Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Say A Prayer And Pass The Tylenol

Teen Angel turned sixteen yesterday. Boys and cars, oh my! Dating and driving, my, my, my! I'm not ready for this. For years, I've told her, "You can date when you're sixteen." And it seemed so far away. Like I had forever to prepare myself for this terrifying stage of her life. Terrifying for me. Thrilling for her. For weeks, she's been counting down the days until her birthday. And it finally happened. Against my desperate prayers for the good Lord to make her twelve again. Well, maybe not twelve. That was kind of a sucky age. Ten, perhaps. I am soooo not ready for this. It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating her first birthday, and she was flinging cake in the floor.
She was such a good baby. Except for that short phase of reflux when she had a habit of projectile vomiting on anyone within a five foot radius. She was so much fun. Always clowning around.For the longest time her favorite thing in the whole wide world was a "boon". For a dollar we could buy a balloon at the grocery store and keep her occupied for a week. She loved a good birthday cake. Still does.
And even though she's kind of a tomboy now, she had her princess stage.
And then it was back to the clowning around stage.
She has always loved to swim. For a long time she never swam without goggles of some kind.And she's always been adventurous. She'll ride any roller coaster you put in front of her. I was especially proud of the time we took her out of school for a trip to Las Vegas, and she wowed a room full of people by climbing a very tall rock wall.
She was pretty proud of herself, too.
There have been many other proud moments too, for academics and achievements, but most of all I'm proud of her compassion for her fellow man, her kindness to those in need and her love of laughter. She's a devoted friend and a very principled person. She's growing into a wonderful young woman. I just hope my heart can hold out during these next few years while she's finding her way and clipping the apron strings. She's ready for it. I don't think me and her dad are. Her first date is bound to show up on the door any day, now, and her driving permit test looms next week. Oy vey! Someone pass the Tylenol.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Danger Will Robinson

Warning, warning! I have a new hobby, and I feel obligated to warn you about it, since I tend to dive headlong into stuff like a rat in a cheese factory. For quite some time I've wanted a really nice camera. I've been interested in photography for years. It started when I worked in television news and always appealed to the artsy fartsy creative side of my being. Since I was obligated to feed and clothe my child and help to keep a roof over our heads, I put off buying a good camera thinking it was something I'd get around to some day. But sometime in the last few months I decided that "some day" had come. I hoarded a couple of gift certificates I received in November and my personal spending money and asked that everyone buying me a Christmas gift this year give me money or gift certificates so I could pool them all together to buy a camera. They did. And I did. Meet my new husband.
After a great deal of study, conversations with photographers and three trips to Best Buy, I picked out a Nikon D-60, and boy, am I IN LURV with little Niki. It takes the best photos. I tried it out today in the neighborhood and was a picture taking fool. If it moved, and even if it didn't I took its picture. Like the pine trees.
And the maple tree.
And the flag.
The dog looking forlornly out the french doors.
My goodness, that glass is dirtier than I realized. I won't bore you with all of the pictures I took of the dog, but let's just say he got a little tired of it.Then when the sun started to sink, I ran back outside to play with the late afternoon light. I have so much to learn. I have to figure out the whole aperture thing, and the ISO thing and composition. And I can't wait. Expect to be bombarded with a lot of bad photos in the near future. Sorry. This thing should have come with a warning label..."Can be highly addictive".

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fun Monday-Holiday Post Game

Our lovely Fun Monday hostess this week is Sayre, and she wants a wrap up of our holidays. Specifically, she wants:

What was the most touching, wonderful part of Christmas for you this year?
AND what was the craziest, stupidest, funniest part this year?

Hmmm. Let's start with funniest first. All my life I have spent Christmas eve and Christmas with family. Those gatherings have always included food. I've never been in the position of being without a place to go or a ham dinner on one of those days. Since I've been married, Christmas eve has generally found us with Hubby's family. For a variety of reasons, that didn't happen this year. In fact, all of our family get togethers were scheduled on days other than December 24th, so me, Hubby and Teen Angel ended up looking for a place to eat Christmas eve dinner. We drove through town expecting to end up at whatever fast food joint was still open. Much to our surprise, we discovered a Mexican restaurant a few miles from our house with an "open" light on. We went inside and found about six other families being waited on by the poor fellow who obviously drew the unlucky straw of being the only server at the restaurant that night. We ate fajitas, chips and salsa for dinner, and I must say, the whole thing made me think about the final scene in A Christmas Story where they're at the Chinese restaurant singing Deck the Halls. As I looked around, I couldn't help but wonder why the other families were in the same position we were, with no place to go on the night before Christmas. It was kind of fun, but definitely out of the ordinary for us.

The most touching, wonderful part of Christmas for me happened December 19th, the day some elementary school students helped me find my Christmas spirit. I've already posted about it, and you can read about it here. It truly brought home for me the value in giving with a full and faithful heart. I hope your holiday season was a good one folks. Now, head on over to Sayre's and see what everyone else has to say today.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Roses are red, holly is too, Santa came to my house, did he comes to yours, too? Top gift goes to Teen Angel. This now makes three guitars. That's enough, I think. I hope she can pay her way through college with weekend gigs.

