Tag Archives: JoJo

High times in the lowlands

Avert your gaze. Mr. and Mrs. Scatter have jettisoned the Large Smelly Boys and are having a romantic interlude abroad. In the meantime, they have temporarily outsourced the blog to their chief travel correspondent, who makes friends wherever he goes — this time to Bruges, Belgium.

By JoJo

Greetings from Bruges.

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Looking for culture in all the low places

Downtown Leavenworth

By Laura Grimes

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. — “Is this a barbarian village?” the Small Large Smelly Boy piped up. “Do barbarians live here?”

He was jokingly referring to Leavenworth, Wash., the Bavarian village that screams for “quaint” to be added automatically to every reference. This is the place made for tourist buses and resorts.

I don’t consider myself a tourist in these parts. I can lay claim to family ties a few generations back. Great-grandma’s cabin wasn’t far from town, but it burned long ago and no one can remember quite where it was. We used to come here for uncles who had homes on Icicle Creek, not chalets with fake icicles.

On this day, The SLSB and I had serious business to tend to. Amazingly, we found a parking spot right near the gazebo in the center of downtown. As we climbed out of the Large Smelly Boymobile, the oompah music was just striking up. Such luck! I immediately dialed Mr. Scatter. I didn’t want him to miss this.

“GUESS WHERE WE ARE!” I held up the phone.

By his somewhat dismal, confused response, I could tell I had interrupted his reverie. I sweetly ignored it. “LET ME GET CLOSER!” As if on cue, the accordion cranked up and the yodeling kicked in. Excellent!

Continue reading Looking for culture in all the low places

It’s hard to go home again, or is it?

By Laura Grimes

The Small Large Smelly Boy and I have been on the road for a while, bravely negotiating a clogged highway along a lavender festival, fording a large body of water by ferry, climbing mountains, and gingerly making our way through Sasquatch Country.

JoJo can prove it. Our parenting thinking is so warped that we brought along a buddy to keep him company. Meet Bog. We’re hoping he will keep JoJo’s insatiable appetite for making friends in check. (After the whole embarrassing episode with the Stumptown Tart, we decided we better do something.)

JoJo and Bog hobknob with Sasquatch

We gladly travel through hill and dale for good reason. Now we’re in Eastern Washington, where the family roots run deep and the surrounding hills stay shaved and tan all summer long. Growing up, I played softball in these parts and got horribly sick on irrigation water (I was the stupid kid from the city who didn’t know any better). Good times.

Continue reading It’s hard to go home again, or is it?

London you never read: The outtakes

By Laura Grimes

The Pantsless Brother was passing through town recently, but I was prepared this time. Gas or no gas, I found him some pants. Whatcha think?

Party pants for The Pantsless Brother

A clever friend sent the photo to me, and she can’t remember where it came from. Gotta love those flames on top of the head. But is that … smoke coming from those ruffled BVDs?

The Pantsless Brother is now so concerned I’ll further inflame his reputation that he regularly will go on about some crazy tale and then say … “Don’t write about that.” or “I don’t want that showing up in your blog.” or “You don’t get to blog about that.”

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Headed north to feted (not fetid) relatives

By Laura Grimes

Joke's on Uncle The Pantsless Brother!Shhh! Be vewy vewy qwiet! Educational systems are done for the season in these parts and the Large Smelly Boys and I are hoisting secrets in the cargo hold and heading north.

JoJo is beside himself with anticipation to see Uncle The Pantsless Brother again. Daughter of Uncle The Pantsless Brother, otherwise known as Stinkerbell, is graduating from high school. By loose blog association, that would make JoJo and Stinkerbell cousins (she’ll be surprised to hear this).

Also, Mother of Daughter of Uncle The Pantsless Brother, otherwise known, by loose blog association, as JoJo’s Aunt Who is Mother of Daughter of Uncle The Pantsless Brother, recently celebrated a birthday. Yes, seriously, we have relatives to fete. We have feted (not fetid) relatives. We have serious fetting to do.

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Home again, home again, jiggety jog

By Laura Grimes

“How’s JoJo dealing with jetlag?” his grandmother asked with not even a hint of a chuckle in her voice.

