Monday, October 30, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "From Her Emptiness to Our Doctor."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

Well, hello.

Two things. 1.) Google has apparently spent the $5.95 it was using for upkeep toward the purchase of YouTube. Meaning, it's been nothing but headaches today. Nothing. But. Head. Ach. Es. And b.) Lisa Whelchel is apparently busier than she was last week. Meaning, she just threw up on her Web site a bunch of Bible verses rather than an actual post. Meaning, we just threw up on her Web site. Clearly we're not going to try to make sense of the Bible. We can barely make sense of Whelchel.


Lisa did manage to give us one bit of pure Whelcheliana: pics she took of Tucker, Clancy and/or Haven at the Dallas-Forth Worth airport whilst waiting for their flight to Kentucky. Please let this be a kind of visual aid illustrating the social and intellectual development of homeschooled children and the parents who cultivate them.

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Very godly behavior, teenagers. Of course, we don't blame you—you have the queen of "say one thing, do another" for a mom. Obviously we blame her. For the 923rd week in a row. And we think it's especially charming of her to publicly post this pic...

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...which undoubtedly has already found a home on John Mark Karr's hard drive.

Oh, and, Tucker, we also learned in real school that if you have anything to do with Christian rock, you don't get to wear Chucks. Ask your mom—it's in the Bible:

"Thy shoes shall be of iron and brass: and as thy days, so shall thy strength be." Deuteronomy (33:25 EST)


Until Lisa decides to actually write about something, preferably with pics of Justice/Casey straddling a small airplane, we bid you, adieu.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Choices."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

Praise the lord! She's busy this week, which means she kept it short! An early Kwanzaa gift, indeed.

Would you mind saying a quick prayer for me if you think of it over the next couple of weeks? I’m just simply overwhelmed with work that needs to be done and not enough days to get it all done. Please pray specifically as I attempt to create this Bible Study Scrapbook project that I’m writing. It is so complicated, there are so many little pieces to pull together, and the deadline is looming. I also need to write all of the scripts that I will be filming for the DVD portion of the Bible Study that we will be filming November 7-10. (Please pray for the filming, too.)

Well now we've heard everything! She wants us to pray for a scrapbook and DVD this week. Because when you're as busy as Lisa Whelchel, it's important to get as much help as you can from people who certainly aren't as busy dealing with, say, reality.

On top of all that, I’m writing “The Busy Mom’s Guide to Bible Study.” That deadline is Tuesday but I’m way behind the writing curve on that one.

Well, clearly she's not so busy that she couldn't make up shit like "way behind the writing curve." The only prayers we'll be doing will be for the English language.

Steve has been out of town on business almost continuously and the young woman who helps with the kids while we are out of town (or when I need to write) was called to Michigan for a family emergency.


To say the least, God is really stretching my faith, but I’m choosing to trust Him.


And wouldn’t you know it, God has decided to use this very stressful time to do a little “heart surgery” while He’s at it. So, my emotions are frayed.

Ours, too. Listen, maybe he's just answering the prayers of someone else for once. Like those, perhaps, of a group of bikers whose recent trip to Vermont was ruined by two selfish ninnies. Or those of three kids trapped in a singular kind of hell.

The other day, I wrote the following statement on a flight from Kentucky to Dallas after feeling like the enemy was really doing his best to cloud my vision.

Choose You This Day

I choose to trust

When fear blinds

I choose to serve

When sacrifice bleeds

I choose to grow
When the seed is dying

I choose to feel
When passion is dangerous

I choose to hope

When desire disappoints

I choose to love

Because You said,

"Lisa, I choose you this day"

I don’t know why God chose me to live this life but I’m grateful and I will not let the enemy steal my joy.


Here's the thing, Lisa.

In seventh grade one of our teachers, on the first day of school, asked us to keep in mind a certain question throughout the year:

What's the best use of my time right now?

In seventh grade, and even still, we found said question to be somewhat annoying and patronizing. However, we must admit that asking ourselves "What's the best use of my time right now?" has helped us prioritize and organize at least a little bit. We bring this up because, Lisa, at the beginning of this short Coffee Talk entry, you complain about how busy you are, how many deadlines you have, how many writing curves you're missing etc. But then, you go ahead and tell us about how you used precious time on a two-hour flight to write a poem essentially expressing how you don't have time to get any work done. While god was apparently choosing you this day, Lisa, you were choosing to ignore what you should have been doing during that time: getting some fucking work done.

The thing is, you seem to be on the right track here to understanding that we all make choices, Lisa. Everything that happens to us in life is based on the choices we make. However, should you make a bad choice, it's up to you to realize what you've done and find a way to fix it. In your case, Lisa, you wrote a cute little poem on a plane when you could have been using the precious time to do actual work, work that is now causing you to ask us to pray for your future because you're, well, running out of time. If we may paraphrase a certain poem:

We choose to laugh at you.

