Monday, June 30, 2008

Shut Up And Sit Down, Hula

I’ve been somewhat frustrated with my running lately. I did a four mile race recently and was lousy. I wanted to improve over last year’s time for that race, and I did not. In fact, I was a minute slower. I have been winded and out of steam for about three weeks. I have blamed it on exhaustion, the heat and asthma, everything but me. I have whined and moaned and griped and have been all blah, blah, blah and waaa, waaa, waaa about it. In fact, I whined more than I ran last week. I was so busy belly aching about it that I couldn’t see the root of the problem….until I opened up my email this morning.

Like you, I get a lot of stuff in my email-box, everything from goofy jokes and funny commercials to mandates directing me to drop everything this second and pray a special prayer to keep from going to Hell. Amidst all of the junk emails that had collected over the weekend was a little nugget that I have nicknamed Why Hula Pulled Her Head out of Her Butt and Got a Better Attitude. This came just when I needed it, (Is that God winking at me?) and I’m going to share it with you. Promise me that you’ll watch it. I think it’s worth four minutes and 36 seconds of your time. You may have even seen it before because the father and son in this video have been quietly winning hearts in the running world for several years. In all of the reading I’ve done on running since I started this hobby last year, I had not stumbled across them…until now…..and I’m kind of glad it happened now and not earlier.

Their story is one of a young man who asked his father to run a marathon with him, even though neither one of them was a runner. He did. They tried another and then another. They kept going, eventually tackling the Iron Man Triathlon. As you watch this, keep in mind that the Iron Man consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run (full marathon). Now, you’ll have to go watch the video before you’ll understand the rest of this post. If you’re a softy like me (this means you janjanmom and mia) you might want to grab a tissue. And because I’m a blogging idiot and haven’t taken the time to figure out the whole how to post a video thing you’ll just have to use this link. Go ahead. I’ll wait. I mean it, don’t cheat. I’m waiting.

Team Hoyt video

Done yet? Okay. How moving was THAT?! Since 1979 they have competed in 958 events, including 224 triathlons and 65 marathons (25 at Boston). They have won numerous awards, and their paces are fast. They are not in the back of the pack.

Well, I had to watch this video twice and when I quit I told myself to just SHUT up and sit down. “That’s right, Hula. Quit your itchen’ and shut up. You’re mouthin’ about being slow while some folks are climbing over mountains much bigger. The good Lord gave you two good legs when others have none. You’ve got two good lungs while others can’t breathe, and two good eyes and ears when some folks can’t see or hear (including your father in law.) If that man can run, swim and bike a triathlon while carrying, dragging and pushing his son, you can haul your happy butt down the highway for a few miles and be happy that God gave you the tools to do it and another day to try. So just shut up.” And I did. And you know what? I ran at lunch today and had the best run I’ve had in a month. If you need me, I’ll be right over here in the corner thanking the good Lord for all of my blessings and keeping my mouth shut. And if you’d like to read more about Team Hoyt and their trials and successes, you can check out their website. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fun Monday-Our Quirks

The lovely lisa marie is our hostess today. Here are her instructions.

A quirk is defined as a peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality; mannerism. We are all unique individuals, having quirks that help make us who we are. I would like to know what your quirks are. Confess to one, confess to ten, you decide.
Oh my. Where to begin? My friends tell me I’m a little quirky in general. And I can understand why. Just being a Parrot Head is qualification alone. Really, how many people wear shoes like this?
I was probably born in the wrong generation. I really was meant to be a hippie or so those same friends tell me. I’m all about peace, love, civil rights and 60’s rock ‘n roll. If I had been born fourteen years earlier I definitely would have been at Woodstock or Height in the summer of ’68. Living outside my own generation makes me somewhat quirky, but lisa marie is looking for specifics today, so here we go:

1. In general, I don’t like the foods on my plate to touch, but I love mixing mashed potatoes and corn into a big glob with salt, pepper and butter. I could eat a whole bowl of just potatoes and corn…mixed up…in fact, I’d like to have some right now.
2. My favorite breakfast drink is club soda doctored with those fruit flavored packets you add to bottled water. It has the taste of fruit juice and the fizz of soda. I love something really fizzy in the morning.
3. I’m one of the fourteen people in the United States who doesn’t own a coffee pot because I’d rather have something fizzy in the morning.
4. Sometimes I open a can of corn or green beans and eat them out of the can, unheated. Mushrooms, too.
5. While I’m not a picky eater, I’m always putting stipulations on the food I eat in restaurants. For example: I order unsweetened tea at McDonalds but I ask for it in the Styrofoam cup instead of the plastic cup. The plastic cup gets too sweaty. I often order sandwiches plain and dressings that aren’t meant for a particular salad. At Cracker Barrel I want the biscuit after the meal (as dessert) and always with strawberry jelly. If I go through a drive-thru and order a Coke but all they have is Pepsi products, I politely say “no thank you” and do without a beverage because there IS a difference.
6. I like to eat raw potatoes sprinkled with salt. Don’t ask me why. I don’t know why.
7. I’ve just realized that all of these bullet points are about food. What the heck?
8. I have one hip bone higher than the other.
9. For years my eyes were brown, then naturally they became somewhat green.
10. I can’t stand to smell raw chicken.
11. I can’t stand to touch the skin on raw chicken.
12. I can’t stand to put my hands in cold dishwater or dishwater that has floaties in it. Yak! I’m gagging right now just thinking about it.
13. My elbows are double jointed, allowing me to do gross tricks with my arms. It’s handy for freaking out drunken people at parties.
14. The lines in my left hand form a perfect star of David in the middle of my hand.
15. And the granddaddy of them all..(Insert eerie music here) sometimes I have premonitions, usually about something bad that’s going to happen. I hate it, and people look at me like I’m a freak when I admit this.

