Monday, January 31, 2011

My Class Ring is....GONE! by Alex Scullion

It was a really long week. It was one of those weeks where you think it’s Friday when it’s actually Tuesday. But finally Friday rolled around and that meant, you guessed it, staying out until 12 at the girlfriend’s house. Tonight was especially special because we were having a mini-marathon of our favorite show, Dexter.

            We sat on the leather living room couch in front of the massive television. Unfortunately, while we were sitting there, I downed three or four, maybe five large glasses of water. We all know what this gets like. I had to decide between watching Dexter and going to use the bathroom. Of course I did what every single one of us would do – watched Dexter.

            At about 11:30 I decided I’d get home early to wake up for my drum lessons the next morning. I had already decided that I was going to hit the McDonald’s drive through for an almost-midnight-snack. There was no way I could make it home without hitting the bathroom first. So that’s exactly what I did. Being the clean person I am, I washed my hands. I also happened to take my ring off and put it in the pocket of my hoodie until I had dried off and such.

            After all the goodbyes, I’m off to McDonald’s and then to the house. I pull into the drive thru, place my order, go to the first window and pay and then I get up to the second window and reach for my McNuggets and Hi-C Orange drink.

            Now I’m finally on the way home to eat and then sleep, like I said, it was a loooong week. Something’s wrong though. I use my thumb to adjust my ring and you know what isn’t on my hand? Yep, my $600 class ring. I retrace my steps coming to the only possible conclusion: the guy who handed me my food at the drive-thru stole my ring right off my hand! Immediately I search for my phone to call my parents to let them know I’m going to be late because I have to go confront this gentleman and 1. commend him for a stealthily executed robbery and 2. get my ring back. Well my phone wasn’t in my hoodie pocket, but wouldn’t you know it? There was my ring.


Friday, January 28, 2011

My Very Goth Birthday

            “OMG! I so need one of these. You can give it to me for my birthday! It’s perfect!”

            Chris leaned over my shoulder to look at my computer screen. “That wouldn’t go very well with all the art we picked up in Asia. It would be out of place in our living room.”

            “Well, sure, I mean, we’d have to redecorate the room.”

            “What goes with something like that?”

            “Purple curtains.”

            “Ah, ‘the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain.…’ You’re right. Purple curtains are just the thing.”

            “We could put up wallpaper that looks like dungeon blocks. Then we’d have to get rid of the carpet and put down dirt instead.”

            He looked at the stained living room carpet and commented, “We could just throw more dirt on the Coke Zero stains then, instead of having someone in to clean the carpet. Sounds cost effective.”

            “I knew you’d like it! A goth re-do of the living room is the perfect birthday gift.”

            “I’m afraid I missed it for this year, Vic. Your birthday is today, you know, and I already got you something. How about scheduling our redecoration project for your birthday next year?”

            I thought for a moment. “That’s probably even better. Next year I’m going to turn 50 and life as we know it will be over. I’ll need a coffin sofa for practical reasons by then.”

            Chris rolled his eyes. He was approaching his 50th birthday in March with an upbeat attitude that I simply did not understand. “Whatever. By the way, how much is the coffin?”

            “Not too much,” I lied.

            He scrolled down to the pricing information and whistled. “I’ll get you one if you really want it, but I warn you right now I’m going to have you buried in it. You will be living with that piece of furniture for all of eternity.”

            That was a pretty deep concept, and I was pretty sure I didn’t care for it. “Never mind, then.”

            “Do you want to open your birthday present now?” He pulled a small box from my favorite jeweler out of his pocket.

            I smiled. Happy birthday to me. Life is good.

If you want a coffin sofa, you should order soon. The company is only making 3 of them and one of them is mine. (Just kidding.) Here's the link:    http://www.geardiary.com/2011/01/26/updating-your-homes-furnishings-autum-designs-has-a-couch-that-is-to-die-for/  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Magic of Hair Dye

            “What do you call that color?”

            I turned around. There was an older woman standing behind me in the grocery store line, openly gawking at my hair. She was dressed in a lovely red suit and her white hair was in flawlessly rolled curls, brushed out and sprayed hard enough to resist tornado-force winds. She teetered on her 3-inch spike heels, and for just a moment, I wished that I could wear shoes like those without courting searing back pains. Those shoes were a thing of beauty.

