Monday, April 30, 2012

Know the Signs: Zombie Attack

The time has come my friends.  The most important post of them all: How to know the signs of the Zombie Attack that is sure to come.

First off, let me say, this month has been a pure joy.  I've read some incredibly wonderful blogs, met some new blogging buddies, and feel more connected with the world at large and people who love to write, read, create and find joy through their observations.  CHEERS TO US!!!  Gratitude to our fabulous A to Z hosts too!!

Now, let's get to it.

Without a doubt, knowing the signs of a zombie attack will save your life.  If you don't know the signs you will find yourself half eaten, dead and really gross looking.  This is why this is the most important post of the Know the Signs series this month.

The signs of a Zombie Attack include:

  • While rousing your teenager from bed, you look down to find that they've left their foot behind.
  • While looking at a small child, you see that when they sneeze, brains come out instead of boogers.
  • On your morning walk, you notice that your town is eerily quiet.
  • Instead of saying the "Pledge of the Allegiance" the 3rd graders to whom you are going to teach art chant, "Brrrraaaaaaaaiiiiinnnnnsssssss!"
  • While standing in line at the bank, you notice that all the tellers are taking deposits in the form of fingers, toes, eyes, ears, mouths, and noses.  
  • While in bed, you notice that your husband/partner's flesh has become green with rot and possesses an unholy smell....or maybe he just needs to shower.
  • The agoraphobic neighbor you've never seen before has now left his house and is trying to claw his way into yours.
  • While watching the nightly news, you notice that while the anchorman was using his hands for emphasis, one fell off and bounced away.  
  • While brushing your own teeth, your nose mysteriously drops off into the sink...and you really don't care.  

Zombie Attacks are real, friends.
The last recorded one was during Watergate--think about it--Richard Nixon: zombie.
You can see, we are long overdue.

So, know the signs, buy a machete, run away.

How do you plan on surviving the zombie apocalypse of 2012?


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Know the Signs: Yoga

I love Yoga.  While I am built a bundt cake, yoga is the one "sport" I truly excel at.  To be quite honest, as much as I fall down, you'd think that yoga wouldn't do anything further than to provide numerous face planting opportunities while standing still, but I have uncanny balance, and extreme flexibility.  Please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying this to brag--but rather because I'm the antithesis of "sporty", so to excel at one physical activity is as strange as snow in Florida, and so the occasion must be marked.

There are two types of Yogans, (Yogians? Yogers?  Yogurts?  Whatever--you know, people who do yoga.)
There are people, like me, who are pretty familiar with yoga, can do a lot of poses, possess a fair amount of technique and take the odd class, or who are even regularly committed to their slot at the Y.
Then there are those who live, breathe, channel, meditate, emulate, and reek of Yoga.  If you've ever attended a yoga class, you've probably met one or two.

The signs of extreme Yoga include:

  • Lean, long haired (the men too) defined rope-y muscle-y people who are Vegetarians.  However, only the vege part applies to me personally--like I said, I'm built more like a bundt cake, and I'm thinking that the reason is, is because if I were lean and rope-y I'd just walk around naked all the time.  As is stands right now, I'm hoping that the Burka will come into fashion where I live just so I don't have to think about what to wear anymore.
  • Extreme flexibility.  And I'm not talking about being able to touch your toes after a big meal.  Perhaps only a pictorial demonstration will do this justice:

I guess this position could come in handy if I ever needed to win a game of Twister.

Personally, I have NO DESIRE to see my bum from this angle--ever.

"Is that a bunion on my foot?"

This position could be useful if you ever needed to hide in a small space, like a refrigerator.  But wait...

"I found you!!!"

She may actually be a snake.  

I'm not sure I can appropriately comment here.

The family that bends together, stays together...or the get hauled in for questioning.

To be honest, sometimes I too get tired of washing my armpits with my hands...

Other signs that someone may be involved in extreme yoga may include reeking of incense, perpetual athlete's foot from repeated Hot Yoga sessions (Yoga done in a 130 degree heated room) and an inability to understand why you can't scratch your own back.
Knowing the signs of Yoga is important so you can avoid conversations that begin with , "In my yoga class today we did Adho Mukha Vrkasana..."  You want to save yourself from embarrassment before you respond with, "Well, I had a hot dog for lunch."  This will end the relationship with your yoga friend immediately.  In fact, the only way you could offend them more is by slipping on your fur coat, jumping in your HumVee while yelling, "Gotta run! I'm late for killing my cat!"

So, know the signs, burn some incense, and don't take picture of yourself doing yoga, or they may end up on this blog.

Do you consider yourself a yogi?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Know the Signs: Xenophobia

Xenophobia is the fear of people or things from other countries.  In my limited life experience, I've learned that people are a mystery, and irrational fears only serve to teach that there's a whole lot of crazy with a never ending stream of stupid just about everywhere.

Xenophobia is one of those mysteries.

The beginning symptoms of Xenophobia include:
  • Changing the name of long established common fast food items in order to avoid cultural references to the country you hate.  Remember "Freedom Fries"?
  • When forced to travel in a foreign country, acting as if everyone else is stupid because they don't speak your native tongue.
  •  When faced with eating a foreign food, you wrinkle your nose and exclaim like a three-year-old, "Ewwwwwwww!  Gross!!" 
  • When presented with different point of view, you lower your Neanderthal-like brow and exclaim, "He/she must be a communist!"  not realizing that your definition of communism isn't really what communism is.  
  •  Instead of finding common ground between yourself and others, you idiotically continue to point out what makes you different, and therefore (in your mind) "better" than everyone else. 

Simply put, xenophobia is dangerous, friends.  It is a scourge on all of humanity.  We humans are beautiful in all our variety on this grand planet.  And quite frankly, xenophobia only serves to distract us from the real threat facing us today:  The imminent ZOMBIE ATTACK that is sure to come.  

So, know the signs, avoid being stupid, prepare for Zombies.

How do you delight in the differences of others?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Know the Signs: Wanderlust

Wanderlust is a condition that effects mainly, well, all of humanity.  I've never met a person who wouldn't like to travel somewhere else at least once.  Unless it's that boy in the bubble from that movie starring a very young, and pre-Scientology, John Travolta.  I bet traveling wasn't high up on his list--wait, maybe he did want to travel, but couldn't, because of his bubble.  Whatever.