Wow. That list was a little longer than I expected, and I could have kept going. Hmm. Maybe my friends are right.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Haunting

Poltergeist: (from German poltern, meaning to rumble or make noise, and Geist, meaning "ghost", "spirit", or "embodiment") denotes a spirit or ghost that manifests itself by moving and influencing objects.

The Hula-gen’s have a ghost in their house, specifically, the bathroom. I’m sure of it. Otherwise, there is no explanation for this since NO ONE in the house seems to know how this happens on a regular basis.
This ghost must be the same spirit that left a towel on the bathroom floor Wednesday night, empty hangers on the shower door, a book in the floor, and an iPod stand and half empty bottle of club soda on the counter. Anyone know a good exorcist or should I wait and see if this poltergeist’s mischief tapers off in about three years?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Top Ten Ways to Know You're Hooked

I think there comes a time for most bloggers when we realize we are hooked on blogging. That’s it’s not just some little dalliance we can walk away from at any time despite our best efforts to pretend that it’s just a casual relationship, that the need for posting and affirmation from our blog buddies is an important part of our day. Perhaps it’s the day we notice our mood is based on the number of comments left on a post (27 comments? Oh, you love me. You really, really love me!) Or it dawns on you that your last three conversations with your brother were in your comments sections. Whatever the reason, there is a moment when you know that you are hooked. AND that those around you who don’t blog, don’t understand. If by some small chance you haven’t had that breakthrough moment, here area few clues to watch for. Brothers and sisters, I give you the top ten ways to tell if you’re addicted to blogging. (Insert music by the Paul Schaffer band here.)

10. A family member trips or does something horribly embarrassing and you can’t wait to get home and post about it.
9. A blog friend fails to post for a few days and you begin to get nervous that something bad has happened. You wonder if you should ship a broccoli casserole to his house in California.
8. You think the woman sitting next to you at a charity luncheon looks like boomama.
7. A friend needs advice on bra shopping and you say, “I know, we’ll ask Tootsie Farklepants!”…and your friend gives you that what the smell are you talking about look.
6. A friend asks if you want to grab a meal after work, and you say you can’t because you really want to get home and check your comments.
5. You see a traffic sign that would make a really funny post, and you curse yourself for not having your camera. In fact, you make a note to carry a disposable camera for just such emergencies.
4. You wonder if the steak you’re eating came from the Pioneer Woman’s ranch…which also makes you wonder who won today’s “Name That Photo” contest.
3. Your family asks what you want for Christmas and you tell them you want the Pioneer Woman’s PhotoShop Elements.
2. You see a friend you haven’t seen in months and realize you’re all caught up on each other’s lives because you’ve been reading each other’s blogs.
1. And finally….you reconsider whether or not that vacation will be worth it because you’ll be away from the internet for a WHOLE WEEK!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bible School Continued

Words you’re not surprised to hear from a preschooler: “I have to go potty.”
Words you’re glad to hear: “I don’t need any help. You can wait at the door.”
Words you’re surprised to hear: “I’m going to try to poop while I’m here.”
Words you know are coming but don’t want to hear: “Miss Hula, will you come wipe me?”
Words unspoken but relayed with a big hug instead: “Thank you.”

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bible School Rule #11 for Preschoolers

Little boys must go INSIDE the church to pee pee. Going outside on the playground is not acceptable. Going around to the back of the bus garage is not acceptable either. Cute...but not acceptable. Amen.

Fun Monday

The lovely lisa marie has graciously stepped up and offered to be our host for Fun Monday next week. She has a great topic already planned, so trot on over to her site and sign up!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The B-I-B-L-E

Many years ago when Teen Angel was on a traveling cheerleading squad (and let us please stop here to thank the good Lord that we’re not doing THAT anymore. Don’t get me started. That’s a whole other post.), we went to a competition in Chicago. As her squad, a pee wee group of rambunctious little girls, was about to take the floor, I overheard one of the workers say, “God bless those who work with youth.” He really meant it. His voice came drifting back to me last night while I was helping with bible school. Near the end of the evening as my energy flagged and I stumbled through another round of the hand jive, I looked into the exhausted faces of fellow adults who had wrangled kids for nearly three hours and thought to myself, “God bless ‘em.” And my next thought was, “Holy crap. We have four more nights of this.”

