Walking and Chewing Gum

My favorite but I'm giving it up.

My favorite but I’m giving it up.

My “drug” of choice is gum. My favorite is Extra Smooth Mint. I am addicted to the popping sound as I chew, chomp and munch the beautiful pale blue.

I remember when I was a little girl how jealous I was that other people could manipulate their Hubba Bubba or Bubblicious into that musical sound. So it became my mission to learn this marvelous skill. Which I did.

Then I was accused of horrible things like: looking like a cow chewing her cud. Presumably this is because my mouth never quite closed to conceal the pop-pop-pop.

You could have called me Violet Beauregarde from the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory story and movies. For me I think of the song the Oompa Loompa sang for Violet from the 1971 movie version; Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (see the clip here):

Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do
I have another puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-da-dee
If you are wise, you’ll listen to me
Gum chewing’s fine when it’s once in a while
It stops you from smoking and brightens your smile
But it’s repulsive, revolting, and wrong
Chewing and chewing all day long
The way that a cow does
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-da
Given good manners, you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do”

The teasing and tormenting continued for a long time and then I got tired of it. And one day I stopped. Quit chewing gum altogether; cold turkey.

But as with other addictions, there’s the chance of relapse. I fell of my wagon and started using again. You see, there isn’t a support group for this one. And I wasn’t starting over; I picked up where I left off. Smack, munch, pop. And it’s worse.

For the past 4 years, I’ve made an art form out of making the most noise possible with a single stick of sugar free gum. I am so embarrassed to admit this, because I’ve been in denial most of this time. Blissful ignorance. I mean really, I’ve had moments where I’ve glimpsed the annoyance of others but didn’t care.

I wouldn’t admit or acknowledge that I had a problem. That this vice of mine was a habit that I again needed to shake.

The moment of clarity came two weeks ago as I watched my youngest perform in his class play: The Three Nanny Goats Gruff.

My husband couldn’t make the performance because of work so my oldest filmed it on his iPad. It was beautiful. All of the children sang, projecting their voices; said their lines; did the movements. But the piano wasn’t their only accompaniment.

When we played back the video there’s this consistent lip-smacking going on and it’s me (and my oldest but you would expect this of an 8 year old).

Oh My Goodness! 

Hello! My name is Gail, and I can’t chew gum without popping it to infuriate the general population. My behavior is reckless and disrespectful to all gum lovers.

My new vice? Sound free.

My new vice? Sound free.

There! I’ve taken the first step. I’ve admitted I have a problem. Now that I have evidence an intervention is not necessary. I will give up gum until I can better control the urge to make it come alive with unnatural sounds.

Walking and chewing gum at the same time is dangerous business. I choose safety. I will switch to mints so I can avoid stinky breath … I am a work in progress.

Some people in my life will be so grateful I’ve come to my senses.

As of the drafting of this post, I have been chewing gum free for 12 days. It’s not easy. I crave it. I miss it. This too shall pass.

What about you? Any irritating ~isms of your own? Feel free to share. 

Summer Reading 2013

The first Captain Underpants book.

The first Captain Underpants book. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The best gift my dudes gave me for Mother’s Day was cuddling up on the sofa at Grandma’s, cracking open the newest Big Nate book: Big Nate Flips Out.

It does my heart good that my dudes have reached the point where they’ll choose Momma reading to them at bedtime over anything else (including screen time).

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what our reading plan will look like this summer. Last year we transitioned from reading picture books to chapter books; which was met with opposition. This year will be easier. I hope.

We’ve overcome the qualms of our oldest not wanting to read independently. As a matter of fact on our road trip to Grandma’s for Mother’s Day weekend, he spent two of the three hours’ drive reading. Woot!

And we’ve moved our youngest past sight words to reading with confidence. He’s good at sounding out words he doesn’t know. His teacher tells us: “Wow is he a reader.” Yay!

With less than four weeks left of school it’s that time again … and my list is already started thanks to soliciting titles from friends and family via Facebook.

The stories or series they fell in love with since summer 2012:

  • Captain Underpants – We’ve read all 10 and now have to wait for the next one to be published.
  • Sweetfarts – Anything with bodily functions appeal to 8 & 6 year old dudes. We’ll tackle books 2 & 3 in this series.
  • Big Nate – As I said we’ve just started the most current novel.
  • Roscoe Riley Rules – The first 5 books were a Christmas gift. There are more for us to finish.
  • George Brown Class Clown – Received 2 for Christmas. Again there are more to read which makes us happy.
  • Origami Yoda – We’ve only read book 1 (they were reluctant at first, now they’re hooked)


The books that fell short since last summer:

  • Geronimo Stilton – Surprisingly, they didn’t like the bright colors and font treatments as much as I did.
  • Magic Tree House – Our oldest loved them when his teacher read them to him in school but lost the love when I read them at home.

