Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Not So Fast

Um, I left out a step in the previous post. You know, the one about suffering a setback when you try to bounce back too fast. I went back to work today, but needed a nap by the time I got dressed and drove there. I held on as long as I could but had to bail around 2pm. You know you look bad when the gal behind the counter at Subway peers over her glasses, asks if you're okay and frowns when you say yes. I managed to hold off on passing out while waiting for Hubby's and Teen Angel's sandwiches. It was back to the pj's and recliner this afternoon. I've been trying to stay awake long enough to be good and sleepy so that when I curl up with my friend Tylenol PM in a little while I'll get a good night's sleep despite this innerd chucking cough. I'm surrending again, my friends to the whims of illness, taking one last stab at a hibernation under the healing covers that will hopefully, lick this mess once and for all. In the meantime, I've enjoyed watching from a distance the goblins begging for candy at my front door and Hubby making ghostly sounds at them. I love little trick or treaters. They're so stinkin' cute. Medicine of a different kind.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Down in The Bed

To the tens of readers wondering where I've been the last few days, it is with great pleasure (NOT) to inform you I've been laid up in the bed with some kind of crap that has knocked me on my butt so hard, I couldn't get up for two days. I had a 102 plus fever for thirty hours and my sinus cavities throbbed so badly it felt as if my face had gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson. Every part of my body hurt, including my teeth. I haven't felt this bad in years. I'm on the mend and hope to be back to work tomorrow, but right now I'm taking it one hour at a time. My goal in the next two hours is to bathe away this sweaty layer of gunk left by the fever. Maybe later today I'll work my way up to eating something other than a can of mandarin oranges. I don't want to get carried away, though.

Illness has its stages. Not the average cold kind of illness. I'm talking about take to the bed sickness. It starts with that chill that makes you wonder if you're coming down with something, but you refuse to accept it initially. Which is what I did Sunday night. I couldn't get warm, but I thought I got chilled at a bonfire/weiner roast we had just been to. I knew something was wrong after I'd been to bed for a couple of hours and still couldn't get warm despite being sandwiched between Hubby, the dog, a comforter and a wool blanket. The next stage is accepting your fate and giving in to it. Curling up in the fetal position in bed and begging everyone to leave you alone with instructions to check on you once an hour to see if you've expired. I had trouble sleeping yesterday because my body hurt so badly, and the daylight seeping through the shades hurt my eyes. There was also the matter of the phone ringing off the wall. Wrong numbers. The electronics store thanking us for buying a TV from them Saturday. The Cingular store thanking us for buying a cell phone from them Saturday. I would have turned off the phone if I'd had the strength to get out of bed, but I couldn't lift all the blankets I had layered on me. Depending on your illness, this waller in the sweaty bed in your own skank and want to die stage can go on for one to several days. Thank goodness there was no pukefest with this adventure.

My fever finally broke around four this morning. That brought on stage three, starting to take little steps toward basic hygiene and venturing outside the bedroom and bathroom. It's nice when you don't have to debate with youself anymore about whether you feel up to crawling out of bed and sliding on your stomach to the bathroom to pee. Without going into detail I will say that a trip to the potty this morning was evidence that I need way more fluids. I wanted to drink more water yesterday. I just didn't have the energy to reach it. Just out of curiousity, I stepped on the scales and found that I had lost five pounds. At another time in my life this would be thrilling news. I've always said a good case of the flu is better than any fad diet. But right now, I need all of my pounds, so I have some catching up to do in the eating department.

I have shed my layers of warm in stages, the last being the raggety old housecoat. I'm down to the nasty pajamas now. They're all going into the washing machine when I take a shower. The shower should signal the beginning of stage five, sitting up and moving around for the rest of the day. This stage usually involves the futil search for something good on TV. I've seen the TV Guide and my choices are going to be limited to crappy, ten year old movies, the insipid "Whose Wedding is it Anyway" and endless episodes of "The Barefoot Contessa". I'd read a book, but it makes me dizzy to look at the lines. In fact, I'm getting dizzy just typing. Stage six will come later tonight. That will involve going to bed early, say 8pm, so that maybe I'll have the strength to go to work tomorrow. Right now, I'm focusing on the shower. Oh, and the dog. I'm home alone today, and he hasn't been out since 4:30 this morning. His bladder is getting full, and I need to psyche myself up for a trip outself. Pray for me brothers and sister. It's a long walk to the yard.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Say What?

Americans butcher the English language in all sorts of ways. In the south we put our own special twist on it that sounds completely different from other parts of the country. When we were packing Sissy's stuff last weekend I overheard a couple of her big city friends talking, and one gal says to the other, "I just love the way they talk. It's so quaint." I thought about pointing out her northern brogue, but that would have been rude, so being the nice girl that I am I let it pass. And I'm not good at letting things pass, so I felt really grown up and all at that moment. I got a good chuckle out of it though and thought to myself, "Quaint? You'd think we were stupid if you could hear how we REALLY mangle the English language sometimes." You see, my family has a way of misusing words that's downright hilarious. My favorite examples.

1. July 2005-Hilton Head, South Carolina-We're driving around after dinner looking for a liquor store so we can make margaritas at our condo when we pass a Harris Teeter grocery store. Loudly, Hubby says, "Look! A Harry Tweezers." Laughter all the way around. By the way, we went to three liquor stores, and they were all closed. Apparently, even though it's a vacation area, they shut down their liquor stores very early each night. Just one of the many ways I felt ripped off in Hilton Head. But we still laugh about Harry Tweezers. Well, Hubby doesn't. But the rest of us do, often. As in just yesterday.

2. August, 2003-family wedding at the church I grew up in. Mama and I are standing in front of the church with a large crowd of folks waiting to shower the couple with bird seed. Mama points to the beautiful flowering clematis near the church doors and says, "I want to get some of that chlamydia." If I had been younger I might have been embarrassed. As it was I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants.

3. And my favorite of late-October 2007 at home after vacation-We're discussing a dinner we had with some gay friends and how that dinner helped Teen Angel to overcome her fear of gay people. Mama J. says to Teen Angel, "I sure am glad you aren't claustrophobic any more." She still doesn't know what she said. We're still laughing.

So you see, that's why we have to speak with that silky, southern drawl. It's to disguise the fact that we don't know what the heck we're saying sometimes. Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm off to find a birthday present for my mom. I'm thinking a plant. Something that flowers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Trick or Treat

I haven’t bought any Halloween candy yet. Not because I’m behind. I’m just afraid to bring it into my house until the last minute because I cannot control myself around a plastic pumpkin full of chocolate. Or sour stuff. Or gummies. Or licorice. I love Halloween candy. As a kid there’s nothing better than extorting candy out of adults with a smile and a big, “Trick or Treat”. I don’t know who thought up that scam, but it’s a good one. I’d trick or treat today if I could get away with it. When I was a kid we lived so far out in the boondocks we had to drive into town to trick or treat. We had to interlope into strange neighborhoods. We were those kids who carpooled into the well heeled neighborhoods in hopes of snagging “the good stuff”. Good times. Of course, that was a time when you could turn your kids loose with a pillowcase and let them roam and knock on doors for hours without worrying about them. Before the movie Halloween came out and scared the bejesus out of us. Before To Catch A Predator showed us that the bogeyman really lives next door and likes to chat online with little girls.

