After hiking in Meyer Ranch, CO, my daughter, aunt and I got the best surprise–we met two big, beautiful llamas.We had lots of questions! Their names? Where did they live? What were they doing at Meyer Ranch? Were they friendly? Could we pet them? And what about the chihuahuas?
Answers? The dogs are Ruth and Charlie while the llamas have magical names–Stardust and OnFire! The llamas go on regular hikes up the mountain. Stardust looks forward to meeting new people, and if she doesn’t see any she expresses her disappointment by humming. OnFire is skittish, would rather not be pet, and won’t let her “dad” trim her bangs. Ruth and Charlie don’t mind the llamas, but they aren’t big fans of the attention the llamas receive–lol!
As we asked questions, hikers and dogs passed by. A German Shorthaired Pointer named Rue didn’t know what to make of the peculiar animals standing in the meadow.
Rue: “What are you?”
Stardust: “A llama. Want to say hi?”
Rue: “I’m not sure. Do you bite?”
Stardust: “No, and I don’t spit.”
Rue: “Oh, you’re a llama!”
Stardust: “That’s what I said, but I’m friendly. Really!”
Summer Fashion 2022 is all about bright, candy colors.
As soon as I turned in Sweet Summer Style for Elegant Lifestyles Magazine’s June 2022 issue, I noticed brightly colored, braided, quilted, and puffy sandals and bags everywhere. You know I love a theme, puns and wordplay, so I took sweet and ran with it: “Clothes Dress Up summer in Jelly Bean Brights,” “Shoes Loosen Up in Gummy Bear Flavors,” “Bags Act as Arm Candy in Swedish Fish Colors,” and “Sunglasses Shine in Shades of Ice Cream.”
Personally, I’m a big fan of wearing all white in the summer and accessorizing with a pop of color. Not everyone is a fan of wearing all white. I had a funny interaction with colleagues at the preschool this spring. For Purim–the “Halloween” of Jewish holidays–the preschool director decided the staff would dress up as Tootsie Pop lollipops. She ordered Tootsie Pop t-shirts and requested we wear white pants since Tootsie Pop sticks are white.
Me: “Sure. Do you want jeans, slacks or cargo pants?”
Teacher A: “I don’t own white pants.”
Me: “How do you not own white pants?!”
Teacher A: Makes a face at me and says, “You can wear white pants. I cannot!”
Teacher A turns to Teacher B: “Do you own white pants?”
Teacher B: “Definitely not!”
Teacher B tells director their “sticks” will not be white.
Director: “You don’t own white jeans, at least?”
Teachers A & B: “No!”
My co-teacher enters our classroom.
Me: “Can you believe Teachers A and B don’t own white pants?!”
Co-Teacher: “I don’t own white pants, either.”
Hon, which camp are you in? Love white pants or would never wear them?!
Theresa, critique-partner, writer-friend, and fellow triplets-mom, is getting good press! Time for Kids magazine featured her “How to Write Funny” advice and Highlights for Children Magazine asked her to share some “tips and tricks of the trade.” So cool!
Theresa Julian, critique partner, writer-friend, published author, and fellow triplets mom, can be called a humor expert. Her first book, The Joke Machine, teaches kids how they can increase their own funny factor. Her second book, 101 HILARIOUS PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKES, illustrated by Pat Lewis, is now out in the world! Woohoo! Darlene Beck-Jacobson added an excellent post to her blog “Gold From The Dust: Bringing Stories to Life,” in which Theresa gives potential pranksters a leg up by sharing tips from her book. Darlene’s post is re-blogged below.
Did you know:
Cows moo with different accents – depending on where they live?
The bones in the human body are held together by marshmallow taffy?
Snakes don’t live in swamps, they live in potato chips cans, like this:
If you didn’t know these facts, it’s okay because – none of them are true. I’m pulling your leg. Kidding. Pranking you.
If there’s a little jokester in your life who wants to learn about pranking, check out 101 Hilarious Pranks & Practical Jokes, a middle grade book written by me and illustrated by Pat Lewis. This super silly book includes – you guessed it – 101 pranks, AND explains how to pull the perfect trick.
The book teaches kids how to pace their prank, find the right attitude, and create a story around it. It explains how kids can kick their pranks up a notch through physical humor, which is using their body to make someone laugh. It’s using goofy faces, funny voices, slipping, tripping, and weird smells and sounds to make their pranks extra awesome.
Here are some tips from the book:
Start a prank with the right attitude. How would you feel if you were really in the prank situation? If you’re pretending you’ve just won a million dollars, act thrilled. If you’re pretending you broke a window, act shocked. If you’ve filled the cabinet with ping-pong balls, act casual and wait for someone to open the door. Pick an attitude, commit to it, and sell it.
Create an interesting story around your prank. Let’s say you want to convince your friend that your family has a “dead finger” collection and you’ve brought in your favorite one to show her. But, of course, it’s really just your finger in a box, covered in ketchup and avocado mush.