So here’s what’s on the horizon for summer 2013 (in addition to the different series we need to finish):

  • Jigsaw Jones Series
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Paddington Bear
  • My Father’s Dragon
  • The Cricket in Times Square
  • Because of Winn Dixie

For my youngest we will invest in the Pigeon books by Mo Willems. He loves the snarky and indignant pigeon. Plus he can read them on his own.

And, there are always more to come, like the books we stumble upon during bookstore visits.

For me … I have more 20 unread books on my Kindle to work through and the list is ever growing. I can’t help myself. I download at least one book a day.

Then, in a sneak attack mom move, I’ve told my oldest I will be reading the Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch; which I will because they sound like a load of fun; but I will buy physical copies just in case someone wants to dive in too.

He said, “You should read it to us because we like mysteries.” Right! The idea of it being something for me and not for him has piqued his interest. Oh the reverse psychology!

I didn’t offer it to him because his primary response to my book recommendations is rejection. We’ll see if he makes it to reading these.

LOTS of options. A good book is only a click away for us. And amazon.com has a summer reading adventure map. Plus you don’t know where to begin they have recommendations by age group (including adult) for summer reading.

Happy Reading! What’s on your book list? What will you read this summer? What will your little people read?

Previous the Jotter’s Joint reading posts:






Photo image from Zemanta via WordPress.com

Postcard: Just a Glimpse of Canada

Postcards I purchased at the Duty Free.

Postcards I purchased at the Duty Free.

Thursday morning dawned sunny and warm; and found me packed and headed into the unknown in more ways than one. I experienced both trepidation and hope for what was to come.

My first unknown: What did I get myself into?

I was recently asked to serve on a board for a Non-Government Organization called World Renew. Before being asked to volunteer my time in this capacity, I didn’t know anything about the organization. After much consideration and a little research I agreed to participate, acting in faith.

My Second unknown: Where am I going?

The board’s annual meeting was being held in Schomberg, Ontario, just outside of Toronto. Thus, my first ever trip across international borders: Canada.

I didn’t know much about the country but the name conjured images of a red and white flag, maple syrup and Mounties. Now I have to say that my mental picture of Mounties is of Dudley Do Right of Rocky & Bullwinkle Show fame. Not, I am sure, what Mounties are really like. Sorry my Canadian friends for my ignorance.

More postcards

More postcards

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.
With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!
From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

I must say that like traveling for work all of my time was scheduled so I didn’t see much of the place I visited. Despite the limited sight seeing … this is my adventure.

We drove the 7 or so hours north in beautiful weather; watching new spring green roll by, interrupted occasionally by bodies of dark shiny water. The thrum of the tires was peaceful in the midst of the getting-to-know-you chatter.

Tucked in the seats of a 15 passenger van with 6 strangers, the forced companionship is taxing for the introvert in me. But, by the end of the trip I was grateful to get to know everyone.

We stopped and ate lunch at Mr. Sub. It was delicious. My soda pop was served in the can instead fountain style which was an oddity for me. And I never made it to Tim Horton’s.

Then we cruised through the city on the way to the Cedar Glen YMCA where we stayed. I noticed that the houses were so close together compared to the sprawling neighborhoods you see in the U.S. So close, in fact, it looked like you could reach out one open window and knock on the window of the next brick clad structure. And they were HUGE at least to me. One of my traveling companions labeled these Canadian subdivisions: McMansions.

Keychains I gave the dudes.

Keychains I gave the dudes.

My apologies because I forgot about roaming and didn’t take a regular camera so I don’t have any pictures from the trip, but it was beautiful. As a side note this meant I was disconnected in a way I’m not used to.

I digress … back to the unknowns. I still feel like I know little of Canada but feel like I know more about World Renew and what they do.

My reading list in addition to all I heard and saw:

  • When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty without Hurting the Poor and Yourself by Brian Fikkert & Steve Corbett
  • Serving with Eyes Wide Open: Doing Short-Term Missions with Cultural Intelligence by David A. Livermore
  • Toxic Charity: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help (And How to Reverse It) by Robert D. Lupton

I left feeling overwhelmed with information and the passion of the individuals I met. Their zeal overshadowed mine. I felt like an “undecided: or “undeclared” college major; student still seeking.

I wrote these words in my journal the second and last night: “I am perpetually the reluctant volunteer. I don’t have a cause. I don’t sign up. I don’t get involved. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care. What does it mean? I need to find my place within the issues and advocate for those around me.”

This is out of my comfort zone:

  • Traveling out of the country
  • Joining a board for which I am ill equipped
  • Signing up for a cause that I haven’t given much thought

This is something I will grow into.

As unknowns become known, I continue to wonder: What did I get myself into? Yet, I remain hopeful. Likewise: Where am I going, has become metaphorical instead of literal. I am on a journey. Trepidation lingers. And I pray that I serve well and that the world will be made better with the work I do here.

What moments in life caught you by surprise and found you going down a path you didn’t expect?