That was also a time when costumes were homemade, and kids made them with stuff around the house. I remember when only losers bought a costume. When I was about ten, I turned myself into Dolly Parton with a tacky knit jumpsuit I found in my aunt’s yard sale box, a blonde wig and a couple of tube socks. Hmm. Maybe it was four tube socks. Another year I was a tissue box thanks to a cardboard box, some paint and some tissue paper. I won a prize for that one. Another year I was a clown with a little help from my dad’s size eleven shoes and some baggy pants. A classmate of mine had an artistic mom who was the queen of paper mache. She could turn him into anything he wanted with some chicken wire, glue and paper. Everyone in fifth grade was in awe of his koala bear costume. Everybody wore the same mask, those Lone Ranger looking things that came in about four colors: black, white, red and blue. I tried to avoid wearing them because they itched and suffocated me. I hated scratching and I liked breathing.

Halloween is different now in that it’s pretty commercial, and it’s controversial. I’m puzzled by the disdain some folks have for Halloween. I don’t think it’s a celebration of all things Satan. For kids, it’s still just a scam for candy. It’s the adults that make it into something more sinister. One thing that hasn’t changed is the candy. It’s still fattening, and it still rots your teeth. Kids still will eat too much of it on Halloween night, and they will still dump it on the floor and sort it out. Junk like pencils and pennies get tossed (for the love of Pete, if you are one of the folks who hands that stuff out…stop it). Everything else gets placed into one of three piles: favorites that are to be savored and eaten first, okay stuff that will help to make the favorites last and the leftovers to be eaten when everything else is gone. Personally, I will buy “the good stuff” and get extra so we can eat the leftovers until Thanksgiving. None of that crappy candy corn for the Hula’s thanks. Hershey’s miniatures all the way. I just won’t buy it until the last minute. What’s in your Halloween bowl? Can I peek? Please? Just one look? I just want one, something chocolate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Big Chill

After weeks of hot, un-Autumn like weather, we finally hit a wall Monday. Rain, rain, rain..all day long. And again on Tuesday. Downpour, mud slogging, wet shoe rain. As usual we didn’t get a gradual transition between seasons. We abruptly ended one and jumped right into another with both feet. It’s probably psychological, but my summer lovin’ body stayed chilled to the bone in yesterday’s 58 degree drizzle. Hubby has this wacky, “I’m not turning on the heat ‘til November 1st” rule that drives Teen Angel and me crazy. He’s the only man I know going through menopause. He stays in a perpetual hot flash and could go without heat until January if we let him. We won’t let him. We griped and whined last night until he finally gave in. The thing that finally put him over the edge and forced him to reach for the thermostat was the dog crawling up in the middle of the bed and huddling under the covers. I love that dog.

Early in the evening to make my point about needing some heart, I jumped into my winter pajamas, and it’s funny how time away from a clothing item gives you a little perspective about it. I realized last night that those worn flannel pj’s with the ripped sleeve aren’t nearly as attractive as I thought they were last winter. Hubby gave a big amen to that when I mentioned it. And to think I thought he thought they were um…cozy. I guess not. A quick assessment of my other winter pajamas led me to the conclusion that I have nothing in my nighttime wardrobe that keeps away the chill while looking like anything other than homeless attire. A few examples:
-1 purple robe-used to walk the dog in the morning and at bedtime. Food stains on the collar. Mud on the sleeves and bottom. Fortunately, it’s dark when I walk Jack, so the neighbors don’t see it.
-white house shoes-well, they’re really not house shoes. They are a faux leather slip on sneaker that I bought in the $5 bin at New York and Company two years ago. These too, are used to walk the dog. They are grass and mud stained to a lovely shade of gray. They also have a small patch of dog poop on the bottom that won’t come off.
-red flowered pajamas-Once upon a time in a land far, far away, these were in style when I found them on a rack at Target. That was about the same time leg warmers were in style. Nuf said.
-men’s flannel pajama bottoms-These are too big but they have a “Where The Wild Things Are” theme, and I love them. No matter how much they droop. As in plumber’s crack droop.

This is a small sample of my fashion prowess. Impressive, isn’t it? Keep in mind all of these are worn with thick, white socks. It screams sexy, but I think it’s time to quit wearing to bed whatever is on sale or looks warm and invest in at least one nice pair of winter pajamas. Hubby deserves it. I really do long for some of those cute pink Victoria’s Secret flannel ensembles. I just hate spending what amounts to a car payment on them. I will though, because I’m committed to doing something about this issue. And once I’m done with that one, I’m going to work on that summer purse I’m still carrying and those white shoes I keep dragging out. What can I say? I’m a style goddess.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ask Hula Girl

Why the name Hula Girl At Heart?
It’s the name of a Jimmy Buffet song. I love the lyrics and like to think they fit where I am at this stage of life. A sample:

She knows how to face the music
She knows where the magic starts
In a world that needs more dancing
She’s still a hula girl at heart.

She has worn a wealth of costumes
Hula skirts to wedding gowns
Lived in cities walked through jungles
Always sees the sun go down

Her sensual and easy motion
Seems impossible to chart
In a world that needs more dancing
She’s still a hula girl at heart.

Why do you not use your real name or post pictures of your family?

I like my anonymity. Very few people who actually know me know that I blog. I would probably have a lot more readers if I shared this with acquaintances, but it gives me freedom from censorship. As for pictures, I’m just leery about having that kind of thing out there for potential abuse by others. Besides, my peeps like their privacy too.

Why do you blog?
I have dreams of writing a novel one day (doesn’t everybody). I have a file of notes and a thin outline rolling around in my head but need to start putting it on paper. I thought this would be a good way of training myself to write every day. I didn’t expect to enjoy having cyber friends so much. I absolutely love having folks stop by and comment.

What is your dream job?
Being a Rockette. I’ve always wanted to be a Rockette. I love watching them on the Macy’s parade every year and still harbor that pipe dream that maybe one day they’ll call and offer me a fuzzy hat and boots. Stop laughing. I mean it. Right now.

If you had an extra hour in each day what would you do with it?
Community theater. I miss doing plays and hope to dabble with it when Teen Angel is grown and has left the nest. Or I might sleep.

Do you wish you had more children?
Some days. A second child would have required daycare, and I didn’t want to do that. There are plenty of other reasons why we only had one child that are too long to type here, but basically, I don’t have any regrets about the decision.

