was thrilled, until her cousin burst my bubble. "You can spell Sczygelski any way you like," he pointed out. "Who's going to know if it's wrong?"

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For the first time, my four-year-old daughter Kelsey was coming to my office to have me, a dental hygienist, clean her teeth. She was accompanied by her grandmother. When they came in, I greeted them warmly, seated Kelsey and, as usual, put on my gloves, goggles, and mask. About ten minutes into the procedure, she got scared and cried, "I want my mommy!"

I quickly pulled off my mask and said, "I am your mommy."

Without hesitating, my daughter yelled back, "Then I want my granny!"

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A little girl stared questioningly at her grandfather. Finally she asked, "Grandpa, were you on Noah's Ark?"

The grandfather replied with a slight chuckle. "Of course not."

Then girl asked, "Then how come you didn't drown?"

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On the first day of school, the Kindergarten teacher said, "Whenever you need to go to the bathroom, hold up two fingers."

A little voice from the back of the room asked, "How will that help?"

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I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued. At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these on your own!"

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A mother had invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?"

"I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied.

"Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife answered.

The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

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While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my four-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As I braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"

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A little girl had just finished her first week of school. "I'm just wasting my time," she said to her mother. "I can't read, I can't write - and they won't let me talk!"

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A woman was trying hard to get the catsup to come out of the bottle. During her struggle the phone rang so she asked her four-year old daughter to answer the phone.

"It's the minister, Mommy," the child said to her mother. Then she added on the phone, "Mommy can't come to the phone to talk to you right now. She's hitting the bottle."

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When my daughter was three, we watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for the first time. The wicked queen appeared, disguised as an old lady selling apples, and my daughter was spellbound. Then Snow White took a bite of the poisoned apple and fell to the ground unconscious. As the apple rolled away, my daughter spoke up. "See, Mom. She doesn't like the peel either."

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Working as a pediatric nurse, I had the difficult assignment of giving immunization shots to children. One day I entered the examining room to give four-year-old Lizzie her needle. "No, no, no!" she screamed.

"Lizzie," scolded her mother, "that's not polite behavior."

With that, the girl yelled even louder, "No, thank you! No, thank you!"

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This week, thanks to Skype and webcams, for the first time we saw our grandson Drew walk. He's also now saying words, and we can't wait till he strings them together into memorable things like what you've just read!

Our daughter Megan is an avid scrapbooker. Here's a picture of one of her recent pages about Drew - Your First Year in Review...

first year in review

To see more of Megan's scrapbook pages, click here.

Speaking of seeing things, those of you who read my blog posts by e-mail or by blog reader missed something in my last post, unless you came to the blog itself. (Embedded video clips don't come through in the e-mails or blog readers). To see the video of the Japanese woman showing how to fold a t-shirt in mere seconds (an art that even I have now mastered!), go to my blog and scroll down.

I hope that some of you with kids in your lives will share in the comments some of the great things they've said!

quotation...

"Sometimes parents point their kids to heaven while they lead them to hell." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Children will soon forget your presents; they will always remember your presence.

Oddments


That's an odd title, isn't it? Why oddments? Oddments is a word that means remnants, leftovers, odds and ends, hodgepodge, etc. You get the idea. So... why oddments? What I'm posting today is little bits of stuff, none of which would make a real blog post, but they're things just too good not to share! Mainly it's stuff that I've received or found that has something to do with previous posts on my blog. I'll put a link to the various posts that the oddments are related to. And some of it is simply interesting little oddments I'd like to share, not related to much of anything. Emphasis, I guess, on odd....

A while back I had a post called 10,000 words - 10 really crazy pictures, each worth 1,000 words. I have since learned that one of the pictures actually could/should have been part of a later blog post dangerous hike and freebies. Here's the picture...

outhouse on the Mt. Huashan hike

Here's another outhouse that could have been part of the post nice bathroom humor

double decker outhouse

That's something we could all keep in mind as we go into the elections this fall!

