Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Couple of Reviews

Some holiday reads/views:
Avatar - FABULOUS! Go see this movie (just don't take kids who have not heard the S-word in your home yet, but of course ours have). The special effects just in the first 5 minutes blew me away. I also didn't know it was in 3-D, but they're decent glasses and the effect is incredible - the jungle looks miles deep. On the pro side, the story is good, it's cool that James Cameron brought Sigourney Weaver back from Aliens to be in another movie about aliens, and Giovanni Ribisi is one of my favorite actors. On the con side, why must Sigourney's avatar wear 70's athletic wear? She looks like Olivia Newton-John in the Let's Get Physical video or something. My main hang-up was a line near the end about how we killed our Mother - nothing green left on Earth. I looked in the credits for Al Gore's cameo but didn't see him. Another hang-up was all the G-D'ing - I was waiting for an F-bomb but there wasn't one. So why is McDonald's pairing up with this movie and giving out Happy Meal prizes of Avatars? This movie is not for little toddlers!

Julie and Julia - So dang funny! Just made me feel so good - Meryl Streep is amazing, and we all gasped in delight when we saw the tall chick from Glee come out as her sister - fantastic. They're looking at themselves in the mirror before a fancy party that they've both dressed up for, and Julia says to her sister something like, "Looking good....not great, but good!" It'll make you want a sister if you don't have one, and if you do have one it'll make you wish she lived in the same state, AHEM! The wedding scene where they're both dancing with their husbands and they reach out to hold hands made me get a little tear in my eye - shhh! On the Julie side, when she starts blogging it's right on the money. My only complaint was at the end when you read what happened to everybody, they say "Her book was made into a movie." Well, duh, and isn't that a little self-serving? My sister said it made her want to go in the kitchen and cook. It made me want to buy Julia Child's cookbook , till I actually read some of it in the bookstore - oh HELL no!

And now I embark on Under the Dome (is that the right name?), given to me by Drew, who knows his Momma loves her some Stephen King! That one's about 4000 pages, so don't hold your breath for the review.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Eve Weather

This was our weather on Christmas Eve - that's why Lucas warned Santa to be safe. Felt more like a hurricane, so we prepared the kids that Santa might get blown away. Could've used that as a good excuse had we forgotten to set out the presents!

Monday, December 28, 2009

This is the note Lucas left for Santa - notice that he opted for the politically correct Happy Holiday instead of Merry Christmas...huh. Also, thanks a lot to all of you out there spoiling it for the rest of us with these damn elves (you know exactly who you are). All I've heard about is how EVERYBODY has an elf and they do such funny things. Like leaving underwear strewn all over a Christmas tree (I'm not naming names...) Or rolling a ceiling fan with toilet paper for Christmas morning. You get the picture.

I did have to break his heart and tell him that elves leave on Christmas so don't expect least for a year. There's no way I could do an elf; you may remember from previous posts that I forget the dang Tooth Fairy stuff sometimes. I guess if he does ever get one it'll be the laziest elf ever seen!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Random Morbid Thoughts...

I've always been puzzled by something. When you're in a car wreck, how do they notify your next of kin? I have really put some thought into this over the years but I can't figure it out. If I had a wreck, they'd run my tag and get my name, number, and address. But what if nobody was home? Do they go to your cell phone next? "Mom" is easy, but how do they know what my husband's name is? They can't know where he works, can they? Do they knock on neighbors' doors for information?

I guess that's why it seems to take a while sometimes, like when that van with 11 or 12 kids in it crashed in New Orleans - how do you know who all the kids are? That seemed to take 24 hours from what I remember. Can you imagine being a little kid in the hospital and they don't know who your parents are?

That reminded me of when I came home one afternoon a few years ago and cars were stopped because a toddler was sitting in the road with his dog. Everybody's just sitting there in their cars! I jumped out and picked him up out of the street and took him back to my car till the cars went by. He couldn't tell me where he lived, and there was not a parent in sight, so I ran through the scenarios of calling 911 versus driving him past houses to see if one was his. (That one screamed "kidnapping" in my head.) Meanwhile, we're sitting with the dog in my car and finally an older woman runs up - his grandmother. She swears that damned dog is going to get him killed, because the dog runs off and the kid follows (who's watching the kid? Oh wait, this has happened before - does DHR know about this?), but thanks for finding him, bu-bye!

So we've made sure the boys know their address and phone number. Lucas pulled out a little folded piece of paper with my cell phone number on it tonight and said, "Look Mom, I've got your address." Close enough.

Friday, December 11, 2009

No, Seriously

Okay, so these are real outfits I would wear (or should I?). I gotta say I feel like I'm playing dress-up with the short skirt because the boots are so big on my legs, so that one's not gonna happen. When I tried on some more pointy ones I felt like I was missing my whip - totally dominatrix! But as Dean always says, "You can't wear Keds forever." (I tossed my last pair of white Keds in 1991 at the age of 24.)

Oh, you want a PICTURE?

Well, I didn't have time to get a fancy outfit on, but I'm rocking a homemade vest from 1992 and the figure-enhancing Mom jeans (that's the name, really) I bought last year - what the hell was I thinking? They're built to squeeze in your middle-aged gut and lift up your sagging butt (I think I just wrote a jingle!), but they look like my Mom's Lee jeans from the 80's - wouldn't you agree, Mother?

I'll get a snazzier picture of the boots up later. This is my white-trash representation.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

New Look!

I think this background complements my new hairstyle below much better. Makes me feel warmer and more vibrant...much like my NEW BOOTS!

I had 2 pairs of boots when I was about 7 or 8 years old. The white lace-up boots were my "go-go boots" and I felt very snazzy in them, though in pictures I just look like Ruby Sue from Christmas Vacation - very red-neck. The black ones were zip-ups and I didn't wear them too much - also very red-neck. I looked like the kind of dirty kid with unbrushed hair who went in grocery stores barefooted. And I did do that - I remember the last time I was barefooted in the Super Valu, I believe it was, with my mother. She saw a friend of hers and I almost died of shame. I was probably 11 or 12 then - just white trash barefooted in the grocery store. What were we thinking? I swore to never go barefooted in a store again.

So since then I've always wanted sophisticated pointy boots with decent heels to wear with a cute skirt and tights which make my legs look shapely. Well that would've been nice in my 20's, but at 42 I think it's pushing the envelope. Plus my calves are about 5 inches around so creating the look of shapely legs will involve duct tape, according to the boot saleman at Dillards (I didn't understand it either).

Well, anyway, I bought a great pair on sale at Penney's and will wear them with long skirts and pants. And boy do I feel snazzy again!

Thursday, December 3, 2009 - what fun!

I'm Feeling a Little Sicky-Poo

"Sicky-poo" came from the brilliant "Murder by Death" which was a TV movie spoofing murder mysteries in the 1980's. Peter Sellers starred with David Niven and the red-headed lady who pushed the "quicker-picker-upper" and a bunch of other famous people back then, and they played famous detective duos that come together at a mansion for a party, then have to solve a murder. Truman Capote also starred as the host who's supposedly murdered at his own party. They're all attacked eventually, and the 2 English ladies are in a room filled with poison gas, but they survive because the old chick in the wheelchair who's hard of hearing breathed all the gas while the other one covered her face. She says she's "sicky-poo" as they're on their way to the hospital. It's really funny - you should rent it!

So I'm sicky-poo with a terrible sinus infection (it's NOT the flu....I don't think...) but still had to work, and Scott took issue with that. He thinks I'm terrible for spreading my germs (I follow a strict hand-washing and sanitizing procedure before every patient and have not coughed or sneezed in a room once!) but I countered that if I cancelled they would have to be re-scheduled for next week or go to the ER. I reminded him that Dr. Gray worked through the flu at least one time that I could remember.