What is your biggest regret?
That I didn’t take all of the money I had in the bank when I was 21 years old and take my grandmother on a trip. She was a wonderful, sweet person who was never able to afford luxuries, and I’m sad that she died without getting to travel much.

Do you miss working in television news?
Not really. I love what I do now, and it was a great decision for my family.
Supervising forty egos in the fast paced environment of TV news was exhausting and stressful. I don’t miss that. I love a really good murder trial and kind of miss covering those. I will also miss not seeing the Presidents and presidential candidates up close when they come to town. I used to organize our coverage for that and really enjoyed it.

What do you like best about yourself?
I’m a good listener.

What do you like least about yourself?
It’s a tie between my impatience and my belly button. I’m working on my impatience and as soon as I can save up for Fraxel laser treatments, I’m going to zap those old pregnancy stretch marks around my belly button. Which should be sometime after Teen Angel graduates from college, and I have paid off my mortgage.

Do you have an addiction?
Yes. Clothes. Nothing feels so good as a new outfit. I just hate the trying on part.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Moving On

9:30am-Hubby and S. begin drive to Sissy’s condo with moving van.
3:30pm-Hubby and S. arrive at Sissy’s and immediately start packing.
6pm-Try to nap while waiting for Sissy to get to my house. (Sissy’s been at our place for the last few weeks.)
6:05pm-phone rings. Mama J. has a question.
6:15pm-phone rings. Hubby calls with update on progress.
6:30pm-nap isn’t happening. I eat a bologna sandwich and do laundry.
8:30pm-Sissy arrives. Long drive to her house begins.
8:41pm-incessant gossip about the rest of the family
11pm-pull into convenience store for potty break, gas and snack.
11:05pm-compliment bladder on cooperation up to this point
11:10pm-buy large drink
11:15pm-back on the road. More incessant gossip.
1:30am-arrive at Sissy’s to find that Hubby and S. have packed the kitchen and two bathrooms.
1:31am-drop to knees for prayer of thanks that kitchen and two bathrooms are packed.
2am-go to bed.

7am-Wake up and jump in clothes.
7:15am-eat Krispy Kreme donut bought at convenience store the night before. Make a note to stick with running schedule next week.
7:25am-start packing.
9am-drink Diet Coke.
10am-scarf down cold piece of pizza Hubby bought the night before.
10:15am-buy more moving boxes at U-Haul. Keep packing.
11am-bang shin on table. Curse loudly. Apologize to child in the room. Look around to see if child’s parents heard me.
11:05pm-gather friends and family to figure out how to move heavy hot tub off patio and into the truck since crack smoking professionals want $700 to move it.
11:10am-tilt hot tub on side. Almost drop on Hula Girl’s head while she’s underneath bracing dolly.
11:12am-roll hot tub end over end to the corner of property.
11:30am-eyeball length of distance between hot tub and moving van parked on the street.
11:31am-decide to heck with picky homeowner’s association and drive moving truck into the backyard creating, gasp, a big, fat rut.
11:52am-maneuver hot tub onto truck lift and into truck.
12pm-hi fives. Drop to knees and weep for joy that hot tub is finally in truck.
12:01pm-drink Diet Coke.
12:05pm-keep packing.
3pm-stop working. Friends go home.
3:15pm-drive dirty selves to Smokey Bones for ribs and cornbread. Make note to add an extra run to next week’s schedule.
4:30pm-stop at Home Depot to rent carpet cleaner.
4:45pm-stop at Target for cleaning supplies and more Diet Coke. Lose Hubby in Target.
5:10pm-back at Sissy’s. Hubby and S. take thirty minute nap while Sissy and me clean.
5:45pm-Hubby and S. wake up and start packing again.
7pm-talk about that great little ice cream shop up the street while cleaning carpet.
8pm-decide to drive to ice cream shop for hot fudge Sundays. Make note to add two extra running days to schedule next week.
8:30pm-eat ice cream and drink Diet Coke.
9pm-change into pajamas and realize over eager friends packed my cosmetic bag in box that is covered up in moving van. Bag includes toothbrush, deodorant, hairbrush and facial cleanser.
9:05pm-brush teeth with finger and toothpaste.
9:15pm-climb into bed.

7:45am-awake and argue with Hubby that it is not close to 8am when friends are supposed to arrive to help.
8am-realize Hubby is right when doorbell rings. Grab clothes.
8:05am-brush teeth with finger and toothpaste.
8:07am-borrow hairbrush from Sissy who borrowed it from S. because Sissy’s is now missing, too. Try not to think about broken hygiene rules.
8:15am-pour milk on cereal and realize silverware is all packed.
8:16am-dig ice cream spoon out of trash and scrub, scrub, scrub it. Eat cereal.
8:25am-drink Diet Coke.
8:40am-pack suitcase and help load more furniture.
10am-endure lecture from snooty home owner’s association president about rut in yard. Make note to group moon her on the way out of the condo complex.
10:30am-give away bedroom suite to friend because it won’t fit on truck.
10:45am-ice down Diet Cokes for ride home.
10:50am-make final sweep through house.
10:55am-give Sissy a moment alone in her empty house.
11am-pull out of drive. Decide not to moon association president after all.
11:15am-stop at Bob Evan’s for lunch. Lose Hubby in parking lot when he walks to Target next door. Make a note to blow off running next week and start fresh the following week.
12pm-head home.
12:15pm-marvel at how high up you sit when riding in the moving van. Wave at trucker.
12:30pm-laugh at the way Hubby bounces up and down on air seat when we hit bumps.
1:52pm-finish reading book. Crap, here comes boredom.
2:10pm-hum show tunes.
2:40pm-clean out purse.
3:15pm-moisturize lower legs, ankles and hands with lotion sample found in purse.
3:25pm-roll down window because lotion sample stinks.
3:30pm-ask to drive. Get laughed at.
3:45pm-stop for potty break. Compliment bladder on cooperation up to this point.
3:50pm-buy large drink. Look for book to read. Find ceramic rattlesnake but no book. Buy Milk duds. Run? I’ve never heard of running.
4pm-hit the road again.
4:30pm-laugh hysterically at the way Hubby bounces up and down on air seat when we hit bumps. Tick Hubby off.
4:31pm-offer Hubby Milk Dud as peace offering.
5:30pm-curse bladder for lack of cooperation. Decide to tough out the last 50 miles.
5:45pm-pretend like I’m not still nibbling on Milk Duds.
6:15pm-wish we had stopped to potty. Decide to tough out the last few miles.
6:30pm-arrive at Sissy’s new house.
6:31pm-ask if she has toilet paper while running into house.
6:40pm-start unloading truck.
7pm-Sunday school class arrives to help unload. Fall to knees and weep for joy help has arrived.
8:13pm-truck is empty. Class goes home. Hula’s drive up the street to their house.
8:30pm-realize suitcase was unloaded with Sissy’s stuff and have no cosmetics. Hubby goes back to Sissy’s for suitcase.
8:35pm-bew iced tea.
8:45pm-marvel at all the chores Teen Angel has done while we were gone. Fall to knees and weep for joy that we may not be completely incompetent as parents after all.
8:55pm-take shower.
9:05pm-eat bologna sandwiches while sitting in recliners.
9:30pm-discuss plans for returning moving truck.
10pm-brush teeth with real toothbrush and head to bed.
10:10pm-Weep for joy that Sissy…is…finally….home…after…all…these…years…making…all..this…work…worthwhile.

