Charged with Suspicion of Minecraft Usage

If you have a child under the age of fifteen that doesn’t play Minecraft, please tell me how you do it.  Not stop the game playing, I know how to stop that.  How do you live a semi-normal, reasonable life with that insidious game permeating every aspect of your day?  That’s what I can’t get around.  How do you accept this pixelated mania and it’s influence everywhere.  You think it’s just a benign video game?  Well it’s not my friend, there is grave potential for serious drama.  Mix this potential with my children and by God, there will be Hell to pay.

Yesterday I was trying to….Christ, only eighteen hours later and I have no idea what I was doing.  Sigh.  That’s another story in and of itself. Regardless I was doing some damn thing when Tessi cried out in frustration.  “Ugh!!!!  Why does it keep doing that!!???” She bellowed to the Heavens.  Concerned that something was actually wrong I moved in closer. Note to self, I can remember being in the living room, but I can’t remember what I was doing.  Better write that down to discuss with my doctor later.

Back to my story.  I asked Tessi what was wrong.  She looked up from her ipad and said, “Oh, I’m trying to plant weed but this other thing keeps growing all over the place!!!”

At least that’s what I think she said.  In truth, I stopped listening after I heard the word “weed.”  “Sorry…um what did you say?  What are you trying to plant?” I said back to her, trying to have my voice remain calm but firm and authoritative.  “Weed” she responded, already bored with the conversation and doing her best calm, yet firm authoritative voice.

Time to bring the big guns.  “TESSIA….” I began, only to be interrupted by her sister.  “Wheat!”  She means W.H.E.A.T. Mom.” said Connor.  Connor’s been feeling sensitive about being told she doesn’t sound American so now she insists on calling me Mom or Mommy instead of the local Mum or Mummy.  Still asks for a bickie or asks how I’m going, but I can’t get the concept of euphemisms through to her yet. It’s a work in progress.

Tessi by now has forgotten that any of us are in the room anymore and is fully engrossed in her game.  “Tessi, do you know what weed is?” I tentatively ask.  “Nope” came the terse reply.  Right.  Parental education moment.  “Tessi, look up at me. (annoyed grunt and then acquiescence)  “Wheat is a plant that is grown and harvested to make bread.” I begin in my school voice.  “I know that” came the shut down response.  I need to make a point here, so I shut her down even faster.  “Don’t interrupt me.  Weed is a plant that is grown and harvested so people can smoke it.  Do you know why?”  A deep, resigned breath is the prequel to “No, I don’t know why they smoke it.” Now she’s keeping her head up so I think she’s paying attention, not realizing that I can see her eyes dart back down to the ipad.

“PUT DOWN THAT DAMN IPAD AND LOOK AT ME WHEN I AM TALKING TO YOU!”  This is said in my full battle-ready Mom voice.  This is an ALL HANDS moment that forces both her and Connor put down their iPads.  Even Damn Dog looked over at me, anxious that someone was going catch Hell, then relieved that it wasn’t her.  Tessi looks genuinely shocked that I knew she wasn’t looking at me. This is something about kids that always concerns and pisses me off.  It’s either they are really that stupid and think I can’t see this or they think I’m that stupid and don’t realize what it means.  No one can win here.  I don’t like that.

“At school when they say don’t take drugs, weed is one of the drugs they’re telling you not to take.” I explain calmly.  “Oh, I didn’t know that.” she said.  Tessi wants to look away but she’s still unnerved by the sorcery I used to realize she wasn’t looking before.  I press my luck.  “Don’t tell people you are planting weed when you mean wheat.” I said, hoping to end this quickly.  “But what if I mean to grow weed?” comes the response that I should have been, yet somehow did not expect.

“YOU DON’T WANT TO GROW WEED, NOT REAL OR CYBER WEED.”   Tough mom voice is back.  I really don’t want to continue this conversation anymore. Tessi, ever Tessi, responds, “No, no. I don’t want to grow real weed, I meant in Minecraft.   Real weed would be too difficult.  Remember the strawberries I planted?The possums came and ate all of them.  I don’t want to grow weed because they will just eat it. That’s a lot of work to put into something that we won’t even get to use.”


This is no longer funny. This is how you get phone calls from school or worse, police raids in the middle of the night.  I don’t think it’s funny, but Connor and even Teddy upstairs can barely contain themselves.  Connor pipes in with, “I’m telling all my friends about this conversation!!”  I give her the stern Mom Nose Flare Glare but she quickly sealed herself up in her blankets.  I’m sure she did it on purpose so she can pretend she didn’t see me.