He said, "Well I recall another doctor who was a little older. He may have been before your time. I believe his name was Hippocrates, and he said, 'First, do no harm.'" I was very impressed that Scott knew some medical history, but I countered with the fact that I also knew an old doctor named Kervorkian, who had a little different policy.

I don't know who won that argument, but I admitted 2 patients to the hospital today and set another one up for surgery at the big university hospital up north, so maybe I WAS needed after all; you make the call. (And if you caught a cold from me, I'm REALLY sorry!)

Monday, November 30, 2009

How 'bout Jake Watching Gerbils?

Now gerbil videos can get boring (no, really?), but not if you play their video on a big screen while the dog watches! He's watching the video posted below, but he thinks they're going to jump out of the screen or something. He got fired UP! I showed it to him 3 times and he started barking really loud, so I had to close the video. Then he saw my screensaver, which is a picture of us in the backyard with him, and he started growling at himself!

None of that beats the time our Doberman attacked himself in my mom's full-length mirror, though. (We reassured him that he really didn't look THAT fat.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

More Gerbil Action!

Oh, we're getting some personalities here and they're losing their creepiness. Though when I had them on Lucas's little table alone and they were running in all different directions and skidding up to the edges, I was afraid I might lose it. Rodents zipping around threatening to jump off the table and run through the house - aaaahhhh!

So who saw the movie Ben in 1976-ish? The one with the theme song sung by Michael Jackson with words like, "Ben, the 2 of us were meant to be together, but they don't understand how I can love a rat." Like that. The pivotal scene is where the kid has been forbidden to have Ben the rat by his parents, but his mom comes to kiss him goodnight and finds his bed covered in hundreds of Ben's friends - imagine the horror! She has a freak-out and starts tossing covers, and poor Ben gets maimed or something so the kid hates his parents and I was crying my eyes out with all the other girls watching it. Seems like it was at a sleepover at Mitzi's house or something.

I'll have to add Ben to my Blockbuster queue tonight!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mad Cow and a Bag of Ice

Drew went on a campout Friday evening and was the Grubmaster, so he had a cooler full of food and I bought 2 bags of ice to put on it. Only 1 would fit, so I took the other bag to the meeting spot to see if anybody else needed it. Nobody else did, so I put it in the back of my SUV to take home and put in the freezer.

Sunday we have a very lazy day - I never left the house all weekend because the weather was yucky and I was enjoying my pajamas - but we decide to go to Target before we go pick Drew up. We get in my car and Dean exclaims, "Your car STINKS! What's in here?" Lucas echoes the sentiment. It's sort of a musty mildewy smell, and we get out to look in the back. Dean pulls out 2 empty plastic ice bags and looks perplexed. I slowly realize that I never took that 2nd bag out of my car, and it has now melted into the rear carpet. Sure enough, we pull out the piece of flooring that covers the spare tire, and it's dripping wet - soaked through. And it's been sitting in a nice warm garage all weekend, though luckily the highest temperature was in the 70's.

If you see me this week, you'll know why the kids and I are wearing coats with all the car windows down. And please forgive me if I smell like mildew.

I'm also reminded of Christmas Vacation where the gutter-ice breaks through the neighbors' window and destroys their room without a trace. And wasn't there an Edgar Allen Poe book with a similar plot?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gerbil in a Ball

It's getting a little better with the gerbils. We had some good interactions last night and today - they took treats from our hands without so much biting, and Furry even sat in Lucas's hand while he pet (petted?) him. Furry volunteered to explore the house a little bit, but if you could see this video full-screen, you'd notice a little poo escaping from the ball on its last run. I didn't notice it till I watched the video - better go clean that up. These things are nasty!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Meet the Gerbils

We are pleased to introduce Furry and Junior. Furry is the wild one in the wheel and Junior is the one who is contemplating biting my finger. Furry is curious and full of energy and has flipped himself upside down in the wheel because he can run so fast. When he saw Jake the dog (who hasn't even smelled 2 gerbils in the house yet - what's up with that?) he had a little panic attack and stomped his back feet just like they said in the book! It looked like a temper tantrum with him jumping up and down rapidly. It was also accompanied by pee and poop - just what you want in a wheel when you're running for your life. (I didn't really want to pet or hold him after that.)

Junior is an evil little gerbil who is very antisocial and prefers to stay in his nest unless he sees a hand to bite. Now the bite is just tiny teeth against your skin - there's no puncture or blood (yet), but it causes Drew and me to yank our hands out rapidly, so Junior will one day find himself sailing across the room and slamming into a wall. Lucas, on the other hand, thinks it tickles and doesn't even twitch.

Now the boy at the pet store declared that gerbils are better than hamsters for little kids because they don't bite as much, they're less aggressive, and they sleep at night and play in the daytime. So far we've all been bitten at least once, and Lucas woke me up at 2 AM the first night because they were running on that damn wheel. So now they have an enforced bed time, because a giant rubber band is placed around the wheel to prevent it from turning (thank you, Dean!), thus allowing Lucas to sleep through the night.

Anyone with gerbil experience who can tell me if there ever comes a point where you can actually pick them up and play with them, feel free to offer advice. They're kind of getting creepier by the day!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Audiotape and 6th Grade Girls

I wish I had the audio to post - it's so much better than reading it. Janet and Amy and I had hours of fun one day with an old reel-to-reel tape recorder my dad had. You could record something then play it in reverse, speed it up to sound like a chipmunk, or slow it down. So much fun! The funny thing is that we chose to say stuff like "U-T-Rus" and "fallopian tube" then speed it up. After each word there were just gales of chipmunk laughter at how clever we were.

Then we wrote some jingles for common household products, which I would like to share with you now. This first one was originally a religious song about snow-white doves as far as I can remember, but we sang about Dove soap.

"On the wings of a snow white dove,
I was taken to my tub.
And there I found some Dove."

The chorus is "Dove...dove.....dovedovedovedove" and repeat.

The next was the real winner. I don't think Duffy Sausage was real - we always ate Jimmy Dean - but for some reason we sang about Duffy. Now one person is chanting "Duffy" in the background while the other sings, and the rhythm is sort of like a train on the tracks, if that makes any sense (I know it doesn't).

Duffy, duffy, duffy, duffy
Kill the pig, kill the pig, kill the pig, kill the pig.
Waaaah, waaaaah, waaaah, waaaaah
The pig's dead! The pig's dead!
Take-it-to-the-store, take-it-to-the-store (sung rapidly)
Eat the pig! Eat the pig!

All of that was in a minor chord till the last line when it changed to a major chord with beautiful harmony.

I think we wrote other jingles, but these were the only ones that came to mind at the time. And yeah, I get that it's really funny in my head, but loses a whole lot in print. Maybe one day I'll find that tape and play it for you. THEN you'll laugh!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Let's Wrap It Up

I'll get off that cancer kick - sorry 'bout that! Just to reassure everybody that it was a double-edged sword, it was the worst thing I've ever been through and I felt like my life ended (the first half of it anyway), but those times with my family were some of the best ones we ever had. We got together more than we would have and we didn't sweat any small stuff. We actually looked forward to tests and doctor visits because we knew it meant a get-together.

I just remembered a funny thing from the time the hospice chaplain came to meet us at my dad's house. She asked if we could all pray together, so we're all sitting in the den listening to her pray (more of a discussion with God, it was going on for quite a while), and Drew (4 at the time) says, "Excuse me." She says, "Yes, sweetheart, did you want to add something?" Drew says, "No ma'am, I pooted."