I asked all of my family to give me money and gift certificates so I can buy myself a nice camera, but I did get those pajamas from Target I dropped 9,000 hints about. They're just
And guess who got matching footie PJ's?
And guess who would rather be naked except for his diaper. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, too. Tell me your favorite gift, please.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Um, I should be wrapping presents and such however.....

What do you do when you still have way to much Christmas stuff to pull together but you're hours away from a week and a half of vacation and hopped up on appetizers? Why, you piddle on the internet of course. Is it narcissistic to do this?
Or this?
And can I tell you how cool I think it is to be on some hot guy's abs AND his cell phone.
Burp. Somebody pass me some more queso dip.
*photos from

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Away in a Manger

In the United Methodist Church in this part of the country we have a tradition called March to the Manger. On the Sunday before Christmas we march to the front of the church, usually to the sounds of O Come All ye Faithful to lay a special offering in a manger. The gifts are often wrapped in Christmas paper and bows. Members of the congregation portray Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels and sometimes the wise men. The role of baby Jesus is traditionally given to the newest baby in the congregation with his parents serving as Mary and Joseph. Growing up, I always looked forward to the March to the Manger, laying my little wrapped package near the creche and glimpsing at the baby who was usually snoozing on his mama's lap. To this day, it still feels special to file to the front of the church, singing multiple verses of O come All ye Faithful and looking into the face of the baby chosen to portray the newborn Jesus.

This year was even more special because Special Delivery was picked to play Jesus at the church I grew up in. The March to the Manger was incorporated into the church's Christmas cantata, so Special D., Mrs. Scrubs and Super Cop had to sit still for a long time while the choir and the children sang numerous songs. Now I know I might be just a teensy biased, but I think he was the cutest little baby savior I've ever seen. See?
And he was so good. He slept through most of the program but started to come alive about forty minutes into the program. We saw his eyes pop open, his mouth form a big yawn and then his little arm stretch out long. I glanced at the program and saw that we still had two long songs to go. I hoped he wasn't hungry because he will certainly let you know if he's hungry. Apparently, he wasn't. However, he was gassy. Mrs. Scrubs says she thought he was pooping his pants during the last round of singing. He didn't, but let's just say that while we were greatly singing o'er the plains, he was repeating the sounding joy. The smell in the manger wasn't the sheep. His bright little eyes stayed glued to the bling on the three kings and the spotlight in the loft. He bounced on Mrs. Scrubs knee quietly until the program was over, as if he knew his special role. And just like that, his first starring role was over. His adoring fans rushed forward for a few pics and a chance to hold him before we had to go home. What a sweet moment in this Christmas season. I will however, have to have a talk with Super Cop about his choice of sandals.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Not Quite 4-0, but oh so Close

Guess which one of these yahoos is having a birthday today.It's not me! Happy birthday Super Cop! Glad you worked out that baggy pants issue.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Lost and Found

It's no secret I've had trouble finding the holiday spirit this year. If you've read any of my other December posts it's pretty obvious I've been a little short on ho, ho, ho. Frankly, I've been feeling overwhelmed at how fast Christmas is approaching. Oh, I didn't give up. I kept plugging away because I knew that spirit was down in me somewhere. It was just a little lost, a little misplaced. I was searching for it to no avail, apparently, in all the wrong places.

I oversee a community holiday lighting display and food drive. Knowing that the economy might hamper donations this year, I asked area schools to hold canned food drives at their schools and offered a prize for the winning school in order to supplement our usual collection. Each school was given a large industrial grade bin to hold their goods. When full of canned food a bin can hold between 1000 and 1400 pounds. The contest ended this week, and we picked up food at three of the ten schools yesterday. We were thrilled with the amount we collected. Armed with a moving van, a pallet jack and four strong men I headed out early this morning for pick ups at the rest of the schools. I'll admit I was pretty tired before I started the day and had no idea what to expect. I knew it would be a long day, but I was eager to see what was waiting for us. The first four stops went pretty fast, and the stack of food grew bigger at each stop. At each school we found a full bin and lots of smiling children. By 10am I had lost my weariness and was feeling really upbeat.

I was anxious to get to the fifth stop because I had an inkling they had done very well. They had already filled their bin once last week and seemed really inspired. I had no idea just how inspired. When we arrived they had two more full bins and sacks and sacks of food stacked around the bins. Outside each classroom was more food. We had to take two grocery carts around the building to pick up the food at the classrooms. We were at the school for about an hour, packing, loading and trying to figure out how to get it all out of the building. We also had to take the bar out of the double doors in order to pull out the pallets of food. As I stood there in amazement I suddenly felt overwhelmed again. This time I was overwhelmed in a good way. My heart just melted at the smiles on the faces of dozens of children who didn't even know what prize they were competing for. They were simply excited about helping other people. Y'all know what a crybaby I can be. It was all I could do not to fall apart. I finally stepped outside "to take a phone call" and get myself together. Before we left the building I slipped in the restroom "for a pit stop" aka blowing my nose and wiping my eyes. I stood against the sink, looked into the mirror and smiled. It took me until December 19th, only six days before Christmas before I found that spirit. But I did. Finally. With the help of 391 elementary school children who have no idea how much they gave today. Oh, they know how much food they gave to the hungry. They just don't know how much they gave to this starving soul. Bring on Christmas my friends, I'm finally ready.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Jingle All The Way Home