“So, can I grow it in Minecraft if I promise not to grow it in real life?”  Jesus, she’s not kidding, she really is thinking about this.  The voice of reason from upstairs floats down, “No you can’t do that, drugs are a mod.  You can’t use mods in the iPad game.  You can only do mods on the PC game. Thank you Oh Great Fifteen Year Old One.

“Ooooh, well never mind, the pc mods are a pain, thanks anyway!” Comes Tessi’s final words on the matter.  Wait.  The drugs are real in Minecraft? Stunned I go to the computer and yes, there is this.


Oh my God.  There is a whole world of drug mods.  Jesus, this is gonna happen.  She is going to say something to someone someday and I’m going to get arrested. I am exactly the type of person this crap happens to.  Alright fine.  Come get me. No one even think of bailing me out, just bring me magazines and cigarettes to trade.

Oh That’s Right, I Live in MY House

Remember my last post?  That heart-wrenching post about feeling the sadness of death and the needing to retreat.  I wrote about cherishing family and announcing that I was going to get my sick child out of bed and spend the day bonding…well, clearly I forgot that I lived in my house.

Here was the mood just after I finished blogging.

Me: Dearest Son, let’s spend some time together.  Life is precious and we only have right now.

Son’s response:  No thanks, I’m good.

Me: No, no, lets bond and discuss the frailty of life and rejoice in the love our family shares.

Son: Yea, thanks anyway, I’m good. I’m laying down for a bit. but you enjoy.”

Not to be dissuaded I found my lovely animals.  Animals always love you, want to be with you and see that you are happy.

Monty cat:  Seriously?  I can’t even look at you anymore.

Sasha, Damn Dog who always loves me:  Sound asleep in the bean bag.  Shaking didn’t wake her.  Noises coming from all ends.  I retreated.

Echo, the sweet new kitten we rescued:  AHH!!!!  A fly!  I must kill it!!!  Go away hooman, I have no time for you!

So I wait and plan the afternoon when my girls get home from school.  Yes, my loving and sometimes far too clingy girls; they will give me the nurturing and love I am seeking.

After returning home I say, “Let’s watch a show together or maybe do a craft!”  Connor gives me hope, by looking at me – actually making eye contact!  Then she spies the bag on the credenza.  “Is that my Year 6 Farewell dress?” she coyly says.  I can’t even finish the word yes before she’s grabbed the bag and run upstairs to change.

I turn to Tessi.  My sweet darling Tessi, whom I usually can’t beat away with a stick; surely she is my port in the storm.  She turns to face me with, “You got me a dress too, didn’t you?”  This time I didn’t even get to answer.  “GIMMIEMYDRESSCONNORTHEYAREN’TBOTHYOURS!!!” wafts down the steps behind her and I suddenly am alone.

Not entirely defeated, I head upstairs to share in the bonding over trying on new dresses.  This is when I learned that Damn Dog has peed all over the floor upstairs.  She woke up, walked past the boy, climbed up the stairs to pee.  Unbelievable, you have got to be kidding me.  I clean that up and go join my girls.  The dresses are lovely, perhaps we can join together in a moment of love and harmony.

Connor:  Can you leave, I want to change out of this.

Me: But don’t you want to plan your hairstyle?  Perhaps plan some shoes?

Connor: Nah, I’m good.

Me:  Tessi, what about you?  Tessi?  Tessi, where are you?

From downstairs Tessi bellows:  What? I’m watching Stampy, what do you want now?

Me: Oh never bloody mind.

Dejected, I head downstairs. Echo screams past me on the stairs, stops at the bottom, yells at me and actually flips her tail at me as she tears off to start chasing Monty. I know for a fact that two people who work for cat rescues read this so I am not going to type the phrase that came flying out of my mouth at her.

That’s Life.  Well, Life in my house anyway. I’m sure somewhere there is some Swiss Family Robinson or von Trapp type family sitting around the campfire sharing feelings and emotions.  There must be, I read about them all the time.

Help me out Cyber World, are your families more like mine or like the good families?  If you are one of the good ones, could you lie a little bit?