With stuff like that happening, how can you not laugh and enjoy the moment?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Some Photos for the Cancer Saga

Playing with Drew in New Orleans. (Pappy, can I ride it now? Please???)

This one's really old, but such a great shot of Tracey supposedly cracking that hand. He was really good at getting the joke pictures.

Gettin' jiggy at Pawley's Island. This was some song and dance to put the boys down for a nap - probably gave 'em nightmares!

Very tired after an intense game of "There's a Bullet in My Foot."

The Cancer Saga Cont'd....

So I left out the part where we decided to take a trip to Pawley's Island for one last week together before my dad died. (That's kinda heavy, huh.) My mom was living in New Orleans with us as our nanny, so she, Drew (4 years old),and I drove over to Mobile to pick up my Dad. Then we got Mamaw (my mom's mom who'd had a heart attack a couple of years earlier) somehow - maybe we drove through Sylacauga to collect her and headed on up to Birmingham for my brother Scott.

Scott wasn't home yet from work even though it was after dinner, and when he came in the door I was the only one sitting in the den. He told me, "It's time for a come-to-Jesus meeting," and he had an MRI in his hand. It is here I should mention that Scott told me about some blind spots in his peripheral vision a few weeks earlier, to which I flippantly replied, "Well that's a brain tumor." (You learn such useful things in medical school!) Well, turns out it WAS a brain tumor, and he'd just gotten his preliminary MRI results. So we set about Fedexing the MRI to my husband Dean in New Orleans (he's a radiologist - you couldn't be married to anyone better when your family's got a cancer epidemic!). But we had to continue on the road to South Carolina to pick up my sister Tracey and 3-yr-old Parker. I said, "Hey! Maybe when we get to Tracey's house she'll tell us she has ovarian cancer!"

Anyway, that vacation week was something else with my Dad not feeling well from his radiation and Scott constantly on the phone trying to find out what the tumor was and what they were going to do about it. Scott and I really wanted to sign the guest book with, "Between the 5 adults we have lung cancer, a kidney tumor [my dad, incidentally], a brain tumor, and severe heart disease. The group sessions have been very inspiring." My mom wouldn't let us write that; she wrote something generic like "You have a nice house."

Long story short, we come back home and my dad is promptly hospitalized with metastases to his adrenal gland, and Scott is admitted a couple of days later in Birmingham for his first brain surgery. My dad's employer at the time was an old Sylacauga friend who amazingly offered to fly my dad and me up to B'ham on his private plane so we could get there in time for Scott's surgery. So Daddy got discharged from one hospital and we flew straight to another hospital for Scott. Have I mentioned that Scott and Elizabeth were expecting a baby girl?

Well, Scott is recuperating well after a couple of days, so Daddy and I are heading back to Mobile and go to the hospital to tell him goodbye. Before we leave, Scott says, "Daddy, we've decided on the name for our baby." Daddy says, "What is it?" Scott says, "We're going to name her Kaye." (My dad's name is Kay.) I'll never forget the sound my father made. He almost sobbed, but he nipped it after a second, though the tears were rolling down his face. He said, "Noooo, Scott, you don't want to do that!" Scott said they most certainly were naming her that, and then we had to leave because my dad was breaking down.

As we were driving to the airport, he said, "They don't really want to name her that! She'll hate that name! What kind of a name is that for a girl?" (I hated to point out the obvious - that my dad is probably the only MAN named Kay.) I reassured him that Scott and Elizabeth really wanted to do it, but when you're arguing with someone on a morphine patch, it's really a moot point.

So it's kind of cool that there's still a Kaye Arnold running around this joint, and my youngest son's middle name is Henry, after the man. Bits and pieces...we do what we can to keep him close.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This One Warranted Some Kleenex

Oh, I was reading a friend's blog about health issues and it reminded me of my favorite movie line of all time: Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List, dying of cancer, looking in the mirror saying, "Somewhere some lucky bastard just dropped dead of a heart attack." I laughed till I cried (but I was really crying, one of those confusing times when it started out funny but it really wasn't). I've always thought I was going to die before I hit 30 - I mean this is when I was 9 or 10 I didn't think I'd see 30. I used to lie there at night and think I'd die of some disease in my teens or 20's, and all my classmates would file by and THEN they'd miss me!

But I'm in my 40's now. My last lipid profile actually showed a really low total cholesterol - everything was perfect! I declared that I had a cholesterol deficiency and needed to take up smoking and drinking (well, heavy drinking). I know it's going to be cancer that gets me - got both grandmothers, one grandfather, and my dad. I knew my dad was going to die of cancer because he smoked so much, I just wondered why his doctor didn't order more frequent chest x-rays. When I was in medical school I used to go home and do physicals on him to see if it had happened yet.

But when he called me after Thanksgiving in 1999 and told me he had something on his shoulder that my sister-in-law thought was a lymph node, I just got pissed and went straight into denial. A lymph node on the top of his shoulder near his neck would mean cancer, so that wasn't right. Then it was hurting him and they finally did a chest x-ray. He called me in New Orleans on New Year's Day and said they saw a mass, so did I think he had tuberculosis? I just sat there and said, "Daddy, you know what it is."

Then there followed the most intense 6 1/2 months of my life, cramming in every possible family gathering while trying to finish fellowship. We all tried to go to every doctor's appointment with him and be there for every test, and we did a good job because the doctor would joke about it at visits. We fit in a week at Pawley's Island, South Carolina (or North?) before things went really downhill, and then we handled that, too. I think my family does cancer well - we got the most out of what we had left with no regrets. We could be consultants now - the top 10 things to do when you find out your loved one has cancer. (It would include going to a hockey game then coming home and re-enacting it in the kitchen with the kids, eating all the oysters you want at a nice restaurant and who gives a shit how much it costs, listening to all the stories you can about their childhood - and here's an idea - videotape it!)

And when Dean and I bought our vacation spot, that was the first thing that popped in my head and I said to the realtor (who probably thought I was really odd) - "this is where I'm going to be with my cancer - sitting right here on this porch." Of course, if I'm sitting alone on that porch for awhile, that's okay too.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Battleship Campout

Ooooh, the eagerly anticipated Battleship campout with the cub scouts! Poor Lucas didn't get to go last year because his mommy has Mad Cow and didn't realize that daddy had a meeting and she was on call that weekend after promising to take him. True heartbreak....he actually cried when he got home from school the next day because his friends told him how cool it was. That's one of the few times I've felt that I'm truly ruining my kids by being a doctor instead of a stay-at-home mom. So this year the campout fell on another weekend that we were both on call, but SuperMommy to the rescue - I traded weekends with my partner.

Now Dean did this with Drew when he was a Tiger Cub, so he warned me ahead of time, but poor Lucas couldn't be cheated out of his turn, so I plowed ahead. We loaded up the car Friday afternoon and headed to the Battleship. Oh, look at the sparse Pots-o-Gold (portalets) which are lined up within inches of the road. Somebody steps out of there without looking both ways and they're road kill - wonder who thought up that setup. We drove around the parking lot looking into the big field of tents for anybody we knew and came up empty, so we headed back to Pot-o-Gold country and looked for a suitable campsite. That ended up being at the Vietnam Memorial, which felt sort of sacriligious (did I spell that right?), especially watching all the unsupervised heathens running around jumping and playing on the sculptures.

Well, it got down into the 40's pretty quickly after dinner, so it was a unanimous decision to get into Lucas's tent and hang out till the campfire at 8 PM. There's not much to do in a tent unless you have cards or a board game, but luckily we all brought a book. That's what we did for an hour and a half - what a lot of fun!

