17th May
written by Mombo#9

Dear Mr. Timberlake:

I would like to refute, right from the start, that I am a ‘butt-in-ski’.  First of all, that isn’t really a word, and not many of us are so Shakespearian that we can just invent jargon and hope it sticks for hundreds of years.  The real questions are, what really separates “being intense” from just being focused?  What is the criteria that separates obsessive from merely being goal oriented?  Who determines if one is maniacal or maternal?

In the past, Mr. Timberlake, I have been miscast in some of the former title contenders and I would like for you to remember the importance of the perception of the latter labels as you consider the suggestion I put before you.

At this time, you appear to be single.  And although noted that some of your former love interests were poor choices, your disillusionment and judgment were salvaged by the prose you penned for each, “Cry Me A River” for Britney’s betrayal, and “What Goes Around…Comes Around” for the fickle Ms. Diaz.   You rose from the ashes of their callousness like a Phoenix in an in sync sky.

Which brings me to my point.

I have a daughter.

I know you have heard this from many moms through the years, as they cut your hair, cashed your checks, and handed you car keys.   But, this I promise you, God really did spend a little more time on her.

She doesn’t know that I am writing this, of course.  And between us, when you call her, you probably should come up with a good story that doesn’t include my name.  She is an ice dancer so maybe you can just say you saw her a few years ago and were impressed by her artistry and expression to the music and how her image has haunted you for years—and then this weekend, when Charlie White and Meryl Davis were on the front page of the Sports section of the New York Times, for winning the first Gold Medal ever for the United States for ice dancing, you felt it was an omen and that you should call her—or something like that.  I don’t want to tell you what to do.

And to be clear, my daughter doesn’t think she needs any help in the  “finding a guy” department”.  She isn’t one of Cinderella’s stepsisters, with moles and grotesque feet that won’t fit in designer footwear.  Okay, well, she is an ice dancer so she does have those little bumps and odd protrusions that wearing skates for six or seven hours a day tend to leave on the toes and heels, but most people have had the kind of upbringing that stop them from making comments and yelling out.

My daughter is, in fact, a beautiful young woman.  And the ‘buts’, if there are any, are really positives.  Truly.

She doesn’t suffer fools.  At twenty-two, this eliminates most of the male population from her age group down.

A second issue is that my daughter is an athlete.  She trains hard. She has a gun show for arms and she can do one-arm push-ups.  Most males, however, make the mistake of belittling figure skating as not a “real sport” and regale her with quips from “Blades of Glory”, which tends to make her want to put a blade in the one part of their anatomy where it would easily fit.

In the past, I have suggested that she expand her social network and go out into the unknown area of exploration—like on line dating.  She negated that idea and offered me the moniker of ‘butt-in-ski”, as in, “stop being”.

I proffered that she go out with a few of the young men that her friends have advised might be “okay” and she declared she was not dating guys who have been classified like yogurt in the refrigerator a week after the sell date.  Oh, and she suggested I was getting obsessive about her dating life.

I then came up with a really great concept.  I bought 10 pair of Phillies tickets and was crafting the “Date My Daughter” billboard for I-95 when she saw the layout.  It was pretty witty.  Guys would have to send me their CVs and qualifications on why they should be selected to go to a game with my daughter and then select one creative method of conveying that message.  I would select 10 finalists.  They would get a ticket and arrive at the ballpark to meet my daughter, and at the end of the night she could either give them a baseball hat, or her phone number.

This landed me the title of maniacal.  No billboard.  No creative convincing.  But she kept the tickets and took her friends.

So here we are, Justin, (I think at this point, I can call you Justin, don’t you?)  You are more or less between ladies yourself, and no offense, you seem to need a little help yourself in finding a keeper.  At 30, I think you are past the fascination with urinal games and being a former boy band member, I think you possess civility in understanding how harshly others label and cast bias without ever considering individual merits.

My daughter’s phone number is on the attached dossier.   Thanks for coming up with this grand idea.

Maternally yours,



7th April
written by Mombo#9

There are things I am never going to understand in life.

Why a pair of pants feels super comfortable when trying them on and then way-way-WAY too
big when you discover they are maternity wear in the check-out line.

How the Haitian Relief effort collected over 15 million dollars after the horrific earthquake for a
population of 9.8 million–yet current conditions still show tent cities, destruction, and poverty.

Why Great Danes only live an average of 7 years?

Why imported crystals can rarely be used a second time, nor even be reattached to the skating
costume from whence they fell?

Why my seatbelt keeps getting twisted so that it looks like I am doing a macramé plant holder
above the waist.