Annnnnyway, knowing the signs of wanderlust are important so you can know when it's time to pack your bags and flee.

The signs of wanderlust include:

  • Keeping an up to date passport in case you are approached by MI-6 for a super secret spy mission.
  • Buying mini-bottle after mini-bottle of travel size shampoo and conditioner. Seriously, your bathroom looks like a Motel 6.
  • Pushing the boundaries of your ethnic cooking, trying such recipes as Scrapple, or Headcheese, just so you can be prepared to eat street rat in Thailand with the ease that you eat M&M's here at home. 
  • Your favorite TV show is PBS' "Rick Steves".  Not only do you watch him every week, his previous seasons are in your Netflix queue and when you bid farewell to your friends, you say, "Keep on travelin'!"
  • You have the maps of all major European cities downloaded onto your phone. You also spend your free time learning how to say, "Where is the bathroom?" and, "How much is this ugly and overpriced souvenir?" in French, Italian, German, and Ket, an obscure language spoken by only about a hundred people in central Siberia.  Because...well, you just never know when you might get to central Siberia, and it's best to be prepared.    
  • You Google a popular "What every traveler should know" site, where you regularly refresh the protocol for tipping waiters in Italy, how to escape a hotel fire, and the best methods to survive a plane crash should the unthinkable occur. 
  •  All of your pins on Pinterest are of other countries and far off lands.
  • You check airfaire deals on tickets to Greece daily.  And when you purchase something your first though isn't, "How much is this?" but, "How many miles will this get me??"
  • You buy bottled water from various countries in an attempt to get your fragile digestive system used to foreign parasites.  
  • You try squatting over your toilet instead of sitting on it so you will be prepared for lands where that is the preferred method of voiding.  Try it.  I dare ya. 
  • You time yourself to see how fast you can take off your shoes, watch, and jewelry to see if you can beat your previous record as timed by your friendly TSA agent.
  • Said TSA agent is on your Christmas card mailing list.
  • You keep adding things to a list about knowing the signs of wanderlust because you really DO dream of fleeing to far off lands every, single, day.

Do you suffer from wanderlust?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Know the Signs: Vegetarian

Growing up, vegetarians were held in the same regard as liberals and hippies, and the greatest insult our dad could fling about was that we were like those "Damn hippies in San Fransisco," where he and my mom lived after they were first married.

Little did my dad know that his one and only daughter would one day become all three of the things he detested most.  Being a square-toothed-liberal-hippy-vegetarian-feminist-Mormon-gypsy (and apparently, pirate) hasn't always been easy, but like Jesus never said, but Mae West did, "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."
I've always kind of enjoyed the road less traveled.  

Knowing the signs of Vegetarianism is surprisingly easy.  If you find yourself gagging at the sight/smell/thought of eating meat, then you may be a Vegetarian.

Other signs of being a vegetarian include eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes.

It's a pretty short list.

On the other hand, if you find yourself fantasizing about animal flesh, begin salivating at the thought of rare beef, and come from a long line of ranchers, then you may be my husband. He enjoys filching and twisting quotes from Discover Magazine and threw this little gem at me last night:
"One percent of Americans are practicing Vegetarians, and a half percent are Vegan--and a mere 10% are vegetarian informed, meaning they may occasionally eat meat, but enjoy it a lot less than I do."    --Mountain Man 
Poor guy.
If only he'd known the signs.

How do you feel about Vegetarianism?  (Be honest, there's no judging here, friends.)  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Know the Signs: Utility Kilt

A utility kilt is a modern day man skirt made out of user friendly fabrics that one could get dirty and clean relatively easily.  Utility kilts also have a lot of pockets and even a place to hold a hammer.
They look like regular kilts, except they lack the pretension of a classic tartan.

Here are a couple of examples:

This utility kilt says, "I'm basically wearing a skirt
but I could totally take you in a bar fight."

This pic says, "I could still take you in a bar fight yet
 I have a softer side with my cat  lounging at my feet."

Kilts were first invented by the Scottish long, long ago because someone named, Hamish, was really drunk and thought it would be a good idea to traipse around in the cold so the wearer's legs and "man goods" could shrivel up like raisins.

This logic is equated only with the git who invented high heeled shoes (who, incidentally, was also drunk) because teetering around on 5 inch points a half inch wide typifies sanity.

Kilt wearers, in my experience, are pretty hardcore.  The first time I ever saw a man in a utility kilt I was in an IKEA picking out living room furniture.  Being somewhat shy, I jumped right in as he passed by and said, "Hey, sweet kilt."  I don't know about you, but I am one of those perpetually uncool people who talk to strangers unbidden, call things, "AWESOME!" and, at the ripe old age of 38, has basically turned into my mother who once walked around Puerto Rico, asking in high school Spanish with her southern accent, "DONDE ESTA LA CASA  DE PONCE DE LEON??"

So you see, I'm genetically wired to be uncool.

As Mr. Ikea-Utility-Kilt-Man looked up, I noticed the large tattoo he had on his face, and without thinking, said, "Great tat."  His eyes bored right into me and I (very nearly) blushed with shame for my boldness, but not before I uttered these words, "Did you do that yourself?"

Now here's little known fact about people with facial tattoos:  Unless the tattoo is tribal,  you're just some dude going down to Forever Ink on a Friday night.  And if you've chosen to permanently alter your face with a swastika, you've pretty much decided that your relationship with society at large is over.

For this reason, I relate utility kilts with facial tattoos, blonde man-pony tails, spiked dog collar necklaces and running really fast out of IKEA.

So, my advice?  Know the signs of the utility kilt, don't engage, and run for your life.

How do you rock the kilt?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Know the Signs: Tangent

A tangent is defined as a sudden digression or change of course during a conversation.  Of course, a tangent is also a line, curve or surface meeting another line, curve or surface at a common point--which reminds me, have I mentioned how much I detest math?

Math was put on earth to torment liberal arts students--of this I am sure.  I suffered through years of math only to realize the story that high school math teachers tell us (namely that, "You will use math everyday!") is a nothing more than a BIG, FAT, LIE.  

Speaking of big and fat, I gained like a gazillion pounds with my first baby.  She was HUGE. I blame her completely for the fact that I will never be able to wear a bikini because I had to have an emergency c-section and even with a c-section I was in labor for 24 hours beforehand.  