After the campfire we hit the Pot-o-Gold, where I held a flashlight up to the vent so the boys could see where they were aiming when it was their turn. Apparently Lucas could just barely see to aim, because the next morning was a complete revelation to him at the john (hey look, I referenced 2 books of the Bible in 1 sentence!). He went in but came out lickety-split, declaring that he was going to throw up. He said he couldn't pee while looking "at other people's leavings." He opted to hold it until we toured the Battleship, which ended up being an hour and a half later! That kid held it while we stood in line 15 minutes for hot chocolate and a danish, then broke down tents and packed my car. Thank goodness the Battleship ticket office had a nice gift shop and bathroom, and what a little trooper!

I can't tell you all the discussion and jokes about the Pots-o-Gold that followed later that day, but you can bet we exhausted that subject. Now we've got to figure out how Lucas will make it through Jazzfest or any other event where he might need a portalet....

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween at Work

Here's the yearly Halloween crew - it was Fairies this year, so everybody was a different fairy. It's amazing that we all got different wings and were different colors. Some of the pediatric residents and medical students dressed up too - made me want to cry when they walked in to my lecture! One of them had the day off and still dressed up and came to the lecture - now that's a good doctor! And another attending dressed as Road Kill with some kind of wolf mask, but he didn't make it into the picture.

We did have a couple of patients dress up for their appointments, but HIPAA guidelines prevent me from posting their pictures; otherwise I'd have to kill you.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Saudi Arabian friend

Well I ran into a woman I trained with at said meeting in St. Petersburg. She's Saudi Arabian and told me she had a husband of 3 years - good for her! She invited me to eat with them one night, then said maybe we shouldn't because if he saw a tall blonde woman that wouldn't be good for her. That tends to make one a little skittish, no? Then she said he was very nice so I could drink in front of him. (Beg pardon?) Apparently it's illegal to drink in public in her country, and she said even in the privacy of a home some men would leave the table if a woman drank alcohol. (Honey, I'd've been alone at the table a long time ago!) He also speaks very limited English. Well, that sounds like a jolly good time - I'd be crazy to pass it up!

So we ate at an outdoor restaurant and her husband smiled nicely and was a good bit smaller than me (I was confident I could take him if necessary). She told me he and his brother were in the military and also royalty, and they had been in New York for a meeting at the U.N. Okey dokey! It also turns out he has several missions while they're in the U.S. that are top secret. At this point he says something to her and she says, "He knows we're talking about him." At which point I mime zipping my lips and tossing a key, which makes him smile and makes me think maybe he won't kill me just this minute.

Later our entrees arrive and she tells me he's upset that I'm not eating some of his chicken. Because when you host someone in Saudi Arabia you share your food and it's rude that technically we're not sharing. After lots of conversation which excludes him, he says something to her and she tells me he wants me to come with them. Where to? Why Vegas, of course! They're going to Vegas for 5 days when this meeting is over. I resist the urge to do a spit take with my second glass of wine (gasp!) and politely decline, then he tells her I should come visit them in Saudi Arabia. (Well sure - love to!) This is where I find out they have a house in the city with servants, but his sons live with their mother at the family compound. "Oh, is he divorced?" I stupidly ask. Then I find out they're allowed to have up to 4 wives....alrighty then!

Anyway, I finally finish dinner and say thanks and goodbye (and shake his hand with a clap on the shoulder, which I'm sure means he has to go purify himself and possibly amputate that hand). They sit back down at the table and as I walk away I turn back to see if they're leaving yet, and they're both sitting there watching me....waiting for the hired car to careen around the corner, jump the curb, and snatch me up for my midnight flight to Saudi Arabia where I will either be forced into life as #5 or beheaded, you make the call.

Needless to say, I frantically called Dean as I walked as fast as I could back to my hotel, then desperately locked myself in my room and waited for the heavy footfalls to come for me down the hall. I also called my mom to tell her I loved her. (And if I disappeared to look for me in Saudi Arabia.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trip to St. Petersburg

So I went to St. Petersburg for a meeting last week and flew out of Pensacola on a nonstop 1.5 hour flight - FABULOUS! From Mobile it was going to be connections in Atlanta, Dallas, or Houston, so I'm way ahead of the game here, right? Well, when I look for my gate I have to ride an escalator down to a tiny area where 3 men are sitting and there are a total of 8 chairs, so I think "mistake" and ride right back up that escalator. I restudy the signs, and realize that that was indeed my gate. I bravely go back down the escalator (yes fellas, I'm back, I meant to go in a circle - I love riding escalators!). When we finally walk out to the plane I climb up the stairs and have to duck my head and swallow back a little claustrophobia. This plane is tiny. I'm sure the logo painted on the wing is Fisher-Price. There are 19 seats and a tiny aisle from which I can touch both sides of the airplane simultaneously.

I take my seat and watch the man close the door then go sit in the cockpit. There's no door on the cockpit - cool! Someone makes an announcement about flight time, etc. I look around for where the stewardess is sitting, because I've missed her. Nope, no jumpseat by the front door. Nope, no jumpseat in the rear. Hey, where's the bathroom? Holy crap - was that the pilot locking the door and talking???

Now I realize that this is a tiny do-it-yourself flight for businessmen. And I wish I was a businessman wearing a suit - it's freezing with no heater and no blankets. I also refrain from holding my arm out to see if I even need to lean over to reach the window across the aisle. When we land (I was tempted to shout suggestions from my seat on the approach) and I finally get to the luggage carousel, I feel very foolish. My suitcase is the only one sitting on the silent conveyor belt. Silly woman - if I didn't have that damn bottle of Clear Care for my contacts I could've been in a cab already!

The return trip was even better because I was the only passenger - it was a charter flight! That is why I surreptitiously snapped some photos before turning off my phone. I was tempted to take more during takeoff and landing, but I would've had to reprimand myself and take my phone away.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Camping at DeSoto

Mercy, it's been awhile! To update you, that kid never came back to karate - guess he's getting tutored at school. I just hope his mom called that doctor.

I've been blogging in my head for weeks now, and you have missed some good stuff! We had a camping trip to DeSoto State Park that was just awesome....if you like freezing temperatures and constant drizzling, that is. Luckily, Elizabeth thought ahead and booked a cabin for us the second night - phew! Between my ankle cramps and Tracey's claustrophobia, it would've been hard to stay in that tent again!

I was almost asleep (well I wouldn't call it that really, I was just burrowed down in my sleeping bag wondering if I could stay there comfortably for 8 more hours) when I realized something was wrong with both ankles - they felt really tight. Tracey DID say that the thermal socks she loaned me squeezed her ankles, but this was ridiculous! I finally realized that the muscles going to my outside ankle bones (lateral malleolus, that is to say) had spasmed - much like a toe spasm, if you've ever had one of those. (Have you ever had one? They're so much fun to share with the kids - how does that toe BEND like that??? - but so excruciatingly painful!)

Anyway, I am marveling at the power of the ankle cramp and in awe that it happened bilaterally simultaneously (both at the same time, that is), and I realize I have to break it, so I bend down to rub the muscles. Now it hits me that I'm bent almost double in a zipped-up sleeping bag, and I have a moment of panic when I can't see the opening and realize I'm WAY in over my head - AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I fight to the surface, twisted feet be damned, and take a gulp of ice-cold air - ah. I can breathe. (Doesn't Robert Plant sing that - I can BREEE-EEEathe again)

Whew, I have to get a glass of wine. Retelling that was emotionally draining. On to the Saudi Arabian dinner host later...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Overstepping My Bounds

So I was going to blog about the schedule today and how busy it was and how proud I was that we made it to karate and 2 Scout meetings with a 15-minute dinner at Arby's (dine-in!) and kids changing in the car, etc. But this kid at karate broke my heart and I stuck my nose in where it probably wasn't wanted, so I need to vent.