Why I love a 70% off sale....original price, $369. Take home price, $114. Merry Christmas to me! Suddenly, I have a little more ho, ho, ho in my holiday attitude. It makes the best frozen drinks evah, be it a margarita or a good old cherry slushie, and I've been eyeballin' this puppy ever since the Going Out of Business Sale started at Linens 'N Things about six weeks ago. I would have waited a little longer, because I can be as tight as the bark on a tree when it comes to frivolous toys, but this was the last one, and they were getting ready to ship it somewhere else. Jingle bells, jingle bells.........everybody sing along.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Holiday Photo #3

Oh, how this photo makes me smile. That little fuzzy headed fella' in the lower right corner is my baby brother, Handy Man when he was about two years old. That would make this around 1976, the year of the bicentennial. The year our grade school marching band instructor made us wear knickers and tri-corner hats, but that's another post for another time. This picture was taken at a church function, and that raggedy looking Santa had Handy Man scared. Some children find Santa, clowns and all types of mascot costumes scary. I was never one of those children, but I'll admit, this guy was a little unnerving. I think it was the scraggly beard.

Everyone has his own odd Santa moment. Mine came the last year Teen Angel sat on Santa's lap at the mall. When she got settled onto his leg, he patted his other leg and suggestively offered me the opportunity to sit down, too. Ugh. I sharply said no, we quickly snapped a picture and got out of there.

So, here's what I want to know today dear readers. I want to hear your Santa story. What incident did you have with the jolly one that left you smiling, crying or puzzling your puzzler as the Grinch would say?

Monday, December 15, 2008

On The Down Low

My favorite holiday dessert. My second favorite holiday dessert.
Simple, yet refined. Meant to be eaten out of the can with a spatula when no one is looking.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Fun Monday-Acts of Kindness

This week's host is mommywizdom, and she wants us to get in the holiday spirit by giving. Here are the instructions:

1) Your job this week is to go out and perform a random act of kindness. Now, before you freak out, please read on. This is actually really easy!! This act may be for someone you know or for a perfect stranger. It can be big or small, it'll all up to you. Obviously, it should be something within your means. For instance, don't go out and buy your next door neighbor a car and then complain to me that you can't make your mortgage payment, OK? OR

2) If you've had a random act of kindness bestowed on you (recently), we'd love to hear about it. How did it impact you? How did it make you feel?

I must say this has been an interesting assignment. I didn't read it until Thursday, so I cut myself short on the amount of time to do a RAK, but it really shouldn't take much time, right? I mean, if you can't find an opportunity in three days, you must not be looking hard enough. Now, I try to be nice to people all of the time, but I'm human. Let's face it, I've had my shared of ill tempered, flip the bird moments, and don't even get me started about that time I had to go all ninja on J.C. Penney's in order to get them to clear up a charge they screwed up on my credit card. Poor Teen Angel was about eight years old, and she ran to get her daddy because "mommy was all crazy mad on the phone and it was scaring her". However, most of the time I'm pretty kind to strangers and friends alike, but I found this assignment interesting because it forced me to think about it and wonder why being randomly kind to strangers isn't always second nature.

I found an opportunity yesterday to do a simple RAK in the mall. We went to hell to Christmas shop yesterday, whereas hell equals the line at Bath and Body Works, the line at the kiosk for mall gift certificates and the line for a restroom in Chick-Fil-A. As a friend of mine would say, it was elbows and ***holes everywhere you went, and within the first ten minutes I was ready to go home. That was not an option since I still had 85% of my shopping left to do.

I was trying to decide if a large unsweetened tea was worth the walk all the way back down to the food court when I overheard an elderly couple discussing stores. She was in a wheelchair, and he was feebly pushing it. They were looking for a bookstore and headed in the wrong direction. I approached them and asked if I could help them. They asked where the bookstore was, and I gave them directions to both bookstores inside the mall. I offered to help push the chair, but they wouldn't let me. They very much appreciated the directions and went about their way. I was pleased that I was able to help, but I walked away wondering if I would have been bold enough to approach them if I weren't trying to fulfill this assignment. Maybe. Maybe not. Which brings me to the subject of my husband. He is the king of random acts of kindness. He does it all the time without even thinking about it. I don't know how many times we've been shopping in Wal-Mart, and I've happened upon him in the grocery aisles lifting canned goods off an upper shelf for a senior citizen. At the local convenience store where he gets breakfast after dropping Teen Angel off at school he often makes coffee, resets the cappuccino machine and fixes the ice maker that always jams up. He often goes outside to pump gas for little old ladies. When he leaves he sometimes buys a Slim Jim for the neighborhood dog that hangs out at the store. Wherever he goes, he usually finds an opportunity to help someone. He has a real soft spot for old folks and animals. Many times he has driven the church bus for a senior citizens outing. I came out of the movie rental place one night and didn't see him. I finally found him behind the nearby liquor store feeding a stray cat some cat food out of our grocery sacks. He is always helping someone else, and it IS second nature for him. I want it to be second nature for me. That's why I'm going to make a point to practice this little experiment more often. Thank you mommywizdom for the challenge, this week and in weeks to come.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Photo #2