(My list does this waxing and waning from the merely important to the essential.)

And so it goes with the “Moving of the World Figure Skating Competition” diatribe.

What is essential is, of course, the devastation and loss of lives and way of life in Japan. But,
for most of the world, we can offer only prayers and contributions to the Red Cross. Is there a
message we should be asking ourselves? Some reflection on our own lives and the fragility of
time with those we love. Surely.

But it is important, on a different scale, on a different spinning wheel, that we recognize that our
skaters have trained for this competition for a year. This is their annual yearly evaluation. This
is their bonus. It is in fact, an understatement, to say that blood, sweat, and tears went into the training.

Moving the event to Moscow is not a betrayal. Nor is it like telling a joke at a funeral. It cannot
be equated to a groom jilting the bride at the altar and running off with her best friend, or the
child of a Pepsi executive admitting that he prefers Coke. Respect is not being evaluated by the
technical caller, it will be offered by all of us with how we fill our days and our actions within all
of the hours we remain on whatever part of this world we occupy.

Although I have many questions about life, I also have a few answers.

Everyone falls in life, on the ice or not, and although it is easier when someone offers a hand
up, eventually you have to find your own balance.

There are few things in life that will not seem better once you have petted the soft head leaning
against your leg and looked into the trusting eyes of a dog.

Mothers should be allowed a vote in picking a future spouse, what city you live in, and what
color nail polish you wear.

No one is ever too old to have a sports car. It is, however, possible to be too young.

“Raspberry Beret” would have been a GREAT program, perhaps only bested by “Burning Down
the House.”


23rd November
written by Mombo#9

Two recent events caused me to do the proverbial “double-take.”

The first is that Scott decided that they are no longer going to put those little cardboard tubes in their toilet paper rolls. So in the future, when you come to the end of the roll, you are literally going to be down to nothing.

I realize most people may not give pause at the technological development of toilet tissue, but in my house it has been a point of contention for many years. My husband believes that there is a correct way and an incorrect way to put a roll on the spindle. The correct way is, of course, the method that he has decided was set in stone and the message sent down the mountain for his ears alone.

I say that because my mind is usually on more pressing matters, like what Beatles song can be spliced with a waltz, is there a machine that picks up crystals from the dressing room floor like those that scour the sand for loose change, and is the ISU going to try for the 70th time to lower the age of competing male skaters to match that of their female counterparts?

Maybe I am too distracted to care if the toilet tissue end is going over the top or flapping underneath. My husband, who has never worked for the Hilton, Westin, or any cruise ship line, swears the roll should come over the top. He doesn’t slam the point home by making little origami designs with the end of the top sheet, but he will “turn it around” if I “put it on backwards.” This wouldn’t be such an issue, if he didn’t need to tell me of his correction.

So there I will be, balancing the checkbook, making marinara sauce from scratch, and hand crafting designs for wrapping paper to be used for future birthdays, and my husband will enter the room.

He: “I had to change the toilet paper around again.”

Me: amortizing our monthly consumption of K-cups and doing a cost comparison of Green Mountain or using coupons from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, while stirring the hearty, bubbling sauce, merely looks at him.

He: “I don’t know why you can’t remember; maybe they should put little arrows inside the roll.”

Me: foiling a silver wing for an angel on the plain white paper, merely looks at him.

He: “I mean, it is a 50-50 chance of guessing at it and getting it right, I mean…” (walking away as I stir the sauce with a bit of a Steel Drum beat)

The second thing that gave me the snap neck was hearing the Pope say something to the effect that there might be times when wearing a condom is okay. I am not one to get into religious debates or filibusters, basically because I grew up in a Southern Baptist family (where at some point they must have removed my sunglasses and applied that memory erasing trick like in “Men In Black” because I have no real memory of the actual services but now I have an illogical fear of rivers and fried chicken) and because I converted to my husband’s Lutheran faith — which I once bottom-lined to someone as being quasi-Catholic without “wanting to pay for time in minor hell.” (This earned me “a look” from most of my in-laws.)

So, to me, the Pope saying it is okay to wear a condom in certain situations is a bit like my husband telling me that the toilet paper roll has only one way to go on correctly. I know that no matter how many times I shake my head at the underhanded method my husband mocks to keep that paper rolling smoothly over the top, he is never going to change his mindset. It doesn’t matter that the paper does the same job, just as effectively, no matter if it is under or over. It doesn’t matter that no one has ever stopped mid-wipe and said, “Oh hell, I just used the wrong side.”

Of course, we can still hope that even in the dark, there is a 50/50 chance that they will get it right someday.


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