Girl, you made your bed, now sleep in it! And by that, we mean, GET TO WORK! (We just want to be clear in case Lisa actually thought we meant she should go to sleep.)

Oh, and one more choice on our part:

We choose to end this here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Miss Scarlet, with the rope, in the kid's room."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

Lisa snuck a post up on October 12th. We think she's trying to outnitwit us. Fortunately, our laziness is a constant, so, Lisa, you can post early to try to throw us off. We'll be commenting whenever we feel like it. The thing to know is that we will be commenting. Ho, yes, we will. Ho, yes.

As well, for reason you will soon understand, Lisa only includes photos of Clancy with her post this week. As we're not in the business of reproducing pics of someone who didn't ask for her pics to be bandied about the John Mark Karr-accessible Internet, we'll just include "funny" cat photos with our commentary. It's all relative.

On that note. Speaking of notes, let's see what our favorite lunatic has to say for herself this week.

Please forgive me, I know I promised that I would resume the series I’ve been writing on the different churches I’ve attended through the years and the influence each one has had on my life in distinctly God-ordained ways. Thanks in advance for understanding but I just couldn’t find the time to write one more thing this week.

Please forgive us for saying this is the best news we've heard all year, and it's already October. Anyway, we lost track of where she was in the church series at the first extraneous comma. We hope that she's distracted long enough to forget she even began to try to tell us about it. Will someone go dangle a shiny object in front of her? Thanx.

So for starters, I thought I’d share a little worship song I wrote, once upon a time. (Sorry, I had to dig through the archives of my computer files for something to post this week.)

So for starters, this is the worst news we've heard all year, and it's already October. Seriously, can we make like a Republican and blame our disinterest on alcoholism?

(Don't worry. We wouldn't dare marginalize a disease we've so carefully nurtured for many years. So, to get through this, we're gonna go grab us a scotch and Tab. BRB.)

OK. Hit it, Lisa.

Scarlet Rope By Lisa Cauble

Lord, please rescue me
Or I will surely drown.
In over my head
I'm afraid I'm going down.
Clinging to Your hand
While the storm is all around.
As You walk on water
Lead me to higher ground.

Speaking of being rescued, we'd skip to the end, but what's lurking there isn't much prettier. We'll give you a 130-word hint:

Thankfully, my sweet daughters also offered to help me out this week. The other day, the girls asked me why I was so stressed lately. (I probably just snapped at them for some tiny little infraction.) I explained that I had made the mistake of over committing myself and now I was paying the price. Haven asked, "Can we help?" I jokingly replied, "Yes. You can write something for me." Clancy piped up, "Well, actually, Mom, I did write a little something a few nights ago when I couldn’t get to sleep. You can use it for one of your journal entries, if that would help." When she sent me the following file, I was completely at a loss for words. (And, as you can imagine, that almost never happens.)

First of all, "I probably just snapped at them for some tiny little infraction" doesn't seem like it belongs in parentheses. It seems like it belongs in therapy. Would someone please put The Mommy in Me on Medication? Thanx.

Second of all, we don't know if we should, in fact, skip the song and get to Clancy's essay or post the song. It's like having to choose between Phil Collins and James Taylor.

OK, we'll post the rest of the song. Here's a helpful tip to get you through it. Substitute "chorus" with "drink," and then, obviously, do so.

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.


I lift my hands
To reach for You
Hold tight the scarlet rope.
I lift my hands
And trust in You
My Savior and my Hope.

In this battle for my soul
I'm a prisoner of war.
Doing things I promised
I would never do before.
Finally, I cry Your name,
"Deliver me once more.
All that I have lost
Only You could now restore."

Repeat Chorus

Filling broken cisterns.
Lighting my own fire.
Making all my plans.
Forgetting to inquire,
Of You, most holy Lord,
To Whom I now retire
My might and my power.
Your Spirit, I desire.

Repeat Chorus

Anyway, the most we can say about that "song" is that we're now totally uncomfortable in the least entertained way possible. If we were really ambitious, we'd write a response in similarly rhymed verse. Sorry, did we say "ambitious"? We meant "insane." You'll have to do that yourselves, then. Feel free to post them in the comments section. We'd have a giveaway for best entry, but then we'd have to give away something.

Moving on!

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Why? By Clancy Cauble

Why? One of the most commonly asked questions of human existence. "Why didn’t you call me?!" "Why did she break up with him??" "Why didn’t you eat your vegetables?" There are many different people we direct this question to but there’s one Person that almost everyone has asked….God. "Why me, God?" "Why her, God?" "Why not, God?"

This is way too easy, but we'll do it anyway. All together:

Why are we going to read this???