Here's a picture that could have been part of the post sign language The picture is of a martial arts school.

martial arts school signs

I ran across a neat picture that I think could make a great header picture for my blog (if it weren't the wrong size and proportion, let alone all the potential copyright issues). Just think, instead of having an ancient gargoyle looking over the skyline of Paris, I could have Ratatouille looking at it from a different angle....

Ratatouille looking over Paris

My wife found a great recipe online for the ratatouille that Ratatouille made in that animated film. We love this dish and have declared it her recipe find of 2008! If you'd like to try it out, you can find it at http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/07/rat-a-too-ee-for-you-ee

I tried something new in the garden this year - Thai Red-Seeded Long Beans. They're like the green beans we've eaten in China and like the ones in many Chinese buffets here in the USA. The name "long beans" is not an exaggeration! Here's a picture of me measuring several against a yardstick. I don't know if you can make it out in the picture, but the longer of the two beans measures 30 inches - 6 inches longer than they're supposed to be! Just a couple of beans is enough for a meal for the two of us!

30 inch long beans

Recently I've found a couple of neat "toys" online. Anyone who reads my blog finds out pretty quickly that I am a word person. I love puns and other forms of wordplay. Well, here are several visual forms of wordplay. In both them them you can tweak the font and colors to your liking.

The first one is called Wordle. You can create your own "wordle" in several ways - either by pasting in "a bunch of text" (as they say) or by entering a URL. I chose the second, entering the URL of my most recent blog post last Thursday. Here's the wordle of that post...

wordle of my post called English must be difficult

Another word toy I ran across is a text animator called textanim. Here's my little creation from that site...

animated text of ivman's blague

Several weeks ago I had a post called t-shirt slogans. Someone sent me a great video clip on how to fold a t-shirt in seconds. It's in Japanese (I think), but if you watch it a few times, you should be able to do it too. My wife has mastered the technique and says, "This has revolutionized my recreational laundry!" Click in the square below to start the video.

Now I think you'll agree that my calling this blog post "oddments" (with a heavy emphasis on odd) was appropriate. I'm looking forward to some really odd comments now. 😀

quotation...

"Most problems in our lives go back to a false idea of who God is." - Dr. Chris Barney

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

If you tell a joke in the forest, but nobody laughs, was it a joke?

English Must Be Difficult!


If you grew up speaking English, be glad you did! The English language has so many subtle shades of meaning and idiomatic expressions, that people learning English as a second language have a really tough task. When we anglophones learn a foreign language we get a glimpse into how hard it is to master the intricacies of another language. When we anglophones try to teach our language to non-English speakers, we find many aspects of our language difficult, if not impossible, to explain.

I have made some horrible mistakes in French, German, and Chinese which usually resulted in laughter followed by an explanation. Such experiences are humbling, to say the least, but they have provided great opportunities to laugh at myself and to empathize with my students as they struggle to make themselves understood and as they make funny mistakes themselves. I'm sure that, as people from all over the world converge in Beijing for the Olympics and as they try to use Chinese phrases they've been memorizing, they will make some great mistakes. One of my best mistakes was when I was trying to tell someone I was from America (Mei Guo - roughly pronounced may-gwa) which in Chinese means literally "Beautiful Country." (Keep in mind that Chinese is a tonal language, that is, a change in tone often changes the meaning of the word.) When I pronounced it, though, I got the wrong tone on the second part of the word and said I was from "beautiful melon." I really think that some Chinese people just don't like my tone of voice.

That said, I am posting today some great examples of English mistakes or oddities from other countries. No one country or language is alone in finding English difficult!

English Must Be Difficult...

In a Tokyo Hotel:
Is forbidden to steal hotel towels please. If you are not a person to do such thing is please not to read notis.

Instructions in a Belgrade elevator:
To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

A sign in a Bucharest hotel lobby:
The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we regret that you will be unbearable.

In a Paris hotel elevator:
Please leave your values at the front desk.

Sign in a hotel in Athens:
Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the hours of 9 and 11 am daily.

