Friday, November 30, 2007

Elfing Around

I have been accused of being somewhat of a Grinch when it comes to Christmas. That is completely untrue. I like Christmas. Really. I pinkie swear. Even if I may grumble about the overspending. And the crowds. And the materialism. And the heartburn. And the party/potluck circus. I don’t know where folks got the impression I don’t like Christmas. Unless it was the fact that I didn’t put up a Christmas tree year before last. Or that the 2006 tree was a skinny prelit number I propped up in a corner right before the big day and spent about fifteen minutes decorating. Or that I quit putting up our outdoor lights. Or that I spent a total of about three hours shopping for presents last year. Come on, guys. Just because a gal doesn’t wear jingle bell earrings and a Santa sweater from Thanksgiving until December 25th doesn’t mean she doesn’t like Christmas. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a yuletide junkie, but I have Christmas spirit. It’s just shy. It doesn’t like to come out of hibernation until around December 20th.

I haven’t always been this way. I used to get really revved up this time of year. I think the death of my nephew in 2000 took the wind out of my ho, ho, ho. He used to spend Christmas eve and Christmas morning at our house, and his absence looms large this time of year. Also, all of our extra obligations during the season started to spin out of control. We could hardly keep up. I felt like a train had mowed me down by the time the holidays were over. Two years ago I started to push back. I didn’t have any choice. It was either that or collapse because in 2005 Papa T. had eye surgery in late November and required a lot of after care. In 2006 we were in the midst of a remodeling project and spent the weeks before Christmas sleeping on a mattress on our dressing room floor. I went into self preservation mode, started saying no and caught a lot of grief over it. Finally, I’m ready to dip my toe in the yuletide waters again and am wading in slowly. Even though I would gladly settle on just a Christmas eve church service, dinner with family and no gifts, I will jingle my bells a little bit this year.

I put up a tree on the day after Thanksgiving. The big one, not the skinny one Teen Angel called a weed. I put a few decorations around the house, and I’ve stirred up a bread starter I will use to make bread for the neighbors. I loaded Christmas music into my iPod last weekend, and I have purchased three gifts. My first holiday party is tonight. And just to show that I’m not a Scrooge, here’s a little gift for you. Thanks to the good folks at Office Max, you can hit this link and watch me shake my booty in an elf suit. When it’s over you can paste your own face in it. Ha! There you go. Merry Christmas, dang it. Ho, ho, ho and jingle all the way. Now, go Elf Yourself while I cook some cocktail wieners for party #1.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Band Geek

I have spent all my creativity this week building a float for our Christmas parade, so I'm resorting to cheap laughs today, readers. Enjoy a few of my old school pictures I found while trolling through mama's photo albums. These are band pics. One day when I have enough nerve, I'll show you the cheerleading and basketball pictures. Trust me, this is enough for one day. This is fourth grade band. Check out that hairdo. I was cutting edge with the shag. I'm also wearing my favorite clogs evah. They draw your attention down from my knobby knees. This is fifth grade band. Bad hair day. Bad hat. I couldn't keep it on my head while marching down the street. Give me a break. It's hard when you have to tilt your head to play the flute and balance a big ugly plume that weighs as much as you do.
This is sixth grade band, 1976, the year of the bicentennial. You can't see my knickers. You don't want to see my knickers. Well, you probably do, just for grins, but Tina C.'s big head is blocking my legs. It didn't take much. My legs were pretty skinny. I got to sit by Eddie B. while taking this picture. That's why I'm smiling. I thought he was hot.
And this is pep band. I'm wearing my favorite jeans in the whole wide world. I loved the patchwork stuff sewn on the bottom. I thought it was cool. Mama liked that trend, too because she could get six months more wear out of them by adding material after they got too short. I'm wearing my saddle oxfords but you can't really see them. Those were my cheerleading shoes. We took a lot of group pictures that day. I was multi-tasking my footwear.
I can't find my 7th and 8th grade band pictures. I'm kind of glad. I wacked off my hair in 7th grade, and those pictures are downright awful. I loved band, but my musical career ended when I hit high school. I found my true calling there on the pom/dance squad, which is probably the source of all those Rockette dreams. And I have some goofy pictures to prove it, complete with boots and sequins. Yeah baby!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Guilty as Accused

I made fun of a man I know the other day for buying a Richard Marx CD. Chick music, I laughed. Then he pointed out the Bob Marley CD I had in my case, which he was holding at the moment. Hmm. Okay, so my music tastes are kind of eclectic, too. In fact, anyone who looked at my iPod and tried to size me up based on my music selections would be downright confused. I have everything from gospel to heavy metal. Amy Grant sits right next to Amy Winehouse in my Nano. How’s that for juxtaposition? In all fairness to this man (Ha! Richard Marx??) I thought I should fess up to a few of my guilty pleasures. These little treasures reside in my collection, and you are allowed to laugh at them.

1. The Best of Disco-What do you expect? I’m a child of the 70’s. Besides, who doesn’t like Donna Summer?
2. Aldo Nova/Fantasy-He melted my butter all the way through the early 80’s, serenading me every time I had a broken heart, which was often.
3. The Best of Poison- Lord forgive me for I know not what I do.
4. Barry White’s Greatest Hits-Don’t go there.
5. Disco Kings-Sorry. I’m a repeat offender.
6. Essential Eddie Money-“Shakin” was me and M.’s song. That’s all I’m tellin’. This is a family friendly website.
7. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts-Because I love rock n’ roll.
8. K.C. and the Sunshine Band/Just the Hits-Because I like to shake, shake, shake my booty.
9. Meat Loaf/Bat Out of Hell 1 & 2-#1 is a classic. I can’t explain #2. Must have been a sale at the BMG music club.
10. Rick James/Superfreak-It brings back memories of the skating rink. So does “Double Dutch Bus”, but I can’t find it. I wonder why?

Anyhoo, I could go on and on. That’s enough shame for one day. If you care to share your favorite guilty pleasures, so right ahead. If not, well, we all know you’re hiding something.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Smile for Miss Kay

It’s raining here again today….a steady drip, drip, drip for the second day in a row. I figure those raindrops are tears from heaven for my friend Miss Kay. She died this morning after an ugly struggle with cancer. I’m so very sorry she’s gone, but I’m glad her pain is over. She didn’t deserve the suffering she endured during the last few months. How do you say goodbye to such a fine lady? With some tears, sure, but mostly, I want to say goodbye with laughter. That’s because she brought so much light into my life. She always made me smile.