Or as I like to call it: Christmas Wrapping.
My great Aunt June was a knitting fool. She made enough afghans to blanket the entire population of Yugoslavia, but she specialized in scarves and hats. Me and my cousins were the recipients of many such gifts throughout our growing up years. My brother has an absolutely hilarious picture of the Christmas when Aunt June knitted everyone gold sock caps, and we're all wearing them. This red and white scarf is one of Aunt June's gifts. It was warm, colorful..and itchy. I appreciated it though, and threw it on with as much debonair as an eight year old in backwoods rural America could muster. I believe this was during my Grace Kelly period when I liked to emulate her style in To Catch A Thief. I was probably disappointed I didn't have any sunglasses or a convertible to go with it. As I recall I loved these black patent leather shoes because I thought they were quite uptown.

So to keep the holiday spirits flowing boys and girls, answer this question: What Christmas gift did you receive as a kid that made you feel uptown..or grown up...or stylish?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Yesterday I got this call from Madd Maxx down in Louisiana who had been playing catch up on my blog and saw the last string of posts. He was all, "Giiiirl, what is YOUR problem? What's with all that dry skin, bad sinuses bah humbug waaa, waaa, waaa business? You need to put some ho, ho, ho in your mo jo and get down with Christmas." And I was all, "I KNOW I have a bad attitude, I know. I'm workin' on it. I got online and bought three presents and I put up the tree dammit." He declared his phone call a holiday intervention and cheered me up with some conversation about how he was supposed to get snow last night, and everybody in Cajun country was going nuts because they never get snow. I promised to straighten out my attitude and jingle my bells, and he promised not to hit me with a yule log. I jumped in the car for the commute home, turned on the radio and lo and behold a Christmas song was playing. It was a sign from God, I tell ya'. It was Alvin and the Chipmunks, so I'm not sure what the the Big Guy was trying to tell me, but I think it had something to do with smiles. That, or he was reminding me for the 20th time to make that dental appointment. Anyhooo, in an effort to show my holiday spirit, I'm posting a few old Christmas pictures. After all, what's funnier than old family photos taken during holidays past with those flash bulbs that burned your retinas? Exactly. Today's selection? 1972-The Year of The Dog. Make that dogs. 13 to be exact. That is me and Super Cop under the tree. He is about three in this picture. Look at those cute little cheeks. I'm eight, and we were in the process of selling our Irish Setter puppies. She had thirteen puppies that winter in a refrigerator box in our basement. Twelve survived. The smallest was crushed by the rest of them. It was my first lesson in survival of the fittest. I wanted to keep at least one of the puppies, but mama said no. We had already sold a couple of them by the time we got the grand idea to load them into a laundry basket and take a picture. It's not really the dogs that make me smile in this picture. Take note of the other things in this picture. 1. My pretzel pants. I thought these were the coolest pants ever. That and the orange paisley dress I wore in kindergarten were probably the two earliest signs of the twisted sense of fashion that would follow me into adulthood. Good thing I became an adult in the 80's. Mama made these pants and fortunately, she managed to avoid the baggy crotch issue she had at the time with the pants she made for Super Cop.

2. The Christmas tree. Is that not the sorriest tree you've ever seen? That was in the early days of artificial trees when they didn't look anything like a real tree. It appears that we asked to decorate the tree, and mama said "Ah, what the heck, knock yourself out". And we made a few homemade snowflakes, got bored with the whole mess, and quit early. Or another likely scenario is that I put myself in charge of the whole thing and bossed Super Cop around until he got mad and quit.

3. The container for the puppies. Nothing says Christmas like a worn out laundry basket. We made absolutely no effort at class with that one did we?

4. And my all time favorite Christmas decoration (next to Aunt June's aluminum tree with the rotating colored light wheel)...ta da! The cardboard fireplace. I loved that thing and thought it was the neatest thing ever. Funny thing, though. I have asked dozens of people my age over the years if they had a cardboard Christmas fireplace, and they all looked at me like I was crazy.

So to jump start my ho ho ho and in the spirit of all things merry and bright, I want you to tell me dear readers about the tackiest decoration of childhood holidays. Let's hear about your cardboard fireplaces or your pink flocked trees. Share, make me smile and help me dodge that yule log.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oh Heck No

“Are you ready for Christmas?”

It seems like an innocent enough question, but it isn’t. Not by a long shot. It’s as loaded as a 44 these days, and the answer is “NO!”. It was all I could do not to shout , “No” to the acquaintance who asked me that today. I am not even close to being ready for Christmas. I have purchased a measly three presents. I just got the tree up, and it took me the entire weekend to do that. I have no idea what to get my husband, and my relationship with a particular family member is painfully nonexistent right now. Ah, the season is upon me, and all I can think about is when it will be over. My attitude sucks, frankly.