Friday, October 19, 2007

A Moving Fairy Tale

Just ignore the edits in red. The first draft was a little wordy

Once upon a time a 40 something mom the beautiful Queen Hula ruled her kingdom with threats and impatience great wisdom and strength. She was despised adored by her teenaged daughter all and exhausted admired by the rest of the family for her beauty. Her peeps subjects wanted to wear her out honor her for yet another weekend her hard work by having her work her tail off giving her a special gift befitting of a royal leader. They decided to move her sister-in-law on a great spa package from a city five hours away in a nearby kingdom. Mom Queen Hula was numb delighted when she heard the news and hurriedly put her old work clothes favorite pieces of the royal wardrobe into a the first duffle bag she could find hand tooled leather bag. “What a crock of crap wonderful weekend this will be,” she exclaimed. On that Friday afternoon, she took a nap so she could stay awake later paced the floor in anticipation of the ride to the spa. Because she couldn’t get off work had some royal business to attend to, she couldn’t leave for her long a$$ drive spa retreat until that evening. Around 8pm she dragged climbed into her minivan carriage and rode 300 miles the short distance to a big, dirty city the nearby kingdom. In no time at all, she collapsed on the couch was tucked into a soft, downy bed, dreaming of all the crap beauty treatments she would have to load receive the next day.

The following morning she was rolled off the couch awakened by the loud mouth gentle voice of her no-good husband a handsome footman and dragged led from room to room for one chore beauty treatment after another. She scarfed down dined on a Valu Meal six course dinner of nuggets and fries only the finest and most expensive foods before collapsing retiring to her couch private room for a brief nap long slumber. Arising just a few hours later for a quick leisurely breakfast of Krispy Kremes Raspberry crepes, she dressed in her ragged old jeans royal robes and slinked into boarded her minivan carriage for the never ending thrilling ride home.

Back at home the castle, she was glad sorry that her moving experience weekend retreat had ended finally so quickly but groaned basked in the knowledge that she was due back at work the next morning loved and appreciated by all her royal subjects and that she would never get had been given a wonderful gift of rest and relaxation. The end.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bare Your Chest

Since yesterday’s post was so juvenile, I thought perhaps I should be a little more mature today. I don’t FEEL very mature, but I’ll try. Several folks have been posting this month about breast cancer awareness. I’m jumping on the bandwagon because I really care about this issue. Swamp Witch has a good series about her battle against breast cancer. You should check it out. Television is full of stories about survivors and treatments. It’s a regular mammogram fest on the morning news shows this month. And that’s a good thing, because some of you out there are still not taking the time to get the boob squash. As women, we often spend so much time taking care of those around us that we put off preventive health measures for ourselves, especially the tests that aren’t exactly pleasant. Can you say pap smear? I just had my mammogram, and it really was not bad. I swear. I don’t know why there are so many horror stories about those things. Granted, having your ta-ta pressed between two plates while holding your breath and standing perfectly still is not exactly comfortable, but it’s not THAT bad. I promise. Just close your eyes, bare your chest, pretend that you’re a twenty year old on spring break and that a crowd of bodacious, hot men are cheering you on. Ignore the fact that you are so old you have to lift your skirt to show your boobies. Or that you need reading glasses to fill out the paperwork. Just do it, and if you’re really good we’ll go for ice cream afterwards.

A couple of years ago, my mother got a call from a woman she had been BFF with since they were very young. Helen had been very sick for a few days and wanted mama’s help in getting to a doctor to see about her flu-like symptoms. Mama, a retired nurse, drove to Helen’s house and started helping her to get dressed. When Helen’s robe fell open a large lump in her breast was visible to the naked eye. Mama was alarmed and quizzed her about it, but Helen brushed it off and changed the subject back to her stomach. Mama told her she wasn’t nearly as concerned about the stomach as she was the lump and drove Helen directly to the emergency room. The ER doc had the same reaction when he saw Helen. Within two days Helen had been diagnosed with breast cancer and undergone surgery. It seems Helen had avoided regular check-ups and getting the lump checked out because she didn’t have health insurance and couldn’t afford it. In the weeks following her surgery, she fretted more over the cost of her treatments and how she would pay for it than over her body. She was sick with cancer, but she was made sicker by the worries over cost. The cancer had too big of a grip on her by the time they had found it. She never responded very well to the chemo and within months Helen was dead.

I could go on an on about the cost and quality of health care in this country and how the poor and middle class suffer because of it, but that’s a rant for another day. Today, I’m pitching the importance of preventive care. Thousands of women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer….and survive. But usually it’s because they caught it early through self exams, a visit to the gynecologist or mammograms. I can’t help but think Helen might be alive today if she had been to the doctor much earlier. So ladies, I encourage you to tie one on (a pink ribbon that is) this month and schedule your mammogram if you haven’t already. When you get to the boobie smasher, close your eyes. Envision yourself on a balcony in the French Quarter. It’s Mardi Gras, and the crowd below is shouting at you. Go ahead, fling open your robe with gusto. Just don’t expect the nurse to throw you any beads when it’s over. Hmm. That was almost mature, don’t you think?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Random Laughter

Maybe it’s because I’m kind of tired but everything seems funny lately. I love a really good belly laugh. I try to laugh often, long and loudly. I come from a family of expert gigglers. My mom is the lady who laughs too loud in the back of the theater. Before she had kind of a split in her sibling relationships, putting me, her and her sisters in the same room ended up in some gut busting cackle sessions that got downright annoying to the rest of the family. I’ve been especially prone to the chuckles this week…and it’s because of some odd stuff. Here are just a few of the things that have had me laughing. I must warn you these fall into the “I probably shouldn’t share this much personal information with the world, but I will anyway because I’m a blog wench” category. Any men in the audience may want to skip number one. You women will enjoy it.

1. A friend of mine who shall remain unnamed in order to protect her identity discovered she had started her period just as she was getting ready to walk out the door of her house. Unfortunately, she was walking out that door forever, since she was moving. Having packed and shipped all of her belongings, there was nary a personal hygiene product in the house. There were however, a few cleaning products on the shelf in a hall closet and let’s just say Swiffer pads aren’t just for cleaning the floor. Given that she’s single and all I thought about making a joke about something being dusty, but I refrained.