I met Miss Kay seventeen years ago. She and her husband owned a duplex that Hubby and I rented when we were starry eyed newlyweds. She was never really a landlord, always a friend. I liked her immediately. Her laugh was infectious, and she was plain spoken, but never with a sharp tongue. She was able to tell me how crappy my nails looked and how badly I needed a manicure without hurting my feelings. “They’re your jewels, honey, not tools”, she said. I rarely mailed our rent to her in the two years we lived there because a stop by her house was better. It always yielded some lively conversation. I was always amazed at her positive attitude, given the heartache she’d suffered over the years; a failed first marriage, the deaths of her parents and the birth of a severely retarded child that was eventually institutionalized. She rebounded with a second marriage to a wonderful man and the birth of three children. They built a good life together and had many good years. She busted through life’s ups and downs with a high spirit and a hearty laugh..or two..or three. For years she laughed at Hubby’s run-in with her mother’s remains. Actually, it was a prosthetic leg that went tumbling down into Hubby’s arms as he was digging through some shelves in a garage behind the duplex. He didn’t realize it was fake until he had screamed like a girl, tossed it on the floor and nearly wet his pants. It scared the bejesus out of him, and left us rolling on the floor. You didn’t mind that she laughed at you because she was always laughing at herself.

Even when we bought our own home (two blocks away) and moved out, we stayed in touch. Hubby became a caretaker of the duplex, mowing the yard and keeping an eye on the place for the last fifteen years in exchange for some storage space in that garage. Mostly though, he did it for Miss Kay and her husband. Miss Kay was always grateful for his help, and each year showered him with some kind of overly generous gift at Christmas. We ran into each other at the grocery store, Sam’s and other places around town, always spending a while in the middle of an aisle catching up on kids and work. Each time I saw her, she had a smile, even when the world wasn’t turning her way. Each…and…every…time.

We knew in recent weeks she was not in good shape but didn’t know until last Tuesday that she was near the end. The family didn’t know if she would make it through Thanksgiving. In typical fashion, she hung on and pushed through, probably for her family’s sake. That’s Miss Kay, generous to the end. She let go early this morning, and I hope she went peacefully. I’m sorry she’s gone, but I’m glad I knew her. She was a fine example of how to live life. I will shed a tear or two for Miss Kay over the next few days, but I know I will find many smiles among the memories. Thanks for the laughs Miss Kay, and say hello to Jesus for me, will you?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thirteen puppies!

Take a walk with me down memory lane for just a minute and observe the picture to your left. Let's call it a ghost of Christmas past. Mama finally let me borrow some of her old family photo albums so I can make copies of some pictures, and I found this little gem. Actually, I found enough blog fodder for the next two years, but I don't want to get kicked out of my family, so I'll have to be choosy about what I post. This picture of me and SuperCop makes me smile. This is around around 1972 or 1973. Our Irish setter, Shannon, had her first and only litter of puppies several weeks before Christmas. She had thirteen puppies! We ended up with only twelve because the runt of the litter didn't make it. I'm not sure if he just wasn't strong enough or if he got mashed in the crowded refrigerator box/bed we made for Shannon and her puppies in the warm basement. We loved those puppies and wanted to keep them all, but mama and daddy said no, so we hugged and squeezed them and dragged them around until they went home with new owners. I was sad when each one left. Aren't they sweet? And isn't SuperCop cute with those cheeks and red hair? This photo just screams the 70's don't ya' think? The potential for laughs is all over the place.

First of all there's the pretzel pants I'm wearing. Stunning. I loved those pants. It was one of many fashion faux pauxs I would commit over the years. And look at my crooked bangs. I could never sit still when mama trimmed my hair, so I walked around with crooked bangs a lot. She used to lay a piece of masking tape across my forehead and cut it off, leaving what was supposed to be a straight line of bangs. It never worked. It wasn't her fault that I wiggled like a worm in hot ashes. Check out the artificial Christmas tree with homemade snowflakes. I loved cutting snowflakes out of paper. I was a regular litter bug at Christmas, leaving a trial of paper scraps behind me wherever I went. My very favorite part of this picture, though, is the cardboard fireplace. Now, I remember these being very popular back in the 70's, and I felt pretty uptown because we had one. I especially remember hanging our stockings on it and digging in them Christmas morning for goodies. It's certainly not something the editors of Better Homes and Gardens would publish today, but back then it felt pretty chic. We've come a long way baby, since the 70's, but I have a feeling that in about twenty years when we look back at photos of Christmas 2007, we're going to get the same kind of chuckle out of lawn inflatables, dancing Santas and fiber optic trees. Keep that in mind when someone takes your picture this holiday season. Now, let me see a show of hands. Who had the cardboard fireplace? Come on. It's okay. There's no need to be ashamed. Repeat after name is (insert name here) and I'm a victim of the cardboard fireplace.......

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Every Time A Bell Rings....

The Hula's rang the Salvation Army bells today. Me, Hubby, Teen Angel and Sissy manned the doors at the local Wal-Mart for two hours ringing the chimes of America's favorite Christmas charity. We had a fine time. It's always fun to meet and greet people and get into the holiday spirit, but the sight seeing is a blast, too. As mama says, you see a little bit of everything if you stand there long enough.

There were plenty of cute kids. They all wanted to put money in the kettle, and most parents let them. Their stubby little fingers reaching up to drop in change just melts my heart, especially when they give me a big toothy grin. We saw happy kids, grumpy kids, short kids and tall kids, even kids with other kids. Several were coming to the doors dressed in their finest red outfit, no doubt headed for the photography studio. Others were just there to shop and take in the wonder of the mother load of toys within those concrete walls. Their excitement made me smile. Oh, to capture that wonder again. Where does it go when we grow up?

We saw a standoff over a primo parking space. Both cars sat there, nose to nose, daring the other to back away. It lasted for several minutes, and about the time I thought one of the drivers was going to bail out and start a fight, the other car slid into reverse. Ho, ho, ho. We watched another woman drive around the lot ten gazillion times, searching for a parking space close to the door. She could have walked across the lot, made her purchase and been on her way in the time she spent circling for a landing. We flagged down a city bus for two shoppers who didn't quite make it to their stop in time. Five birthday cakes left the building while we were there, and lots of wee ones must be getting Mega Blocks for Christmas this year.

We made conversation with an eccentric man who explained how he'd given away all of his money to his kids, and then moved away so they couldn't find him. As he was locking up his bicycle, he unknowingly dropped a rock of crack cocaine out of his pocket. I didn't know what it was, but my former law officer husband did. "Crack? That's crack?", I hollered liked a hick when he was gone. We watched as the maintenance man swept it into his trash bucket and waited to see if bicycle man realized his rock was missing when he returned. Apparently, he didn't. He was too excited about his new tennis shoes which he put on before heading home. We watched twin boys get an attitude adjustment for their temper tantrum. We saw roughly half of Hubby's former parolees. They might be a tad embarrassed if they knew he can read lips and "read" what they said about him. Ho, ho, ho. We also saw a lot of friends.