I've watched this boy for 1 month now, and something is terribly wrong with him, but I don't know if his Mom knows it. He drifts in and out of awareness, and one karate instructor told the other one, "he's just lost," after teaching him a kata. This is at the YMCA, and he apparently comes straight from school and rarely has his uniform, so he routinely does push-ups and stands at the end of the line. For sparring one day Sensei told him to get his gear, so he followed the kids to their bags, then just stood there with his hands clasped to his chest staring into space. For 10 minutes he just looked into space, despite everybody telling him to get his gear. Turns out he didn't have his gear, so he just kept standing there.

One day he was in a group of 4 doing a kata for Sensei, and halfway through he just clasped his hands to his chest and went off into space - just looking off and wringing his hands. I asked another mother who happens to be a pediatrician if she had noticed his behavior or talked to his mom, and she said he'd actually "come out of his shell" over the past year. Helluva shell.

Last week the kids were saying he tried to walk home from the YMCA and got in trouble. Tonight a staffer brought him to class and made him sit on a bench till it started. She had him by the arm and all the kids were staring. He was agitated and told Sensei that he wasn't supposed to be there, he was supposed to be at school but he took the bus by mistake. She went to call his mother then came back to class and told him to sit till his mom came. Halfway through he got up and started edging toward the door. I was the only parent in there and Sensei was busy, so I called him to come sit with me and got him a chair.

He sat down facing away from me and continually picked at his hands and arms - his fingernails were long and dirty. I asked him about school and he told me he was supposed to be touring and today was the first day but he messed up and took the bus to the Y. I finally figured out he was saying "tutoring," and he said he hated to stay at school but his mom wouldn't come get him earlier. He said, "Her works at a beer plant," (interesting, because she wears scrubs) "but her could pick me up earlier if her wanted to."

So I cut to the chase and told him I was a doctor, and did he have a doctor? So this is where you gasp at my political incorrectness and I am ashamed of my in-your-face-ness. He says he has a doctor that gives him special medicine to slow his brain down, because if he didn't take his medicine his brain would be going too fast. Okay, sounds like ADHD medicine, but this kid needs an antipsychotic or something. Then he starts talking about getting shots at school and how he hates needles, and he's picking at his arms and acting out sticking a needle in his arm, and I'm afraid he's going to draw blood and hurt himself, so I change the subject. I ask him about brothers & sisters (I have a sister but her don't live with me - her's way older than me ), then about any pets, and find out he has a big backyard but nobody to play with and that's usually lonely, but it depends on what you're playing. He says it's real boring at his house but he loves animals. Oh, and the shocker that he's actually 13 years old and in the 7th grade. He's older than has this child fallen through the cracks?

My heart's just breaking for this kid who keeps looking at the door to see if his mom is there, so when class is over I mention to Sensei that he needs a psychiatrist, and she says his mom took him off his meds for the summer and only gives about half of them to him now. So I wrote down the name of a behavioral pediatric specialist for her to give the mom if she wants - she desperately wanted - and I see her hand it to the mom when she shows up. We'll see if I get cursed out Thursday night or not.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Lucas's Popcorn Tent

Hey, did I mention Lucas got some positive reinforcement for all that hard work he did selling popcorn? He won a TENT for filling up an order form! And it's not just any tent, it's a 7x5 Coleman tent with a small rear door that you back your cooler up to so you can access your drinks without going outside, and a tiny zipper to run your plugs out to the electrical outlet! Or he said the cooler door would be handy for Jake to come in and out if he was camping too.

So we had to put it up in the den to see it, then he wanted to sleep in it so he took it down and put it up all by himself in his room (after I rearranged some furniture.) He's been sleeping in it for a week now....should I think about taking that down?

Florida Gators

I'm a little late with this one, as evidenced by Tebow's very healthy appearance, but the boys had a ball seeing the Gators at the Swamp while I was cavorting with my BSC women (and by cavorting, I mean limping, swelling, medicating, and inebriating). You can never have enough Gator paraphernalia, and even Jake looks like he had a little too much to drink at the tailgate party. Doesn't he look buff in his jersey? He asked me later, "Mommy, can I take it off now? I can't breathe."

I was surprised to see Drew in a red shirt, then I realized that was a different day and he very maturely changed clothes, whereas Lucas wore the same shirt all weekend. Nice....wonder if any teeth got brushed on that trip?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Divorce and Shacking

Lucas must've watched some show or heard somebody talking about divorced parents, because out of the blue one day he asked me who I picked to live with when my parents got divorced. He asked me if the judge asks the kid to make the decision. Then he wanted to know how often we stayed with Pappy, etc. Then he made an astounding connection and remembered that Mimi took care of Pappy before he died, so he asked me if they "had to remarry and do the dancing stuff." Huh? "You know, the dancing stuff you do after your marriage." Oh, maybe we can skip over how Mimi and Pappy came to live in the same house again without doing the dancing stuff.

That reminds me of my grandmother coming to see our first house when Dean and I were engaged (rented the house in June but the wedding was in November - sorry). I toured her around the house and pointed out, "Here's my bedroom suite and my sewing room, and over here is Dean's bedroom suite." I thought that was so clever - I pointed out where my bedroom furniture was, but not if I was sleeping in it or not.

And that reminds me of my other clever dodge when Drew was in the 2nd grade and asked, "What's sex?" I said, "whether you're a boy or a girl." He said, "oh," and that was the end of that. Clevah guhl! (Name the movie, BB)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just a Taste of BOW

Oooooh, BOW was this weekend and it was a blast yet again! I mean literally a blast, as evidenced by the 5 Conservation agents (well, 1 Sheriff too) supervising 5 women who are fixing to blow those targets to kingdom come. This was Pistol 2 which is about self-defense with a firearm. Yikes! More to come later....

Friday, September 25, 2009

Another One Bites the Dust....Again

This time it was Jake's fault. I brought Max the neighbor dog over to play, and as soon as the gate swung open Jake ran out and jumped on Max. I yelled for them to come back and made the mistake of walking through the gate in front of them. I saw Jake barreling towards me and stepped to the left to get out of his way, but he went left too. Ka-boom! I was looking down and saw him take my legs right out from under me. Just as I was landing in a pile of dirt and leaves (what, no dog poo?) Drew exclaimed, "Oh! Are you o-KAY?" So sweet. I sustained 2 gouges on my left hand, a scrape on my right palm, and a crick in my neck that hasn't gone away yet. (I won't share what the dogs sustained for their behavior.)

Some people do yoga to stay flexible, but I think falling down is working fine for me.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Popcorn Mania

Lucas has been crazy about selling some popcorn again this year. He's got his sight set on a 2GB MP3 and video player, and by golly I think he'll make it! I needed a video camera to record how he runs in between houses to make the most of his time. Today we started with 9 blank lines on the order form that he wanted to fill up so he'd be eligible for a weekly drawing. He must've rung about 20 doorbells but he got 9 customers! Towards the end he was begging me to let him keep going till he filled up the order form. He'd make a sell, run back to the car to get a swig of Gatorade, then it was on to the next house.

At one intersection he wanted to take a right, but I told him there were only 2 houses in that direction. He said, "Mom, 2 houses could make it for me." When I suggested we head home he said, "Mom, the customers are waiting - let's keep going." At the next-to-last house he turned around and yelled, "Wish me luck!" I did, but then I saw the car pulling out of the garage. He saw it too and ran back to my car, then proceeded to move his mouth like he was talking to me through the window. That's when I realized the guy had pulled up next to my car so Lucas wanted to act like we were busy (just like his mother - sometimes I put my phone to my ear and pretend to talk so I don't have to make eye contact with someone - you know you've done it too).