I don’t get depressed this time of year like some folks, but I don’t really enjoy Christmas like I used to. We used to have big noisy Christmases at our house with lots of presents and a big breakfast, but all of that changed when my nephew died eight years ago. Since his death it just hasn’t been the same. I’ve made an effort for Teen Angel’s sake, but my heart hasn’t really been in it. I enjoy spending time with family and special events at church and with friends, but I hate the commercialism and the spend, spend, spend atmosphere. I just have a hard time shopping when I see families struggling to make a holiday out of an empty wallet or senior citizens choosing between food and medicine. I will never forget as a child standing in the grocery store with my mother at Christmas and watching an elderly blind man who was dirty and shabbily dressed, standing by the country hams. He inhaled deeply and said to no one in particular, “That sho does smell good.” He savored the moment, and obviously a memory and walked away without a ham. He obviously couldn’t afford it. The stores are full of folks like that this time of year, and it breaks my heart. I realize there are so many things to appreciate and enjoy about the holidays, but I feel really torn the whole season between laughter and a lump in my throat. I would be very happy with skipping gifts, attending church and having a big meal with family and calling it a day. But the world doesn’t spin that way, so I must make a better effort to get some perspective on the season.

For about two months now, I’ve been attending Al-Anon, and it’s been a great help in learning how to deal with the alcoholic in my life because it makes me focus on my behavior. They have a saying, “Fake it until you can make it,” which is a way of saying do it until you really feel like doing it. And that’s what I shall do in the next few days, fake it until I feel the Christmas spirit. I know it will come around. It always does. I just can’t keep worrying about it. I have too much to do, mainly shopping. Besides, my band fruit is in, I have a party to go to Friday night, and Special Delivery gets to portray baby Jesus in the March to the Manger at SuperCop’s and Mrs. Scrubs’ church. There’s just something about a baby this time of year……

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Time Out

You know, sometimes I look up and realize the good Lord has been tapping me on the shoulder for a while, and I haven't been paying attention. It's so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of the holidays and forget to breathe, especially when you have a week like I just had. I love my job, but I have several big projects going right now, so every day last week was a kick your butt kind of day. I was exhausted by Wednesday, and still had so much to get done. I was sliding into every stop on two wheels and rushing through one task just to get to another. It was crazy. Early in the week a school teacher called me about doing a presentation to first graders, and even though I really didn't have time for it, I said yes because I make it a policy to never say no to a school unless I absolutely have to. Two days later I arrived at the school at 8am just as I was instructed in order to set up for an 8:30am program. The secretary gave me an uh-oh look, and it took all of ten seconds to realize the school had overbooked, and a larger assembly was scheduled for 8:30am with the entire student body. Frankly, I was too tired to object so when given the choice to delay my program or reschedule I chose to wait because I just didn't have it in me to make another trip to the school the following day. I wasn't really excited about cooling my heels for a half hour because I had so much I could have been doing at work. I went to the car for some money and headed toward the cafeteria to see what was offered for breakfast just to kill time.

Along the way I saw a little girl I knew, and we had a really sweet and funny conversation about her head cold and how her granny had made her hot chocolate that morning and she felt "all better". I stood in line in the cafeteria behind a little girl who hated the smell so much she held her nose the whole time. Another laugh. We snaked our way to the head of the line, and the lunch lady smiled really big and offered me a sausage biscuit. Now, if I had not been so rushed before I left the house I would have eaten my normal dry breakfast of oatmeal and flax seed. Hmmm. Now, I had the opportunity to eat something much more decadent. I accepted it gratefully, and looked around for some gravy. When I reached the cashier, she refused to let me pay, so I ate for free. I was the only grown up eating breakfast, so I grabbed a chair that put me verrrrry low to the ground, and plopped down in the middle of some fourth graders. More smiles. We had great conversation, and when we finished we all headed to the gym for the assembly. It was interesting watching the children be so excited about visitors and seeing how well behaved they were. It made me wonder at what point in my life I had forgotten to be that excited about a new day...every day. The assembly ran long, leaving me with no set up time for my presentation, but by then it didn't matter. I simply shortened my program. The first graders were great listeners, they asked questions that made me smile and all said "thank you" as a group. I loaded up my stuff and left the school about an hour later than I had planned. And you know what? It was okay. Really. The secretary apologized profusely for the mix-up, but I said, "thank you, I needed that". She didn't understand that I got more out of that visit than the kids got from me. I was a better person when I left then when I arrived. As I started the car I smiled because God had given me a little time-out. Just when I needed it, he presented me with a situation that at first glance appeared to be another one of last week's problems but was really a blessing. I had an opportunity to stop and breathe, to eat breakfast with some little folks that made me smile and to get some much needed perspective before I started the next three busy days. I wonder how long He had been tapping me on the shoulder last week before I finally turned around?