Bible school is great fun. I love working with the kids and trying to give them the same experience I had when I was a kid, but it’s like childbirth. Your mind has a way of blocking out how much work and energy it takes to pull it off until you get into the middle of it. I guess that selective memory loss is the Lord’s way of making sure we have enough volunteers for next year. Our church holds bible school at night, so you’d think the kids would be kind of tuckered out from a full day of activities before they arrive at the church. Not so, Kemo Sabe. They are rarin’ to go. The adults? Not so much. I’d give my right arm to have the energy these kids have at six o’clock in the evening. Our largest class this year is preschoolers, and there is only one girl in that class. It is one wiggling, squirming batch of boys, and they are so stinkin’ cute you almost can’t look at them. And boy, do they all make me laugh. There was the little boy who belly laughs at everything. The little girl who was so into our alien theme that she tried to convince us she had stepped on a space rock and could hardly walk. And a little boy whose pants kept falling down around his ankles. He wasn’t concerned about pulling them up. Every time we turned around someone was shouting, “Pants down!” We finally constructed a Jethro Bodine belt out of some twine we pulled from the decorating supplies and prayed he wouldn’t need to pee (or worse) before he went home. There were lots of smiling faces with milk and Kool-aid mustaches and sticky fingers from munching on asteroids (round Rice Krispie treats made with Fruity Pebbles). The space station lift-off (fog machine) was a big hit. We had only one injury accident that resulted in a bloody nose, and one non injury accident if you count Sissy’s butt in the air tumble over a traffic cone during space station tag. We’re off to a good start, and there’s more fun and frivolity planned for the rest of the week….if the adults can hold out. God bless the people who work with youth. They’re gonna need it.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fun Monday Clothes You Can't Part With

*Update: Thanks to all who opened up their closets and played along today. It was most fun. We still need a host for next week, so let me know asap if you're interested.

Welcome to this week's Fun Monday. It's my first time hosting, so if I screw this up please let me know so I can fix it. My assignment for you this week was to show us those pieces of clothing you just can't part with, whether you wear them or not. It might be your grandma's vintage wedding dress, a jacket from high school, a t-shirt from an old boyfriend or those jeans you hope to get back into some day. It could be anything. Most of us have something like that we can't seem to throw away. Here are my items and below that are the links for everyone participating in Fun Monday. If I've left someone out, give me a shout. Check out everyone's website and enjoy.......and thanks for participating! If anyone wants to host next week, please let me know.

I have several items I can't seem to get rid of. There's the old flannel shirt of my mom's that I took to college and curled up in when I had the flu and had to nurse myself back to health without my mama for the first time. There are several concert t-shirts, the oldest of which is an REO Speedwagon shirt from 1982, and there is a pair of jeans from college that once every few years I manage to squeeze back into...and then out of. I have a cameo ring my great aunt gave me before she died, and a rhinestone snowflake pin of my mom's that's about forty years old.

Most of the special items in my closet are things that mark a special time in my life. Like this t-shirt from high school. It's from my junior year before we moved into a new consolidated high school and thought resurrecting the pep club would be a fun thing to do. It was. Then there's this shirt I got in college when our intramural volleyball team won the championship title in the 1984-85 season.

I think it's special because it's the only time I ever really felt athletic. I also have these from college. I'll pause until you quit giggling.These are the tights from my pom pon squad outfit. Our mascot was a horse, so we had horseshoes on our bottom that flashed to the audience when our skirts twirled. I know. I know. I'll pause for more giggling. And can I just say I was a little dismayed when I cropped this picture and realized that I took it at such an angle as to make these little drawers look really big. They look like granny panties in this photo. Ack! This t-shirt was from the late 80's when I played on the softball team for the radio stations at which I worked.
(I'll be glad when I figure out out to use the blur tool on Photoshop.) It's from a time when I felt decidedly nonathletic. My number was 00 and that pretty much states my softball abilities. I had a great time though. We played a lot of games for charity. And finally, this collection wouldn't be complete without showing you my wedding dress. It's sealed in a special box that I can't open, so a picture will have to do. Remember, this was 1990 so prepare yourself for some big hair and a really big dress.
I told you it was big. I loved this dress....all 29,016 ruffles. I felt like a princess walking down the aisle, although it was terribly heavy. It seems pretty frou frou compared to today's dresses. I can't imagine Teen Angel wanting to wear it when she gets married, but I'm keeping it around just in case big ruffles come back in style.
That's all of my stuff today, so head on over to all these great websites and see what's in their closets!