If you walk up to your friend and show her the box, it may not be very effective. But if you build it up with a story that draws her in, and then show the box, you’ll get a bigger reaction.
Try creating a story like this: You crept down your creaky basement stairs; opened the rusty door to the back room; and gagged at the stench of rotting skin. When you turned on the light, you found that there, in your very own basement, was a dead-finger collection – probably great-grandpa’s from the war. Now, when you show the box, you’ll probably get the reaction you were looking for.
A good prank is carefully paced, not blurted out or rushed.
Picture this: Your brother walks into the kitchen and hasn’t yet seen the fake tarantula on the cheese casserole. Do you jump up and yell, “Look at the cheese casserole, ha ha!”? No, of course not. You sit and wait, distract him with comments about how good you’ve been (which, is always true, right?), and wait for the time to be ripe. It’s sooo much better if he finds the hairy spider himself!
Let’s face it, facial expressions are key to a good prank because they help sell your story. Picture a face that’s afraid, amazed, annoyed, or bored, like the ones below.
The right face can say a lot more than words. So when you’re pranking, let your face do the talking!
Kooky Arms & Legs
Get your whole body into the prank. If you tell your friend the rat in the garage is THIS BIG, fling out your arms and show just how big. If you’re pretending you’re about to vomit, clutch your stomach, moan and double over in pain. In the prankiverse, body language reinforces your story and paints a picture, and is often funnier than words.
Silly Voices and Sounds
Silly voices and sounds make pranks more believable and fun. If you’re pretending you’ve broken a window, download a crashing glass sound and play it on your phone or computer. If you’ll make a prank call, you’ll need to disguise your voice with an accent or different tone. Funny voices are fun to create and once you’ve nailed a few, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them!
Slipping, Tripping and Prat-falling
101 Hilarious Pranks & Practical Jokes teaches you how to pretend you’re slipping, tripping and falling, so you get the reaction you want. For example, here’s how to pretend you’re hitting your head on a door:
The book also explains how to crack your nose, bite off your finger, detach your head, spit out your teeth, push a pencil through your head, rip your eyeball out, slip in poop, and control gravity. You’re welcome.
So, if there’s a little prankster in your life who’s looking to learn completely ridiculous skills, such as how to use goofy faces, funny voices, bad smells, weird sounds, and smooth body moves to trick their friends, check out 101 HILARIOUS PRANKS AND PRACTICAL JOKESwhich goes on sale Sept. 28, 2021. Then — watch your back
Theresa Julian loves chocolate, changing her ringtones, and writing humorous books for middle graders. Her books have been featured in TIME for Kids magazine, the Barnes & Noble Kid’s Blog, and Today.com. Theresa is a graduate of Boston College and has a Master’s in Corporate Communications. After many years of writing business documents for large corporations, she’s now happily living on the beach, writing funny books for kids. Her mother claims Theresa spent most of first grade sleeping on her desk, but don’t worry, she’s awake now, dreaming up new ways to keep kids reading and laughing.
I was the lucky and happy recipient of a recent act of kindness!
On a recent drive from New Jersey to Maryland, Hubby used his own set of keys to drive my car. It’s habit for me to grab my keys when leaving the house, so there I was with an extra set “just in case.” We don’t usually bring our dog Lucy, but decided she’d join us on this adventure.
We stopped at a rest stop in NJ where Hubby and I took turns escorting Lucy to “do her business.” Habit again–approaching my car, I took my keys out, but then stuck them in my coat pocket when I remembered they weren’t needed. Lucy didn’t love the hand-off, and practically pulled me off my feet trying to follow Hubby inside the rest stop. I bet you can guess where this is going.
It wasn’t until we reached Maryland that I realized my keys were missing! We re-traced steps and searched the car to no avail. I called the only place we’d stopped on the road and–guess what?--my keys were at the rest stop! The manager had them in his possession and would be working the next day at the same time we’d be driving back to NJ.
A woman had found them in the parking lot and turned them in! An act of kindness for sure! We surmised that when Lucy anxiously tried following Hubby, my keys fell out of my coat pocket. The woman left her contact info because she had the foresight to remove one of the car key fobs. Her intention was to turn that car key into a dealer who would then locate the car’s owner–us! Wasn’t that above and beyond?
On our return trip home, two things happened. The first is that we retrieved my keys. Whew! The second is that we found out the name of the thoughtful woman and–hon, get this--her last name is same last name as my oldest childhood friend and one of my dearest friends in New Jersey! Isn’t that an interesting coincidence?
So, shout out to good karma, random acts of kindness and thoughtful people!
And SHOUT OUT to Stephanie Brenner for stopping at the rest stop, finding my keys, turning them in, and mailing me the other car key fob! THANK YOU!
Hon, have you been been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Have you been the kind person? I’d love to hear about it.