In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across the street from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

On the menu of a Polish hotel:
Salad a firm's own make
Limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger
Roasted duck let loose
Beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion

Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:
Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

In a Rhodes tailor shop:
Order your summers suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

From the Soviet Weekly:
There will be a Moscow exhibition of arts by 150,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.

In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:
Teeth extracted by the latest methodists.

In a Swiss mountain inn:
Special today - no ice cream.

In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:
Take one of our horse-driven city tours - we guarantee no miscarriages.

In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:
We take your bags and send them in all directions.

On the door of a Moscow hotel room:
If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

How a sewage treatment plant was marked on a Tokyo map:
Dirty water punishment place

In a Budapest zoo:
Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

In the office of a doctor in Rome:
Specialist in women and other diseases

From a story in an East African newspaper:
A new swimming pool is rapidly taking shape since the contractors have thrown in the bulk of their workers.

In the window of a Swedish furrier:
Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.

Sign in a Vienna hotel:
In case of fire, do your utmost to alarm the hotel porter.

Sign in a Hong Kong supermarket:
For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.

In a Tokyo shop:
Our nylons cost more than common, but you'll find they are best in the long run.

From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner:
Cooles and heates - if you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.

From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo:
When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor.

Detour sign in Japan:
Stop. Drive sideways.

Sign in an Austrian hotel catering to skiers:
Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.

An Italian hotel brochure:
This hotel is renowned for its peace and solitude. In fact, crowds from all over the world flock here to enjoy its solitude.

Menu at an Athens hotel:
Chopped-up cow with wire through it (shish kebab)

A Polish tourist brochure:
As for the tripe served you at the Hotel Monopol, you will be singing its praises to your grandchildren as you lie on your deathbed.

Two signs from a Majorcan shop entrance:
- English well speaking
- Here speeching American

4-star toilet

fall carefully please

please die elsewhere

practice dog etiquette

dont fall down

monkeys in the forest

offer your seat to the needy

Chinese Olymepic Cmmittee

begin with me

no stuff only

very suspicious market

wealth dream

And here's one that we've been told about and have suspected was true all along...

hot dog

Have you seen any examples of English obviously written by a foreigner?

By the way, this Friday is an Ultimate Bonza Bottler Day - 8-8-08!

quotation...

"If it's big enough to make me worry, it's big enough to take to God." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Did ancient Roman paramedics refer to IV's as "fours"?

Please Follow the Destructions!


We live in such strange times! There are many people looking for any possible reason to sue someone, even for problems caused by their own idiocy. In hopes of having some legal straw to grasp in the event of a potential lawsuit, many manufacturers now put the weirdest directions and disclaimers on their products. Today's instant vacation is a list of some of those disclaimers on products. Be sure you read this in a place where you can occasionally laugh out loud.

Absurd product warnings and instructions

On a cardboard windshield sun shade:
Warning: Do Not Drive With Sun Shield in Place.

On a blanket from Taiwan:
Not to be used as protection from a tornado.

On a helmet mounted mirror used by US cyclists:
Remember, objects in the mirror are actually behind you.

On a Taiwanese shampoo:
Use repeatedly for severe damage.

On the bottle-top of a flavored milk drink in the UK:
After opening, keep upright.

On a New Zealand insect spray:
This product not tested on animals.

In some countries, on the bottom of Coke bottles:
Open other end.

On an infant's bathtub:
Do not throw baby out with bath water.

On a package of Fisherman's Friend(R) throat lozenges:
Not meant as substitute for human companionship.

On a disposable razor:
Do not use this product during an earthquake.

On a handgun:
Not recommended for use as a nutcracker.

On a piano:
Harmful or fatal if swallowed.

On work gloves:
For best results, do not leave at crime scene.

On a blender:
Not for use as an aquarium.

On a microscope:
Objects are smaller and less alarming than they appear.

On children's alphabet blocks:
Letters may be used to construct words, phrases and sentences that may be deemed offensive.

On a wet suit:
Capacity, 1.

On the Washington Post:
Do not cut up and use for blackmail note.

On a child's Superman costume:
Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.