He hasn’t missed a beat. He was out the door first thing to track down his neighborhood buddies and tell them all about his travels. See for yourself, with kudos to the Small Large Smelly Boy for doing most of the clicking and a silent thank you to the neighbor with the seductive garden nozzle who has no idea how much time JoJo spends in her garden or that we carelessly splash photos of her menagerie:

JoJo and Gnome Friend

JoJo and the Troll Bridge

This is the Small LSB’s very own gnome garden he planted by himself and has been carefully tending. It’s JoJo’s favorite place of all. He’s leaning on a magic bean that’s coming up!

JoJo and the Gnome Garden


The tackiest souvenirs known to civilization have been a smashing success. Literally. The mini catapult that really mini catapults has repeatedly launched a Hobgoblin beer cap at little metal soldiers that are placed in a variety of formations. Then the Small LSB counts how many times it takes to knock them all down. This is what we call capital entertainment on a rainy day.


And … we are hard at work on the model of a beheading that really beheads. The package tells us that it is easy to assemble and that “time, attention and concentration are required.” What we have learned so far:

  • So much time, attention and concentration are required that we should be done by the time the preteen LSB is ready to get married.
  • I see London, I see France. The executioner wears no pants.
  • This makes a raucous tune by which to build beheading models.

London, Part 10: Cheerio, it’s been lovely

By Laura Grimes



“Cheese! Where’s the cheese?”

The Pantsless Brother and I say this nearly every time we scurry through the mazes of the Underground trying to find the right train. We feel just like rats.


It’s time to say goodbye to all the fun we’ve been having. It doesn’t look like the ash cloud is going to favor us with another return to cancel our flights again. I miss Mr. Scatter and the Large Smelly Boys anyway, and JoJo is looking forward to seeing his buddies in the hood.

As I type, The PB and I are sharing one last beer together — the Hobgoblin. Only one beer tonight, not four. And as he put it, “None of that foreplay stuff with the lousy beers. We’re going straight for the (insert sexy word that sounds like origami, but it’s not).”

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London, Part 9: Help! I need somebody!

By Laura Grimes

The Pantsless Brother and I have had lots of fun encounters in London, where everyone has been friendly and helpful. Here are just two, which both happened today. Others deserve their own posts.

At the end meet the umpteen friends JoJo played with today. So many! He was a busy little monkey!


TPB and I visited the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, where The Royal Collection is on public display and exhibits rotate a couple of times a year. The collection is made up of pieces that have been acquired by British monarchs for more than 500 years.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in court dress, about 1854/WikipediaVictoria & Albert: Art and Love is now on display through Oct. 31. A couple of pieces are worthy showstoppers, but it’s the personal stories behind the exhibit that are memorable. Victoria and Albert often gave thoughtful gifts of art to each other and went to great lengths to secretly commission pieces that were of special significance.

Victoria had a portrait made of her for Albert for his birthday. It’s not a formal portrait with fancy clothes and insignia. Her hair is down, her dress is casual and she’s wearing a locket that holds a lock of his hair. It’s sweet and intimate. This was not meant for the masses. It was meant just for Albert.

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London, Part 8: Waylaid by an ash cloud

By Laura Grimes

“Headline: ‘British air space may shut as ash cloud resumes.’ Would someone please tell my husband I might be late for dinner?”

I put that post on Facebook a few days ago. It was soon followed by a comment from the Small Large Smelly Boy: “Are you going to be home for dessert?”

It turns out I won’t be home for several desserts. My flight was cancelled and I rebooked it for four days later. (The Pantsless Brother, too.)

Oh, to be “stuck” in London. Oh, to have to rebook a flight in a travel industry that surprisingly doesn’t know how to deal with it.

Let’s see … I am flying Continental, operated by United, reserved by Air Canada, booked through Travelocity. Continental won’t take calls, United doesn’t recognize me, Air Canada won’t deal with a Continental flight, Travelocity can’t make sense of it.

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London, Part 7: Hello? Anybody home?

By Laura Grimes

JoJo knocked on a door to see if anyone would play. It turned out to be this place:


The queen wasn’t home. Though it’s possible she just didn’t hear JoJo’s little knock. (Photo courtesy of that most excellent of photographers, Wikipedia, who obviously isn’t hampered by The Wimpy Camera.)

JoJo was mildly disappointed, but he was quickly distracted by some guys who wear chia pets on their heads …

Guards at Buckingham Palace

… and assault guns on their shoulders. They switched chia pet guys and then the new guy had to stand there perfectly still for, like, a whole hour. Not the kind of job you want after eating scallops and chocolate milk.

Continue reading London, Part 7: Hello? Anybody home?