2. I heard a story about an acquaintance of mine in another state who got cited for bicycling while intoxicated. It seems he fell off his bike and into some bushes while riding home, and somebody called the law on him. After getting cited for BUI he was told he would have to push his bike home instead of peddling it. I can’t believe I know someone who got a BUI. That’s hilarious.

3. Teen Angel and I both farted the other day at the exact same time. Sorry, but you know I’m immature and flatulence humor cracks me up. At least we were home when it happened. To make it even funnier I laughed so hard, I did it again. Did I really just admit that?

As author and humorist Lew Grizzard used to say, “D**n brother, I don’t think I would have told that.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Oh, Princess

Over the years the Hula’s have had a few brushes with fame. We’ve spotted a couple of well known entertainers while goofing around in Nashville. Because I used to work in journalism, I’ve seen every President since Ronald Reagan up close and live. That was always cool, even when it was a President I didn’t like. Years ago when I was much, much younger and worked in radio I met some famous singers and interviewed a few of them. Waylon Jennings was very nice. Charlie Daniels had popcorn in his beard. I’ve met some other famous folks while working at a local telethon, too. Some of those young soap stars from “Days of Our Lives” are pretty hot up close. A few years ago I was attending a convention in Las Vegas and during an extended lunch break I sat down at a slot machine in a casino to piddle away some time, um, I mean twenty dollars. I sat next to some giddy French folks who didn’t speak a bit of English. We didn’t know what each other was saying, but we had a fine time cheering each other on during a Spin to Win fest. At the height of our merriment, I mean losing, this big guy walked right by us, waved and said hi. “Hey, it’s Sinbad,” I said. My French buddies didn’t know who I was talking about, but they waved back anyway.

Last week while we had a layover in the Memphis airport, I made a quick trip to the bathroom. You already know what kind of crazy stuff happens to us at the airport while I’m in the bathroom, so I wasn’t surprised when I came back and Hubby told me he had just seen someone famous.
“Who was it?”
“I can’t remember her name, but she’s really famous.”
“What did she look like?”
“Blonde, really thin and carrying a really big fancy purse.”
“Well, that covers most of Hollywood. You’re going to have to narrow it down for me.”
“I don’t remember her name, but you’d recognize her. She may be a model, but I think she’s an actress.”

He is possibly the only person in the contiguous United States who doesn’t read TMZ or any of the tabloids, so he’s a little fuzzy on names, but he recognizes faces. He gets them very mixed up with everyday people though, so I figured he had her confused with one of the clerks at the new convenience store in town. For the last week and a half he has labored over this mystery woman, trying to remember who she is.
“I swear she’s really famous.”
“Are you SURE? It was probably just some rich woman on her way to a holiday in Antigua.”
“No. I’m positive. I’m sure she’s a model. There were other skinny women with her. Name some skinny, blonde models.”
“90% of them are skinny and blonde. I can’t name them all. And why would a famous model be in the MEMPHIS airport? LAX or New York, yes. Memphis, no.”
“Pfft. I know what I saw.”
“Okay, baby. You let me know when you figure it out. In the meantime, I want you to lay off the crack.”

Like the Grinch, his puzzler puzzled over it some more and then, wham! Out of the blue as he’s flipping through the channels Sunday night he hollers for me to come into the living room.
“That’s her! There she is! It’s the woman in the airport.”
“Cameron Diaz?! You saw Cameron Diaz at the airport?”
“Hah! That’s the one.”
“Are you sure you weren’t mistaken?”
“I’m positive it was her. She had on a headband just like the one she’s wearing there, and she had two big bodyguards beside her.”
“You saw Princess Fiona at the Memphis airport? With her bodyguards? Was Shrek there too?”
“You can laugh all you want, but I know what I saw.”

I’m still not entirely convinced it was her, but I’m giving Hubby the benefit of the doubt. If you happened to be in the Memphis airport on October 5th and saw Cameron, let me know. As a former journalist, I need to confirm this with a second source before I can consider it true. In the meantime, I’m going down to the convenience store to check out the new clerks.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hold The Pumpkin, Please

We are fast approaching a time of year when I stand out like a sore thumb. Thanksgiving will be here before we know it, and I’ll have to start avoiding two of the most popular fall foods, pumpkin and sweet potatoes. I hate ‘em. While the rest of the world is lapping up candied sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie, I’m turning my head. I don’t like anything that tastes or smells like pumpkin. No pumpkin bread, no pumpkin pie. I don’t even eat pumpkin roll and that contains large quantities of cream cheese, one of my favorite food groups. It doesn’t matter how much you spice it up or cover it with sugar, I can’t eat pumpkin. It gags me. The same goes for sweet potatoes. I get rave reviews for my candied sweet potatoes, but I have to hold my nose when I cook them. All the marshmallow cream in the world can’t dress them up enough for my taste buds. Ooh, and don’t bring me any of that southern favorite, sweet potato pie. Blech! It’s one of the few (and I mean very few) desserts I won’t eat.

I don’t know why I’m this way. I like other foods that are considered quite nasty by other folks. You know, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage. I love cabbage. I actually crave cabbage on a regular basis. That’s downright weird, I know. I even eat chick peas, and nobody likes chick peas. I have to admit I’m not a spinach eater, but that’s because I ate large quantities of it as a kid due to my Popeye addiction and heaved it up one night all over my long hair. Whoops. I should have given you a gross alert on that one. Anyway, I didn’t care too much for spinach after that. I’m not big on turnips either, but I think that’s because my mom scared me with turnips. I had a great aunt who was prone to freezing her leftovers for years and reheating them for big family gatherings. When we got to Aunt Tottie’s house, Mama would sniff out the stuff most likely to cause salmonella and whisper a warning in my ear. Inevitably, it was, “Don’t eat the turnips, tell your brothers”. I think she instilled a turnip phobia in me I can’t quite shake. They’re probably quite lovely.

Every year I try a little bit of pumpkin, just to see if I’ve outgrown my distaste for it, and every year I end up spitting it out in a napkin and wiping my tongue like Tom Hanks in “Big”. The hardest part is living with the comments from people who can’t believe I don’t like it. Around these parts, it’s almost like breaking the eleventh commandment if you don’t eat pumpkin pie. And then when I tell them I love cranberry relish, they really freak, because no one else likes the cranberry relish. “What? You’ll eat cranberry relish, but you won’t eat pumpkin pie? What’s wrong with you?” Well, nothing’s wrong with me. I just don’t understand why someone would look at a hard, round sphere and say let’s peel that sucker open and cook the stringy stuff in the middle. I’ll bet that’s some good eatin’. This year I’m asking for a truce. Don’t ask me to try the pumpkin pie, and I won’t do my turkey dance for you at the table.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Once Upon A Time....

