Tag Archives: Baby

Home Grown Terrorists

(Please excuse my missed holiday blog reentry date on 1/5/12 as was previously promised, but I was taken out by a home grown terrorist—thus the subject of this post!)

Do you know what I discovered over the holidays?  Pull together a bunch of 3 – 6 year olds and you could form your own terrorist cell that could wipe out anyone, any town, any country, or any nation at your command because they stealthily engage in CBW:  Chemical Biological Warfare.  Since this is information that is so volatile, I feel it should be conveyed immediately. It works on a Trojan horse system (you only need one carrier depending on the square footage).  Send them in as “cute ambassadors” masquerading as little grandchildren or siblings, cousins or nieces and nephews with just a stuffy nose with a gentle sneeze or two, and something equivalent to the bubonic plague ensues on all those with a compromised immune system due to overwork, lack of sleep, auto-immune diseases, just being old, or people who don’t eat meat (vegetarians—you don’t stand a chance).  

I’m writing this blog while lying on the floor with a bottle of Gatorade intravenously dripping into my vein after having had my ass kicked by a 3-year-old terrorist who, having spent Christmas with me, simply kissed me on the cheek with a sweet smile, patted me on the back, and then vanished on the Amtrak line headed north.

I’m down for the count with a fever, chills, sinus infection, no feeling in my legs, no ability to stand up for more than five seconds at a time, no appetite (which means you know I’m dying) and no ability to swallow or think.  I never saw it coming.  Said three-year-old entered my home with no other accomplices except his handler.  The “terrorist’s” nose was stuffy and he gently sneezed once or twice (we all thought it was an allergy to the live Christmas tree), but that was it.  He was so sweet and entertaining.  How on Earth could he have been lethal?  We had a very pleasant time with him with lots of activities and games, and he was a champ.  The only time I suspected he was a “little off” was when he would stop and “belt” out a perfectly-pitched-full-throated-operatic-Maria-Callas-“A”-note as if sounding a secret alarm to someone, but since that was always done with a smile, we just thought it was hysterical and quirky—nothing more.  I didn’t start feeling a little under the weather until the funky “Madagascar Ice Show” we attended on his behalf, but it wasn’t enough to draw my attention.

Ice Show (notice “said terrorist” in bottom right with calculated look of destruction)

Blogger is second from left at top and sinking from weakness in knees and slight dizziness (hoping picture taking will end soon before I collapse)—first sign of CBW attack taking effect

Disclaimer:  Sister of blogger top left says to let my readers know—“I AM NOT FAT!  One of baby terrorist’s tricks is to make ice parkas puff up to make one appear three times larger than life!”


I read an article some years ago in the Smithsonian magazine written by Natalie Angier about Bonnie Bassler. Dr. Bassler studies microbial communicators at Princeton, and she seems to be a person who has great insight into body marauders and squatters.  According to Ms. Angier, Dr. Bassler contends that bacteria can talk, are multilingual, have their own dialects, and can send signals to one another — rallying each other to wage warfare. One of Dr. Bassler’s experiments is to block the little buggers from locating their relatives and ganging up on their human hosts. She contends that while some may be harmless when they are alone, if they can locate their peeps and communicate with them, determining that they have a sizeable quorum, they will engage in a malicious war agenda against the human body. The journalist underscored that their attacks can range anywhere from instigating plaque wars against our teeth or destroying half of Europe in the form of the bubonic plague.

I am convinced that 3 to 6 year olds are in contact with the bacterial buggers disovered by Ms. Bassler, and consequently they are capable of taking over the world by letting the bacteria know they’ve infected a host.  But a one-off incident does not a theory make.  I did some research and got notification from other friends who were down for the count after visiting their grandchildren and little nieces and nephews during the holiday season, and they provided conclusive evidence that when they returned home they were unable to function or stand, had come down with the strep throat from Hell, the flu from sub-Hell, the sinus infection from Satan’s den, fever and chills from the Devil’s demons, diarrhea from the most infested swamp on Earth, and had become highly contagious enough to wipe out a Metropolis.  Most of the sickies (including me) ended up in Urgent Care Centers in lines with hundreds of other miserable souls–or so it seemed.

So here’s my proposal to the Pentagon and other people who want to work mayhem on the Earth.  Need more weapons with lower overhead? I’ve got a new weapons system for you—all you need to run this program is tender-loving-care and a strong immune system!


  • Operatives should be a herd of 3 -6 year olds.
  • All operatives must have handlers who are mommies, nannies, and nursery school or grandmother commandos (I’m told that these handlers eventually become immune or can be shored up with large doses of vitamin c as long as they are not above 70 or so).
  • Send these urchins out in groups of ones, twos, and threes to people you absolutely hate and want to take out—the more adorable the CBW carriers the better the CBW strike
  • Best to come in undercover (Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, a birthday, family reunion) so that activity is not suspect.
    • Have operative plant biological infestation with one or two kisses and a delicious hug on the target and the work will be done (I’ve been told by one of my peeps that 14 three-year-olds in a nursery school can return home after a week at play and take out a village in a weekend).
    • Send in the drones (whomever you’ve chosen to “kick ass” and clean up) five days later while your enemies are all writhing on the floor and trying to suck chicken soup through a straw to survive.
    • Once the bacteria is deposited—remove your operative and handler immediately and return to home base so that no one comes under suspicion.