Mostly, we were impressed that it was the poor who seemed to have the most generous spirit. It wasn't the folks in BMW's and nice clothing who donated the most. In fact, those people seemed to give the least. It was the people who looked as if they could use a little help themselves who put the most money in the kettle. Perhaps, because they understand the need. I've seen it time and time again, whenever we've rung bells for the Salvation Army and collected canned goods at a Christmas lighting display. I always walk away, shaking my head, amazed at the generosity shown by the poor. It makes me dig for those quarters and dollar bills when I walk by the kettle. I don't want to be the well dressed woman in the nice car who just keeps walking. I have to answer to Grandma when I get to the pearly gates, and she would thump my head if I didn't help. Ho, ho, ho.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Taste Test

Thursday 10:40am Hubby-"Is that dressing going to be fit to eat?"
Hula Girl-"Yes. I think so."

Thursday 5:30pm Hubby-"Your dressing passes the test."
Hula Girl-"Thanks."
Hubby-"I was worried about it."
Hula Girl-"I could tell."

Dear Grandma B.,
Guess what? The dressing turned out okay. I'd give it a B+. I cooked it about ten minutes too long but that was because I was stuck on the phone with the AT & T folks over a voicemail issue, and I didn't get the pan out of the oven quick enough. Thanks for the tip on the vinegar that came rushing back to me yesterday morning. Appreciate it. Any tips on how to keep from whacking your spouse with a spatula?
Hula Girl

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Turkey Time

I love Thanksgiving. Great food, good times with family and no pressure about gifts. Ah, my kind of holiday. This week my mind is full of memories about past Thanksgivings. For years we ate the big meal at Grandma B.’s. Then we added too many grandkids, ran out of room and had to move the feast across the street to her sister’s house. I loved eating there. Great Aunt Tottie never had kids, so she always had nice, modern furniture, dishes that weren’t chipped and matching glasses and silverware. None of that jelly jar, fruit jar, glass from the laundry detergent stemware we used at my house. No sir, she had those nice, colored metal tumblers with the matching pitcher. Everything had a place at her house and everything was in its place. I wasn’t used to that coming from a family of three kids, a swing shift working dad and a mom who thought deep cleaning was a disease.* Neither were my cousins. I’m sure we were like the troops landing at Normandy when we showed up at Tottie’s house in noisy rounds of three and four kids at a time. She was probably exhausted when we all went home at the end of the day, and I’m sure she felt like her home had been invaded by enemy forces. No wonder Uncle Red was nicely numbed by Falstaff by the time we all got there. Or was it PBR? I forget. Help me out SuperCop.

For us kids, it meant a day of poking ourselves full of food, avoiding turnips and sweet potatoes, roughhousing with each other and watching 90% of the adults smoke themselves into a blue haze while yakking about old times. Mama is the only one of her siblings who doesn’t smoke. The rest of them keep Brown and Williamson in business. Aunt Tottie was a Pall Mall gal, and Grandpa B. smoked so much his fingertips were yellow. Yes sir, there was some puffin’ going on during dessert and coffee. It was a nice compliment to Aunt Brenda’s chocolate and coconut cream pies. She makes the best meringue in the world. Activities for the kids after the meal included fighting over Uncle Red’s miniature slot machine he bought in Las Vegas and sneaking peeks at his Hustler magazines stashed in the bottom of the magazine holder in the bathroom. I think it’s funny no adult ever questioned why it took us kids so long to pee. If the weather was nice enough, we played outside. That meant staying far enough away from Uncle Red’s dog, Jack, to keep from losing the seat of your pants. God bless that dog. I would have been edgy too, if I’d been tormented by a dozen rowdy kids. We were all usually wearing some kind of sock cap crocheted by Aunt Tottie and given to us the previous Christmas. She was a sock cap, scarf, afghan crocheting fool. Hang on folks……Oooh, I had to pause for just a moment while I laughed out loud at the gold caps she made everyone one year. Sorry SuperCop. I was picturing you in yours and laughed so hard I almost wet my pants. Never mind that I was wearing one too.………

As I grew older I gravitated more to the adult conversations held after dinner, listening to their stories about growing up together and learning about their lives before marriage and kids. We lost Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Red. We all grew up and had children of our own. We quit having the big meal and started having gatherings with our own parents and siblings. I love the meal we have now with Baby Ruth, Zeke and my brothers, but I kind of miss that big, noisy gathering. And I miss Aunt Tottie. Her last Thanksgiving was spent just a few years ago with us. Weighing in at 89 pounds, she ate enough pie to choke a horse. A sliver of this and a sliver of that she called it. She was still smoking too, although she pretended she wasn’t because she was losing a battle with emphysema. As I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, I am grateful for my health and grateful for my family. Not just my parents, brothers, husband and child, but my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great aunts, great uncles and all those folks who enriched my early years with a wonderful blend of goofiness, red neckedness, history and laughter. I am one lucky girl.

*Clarification-mama didn’t keep a dirty house. She just didn’t worry about dust and clutter.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma B.,
Hope you’re doing okay. Gosh. It’s been a while. What? About nineteen years. Time flies. How are things up there? Tell Elvis I said hello, that is, if he made it there and all. I know you made it because if you didn’t the rest of us don’t have a snowball’s chance of getting there. Anyhoo. I wanted you to know I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, partly because mama assigned me dressing duty for Thanksgiving. I remember watching you make dressing and I was…uh…kind of…um….hoping you’d give me a few pointers. I really don’t want to screw this one up, so a little tip or two would be most appreciated.

Mostly, I was thinking about you because of my ears. I know that sounds a little funny, but let me explain. I almost died of cholera a couple of weeks ago. Weeeell, it wasn’t really cholera, it was typhoid. Okay, okay, it was just a sinus infection and bronchitis. Maybe the deathbed thing was a little exaggeration too, but I FELT like I was dying. Because of my messed up lungs, I haven’t been running in about three weeks. Did you know I run now? I know. It surprises me, too. I used to always say I wouldn’t run unless my butt was on fire, but that was before my metabolism retired to Florida. So, I felt like I was well enough to get moving again and laced up my shoes this past weekend. I ran Saturday, and I ran again today at lunch. It was windy, damp and a little cool, (Don’t tell mama. She’ll have a cow that I ran in this kind of weather.) and I thought I should wear a hat to protect my ears. I know. I know. I have NEVER wanted to wear winter hats, but I put one on both days. It made me think about all of those times when I was a kid and you wanted me to wear a hat when I played outside and I didn’t want to wear one. I remember being a real turd about it. In fact, I remember stomping my feet and declaring that I would stay inside if I had to wear a hat. And remember that day there was no hat around, and you wanted me to wear the blue headscarf instead? Keep in mind, when you’re ten years old wearing a headscarf is right up there with eating liver and onions. I was a real doo-doo head about it, though, and I feel really bad about it now. I know you were just worried about my ears, especially since you’d been through so much with mama and her hearing loss as a kid. I’m really sorry about the way I behaved. Really, really sorry. I wish I could take it all back. But I can’t. Instead I thought you’d like to know that I’ve been wearing my hat. It’s not very attractive, but it covers my ears, and I felt really good when I finished running today. I bought a hat for home, and a hat for my locker at work. I promise to keep using them, and again I’m really sorry about being a poot breath about the “cover the ears” thing. You didn’t deserve that. If it makes you feel any better, I have my own kid now, and she can be a real doo-doo head about things like hats and chores. You were right when you said “what goes around comes around”.