Hansel and Gretel are living in my house. That's the only explanation I can find for the trail of crumbs and other stuff that is strewn from room to room because Teen Angel won't take the blame for it. I asked her if she was afraid of getting lost in her own home. In just the last couple of days I have found a banana peel in the living room, dirty socks in the kitchen and bits and pieces of craft yarn all over the house. On the computer table was a library book, a bag of coin wrappers, some candy and a hairbrush full of hair. On the bathroom vanity I turned up a half empty Subway cup, a bag of cosmetics that still hasn't been unpacked from vacation and iPod speakers. This is not a complete list. I could go on and on. This is just a small sample of the stuff that she has littered around our cottage this weekend. Now, I don't expect her to be really neat. I'm not. But I would like to keep down the level of stuff that I have to trip over or dig through just to get to the toilet or to find my bed.

It all started in Florida. When this kid goes on vacation, she goes on vacation...from cleaning up after herself. I'm all about promoting self sufficiency, so I spent time each day ragging her butt about picking up stuff. I lost track of the number of times I had to make her get up and pick up trash or personal belongings she left laying around the house. Each time, she acted like she had never heard the rule about picking up after yourself. Hubby says he had to take over where I left off when I flew home. Apparantly, she still thinks she's on vacation from KP duty. It wouldn't bother me so much if she didn't pretend as if none of it was her fault. Well, who else would leave a banana peel on the coffee table? Not her neat freak dad, and not the dog. He likes bananas but hasn't figured out how to peel them with paws yet. Nope, that mess is all hers but she denies it to the end. That's why I brought up the fairy tale characters to her. I figure if she's going to spin a yarn, I can too.

I've decided to start a color code for the level of stuff laying around the house. You know, like the federal government does for terrorism. I noticed at the airport last week, we were at level orange. I think we're at about level yellow on the crap meter around here today. Yesterday was red. And just like the government, I will take the appropriate precautions for the different levels. Yellow prompts nagging. Orange is the loss of privileges (cell phones and iPods are always effective), and red moves us to the Defcon 4 measure of throwing away stuff that isn't in its place. She may not live happily ever after with that method, but I will.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Snake on the back step! Snake on the back step!! Isn't someone supposed to be hibernating by now? Geez, I hate those things.

The Next Journey

All my peeps are home finally. Everything feels normal around here again. Those were some weary people I picked up at the airport yesterday evening. I thought I was going to have to get extra carts for their hind ends since their butts were dragging the ground. Hubby, Teen Angel, Sissy, Mama J. and Papa T. were all shuffling to the car with their last bit of energy. While Florida was nice, they were all glad to be home. And they came home with the knowlege that this was the last big trip we will take together.

Mama J. and Papa T. won't be going on any more vacations. It was just too hard on them this time. I think we all knew it by the second or third day of the trip, but no one mentioned it...then. It was the elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about. When we took pictures at a cook-out Sunday night, we took them knowing it was the last vacation pictures we would probably take, but no one mentioned it...then. I had to brush away thoughts about those sick kids they take to Disney World before they die. Is this what those trips are like, I thought? Bittersweet because you know there won't be anymore?

It was exhausting just getting Mama J. and Papa T. to and from our destinations because of their medical problems. Mama J. is slow, really slow, even with her walker. And Papa T. can't see or hear his surroundings, so he has to have constant guidance, or we'll lose him in a crowd. We had to use wheelchairs and a golf cart at the airport to safely get them to their connecting flights in time. Neither one of them wants to use a wheelchair, especially Papa T., so we didn't even tell him we had one reserved until his fanny was six inches away from the darn thing. Otherwise, it would have been ugly, ugly, ugly much earlier in the day. We've been down that road once before. We felt bad about it but didn't know what else to do.

Papa T. had to have someone lead him around the rental house whenever he went to the bathroom or changed rooms because he couldn't see his way around the house. At home, he is familiar with his surroundings and knows how many steps are between rooms. In a different place, he is completely lost. Imagine living in a strange place for a week while wearing a blindfold and ear plugs. Just stop and think about what that must be like, relying on others to lead you around. It has to be very humbling. He stayed frustrated all week, and his frustrations exacerbated his dementia. The dementia is in such an early stage, though, he is cognizant of his confusion and sometimes jokes about it. On about day two, he told Sissy, "I don't know s**t from shinola". (Don't ask me what shinola is.) We all got a chuckle out of it because he was so sweetly funny, but unfortunately, he was right. About midway through the trip Papa T. turned the elephant loose and announced that this was his last vacation, that it was just too hard to travel, and he didn't want to do it anymore.

Mama J. stayed grouchy all week. Her legs were swollen, and she felt bad, but I think more than anything she was troubled by the realization that she can't travel long distances anymore either. She loves to go places and see new things. This is a hard pillow for her to choke down, and it was only at the end of the trip when she admitted that there would probably be no more big vacations for her.

I can't imagine how hard that must be to give up yet another freedom that comes with youth and/or good health. It's hard enough for the rest of us to accept that there will be no big trip out west in an RV so Papa T. can see the Grand Canyon. Or no more cruises with them in the Caribbean. A journey of another kind has begun, and it's not nearly as fun. As we have for the past nineteen years, we will make this journey together, experiencing new things, sharing some laughs and taking pictures...lots and lots of pictures.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

While The Cat's Away

I miss my family terribly. They'll be home tomorrow afternoon, and I'll be relieved. When they're not around I feel incomplete. It's not often that we're separated like this, and it's kind of lonely. I will admit, however, that during the last two days, I've been a bit naughty. I've been doing things MY way and enjoying every minute of it. I haven't made the bed since I've been home, which would drive Hubby insane if he knew. He's probably twitching right now and can't figure out why. After all, this is the man who alphabetized his canned goods when he was single. Thank God, I broke him of that. He's still a neat freak, and I am not, so the kid in me absolutely delights in keeping the bed unmade while he's gone. He he. I've also been using a roll of his super soft and fluffy Charmin toilet paper that he had squirreled away. I'll switch the rolls back tomorrow. Did he think I wouldn't find that? Pulease. That was no challenge whatsoever. Speaking of bathroom business, I'm not scooping any poop when I take the dog out, either.

I'll be eating popcorn for dinner tonight. No veggies, just snack food. I see no need to eat fruits and vegetables when no one's looking. Besides, I don't plan on cooking for just one. I don't have to work tomorrow, so I'm sleeping in. None of that getting up early to get started on the chores crap. I plan on getting up just in time to make the bed (they're coming home, remember), straighten up a little and eat lunch. And last but certainly not least, I have control of the tv remote control, and I'm watching just what I want. Wa ha ha! Chick tv all the way. A little Ugly Betty, some spicy Grey's Anatomy and all the HGTV and Food Network I want. I think there's a pastry challenge on later tonight. Maybe there's a Design on a Dime marathon. Yes, the remote is all mine and as long as I'm in control it will not linger for one second on an episode of "Cops", "America's Most Wanted" or a movie with Steven Segal in it. Ooh God is good. Really, I miss my family. I do. I promise. But it's good to be queen of the remote..and the bed...and the chores.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

De Plane

Waaa! My family is still on vacation in the Florida sunshine while I'm back at work today. (Insert stomping of foot.) It's not fair!! Okay, that's out of the way.... I promise.