Our commando came to us with sparkling eyes, a beautiful smile, and a charming disposition.  Everything about him was delightful.  He laughed on cue, posed on “say cheese,” and danced like a baby Michael Jackson.  My operative would stop in mid-stream and his butt would wiggle to the inner perfect syncopation of MJ’s “Thriller” as if he had been programmed with it from birth.

CBW surveying usNotice sneaky surveillance look when he thought I wasn’t aware

No matter where you took him he stole the show and was perfectly behaved.  He was inquisitive and amazingly smart.  If you said:  “Baby:  please stop and pretend to smell the Christmas flowers,” he’d not only smell them but he’d pretend to listen to them as if they were talking to him and sending him coded messages. (Now I think that is exactly what they were doing!)

He seemed so innocent when he collapsed from sheer exhaustion after opening the thousands of presents with his name on them on Christmas Day.  Who knew that he was simply resting because his CBW had been transferred to me?

I haven’t been able to drive or walk up and down stairs since the three-year-old operative and his mother departed.   When I called his mother about the home grown terrorist, she said she couldn’t talk because he had barricaded her in the kitchen upon their return with an intricate twine contraption, was checking in with headquarters, and was setting up strategy for his next terrorist campaign.

Notice 2-panty head-gear that seems to be de reiguér with convoluted Sippy cup in hand


I am discovering that I don’t know about anybody else’s little terrorist, but my CBW visitor was pretty darn adorable and irresistible, so I’m going to have to figure out a way to reengage with him but with a preplanned infusion of Emergen-C© a month before he arrives.  In the meantime, I need to ring the servant’s bell for WW (my husband) to bring me some more chicken soup, have him click “publish” on this post, and take nap number “three” today while WW responds to my blog comments.  See you on Thursday (I hope)—our regularly scheduled blog time.   And in the meantime:  Be afraid – be very afraid!

The Author (still alive after the holidays, thank God!)

Text and photos by Eleanor and John Tomczyk © 2011

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on January 7, 2012 in Uncategorized


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I’ll Be Home for Christmas


Do you know what I’ve discovered?  No matter how hard I try, I don’t have anything original to say about Christmas.  I’ve almost worried myself into a heart attack this week trying to come up with something pithy to say in my 2011 Christmas letter.  I got nothing—bupkis!   It’s all been done.  After days of fretting, the only thing I can say is that my three favorite Christmas stories are A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation by John Hughes, and The Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd.  Put those three stories together (which I watch every year) and you’ll get my humorous take on all things Christmas.

I will tell you that in my 63 years of existence, my Christmases have been touched by horror and by deep pain, but they have also been graced with weird wonderment and joy, while being tangled up in multiple cords of three-twined commercialism, with massive bows of:  if the family portrait of what you think Christmas is supposed to be can go wrong, it will go wrong.  My first Christmas was my first memory in life (three years old), and it found me trying to rescue my one and only toy off the top of a frozen eviction pile heaped high outside a padlocked house in The Cleve, while my mother dissolved into her first wave of schizophrenia right before my eyes.  But that is the opening to my memoir (When Monsters Come Out to Play), so that Christmas story can’t be told here but hopefully will have the good fortune of being published next year.  Are you listening, Santa, Baby?

You can imagine since I met my husband (White and Wonderful) thirty-eight years ago, that I have tried to “live the Christmas dream” I never had when it came to creating a wonderful holiday for my children.  I always thought that if Christmas was great for the kids, then it would translate to our children all was right with the world.  Sometimes I hit the target right in the bull’s-eye, and sometimes I missed it by a mile.  Because as a family, you’ll never know who or what’s going to show up (or not show up) on any given Christmas, given the fine print on every family Christmas photo that says, “Have a Merry Christmas, but don’t forget when it comes to humans—all kinds of shit can hit the fan.”

Google Image

All of us have the illusion that the “heart” of our family Christmases should look like an 1800’s postcard which shows an adoring family, grateful for their modest gifts (no brats screaming in protest about the presents they didn’t get), wise and caring grandparents (not grumpy or cranky at all), and contentment with our lot in life, because we’ve only known good bounty from the hand of a loving God.  Even I have this Christmas illusion which is pretty pathetic because there are never any black people to be found in these “perfect” portraits.  Have you ever noticed that?