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Oh, holy mother of Elmo this week has been out of control crazy work has been insane and involved spearheading numerous projects including a food drive a pep rally at an elementary school presentations at another school building a float for the Christmas parade oh my the first Christmas party of the season how could I possibly eat so much no time to exercise I have to walk in the parade tonight Teen Angel's choir program is tomorrow after church there's another party Monday night and I haven't even started my Christmas shopping glad most everyone wants gift certificates crap I need to get those cards mailed and I still don't have a tree up will anyone notice if we don't have a tree oh yes Teen Angel will mount an insurgence if we don't put up a tree blog what's a blog Calgon take me away well the band fruit is here and gee whiz aren't the holidays fun somebody remind me what we're celebrating this season oh yeah the Kind of Peace. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Feelin' Hot, Hot, Hot

More proof the Hula-gen's very often don't know what they're talking about....I'm not namin' any names, but one Hula-gen was overhead saying the following this week about one of Teen Angel's favorite stores: "That Hot Pockets sure is an interesting store."

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Dangers of Crack

Cracked hands. Cracked feet. Cracked legs.Let the lotion wars begin. Sigh. Only 200 days 'til summer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

BFF's Forever

Have you met my new BFF? Her name is Netti. Not the Nettie from The Color Purple. Netti, as in Netti Pot. She's a pal, let me tell ya', and I plan to keep her around awhile. Let me introduce you.

She's essentially a teapot that you fill with salt water and use to irrigate your sinuses. She falls into that category of something old that's new again, mostly because Oprah said so. Actually, Dr. Oz said so on Oprah. I love Dr. Oz. He answers all those questions you want to ask the doctor but are embarrassed to. He talks about things like poop and gas and foot odor and makes it seem okay. Months ago, he demonstrated the Netti pot on her show, and millions of people like me who would like to yank out their sinuses and stomp on them at least once a week lined up to buy one. Except me. Because I was scared of the whole pouring salt water through my nose thing. I mean, isn't that how people drown? And then my fall sinus attack began. Facing months of the usual snotty, throat clogged, nauseating drainage, I got desperate, and rushing salt water through my sinuses didn't seem so bad. Figuring drowning would be a relief on a really snotty day, I marched into Walgreen's under a Benedryl high and bought Netti. And I haven't turned loose of her since. It's kind of difficult to pour water through your nose, breathe through your mouth AND take a picture of it at the same time, so a Google image will have to suffice as an illustration. I do want to shout "Ricola" whenever I look at this picture.Yeah, I know. It looks kind of weird, and the stuff that's left in the sink can be downright gross. HOWEVER, since I've been hanging around with Netti my sinuses have been very well behaved and have not launched their usual attack on my body, which always leads to an infection, bronchitis and if I'm really lucky, asthma by December 1st. I've used only half a box of tissues in the last month, and my upper lip has yet to chap. Sigh. That Netti sure is a swell gal. A word of warning, though. She can be a little "temper"mental. If you get the water too warm, it will knock your socks off when it hits that first nostril. Go easy with the microwave. Other than that, our friendship is tight. I love you Netti. Don't ever change. Always stay the way you are, and you'll go far. Love, your BFF Hula. PS: Don't you think that boy in study hall is cute?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fun Monday-Neighbors

This week's host is Ari_1965, and this week's topic is neighbors. This should be interesting. I can't wait to read everyone's posts. Here is the specific assignment:

Tell us about your all-time worst Neighbors from Hell. You know, the family of Irish clog dancers who once lived in the flat/apartment above you? Mrs. Nextdoor and her banshee-like multiple orgasms? Mr. and Mrs. Hard-of-Hearing with their television on full blast? The guys across the street who set off 4th of July fireworks starting in March and didn't stop until the first real snowfall?

I have to say, I've always been lucky with neighbors. Oh, there was the occasional dud when I was young and single and living in apartments. I had a woman who lived above me who was quite amorous and didn't mind letting everyone hear it. There was the family who lived in an apartment below me and Hubby when we first got married who had a pack of dogs they allowed to crap everywhere, including our doorstep. Nice. But overall, we've had great neighbors. We love our current neighbors. In fact, we make homemade goodies that we hand deliver to them at Christmas. The most interesting of these neighbors is a gentleman who is in his upper 80's, and has been married three times. His first wife died of cancer, and let's just say the two wives that followed were doozies. Both were mail order brides. One came from China, and they didn't get along very well. He ended up shipping her home at her request. The other one was an elderly woman who seemed okay at first, and then became kind of a gold digger. They parted company, and she got a nice settlement out of the mess. Soon after she moved away I was sifting through some old books she gave me when she left, and discovered check stubs from several previous husbands she had received settlements from. Me thinks she made this a habit. Despite his bad luck, this particular neighbor hasn't lost his yearn for affection. Currently, he has a girlfriend that he travels with and dates.

He still likes to party every now and then, too. Several months ago, we kept seeing a cab in his driveway on Friday evenings. Hubby finally got curious and asked him about it. Come to find out, he was using the cab to get back and forth to a regular party with friends because he didn't want to get a DUI. He was spending a ton of money on the cabs even though the party was only a few minutes away from his house. Hubby told him he'd take him to and from his parties. So, every now and then he calls Hubby for his ride. Hubby picks up him and his grocery sack of beverages and bar supplies, drops him off at precisely 5:30pm and brings him and the sack home at exactly 10:30pm. Hubby is neighborly that way, and besides, we figure at age 86 he's entitled to party if he wants to, especially if he avoids driving.