The airport is a crazy place these days. As my mama says, you see all kinds there. I’m fascinated by people in airports. I always wonder where they’re going and why. Are they on vacation? Going home? Visiting family? And just listening to all the accents chattering in one place, especially when you’re in an area heavily visited by tourists is musical. Southern twangs, northern brogues and stuff in between make up an odd symphony. You see a few of the same people in airports, though, on just about every trip. There’s the frantic businessman dashing to a plane with his Blue Tooth in his ear and a Palm Pilot in hand. He always talks too loud, so everyone knows he’s important. There’s the mom juggling a baby and all the heavy trappings that have to accompany little ones. I always feel sorry for her. I like seeing the folks who have family waiting for them at the gate. That’s always fun, but it makes me all sniffly. That's 'cause I'm a real sap. I just can’t help myself. And on every flight there’s always some young guy who looks like he’s just spent a week having a good time in the clothes on his back. He’s the one without a carry-on. He usually sleeps the whole time, too. Then there’s the fussy elderly lady with big hair, lots of jewelry and acrylic nails. She’s usually not satisfied with her seat and/or the beverage options. And don’t forget the rowdy brother and sister who have seats two rows behind their parents and punch each other the whole time. I suspect some parents purposefully plan their seating assignments this way.

My flight home yesterday was pretty calm, but it had a couple of funny moments. The first came when the lady seated in front of me got up in mid-flight, stood in the aisle and began doing exaggerated stretches. Now, there isn't much room in a plane for that kind of thing, so her butt was in the face of a fellow passenger the whole time. Perhaps, he would have been more amused if she had been a young hottie. She wasn't, so he wasn't...amused that is. Her antics went on for about ten minutes until some turbulence prompted the seat belt light to come on. Air turbulence...not her turbulence. I will say that her show was more interesting than my book.

The second leg of my flight was on a small commuter plane full of tired, quiet people ready to be home already. I just wanted to read away the forty minute flight unnoticed and skip any conversation with strangers on the plane. I was too tired to make new friends and just wanted to go unnoticed. Halfway through chapter 21 the flight attendant came barrelling out of nowhere and smacked me on the shoulder, pretty hard. I didn't see her coming and practically fell out of my seat because I was so unprepared for her linebacker whack to the arm. Apparently, she thought I needed saving from some large bug that had landed on my shoulder. The bug bit me when she popped me, so I got two whammies for the price of one. "I probably should have warned you before I hit you, " she said. Hmm. Ya' think? The bug was some kind of beetle (she showed its carcass to me), but she made me fill out an incident report in case I "had complications" from the bite later. It just illustrates how crazy air flight really is these days. You have to fill out paperwork for a bug bite, but you can't carry on more than three ounces of shampoo anymore. And while I'm at it, what happened to my packet of peanuts? I got shafted on the snacks going to Florida and coming home. Waaa! It's not fair.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Goodbye Sunshine

As I type this, I'm watching the sun set in a blazing array of pinks and purples. The sun is slowly sliding into the sparkling waves of the ocean, saying goodbye to another beautiful day. Today was priceless. I spent the day lounging on a quiet, small town beach with about six other people, all of them appearing to be residents of the area. Ten feet away a tree full of parrots sang me into a nap, while the local senior citizens club danced some polkas at a nearby pavilion. Just me, a book and tropical breezes mingling among the locals. It was bliss. I was the last to leave the beach, reluctantly giving up my corner of sand because I will not see the ocean again for a while. I fly home tomorrow afternoon because I have to get back to work to finish a big project. My family will stay two more days, and I am jealous of those two days. I am grateful, though, for the short time I had here this week. And I will say goodbye to the Sunshine State slowly. When I turn off the computer, I will slip outside to the dock behind this rental house and sit alone in the breezy dark, drinking in the nighttime sounds and smells. Yes, it's been a good day. Here's to many

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Leapin' Lizards

Ah, sunny Florida. I love the tropics. I am completely at peace when sitting near the ocean. I love everything about it; the smell, the sound, the colors, even the taste of it. It gives me a special connection to nature like no other. It recharges my soul in a way that's hard to describe. Being near the ocean is more than a vacation. It's washing myself in a force that's so much greater than me and letting it absorb my worries.. I really needed this right now. The last month or so has been extremely stressful, and the ocean has been shouting my name.

I've been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time by the ocean and sample many beaches. I love the Caribbean and hope to visit there several more times before I kick the bucket. With any luck, I'll be sipping a margarita and combing the shores of St. Thomas when the good Lord reels me in. Of all the places I've visited so far, Aruba has been my favorite. I love the small town feel of that island, the friendliness of its people and the beauty of its beaches. I have dreams of living there one day. I couldn't find one thing wrong about that place...except for...the iguanas. I hate a lizard of any kind. I'm okay with bugs, mice and spiders, but I can't stand a lizard or snake. In Aruba iguanas are everywhere. Big iguanas. With aggressive attitudes and spikey tales. We walked down a dock one day, and I almosted peed my pants because I stumbled into the midst of about twenty of those things before I realized it. That's the day I almost walked on water. It wasn't a miracle. Just the fear of being on the same soil as a great big lizard. That fear has followed me to Florida, because among all the gorgeous sunsets, warm breezes and beautiful flora of Florida is a mess of lizards. Big lizards. Skinny lizards. Even lizards with chicken pox. Those fellas are everywhere I turn. I ran yesterday throughout this small coastal neighborhood where we're staying and jumped over half a dozen of them before I got back to the house. They're all over the backyard and (gasp!) in the sun porch of the house. I told myself to grow some courage, and about the time I began getting a little less nervous about them we looked out the front door and there was a big black snake...slithering through the front yard. And you know how I feel about snakes. ( This one was a foot and a half long. He was a big 'un. Now I'm afraid to walk through the yard. So I guess the lesson is that paradise is never perfect. And since I'm hoping for a little more paradise in my life in coming years, I'm going to have to get used to the critters that slither. Ya' think they allow rubber boots on the shores of St. Thomas?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A Nod to Baby Ruth