Google Image

If I were putting paint on canvas, my portrayal of Christmas would always be with warm colors, cordial people (including black and brown people all over the painting), loving smiles full of laughter and joy, and lots of good food and drink.  No one would ever get sick—no one would ever be short-tempered.  No family member would ever get Alzheimer’s, and no women would get breast cancer.  No planes would ever be late traveling home for Christmas, no toilets would ever overflow, no parents would ever argue, no teenagers would ever run away, no one would die on or near Christmas, no parent would lose his/her job, and no home would be foreclosed upon.  But the problem we all live with is that we all have weird relatives (and we’re just a little bit crazy ourselves), patchy histories, economic downturns, latent jealousies, death in our midst, and unresolved hurts.  So when we gather together for the holidays we sit down before the Christmas tree with a powder-keg of the crazies in a Griswold moose glass for our family Christmas toast.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation “Eggnog Moose Glass”/Google Image

Addams Family/Google Image

Some of us share Christmas with parents who love each other in a weird sort of way, but the kids are bat-shit crazy and borderline psychotic.  Of course, upon closer analysis of the extended family (uncle, grandmamma, and the butler), we see why the kids never had a chance to be sane and in reality should never be left alone with the uncle, grandmamma, or (god-forbid) Lurch, the butler.

The Griswolds (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation)/Google Image

Before the economic downturn, many of us had slightly upper middle-class families where the husband worked at some ball-crushing job just living for his year-end bonus that he managed to lose just before Christmas.  That bonus would have made everything “perfect” for his family—from award-winning holiday lights and tree—to the perfect roast, perfect gifts, and ultimate Christmas family portrait.  The only problem is that neither he nor his family is perfect, and no matter how upper-middle class you and I become, we’ll always have the type of relatives who join us for the holidays because we have money and they don’t, who proudly announce:  “Shitters full!”  They belong to us for a reason—they are God’s gift to keep us humble.


The Gallaghers in “Shameless”/Google Image

There are a few of us (maybe a lot more now since the emergence of the 99%) who grew up with the Gallaghers (of Showtime fame) as a family, and we are a mess as a family unit—“every six ways from Sunday.”  This was more my type of family base as a kid—only instead of alcohol being the co-parent, schizophrenia was.


Huxtable TV Family/Google Image

Most of us would like to be the Huxtable family—smart and beautiful—with a lawyer and doctor for parents who are just perfect with children.  The children are smart, respectful, and never, ever do drugs or walk on the wild side.  All their family crises can be solved in 30 minutes.  This is the exact type of family I tried to recreate with my own children once I became an adult (with an uber-Christian patina), given my ignoble beginnings (minus two of the kids and recasting Bill Cosby as a white man to match WW, of course).  But unlike the TV sitcom where the events are controlled by writers, “shit happens,” and reality really messes with the Huxtable image in a way no sitcom script could ever convey and still remain funny.

I am discovering that we all have the ability to have a couple of perfect Christmases, but “perfect” is not always our due.  With the DNA of our families, the sins we’ve committed against each other, and the devastation of living on Earth and what it can do to us, all we can do is dip ourselves in love and hope for the best when we cross the same threshold.  This year our family will come together in its total configuration, for the first time in a long time, and we are beyond ecstatic about this holiday because we know more than life itself, it is about us all being together—laughing, eating too much, cuddling, watching movies, cooking together, and sharing portions of the scary stories of our journeys that have made us the resilient family that we are.  But before anybody steps foot in my house (family, friend, or fan), I’m making all my guests read and observe the following Christmas vacation rules:

Leave your egos at the door

Come together with a servant’s heart willing to help each other

Share (just like in kindergarten)

Let go of your anger

Embrace each other with love and forgiveness

Repent for the wrongs you’ve done to one another

Flush the memories of the hurts done to you down the toilet

Don’t rehash the past (what is done is done and it can’t be undone)

Appreciate everything you receive as a present, even if you don’t wear hats or listen to country music

Listen (really listen with every fiber of your being) to each other’s stories, because they carry multiple secrets about our joys, our pain, our hopes, and our dreams

For the uber-religious in our midst—turn down the volume and listen (don’t, I say, DON’T go ballistic like you did that time over an Obama for President button pinned to a wig-head stand [to tell you the truth, I had forgotten it was there], assuming you knew what I was thinking).  Remember, “When you assume, you make an ass. . .”

No disparaging gay jokes or racial humor!

  Bring genuine hugs and kisses because that works for all genders and races. 

For the “I don’t believe in God”—unplug your ears and listen, you may learn something.

Say “I love you” in a sincere manner at least once to every family member and friend before you leave.

No politics allowed!

We all know what you feel about everything—we’ve seen your Facebook pages, remember.  We’re just going to come together as “family” and our only political platform is love.

Actually, I didn’t quite get it right at the beginning of this Christmas letter.  My favorite Christmas story which infuses all Christmas stories is the original one—the birth of my Messiah, whose name they called “Immanuel.”   Immanuel means, “God with us,” and it means to me the hope and healing needed to survive our families and the other families of man that don’t quite get it right when it comes to cherishing our hearts and our existence, our bodies, and our dreams.

Merry Christmas to you and to us all


May the love of God be with you and yours, today and everyday!

In any case, if you need me or want to get in touch, I’ll be home for Christmas.  Love, Eleanor

The Author

“A scientist said, making a plea for exchange scholarships between nations, ‘The very best way to send an idea is to wrap it up in a person.’ That was what happened at Christmas. The idea of divine love was wrapped up in a Person.” – Halford E. Luccock

All text and photos by Eleanor and John Tomczyk © 2011 , except where otherwise noted.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized


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