6. faye
7. chrisb
9. beckie
12. olive
16. Jan
17. Grace
18. mia
20. nikki
22. karina
28. Rose
29. Swampy
34. min
35. sayre

Friday, June 20, 2008

Write That Down

Conversation over lunch today at Quiznos while watching a young child get unruly at another table.

Hubby: "I remember those days."
Hula: "Super Nanny would say that someone forgot to tell that child the expectations when she arrived."
Hubby: "What? Like stay seated and behave or I'll get your hind end?" Insert giggles.
Teen Angel: "You know. I'm not going to spank my children when I have kids."
Insert wild laughter from Hula and Hubby and choking on Roadhouse Sammie by Hula.
Teen Angel: "I won't."
Hula: "Maybe not. That's very noble but wait until you've tried everything, your kid still won't behave and you're at your wits end. You'll be surprised at what you resort to."
Teen Angel: "That won't happen to me."
Insert uncontrollable laughter from Hula and Hubby and slight wetting of pants by Hula.
Hula: "I'm just saying, don't make those kinds of statements and expect to live by all of them because people who don't have children eat a lot of crow after they have kids."
Teen Angel: "Well, I won't."
Insert exchange of knowing look between Hula and Hubby.
Hubby: "Let's get a pen and paper and start writing all of these things down and have her sign them so we can bring them up years from now."
Hula: "Oh, yeah. We're definitely writing this down."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Breakfast of a 43 Year Old Hula Girl

This must be the part where Hula discovers why people over forty talk a lot about their colon.
*Don't forget to sign up for Fun Monday below.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sand Script

Having blogged for just a little more than a year now, I am continually amazed at the connections I’ve made with people from all over the world via this webpage and how strong those connections can be. My circle of known readers isn’t very big, so I feel a kinship to each one of them, even though I’ve only met a couple of them. And it tickles me pink when a reader far off in blogland reaches out in friendship as if he were right next door. That’s what happened this week when I got a photo from Amy. Amy just got back from a dream vacation to the Mediterranean. I hope to make the same trip one day, but for now I’m living vicariously through her vacation posts. Before she left she mentioned that she wanted to write her name in the sand on the shores of Italy, and I jokingly told her to write my name in the sand, too. And lo and behold, look what I got in my mailbox Sunday.
Amy made sure I got to be on the shores of Sicily for a little while, so even if I never get there in person, I can say I’ve been there. How cool is that? And how sweet of her to take the time to do something special from someone she’s never laid eyes on. It speaks volumes about the kind of person she is…and about the marvelous way the internet shrinks the distance between shores. So thanks Amy. You’re a gem, even if you did eat a cannoli without me right after drawing in the sand.

The Next Fun Monday-Your Assignment

Okay folks, I’m hosting Fun Monday next week (June 23). I can’t wait because I used to be a journalist you know, and I love prying information out of people...and I’m really nosey….ridiculously nosey. After much thought and consideration I’ve come up with the following topic….clothing…specifically clothing you can’t get rid of. We all have at least one or two items of clothing that we can’t part with, even if we can’t or don’t wear them. I want to know about yours. Show us if you have pictures or describe it in detail. Model it for us if you dare. Nothing naughty please-we don’t want to see your backside (or your front side) in that thong you foolishly bought in Cancun on vacation. Is it your old FFA jacket from high school (which my husband has)? A Grateful Dead concert t-shirt from 1978? A shirt from an old lover or that size *&! pair of jeans you hope you get into again one day? Or maybe the really large pair of jeans you wore before you lost 100 pounds or your grandma’s vintage wedding dress. Dig around in your closets and find something you want to share with us Monday. I can’t wait to see and hear about your choices.

If you want to be a part of this little luau, please comment in this post, and I’ll add you to the guest list.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun Monday-Walls

This week's assignment is interesting. Our host, Jan, wants to know about our walls. Here are the instructions:

We all have walls of some sort. What I want to hear about and see, if you're going to show off your amazing photo skills, is what is on your walls, what color are your walls, what is special about them, what is your favorite or least favorite, is it inside or outside.

This one took a lot of thought because I don't have one wall that I just love more than any other. I like my walls. I just don't have one that stands out above the others. I try to make my home very comfortable, insulated from the stress outside, in order to be at peace when I'm at home. After surveying all the corners of my house, I finally decided that the thing I like most about my walls is the stuff that I hang on them, so that's what I'm going to show you. Let's take a quick tour of the stuff that the Hula-gen's surround themselves with. This picture hangs in my dining room near the french doors that lead to the deck.

It's in a sunny spot where we watch the birds and squirrels romp and the flowers in the yard bloom. This picture feels appropriate for this spot because the woman is gazing outdoors, which is what I do all the time in that very spot. In our bedroom is a print marking the 125th anniversary of the Great Steamboat Race which is an annual race between the Delta Queen and the Mississippi Queen steamboats.