The front page news after 9/11 screamed, "Why did God let this happen?" "If God really loves us then why did he let thousands of people die?" No one ever truly knows God’s motives but we do know this. God always has our best in mind. Now, that doesn’t mean we can’t screw it up, because man, can I mess things up. But it does mean that God isn’t letting all of this happen as some cruel joke.

Boy, it's hard to speak for Texans, but we will go ahead and speak for those who lived less than a mile from ground zero on 9/11 and say the ensuing odor of burning that continued to waft through our apartment six months after the tragedy was, in our opinion, a pretty cruel joke. Clancy.

Believe me, I’ve been through some pretty hard times.

Yeah, but have you had to smell burning six month... oh, never mind.

I remember one time in particular. I was sitting on my bed crying, and my mom said, "Do you know what the key to life is?" I said "What?" "Trust." she said, "Trust that God allowed these things to happen for a reason, trust that as long as you obey Him it will get better, trust that He’s going to get you through. All you have to do is give it up to him."

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for the eagerly anticipated key to life. Not Socrates or Plato or Da Vinci or Einstein could provide an explanation for such a deeply shrouded mystery. No, it would take a great mind to reveal that long-guarded information. A great, great, great mind.

Clancy, here's the key to your mom's advice: Don't take it.

I took her advice and it actually helped. (I know crazy right?)

Oh, never mind.

I simply said, "Okay, God, I give this up to You. You are in control. Please just give me the strength to get through." And I mean it wasn’t like some miraculous thing where everything got better immediately but I did feel a little more peaceful, and that peace just kept on growing and growing.

And growing and growing until one day it made it OK to hijack a group bike trip and use the leader as a chauffeur for non-scheduled shopping. And that's just the tip of the Christberg.

The best part was that I learned something from it and, believe it or not, I was actually glad that it had happened. I mean, I learned more about God and his loving comfort and strength in that one situation than I probably would have learned in a year if it hadn’t happened.

Wait. Did something actually happen? Yes, we've been busy mocking a blameless teenager, but we could swear nothing has actually specifically happened in any of this essay.

Like mother, like daughter.

Now whenever something comes up that would have been humongous or seems unconquerable. I say, "I can do this. I have God on my side cheering me on and giving me strength."

Clancy, sweetheart, the rest of us call that drinking. It takes much less time to write that. Trust.

So, whenever you find yourself in a hard situation, instead of asking "Why? Why did you let this happen God?!" Stop, and ask, "What? What do you want to teach me, God?" "Who? Who do you want me to reach, God?" "Where? Where do you want me to go, God?"

It could be us just overgayacting, but is she just quoting Godspell here?

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(Sorry—we couldn't find a photo of a cat playing Jesus, we don't know the first thing about Photoshop and we love Victor Garber.)

That usually leads me back to "Why," but this time I come at it from a different perspective. Why? Why would someone as big as God want to use me as his instrument? And then I have to say…. "Wow!"

Amen to that, sugar.

We hoped you've enjoyed this rare glimpse into Christian homeschooling at work. We learned that apparently they push punctuation as much as god. As for the song, well, we think that's better left unspoken about.

But not unsung about!

I lift my neck
To reach for you
Pull tight the scarlet rope.
I lift my neck
And thrust in you
My savior and my hope.

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Till next week, hang in there!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "A Sticky Situation."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

It's part two of the non-bike bike trip, people! And, boy are there some non-surprise surprises in store. What say you grab a cup of maple syrup and some maple syrup and read on?

Last time we talked, my mom and I were sitting at an adorable restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont enjoying a bowl of chili, playing cards, and missing my grandmother. Next, the waitress brought the chicken with ranch dressing flatbread. Imagine pizza with extremely crisply crust. Delicious.

We love how Lisa refers to her blog as "talking." As if her readers have a chance to respond to her prattle. Really, it's the perfect forum for her.

Oh, and what the Christ is "chicken with ranch dressing flatbread"? We don't believe for a second it has anything to do with pizza because we don't believe Lisa has ever seen a pizza. You can't fry pizza, right?

While in Boston we tried to eat everything indigenous to New England. Today we were on our maple syrup kick. We ate Maple syrup cotton candy and maple dipped cashews earlier, so for dessert we ordered a maple syrup ice cream sundae. Yummy! You can tell we aren’t real bikers.

We could tell you weren't bikers without the help of 1,424 fucking maple syrup concoctions, thank you. However, with the mention of said treats, we'll be forced to now think of you as fat non-bikers.

Our guide, Michelle, showed up toward the end of our meal with her fruit and yogurt lunch. We secretly laughed at her until it was time to get back on our bikes and ride the 22 miles back to the Inn.

What!?! Michelle has been nothing but accommodating to these two fat non-bikers, and they go laugh at her for eating a healthy, ENERGY-RICH snack?

What pious assholes. Srsly.