He is full of life, and I love him to death. He had become somewhat weak in the last year, but he still rides his bicycle every day, still likes the women and wine and knows how to have a good time. I hope I'm lucky enough to feel that way when I'm his age. Thanks for stopping by. Now, trot on over to Ari_1965 and meet everyone else's neighbors.

We Interrupt The Regularly Scheduled Blogging For...Thanksgiving Vacation

Not that we went anywhere, other than a forty minute drive to Mama's house for ham (because we roll with the ham) and dressing, one or two desserts and a whole mess of sides. Somehow the last few days have slipped away, and suddenly I've gone three days without posting. And since I still have to pull dinner out of and wash a load of clothes, here's a quick round of catch-up. Ready, set, go!

Thursday-delicious meal, good company, quality new baby holding time.
Friday-Errands, errands, errands! Beginning with the dog groomer and ending with three hours of work related to the community holiday lighting display. Oh, and 8pm leftovers of ham, and dressing and cranberry relish.
Saturday-6 mile run (Speaking of pulling stuff out of my ear), shopping and a great lunch that included a darned good tangerine grapefruit margarita and chocolate macaroon cake. Quiet time at home followed with popcorn and a good book.
Today-Church, lunch and more quiet time with a book. Sweet.

No time to comment on your sites but..... Jason-I'm so sorry you're struggling with strep and good luck with the manscaping. Oreneta-I'm terribly sorry about your uncle. Happy birthday Kelly With Amy's Angels, and I know exactly what you mean about the Racers. Amy-love the photo of you and your husband on your sidebar. janjanmom-So glad to hear that the daughter is coming along so nicely with her pie making skills. Lew-I am a football idiot, so I have no input on the Tennessee thing. Sorry. Mia-glad the Thanksgiving holiday was great. Trailboss-that granddaughter of yours is cute as a bug's ear, and aren't you a lucky gal for getting out of cooking. Debbie-those flamingo pajamas are the bomb, and I so want those on my Christmas list. Swampy-love the marshmallow caterpillars. There are more, but I have to run. The washer is calling me. And the stove.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Day Before Thanksgiving at the Grocery Store

Whereas the parking lot equals this:
And making it down the spice aisle without injury requires this:While doing a little of that:
And the bread aisle is all whuh:
And the frozen roll freezer is all nuh uh:
Oh, and never mind the tired clerk who's all :when you politely ask if there is any more sage in the back.
Which equals I'm a big fat loser for failing to get everything I need ahead of time so I don't have to visit the grocery on the day before Thanksgiving yet another year in a row.
Blessings to each and every one of you, my friends on this holiday.
*Images courtesy of:,, and

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Phoning it In

Because I am behind at work, juggling three major projects, haven't EVEN started the cornbread for the dressing or checked on whether or not any of the Hula-gen's have clean underwear, I'm taking the easy way out today. I lifted this from Jason who lifted it from Pumpkin Delight. Enjoy, and if anybody needs me I'll be eating bon bons and watching the Dancing With The Stars finale...I mean doing laundry.

Where is your cell phone - purse
Your hair color - San Tropez
Your mother - silly
Favorite thing - laughter
Your dream last night - nightmare
Your dream goal -novel
The room you're in -bedroom
Your hobby - writing
Your fear - SNAKES!
Where do you want to be in 6 years - content
Where were you last night - home
What you're not - quiet
One of your wish list items-serenity
Where you grew up - country
The last thing you did - ran
What are you wearing - jammies
Your TV-McDreamy
Your pet- loving
Your computer -full
Your mood - nostalgic
Missing someone - Grandma
Your car - sporty
Something you're not wearing - makeup
Favorite shop - impossible
Your summer - short
Love someone - family
Favorite color - Red!
When you last laughed - today
When you last cried - today

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fun Monday-High Times

The lovely Mariposa is this week's hostess, again. God Bless her for doing it more than once this year. She wants to hear about those high moments of our life, specifically:

If you could share with us 3-5 high moments in your lives...this could be funny moments...the you can't believe you did it moments...the "I told you so" moments...or the times we asked the ground to go open and eat us moments! You need not write a book to explain them, the highlights will do.

When I think about the times in my life that have given me a natural "high" I tend to think about those monumental life changing moments, such as marriage and childbirth, but I don't think that's what she's looking for. I think she wants to hear something a little more interesting, something a little more revealing about us. So I've chosen some times that aren't necessarily the most important or the biggest, but they were certainly unforgettable, and each came with a very important lesson.

1. Age 12-Deciding that riding down a really tall gravel covered hill on my bicycle was the quickest way home and realizing within the first ten feet that it was a mistake. My feet flew off the pedals, I crashed and burned and had scabbed over knees for nearly the entire summer. Lesson- The shortest path is not always the best path to take, and sometimes the road that looks the easiest, isn't.

2. Age 16-Insisting on driving my little Chevette "to town" on an icy Friday night not fit for man or beast because I was afraid I'd miss some teenage excitement despite my dad's warnings that I needed to stay home. I slid right into the ditch as I left the driveway and had to walk back to the house and ask him to pull me out of the ditch. Lesson-Sometimes you should just shut up and listen.