            I smiled at her, sighing to myself. “Are you talking about my hair? It’s eggplant with a stripe of honey blonde in the front.” My black jeans and the tan t-shirt that had the saying “Hyperbole – It’s an English Teacher Thing” matched my black high-top Converse sneakers. I pulled the t-shirt down – it was a little tight - and pushed the strap of the huge black purse that went everywhere with me back up on my shoulder. I felt like a mess. A mess with eggplant purple hair.

            She nodded, moving close enough to me that I could see faint wrinkles under the heavy make-up around her eyes. I had made no attempt to hide mine. “I like it.”

            “You do?”

            “It works for you,” she answered thoughtfully.

            “Um…thanks, I think.” I had to admit that eggplant-colored hair with blonde stripes did indeed make a statement about me.

            “I’m thinking about changing my look,” she confided.

            “But you’re perfect,” I protested. “Your hair is beautiful, the red suit is the ideal color for you, and your shoes are to die for. Why would you want to change anything?”

            “This…” she said, making a sweeping gesture that encompassed her hair down to the spike of her fabulous shoes, “it’s just not me.” She held up her other hand so I could see the expensive bottle of champagne she was buying dangling gracefully between her perfectly manicured thumb and forefinger. “I signed the final divorce papers today.”

            “Oh,” I said. “I’m….”

            “Please don’t tell me you’re sorry,” she interrupted, “because I’m not.”

            “That’s good, then.” Wasn’t the couple in front of me ever going to finish checking out?

            “Can you do me a favor, sweetie?”

            “Um…sure.” I answered uncomfortably.

            “Would you give me the name of your hair stylist? This old-lady white hair has got to go.”

            I grinned and handed her Sara’s business card. “Good luck to you.”

            She saluted me with her bottle of wine as I swiped my credit card, picked up my bag and turned to leave the store. “I feel better already,” she replied, winking at me. “I’m so glad I met you. You have inspired me.”

            Wow, I inspired a stranger during the course of a 5-minute conversation while waiting in line at the grocery store. I felt a bit inspired myself. Let’s hear it for eggplant-colored hair with blonde stripes!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Atlanta Driving Tips by Peter Scullion

Few things can ruin your day faster than meeting a complete stranger for a two-car insurance seminar. With all of my experience behind the wheel, and as a current 30-mile commuter, I would like to offer tips on how best to avoid death on Atlanta's asphalt.

My driving experience contains several achievement milestones: Two accidents with questionable fault assigned to certain parties who shall remain nameless, two cars owned (almost, anyway), plus 50,000 miles on the new car and a shiny new back bumper courtesy of Allstate and that lady in the tiny BMW, with 4 separate state lines crossed behind the wheel. I understand some small things; concepts of physics like momentum and inertia, concepts of the chemistry involving the fluids in an engine, concepts of mechanical engineering as I diagnose that funny vibration when it idles. While going 45 miles per hour. At the age of 24. What a prodigy. Ahem.

First, speed limits are irrelevant in the metro-Atlanta area. This area includes the entire top half of the state of Georgia. There are signs that tell you the maximum speed acceptable by law enforcement. However, there are inevitably several groups of people that will prevent you from going that maximum speed. Which brings me to my second tip...

... Pick a speed and stick to it. Nobody in Atlanta drives with a consistent speed down any given road, especially the highway. There are mainly three groups of people in Atlanta: the ridiculously slow person, the local native NASCAR driver, or the foreigner. These people all know that there is a sign with a number on it, and that the little needle in their bottom-peripheral-vision shouldn't go above that number. And they all ignore that sad little sign as they wreak havoc on the community.

Tip three: If you are going to go under the speed limit on a surface street, make some kind of effort to acknowledge the speed limit once in a while. Seriously, most people don't mind you ambling along like you have a van full of infants, provided you are actually driving the Grand Tankavan and the soccer team's limbs are hanging out of every window. However, 25mph in a 45-zone on a main-road four-mile stretch is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. If you can't go 40 in a 45-zone, you don't need to have responsibility for that many kids. This applies to seniors as well; if you are unable to maintain 5 under the speed limit, you might deserve to get your license put to rest. Permanently. Or your medication turned down. Or something else old people do.

Locals, please listen to me for this next tip. I grew up and started driving in Snellville. I could drive to Hartsfield's north terminal in my sleep, and I'm pretty sure I sleepwalked to Five Points once. However, this DOES NOT give me... er, US the royal title of "Mr. 90-in-a-55." Don't be a pushy, self-righteous idiot who feels the need to sit 6 inches from someone's rear bumper. Sometimes, people like us deserve the wrecks we get in... and nobody wants to think about that happening to them. There's your tip number four.