We quickly realized we were going to have to let all this food digest a bit first. So, we HAD to go shopping.

Undoubtedly with Michelle as chauffeur/hostage.

Last week, the lady who is in charge of all the wardrobe for the upcoming Bible Study DVD filming came to my house to see what I had in my closet that we could use for the taping. Besides being a stylist, she is also an image consultant. That means she is qualified to help you with an extreme makeover.

Good. When can she come over? We've been dying for a makeover ever since they started making those almond M&Ms and we let ourselves go to pieces. Pieces!

I was very excited when she offered to go through my closet and throw out anything I shouldn’t be wearing according to my age, body type, coloring, etc. I didn’t anticipate how painful this could be. She hauled off large garbage bags of some of my favorite outfits, many I have been wearing since my children were born. (I guess that was why she threw them out.)

Oh, to have been the hobo who went through that trash pile. Actually, would any readers in Texas want to find him to interview him? It'll be pretty easy—he'll be the one sleeping under the enormous tent that looks like this...

I later found out that she told a mutual friend that if she had really thrown out everything that I shouldn’t be wearing I would have to walk around naked until I could afford to buy all new clothes.

We're honestly trying to figure out if Lisa walking around naked would be much worse than her walking around in her clothes of choice.

Sorry. Of course it would be.

Well, at least we have a new BFF: the stylist.

Not that this is really new information. I get teased about my lack of style all of the time. Actually, I do have a style it is called “Comfort” with a capital “C.” Apparently, comfort doesn’t translate well on camera.

Nor in places outside of Mars.

All that to say, I needed to go shopping. So, I bought a cute pair of corduroy pants, a pair of shoes and the most authentic Vermont looking sweater I could find. Super-duper comfy. My favorite kind. (I’m going to be sure and hide it before the stylist comes over again.)

Witness here a perfect example of Whelchian logic:

1.) Stylist tells Lisa what clothes do not work for her.

2.) Lisa defines taboo clothes as "Comfort" clothes.

3.) Stylist gets rid of "Comfort" clothes.

4.) Lisa needs to buy new clothes.

5.) Lisa buys "Comfort" clothes.

We probably could have illustrated that theory in two steps, but, in true Whelchel spirit, we decided to explain something simple difficultly.

We were finally ready to make the long trek back.

Wait for it...

We met Michelle at the van to load our packages.

Last week we wanted to punch Michelle. This week we feel it would be more correct to refer to her as St. Michelle of Assisting Fat Non-Bikers Around Vermont.

She informed us that we really didn’t have time to make it all the way back before dinner.

Of course.

We were genuinely disappointed.

Of course.

So, she drove us about nine miles down the road and dropped us off so we could ride the remaining 13 miles. We felt great and so proud of ourselves when we finally rode into town just in time for another fabulous dinner!

Honestly, we're kind of too angry to come up with anything amusing. Sorry. Not angry. Seething.

I have to admit, by the time dinner was over that evening the soreness was already setting in rapidly.

Yeah, fucking ingesting maple syrup Hot Pockets and Twinkies will get the best of anyone.

We hurt all over, especially…okay, how to put this delicately…let’s just say that I’ve had three c-sections but I’m fairly certain I now know what the day after a traditional delivery feels like.

Oh, just say it, Lisa. Your vag hurt. If god made your body, god made your vag. It's OK to talk about it. We've all seen one!

Well, most of us.

Oh! And allow us to go ahead and assume the pain is not from biking.

We figured a nighttime soak in the hot tub was just what our tired muscles needed.

Yeah, that's not gonna help.

The next morning we woke up thankful that the sky was clear so we could ride the entire 25 mile trip. We got an early start and especially enjoyed today’s route with lots of back roads and beautiful covered bridges. I strapped on my ipod, popped in one earplug (I left one out so I could hear traffic, etc.) and set my playlist to my favorite motion picture soundtracks. I imagined myself in a slow-motion montage, riding through the fall foliage, with David Foster and Dave Grusin scoring my journey with their incomparable musical genius.

That's funny—we just imagined ourselves in a slow-motion montage killing David Foster and Dave Grusin with fall foliage. But we do have to say, we're very glad Lisa left one ear unplugged for traffic. She really sets a good example for her readers. If you ignore every other paragraph. Of every other Coffee Talk. Ever.

Oh, and, Steve Jobs, were you aware that Lisa has an iPod? Is that, like, OK?

Later in the day, I selected Josh Grobin and had a spiritual experience all in itself as my front wheel barreled through freshly fallen orange, red, purple, and yellow leaves. I’m not kidding you, just as Josh and Charlotte Church crescendoed in their duet, “The Prayer,” a strong breeze swept through the trees and leaves start swirling from everywhere. It felt like I was in the middle of a snow globe, except I was surrounded by beautiful leaves.