This is a Norman Rockwell print, and I love Norman. In our hallway are three special photos. I like how the black and white tones jump from the beige walls. I'm all about clean lines. The first photo is of Teen Angel.It was taken last year on a vacation, and it's my favorite picture of her. She looks so natural and grown up in this picture. This picture is of my nephew and my brother-in-law. Both have passed away, so we wanted a special print of them hanging where we could see them every day. This was taken on a big family trip to Myrtle Beach one year. It was one of our best vacations ever, and this picture of Chance and David makes us smile and think about beach combing, swimming and lemon shake-ups. This picture is Hubby's favorite photo of me. He likes it on the walls. It was taken when I was in college and did some modeling for a photographer. That seems so long ago. Some days I think about having curls again. Then I come to my senses. This caricature of Teen Angel was my Father's Day present to Hubby several years ago.
It was done by a friend of mine who was a TV meteorologist by day and an artist by night. He captured Teen Angel's toddler spirit perfectly, and I would just crawl up in the fetal position and cry if I every lost this picture in a fire or some other disaster. Oh, and here's the last one. This one is just cute. It hangs on a bathroom wall, right over the potty and you can see why.

It's a print we found in an antique shop several years ago and made us laugh all the way home. I still laugh at it sometimes when I look at it.

There you go. A sample of Hula art. Now trot on over to Jan's and see who else is playing along today, and stop by here again this week for instructions for next's week's Fun Monday because I'm hosting then. Ha! Are you ready?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Daddy's Little Helper

Fathers and daughters. They are special relationships complicated by a dad’s desire to protect his little girl and a daughter’s desire to be independent. Growing up, my relationship with my dad was no different. I realize now though, that I was very lucky. My childhood was somewhat of a Beaver Cleaver existence compared to that of a lot of my peers. My growing up years were untouched by divorce, abuse, alcoholism and some of the troubles other kids faced. I always knew my parents loved each other and loved us. While money certainly didn’t fall out of our pockets, we had a nice home, plenty to eat and extras like vacations. I naively thought everyone else lived like I did. It took years for me to figure out that my life was more special than normal. As each day passes, I feel more and blessed to have such wonderful parents, especially a father who was a strong influence in my life.

I still think of myself as Daddy’s little girl and probably always will.
I’m the firstborn and only girl so I was his little buddy for five years before the rough and tumble boys came along. While I don’t have many memories of those early years, I do have sweet flashes of riding high on his shoulders or being lifted up onto something tall to be next to him.
I loved riding on his shoulders, holding onto his uplifted hands and seeing the world from a dizzying perch. Feeling adventurous, yet protected and special. I wish every child could know that feeling. He taught me many things in those early years. He brought home my first dog, taught me how to ride my first bike and showed me the value of hard work.

Daddy was busy, very busy when I was a kid. He worked swing shift and a lot of overtime to support three kids and a wife who worked in the home. He was also a shade tree mechanic, an air conditioning technician and a general handy man who fixed everything in our house that broke. He didn’t have a whole lot of time to play pitch and catch, so most of my favorite memories of time spent with my dad are of helping him with some kind of chore or fix-it project. Apparently, I started early. It appears I was in his business right from the beginning.

And I stayed there. I tagged along behind him while he winterized the old farmhouse we lived in for a few years, while he hung wallpaper, fed the dog, worked in the yard and fixed the car. I was daddy’s little helper. I handed him tools and held the light while he worked underneath the car and threatened to shove the emission control system up Ralph Nader’s backside. I signaled which headlights worked and which ones didn’t. I pumped the brakes. Lord, how I pumped the brakes. I pumped ‘til my little legs couldn’t pump any more, and still he would holler from underneath the car, “Keep pumping!” As I got bigger, the chores got harder. I learned how to mow and eventually ended up doing just about all of our mowing, until Super Cop got big enough to take it over, and I got a real job. When I was twelve I helped to drywall the house we built. I covered nail after nail with mud, standing on a ladder next to Daddy while he sang Get Up and Boogie along with the radio.

We did a lot of work together, me and Daddy. Well, he did most of the work and I helped, but I didn’t mind. It was time spent together, and that’s what counted. I never felt deprived that we didn’t get to play together much or that he missed a school program every now and then because of work. That’s just the way it was. I always understood Daddy was making a living and taking care of us, even when he wasn’t in the same room. He was a strong and sturdy presence…always. He still is. He’s always there when I need him, even though his little girl is nearly 44 years old now. In many ways I still feel like I’m riding on his shoulders and hanging onto his hands.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lucy Bell

Because I have no shame about stooping to use gratuitous puppy pictures to lure in readers let me show you the newest member of the Hula-gen's, Miss Lucy.This is Sissy's new puppy, and this little three pound ball of sass is so stinkin' cute we can't keep our hands off of her. We will likely rub her bald before she's three months old. See how tiny she is.We'll have her spoiled rotten in no time. Just like this one. Further proof that we are crazy dog people.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Crazy Eights

Well, I was chasing lightning bugs, but everyone else was playing tag, including Jan who slipped up behind me when I wasn’t expecting it and hit me with this meme. It’s just as well. I didn’t have a good idea for a post today so I'm happily playing along:


1. Freedom of speech
2. My family
3. Fitness
4. Books and reading (and putting books in the hands of children who can’t afford them)
5. Writing
6. Lifelong learning
7. Raising Teen Angel to be independent, confident and sure that she doesn’t have to rely on a man for her emotional or financial well being.
8. Music. I love all kinds of music and rarely go anywhere without my iPod or a radio.