Finally, a tip for the foreigners. Yeah, you. You North Carolina license plate. You Michigander staring at the one-way West Peachtree St. and a map and wondering where you are. You Cobb County types tapping away at your GPS for directions home from the Mall of Georgia. If I could offer you any sort of advice about driving in Atlanta, it is this one solid fact: As Georgia drivers, we will, in fact, let you know the first time you turn right after ignoring a YIELD-to-left-turns sign. Please know that we love you when we show you our universal peace gestures. Bless your heart.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Birthday. Sigh.

            “What do you want for your birthday?”

            I glared at my husband. “I want to forget I’m having one.”

            “Well that’s not going to happen. It’s not every day you turn…49.” He smiled sweetly.

            “I don’t know why you say it like that. I really am going to be 49.”

            “Believe me, I know. I’m just giving you a hard time.”

            “Gee, thanks. Remind me why I’m still married to you after 30 years.”

            He moved in close, put his arms around me and nuzzled my neck. “Marble cake with raspberry filling and white frosting for your birthday? I promise I won’t put…49…candles on it.”

            “Oh, yeah. I remember now,” I breathed, pulling him in close for a kiss.

            After a long moment, he gazed lovingly into my eyes and said, “I bet Publix can make your cake gluten free so you can have some.”

            “That is…so…” I groped around in my brain for just the perfect word. Even my colon wasn’t going to let me forget I was going to be…49. I gave up trying to locate that perfect word and substituted “…sweet.”

            “No, what’s sweet is that I get to celebrate another birthday with you. How did I get to be so lucky?”

            I smiled through the tears. “You rock,” I answered, punching him on the arm like a gawky seventh grade girl in love for the first time. I may be a few days from…49, but I’m not old yet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Starbucks Noire by Chris Scullion

Today is our youngest son’s 17th birthday. In between crying jags (How did I get to be so old? and Yes, it really is all about me!), I’m baking a cake and wrapping presents. Luckily, Chris foresaw my emotional meltdown, and wrote the article below for me to post today. Enjoy!

I go to Starbucks this morning.  I've been going to Starbucks since the mermaid was naked... if you catch my drift.  This morning is bitterly cold and I need a warm-up on the way to work.  The line is long, but I wait.  The guy making the coffee is very busy, but pleasant and efficient.  The male partner in the couple ahead of me hasn't ever been to Starbucks before and is getting useful advice from his female partner.  The guy behind me is impatient.  *Cough... sniffle... sigh... tap-tap-tap* Is that a bad cold, Mr. Patience, or maybe the flu?

The lady in front gets her coffee called, and picks it up.  She and Mr. Newbie go over to the side counter to add the "fixins".  I'm sitting in a 
comfy chair in the back watching the counter and reading my email on my phone.  Mr. Newbie doesn't hear his coffee order called, he's busy learning the ropes.  Mr. Patience has forgotten what he ordered, so he looks at the coffee that's not his, decides it must be, takes a sip.  He realizes it's not his after all, so he looks around, doesn't think anybody saw, and... slides the cup back onto the counter.  Then his order is called, he picks up his correct coffee, AND LEAVES.

Mr. Newbie finishes with his partner at the side counter, comes back and picks up his now-tasted-by-a-stranger-with-a-cold coffee and makes to leave.  Yes, I stop him and explain what Mr. Patience has done.  Mr. Newbie is grateful, and a new coffee is quickly prepared.

Watch your coffee.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dryer Lint Art: Believe It or Not!

            My FB friend Anne posted a link to an incredible “news” article last week. The story captured my interest in a way that fashion gaffs at the Golden Globe Awards and Sarah Palin’s latest speech simply did not. The news article was about…dryer lint art.

            Now stay with me here. Laura Bell, an amateur artist from Roscommon, Michigan, recreated Leonardo DaVinci’s painting “The Last Supper” using lint from her dryer. Her masterpiece measures 14 feet long by 4 feet tall, and is a wonder to behold. It took her 800 hours to do laundry to produce the lint and 200 hours to put the picture together. In order to get the vivid colors, she bought towels of various shades and washed and dried them separately to get just the lint hues she wanted. All of the lint used is natural; not a single shred of lint was dyed or altered in any way.

            Mrs. Bell was inspired by other dryer lint art that she had seen in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Wisconsin Dells Odditorium. Really? Who first decided that making art out of dryer lint was a nifty idea?