Allow us to work this out mathematically:

If Josh Grobin + Charlotte Church + leaves = Lisa Whelchel spiritual experience (LWSE), then LWSE ≤ chili and sea bass

We'll clarify in movie critic's terms. The sophomore effort, while certainly worthwhile and enjoyable, arguably did not equal the astonishing debut.

I can’t even begin to express the worship I entered into when I tuned my ipod to CeCe Winans “Throne Room” while riding through views like the one in the picture.

See, Mr. Jobs. She thinks you tune an iPod. It's not a radio, lady!

Along the way, we stopped at a working maple syrup farm.

Oh, for the love of god.

We learned so much. This was the only time I wished my kids were with me. (The homeschool teacher in me, I guess.)

1.) Ouch. We feel for you, Tucker, Clancy and Haven. Well, Tucker. Kind of.

2.) We just want to make sure, Lisa, that the homeschool teacher in you knows that "The homeschool teacher in me, I guess" is not a sentence.

The couple who own and run the farm let us taste-test all the different grades of syrup. (And I thought there was only the one kind we bought at Costco.) We also discovered a new treat, maple cream. We determined we would have to also come back in the winter when they have maple snow ice cream day. The farms allow families to visit with their spoons while they pour maple syrup on the snow and let the kids dig in. Sounds like so much fun!

Sounds like a fucking sugar headache is what it sounds like. Jesus. How much maple syrup can one human consume? (We only ask because we want to know if it's less than or equal to the amount of maple syrup one Lisa Whelchel can consume.)

Sadly, about fifteen miles into the day’s ride, it started to pour rain like buckets, complete with thunder and lightning. My mom and I tried to keep riding but the rain was blinding and Michelle determined it was too dangerous. I couldn’t believe what a difference one day and 50 miles could make. We were extremely disappointed. We were having so much fun and we weren’t tired at all.

ARRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHH! You know why we're angrier than ever here, right? Right? We don't have to explain this one, right?

Still, I had a strange peace about the aborted ride. I just knew our very sovereign God was up to something.

Wow. "Aborted" and "God" just seven words away from each other. We're kinda proud of you, Whelchel. Still totally angry. But a little proud.

We soon found out what it was. Between packing up, driving in traffic and getting lost on the way to the rental car company, there was every possibility that we would have missed our flight – again. And, this was the last flight out for the night. I’m so glad that when Steve isn’t there to take care of me, that God still is.

So basically Lisa is saying that because god did not allow her and her mom to finish the bike ride, the reason they came to Vermont in the first place, they had time to return to being assholes about everything else. Nice work, god.

My mom and I played cards almost the whole flight home. Can you believe she came back from behind and beat me?! I guess she’ll be eating a juicy steak soon. I’m so thankful we took my Nanny’s advice and hopped on that train – and our bikes!

Just to clarify, the train is the Nanny's proverbial train. The plane is how they really got home. And the bikes are what they did not ride.

Anyway, that brings us to the end of this week's Coffee Talk. We hope you didn't enjoy Lisa and her mom's non-bike bike trip in Vermont as much as we didn't. We just want to point out, in case you missed it with all the maple syrup smoke and mirrors Lisa conjured up, that we think it's quite interesting that a purportedly godly woman like Lisa would go on a group trip and not mention word one about anyone in the group. Isn't her job as a Christian supposed to involve talking to people, getting to know them, bringing them together, sharing the joy etc? All we get is how much she and her mom took advantage of the group leader. And without one word of thanks from either of them.

This is the perfect example, friends, of why we, as Jews, don't feel one bit of regret for killing Christ.

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Two things, one unnecessary.

From your BN editorial team:

1.) Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your comments. We lurve comments because comments mean you're reading the site. We also adore your pointing out what we miss. You see, each of Lisa's entries is so chock full of nuttiness that it would be impossible for us, in the limited amount of time we have to post each week, to process it all. Alas, we have established a rule for ourselves—we write the first thought that comes to us whilst reading each Coffee Talk entry. After we then post, we come back occasionally to proofread during which we certainly have new thoughts, wish we had never committed to old ones, etc. However, if we entertained those urges, we'd be rewriting this site forever, and, clearly, life's way too short.

SO, the point is, good job highlighting certain bits of Whelchel bananas we may have overlooked. Please continue. Just make sure you lavish praise on us first. Obviously.

2.) For reading the above bit of hoo-ha, here's a gift:

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Mother, the Car Is Here."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

This week, Lisa and her mom go for a bike ride. A bike ride that in no way could have ever lasted longer than her post about it. Hope your tires have air in them...

So…my mom randomly asks me if I would ever like to go with her on a weekend bike trip in Vermont. I said, sure that sounds fun. The next day she asks me if I’m available the following weekend. Amazingly, yes. That is how we decided to go on (what we thought was to be) a 30-mile bike trip.