Labor is the worst thing in the world.  Mountain Man had a kidney stone once and claims that the pain was so bad that it was like labor, at which point I smacked him on the head for his sheer stupidity.  

Oh! And I saw this news story all about head injuries.  There was a kid who was riding his bike and he had a helmet on.  He was camping with his family and had stopped under a tree when a huge bolt of lightening hit the tree he was standing under and it came down on his head.  Lucky for him, he was wearing a helmet and didn't die because his head was protected.  

So the point of this blog post?  I have no idea.  But you should really know the signs.  

Do you go off on tangents easily?   

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Know the Signs: SASSY!

Ah, sassiness.  You irritating, loud, know-it-all, mouthy cousin to brashness.  I've got you in spades.

There are three definitions to the word 'sassy'.  They are: rude & disrespectful, lively & spirited, and stylish & chic. I like to believe that I am all three.  But the reality is is that I am probably just rude and spirited.  Out of all the signs that are important to know during this month, knowing the signs of sassiness were the most important to my safety and well being as a child.

Too sassy, and I got a smack bottom.  Not sassy enough, then I felt like I was being untrue to myself.
It's always been a precarious line.

Chances are, you are sassy too.  Or, at the very least, know someone who is sassy.
The signs of sass include:

  • Name calling (but only to those who deserve it, like mean people.)
  • Mouthiness (like when I told my Grandmother that she smelled...but she did.)
  • A high confidence that you can talk anyone into anything--like the time I yelled at a passing truck and the driver hit the brakes, got out and came after me.  (Like any truly sassy person, I ran away.  To be fair, he may have been a zombie.)
  • Believing in your Gawd-given talent for reading people and placing bets in absolutely inappropriate moments.  The story to prove this point is so bad I can't even relate it here for fear of your judgement (which would be well deserved)--and the fact that I lost the bet (which shames me still) and don't want to remind my brother, Scott, that I owe him lunch...dang.  Now he remembers.      
  • Independence--like shaving your head at 32 and going grey just to defy cultural norms.   
  • Brash boldness (or brazen stupidity)--like the time I followed a complete stranger off of a train in Prague--he said he had the hookup for a cheap youth hostel.  Lucky for us it all turned out OK.  In hindsight that was just a cold case waiting to happen.
There are a million other instances of my impudent sass gone awry...most of which I can't share here because I don't want you asking me about them.  My sass filled life is one of constant embarrassment to my family.  

Also, being sassy is a terrifying way of life.  I have a completely unnatural amount of confidence.  Take this morning, I was listening to an NPR story about competing in the Iron Man Triathlon.  During one point in the broadcast I (seriously) thought, "I could do that."  If you know me in person, then you are laughing out loud this very moment.

Shut up.

I can hear you.

You will regret your insolence.

(See what I mean??)

I also often say things before thinking.  Things like, "SURE!! I'd LOVE to chair the school auction!!"  Or, "My dad could TOTALLY beat your dad's face in!!!"  (Which, to be honest, was true.  But it wasn't necessary to say out loud--mostly because one look from my dad made other dads run away in fear...)
Simply put, being sassy gets me into a lot of trouble.  

So knowing the signs (and repeating them twice daily) reminds me to tone it down a bit.
On the other hand, sassiness has it's upside, life is always an adventure.

In what ways are you sassy?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Know the Signs: Raison d'Etre

Ok, let's discuss this little factoid first:  I HAVE NO ABILITY TO CREATE NON-ENGLISH PUNCTUATION ON MY BLOG.  There, the truth is out.  I've been trying for days, so for today's post, just pretend that every time I write "d'etre" that there is an accent circumflex (^) above the "e".  And please don't send me instructions on how to do it, because I can't read and execute directions...don't mock, it's genetic.

Raison d'etre loosely translates to "reason for being."  Knowing the signs of your reason for being is probably something every human-born-of-woman has considered at one time or another.  It's one of those annoyingly big questions in the trifecta of big questions which include, "Where did I come from?  Where am I going?" annnnnnd, (here it is) "Why am I here??"  

I, apparently, am not here to use fancy french punctuation on my blog because if I were, I could.  But wait, what if I AM here to use fancy french punctuation on my blog and my whole reason for being is thwarted by my own stupidity?  

My answer:  Who cares?  If fancy french punctuation doesn't light up my path, then it's not for me...and it doesn't, so there. 
And that, friend, is EXACTLY how you know what your reason for being is.  

In my experience, knowing your Raison d'Etre is about honoring your passion, following the path that lights up for you, and doing the things that makes your life full of joy.  

I have a tried and true rule for cutting out all the crahp (said in my best Scottish accent) that we get roped into without wanting to really do it.  It's called the "HELL YES! HELL NO!" principle.  I snagged this little gem from a book called "Hell Yes!" by Elizabeth Cogswell Baskin.  

Basically it goes like this:  Before you commit to one more thing, as yourself, is it a "hell yes?" or a "hell no?"  If your answer is "hell yes!" then do it.  If it's not, then politely say no, and move on.

But what if you feel guilty saying no?  Don't worry, by saying 'no' you are recommitting yourself to the things that light your life's path, activities that keep you passionate and happy.  And in the author's words, "Don't you think it's a little egotistical to think that you're the only person who can fill the bill?"  By saying no, you provide the opportunity for someone else to do the thing you said no to, and that may be the VERY thing that lighst up their path.  See?  Cool logic.    

By saying "Hell YES!" to things that light up for you, you create the life you want to live and find your Raison d'Etre.  

And if you are unsure whether something is a "hell yes!" or a "hell no!" then ask yourself this:  If it's not a clear "HELL YES!" then what else could it be? 

What's your Raison d'Etre?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Know the Signs: Queue

If there's one thing that Netflix has done for our American culture (other than glue us to our couches) it's educated us on the definition of the word "Queue."

A "queue", in case you live under a rock, or don't have Netflix, or don't read, or have never been to the U.K., or you live in the U.K. but are mute, or live in basically any other country where the proper Queen's English is spoken--but you speak French, is a "line or sequence of people or vehicles, (or movies) awaiting their turn to be attended to."

Knowing signs of queuing are simple.  If you are waiting for something you want and someone is standing where you would like to be standing while someone else is standing where you used to be standing, then you are in a queue.   The rules of queuing are necessary for your happiness and survival in this tough world.  If you drive, attend school, go grocery shopping, mail gifts to unappreciative college age children, or just like ice cream, you will inevitably find yourself in a queue.