Once you've read the instructions on a box of Pepperidge Farm frozen raspberry turnovers, it's too late to obey them:
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F before taking package from the freezer.

For incorrigible narcissists, Conair offers this safety tip with its blow dryers:
Never use while sleeping.

On a bag of Fritos:
You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.

On a bar of Dial soap:
Directions: Use like regular soap.

Some Swanson frozen dinners:
Serving suggestion: Defrost.

On a hotel-provided shower cap in a box:
Fits one head.

On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert:
Do not turn upside down. (Printed on the bottom of the box.)

On Marks & Spencer bread pudding:
Product will be hot after heating

On packaging for a Rowenta iron:
Do not iron clothes on body

On Boots children's cough medicine:
Do not drive car or operate machinery after taking this medication

On Nytol (a sleep aid):
May cause drowsiness

On an American Airlines packet Of nuts:
Open packet, eat nuts.

On a Korean kitchen knife:
Keep out of children

On most brands of Christmas lights:
For indoor or outdoor use only.

On a Japanese food processor:
Not to be used for the other use.

On Sainsbury's peanuts:
Contains nuts

On a bottle of Palmolive dish washing liquid:
Do not use on food.

On a tube of Crest Toothpaste:
If swallowed contact poison control.

On a bottle of ALL laundry detergent:
Remove clothing before distributing in washing machine.

On a packet Of Sunmaid raisins:
Why not try tossing over your favorite breakfast cereal?

On a Swedish chainsaw:
Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands.

Here are a few warning signs along the same vein.

use your own brain

self defense against the fence

feeding the animals with fingers

wired to work out

beware of killer frogs

moose crossing

nuts may contain nuts

be prepared

beware of lady

Have you seen any bizarre disclaimers or instructions lately? Please tell us about it in a comment.

quotation...

"Truth causes us to cut between tradition and trends." - Dr. Chris Barney

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

No electrons were harmed in the creation of this blog post, although some were undoubtedly inconvenienced.

Is Beijing Ready?


logo of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing

With the opening of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing a week away, I thought I'd share some pictures of the landscaping that's been going on around China in preparation for visitors from all around the world. Some articles that I've read have called this "greenwashing" - an attempt to purify the image of wide-spread pollution that many have in mind when they think of China. In any case, the results are spectacular and impressive, and the Chinese have shown great ingenuity and creativity in many of the preparations.

Here's the Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium...

2008 Olympic stadium

Now on to some of the gardens...

a tribute to the Greek origins

flowers highlighting several sporting events

a floral abacus

playful creatures

a butterfly

dolphin fountains

a hand with a waterfall

Chinese men talking

dragons

Whatever you want to say

At the end of our time of teaching two years ago, we went to Beijing for a long weekend before returning to the USA. You can read about it by going to http://blog.ivman.com/our-final-days-in-beijing At that time we seriously wondered if Beijing was going to be ready for the Olympics, and we weren't thinking about the landscaping! Those three days, we ate only in American chain restaurants - restaurants in which we seldom, if ever, eat here at home - McDonald's, KFC, and Pizza Hut. Our reasons were not because we craved Western food; it was because we could not read Chinese and could not order without assistance in a Chinese restaurant where no one speaks English. What astounded us was that, even in the American restaurants, no workers could speak English! We pointed at pictures on a menu to place our orders! I'm eager to hear how things go this summer when thousands of tourists arrive, unable to speak or read Chinese.

The question is not only if Beijing is ready for the tourists, but also if the tourists are ready for Beijing. If they want some adventures, they could try some Chinese fast food sold by street vendors (not always the safest option available, from what we heard.) Too bad the food won't be labeled as it is in the pictures.

street vendors selling their wares

fried starfish

various bugs

dog brain soup

seafood and more

goat lungs and red peppers

dog livers and veggies

sea horses

sea snake

grilled snake and silkworms

We ate some interesting stuff in China, but I assure you we ate none of the above - and definitely not from sidewalk vendors! Are any of you game to try any of those delights?

quotation...

"God's small group discipleship program is the family." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=
Rob

Taste makes waist.