Well, I gotta go. I have a lot of stuff to get done in the next few days. I have to figure out that dressing thing, make a pie and some cranberry relish. I have a lot of stuff at work to get done, too. I’ll be thinking about you on Thanksgiving and again when we decorate for Christmas. I always think about your cedar tree with the blue lights and blue decorations. It makes me smile. Like the hat thing. Take care and let me know if they have cheesecake up there. I’m dying to know. Well, not dying as in dying… Oh, you know what I mean. I miss you more than you know.

Hula Girl

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dressing for Success

No matter how old you are you still feel like the kid in the room when you're with older family members and they continue to perform certain roles within the family. Some jobs are left dangling in front of you with the admonition of "some day when you're old enough". Well, apparently, I'm finally old enough because mother called me last night to divide up the cooking for the Thanksgiving meal at her house, and I've been assigned...gulp...the dressing. "Would you mind", she asked? "Sure. Not a problem," I said smoothly, but the whole time my mind is screaming "Oh my God, I get to make the dressing!" Sniff. Sniff. Weep. Weep. I'd like to thank the Academy for this honor. I'd like to thank God and my family. My agent. You like me. You really, really like me.

Holy Cow. I can't believe it. This is one of those protected jobs usually performed by a mature female member of the clan, which in our family is my mother. Before her, it was my grandma. Grandma was the grand dame of dressing makers. She started two days early what seemed to my wee young mind, a complicated, top secret process. I remember watching her from my stool at the end of the kitchen table, amazed at the fact that she used chicken noodle soup in her recipe. When I asked her about her recipe she seemed a little evasive, giving me the old "a little bit of this and a little bit of that" dodge. I always vowed to worm that recipe out of her but she died before I was able to. That's one of my biggest regrets to date because her dressing was da bomb. No wait. Off the hook is the new phrase, right?

So, I'm feeling rather honored that I get to step into those big shoes (And they were big. Grandma had bunyons.) and carry the dressing torch. But here's the thing....I don't know what I'm doing. I've never made dressing in my life. I've watched others do it. I read yesterday how the Pioneer Woman makes hers, and I've read many a recipe, but I've never made it. And we all know how tricky dressing can be. It's easy to get it too sticky or too dry or too crusty or too bland or too sage-y. It's easy to screw it up. Sigh. The pressure is intense. I cannot fail. I have a standard to live up to. I have a torch to carry. A flame to ignite in my own Teen Angel, who is possibly the next generation of dressing makers. I'm hoping that somewhere up there Grandma is watching and between now and Thursday will whisper in my ear the trick to making a successful dressing. In the meantime, I'm going to savor this honor and the fact that I'm finally old enough to take on this important task. Or wait, does this just mean I'm getting old? Where's my manager?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hair's Looking at You

I ran into the mother of a childhood friend a few day ago at a local grocery store, and she freaked because she hadn’t been to the beauty shop for her weekly wash and set. Apparently, she had just gotten back from vacation, didn’t have any food in the house and picked this particular store because she thought she wouldn’t see anybody she knew. Ha! Surprise. She forgot rule #3 about appearances: you won’t see anyone you know unless your hair is a mess, you’re wearing ten year old sweats with a chocolate stain on the seat or you’re suffering a fever blister the size of a gumball. I saw her on three different aisles and she apologized for her hair each time. Funny thing, though. I thought it looked fine straight and sleek. I didn’t know it was supposed to be curly. But then what do I know? I spend about five minutes a day on my hair. I’m not what you’d call experienced in the area of cosmetology.

What’s up with the obsession my mother’s generation has with the wash and set? I just don’t get it. I’d hate to think I had to trudge to the beauty shop once a week for someone to wash my hair, roll it on rollers and puff it up six inches high. Oh, I’d enjoy the gossip and the trashy magazines, but not the maintenance required for a wash and set do. I certainly wouldn’t enjoy the keg o’ hairspray it takes to hold it in place, and I couldn’t stand washing my hair just once a week. That sticky stuff has got to itch. Then there’s the satin pillow you have to sleep on to keep the puff from going poof. And most important of all is the rain bonnet. Mama J. is a fifty year member of the wash and set club, and she hasn’t left the house without a rain bonnet since Eisenhower was in office. I’ve seen the woman wear a Wal-Mart sack on her head to keep her hair from getting wet. A tornado could roll through town and it wouldn’t keep her from her Saturday morning hair appointment at A Beautiful You. Heaven forbid a special occasion pop up out of nowhere on a Friday, the day before her appointment, because by Friday morning the hairdo is a little flat regardless of how faithful she’s been to the satin pillow. She hates it when someone dies and the visitation is on Friday night. Granted, the deceased usually doesn’t have much say in his time of death, but a Friday wake requires an emergency hair appointment.

My mom was a wash and set woman back in the sixties and seventies. We have some fine pictures of her with ten foot tall hair. I’d show them to you but she guards them like the gold at Fort Knox. I can understand why. Over the years she got tired of all the rolling and spraying and quit the weekly appointments. Now her hair changes with the wind. Some days she poofs. Some days she doesn’t. I guess she figures she lives so far out in the country that it doesn’t matter. No one’s looking except Daddy and the deer. I’m a little like that. Most days my hair is just flat and straight. Every now and then I get a little crazy and curl it. That trend usually lasts for about three days. Then I get tired of the time and energy involved and go back to flat. Frankly, I think Dolly Parton has the right idea. She just slaps on a wig to fit her mood. I guess you have to wash and style those things, but certainly not every day. I figure I’ll be one of those old ladies with a long, gray braid. I’ll go for the eccentric look, so I don’t have to explain that I’m really lazy about my hair and so I’ll only have to trudge to the beauty shop about one every two months for a trim….and the gossip….and the trashy magazines.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Go Ho Ho Home Until November 23rd

I’m being stalked…by Santa. He’s everywhere I go. Dude, it’s only mid-November. I’m not ready for Christmas yet. He needs to go back to the North Pole and come back in a couple of weeks when I’m feeling a little prepared for the juggernaut we call Christmas. I know the holiday season gets earlier and earlier each year, but I’ve been seeing the Jolly Old Elf since late September. It’s just wrong for him to beat Halloween into the stores. It’s out of hand, and it’s making me nervous. He’s everywhere I look.