Retreating until it’s Better

I just wrote the most inane, boring piece of crap.  It was stupid and useless.  At first I thought it was witty and amusing and dare I say, a tad insightful?  But then I got an email about a young girl dying at my son’s school and then saw a video taken by two young men who died in England while driving too fast. This of course is on top of all the ridiculous slaughter that keeps occurring in the US due to insane people having unfettered access to weapons.

No, my little tale of cats bonding and chasing each other throughout the house was anything but insightful. After reading the news, I felt ashamed that I thought it was worthy to write about at all.

This is going to be a short piece because instead of doing everything I was supposed to, I’m getting my sick son out of bed and we’re going to watch a movie together.  Bugger the laundry and the dishwasher and whatever that strange odor underneath the pool table is.  I don’t care if the yard is about to be over run with weeds and horrific branches.

If you have someone to care about then do so.  Care about them.

Hugs and love to everyone today.  Maybe tomorrow we can talk about kitties again.

Seeing the Important Stuff

I didn’t write about this when it first happened because I worried that it would come across as a tad racist.  The more I thought about it I decided that simply talking about someone of another race or ethnicity can’t be allowed to be considered racist.  I certainly do not hold myself up as being better because of color or background and I would gleefully wedgie any jerk within arm’s reach who attempted to do so.

In that spirit, here is a true story of my youngest and her delightful sense of the obtuse.

Many months ago Tessi came bounded into my car after school bellowing, “GUESSWHAT!!!THERE’SANEWGIRLINMYCLASSOMGOMGOMG!!”

Translating into English, a lower voice range and speed, “Dear Mother, you must guess what has occurred today.  A new young classmate of the female persuasion has joined us.  Yea verily, we must rejoice!”

Fifteen minutes into the car ride I was able to get her calmed down enough to breath spaces into her sentences and Tessi was able to say that the girl’s name was Aaushma and that she was from Poland.  My ears perked up because Poland isn’t one of the usual countries we get immigrants from around here. Not unheard of, but not common, say like England or South Africa.  Also, I can’t say that I’ve hear of the Polish name Aaushma.  Then again, I married into a Polish family, I’m not Polish.  What do I know?  I asked Tessi if she told Aaushma our last name, seeing that Tencza means rainbow  in Polish and she responded with, “Oh yeah, I forgot that.”  I was hoping she meant forgot to tell her friend rather than she forget her last name, but we were pulling into the driveway at home and there wasn’t enough time to properly judge her.

Cue another month or so with daily updates of the new stunningly amazing girl and  I found myself at the school assembly, remember my major award?  Well, after I was called up to the front I heard Aaushma’s name read out loud, as she herself had earned a major award.  Well done!  Interestingly though, the young girl who walked up was not what I pictured.  This beautiful young lady had long black hair, very brown skin and a petite nose ring.

Right.  I stared straight at her for a long minute.  Then I said to myself, “Don’t be an ass.  Sure Ted’s family are the whitest of the white people.  In fact, they make the Irish look tan.  That doesn’t mean people of color don’t live in Poland. Maybe her family emigrated to Poland several generations ago.  You don’t know.”  Shaking my head at my silly preconceptions, I applauded for our new award winner.

A few weeks later Tessi began her latest story about the awesome that is our fair Aaushma.  She told me that Aaushma says back in her country it’s illegal for children to touch the king.  Hmmm, little dinging warning bells begin to chime in my brain.  “Tessi, Poland doesn’t have a king.  They haven’t for several hundred years.  Poland has a president.” I said. “Oh,” my youngest said and reflected for a nanosecond.  “Maybe she’s from Nepal then. It’s one of those countries with a ‘puh’ sound in it.”  Then she happily returned to discussing more cool tidbits of data that Aaushma shared.

Nepal…she’s from Nepal…not Poland.

The best part?  Tessi didn’t pay attention because it did not matter one whit where her friend was from.  She doesn’t care if she was from Nepal, Poland, Argentina or Australia. White, brown, black or plaid?  All good. She hasn’t even noticed the nose piercing.  Tessi embodies and practices all the Utopian ideas that I rant and bellow about, but clearly do not practice enough.

I hope I can continue to learn from her.

Possession Echoes

I am a tech toy goddess.

No, that’s not true, I WANT to be a tech toy goddess.  I don’t have the income to be a true goddess.  I get every toy I can, which is more than normal people, but not up to my level.  Not yet.