            Ripley’s Believe It or Not! has purchased Mrs. Bell’s artwork for an undisclosed sum. You’ll soon be able to see her dryer lint masterpiece there, displayed next to a recreation of “The Last Supper” painted on a single grain of rice. Mrs. Bell reports that she will use some of the money to purchase a new washer and dryer. Um…yeah.

            While I admit that I find a dryer lint recreation of DaVinci’s masterpiece to be, let’s just say strange, I must applaud American ingenuity. What creativity! Mrs. Bell has discovered a way to recycle dryer lint, and she actually made some money doing it. Maybe I’ll think twice before I throw my dryer lint into the trash bin next time! Or not….

Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm not an Aquarius? Are you kidding me?

            My world – the world I thought I knew – wobbled and shifted on its axis today. It turns out that I was not really born under the sign of Aquarius; I’m actually a Capricorn. Yes, it’s true.  I’m so flustered I don’t even want to think about it!

            Nearly 49 years of reading my daily horoscope has been wasted. The Minnesota Planetarium Society just announced that the zodiac system designed by the ancient Babylonians 3000 years ago is no longer accurate. Shifts in the earth’s rotation due to the moon’s gravitational pull mean that the constellation that your sun was “in” on the day you were born no longer aligns with the ancient zodiac. In other words, the sun was physically in Capricorn when I was born, and not in Aquarius. No wonder I never won the lottery when my horoscope told me that it was my lucky day!

            Just think about all of those couples who knew they were perfect for each other because their signs were compatible. What a devastating development! The number of divorces this news will cause could be astronomical. Say, for example, that I thought I was an Aquarius and my husband was a Pisces. For the past 30 years, we’ve thought that was a pretty good match. However, now I’m a Capricorn, but for some weird reason my husband remains a Pisces. Are we still compatible? This revelation changes everything!

            I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I should immediately call an astrologer to have our charts done, and then call a divorce attorney should we prove to be wrong for each other. Astrology is not something to be taken lightly, you know. The stars don’t lie.

            According to The Globe and Mail at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/why-your-zodiac-sign-might-have-changed/article1868349/  you should be using these dates to reflect where the stars currently are aligned:

·         Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16
·         Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11
·         Pisces: March 11-April 18
·         Aries: April 18-May 13
·         Taurus: May 13-June 21
·         Gemini: June 21-July 20
·         Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10
·         Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16
·         Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30
·         Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23
·         Scorpio: Nov. 23-29
·         Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17 *Discarded by the Babylonians because they wanted 12 signs per year
·         Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20

Yes, there are now 13 signs of the zodiac. Are you an Ophiuchus? Try telling that one to the girl you want to pick up at your local bar. A new twist on an old line might just work!
            I wish you the best of luck coming to grips with the redesign of your own personal cosmos. Take heart, my friend, and embrace your true destiny.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day 3X

            "If I can’t get out of this house soon ‘I am going to go insane and I will take you with me!’”

            “Oh, oh, I know that one. Beetlejuice, right?” My husband grinned at me.

            “I’m not kidding.” The frown I’d worn the last 3 days was starting to carve wrinkles in my face. Even the magic of Oil of Olay wasn’t going to get rid of them. Whatever.

            “It’s not that bad. It’s just a little snow. It won’t be more than another day or two before it melts.” He put his arms around me and pulled me close for a hug. “At least we have plenty of toilet paper.”

            “That’s so funny I almost forgot to laugh,” I muttered. When we lived in Pennsylvania, running out of toilet paper might possibly have been a serious concern when it snowed several feet at a time. Here in Atlanta, we hardly ever ran out of toilet paper due to a snow storm. OK, make that never. We never ran out of toilet paper due to a snow storm. The snow always melted before we ended up using newspaper and tree bark. That was really good, because these days you couldn’t even count on having a Sears catalog on hand. What would happen in emergencies like this when we were so green there was no paper left? More people needed to be considering this problem, in my opinion.

            “Do you want me to make a cup of chai tea for you?”

            “That’s sweet,” I answered, “but it’s just not the same.”

            “Ah.” He nodded, the proverbial light bulb visible over his head. “You’re unhappy because you can’t get to Starbucks.”

            “When you put it like that,” I complained, “it sounds ridiculous.”

            “Danger, danger, Will Robinson.” My husband’s 30 years of experience dealing with me served him well. He paused before he spoke. “Of course it doesn’t sound ridiculous. Starbucks is where you do some of your best writing. It’s hard to write at home when we’re all here. It’s perfectly understandable.”