I walked into the grocery store Saturday. On the first main aisle there was a big cardboard Santa trying to sell me some Sprite. Four aisles over, he beckoned me to try the holiday Ziploc baggies. I went to Wal-Mart. A big rubber Santa waved at me near the rear door. I tried to run from him and tripped over the Christmas cards on my way to the shampoo. There he was, staring at me from the front of the cards. I stopped in J.C. Penney’s. There he was again, dangling from a Christmas tree. Next thing you know, he’ll be showing up on TV. I’m sure because the other night some penguins in holiday attire came sliding across my TV screen to sell me something. I’m not sure what it was because I put my hands over my eyes and screamed. The big guy can’t be far behind.

If you ask me, it’s downright scary how overwhelming Christmas has become. It was 80 freakin’ degrees the day I saw the first Christmas display in a local store. 80! I can’t think about Christmas when I’m sweating. Summer lingered a long time, and fall has just rolled right over me. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week, and to think I’m supposed to start Christmas shopping right after that. Great googly moogly! Let me off this train at the next stop. I need to finish my Halloween candy and have some pecan pie and some turkey before I can digest a dose of Christmas. I’m going to go lie down now and someone wake me up when the green bean casserole is done. And I’m going to pray that I don’t have nightmares about a fat man in a red suit following me everywhere I go.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Birthday Blues

Woe is me. It’s that time of year again, the dreaded week when I must find something to buy my dad for his birthday. It’s harder than twelfth grade calculus. Or tenth grade geometry. Or Mrs. Brown’s college grammar class---“You will not guess in this class and pass”. Boy was she right.---Or…oh, you get the picture. It’s not that Zeke is hard to please. Actually, he’s very easy to please. He just doesn’t need or want anything. If he does want something he buys it. And he never gives me any clues about potential gifts. It’s maddening, and I’m running out of time.

What do you get the man who’s satisfied with his surroundings; who’s content with a bag of peanuts and good conversation? Asking mama won’t help. She’ll just say he needs a new shirt and some new underwear, which is probably true, but I am NOT getting him that AGAIN. There’s no surprise in shirts and underwear, no joy in flinging open a box of boxers. I want him to be surprised at the unexpected and thrilled with my creativity. However, I am not optimistic about this. That’s because I have a long list of past gifts that didn’t make the grade. There were socks (again, at mama’s suggestion), house shoes (boring), CD’s (a man can have only so many Hank Williams songs. Besides hearing too much Hank makes mama grumpy. She thinks he’s whiny.) and the hip shirt I thought would drag him into the new century (never wore it). I hate buying him essentials, but he never wants anything frivolous, except a new car every year, and that’s not in my budget.

He plays the guitar but has plenty of music and accessories. Unless I’m going to skip a mortgage payment and buy him some antique Fender-something-or-other, music is a dead end. He likes to tinker around the house but has enough tools to fill a semi. Besides, any new tools that show up at his house eventually wander off with my Handyman baby brother. That leaves Zeke’s only other habits: eating and talking. He may be skinny but the man can eat. In fact, he would eat all day if his diabetes (and mama) allowed. More than anything he likes to spend time with people; talking and shooting the bull. Young people. Old people. Working people. Retirees. Family. Friends. It doesn’t matter. He likes them all and needs human contact daily with the world outside his doorstep. He’s had a variety of part-time jobs since he retired, just for the social contact. Right now, he’s working at a grade school. That gives him 250 people to talk to from 8am to 3pm. It’s great for him, and it keeps him from driving mama crazy.

So what do you buy a talker and an eater? Maybe a gift certificate to Cracker Barrel where he can do both? I said that yesterday as a joke, but it’s not a bad idea. And that’s where I’m headed if nothing else better runs through my noggin’ between now and Friday. That’s three more days of agonizing over this. Why is this so hard? Probably because fuzzy house slippers or a book just don’t seem to demonstrate the depth of my feelings for him. A gift certificate feels like I’m settling, but that’s probably what I’ll end up getting. I’ll be dissatisfied with that for a few days but eventually work through it. Then this cycle begins all over again in a couple of weeks with Christmas shopping. Arrrg! Anyone know where I can buy a 50 pound bag of peanuts?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Remember When

In the last couple of weeks friends and family have emailed me some of those “Do You Remember These” emails that show all kinds of old fashioned things that make you go “oh yeah” and then make you feel kind of old because you remember them. Supercop sent me one that really made me laugh, and I couldn’t resist sharing with you my perspective on them.

Candy cigarettes-I remember pretending to smoke with these red tipped candies and that no adult around me was bothered by that. They still sell these at Dollar General, but they’re called candy sticks now. Teen Angel bought some yesterday. So did I.
Coke machines with bottles-I used to get bottled drinks at a little BBQ joint in town and at the gas station we stopped at all the time. It was called Bud’s Sunoco, and I got strawberry sodas out of his machine with the admonition from Baby Ruth “do not spill that all over the back seat”.

Party Line-When I was really young we lived in an old farm house with a party line. I used to listen in on the neighbors’ conversations. That was during my “Harriet The Spy” phase. Our neighbors weren't very interesting, but hey, when you live in the country, you take what you can get.

Wash tub wringer-We had one of these for a brief time when we first moved into that old farm house. Man, it was a bee-atch to use that thing. Besides, you could lose an arm if you weren’t careful. I’m guessing that’s why it didn’t take long for mom to get a new washer and dryer.

Metal ice cube trays-The refrigerator we had at that old farmhouse was older than Jack Lalane. It didn’t have an ice maker, and we had these old metal ice trays. I never could empty those things without flinging cubes onto the floor.

Timmy and Lassie-I remember these two. I loved Lassie but thought Timmy was a big fat whiner. So was that little boy from “Shane”. Don't you know Lassie got tired of dragging Timmy’s dumb butt out of the well. I watched part of an old Lassie rerun last week, and caught myself yelling to Timmy, "Suck it up. Put on your big boy pants and deal with it."

Chatty Cathy-I didn’t have one of these but Sissy did. No wait. She had a Tippy Toes. Oh well, this is still a good story. Hubby and his baby brother got in trouble for pulling the head off of Sissy’ s Tippy Toes. She’s still bitter about it. Ridden with Tippy Toes guilt Hubby bought her another one for Christmas a couple of years ago. She was pleased, but still bitter.