1. See the Eiffel Tower
2. Lie on the floor of the Sistine Chapel and look at the ceiling
3. Own a convertible
4. Write a book
5. Run a marathon and finish
6. Own an English bulldog
7. Visit the small railroad town we lived in when I was very young and see our old home and hangouts.
8. Own a small home in the Caribbean


1. "Puddin"-It’s a substitution for any and all swear words that usually come to mind first
2. “This is NOT a democracy.”-Usually reserved for Teen Angel, although I have used it on at least two argumentative employees in the past.
3. “You know I hate a whiner.”-Again, usually used on Teen Angel when she’s playing the pity card.
4. “Hateful!”-Hubby and I use this with each other when one of us has slipped into a tone of voice that is not nice or respectful.
5. “Sucks to be you.”-I jokingly use this only on friends when they have to do something that is not fun.
6. “It is what it is.”-Used frequently on the rest of my family who tends to worry excessively about everything and tries to suck me into their fretting frenzy. I refuse to worry about things I cannot change. It doesn’t always work with these people.
7. “Don't have sex. Don't have sex. Don't have sex."-I like to throw that out to Teen Angel in random conversation, kind of like those subliminal messages slipped into advertising.
8. “Bless her heart”-that old southern phrase that is intended to soften the blow of the derogatory comment that is about to follow. For example: “Bless her heart. She’s really put on the weight.” There really isn’t any blessing behind it.

8 BOOKS I'VE READ LATELY: Heavens to Betsy (who is this Betsy, anyway?) I read so much I have trouble remembering what I’ve read. I always have a book handy. Here are a few I’ve read in recent months.

1. The Doctor’s Wife by Elizabeth Brundage-Excellent page turner.
2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. Very interesting but disappointing ending.
3. A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gains-Love the plot and the prose.
4. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards. Couldn’t put it down.
5. Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs-Fascinating but slightly repulsive at times.
6. Icy Sparks by Gwen Hyman-excellent read.
7. White Oleander by Janet Fitch-another great book. Heavy topic.
8. It Ain’t All About the Cookin’ by Paula Deen-Honest and colorful autobiography.


1. Steel Magnolias-Maybe my all time favorite.
2. Fried Green Tomatoes-Maybe my all time favorite.
3. Terms of Endearment-When I need a good cry.
4. A Trip to Bountiful-When I need another good cry.
5. All the President’s Men-Helped to inspire my interest in journalism a very long time ago. That and Jessica Savitch.
6. The Shawshank Redemption-Love the part where he plays opera over the sound system.
7. Animal House-When I was in college I got a bid to be a little sister for the animal house fraternity on campus. I passed but was flattered in a weird way.
8. The Rocky Horror Picture Show-In my younger days I spent a fair amount of time traveling around the Midwest in my RH costume dancing and throwing toilet paper in theaters. I portrayed Magenta with voyeuristic intention.

And now for the hard part, tagging 8 other people for this. I’m not good at tagging, so I’ll throw out some names and if you want to play along, okay. If not, I’ll understand. Okay, I’m closing my eyes, turning around and picking……

1. Cruise Mom
2. Amy
3. Heather
4. Pamela
5. Oreneta
6. Faye
7. ChrisB
8. Molly

Things That Make my Chest Tighten

Finally deciding to allow my fifteen year old daughter to attend a birthday party for her boyfriend (she's not allowed to date yet) and then hearing her say as we pull up to the party, "Now don't freak out when you see his mohawk mom." Oyvey.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fun Monday-Childhood Memory

This week's Fun Monday host is Molly, Molly, Miss Molly. She wants to hear about a happy childhood memory. This time of year my mind drifts to vacations and the time my brothers and I spent on the road seeing the countryside. This is a post I published last year, but since no one was reading my blog at the time, and since it seemed to fit today's challenge, I'm posting it again. I suspect many of you have had similar vacations.

Years ago, Chevy asked us to see the USA in a Chevrolet. I did. Well, at least a little corner of it. Around ’78 or ’79 Baby Ruth and Zeek bought a Chevy Chevette. It was one of those small compact cars built more for energy efficiency than for comfort. Since Zeek is as tight as the bark on a tree (love you daddy), I’m sure the choice had more to do with the cost of the car than his concern over the energy crisis. That little Chevette could barely hold three kids and two adults. A trip to the IGA required Baby Ruth to mediate several rounds of “he’s on my side” and “she’s touching me”. Our first line of defense was to offer up Handy Man baby brother as the recipient of the token swat from mom’s left arm around the seat. Poor guy. We were always pushing him into the line of fire. If that didn’t work, Baby Ruth usually ended up drawing imaginary lines on the seat with the threat of pulling over and spanking any border jumpers. If she was in a particularly generous mood, she just threatened not to buy us bottles of Crush from the grocery store vending machine. (It was still a glass bottle back then.)