Queue etiquette in the U.S. dictates that you don't stand too close to those ahead of you.  In the rest of the world, this will cause you untold problems that will consist mainly of Germans thinking that you are stupid and that it is their responsibility to fix this oversight--which they will do until you are kissing the back of their necks, or their bums, depending on how tall they are.

And they're right.  We Americans treat queues like the last great frontier.  I was in a shop the other day where there were multiple cashiers.  Instead of allowing two lines to evolve, a brazen man-floozy hovered in the space where two healthy lines could potentially coexist without fear of God or man.  "Man-floozy" because he did this little dance between the two cashiers trying to save "his place" until one was free...and nothing says floozy more than whoring yourself in between two people who may get the high honor of scanning your broccoli.

Conversely, when finding myself in other countries, I'm always interested and delighted by how many people think they can fit in the MASSIVE eighteen inch gap between this admittedly stupid American and the person in front of me.  The answer is no less than two grown Brits, three singing Austrians and seven French women, and the only reason it was seven and not eight was because one of the women was carrying a huge handbag.

So, know the signs, don't be a man-floozy, queue with caution.

How do you queue?  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Know the Signs: Pirates

I knew I was going to write about pirates all month long.  I had a whole thing planned about the dude who works at our local grocery store who may, in fact, be a pirate.  However, my reflection on this subject has brought forth some startling realizations.

I was reading, "100 Things You Should Know About Pirates" a few nights ago to my son, and it occurred to me that we (the Square Toothed/Mountain Man clan) ARE pirates.

Knowing the signs of your own piratetry (yes, that's a word...o.k., no it's not) is very important, because for years, people have been asking, and I guess I've just been in plain old denial.

I know what you may be wondering:  How do you know you're a pirate?  Do you live on a boat?
The answer, is no, we don't.
In fact, I believe that no human should actually swim in the ocean because there are creatures there that delight in eating human flesh, and I try to stay away from all places where that occurs (i.e. graveyards, dark alleys, forbidden forests, and crypts of the undead...because we all know that 2012 is the year of the zombie and the shark) so it's best to stay away for safety's sake.

But even with the fact that I don't live on a boat or go in the ocean unless chased by zombies, there is empirical evidence that I, and all my kin, are pirates.

For instance:

1)  Did you know that the Greek islands were home to some of the earliest known pirates?
 I'm Greek.

2)  The life of a galley slave was horrible.
I frequently force my children to work as galley slaves and they will testify, it is, indeed, horrible.

3)  The original buccaneers were drifters and they wandered around hunting wild pigs for food which they cooked over wood fires.
I wander around hunting for food (in the grocery store) and often cook my food on a grill, which we ALL know is the modern wood fire.

4)  Food was mostly horrid on a pirate ship.
I can testify that this is true.  Especially as my galley slaves minions helpers frequently make us eat things like "peanut butter macaroni" and "fish sticks and custard" on the evenings when they cook.

5)  In calm weather, there was little for pirates to do.
Summer vacation.  Need I say more?

6)  And if you still aren't convinced, here is the school picture of my daughter when she was in 3rd grade:

See?  Told ya so.

Are you a pirate?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Know the Signs: Obfuscation

Obfuscation is a favorite word in our house.  Mountain Man and I tend to yell it as our children are leaving the house for the day.  "Remember, don't obfuscate!!"  Eschewing obfuscation is important because we want our kids to know that we don't want them to grow up to be liars, or politicians...oh wait, that's the same thing.

I kind of consider myself an expert at recognizing when people lie.  Seriously, I should have been an CIA interrogator, or a Claire's Boutique manager, 'cause I can see a lying shoplifter a mile away.

My keen powers of knowing when someone is lying to me comes from the fact that I've re-read "The Definitive Book of Body Language" by Allan & Barbara Pease about 40 million times.  And just as never missing an episode of E.R. makes me a doctor, and having a mom who is a dental hygienist make me an expert on teeth, by shear devotion, I am an expert on body language...or at least I can sound like I am, even if I have no idea what I'm talking about.

For instance, did you know that women lie better than men?  Well, duh.  Was there anyone who believed that Bill Clinton "didn't have sexual relations with that woman" ?  On the other hand, I would believe ANYTHING Betty White told me, even if it wasn't true.  But who are we kidding?  Betty White would never lie.

Some body language clusters of lying include: covering your mouth, scratching your nose, rubbing your eyes, scratching your neck, and pulling on your collar.  So if you're chatting away and see someone start of do one of the above, beware, you may have a liar on your hands.

Or, they might just have allergies.
Then you need to get them some Benadryl.

Can you spot a liar?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Know the Signs: Nefariousness

Ok, so here we are half way through the A to Z challenge and we've learned some things along the way.  We've learned that only 2 people can carry off a moustache (Tom Selleck and Michael P--whom I forgot to include in Saturday's post--he looks like a more handsome and smarter version of Tom, so he's in.)

We've also learned that most people are fabulous.  Good driving is more about what you don't do rather than what you do do, and that I fall down frequently.  We've also learned that I talk to a lot of crazy people, and I can't understand a thing my mom says.  So today, I thought it only appropriate to point out the signs of nefariousness.

Knowing the signs of nefariousness is critical so that if a tall, thin man approaches you while wearing a top hat and twirling his moustache (which we call know that unless you are Mr. Selleck, or Michael P, people won't take you seriously, so just don't) and laughing despotically (yes, that's an adjective, as in, "He laughed despotically before he pushed the button to obliterate all human life as we know it.") "Muahahaha!!" then you better run for your life, 'cause he is out to get you.  

Other signs of nefarious behavior include,
A) ranting monologues while sober
B) trying to fit people with a pair of cement galoshes
C) being bald while speaking in a ridiculous British accent demanding "One MILLION dollars!!!", or
D) frequently trying to choke people with corrupted Jedi mind powers while heavy breathing.

Seemingly ridiculous, recognizing nefariousness is actually one of the most important things you can do if you find yourself being beguiled by that top hatted thin man.  If you listen to his insane laughter for too long you may decide to accept a position with organized crime, have the urge to rant while sober (which frequently happens to me, by the way) demand "One MILLION dollars!!" from the dude at the car wash for no reason, or try to mind choke the IRS guy who just threatened to audit you--and self awareness is the first step to avoid becoming a super villain.  In the words of G.I. Joe, "Knowing is half the battle."