45 RPM records-My first 45 was Puff The Magic Dragon. I was too little to know what the lyrics meant. We were still using 45’s and turntables when I first started working in radio in 1982.
Lincoln Logs-These were the coolest. Way better than Tinker Toys. I always took the round blue lid off the canister, filled it with water and pretended it was a swimming pool for my ranch family.
Jiffy Pop-Loved it. Wanted it. Begged for it. Mama wouldn’t buy it because she preferred to pop her own. She just didn’t understand that all the popular kids got Jiffy Pop and that she was holding me back in my quest for popularity...again.

15 cent McDonald’s hamburgers-I don’t remember the 15 cent part. I remember when they were pretty new, though. In fact, my Brownie troop took a field trip to the local McDonalds. We all got hamburgers afterward, except for Elizabeth. She got a fish sandwich. She was always trying to be different. We toured the button factory too, but McDonald's was way better.

Gum wrapper chains-Are you kidding? I still make these things. I made one about a month ago. Juicy Fruit, baby.
And the bestest, most fabulosest, glorious one of all...the alumunum Christmas tree. My great aunt had one with the color wheel, and I thought she was rich, rich, rich. I loved that tree. I could stare at it for hours. I promised myself that when I grew up and had my own money and was rich, rich, rich, I would own one of these. Well, I'm not rich, these things are back and I don't want one of them anymore. Well, maybe just a little.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is that Pie Over There?

Well, I can't linger long. Company's coming. Supercop and his girlfriend are coming over for dinner, which means I need to clean. And you know how I hate to clean. It's time to tackle the stuff I've been avoiding for days: the inside of the microwave (did someone blow up a gerbil in there?), the ceiling fan in the kitchen, the front of the kitchen cabinets (who spilled the grape juice and didn't clean it up?) and the dust bunnies under the sofa. Geez. I hate this. I'd rather be eating bon bons and polishing my toenails than cleaning house. Actually, I'd rather take a beating than clean house. Oh, well. It's for a good reason, and I needed something to motivate me to do it. If it were just Supercop coming I'd blow it off and not worry about it. However, we've not met the new girlfriend, and I'd hate for her to think that I never dust under the sofa, or that my microwave always looks like something blew up in it or that I don't wipe off my cabinets but once a year. People make judgements about you when they get their first look at your house. I could be in trouble if she looks closely. Maybe I can distract her with pie.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lost in Space

Space is important, especially personal space. That imaginary boundary you place around yourself in an attempt to keep people from getting too close to you is different for everyone. Mine changes with the wind. One day it’s tiny. Another day it’s the size of a football field. A lot of it depends on my mood. If I’m happy and optimistic, you can stand right next to me and it doesn’t bother me at all. If I’m tired and cranky, you need to back up about three steps. Hmm. Make that four. It also depends on who the person is. Some folks can stand elbow to elbow with me, and it doesn’t bother me one bit. But some people make me uncomfortable, and I don’t always know why. It’s just a feeling that I get with strangers sometimes. I don’t want these folks to touch me or get close to me even though I’m prone to hugging and elbow squeezing and arm patting. I’m a touch-er, which makes the whole “don’t get close to me” thing ironic. Since I’ve been Typhoid Mary during the last week, personal space has not been an issue. No one wants to stand next to me. No one is busting down my invisible fence. That will likely change tomorrow when I go to the grocery store….and get in the checkout line.

The one thing (besides car trouble) that makes me absolutely, positively, without a doubt, certifiably insane is for the person in line behind me to stand right next to me while I pay for my stuff. Is there not an unspoken rule that the next person should stand a few feet back, somewhere near the beginning of the checkout counter until my transaction is done? He should not move forward until I’ve been given my receipt and the “thanks for shopping with us, Mrs. Hula” sendoff. My invisible fence alarm starts ringing in my head if the person behind me stands right next to me. I can’t concentrate on paying. I want to scream, “Back up! I’m not done.” Isn’t this how identity theft happens? People stand too close and surf for your checking account numbers. More than anything, it makes me claustrophobic. I can’t explain why. It just does. And it happens to me almost every time I go to this one particular grocery store. I always give the person in front of me a little room. Mama J. doesn’t. She crowds the person in front of her, and it drives me insane to watch her do it.

I think they should post some checkout line guidelines, so we all play by the same rules. 1. Maintain at least four feet between customers at all times.
2. Have your payment method ready to go before your total is given. That way we don’t all have to wait while you dig through your purse for your debit card or that wrinkled up $20 bill.
3. Use the little divider bar so the clerk doesn’t get my groceries mixed up with yours and I end up paying for your Lean Cuisines.
4. Don’t make the whole line wait for a price check on that one naval orange you’re buying. If it doesn’t have a bar code on it, please don’t pick it up.
5. If your toddler is in the cart, keep an eye on him, so I don’t suffer a heart attack in line watching him stand on one foot in the front seat.
6. And please, please don’t push your cart into my back while I’m trying to pay. Without a doubt, that is way over my invisible fence.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

To Tug or Not To Tug

I read yesterday where two young Ohio boys have invented wedgie-proof underwear. Now, THAT is a contribution to mankind. It’s practical, and it solves a universal problem. I’m assuming it’s universal. I mean, the pigmies in New Guinea can’t keep that linen wrap from riding up their backside all of the time, can they? And I suspect the Tibetan monks get a wedgie every now and then under those robes. It happens to all of us at one time or another. And finally, someone is doing something about it.

Think of all the school children who are pushed around the playground every day and how they will rejoice at this news. Bullies can grab and tug at those drawers, but they won’t budge, saving little Johnny the humiliation and pain of dangling from the flagpole by his seat. Women will love this invention. It’s a victory in their battle against shifting underwear. Women fall into two categories: those who wear thongs and those who don’t. Those who wear them are young and willing to endure discomfort in order to look good. Those who don’t are older, wiser and less willing to accept a product that is going to ride up the crack of our butt all day just to eliminate panty lines. We like a little coverage and making it wedgie proof is a big step toward eliminating the “panty shuffle”. That’s the little dance we do to pull our drawers out of the hinderlands while everyone’s back is turned. It’s a tricky little step, and you have to be fast because it’s embarrassing to get busted in mid pick. Camouflage, like a car door or a file folder, is helpful. And don’t sit there and pretend you don’t do it girlfriend, because I know you do. Some of you forget to look both ways before you pick and don’t realize you have company. I’ve seen you.