Well, hello, Mother Whelchel. We don't believe we've had the pleasure. But we already admire you for choosing to spend the obligatory time with your daughter in a situation where you can pretend you don't hear her.

Never mind the fact that I don’t own a bike and the last time I even rode one was probably sometime before I had children. My Nanny always told me, “Catch that train while you can because you never know if it will pass this way again.”

That was from episode 7 of season 3, the one where Yetta goes on the subway and antics ensue.

My Nanny was a wise woman so my mom and I hopped on this train.

Ouch. Mom got outplayed by the Nanny. This should be interesting.

Or not.

The brochure said that we would be biking 12 miles the first day and 17 miles the second day. We realized we better get training before we flew to New England on the following Friday. On Monday we rode the stationary bike for six miles. On Tuesday we rode real bikes for six miles. On Wednesday we bought bike shirts, socks, and shorts (not the tight ones!)

(Thank god!)

On Thursday we biked in our neighborhood another six miles. That was the extent of our training.

Four days of training? Jesus. Hey. We have an idea, Mother Whelchel. Next time how about you suggest you and your daughter go for a 30-mile how-to-use-a-comma trip?

My mom picked me up at my house at 5:00 in the morning to catch a 6:40 flight. We got to talking and laughing on the way to the airport and forgot to call to verify the departing gate. Of course, we ended up parking in the wrong terminal. We finally arrived at the check-in counter only to learn that we were five minutes late for the 40-minute-before- departure window of time allotted for checking luggage. We had our toiletries in our bags so we couldn’t take them on board with us. We decided to put our luggage on the next flight and we’d still take the earlier one.

Remember when we said we admired Mother Whelchel? Scratch that.

And be sure to join us for the next episode of When Out-of-Touch-with-Reality Humans Do Everyday Things when Lisa Whelchel and her mother go to the supermarket to buy gas and try to pay with barley.

We had to catch the airline terminal skylink train to get to the departure gate. Wouldn’t you know it, one side was shut down for maintenance. That meant, rather than being two stops away from our gate we had to ride around the entire airport back to almost where we started in the first place. By the time we finally arrived at the gate, they had already closed the door of the plane and wouldn’t open it for us to board. Oh well, we’ll just have a nice breakfast and catch the same flight with our luggage.

We never, ever thought we'd say this, but thank you, Homeland Security!

Not quite. The new flight leaves from the gate we just came from. We decided we better not take a chance on missing this flight by eating at a sit-down restaurant. So, we grabbed a bagel sandwich, reboarded the airline train, toured the perimeter of the airport and disembarked in time for early boarding.

Be sure to join us for the next episode of When Out-of-Touch-with-Reality Humans Kill Time when Lisa Whelchel and her mother eat a burrito wrap and take a tour of a chair.

By this time, I’m really missing Steve.

For the love of god. This might be a good time, Whelchel, to think back when you weren't attracted to him and wondered how you were going to manage to have kids with him. (Please see our previous post if you've forgotten.)

He takes care of all of these details for me and I don’t even have to think.

That explains a lot, actually. Though does that mean Steve is ghostwriting these Coffee Talk entries?

Apparently, my thinker is out of shape and I better get it together again if I’m going to be in charge this weekend.

"My thinker." Nah. All Whelchel.

While on the plane, my mom challenged me to a three-day “Gin Rummy” tournament. The goal was to play as many hands as possible and whoever had the most points by the time we touched back down at DFW on Sunday night would take the other one out for a steak dinner. The heat was on! Can you believe I won all but one game while we were on that flight? My mom seriously considered catching a plane to Vegas when we landed in Boston. It was a pretty amazing streak of good luck.

Be sure to join us for the next episode of When Out-of-Touch-with-Reality Humans Have Fun when Lisa Whelchel and her mother rent a video. (Don't worry—we're done with this "joke.")

That is about the only luck we had all day, though. After our departure fiasco, we finally landed in Boston. I, being rather frugal by nature, rented the tiniest car possible from the cheapest rental car place available. I’m pretty sure we rode the rental van from the airport in Boston, caught a ferry, went through two tunnels and finally ended up at an off-site rental company in a neighboring state – all to save $3 dollars-a-day.

Maybe you'd like to ask Steve, in taking care of all the details, where the fuck the Facts of Life money is. As evidenced by almost every single post on our site, we'd sure like to. We understand it probably wasn't much, but, come on. Days Inns and now this? Lisa, the trick with rental cars is to rent the cheapest car you can find at a company located IN THE AIRPORT. Then, when you get there, either they don't have any of the cheapest cars available and you get upgraded for free. Or you upgrade yourself and dole out an extra $10 to ride in comfort. Especially when you're with your elderly mom.

Cheap bitch.