So, embrace your self awareness, know the signs, and avoid being a super villain.

Who's your favorite nefarious villain?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Know the Signs: Moustache

I know what you are thinking.  "Know the signs: Moustache?  Really, lady?  Not only is the name of your blog too long and completely impossible to remember, but you think I need to know the signs of a moustache?"

And my answer is, yes friend, you do.

You see, moustaches are only worn by pedos, adult film stars, 70's news anchor men (and women), Eastern Idaho Police Chiefs, Pedro (Napoleon Dynamite's BFF) and sadistic evil tyrannical dictators.  So knowing the signs of a moustache wearing man or woman, (far be it from me to participate in gender bias) gives you a fighting chance when approached by one of these people--because it's good to know who you're dealing with.

Of course there is an exception to every rule. The ONLY person, ever born of woman, who can rock a moustache is Mr.Tom Selleck.  There is something about my 80's upbringing and the Saturday evenings gathered around the t.v. to drink in those dimples, that just makes me smile.  Granted, his shorts were waaaayyyyyy too short as Magnum P.I. but at age 67, let me tell ya ladies, the man is still workin' it.  I think it has to do with the fact that his moustache allows his dimples to peek out like two rays of sun.

If you aren't convinced, take a look:

That's right.  Drink it in.

Ok, let's get back to it...

Besides Mr. Tom, there is no other human/gorilla/lunch lady who can carry off a moustache.  If you don't believe me, let us examine the visual evidence:

Ok, I know I just bagged on Alex Trebek.  He's a trivia GOD.  I like Alex Trebek too--he's smart, funny and quick on his feet, who wouldn't want to be his friend?  However, at best, his stache strains credibility.  

Hitler.  If there were ever a man who's facial hair dictated his entire personality for evil, it's him.  I'm not saying that his stache was the reason he was completely vile, but let's not be fools, it certainly didn't help.

Geraldo.  You want to me take you seriously....and yet...nope.  Not gonna happen.
P.S. Lose the shades.

Prince.  I want to like you and your raspberry beret, you know, the kind you find at the second hand store, but I'm so distracted with the weasel sitting on your upper lip that I just can't.

Saddam Hussein.  His moustache was the lamest since Hitler's.
I heard that his mother had the same one.

Edgar Allen Poe.  Appropriately creepy looking even without a stache, the author if such gripping tales as "The Telltale Heart",  "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "Never Bet the Devil Your Head" looks even creepier with a dark, furry caterpillar perched upon his lip.

Oh Mr. Hogan!  Just stop!  Even though you could throw me across the ring with your gigantic man arms, that crazy yellow moustache would just make me laugh as I landed in the crowd.

And then there's this guy.

Actually, I guess if you must rock a moustache, this really would be the way to go.

So, know the signs, avoid the stache.  Save your credibility.

If you had a moustache, what kind would it be? 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Know the Signs: lOoNy

Loonyism is a chronic disease in the town where I live.  So knowing the signs of being insane are quite important for my physical safety as well as mental safety, 'cause you know, crazy is catching-- And just for clarification, I am not bagging on those with actual mental disease...most of the crazy people I know disguise themselves as mini-van driving soccer moms, zealous church goers, musicians or mailmen.

Take the dude I walk past every morning who is clearly drunk at 8am.  We've shared some tender moments that have bonded us in a way that I will treasure forever.  Words like, "BLEEEP!" and "You BLEEPITY BLEEP BLEEP!!" (What? This is a swear free blog...mostly.)  With the creek bubbling nearby, the stench of his alcohol soaked skin carried to me on the gentle morning breeze, his words are really like poetry.

There's also the guy who digs through my trash every Saturday.  I found him one morning while arriving home after spending some special time with my swearing drunk friend.  He was methodically examining each piece of trash he took from our oh-so-clean-fresh-as-daisy-rubbish-bin and sorting the items into various piles of grossness.  I won't go into detail, but have you ever seen your trash 5 days after you've thrown it away?

Take my advice: Don't.

I thought it best not to disturb him because if he was loony enough to think my trash was treasure, then I thought our business was complete, and I ran away as if the Zombies had finally come for me.  (Which they will, friend, they will.)

Then there's the lady I met in line at the post office who invited me to see her baby being born.  We bonded over her gang banger boyfriend and life's most pressing questions like, "Who do YOU think my baby's daddy is?" and "Do you think I can keep taking crystal meth while pregnant?"

Now this may be conjecture on my part, but what I think she secretly wanted me to do was go all Jerry Springer on her during the delivery and as her baby came into the world I was to leap forward from the sidelines with a can of spray paint, tag her baby and scream, "Take that BLEEP!!!"  I think she thought it would qualify her to be a guest on Mr. Jerry's show.

What?  You don't think so?

Annnnnyway, knowing the signs of being lOoNy is important so you can:
A) avoid them
B) screen your calls
C) prepare appropriate responses like, "We don't need your brand of crazy here" and "Run, kids! They're coming for us!!!"

So, know the signs, avoid the crazy, save your sanity.

What's the craziest/funniest thing that's ever happened to you?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Know the Signs: Kryptonite

Ah, kryptontie, you shifty, shifty element from the planet where Superman was born.  You were his one weakness, well that--and wearing his underwear over his clothes...but I digress.  Kryptonite was Superman's downfall at times, his one weakness that rendered him powerless, frail and human.

Knowing the signs of what causes you to lose your power and go completely weak at the knees is important so you can be safe, dash from the trouble, flee to your crystal/ice love shack in the Canadian wilderness and talk to your long dead father (who mysteriously looks like the Godfather) about the mysteries of chemistry, world history and what kind of underwear you should wear over your leotard while fighting crime.

My own Kryptonite is so varied that I can't possibly list them all here without running out of clean outer underwear before I got to the end of the list, but my primary Kryptonite is...wait for it.....I fall down....a lot.  No, seriously, I resemble a female, and much younger, Gerald Ford.

Sidewalks, paths, roads, steps, and cracks are my Kryptonite.  Gravity is out to get me.  I fall down at least once a day.  Before you think that I may have an inner ear problem, let me assure you, I don't. Once, quite recently, I tripped over a stray piece of gravel and landed face down in a parking lot.  It would have been fine if there hadn't been a group of people nearby watching the entire graceless act take place.