The transition into fully becoming my mother is moving along nicely. Not only am I buying more comfortable shoes and avoiding foods that will upset my digestive tract after 8pm, I have learned the art of nodding off at any time. When I was a kid, I used to laugh at Baby Ruth because she could fall asleep anywhere if she just sat still for a few minutes. It didn't matter where she was. I couldn't believe she could sleep on a bus or in a car, with a whole crowd of people watching. Thirty years later, I'm doing the same thing. I guess because I'm so tired as an adult. I can sleep anywhere, and it doesn't matter how noisy my surroundings are. I once fell asleep in the middle of a room full of twelve year old girls bouncing off the walls during a lock-in. Hubby says I could sleep through a tornado, and he's probably right. I nod off all the time at night when reading or trying to watch tv, but now I've finally gone public with my sleepiness. On the flight to Florida yesterday Hubby sat behind me. He kept tapping me on the shoulder asking me stuff. He gets really bored and can't stand having nothing to do in a confined space. I guess I had fallen asleep several times because everytime he tapped me on the shoulder I jerked awake. The last time he did it, I turned around and hissed, "Stop waking me up!" "I just thought you'd like to know you were about to put your head on the shoulder of the guy next to you." Oops! I guess I had gotten so comfortable, I was about to snuggle up next to the nice man from Australia who had lived in Tampa for 21 years and was flying home to his wife and two teenaged kids. He was nice, but I don't think he would have been very nice if I had laid my head on his shoulder. I had a little drool on my mouth, too. Yep, I was hunkered down for a long winter's nap on a plane full of dozens of people. Baby Ruth would have been proud.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I'll be honest. I'm not very creative today. I'm pretty pooped, and I couldn't produce a new idea if it crawled out from under my armpit. Hmm. How to be witty and funny when you don't have anything to offer? When no one in your family has done something stupid enough to blab to the whole world. When you've managed to make it through a week without embarrassing yourself. Or when Britney Spears has kept her drawers on for five days in a row. Hmmm. I could post something funny from You Tube that a friend sent to me. (Thanks, Louisiana) Or I could do one of those "100 things you should know about me" lists. That's not very exciting, though, and well, I've never really finished that list. How about an old post that I thought was particularly funny? If that doesn't tickle your fancy, I could give you a particularly favorite recipe. I think this one is pretty smashing. After all, what's not to like about chocolate and caramel? And if that's not good enough, I can always direct you to one of my favorite bloggers who has something interesting going on at her site. That Pioneer Woman is doing a 986 chapter saga on how she met Marlboro Man. It's pretty interesting. If none of that turns your crank, check back with me tomorrow. I'll lift the armpit in the morning and see if something better has come along.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Friendly Skies

We are headed to Florida Friday for a few days of fun and sun. I’m looking forward to it, but I’m a little apprehensive, only because goofy stuff happens to us when we travel. It seems as if we rarely make it to our destination and back without a bump or two along the way. Twice we’ve battled lost luggage. The first time we flew to San Juan but Hubby’s clothes didn’t, leaving him to spend the first two days of a cruise in a gift shop swimsuit. He was mighty glad to see his underwear when it landed on the pier at St. Thomas. The second time Teen Angel’s suitcase didn’t follow us home from South Carolina, and we spent a frenzied 12 hours tracking it down and getting it shipped home in time for me to wash her clothes and pack them for camp the next day. When the suitcase arrived on our doorstep it had a big hole in the middle of it, and that started a whole new headache with Northwest Airlines trying to get the suitcase replaced. I finally got a new suitcase out of it but not without exhibiting some very unbecoming behaviors.

Illness is another favorite pastime of ours when traveling. We’ve thrown up in some beautiful corners of the world. Teen Angel heaved in the middle of the Magic Express shuttle bus at Disneyworld at 6am the day we left Orlando. That’s how we discovered she is a little susceptible to motion sickness. I too, discovered I get queasy on buses during an all day excursion through the rain forest in Martinique. We made seven stops that day to see the sights, and I threw up between all seven, thanks to a route called “zig zag road”. At each tourist stop I would get a gift sack, throw up in it during the ride and dispose of it at the next stop. I’m all about systems, you know. Fresh pineapple at the first stop? Noooo thanks. Rum sample at the third? Heck no! Isn’t the rain forest beautiful? I don’t know. All I’ve seen is the inside of a gift bag. See the volcano? Don’t bother me now. I’m focusing on breathing. Papa T. takes the prize for vacation illness. He had a bad reaction to his motion sickness patch on a cruise and started acting so odd we seriously thought he’d had a stroke. It took two days of craziness before we read the warning label for the patch and discovered he had six reasons not to use the darn thing. The minute we took it off, he returned to his old self and quit having nightmares about old girlfriends.

The weirdest thing that happened to us occurred at the Memphis Airport. We had only a few minutes between flights, and I barely had time to use the restroom. When I ran back to our gate, I found Hubby standing there with a priest and security. Well, this can’t be good, I said to myself. And how the heck did he get into trouble so fast? I was only gone for a minute, I thought. It turns out there was a wacky lady on our first flight that had smuggled a dog on the plane in her purse. Someone had complained about her, and for some reason she thought it was Hubby. The minute I had left for the restroom she had walked up to him, pulled her false teeth OUT of her mouth and launched into a wild toothless ramble in his face, waving her teeth in the air. Now, Hubby can’t stand strangers getting really close to him, and his patience could fit into a thimble, so it was with great restraint that he told her to put her *&!# teeth back in her head and to back up several steps. She didn’t listen very well. He alerted security, and the airlines launched an investigation onto the whole dog issue. The priest wasn’t a part of the action. He just stood around and watched because it was so entertaining. The rest of the trip home was uneventful, even though we were on pins and needles the whole time because the airlines let the crazy lady on that flight, too…with the dog in her purse. At least she kept her teeth in her mouth.

In a perverse way, I can’t wait for the adventure that’s in store for us this weekend. It does make things interesting. We’ve had more than our share of adventure over the years though, and a little “uneventfulness” would be nice. So if you see the Hula’s in the airport this weekend, just smile and wave and hope for the best. Oh, and keep your teeth in your mouth. We don’t want any trouble.

Monday, October 1, 2007


Good news! Sissy is moving home. After years of living hours away from us, she is moving up the street from us, and we couldn’t be happier. She signed a contract on a house this weekend and is making arrangements for getting her stuff moved here. We’re so glad she’s coming home. I’m especially glad because it means I get a sister.

I grew up with two brothers whom I love dearly, and that was fine by me. I wouldn’t have appreciated a sister when I was a kid. I didn’t have to fight with anyone over clothes or shoes or boys. I didn’t have to share a bedroom either. I didn’t want a sister until I was grown, so Sissy is the sister I never had in childhood. She and I are a lot alike. We are the same age and like the same stuff. Whenever I buy her Christmas present, I just pick something I would like, and I know it will be fine. We share the same taste in clothes and politics. She hates Rush, and so do I (sorry Janjanmom-I know that stings, but it’s the truth.) We like the same music and have similar tastes in food. As Forrest Gump says we’re like peas and carrots. You also never know what you’re going to get with us, too. When we’re together, the potential for mischief is pretty high.

Yes, this is gonna be fun. I won’t have to beg Hubby to go to Broadway shows at the local performing arts center anymore. Sissy loves the theater. I won’t be the only one ordering something funky off the menu when we eat out, and I’ll have someone else on my team when we start debating health care, education and global warming. Most of all, I’m just glad she’s coming home to stay. They say home is where the heart is, and our hearts are anxious for her to settle in.