We didn’t let the size of our car squash our desire for summer vacation. We packed it full of luggage and hit the open road. We drove 350 miles to the Smoky Mountains and back in that Chevette. The hatchback was so full of luggage and bologna that Zeek couldn’t see out of the rearview mirror, and spent the whole trip hanging his head out the window hollering, “Is it clear?”, when backing up. Those little four cylinders chugged us up and down the mountains for a week, moving us from pancake house to pancake house. I remember having to turn off the air conditioner while going up the mountains, so the car wouldn’t die. Looking back, it seems we must have been pretty optimistic folks to assume we could travel that far with so little power and even less room and still have a good time. We did, though.

I had lots of good times in that car. I inherited the Chevette a few years later when I got my driver’s license. I circled the Sonic drive-in more times than Britney Spears has shown her belly button. How many teenaged girls does a Chevette hold? Six, if they’re skinny and somebody sits on the hump. I even took that car to college. I didn’t replace it until I had graduated from college and been on my own for about a year. When I finally traded it in, I skidded into the dealership on two break pads, four bald tires and a bad alternator. The dealer gave me $500 on the trade-in, and I felt lucky to get it. He immediately hauled it off to the salvage yard. I had literally run the wheels off that car.

I can’t say I miss squeezing into the Chevette, but it does bring back good memories. The ironic thing is that I now drive a van that seats seven people but usually carries only three. However, just to show that some things never change, whenever Mama J. and Papa T. ride with us, we argue over the seats. Orange Crush anyone?

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday 40 Words or Less Challenge

Dementia: Steadily growing and wrapping itself around my loved one's mind, strangling his ability to think, reason and fully love. Is this what it feels like inside his head?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Welcome Back

The temperature is supposed to be 91 degrees all week long, and I sweated like a hooker in Sunday school when I ran at lunch yesterday. Glory Hallelujah brothers and sisters! Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last from winter’s grip! My old friend summer is back, and I couldn’t be happier. Of course, the first official day of summer is still a few weeks away, but in Kentucky we go right from winter to sticky, humid days. I can break out the flip flops and do the dance of humidity because hot weather is here to stay for the next few months. Can I get an “Amen” for the sunshine, someone?

Summer reminds me of that old lover who was exciting but couldn’t commit and was hard to let go of. You know, the kind that regularly disappears abruptly when things get too good and then slips back into your life a few months later, knowing you’ll take him back because you can’t resist. A charming, elusive lover.

I haven’t enjoyed winter since, oh 1967.

Forgive the poor quality of this photo, but it’s the last official record of me having a good time in snow. Winter could pass me by, and I wouldn’t miss it. The coats, the boots, the chilly winds and dreary days. Give me sun, sun, sun. I’m like a lizard, the hotter it is, the happier I am. I truly am a summer baby. I was born in the middle of July, leaving mama to sweat and swell like a fat man stuck in a Yugo. Every year on my birthday she talks about how miserable she was the day she pushed me into this world. And how she ate six ears of corn and two tomatoes before she went to the hospital. It was hot, really hot the summer I was born. Perhaps that why I like the heat. However, I suspect it has more to do with the fact that some of my best childhood memories revolve around summer.
Stepping outside and smelling freshly mown grass brings those memories rushing back. Memories of climbing off the bus on the last day of school and running into summer vacation with outstretched arms. Memories of riding my bicycle along country roads for hours with the crunch of gravel under my tires and the smell of hayfields in my nose. Of running from the neighbor’s ornery bull who stepped over fences like King Kong. Of bicycle wrecks and skinned up knees and elbows. Memories of sunbathing on a towel to the jangle of my little AM radio while slathering on baby oil and QT tanning lotion. Of picking peaches at the orchard and helping mama to can and freeze green beans and tomatoes. Of picking blackberries and clawing at chigger bites for days afterward. Of playing Batman with my brothers and riding in the back of daddy’s blue pick up truck. Memories of tagging along with daddy to the old feed store where they sold ring bologna sandwiches and Orange Crush and hosted some wicked card games. Memories of chasing lightning bugs after dark and waving sparklers under a July moon until they burned my fingers.

There were picnics at the park, mischief with my Indiana cousin, pink birthday cakes, homemade ice cream, fish fries and cherry popsicles. Cut-off shorts, pony tails and bare feet. Brown shoulders, burned cheeks and dusty feet. Tube tops, tank tops, pop tops and Pop Tarts. And mowing. Lots of mowing. Mowing grandma’s yard with the crank start push mower and mowing our yard with the riding mower with the handlebar that came off in daddy’s hands while chugging across the yard one day. There were also the hours spent trying on clothes to be put in lay away for the next school year.