Anyway, he crossed the street and made the final sale, proving that wishes don't work, but God is a fan of Cub Scouts.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cougars 2009

We had the annual reunion of the college housemates here at the beach this year - what a blast! Six of us have been getting together for 14 years or so to drink wine, discuss our lives, and go shopping, but this year we went boating and 3 people actually skiied and tubed! (Take that, 42-year-old bones and joints....and then take 800 mg of ibuprofen.) We learned a lot about how active we can still be at 42, but the most important thing the other 5 ladies learned was a little term I picked up from Saturday Night Live. I used it to refer to my pink halter top (see previous post about my ho shirt), and was greeted by 5 people asking: "What's a cougar?"

I think this clip at Hulu says it all - hopefully they'll watch it as it will explain what I was trying to avoid at the restaurant Friday night. Our waiter was about 22 years old and grinning from ear-to-ear as he asked, "Are we partying tonight, ladies?" The implication was there: you chicks are cougars so I got a big tip coming if I play my cards right. Anyway, I'll see if my friends give me permission to post some pictures from our weekend - maybe some action shots of Anne's back spasming or Durema's knee giving out. That reminds me of my mom and Rexie having a ladies' vacation at the beach - they came back with pictures of Rexie with some sort of neck brace on and an ice pack on her head. They said she pulled a muscle, but was that really a hangover?

Of course, now that I'm the same age, I bet it was a cervical disc problem. So sad to fall apart when you still look so good!

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Cruel Shorts

Remember Steve Martin's short story The Cruel Shoes? I relived that recently with these shorts (minus the razor blades and bloody feet). I was trying to adjust the zipper length by cutting off the top. I read that you could do that then oversew the teeth to create a new zipper stop. I've never done that before, so I wanted to take it slow and only do one side. Unfortunately, I cut one side of the zipper then proceeded to put the shorts on to see how they were looking. (It's like I had a Mad Cow moment - I'm lucky I didn't wander out to the mailbox half-dressed.) I sort of forgot to sew the new zipper stop before I just zipped that zipper up. So what happens here is that the zipper pull is only on one track now, can you picture that? And that means you can't UNZIP the shorts, which means you can't GET OUT of the shorts, are you following me here?

So for the next 30 minutes or so, I'm sitting in my chair trying to thread the damn zipper pull back onto the teeth. (This may explain the early appearance of an old-lady hump on my upper back, that 30 minutes hunched over a broken zipper that I'm wearing.) I got it once but the teeth weren't matched evenly, so when I unzipped there was a big gap of teeth sticking out at the bottom. So I worked for another few minutes, talking to God VERY LOUDLY, and finally got the thing threaded back on correctly. Can you imagine how hard it is to evenly match the teeth? I'd like you to cut off one side of an old zipper and see if you can unzip yourself with zipper intact. I really think the only way to do this is to let God know VERY LOUDLY what you need to happen.

At any rate, I was thoroughly put out with these shorts after that stunt, so I finished them as quickly as possible and refused to sew on the belt loops and nice button closure that were called for. They're baggy shorts that aren't supposed to fit like that, and they don't deserve a nice finish. They got a stupid old hook and eye closure. That'll show them who's the boss...try and trap ME again, I don't THINK so!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TV Updates

So I talked to my brother and we got it all figured out:

Johnny Gage was my hottie on Emergency! and following the ambulance sounds in the opening there were squelches from the PA system - all sort of musical with a beat, huh! Scott even remembers how they signed off with the station when they were done with a call, but I forgot already.

On S.W.A.T. you had Deacon, or "Deke" as the black guy, and Hondo as the leader.

The father-son show I was trying to think of was Barnaby Jones, starring.....Buddy Ebsen. (Really? Jed Clampett in the rickety truck was Barnaby Jones???) Scott remembered that Lee Meriweather played his able female assistant, but we blanked on who the younger guy was. Wellllll, doggie!

And how could I forget Mod Squad? My first guess on their names was Jan, Luke, and Cornelius (probably thinking of Brady Bunch, The Rifleman [corrected from The Gunslinger], and Planet of the Apes). Scott aptly remembered that it was Julie, Link, and Peter. I don't remember much about that except the groovy clothes they wore - bell bottoms and headbands with psychedelic shirts and sunglasses. Just such the polar opposite of Michael Douglas and Karl Malden in Streets of San Francisco.

Well, thinking of old TV shows makes me feel better about the Mad Cow. Probably better than Sudoku, which I was doing religiously to stave off cerebral atrophy (brain rot). Next post, maybe we'll talk about shows we had to watch while staying with the grandparents - get ready for Lawrence Welk, Jimmy Swaggart's Gospel Hour, and The Grand Ole Opry. Good times, good times.....

Monday, September 7, 2009

We Watched Too Much TV

Adam-12 - Adam-12, see the man. Sounded like a Dick and Jane novel every week. "'Scuse me, I gotta go see a man...." Martin somebody was the blonde driver I think. Blanking on the partner - he had to be brunet (I think you spell it like that for a man - I could be wrong.) to fit the formula. Oh yeah - kind of a quiet guy, never said much. Seemed sort of dull to me. They improved on this formula with Emergency!

Emergency! This was my first big-time crush - the brunet smart-alecky guy - what was his name? Roy was his blonde partner, a little chubby. The really funny guy was Chet with the big mustache back at the station - he looked just like my cousin B.R. Maybe that show is why I wanted to be a doctor. That's the first time I heard the term "Ringer's," as in "I'm running a bag of Ringer's, Doc." Don't forget Dixie the sexy blonde nurse. They took a risk with an older woman, but it paid off - nurses always know more than the doctors and she was right up there with Dr. What's-his-name (mostly referred to as Doc), also a sexy black-haired guy. If he wasn't sure what to do, Dixie always had a suggestion. You know, she looked a lot like Angie Dickinson and had that same gravelly voice. There was definitely a formula for these shows. (The theme song started out with an ambulance sound: Weee......Wooo......Weee......Wooo.....that's all I remember.)

S.W.A.T. - Precursor to Hill Street Blues, I think. There was no formula here, just sexy men with all different hair colors. I don't even think there was a woman on the show. The only name I remember is Deluca, on whom I had a crush. He was Italian. Now was Adrian Zmed on this? I think I'm confusing it with T.J. Hooker (back to the formula). (By the way, here's the theme song phonetically and moving down the keyboard with each repeat: na-na-naaaaa, na-na-naaaa, na-na-naaaa, na-na-naaaaa, na-na-NA-NA! Now repeat in a higher key. Can you hear it?)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Some Old 70's Shows

I was thinking about police mysteries the other night. They were a far cry from CSI and these other crime shows where you see all the blood and gore.

McMillan and Wife - Sexy married couple solves mysteries - I can't remember exactly what kind. Guns were always involved, and lots of slinky tops and dresses plus high heels. It really seems like Rock Hudson was McMillan - that can't be right. He appeared on Carol Burnett sometimes. [News Flash: It WAS Rock Hudson - I googled it. Sister 1, Mad Cow 0] Also Susan St. James was the wife - I cheated and looked. I just remember her coming down the stairs in the intro - made me want to grow up and wear sexy black pantsuits (or glittery black tops).

McCloud - Yucky-looking Dennis Weaver rides down the street on a horse wearing a cowboy hat...Dennis, not the horse. His kind of high-pitched whiny voice and the over-large mustache turned me off to the show. But I do remember the intro music - not very good either. Nope, didn't really like that one.

