Is it so hard to say “good morning”?


I like to say “good morning” to people as a greeting. I think it sets the right tone by 1) acknowledging someone’s presence, 2) greeting them in a positive manner and 3) getting them to interact with you by responding back. It is dialogue communication 101 at its finest.

Most people, however, do not feel the way I do. So, I have worked hard over the last few months to greet people in another language. It sets people back when you say, “gunaydin” (Good morning in Turkish), and causes them to be drawn into your welcome. “What?” they say. Then I pepper them with German, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Swedish, Hawaiian, Arabic, Australian, and even Sign Language.

I also try to use a different language than the one that the person is used to hearing. For example, I never say, “buenos dias” to someone I believe is of Latin descent. I try an Asian dialect to help them interact with another culture. There are so many languages out there, they are fun to share! And that is what happening. When I interact with people of different ethic backgrounds they share their “good morning” with me in their language. I keep adding to the cornucopia of morning salutations!

If you want to get in on this there is a list of greetings below. Try one a week. You’ll be glad you did.

Winter Hammock


There isn’t inappropriate weather, just inappropriate clothing. – Karla Barker

Winter doesn’t have to be miserable. It can be quite fun if you have the right equipment. As a Christmas present, our daughter received a hammock. To show it off we went outside and set it up. It was cold, but she hung out in the swing for quite a while. Don’t let winter get the best of you, but make the best of it.

Things Kids Say


The other day I was at a school that messed with my esteem. Let me explain. First, there was a student who said to me,

“You don’t look like a science teacher. You look more like an art teacher.”

I said, “Really? How’s that?”

He replied, “You have a colorful way about you.”

Floating for most of the day with that beautiful comment, my bubble was popped by another student who was walking down the hall and yelled out to me–

“What’s up ma’douche!”

My feet quickly came down to earth.

Honestly, though, I smiled inside at both of them.

It’s Not a Socky Gift, So Ask For Some!


One of my favorite things are creative socks. In fact, if you are looking for a great gift to give me, try these two:

There is something about creative socks that gets a smile on my face. Maybe it’s because something exciting is going on undetected. Or, maybe I just like a splash of color in my life. The attention doesn’t hurt, of course. And, it sets me apart from all those mono-chromed sockers out there.

You don’t have to break the bank, either. Even though both of these sites have expensive socks, you just have to wait for the deals. Styles go out of style, so you just have to be patient. The picture with all the socks is around $20 of socks (including shipping). Plus, get your mother-in-law to get them as Christmas presents. They like making you happy and adding a little color to your life, too.

No matter what brand you get, make sure when you get into wearing great socks they have the following attributes.

  1. Padded: Your feet deserve it
  2. Mix and match colors. I love wearing 2 different socks from 2 different pairs
  3. Ankle height (or higher)
  4. Machine washable. Believe it or not some socks have special washing instructions.
  5. Inside jokes. This isn’t a must, but it’s nice to have a sock set that means something that not everyone gets.

Put it on your Christmas list. You won’t regret. it.

Beggar’s Night Joke


If you are not from the Des Moines area, then you have probably never heard of Beggar’s Night.  It is an invention by a school teacher to get Halloween off of October 31st. So, around Des Moines, on October 30th, kids come out and Trick-or-Treat for candy.

It not really something I embrace. Mostly because the actual holiday of Halloween the streets are empty and it feels like some kind of apocalyptic event took place taking all the children and their parents.  The houses are decorated for Halloween, but there are no kids or parents walking the streets. It’s just weird.

However, as part of Beggar’s Night (again, a made up holiday to make Halloween less scary), the kids are supposed to use humor instead of fear. So, every kid who comes to the door rarely says, “Trick or Treat”, but says, “Want to hear my joke?”  I kid you not! So, the host home listens to the corniest jokes that the kids have found from outdated joke books are their school library, or from Highlights magazine they read at their family dentist office. I don’t know how many countless fake “ha ha’s” I have thrown out to make myself not look like the mean ol’ man on 42nd Street.

But this year a kid got me. Karla was told a joke by a young costumed ghoul that actually gave me a chuckle. Now, I am going to share it with you.

Question: What has a bottom at the top?

Answer: Legs!

Feel free to use that when your community decides that Halloween shouldn’t be scary.


Here’s another joke to get you ready for next year:

Question: Why did the bike fall over?

Answer: Because it was two tired.

Quad Cities Style


I have been making pizzas for over a decade now and trying to master the pizza taste that I grew up on. The difficulty has been that people in my metropolitan area like thin crust pizza. They like square pieces of melted cheese on a cracker.

I have never really been able to describe the pizza I love until large attention has been brought to Quad Cities style pizza. If you want to try a pizza like none other than stop by Franks, Wise Guys, or The Pizza Shack in the QC. I recommend their sausage pizza.

If you want to know what makes up a QC style pizza the graphic below explains what makes them so good! Put it on you list of stops next time you need a road trip, or are passing through.