I've fallen up stairs, down stairs, sideways on the stairs, out of trees, off of horses, and getting ONto horses (don't ask.)  Just about anywhere where humankind can be upright, I've fallen down.

In fact, just this very morning, I was walking into my own backyard and the sidewalk leaped up and tried to kill me.  I was launched forward into our fence and would have surely taken out an eye had not the fence stopped my descent to the ground.  I ended up with two palms full of slivers and some bruised pride...again, but at least I didn't hit the ground.  And the worst part?  I can't even run away to my Canadian Ice Chalet lair because I would just fall down trying to get there.

I need a plastic anti-gravity bubble to protect me, because unlike Superman, who's Kryptonite can be hidden away in a lead box, my Kryptonite is around me ALL of the time.  Every time I stand up the potential for falling down increases.  Yesterday, I had to make my way down 3 flights of steep and slippery marble stairs several times carrying heavy boxes of art supplies.  With each step I would mutter, "Bent knees, do not fall.  Bent knees, do not fall."

I was actually tempted to go all toddler and sit on my butt and slide down, which would have been safer, but I was in a public building and just couldn't bring myself to do it.

Next time, maybe.

What's your Kryptonite?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Know the Signs: Joy

It has been said, "Men are that they might have joy."  The object of our existence is to create a life of joy for ourselves and everyone we meet.  It sounds all nice and tidy, like, "Hey Fred, let's go get us some joy."  As if we could pick it up on aisle 7 at the Piggly-Wiggly and pay for it with a coupon.

Unfortunately, finding joy isn't that easy.  However, figuring out the process of what brings you joy is actually more fun than grocery shopping.  I work with people all the time who want more joy in their lives.  Some of these people are friends, some are family, some are strangers.  Joy is a topic that comes up over and over in our conversations.  Living a joyful life is the object of all of our desires.  Who wouldn't want more joy?

I was taught about joy by my friend, Jackie Gibson.  She is the most courageous and wise woman that I've ever known.  During a period of extreme personal anguish she taught me about joy.  Her story is not mine to tell, but her example of kindness, love unfeigned, and living without regret is the model that I try to base my life on.  The most important lesson she taught me was that I had everything I needed for complete joy and total peace right now--even in the midst of turmoil.

I lost my father last year.  It was, and is, hard losing someone, anyone, close to you.  There were moments before he passed when I would think, "Can this please be over now?"  Not that I wanted him gone, but rather, for his suffering, and to a lesser extent our family's suffering, to be eased.

I live about four hours from my dad's home. With traveling back and forth, delegating work assignments and managing life, I was overwhelmed.  People would ask me questions and I would forget what they had asked before I could respond.  I couldn't sleep.  I seemed to spend my days pacing around the house (I work from home) and would begin projects only to walk away a short time later. My mind and attention were always over the mountains.

As he became weaker, I became more distracted.  Paying attention to enduring my schedule and personal demands overshadowed my ability to find the joy in my days.  I was kindly reminded by a friend to, "just breathe" (at least once a day,) and to try and find the joy my journey.

Shortly after he went into hospice care, I was able to be with him for ten days.  It was a gift to be able to say goodbye, to laugh, to cry, to just enjoy time together.  For me, it was some of the most precious time I have ever spent with my dad.  During this time I was able to be still and just breathe.  This is when the labor in the birth at the end of this life, called death, became joy.

One afternoon, I was sitting on the couch with my dad.  The afternoon sun was streaming through the windows.  The house was quiet.  Dad was dosing, and I closed my eyes for a moment...grateful for time.  I vividly remember breathing in deeply, and at the same time feeling a sense of peace come over me.
The circumstances hadn't changed, but rather my ability to deal with what was happening had changed.

Of course, the moment didn't last, there were other difficulties awaiting just around the corner, but then again, isn't that the way it is with life?  We can choose to focus on how hard everything is all the time--and it is hard, or we can choose instead, to recognize the gifts around us, and find the joy.  After all, "When you dance, your purpose isn't to get to a certain place along the floor.  It is to enjoy each step along the way."

What brings you joy?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Know the Signs: Ignorance

I am so ignorant that I don't know what it is I don't know that I don't know.  So knowing the signs of ignorance is key in order to avoid many common pitfalls that the ignorant experience on a daily basis.  While most of my "Know the Signs" posts have been replete with pointing out the obvious, today's post will include not only the signs of ignorance, but also the tried and true method to dispel ignorance from our lives entirely.

Lofty, huh?

The signs of ignorance include:

  • Not knowing which fork/spoon/napkin/scalpel to use during a fancy dinner.
  • Not replacing the empty toilet paper roll with a full one.
  • Talking on your cell phone while driving/in the line at the drugstore/while on a date--(and it's not to your date, or worse, you are on a date, talking to potential date about your date.)
  • Not bathing/shaving/tweezing/BATHING...bathe, really please people..... baaaaathe.
  • Gazing at other people's body parts longingly/lecherously.
  • Yelling from your car window, "Nice _____!!" get the idea.
  • Asking if you can speak to my husband about negotiating a bill (...seriously dude? What century is this??)
  • leaving your furniture/old clothes/broken house goods on the corner where you live with a "$200 OBO" sign on them, and truly believing that some git will actually pay you $200 for your trash.
  • Thinking that everyone believes the same way that you do.
  • Believing that you do know everything.
There is actually a simple fix for all of the above examples of ignorance:  they are called books, dear friends*.  Barnes & Noble has an ENTIRE section devoted to etiquette (proper knife/spoon/scalpel usage during fancy dinners), housekeeping (toilet paper replacement), technology (cell phone usage), hygiene (bathing), and just about anything else you can think of.

If for some reason you can't afford Barnes & Noble during these tough economic times, there is a lovely little place called the public library that offers books, videos, microfiche, periodicals and often even lectures on topics you may be in need of.  
And the best part?  IT'S FREE!!!

Recently, someone told me that they just weren't that good at communicating.  This was after a painful exchange where they had said things to another human that no person should utter out loud.  They were using their ignorance as an excuse for their bad behavior, and when they were trying to justify it to me, the Greek in me exclaimed, (arms wildly gesticulating) "Friend, TAKE A CLASS.  There are lovely people who can teach you to communicate like gentleman instead of an ABSOLUTE GIT."