These “Covid-19 Rules” made me laugh. Shout out to my neighbor, Risha Walden of Walden Interiors for posting these on a local email chain.
The Covid-19 Rules:
1. Basically, you can’t leave the house for any reason, but if you have to, then you can. 2. Masks are useless, but maybe you have to wear one, it can save you, it is useless, but maybe it is mandatory as well. 3. Stores are closed, except those that are open. 4. You should not go to hospitals unless you have to go there. Same applies to doctors, you should only go there in case of emergency, provided you are not too sick. 5. This virus is deadly but still not too scary, except that sometimes it actually leads to a global disaster. 6. Gloves won’t help, but they can still help. 7. Everyone needs to stay HOME, but it’s important to GO OUT. 8. There is no shortage of groceries in the supermarket, but there are many things missing when you go there in the evening, but not in the morning. Sometimes. 9. The virus has no effect on children except those it affects. 10. Animals are not affected, but there is still a cat that tested positive in Belgium in February when no one had been tested, plus a few tigers here and there… 11. You will have many symptoms when you are sick, but you can also get sick without symptoms, have symptoms without being sick, or be contagious without having symptoms. Oh, my.. 12. In order not to get sick, you have to eat well and exercise, but eat whatever you have on hand and it’s better not to go out, well, but no… 13. It’s better to get some fresh air, but you get looked at very wrong when you get some fresh air, and most importantly, you don’t go to parks or walk. But don’t sit down, except that you can do that now if you are old, but not for too long or if you are pregnant (but not too old). 14. You can’t go to retirement homes, but you have to take care of the elderly and bring food and medication. 15. If you are sick, you can’t go out, but you can go to the pharmacy. 16. You can get restaurant food delivered to the house, which may have been prepared by people who didn’t wear masks or gloves. But you have to have your groceries decontaminated outside for 3 hours. Pizza too? 17. Every disturbing article or disturbing interview starts with ” I don’t want to trigger panic, but…” 18. You can’t see your older mother or grandmother, but you can take a taxi and meet an older taxi driver. 19. You can walk around with a friend but not with your family if they don’t live under the same roof. 20. You are safe if you maintain the appropriate social distance, but you can’t go out with friends or strangers at the safe social distance. 21. The virus remains active on different surfaces for two hours, no, four, no, six, no, we didn’t say hours, maybe days? But it takes a damp environment. Oh no, not necessarily. 22. The virus stays in the air – well no, or yes, maybe, especially in a closed room, in one hour a sick person can infect ten, so if it falls, all our children were already infected at school before it was closed. But remember, if you stay at the recommended social distance, however in certain circumstances you should maintain a greater distance, which, studies show, the virus can travel further, maybe. 23. We count the number of deaths but we don’t know how many people are infected as we have only tested so far those who were “almost dead” to find out if that’s what they will die of… 24. We have no treatment, except that there may be one that apparently is not dangerous unless you take too much (which is the case with all medications). Orange man bad. 25. We should stay locked up until the virus disappears, but it will only disappear if we achieve collective immunity, so when it circulates… but we must no longer be locked up for that?
After feeding him dinner, there was something next to his water bowl. What was it? A mouse? But wait–ewww–it was only half a mouse!
Wasn’t that thoughtful? Though we aren’t fond of half-eaten mice, we recognized that Midnight thought this was a grand gesture. In honor of the deceased, I wrote:
Mouse, fleet of paw,
Loved to eat weeds.
He never broke the law,
and followed seed leads.
He built a warm den,
and watched for foes
But Cat stalked, and then
Chomped tail and toes!
Now resting on a mat
Next to the back door,
Mouse is a gift from Cat
To us, the Kibble Store!
According to info on Pet First, cats don’t “do this because they are mean, vicious creatures.They do this based on instinct.”
Cats have sharp teeth, retractable claws, cushioned paws, night vision and the ability to sneak up on prey quietly. All of these qualities are adaptations which allow them to efficiently capture prey. Even after all of this time, these adaptations and instincts are still fully intact. These are instincts, they are not actions which can be taken out of them. This is who they are.
Cats are often raised by their mother who teaches them essentially how to survive on their own. Catching prey is one of the acts learned from their mother. The mother will often begin teaching them by bringing back dead prey for the kittens to eat. Then, she will bring back a harmed mammal, still alive, to teach her offspring how to kill for themselves.
Once the kittens are old enough, they will go outside with their mother to learn how to hunt on their own.
They see us, the humans, as rather inexperienced hunters. This is why they are bringing back their dead animals to us. They are trying to teach us how to hunt like they do. Sometimes, they may also be bringing you a gift so you are able to eat the good raw meat like they do.
Next time your cat brings you a dead animal as a gift, although easy to do, do not become angry. Your cat is doing what he thinks is best for you. This is essentially his way of telling you he loves and cares for you.