An overlooked demographic that will likely appreciate this invention is the senior population. Any senior citizen who relies on the help of others to get in a vehicle knows about the wedgie. That’s because whoever is helping them often has to tug, pull and push to get them in the car, and underwear gets shoved around in the process. When we were in Florida, we rented a cargo van to carry all of us and our luggage around town. Mama J. had trouble stepping up into the van, so Hubby had to give her a boost. He would grab her pants and pull like Mighty Mouse. He got her in the van alright, but she’s still looking for her big girl panties. Papa T. got the same treatment. Years ago, my mother took care of my great aunt during Aunt Tottie’s latter years. Aunt Tottie probably weighed about 90 pounds, but mama is only about five feet tall, and she would literally have to get behind Tottie, put her hands on her fanny and push in order to get her up into mama and daddy’s truck. Mama used to say, you do what you gotta’ do. It worked, but made for a Tottie Wedgie…which made auntie mad and turned her into…you guessed it….a hot Tottie.

I don’t know what motivated these boys to come up with invention. I hope they weren’t bullied. Whatever the reason, I’m glad they’ve done it, and I hope their product is mass marketed in time for Christmas. For all of us who spend a small portion of our day, yanking, tugging and rearranging, (insert patriotic music here) I say God bless those boys from Ohio.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Just What The Doctor Ordered

I don’t take any medicines on a regular basis (knock on wood) so I’m just not used to it. I’m having a little trouble keeping up with all my medication this week, since I’m now up to four prescriptions. My purse is a veritable medicine chest of assorted pills, sprays and drops. That rattling noise you hear when I walk isn’t just my lungs. I hope I don’t get stopped for speeding because I’m afraid of what the cop will think when I reach for my license and pharmaceuticals start flying.

Let’s see. There’s the antibiotic for the sinus infection, possibly the bitterest pill I’ve ever taken. It’s the size of my big toe and tastes like it too. Not that I know what my big toe tastes like. I’m just guessing. Each time I take this pill it gets stuck in my throat and starts to melt, spreading nastiness all along the back of my mouth. It makes me cranky to take this pill, but it is making me feel better, so I gag it down…twice a day...praying for day ten to get here soon. I also have a nasal spray. It’s not too bad, but it makes my nose run like a maple tree for about a half hour after I use it. Using it reminds me of my grade school music teacher who had a nasal spray addiction. She used to squirt it up her nose in front of us, all the time. It was gross. No wonder she never got married. I have an inhaler this week, too. I’ve never had asthma before so the inhaler is a new experience for me. After I squirt it and hold my breath little puffs of smoke come out of my nose. It makes me sing Puff the Magic Dragon. I like the inhaler. It allows me to breathe. Breathing is good. I’ve missed it.

My newest prescription came yesterday after I spent another sleepless night hacking up pieces of lung nonstop. The doctor gave me some mighty fine cough syrup. I had to give my social security number just to get it at the pharmacy. I didn’t care. I would have signed away my house in order to get something to knock out this cough. You can only take it at night because one of the side effects is that it could induce hallucinations. And it’s habit forming. Seriously. About a half hour after I took it I started acting like Spiccoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High. I wanted to add the word “dude” after every sentence. I slept so soundly I couldn’t wake up this morning. When I did, I realized I had the bed spins. And severe dry mouth. I thought I was back in college for a minute. Yeah buddy, that’s some good stuff. I guess that’s why there’s no refill.

You can add Motrin for aches and pains, cough drops for the cough (because I can’t stay wired on the miracle cough medicine during the day), chap stick for the dry lips and Tic Tacs for the sinus breath. No wait. That’s for the Mexican food I had at lunch. I also have a big wad of tissues in my purse for snot emergencies. I’ve been a power sneezer this week. It’s a good thing I don’t have any money because I don’t have room for my wallet in there. The only other option would be to get a bigger purse, but a big purse full of medication would make me feel even more like my mother, and I’m just not ready to go there right now. So I will squeeze it in my little velvet bag and rattle all the way home.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Last Supper

What would you want for your last meal? I recently read an article in Time Magazine where famous chefs answered that question. Apparently, the Last Supper game is pretty common among chefs when they’re sitting around shooting the breeze. The author seemed surprised that most of them wanted simple comfort foods that reminded them of their childhood or family life. That doesn’t surprise me at all. I mean, really, if you’re about to kick the bucket and won’t be eating again wouldn’t you rather have fried chicken and mashed taters instead of some foo foo foi gras, fish egg covered dish? By the way, I’d like to know who looked at goose liver and said, “I’ll bet if we slice this up and cook it, it’ll be real tasty.” Personally, I don’t like to eat anything that serves as a filter in an animal’s body. I may be from the South, but I’ll skip the livers and gizzards thank you. I digress. Let’s just say, I get the whole comfort food angle.

The last meal has crossed my mind more than once. Back when I was in journalism, it would come up whenever the state penitentiary got ready to electrocute someone. The media would always get details about the prisoner’s last meal. For some quirky reason, I found it interesting. I’ve also been on that website (can’t think of the name of it right now) that documents prisoners last meals. Fascinating reading. Don’t judge. You know you’re going to Google it when you finish reading this. I thought about the last meal thing this week when I was dying of typhoid in my bed at home. Probably because I had no appetite and wanted to eat something other than the mandarin oranges and ice water I choked down for four days. I had visions of all kinds of grand dishes, but when it came time to choose I finally settled on these.

Steamed crab legs with drawn butter-It’s one of the things that makes me believe there is a God. I could eat my weight in these things. In fact, I’ve tried. One time I ate so many I threw up. Now I try to stop when I’m full up to my esophagus. I love the crustacean.

Sliced tomatoes-They must be homegrown, and they must be liberally sprinkled with salt. Hey, who cares about blood pressure when you’re eating your last meal? No dressing, no others adornments, just several slices of the nectar of Heaven. Eaten with my fingers.

A big spoon full of cream cheese-Ah, one of my favorite food groups. A little maple sugar in it wouldn't hurt.

Buttered mashed potatoes-Potatoes, another one of my favorite food groups. The one thing Oprah and I have in common.

Fried potatoes-sliced thin and lathered in salt and pepper.

Popcorn-Popped on the stove in oil with plenty of salt. (Have you figured out I have a problem with salt?) None of that greasy microwave stuff. I want the old fashioned kernels that have to be shaken around in a pan. It reminds me of when I was a kid and mama used to pop a dishpan full of it for us kids.

Italian Cream Cake-A big old honkin’ slice with cream cheese frosting. Did I mention that I like cream cheese?

Sweet Tarts-Just a handful. And please make them all strawberry and grape. Leave out the lemon and lime. I can eat the orange if I have to.

Iced tea to wash it all down-lightly sweetened with crushed ice. No lemon. And for the love of Pete, NO INSTANT.