My original goal for catching such an early flight was to have time to grab lunch at my all-time favorite place to eat in Boston, “Serendipity3” for their specialty, a frozen hot chocolate. We navigated the rental car through the endless construction and tunnels to Faneuil Hall Marketplace only to discover that my favorite restaurant closed down years ago. Bummer!


We decided to find a local restaurant and make the best of it by eating everything “Boston” we could order. For lunch we shared: Boston baked beans, New England Clam Chowder and crab cakes, while playing more cards. My winning streak continued to hold up through lunch.

Whore. (Sorry. We had to finish it out.)

We still had a three-hour drive ahead of us so we hopped back in the car and drove the next two hours in crazy traffic, making us dangerously close to missing dinner at the bed and breakfast. This whole time my mom kept saying, “We are on vacation and we are together – don’t worry about it.”

We like Mother Whelchel again. Well, as much as you can like someone who spawned Lisa.

OK, we loathe her.

So, we didn’t. Instead, we swerved off at a local Target to buy more supplies.

Huzzah! An official Whelchel naming of a chain! Unfortunately, it's Target. Girl, whatcho doin' in mah Target? Wasn't there a Wal-Mart nearby? Shit.

Rain was in the forecast so we bought rain gear, energy bars, bottled water, bike gloves, sweat bands, and a cute little bike bag for the front of my rental bike.

Which reminds us—we just bought a cute little desk bag for the front of our desk because we're really tired of getting vomit on the computer. RILLY tired.

We drove into the “Inn at Water’s Edge” just as they were serving the first course of dinner. My mom and I spent the next couple of hours with our tongues hanging out. Nothing! was as we expected.

That's a lot like how we didn't expect to hear about Lisa and her mom's tongues hanging out.

Sorry. Let us rewrite that sentence in Whelchel style:

That's a lot! like how we didn't "expect" to hear, about Lisa and, her mom's tongues, hanging, out I miss Steve!

For starters, this was a really fancy five-star bed-and-breakfast that served a four-course dinner each night. I was satisfied after the pasta dish and that was only the beginning. There was still a salad, a tiny dish of lime sherbet (to cleanse our palette,) the main dish and dessert, still to come.

Apparently, Lisa and her mom were not only eating but also painting. Pay attention, ladies:

A palette is either the board on which a painter mixes his pigments or a particular range, quality or use of color (Merriam-Webster, palette). A palate is the roof of the mouth, or, in the above implied meaning, a usually intellectual taste or liking (Merriam-Webster, palate). "Palette" is not an acceptable spelling of "palate," as the two words have very different meanings (see above). However, kudos for the correct spelling of "sherbet."

We were also surprised when my mom was served her entrée. You see, when we called to say we were running late they asked us which of the four entrees we would like for dinner. I chose the chicken and my mom chose the chili and sea bass. (That sounded really good on this crisp, cool, fall evening.) By the time my mom was served her ganache chocolate cheesecake, we realized she wasn’t going to get her bowl of chili. We later figured out she had ordered “Chilean sea bass.” Oops. We felt like real hicks.


Deep breaths.


We don't know what's worse. The fact that we momentarily thought, Chili and sea bass—now that's different! Or that we're going to continue reading after Lisa and her mother thought they ordered CHILI AND SEA BASS.

For the love of god.

The next thing to stun us was meeting the group with which we would be riding for the next two days. They were all so young and fit! They brought their own professional bikes and gear and they obviously knew what they were doing. Uh Oh, we were in big trouble. My mom affectionately dubbed them “The Kennedys.” They talked of vacationing at their island home and parties at the lake house and grandparents that had letters from the president hidden behind circus costumes. And we were at the other end of the table still waiting for our bowl of chili.

We really don't have much to say here. Other than to formally ask what possessed two never-bike-riders that they could do a 30-mile bike trip IN VERMONT? God may work in mysterious ways, but we challenge him/her/it to explain this one.

Oh, and when you figure it out, god, we'll be at the other end of the table still waiting for our bowl of chili.

After dinner, we met with our adorable tour guide, Michelle. Now, picture your favorite camp counselor, imagine her spending her life biking, hiking, cross-country snowshoeing, helicopter-dropped skiing, and eating granola she gathered herself, and you get the picture. This girl knew the outdoors intimately.

Can one "gather" granola? Wouldn't that just be dirt? Oh, and if we ever met adorable Michelle, we'd adorably punch her.

We took a seat in the billiard room to go over the bike route for the next day. My mother and I looked across the room at each other with panic in our eyes when Michelle passed out the maps. The shortest distance planned was a 22-mile loop but everyone quickly agreed that the 44-mile loop to Woodstock and back was the way to go, with the possibility of an additional 20-mile hill-climbing option if everyone felt up for it. Oh my goodness! We were definitely in deep trouble.


