Category Archives: Humor

City of angels (loogies included)

Signs posted on pariah rooms mean people have to dress in swaddling clothes to enter. Unless you're a pariah who lives there, that is.

By Laura Grimes

To Everyone Who Isn’t Oscar/Dennis:

My son is a champ.

The big, strapping lad was reduced to a wuss, a weakling no match for a kitten. He was so scary sick that he landed in the hospital.

To that, all I got to say is my kid is one tough cookie and the best possible patient. I am so glad I get to write that. I am cautiously optimistic that he’s on the upswing.

Faithful readers might remember this recent post about Oscar/Dennis’s unadventure to the doctor’s office and Mrs. Scatter’s advocating for home visits by doctors. His visit was unfortunately long and bitterly hard on him, and compromised his already weak system. If medical care is meant to serve the patients, the doctor-centric geographic design isn’t always a good one.

Oscar/Dennis neatly solved that. Now that he’s in the hospital, it’s all about him. Everyone and everything come to him.


Hospitals are amazing little cities. No car required. No need to go anywhere (though, if it becomes necessary, the taxi service costs a bundle). They have excellent accommodations with 24/7 room service, valets, bathrooms and showers, state-of-the-art equipment, gift shopping, a florist and security services.

Continue reading City of angels (loogies included)

Following up on a point of business

Medical practitioners from the 1918 flu pandemic. Mrs. Scatter got a flu shot just last week and now she has the flu. What gives?

By Laura Grimes

Dear Everyone Who Isn’t Felix/Martha:

My son is a champ.

(For anyone who missed yesterday’s big disclosure, read this first or risk a spoiler.)

After posting yesterday, I had to wait not-so-patiently for Felix/Martha to come home from school to read the special message meant just for him. It was pouring rain, and he was completely soaked.

Continue reading Following up on a point of business

Getting right to the point

A cheap die-cast Roman catapult with a built-in pencil sharpener costs only a few bucks and can be found at any tourist trap in London, but it earned Mrs. Scatter enormous clout with her catapult-loving son.By Laura Grimes

Dear Felix/Martha:

Remember that time when I was halfway around the world and I would write sneaky blog posts that would not-so-secretly reveal exciting news? Remember how I would slyly tell about the special presents I was bringing home, knowing you would be thrilled? And how you would come home from school every day and go to your computer, read the daily post and instant-message me, while I stayed up really late in my time zone? Remember our silly game of including lots of exclamation points? Remember how you instant-messaged me that you were in the middle of reading that day’s post (I thought, Oh, good, here it comes … ) and you innocently chatted away and then you wrote … “You got me a catapult?!!!!!!!!!!”? I loved that moment. Remember how fun that was?

Yeah, well, this isn’t one of those times.

Continue reading Getting right to the point

Pickles: The old gray market rides high

Carlos Kalmar conducts the Oregon Symphony. We do our own bit of conducting sometimes in the form of serious scientific experiments.

By Laura Grimes

Here at Art Scatter World Headquarters, we concoct more than hot chocolate and dirty-little-secret martinis. We participate in genuine science. For weeks we’ve been conducting The Great Pickles As Social Vehicle Experiment.

Mr. Scatter made a bold declaration recently in the mainstream media about our little family enterprise.

We deal chiefly in the concoction of highly improbable stories and the manufacture and trade of gray-market pickles.

Just how is that gray matter coming along? (Not brain cells.) The experiment is kicking along in fine form with Pickle Swaps (everyone step together now) 5, 6, 7, 8.

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Pickles. They’re not just for breakfast anymore.

Salad kebobs made with dill pickled green cherry tomatoes, fresh red cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and water cress.

By Laura Grimes,
aided and abetted by Bob Hicks

Grand Unsealing of the Pickles day, known to the rest of America as Thanksgiving, went splendidly in the Scatter Household.

Mr. and Mrs. Scatter lined up a variety of preserves vintage 2010 for their first tasting to determine whether they’re naughty or nice. They carefully sniffed, twirled, nibbled, chewed and swallowed. They unanimously agreed that it is the crunchiest vintage yet for the spicy dills and sweet pickles. They suspect it’s because the cucumbers were fresh and firm, and the ones that weren’t sliced were stabbed, allowing the brine to fully penetrate (they can’t believe they typed that either).

The Scatters discussed the merits of each pickle varietal. Here are their tasting notes.

Continue reading Pickles. They’re not just for breakfast anymore.

O Christmas tin, O Christmas tin

Some people drink Santa cocoa while they listen to "Santa Baby." It's been known to happen.By Laura Grimes

While the rest of America cooed about golden-roasted turkeys and football scores yesterday, the Scatter family was concerned about deeply more important matters. Hot chocolate.

Ah! Scatter regulars just knew that line was going to be about pickles. They know the fourth Thursday in November is not known as Thanksgiving in the Scatter household but as the Grand Unsealing of the Pickles.