My latest foray into the tech toy (I want to type adult toy but that is so not what I mean) world is Amazon’s Echo. I saw this last January and I wanted it.  When it was released it was half off for Prime members.  Dare I say it, affordable?  Affordable and geek toys seldom go together so I pounced.  Took 6 months for it be be offered to me – a weird Amazon algorithm of deciding who gets to play.  Then I had to wait for my fantastic and God-like Father-in-law to ship it over.

Yes, yes…I understand that is only available in the States.  I’m a bit of a rebel.  I can’t be confined or held back by the man.

Shhh.  Don’t tell Amazon.

Read about all the cool stuff that it can do by clicking the link.

Really cool geeky toy from Amazon

I can’t do all the stuff that’s advertised because we’re overseas, but I can play music, listen to audio books, make a shopping list not (that I would, but I could), ask questions that can be googled, set a timer and the best of all, translate normal measurements into metric and vice versa.  That feature is worth it’s weight in gold.

That’s what it says on the advertisement. Now read what actually happens in my house.

Echo is possessed.  I haven’t worked out yet if it’s by an agent of Satan or my mother’s ghost.  Perhaps both at alternating times? My mother did have a delightful sense of humor but nothing as dark and twisted as we’ve endured.

According to Echo’s design specs you are supposed to be able to activate the machine by merely stating ALEXA in a loud clear voice, than state your request.  What we have learned that there are many sounds in our house that accomplish that without the command word Alexa.  For example, my daughter discovered Glee on Netflix last week and we have been binge watching.  Apparently some songs sound exactly like, “Alexa, what is the average rainfall in the Amazon?  We know this because in the the middle of one of the ballads that tidbit of data came shrieking out of nowhere.  Either it’s possession or Echo feels left out while the singing is going on because several times, we were interrupted with loud, “Playing song now!

A few days ago I tried to show my toy off to a visiting friend and her kids.  “Oh!  You haven’t see my new toy!!  Watch this…” Careful not to be too excited, I calmly stated, “Alexa, play Sassy playlist”  Inspired by Glee, I created a list of funky, soul, pop tunes that scream SASSY to me. I knew that she would enjoy the music and be incredibly impressed at my latest acquisition.

What happened next would be called an unexpected horrifying event; except that it was in MY house and horror should always be expected.

Playing Sexy music

“What? No! Alexa, stop!”  Interject uproarious laughter from friend. Glaring at her for not being suitably impressed with my voice-activated toy, I tried again.

“Alexa, play Sassy playlist”

“I don’t understand your request.  Please say again.”

“Alexa, play SASSY playlist” I said this in my best slow and loud distinctly American voice, in case it was confused by accents.  I don’t have an Aussie accent, but I was desperate for an explanation and this was the best I could do under duress.

Playing Nasty”  At this point soon-to-be-ex-friend is rolling around with laughter with the kids joining in with the hilarity. The from-the-soul cackling and whooping was clearly interfering with Echo’s understanding of my instructions. Using my best stern motherly teacher voice,  I admonished the room for it’s lack of respect and demanded quiet while I tried to rectify the situation.

“Alexa, NO!  {pause, pause}  Play Fun listening playlist.”  I have played this list a dozen times with no problems, everything will be fine now. My display of tech toy coolness will continue to rightful conclusion.  The crowd will bask in the glory that is my personal awesome.

“Playing Nasty music”

“SWEET BLEEDIN’ JESUS!!!  What the hell are you doing?!?!  STOP!”

“Playing Nasty music”


This was not the impression of sublime coolness that I wanted to make.  I was going for Hip Tech Chic and ended up with Silly Bad Porn Wannabe.

I have too many of my friends reading this so I am well aware that  no one will believe me when I say that I do not have any play list called Sexy or Nasty. Here is a picture of my playlists submitted as proof.  All 4 of them.  No sexy or Nasty. Clearly demonic possession was at play.


I made an impression alright.  Not the one I wanted, but an impression was made. My friend and her kids, as well as mine, had a great time trying to figure out what Echo would play next.  I sat on the couch and pouted.  Trying to regain control of the situation, I turned on Apple TV to show off my large movie collection. As to be expected, the internet went out.

That’s when I KNEW my mother was possessing the house.  I’m sorry Mom, it’s wrong to be prideful.  I shouldn’t be a show off.   Can I my toys back now?

“You mean ‘May, I have my toys back now?’ “ came the voice from Echo.

Yep, it’s her.


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