I love those memories. They sweetly wrap around my mind like overgrown honeysuckle in full bloom. They follow me during the summer months and warm my heart while the sun warms my face. I am smiling today because it’s the time of year when I trade my winter coat for a jacket of sunny memories that I wear daily. It makes me feel good, reeeeaaaal good. Welcome back, lover. I’ve missed you.

Say What?

Something has happened to Mama J.'s spelling abilities. She has developed some sort of dyslexic myopic spelling disorder that causes her to misspell words..and leave us smiling when we pick up her grocery list before heading out to the store each week. In the last few weeks, these items have turned up on her lists:

Frosted Flakers-"Frosted Flakes"
And the best yet...straight penis-straight pins

Really, does a woman her age need to be sewing?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Fun Monday-Something I Have Made

This week's Fun Monday host is Karisma. She wants to see or hear about something we've made. I just didn't know where to begin on this one. You see, I feel best when I'm trying to create something. It's why I write. I'm definitely the artsy, colorful creative type as opposed to the symmetrical, organized mechanical kind of person. I could never be an engineer, but I could sure be happy writing stories or taking pictures for a living. Of course, I would first need to greatly improve my photography skills.

I dabble in a little bit of everything, and I'm no pro at any of it. I love art and have taken several art classes over the course of my 43 years. I love watercolors and oil paints but don't have time to do either one these days. Therefore, my work would not be too good, I'm afraid. In college I discovered ceramics. Not the pick out a teapot, paint it and fire it kind of ceramics. I'm talking about the true art of ceramics where you take a lump of clay, kneed it, throw it on a wheel and use your hands and various tools to mold it into something cool. I took the ceramics class because I needed three extra credit hours of anything, and it sounded fun. I took to it like a duck to water, working my way up to porcelain, which is slick as snot when you're trying to keep it under control on the wheel. My niche was small, delicate finger bowls. I have several but couldn't find them to photograph. They are boxed up in the attic, I think. One day when I'm retired and have a little more space, I'd like to have an art studio in my home to pilfer with clay and paints. I also hope to go back into community theater when Teen Angel goes off to college. Theater was my minor in college, and I really miss it.

I love to bake and create all kinds of cakes and pies and goodies. I learned the art of canning from my mother years ago and annually make jams and jellies from the grapes that grow in my backyard and other fruits I get from the farmer's market. Here are a couple of ribbons I won at the fair two years ago for my peach and plum jellies. It's amazing how happy a blue ribbon can make you...even when you're older than twelve.

I could also be happy baking decadent desserts and decorating cakes for a living. I would love to have my own pastry shop.
One area that I would love to excel at but don't is sewing. I'm just not good at it. I can mend, hem and baste a little, but patching is about the limit of my sewing abilities. I tried making a shirt from scratch when I was about sixteen, and it came out with one arm bigger than the other. I have made a basic skirt that was wearable, but it wasn't nearly as tailored as it should have been, and I never wore it much. That's why I was so proud of this curtain.

I designed it and sewed it from scratch without a pattern a couple of years ago when I couldn't find a curtain I liked for my dressing room. I've decided I can use the sewing machine as long as I stick to curtains and other straight stitch items such as table runners and placemats.

That's about the extent of my creativity. Now hop on over to Karisma's and see who else is playing along today.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Putting on the Brakes

Whew! Somebody stop for world for a little while and let me off. I need a little break from this whirlwind I'm on. I have so much catching up to do.

-Sissy and I haven't decided whether to call each other Thelma and Louis or Bill and Ted 'cause we certainly had an excellent adventure. The road trip to see Eric Clapton concert was full of surprises, including the F-2 tornado that rolled through town in the midst of the concert...and that not so brief detour we accidentally took on the way home because we were flapping our gums and missed our exit. Full details and pictures are coming soon.

-I'm becoming more and more aware of how young I am NOT, especially after this road trip. I'm scientific proof it's possible to have a hangover without drinking.

-The golf cart is much closer to completion. The paint job and pimpin' wheels are pretty slick. The new motor has yet to be installed, and recovering the seat is next on the list of things to do. You're going to be surprised when you see it.

-I came home last night to find that my new Margaritaville flip-flops had arrived in the mail. The ones with the hula girls on them. Sweet!

-After a week of rain delays we finally got the cover off of the pool and dumped in some chemicals. Yea!

-And it occurred to me I have a race coming up in two weeks that I haven't really begun preparing for. Yikes! I gotta get my slacker butt out on the road this week and get to running...a lot.

-Teen Angel starts her summer job tomorrow. Can I get an "Amen sister" for having a motivated teenager who wants to work all she can? Maybe I'm not a complete failure at this parenting thing after all.

I'm sorry. Is that a blanket and pillow calling my name?