But the Scatters are a multi-complex family. They go way beyond cranberries. Like the United Nations or a mixed-faith family, they are very liberal about accommodating many cultural needs. The Grand Unsealing of the Pickles day is a multiple bonanza.

Continue reading O Christmas tin, O Christmas tin

Thankless holiday cooks up a flood

Gobble gobble

By Laura Grimes

Today is a REALLY big day in the Scatter Household. The special holiday hot chocolate comes out, the Christmas CDs make their debut and … drumroll … it’s the Grand Unsealing of the Pickles.

We’ve been sharing our disaster tales of Thanksgivings past all week.

Some years back, Mr. Scatter’s family (notice how the disaster stories are always Mr. Scatter’s family?) wanted to get together for a large gathering. The trick was finding a place big enough.

No one had a house the right size. (Except us, and we lived too far away.) A restaurant didn’t suit our need to sprawl over several hours. Finally, I booked a condo and reserved its community room, which had a kitchen.

Somehow, we had the largest family with the smallest kids, and we traveled the farthest, made all the arrangements and hosted the event. No, wait. Come to think of it, I made all the arrangements and it wasn’t even my family.

Continue reading Thankless holiday cooks up a flood

Thankless holiday sets off an alarm

We might have to fall back on this because we're resorting to Plan B and planning our Thanksgiving meal at the last minute./Wikimedia CommonsBy Laura Grimes

Here at Art Scatter World Headquarters we are counting down to the day of the Grand Unsealing of the Pickles* by telling all our embarrassing and disastrous tales of Thanksgivings past.

For some reason, giant black clouds hover over us this time every year, though we always manage to have a wonderful holiday.

This year, we had planned to drive to the Olympic Peninsula to spend several days with relatives, but our trip was canceled when 6 to 12 inches of snow dumped there and roads turned treacherous,** Felix/Martha came down with a nasty cold (which isn’t like him), and the half-wild She Cat, who usually disappears for days and eats god knows what, badly injured her front paw and is camped out on a fluffy blanket on the couch.

This morning, the He Cat made barfing sounds on the dining room rug. I grabbed him around the middle (not so good) and was juggling him (also not good) while unlocking the front door, when his whole body convulsed and a wet hairball flew out of his mouth and landed on the rug near my feet.

Thank you, Thanksgiving.

Continue reading Thankless holiday sets off an alarm

Thankless holiday goes up in flames

This oven looks freakishly like Mr. and Mrs. Scatter's old one that caught fire. Many thanks to the Small Large Smelly Boy (Felix/Martha) for the splendid design that cleverly covered up the baked-on grime on the bottom. Wikimedia Commons and Felix/Martha

By Laura Grimes

Two days to T-day!

Mr. and Mrs. Scatter love planning Thanksgiving dinner, even if it’s just them and The Large Smelly Boys. They love writing up the menu, ferreting out the special recipe file, taking stock of ingredients, making lists, shopping, splaying out the bounty.

Then on Thanksgiving day, they put on music and start chopping. They put out a nice spread of appetizers and pour some wine. They both happily bustle around the kitchen, nibbling and testing. The big feast is a time of thanks, good food and good friends, but, really, it’s the long, slow process of getting there that they savor. Basically, it’s Norman Rockwell meets Currier and Ives, if only their paintings could also convey the cozy warmth of a fuzzy blanket and scratch ‘n’ sniff cooking smells. Yes, that’s exactly the Scatter household on Thanksgiving day.

WAIT A SEC! WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! Back up to the “splaying out the bounty” part.

A handful of years back, Mr. and Mrs. Scatter were at this point in the process, a few days before T-Day. They had just finished the exhausting list-making and marathon shopping. They had just unloaded all the bags and set out all the food.

Continue reading Thankless holiday goes up in flames

Thankless holiday takes a shower*

It's possible this is Mr. Scatter's Sister No. 3 serving the defrosted turkey to the whole team, but it's really "The First Thanksgiving" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, circa 1912-15. Wikimedia Commons

By Laura Grimes

Thanksgiving always fills the Scatter homestead with both anticipation and trepidation. We love our sweet potatoes, but we cannot explain why so many of our turkey feasts are disasters.

These aren’t garden-variety disasters like the cranberry jelly didn’t set or the buns got burned. No, we do it up whole hog. Like the oven catches fire, the furnace breaks, the toilet overflows, the smoke alarms go off.

We once moved the entire household. Like, that day. Which isn’t exactly a disaster, but it’s not sleeping off the pumpkin pie with a cozy fire and a football game, either. And this wasn’t three decades ago, when we were young and limber and owned but a few chairs that we could transport in a sedan across town. This was three years ago, which meant we moved because of mobility issues and required a lot more than a van, a pickup and a semi-truck to haul a few tons only a few blocks.

We’re pretty safe with sharp implements and know proper food handling procedures, so we’re not really sure why this particular holiday is often marred by a giant black cloud. Sometimes literally.

Continue reading Thankless holiday takes a shower*