            I smiled, which as we all know is much more effective than Oil of Olay at removing frown marks. “I guess I can make it through the rest of the day. I’ll take some of that chai tea you offered before.”

            “Your wish is my command, my dearest love.” He kissed my forehead with a resounding smack, and then headed for the stove.

            Our sixteen-year-old son made gagging noises in the living room. “Do you guys have to do that stuff in public?” he protested. “It’s disgusting.”

            I laughed. For the moment, all was right with my world.

            But we’d better be able to go about our normal business tomorrow. Starbucks, please save my usual seat for me. You know, the armchair in the corner.

Monday, January 10, 2011

More Snow? But I live in Georgia!

            “My alarm didn’t go off this morning. It’s 11 freakin’ o’clock! I have stuff to do today!”

I came down the stairs, grumbling under my breath about having to learn new technology. The IPod touch I got for Christmas was making me crazy. I apparently couldn’t even figure out how to set an alarm.

            “Oh, it went off,” my husband answered.

            “It did? I didn’t hear it.”

            “Those ducks quacked for a good 5 minutes and you didn’t hear them.”

            “You could have gotten me up,” I suggested, rolling my eyes just the slightest bit.

            “I tried,” he laughed. “I put the ducks right up to your ear. You didn’t move.”


            “Yes, really. I figured you needed the sleep, so I turned the ducks off for you.”

            “That’s so…thoughtful.” It really was, but I had things that had to get done today.

            “You haven’t looked outside yet, have you?” He pulled me over to the front window. There was…snow…covering everything. So much for global warming.

PJ's new hood ornament


            “I’m working from home today. The schools are closed, and so is PJ’s office. I don’t know how many things on your to-do list required you to leave the house, but you can just cross them off for today. You’re not going anywhere.”

            “Oh.” I thought for a moment, then smiled. I’d been given the gift of time with my family. My to-do list for today was now my to-do list for tomorrow. I was good with that.

            However, the ducks had to go. I was thinking Iron Man by Black
Sabbath would do the trick. I had to get up before 11 tomorrow. I had stuff to do!

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Beginnings and Old Baggage

            “I hate the first day of a new semester!”

            “You didn’t have a good day, sweetie?” I asked sympathetically.

            Alex frowned as he handed me a sheaf of papers. “Look at all the required work for the AP Physics class. I’m never going to be able to do all of that.”

            I looked at the syllabus. The darn thing was 6 pages long. It was a high school class, for heaven’s sake. If there was background music for this scene, it would be Chopin’s Funeral March.

            My teacher training kicked in. “Well, it does look like this is a lot of work, but there’s nothing in here that you won’t be able to do. If you keep up with it, you won’t have any trouble.”

            His expression told me exactly what he was thinking.

            Time to switch to mom mode. “I remember feeling just the way you do now. Believe me, it won’t be as bad as you think it will.”

            He didn’t believe me. Go figure.

            “Remember when I was getting my Master’s Degree at Mercer? I would come home from every first class crying to your dad. I was sure I couldn’t handle the work load after I looked at the syllabus. But I made it through every class just by taking it one step at a time.”

            “You’re a genius, Mom,” he replied drily. “I mean, what is your IQ again? And didn’t you graduate with a 4.0?”

            I sighed heavily. “I graduated with a 4.0 because I did all the work that was required. Don’t you remember watching me sit at the kitchen counter until 1 AM writing papers and taking notes about the reading?”

            “Yes. That’s because you’re obsessive-compulsive, too.”

            “I AM NOT…” I closed my eyes and counted to 10, “…obsessive-compulsive. Besides, this isn’t about me. It’s about you. I’m trying to encourage you. I know you’ll do well in the class. You love Physics. That’s what it’s all about, really.”

            He thought for a moment. “OK.”


            “You’re right. I love Physics and I’ll do fine in the class. Would you sign the syllabus for me?”

            My mouth dropped open. “Um…sure.”

            He bounded up the steps to his room, whistling Freebird.

My eyes narrowed as I watched him leave. That had been too easy. It was going to be a long semester – for both of us.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Death by Dragon

PLEASE put this on your status if you know someone or are related to someone who has been eaten by dragons. Dragons are nearly unstoppable, and in case you didn't know, they can breathe fire. 93% of people won't copy and paste this, because they have already been eaten by dragons. 6% of people are sitting in the shower, armed with fire extinguishers. The remaining 1% are awesome, and will re-post this. Will you?


            “Yes, Vicki?”

            “Were any of our ancestors eaten by dragons?”