3. Age 7-Jumping on the bed so high that I bounced off and hit the wall with my head, practically knocking myself out. Lesson-Too much of a good thing can be bad.

4. Age 38-Trying to add water to the water bed when the hose popped off the nozzle and started dancing around the bedroom, spraying water all over the place. Neat freak Hubby found me sitting in the floor laughing hysterically with water dripping from the ceiling. Lesson-Sh*t happens, and life is messy. Laughter helps you to get through it.

5. Age 41-Wiping out at the bottom of a water slide, wiping the water out of my eyes and realizing that I was standing in front of roughly sixty people with my swimsuit top wrapped around my waist and the girls hanging out. Lesson-Sometimes you're left standing naked in the middle of the field, and you just have to yank up your pride- er straps-and mooooove on.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Out of the North

I stand in the dark waiting for the dog to finish his business and look to the stars to see if any are winking at me tonight. No. Only clouds. A harsh wind whips my face and takes me by surprise. Where did that come from? I wasn't expecting it. It drives through my coat and chills me. It's gusty. Maybe 18-20 miles an hour. I shiver in the shadow of the tall pine tree and realize the wind is a metaphor for the storm brewing with my alcoholic friend in the past twenty four hours. Like a bitter wind this latest chaos struck when I least expected it and settled into my bones, making it hard to breathe. The ripples from this storm are only beginning to spread across this sea of insanity. The wind is bitter, and it's not done blowing yet. Is this what they mean by Winter of Discontent? How long will this one blow and what kind of damage will it leave in its wake? I pull my coat tighter around my chest and head for the door...for shelter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


What do you get the guy who has everything, doesn’t really want anything and won’t give you any idea about what to buy him for his 70th birthday? A surprise party because he hasn’t had one since he was a little boy, and that was a long, long time ago. And because he’s the kind of guy who loves to surprise other people and pull jokes on them, and the whole world would love to get him for a change. So we did. Me and Super Cop and HandyMan…with a little help from mama, whom we’ve decided could never be a spy or a world champion poker player because she stinks at playing secret squirrel games. That woman can’t lie worth a hoot, which is a good thing I guess, unless you’re trying to lure daddy to a surprise party.

Daddy turned 70 Sunday, so we invited 75 of his friends and family members to join us in surprising him at the local community center for a little cake and ice cream, and dinner. And we darn near pulled it off. He said he didn’t catch on until he and mama were about fifteen minutes away from the community center where mama had told him they were attending a potluck for which she had baked cookies. Things just didn’t add up, and by the time he pulled into the parking lot, he had figured it out. I figure if we managed to keep him in the dark until the last minute we did good because there are a whole lot of blathering windy people in our family, including me, which is why I didn’t call mama and daddy in the week before the party, because I just didn’t trust myself. Apparently, Aunt Betty did the same thing because she didn’t trust herself either. Big Aunt Betty, not little Aunt Betty. There are two, and one is big and the other is little, and we have called them that for years, and they don’t mind. Really. HandyMan grilled some burgers and dogs on that honkin’ big grill he has. We had two kinds of cake, chocolate and white. We had a lot of laughs and someone went home with a gallon and a half of pickles because she can’t read and someone else went home with a bunch of sodas because he can’t do math. Here are a few pictures:
We have the arrival.
Or as I like to call it: Hula is a piss poor photographer.

There were hugs.
And guess who grabbed the baby right away. As in before his glasses adjusted to the inside light.Hello! Other family in the house, too! Hey, dad! Over here. Remember us? The people you raised? The people who THREW this party for you? Yeah, when you get a minute you might greet your guests.
He wasn't the only one who wanted to get his hands on the little fella. I'm not naming any names(MAMA!) but SOMEBODY wouldn't turn loose of Special Delivery once she wrestled him away from daddy.As in put the death grip on him and walked away with him "to show him to someone else" when I tried to take him from her three hours into the event. Uh-huh, oh yes she did, girlfriends. I snapped this photo during the 1.3 seconds she was NOT holding Special D.

Some of daddy's guitar pickin' friends came. And lots of family. Did I mention daddy had eight brothers and sisters? These two sisters came.The woman in the middle? That's little Betty. And here's Big Betty. I love her. She's the one who laid a big 'ol hug on Hubby during his first family reunion with this bunch and sent him into a Holy mother of Elmo my family isn't into touching what did you just do seizure. I really love her.
See this table? There was enough hot air there to raise the Hindenburg. Those are daddy's work buddies. Well, now they're retirement buddies. Boy, did they have some fun times when they worked together. More fun than should be allowed at a plant where they handle radioactive materials.
HandyMan did all of the cooking. Hubby helped by smashing his finger in the grill. This is the "Enough With the Camera Already" picture. I threatened to give baby brother a swirly AND a noogie if he didn't smile nice and pretty like his big sister said right now, dang it. And I told Hubby to get the heck out of the way because we weren't making friend egg sandwiches with pickles and mayonnaise for 75 people so his cooking skills were not needed.

He eventually got around to blowing out the candles.And as I looked around I realized that what's going on in front of the camera isn't always as interesting as what's going on behind it.