We went back to our room scared to death. Neither one of us had ever ridden farther than six miles and we were just praying we could make it the 12-miles advertised on the website for the first day’s route.

Oh, just so you know, in true Whelchel fashion, just as her entry begins to get semi-semi-exciting, it approaches closure. Not that that's a bad thing, obviously. But we just didn't want you to get confused or anything.

We finally got to the happy place we needed to be to get some sleep by deciding that we were there to make a memory together and if we had to ride six miles, then load our bikes up on the van and drive to the Woodstock, only to eat lunch and shop the rest of the day, then that is just what we would do.

What troupers! Oh, and just so you know, the uncomfortable tingling you're experiencing presently is your body sensing the scrapbook entry that's going to come of all this. If it gets too unbearble, stop reading and immediately make yourself a Stoli and Hi-C.

In the meantime, I sent a text message to my friend, Priscilla, and my mom sent one to my sister-in-law, Maria, asking them to pray for rain.

That's weird. Priscilla and Maria don't sound like Indians.

The next morning we awoke to rain.

They must know Indians.

Praise the Lord! We were saved. Or so we thought. But, no! These lunatics were planning to ride in the rain.

Um, OF COURSE THEY WERE. People like Michelle enjoy horrible challenges. Not to mention getting as dirty as possible. And not in a good way. In a bad, bad way. See, Lisa, this is why you have cable. So you don't actually have to do any of this crap. Wait. You do have cable, right? Steve hasn't taken that away.


We had no choice, we had to play along. We suited up in our Target rain pants and jacket and took off in the pelting rain.

These people were crazy! Mom and I made it the first five miles and were graciously met by Michelle at the bottom of “Hysteria Hill.” She offered to load up our bikes and drive us to the top. “Yeah, thanks. In this rain, I just don’t know if we could make it.” (I didn’t mention the fact that we couldn’t even have made that hill on electric bikes!)

What pusses.

Lisa and her mom are totally the unenthusiastic people in the tour that you want to kill from the moment you begin the tour. And by "tour," we mean, "watching old episodes of The View."

The rest of the day was idyllic. We stopped at the Calvin Coolidge birthplace and memorial. We drank his favorite drink, Moxie, and ate Maple Syrup cotton candy. We taste-tested Vermont cheddar cheese and bought souvenirs.

Again, this can all be done at 3 a.m. on the Travel Channel.

Sorry. Did we say Travel Channel?

We meant Boring Shit That No One Else Ever Does Channel (173 on NYC Time Warner).

Once again, Michelle came to our rescue by driving up with the van just about the time we remembered that we were traveling on bicycles and had just bought another five pounds to stuff into our little bike bags.

Aw. Michelle. Now we want to adorably punch her for catering to these shenanigans.

Four hours and 22-miles later, my mom and I finally arrived in Woodstock.

That would be so sweet if it were 1969 and/or we were completely high.

The rest of the team had already come and gone, and were halfway up the optional hill-climbing route. We didn’t care. We had just ridden 10 miles farther than either one of us even dreamed we would.

Yeah. Who cares about ruining an event people look forward to for months? We're sure they didn't mind. Just like Lisa wouldn't mind if two people showed up to one of her Foursquare conventions and totally inconvenienced her.

Email us if you're in.

Perhaps, the best memory of the whole weekend was still ahead. We stumbled onto this adorable little pub where we finally got to eat our bowl of chili. But this wasn’t just any bowl of chili. It was a tureen of turkey, beef, and bean chili covered with melted Vermont cheddar cheese. It was still raining outside and we were wet, but warm, on the inside, getting warmer by the minute – physically and emotionally!

And fattily. Ugh.

My mom and I relished every second of this wonderful experience, making this amazing memory.

At the expense of others' memories, of course.

Our mantra from the moment we signed up for this weekend had been, “What were we thinking!” From this moment on, our mantra became, “Nanny would have loved this!” I haven’t missed my beloved, adventurous, grandmother this much since she went to be with Jesus.

Is that where she went? 'Cause we think she's probably living in Argentina and not missing her selfish daughter and granddaughter.

We turned a definite corner over lunch and for the rest of the trip we chose to enjoy each challenge to the fullest, grabbing this train and jumping on, ready to enjoy the adventure wherever it took us. I still have a day-and-a-half to write about but I have to wrap it up for now.


I’m in Michigan for a MomTime Getaway and I need to shower, get the kids up from their nap, and get to the church for the first night. I wish you all were here. Can’t wait to share the rest of this trip with you next week.

Be sure to join us for the next episode of When Out-of-Touch-with-Reality Humans Think They Can Do Something They've Never Done Before and End Up Selfishly Destroying the Experience for Others While Cluelessly Yet Passionately Believing They're the Only Ones Who Matter in the First Place when Lisa Whelchel and her mother merely exist.

Until then, enjoy the chili and sea bass.