I don't know if he's taken me up on my advice.
But I do know this:  if you realize that there's something you don't know, you have the power to fix it.  
Annnnnd, if you aren't sure what it is, ask your mother...she'll tell you.    

*READING this or any content based blog disqualifies you from ignorance from the basic fact that you are READING. (Have I mentioned how important READING is to combating ignorance?)  Please feel free to pass this post along to any whom you believe to be afflicted, as bad or offending news usually comes better from a complete stranger.  You can then plead "justifiable ignorance" when they accuse you of accusing them of being ignorant and say something like, "I didn't realize I'd sent you that blog link about ignorance in your inbox...!"  I'll never tell...

How do you combat ignorance?  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Know the Signs: Heroes

Knowing the signs of a hero is important because when a masked man wearing underwear over his clothes comes running up to you, it is important to tell the difference between him, and the most recent escapee from the loony bin.

Of course, not all heroes wear their underwear over their clothes, some wear it under their clothes, like my brother, Scott, who can make a person laugh faster than a speeding bullet, and take the sting out of life's disappointments with some well thought words of kindness.

Then there's my friend, Clover.  She is the most fashionable hero I know, but she isn't a hero because she is a fashionista.  She is a hero because she can make the sun shine in the midst of any personal darkness.  She can peel back the brown and spotted outer layer of a situation, person or thought and cast it aside like a bruised banana skin, so that all you have left is the creamy perfect fruit underneath; and that takes superpowers.

There are dozens of other heroes I know personally.  They lift the hands that hang down, comfort, cheer, mourn with, and love others through their perfect amazing grace.

I've long since believed that there are three types of people: victims, survivors, and heroes. Victims are those who have taken life's lessons and turned themselves into the martyr of their own stories; nothing goes right for them and nothing ever can.  Their thoughts have bound them in a jail of unbelief stronger than any bars ever could.

Survivors have taken life's experiences and they have surmounted them just high enough to breathe.  They are (in their own words) "Just getting by."  They feel that there is never enough money, time, energy, joy, hope or love, in spite of the fact that the Universe's abundance is knocking on their door with the persistence of two nineteen-year-old Mormon missionaries.

Heroes are people who have not only broken their heads above circumstance, but have taken life's experiences and turned them into opportunities to learn, grow, and find more love.  They hear the knocking at the door, and rush to it, barrel past the threshold and seize the abundance that awaits.  They fly high, contemplate opportunities, consider others, and lift those around them to higher ground.

Knowing the signs of a hero is important to our happiness and well being here on earth.  Heroes shape us for good.  Heroes show us the way to hope.  Heroes lift, encourage, and love--and here is the interesting thing: all of us have been victims, survivors and heroes during the journey.  The question is: if we find ourselves a victim or "just getting by", how long we are going to spend in the vat of toxic waste before we decide to get out?

Who is your hero?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Know the Signs: Good Driving

Good drivers are as rare as good food is at McDonald's, so knowing when you are in the presence of one is crucial so you can trip them as they walk past you.

I myself, come from a long line of bad drivers, but naturally, I am the best driver I've ever met.  As everyone in the Northwest knows, the worst drivers come from Caldwell, Idaho where bad driving is just a way of life. For this reason I suggest that if you ever see an Idaho license plate beginning with "2C" that you run as fast as you can in the other direction before the car mows you down accidentally on purpose.  

Curiously, the signs of good driving are more about things you shouldn't do than things you should be doing (like paying attention to driving) because if you don't do the following, then you will be a good driver by default. 
Know the signs of good driving and:

...update your Facebook status.
...gawk at strangers on the sidewalk. on your cell phone.
...put on makeup.
...change your clothes.
...fight with your girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife.
...shave your legs/back.
...driver faster than my mom. over people.

If you stick to the list you will be the best driver ever and probably get some kind of award from the police, which may include chocolate ice cream and a ride on the police horse. So, go for the gold, pay attention and know the signs.   

Are you a good driver? 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Know the Signs: Fabulousness

Fabulousness is a rampant, yet beautiful disease that effects a large and unknown section of our population here on planet earth.  The interesting thing about fabulousness is that most people aren't even aware that they are, in fact, fabulous.  Most fabulous people are just regular Joes and Janes working out a quicker way to clean the bathroom and do their taxes.

Knowing the signs of fabulousness are important because if you want to have more joy in your life, recognizing your own fabulousness is the surest way to get it.  Signs of being fabulous come in a wide variety, and most people have something that makes them fabulous.  It is important to find your own fabulousness because most of the unhappiness in the world is caused by unhappy people, and when we realize we are fabulous, we recognize the fabulousness in others.  When we encourage others to find their fabulousness our souls fill with joy and spills right over into the lives of everyone we meet; and THAT is why knowing you are fabulous matters.    

So, put up your feet, grab a pen, and make a list of the things that make you fabulous.
Get crackin'.

What makes you fabulous?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Know the Signs: Erklings

An erkling is an angry elf who eats children.  The word "erkling" was also one of Straight Face's vocabulary words a few weeks ago.  I don't know what kind of school she is attending, but the teacher who assigned out the word "erkling" gets two thumbs up from me.

You may be an erkling if you are very short, warty and have an undeniable craving for children.  Or, you may be a serial killer and a cannibal, and if that's the case, thank you for reading, and please move along.  We don't need your brand of crazy here.

What was the craziest vocabulary word you ever learned in school?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Know the Signs: Dislocation

When I was 12, I dislocated my knee cap during a school basketball game.  It was the freakiest thing I have every seen.  I was skipping down the court free as a bird when all of the sudden found myself staring up at the ceiling with my knee cap twisted to the side of my leg.  I was 12, so obviously, I had no idea what was happening, but neither did the teachers and coaches. Their reactions did nothing to further my confidence in adults as I believed (and still do) that most adults are actually zombies in disguise.

One teacher even laughed at my predicament, which confirms that she was a zombie getting ready to eat my partially detached limb, because who laughs at a 12 year old who has just dislocated their knee??
Others have told me that seeing a child in pain probably made her uncomfortable and her laughter was a way to release the obvious tension she felt, however, I am not convinced, especially as she wiped drool from her chin as she was comforting me.