Police Woman - Of course this was everyone's Dad's favorite show. Angie Dickinson - - Rrrrrrrroowwwww! Come to think of it, our family friend Rexie sort of looked like Angie Dickinson. At least in my Mad Cow-ridden brain, they blend together. (a Rexie-ism for my sister: Hey babe) Now Angie's boyfriend was also a little wimpy if I remember correctly - I didn't like him. When you think about it, they were kind of hard up for sexy male actors in the police-mystery genre. The next one proves my point.

Columbo - So squinty-eyed and short. Funny, though. Kind of like Gilligan's Island meets Ironsides - ooh! There's another one that we watched - Raymond Burr in a wheelchair in life-threatening situations every week - good stuff!

Rockford Files - The exception to the above rule. Not terribly good-looking, but just something about his attitude made James Garner good.

Now there was also something called Banacek that I vaguely remember, but it was tougher and grittier and came on later at night. Maybe we weren't supposed to watch that one. That guy looked like Al Pacino and probably used stronger language than McCloud. And there was something with an old guy and his son or his younger apprentice - blanking on that one. It wasn't Sanford & Son, and it wasn't Chico & the Man....I'll keep working on that one.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Another Shirt I Can't Wear Anywhere

Oh look! I used the same pattern from the purple shirt and made a fancy one out of glittery fabric, which drops glitter everywhere I go. Did I mention this cost $7, compared to similar glittery shirts that fancy stores sell for exorbitant sums of money? So if you see me at a Christmas party, this is what I'll be wearing (plus a little lipstick hopefully, and there'll be a pile of glitter around me; and if I hug you please forgive the glitter I'll leave on your outfit.)

And yes, that's a personalized tag my sister gave me years ago to put in all my clothes. That way if I give them away to the Goodwill someone can look me up in the phone book and call to complain about all the unfinished seams. Nice! But really, it did impress the hell out of my in-laws when they saw that.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another Lucas-ism

We went out last night for dinner and ordered a bottle of wine. The waitress opened it and poured Dean a sip then waited for his approval before pouring my glass (I'm sure that's just a formality - anybody really ever send back wine?). Lucas was with us (he selected the 2009 Dr. Pepper.)

Tonight at dinner (at home, thank you) Lucas asks me, "Mom, is there a food that Dad likes but you don't?" I had to think awhile but finally came up with olives. He says, "Then what if somebody gave you both olives, but you don't like them. So why does the waiter wait to see if Dad likes the wine, but you don't get to taste it? What if YOU didn't like it? It's not fair."

Go boy - stand up against sexism! Finding inequalities where I've never seen them before! Who would've thought of that at 7 years old? (Of course, when you're raised with parents who only drink beer and liquor at dinner it doesn't really come up, trust me. My phone will ring with my mother on it in 5, 4, 3, 2, wait for it...)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Can't Help Falling...

So if you've been in the archives or are a regular reader, you may remember a trip in New York City...yes, IN, not TO, as in I fall down go boom in a fancy hotel lobby. Well I took another trip this morning at the beach. I was coming down the stairs barefooted and that left foot just flew right off that step - luckily I fell backwards instead of forwards or this could've been tragic.

As it was, it was quite comedic - Chevy Chase couldn't have done better. Drew was sitting at the table and turned around as the thudding started then went on for quite a while. To his credit, he didn't smile or laugh until I started, but first asked if I was okay. Then when the hysterical laughing began (I always laugh hysterically after I fall unless strangers are watching), he asked incredulously, "Are you LAUGHING?" Once he realized 911 was not necessary, he described how funny I looked bouncing down each step rapidly on my bum. (I was wondering why it took 5 steps to stop when you've got an elbow, wrist, and iliac bone applying the brakes.)

Then the hysterical laughter threatened to turn into sobbing, but that would confuse the children, so I nipped that in the bud. Now I'm the proud owner of a black and purple stripe in the nether-regions as well as a greenish-blue swollen hematoma from wrist to elbow. (When that one darkens up I may post a picture!)

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Birthday PartyThat Almost Wasn't

My brother had a birthday party on July 4th, one time, which is his actual birthday, but for some reason it was thought to be a great idea to do the party that day too. I remember sitting on the front porch with him waiting for guests, then realizing after about 30 minutes that no one was coming. I then went and sat with him on the back porch while he cried. (Luckily his 18th birthday party went much better - look out now!)

That almost happened to us with Lucas's birthday. Sunday, August 2nd, is a bad day for a party when school starts 2 weeks later. Most people were out of town. But can I say that out of 14 invitations we got 6 RSVP's? Less than half the people responded, s'il vous plait! So on the way to the party we had one confirmed guest! That is why there is no one in the pictures except my children.

Now we did end up with 4 actual guests, plus 2 siblings, so luckily there were people besides his parents to sing Happy Birthday to him. But you can see how big the place is, and we only used one tiny section of a table. Plus look how homemade Patrick looks. This is the first time I've actually been embarrassed by my homemade cake. (It's a cookie cake - squeeze a tube of dough onto a pan and spread it out with your hands. You're done.) I did have to sketch Patrick then cut out a stencil to use with the edible spray paint, but it just looks pitiful. Dean actually complimented it and said it looked great (he told this to Lucas), despite declaring my art skills on the level of a 5th grader earlier.

So take a note - summer birthday parties SUCK. On the bright side, he doesn't have many thank-you notes to write!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Do You Hear That Ripping Sound?

It's my heart being ripped out of my chest. Now I'll cry at a good sappy commercial, but I wasn't upset that Lucas's school didn't allow parents to walk in their first-graders. I did that with Drew and took a couple of pictures and then was amazed at how long the parents wasted the teacher's time by not leaving. So last year Lucas was given a kiss in the car and told to get out!

But today he just left for his first spend-the-night with a friend. And it's all the way across the bay (a 30-minute drive). And I almost cried when he rode off with his friend's dad. Just the two of them - what will they talk about? He's in the center back seat - that's the one that catapults you through the windshield - what's that dad thinking??? What, no booster seat??? The roads are wet, it's been storming horribly, and they have to cross the Bayway - is he a good driver? RRRRRRRRRiiiiipppp!

Before he left we had a talk about appropriate comments if dinner consists of, say, okra:
M: What if she asks why you're not eating it?
L: I'll say I'm not vewwy hungwy.
M: What do you say when you leave the table?
L: Thank you for dinner.
M: Now if she says, "we're having waffles for breakfast," you will NOT say, "aw, I like pancakes better." (as was said to me one time)
L: But Mom, I DO love waffles better anyway!
M: And you will not walk around in your underwear in front of anyone.
L: But when we changed for PE at school we all had to change together and we even had to take off our undahweah!!! (Now I may have to look into that one...)

Anyway, it hurt, but I'm sure he'll have fun with his best buddy. And, hey, doesn't that mean I can sew tonight instead of watching Coraline?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another Shirt

Sorry - you people are going to have to put up with my sewing projects. Kodak Gallery locks up the vault so I can't post the pictures there. Anyway, this one is to wear out to eat with some knee-length black shorts, or pants I guess. It almost ended up as a bridesmaid dress (see the poofy sleeve), but I got that outta there. I found the pattern on (see the box at left) and I have to say it looks much better on the better-endowed women. Oh well, I'll continue to flaunt my ribs as long as I'm able!

You know, the more I look at it, the more I think it overemphasizes my hips - dangit! Back to the pool hall shirt!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What the Heck is THIS???

Drew found this in the back of his closet and pulled it out in a fit of boredom. I showed him where the power cord was hidden in the back and how to turn it on - gasp! Magic! One piece of paper has now provided about 20 minutes of entertainment for both boys, despite the fact that the typewriter is on its last legs and the ink cartridge is half empty. It also won't backspace or self-correct, but the RETURN button is so fun!