            “mmm. That’s a hard one. I don’t think so. Your great-great-grandfather was hung for stealing a horse, though. Does that count?”

            I considered it thoughtfully. “No, it’s not really the same, is it?”

            “I guess not. I don’t think I know anyone who was eaten by a dragon.”

            “How about that St. George dude?”
            “Of course. He’s the Patron Saint of England. But I think he’s supposed to have killed that dragon.”

            “All that happened a long time ago. Do you think the dragon might have eaten one of our ancestors before St. George killed him?”

            “It certainly is possible,” Mom answered. “I don’t think we can trace our lineage back that far to prove it, though.”

            “I guess not. But we don’t really have to, do we?”

            “What do you mean?”

            “If great-great-and-so-on-grandmother Elsa was eaten by a dragon in 250 A.D. – after bearing a passel of children, of course – that would be a pretty good story, wouldn’t it?”

            “Yes….” Mom paused for a moment, “You do know that Elsa is the name that was given to the eldest daughter on the York side for generations back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.”

            “No, really? How come you didn’t name me Elsa?”

            “It was too old-fashioned. Besides, I didn’t want you to be eaten by a dragon.”

            “Good thinking, Mom. It sounds like a nasty way to go.”

            “It’s my job as your mother to protect you from dragons. I wouldn’t want you to end up like poor Elsa.”

            “I appreciate that, Mom. You’re awesome.”

            “It’s the least I could do,” Mom answered modestly. “Really.”

Many thanks to Donna Bentley for her provocative, thought-provoking FB status this morning. Death by dragon is a serious problem that deserves to be brought to the attention of the public.

The Telegraph (U.K.) published a wonderful article today called “By George, It’s Time to Raise the Flag” about St. George’s place in modern British culture. Here’s the link:

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting Along with Others - More or Less

            “What is that?”

            “I think it’s the Rosetta Stone.” It was hard to tell, because there were at least a hundred people crowded around the glass display case. I checked the British Museum map again. “Yup, it’s the Rosetta Stone.”

            “I’ve always wanted to see that,” my son said.

            We were standing about 10 feet away. There was no line, just a large herd of people pressed together in an extremely small area. We looked at each other, and then plunged in. We waited as the people in the front looked their fill, and then realized that they were stuck and could not get back out.

            The crowd backed up half a step, trodding on each others’ toes, the front people slithered through the small pathway into the fresh air, and the crowd surged forward once again. We were pushed inexorably toward the Rosetta Stone by the people around and behind us.

            We eventually made it to the front of the crowd, where we admired the intricately carved black rock for 30 seconds before being elbowed out of the way. The Rosetta Stone is an incredible tool for deciphering previously undecipherable hieroglyphs. It’s totally worth standing in line to see.

            Alex and I stood together, looking at the map of the museum. “What do you want to see next?” I asked him.

            He looked at the people pressed against each other to see the mummies in the nearest chamber and then back at me. “Um…the pub across the street?”

              “Right then,” I answered, heading for the front door. “We can come back later when it’s not so crowded.”

            He nodded in relief. “Sounds like a plan.”

            “You really do need to see the bog man,” I suggested.

            “Fine. Can we skip the mummies?”

            “It’s OK with me.” The Carlos Museum in Atlanta has a great collection of Egyptian artifacts. As a matter of fact, we had gone to see Ramses I several times before the museum had shipped him back to Egypt. “If you’re sure?”

            He shook his head at the people pushing and shoving to see the mummies. “I thought the British were supposed to be so proper. That room’s a mess. We’d see fist fights in the States if we crammed that many people together.”

            I had to agree. “We do take our personal space more seriously. Pub it is. And then we’ll come back and fight our way to see Lindow man.”

            “OK,” he answered unenthusiastically.

            “You’ll like him,” I said bracingly. “He’s a mummy preserved naturally by the elements of a peat bog. The British Museum freeze-dried him to keep him from decomposing after he was taken from the marsh. You know, he’d been tortured before he died. He’d been hit on the head, strangled, and then his throat was cut.  And did I mention that they never found his legs? Anthropologists aren’t sure whether he had been executed or murdered or if he was a sacrifice to the gods.”

            “You’re weird, Mom.”

            “Maybe there won’t be a crowd around him?”

            “There won't be a crowd. It sounds disgusting.”

            I beamed at him. “Great! Let’s go get something to eat before we see him.”

            Alex grimaced. “I’m not hungry anymore, thanks.”

            “You’re welcome, love. Don’t you just adore the British Museum?”