Annnnnyway,  knowing the signs of dislocation are very, VERY important so you can avoid being in pain whenever possible, as physical pain is one of the most undesirable feelings a body can experience while in mortality.  Now, I'm not talking the kind of pain you feel after you've run, or done yoga, or eaten too much at Thanksgiving dinner, I'm talking about the kind of pain that (even as you think about it) takes your breath away and gives you that squiggily-jiggily-blehgy-sick feeling whenever it crosses your mind--kind of like the feeling one gets while preparing one's taxes, except not as bad.

Some of the signs of dislocation include: suddenly laying on the ground, writhing in pain, feeling your shoulder hanging loose from your torso, noticing that your thumb is at an odd angle compared to the rest of your body, and not being able to think, walk, act, speak or really do anything useful except scream and drool into a bucket.

Do yourself a favor, and follow my example: avoid dislocation all together and get yourself a scooter chair.  You'll be glad you did.

Have you ever dislocated something?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Know the Signs: Claustrophobia

You may be Claustrophobic if you find yourself in a tight space, like a closet, submarine, or car trunk and you are short of breath and trying to get out.  Of course, you may be a spy and that's why you are in said closet/submarine/trunk, but if you are having a panic attack, you may need to reassess your chosen profession and consider a job at a check cashing facility--which undoubtedly would give you the same thrill, yet not force you into a tight space where you begin screaming, "GET ME OUUUUUUUT NOOOOOOWWWW!!!!!!"

I, myself, am a non-practicing claustrophobic.  Non-practicing because I am not foolish enough to get myself closed up in a car trunk or submarine without a handful of Valium.  Of course, the one time I was put in a car trunk I was in the middle of unraveling the iron curtain in 1989 (yes, I was a teenage spy--ask anyone at North Jr. High)  and thanks to my trusty Swiss Army knife, that trunk and I didn't have time to get to know each other very well.

I am such a non-practicing Claustrophobic that I don't even really even like to think about car trunks, bank vaults, or deep sea submersibles because I break out into a cold, clammy sweat...which is why I handed in my spy credentials at 16 and pursued the stage instead.

What makes you feel claustrophobic?

Monday, April 2, 2012

Know the Signs: Bedtime

Bedtime, sweet, sweet bedtime.  Knowing the signs of bedtime are important so you can get enough sleep to properly operate heavy machinery at work, make executive decisions like how many paper clips to order for the office, and leave appropriately nasty passive aggressive notes for your co-workers who steal your yogurt.

Signs of bedtime include: fatigue, grogginess, double vision, hallucinations, excessive sweating and paranoia.
What?  You don't get paranoid before you go to bed?  I run around the house re-locking doors until about midnight when I am finally so tired I fall into bed with an already sleeping Mountain Man.  He recently read an article that said that if you think too much before bed then your brain gets hot and he claims that's why I can't sleep because I am mentally preparing for the inevitable zombie attack that is sure to come in 2012.

He said that if I wore a cooling hat that my brain wouldn't get hot and then I'd be able to drift off into a peaceful dreamland and sleep until morning, uninterrupted and restful.
Yeah, right.
Doesn't he know that the zombies are at the door??  And he is soooooooo not going to be helpful when they actually begin breaking windows because I would have an easier time waking the recently dead than Mountain Man who sleeps with the clean conscience of a newborn babe.

I'm just not a sleeper.  I wish I were.  Then maybe I could rest peaceful from dusk to dawn...or at least from midnight to 5am.

How do you know when it's bedtime? 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A to Z: Know the Signs

Everyday this month, minus Sundays, (except today) I will be blogging about a topic that has to do with a letter from the alphabet.  Today begins with "A".  But here's the thing:  Yesterday Mountain Man and I were driving down the street when a HUGE red sign screamed out, "KNOW THE SIGNS! ST. ALPHONSUS HOSPITAL."

Know the signs?  What signs?  Presumably, it was know the signs about stroke, but the sign wasn't really clear, and it got Mountain Man and I talking about what other topics that it would be important to "Know the Signs" about.  For instance, while it IS important to know the signs of a stroke, it is equally important to also know the signs of Claustrophobia, Good Driving, and Zombie Attacks.  With this in mind, the next 26 days will be devoted to "Knowing the Signs" of various topics uninteresting to probably anyone but me, and Mountain Man, who ironically, doesn't read this blog at all, and my brother, Scott, who alone is responsible for at least three-quarters of my all time page views.

Annnnnnyway, let's get to it and Know the Signs:  Accents.

You know you have an accent when people can't understand you and they keep talking to you in a louder voice than is appropriate for your circumstances.  For instance, I know three Yankees in particular who mock my mom, Magnolia, who is from the South, on a regular basis. These three people should be locked up for the absolute rudeness of their actions, but my brothers and I can't help ourselves.  It's been 38 years, and I can barely comprehend a thing the woman says.  It mostly consists of sentences like, "Wayall, y'all need to cuhleen up yo rooms.  Aham gonna hahv to bayke y'all in a spinach peye??!!"

I know, you have no idea what she's saying either, do you?

Anyway, accents can be tough to decipher, and we should all do ourselves a favor and "Know the Signs" of accents; they include (but are not limited to) :

1.  Not being able to understand what someone is saying to you.  Now, I will concede that the person could actually be speaking another language, but in my experience, language is unimportant.  I can speak French as convincingly as a Qubecoise, but unless I speak it with a Quebecois accent, it profiteth me nothing.  

2.  If the person to whom you are speaking eye's are glazed over, perhaps YOU are the person with the accent...or you are my mom, either way, I still won't clean up my room.

3.  If even basic instructions make you feel weak at the knees, or ready to commit treason, perhaps the person speaking to you is James Bond, who has the best accent ever ( it doesn't even matter which one, Connery to Craig they all rock the best accent.)  By way of information, a British accent is also the reason I can't shop at our local health food store as one of the cashiers is a Brit and I begin giggling like a school girl for his utter coolness every time I am in his line.

Accents are important.  Accents tell where we are from, where we have been, and sometimes, like the guy who works at our local video store who insists on speaking in a fake accent, where we would like to go.  I know he really, really wants to go to France because he sounds EXACTLY like Inspector Clouseau when I know full well he is from Oregon.  

On the other hand, who am I to ruin his dream?  After all, we all have accents.  

Alors, connaitre les signes, mon ami, et bon chance.

What does your accent say about you?