They asked, "doesn't it automatically go ding and shoot back in the other direction?" Apparently I've exposed them to enough old 70's shows that a typewriter rings a bell....oh look, I made a pun! They're taking turns right now typing across till the ding and watching it fly when they hit return. Drew asked if they still sold cartridges for it - I bet only on Ebay. It's actually 25 years old, and I think it may have been a birthday present or something - a fabulous new electronic typewriter! What 17-year-old wouldn't love to get this on her birthday? (You didn't think I was a NERD did you?)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sew What?

So what's that new thing on the left? Just the craziest, nerdiest thing and it's so awesome! I found a website for sewing nuts where you can browse patterns and read reviews complete with pictures of the finished product. There are thousands of women reviewing patterns and putting up pictures of their stuff. Fabulous! RIGHT NOW, there are 163 sewing enthusiasts on that site looking for patterns, machines, etc. You can buy fabric, read about machines, etc. They have online classes that you can download, contests, etc. SEWING HEAVEN!!! So nobody had reviewed the pattern I made, thus my review. And the chick who came up with it realized all us homebodies had our own blogs and might want to link the two - clever!

Okay, I know, nobody cares about sewing, but let me tell you the pink shirt I made cost $10 and tomorrow I'm finishing Lucas's pajama pants which will be posted up here too. And when Obamacare passes I'll be ready for the darkness that will descend upon us. If only I could get that garden planted.....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Speaking of Ho-shirts...

So I do not wear my new shirt to eat, but I DO get to pick the restaurant and I choose O'Charley's (Dean refers to it as O'Suckey's). We're driving up and I see a lovely lady crossing the street towards a motel wearing a halter dress. I point out, "Look, she's wearing a similar style to my shirt!" Dean points out that she's getting paid hourly. (Because she's carrying a really big gaudy bag and there's a gentleman walking about 10 feet in front of her.)

So we're seated in a booth, and a 6' tall woman is being escorted to her table. I can't help but look because she's tugging her shirt down. It seems that she's wearing a shirt like a coat-dress, and no pants. There are gray pantyhose, but no pants, and I'm so confused. The shirt/dress comes just below a critical area, but just barely, which is why she's tugging at it. She's followed by another woman who has a revealing shirt, lots of bling, and possibly a tiny pair of shorts. Both have very big hair. They're accompanied by a man. Five minutes later, 3 more ladies come in with revealing blouses, lots of bling, and very little coverage in the pants department. One has pink hair and another has purple hair. Ten minutes later, 2 more women come in similarly dressed except they have a toddler with them (oops!).

I tell Dean, "I would've fit right in at the convention here!" Dean thinks it's real nice that their boss is treating them to dinner. We both feel sorry for the family with 3 little kids who gets seated right next to their table.

My New Shirt

This is what I did while the boys were out of town and I had to work this weekend - I made a modern, fashionable, non-granny shirt! It took a long time to find a pattern that was up-to-date and not just all about pockets and collars. I could only find this one fabric that looked 2009 - everything else was animal skin prints (nothing screams Cougar like animal prints). I started Saturday night and finished Sunday afternoon. Dean announced we'd go out to eat, so I hurried to hem it and wear it to dinner.

When he saw it, he declared that I belonged in a pool hall with a cigarette hanging out of my mouth (oh, that sounds fun, but what will we do with the kids?). Drew declared it "awesome" and said he liked how the tie-dye stripes were going diagonally (it's all about cutting on the bias, baby), because if they were going horizontally they'd make me look fat.....he learned how to give compliments from his father, apparently.

Anyway, I'm proud of it, and please notice the somewhat decorative hem, which I think in this case makes it look more store-bought, though the boys said it definitely looks home-made. Can't catch a break in this joint!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Lucas was quite clever in figuring out a way to swing when nobody was around to push him! Drew tried it, but he weighs too much to get any momentum when Jake grabs the rope.

I'm happy they're outside playing these days. For a couple of days there, our TV and computer were running nonstop while the babysitter watched soap operas or texted friends and I could almost smell the brain rot when I came home every day. So we put our collective foot down and declared No More Screen Time!

The next day I came home to Lucas in his bathing suit with the hose pulled up in the fort and pointed down the slide. He was flying out and landing in the mud, so he had to work out a way to come down slower. Drew had taken several big boards and hammered up a new room under the fort complete with old patio chairs and a table. He told me he used 12 nails - I don't think that'll meet hurricane standards, but they're not load-bearing walls anyway. They also figured out it was fun to spray each other on the swing, so I don't think the TV was even missed.

It reminds me of the song, "If I Had a Hammer" by Tennessee Ernie Ford, or someone from HeeHaw like Archie Campbell (BAM! Who's got Mad Cow now???):
If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the mornin'.
I'd hammer in the evenin', all across this land.
Or, well, you know, something like that.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Couple of Old Sayings

I thought about some things we used to say as kids:

"You stink like cyarn!"
I don't know how to spell it but it rhymes with yarn. Somebody told me that the paper plant used a ditch filled with water, and when the water evaporated the "cyarn" was the chemical left over and made a terrible smell. Now cyarn doesn't sound like a chemical name to me, and it pretty much stunk all the time around the paper plant, so what gives? Anyone with paper-producing expertise?

"He's dead as a doornail."
I used to think it was a nail in a door, but I think it's really spelled doorknell because I read that word somewhere, but now the Mad Cow has stolen the truth from me. Anyone?

Also, for some reason that made me think of the time I was in the 4th grade and got to go the regional spelling bee (I won at school on the word parallel after a smarmy 5th grade boy demonstrating a superior attitude spelled it paralell). Some teacher drove and another named Miss Moore rode in the front, then myself and a girl named Ruthie were in the back. Winston may have been in there too, because I remember being crowded and sitting on the hump in the middle. Anyway, Ruthie was telling us all the chores she had done so far: got up at 5 AM to feed the animals and fix breakfast for her brother, etc. and I asked her if she lived on a farm (because doesn't it make sense that if you get up that early and do chores you might be a farmer?). Miss Moore proceeded to bust a gut laughing for some reason which I didn't understand and said, "Arnold, you crack me up." (She always called me Arnold, which made me feel that I, the homeliest nerd in class, had a cool nickname. But now that I think about it, I think she called everybody by their last names.)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No Pool, But This is Less Maintenance!

So the way we cool off in the yard now is to jump on the swing and get Daddy to run us over his head - wheeeeeeee! You can't tell how high this thing is really going, but let me just say all the neighbors better close their shades if they don't want me peeking over the fence!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Out of Lemonade

These boys decided last night to sell some books. They spent about an hour and a half going through Drew's bookshelf and working on pricing and signage. I pulled out a few to keep (you just CAN'T sell Shel Silverstein - he's classic!) and set them free the next day. I helped carry out the big table, but the rest was all them. Drew set up quite a nice display I think, though early on I thought it looked more like a chair sale. Before you get all mad at how hot and miserable they look, let me say that I suggested a shady spot, provided them with a big umbrella, filled up thermoses of ice water, and even provided a pitcher of ice water and styrofoam cups to offer their customers. Drew suggested selling ice water for $1 but I taught him that if your customers are comfortable and happy, they'll browse longer and possibly buy something. A nice neighbor told Drew he should only give ice water to people who buy 2 books or more.

They stayed out about 2 hours, attracted a friend from around the corner who wanted to hang out, and made $6.50 (prices ranged from 25 cents to $1.75). After they paid the friend $1 for helping bring it all in and letting them play with his electric scooter between customers, they netted $2.50 for Lucas and $3.00 for Drew. Tough work for the money. Maybe we'll check into Ebay - less risk of dehydration!