Even if I stay off death row I will one day have a last meal. I hope I’m really old when it comes, and I hope I still have enough teeth to eat the above. If not, I’m going to look mighty funny gumming that popcorn. And I'll need the chewy Sweet Tarts.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Hubby never says anything about what I have on. Oh, he compliments me on my appearance often, which is sweet, but he never comments on a funky outfit, ugly shoes or a dowdy jacket. I gave him strict instructions a long time ago about what he should and should not say when it comes to the appearances department. Like, always referring to my butt as tiny even if it grows to the size of a cattle barn. Or saying nothing about a new hairdo unless it's positive. Or stopping me from leaving the house in gold shoes and a gold purse when I've gotten too old to remember that that's always a bad fashion choice. And under no circumstances are we to dress in matching outfits, unless we're on Dancing With the Stars. He's a good man and sticks to the rules. He never tells me not to where something. Until yesterday. He pulled into the driveway while I was walking the dog, took one look at me and said, "that old purple robe has got to go." I looked down at the tattered, stained robe that had enveloped my feverish body for nearly a week and had to admit that he was right. It's not going to be easy. Dropping it in the trash may bring a tear or two.

I love that old robe. First of all, the price was right, $11.99 on the clearance rack. It matches my rosey pajamas and pink crocs that I walk the dog in at 5:45am these days. It's not too heavy, but not too thin. Just right for those frosty mornings when I don't want to bother with a coat. However, after three years of traipsing through the yard and general wear and tear the robe is a mess. Purple is usually the color of royalty. This shade has faded to a weak lilac color. It also has dark stains of undetermined origins on the lapels. Did I drool chocolate? I'm not sure, but whatever it is it's not coming out in the wash. I also noticed Friday that it has a funky smell. Granted, I'd been wallowing in it for a few days with a bad fever, but this was something else, an old, musty smell. Like the dog had been sleeping on it while I wasn't at home. And when Hubby asked me not to go toward the end of the driveway in that thing where the neighbors could see me in it, I knew he was just hitting me with the cold, hard truth. After all, this is a man who will sit with me in a crowd of 22,000 people while I wear parrothead paraphernalia. He does not embarrass easily.

We have a little ceremony around here when we throw away old underwear and old favorite clothing items. The purple robe will get the march to the trash can later tonight. Well, probably tomorrow, since it's getting late in the day. Of course, I'll have to hold off until Tuesday or Wednesday if I can't pick up a new one on Monday. Shoot, I might as well just wait until the weekend when I can devote a little time to shopping. In fact, it might not be a bad idea to wash it and stash it away for an emergency. It's usually dark when I walk the dog, anyway. No one will notice it in the dark. Will they? Nah, probably not. I'm sure they won't.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Look Out!

You know you're feeling a little better when you start caring about your appearance again. The first thought on my mind when I woke up this morning was to bathe, quickly. I couldn't stand my fever induced bed wallowing stinking body anymore, and I had the energy to do something about it. Whew! It's amazing what a shower can do for you.

I'm not too vain, so I usually don't worry much about my appearance once I've dressed for the day and left the house. But I like to be clean and appear as if I at least made an effort to look decent. I don't fret about trekking down to the Piggly Wiggly without makeup or running an errand in old sweats. Sissy on the other hand, doesn't seem to leave the house without being fully accessorized. She's good with makeup, hair and all the girlie girl stuff. Me, not so much. I grew up a tomboy and didn't touch makeup until the day of my senior prom. I wear straight hair with bangs because I can't master any other hairstyle and don't want to brush my hair more than twice a day. And I am a complete disaster when it comes to painting my nails. In fact, I have to wear acrylic nails because I chewed mine to nubs years ago. It's the only part of me that ever looks polished, and that's because a professional takes care of it. I'm okay with all of this, so I'm not offended when someone laughs at my eye shadow, but I knew I had sunk to an all time low when the repairman showed up yesterday to fix our dryer vent.

I was home alone and was expecting him. I shuffled to the door in my glorious old purple housecoat but was still in I feel so bad I don't give two figs mode. When I opened the door his face said it all. He asked if I wanted to see the new vent. That required a trek across the yard, so I explained that I was in feel so bad I don't give two figs mode and would trust his judgement. From the time we started the brief conversation he started backing down the steps. Even before he knew I was sick, so I can't fully blame it on him not wanting to catch anything I had. He couldn't get off my porch fast enough. Since I was also in feel so bad I want to be mean mode I almost shouted something ugly at him, but I caught myself. Besides, I probably didn't have the lung capacity for it.

Surely, I can't be that bad, I thought. I mosied into the bathroom and was stunned. I don't know what was worse, my vampire like complexion or the hair that hadn't been brushed in two days and was wadded up in a ponytail holder. It was in direct contradiction to my lovely OPI French Cognac manicured nails. I brushed my hair, then my teeth and made a point not to go to the door until I wasn't scary anymore. I also felt like I should call Jason the repairman back and apologize...and explain that normally, I'm at least clean...and apologize again.

So, with this morning's bath, I'm headed in the right direction. And even though I'm not a girlie girl, I'm ready for some makeup...a little lipstick....some hair product....and a pretty little dress. Something that makes me a woman again.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Getting There

The doctor while listening to my lungs---

"Do you smoke?"


"Do you live with a smoker?"


"Have you always wheezed like this?"

"I've never wheezed."

"Well, you do now."

Asthmatic bronchitis and a sinus infection was my diagnosis yesterday. I was guessing a sinus infection on the way to the doctor's office. I wasn't counting on the asthma bronchitis thing. It does explain why it feels like a Clydesdale is standing on my chest. I was sent home with three prescriptions and instructions to get back into bed until I feel really well. That means I missed work yesterday and again today. Four and a half days this week. I haven't taken that much sick time in years. Oh well. Even if I had the strength to be there I'd gross everybody out with my gagging and coughing. So, I will just lay here.....and read...and daydream...and ponder solutions to world peace...maybe decide who I want to vote for.

I've had a special treat this morning. Hubby is babysitting a three year old for a couple of hours, and I've been listening to them chat and play, my 53-year old kid and this precious, talkative toddler. Hubby dragged out some of his toy collection, the stuff that's okay to play with like Lincoln Logs and a train. They've built buildings, a ranch, a prison (Hubby's idea) and knocked them all down. They drank a little juice and Toddler spilled some news about his family that I'm pretty sure is supposed to be a secret. Good news, but a secret nevertheless. Oops! They've watched a little bit of TV, and I'm surprised that Hubby seems to know all about these kids' shows. So that's what he and the dog do on rainy days. Hmm. Retirement must be nice. Oh, now they're playing pirates. Tee Hee. They're so funny. Toddler will go home in a few minutes and I hate to see him leave. I've so enjoyed eavesdropping on his and Hubby's playtime. This was better than TV...or the newspaper...or daydreaming....or thinking about the darned election. Anything is better than thinking about that election.