Saturday, August 30, 2008

Freeze Frame

You know, a surprise is around every corner when you have teenagers. Whenever I start downloading pictures from the camera I often find myself picturing Forrest Gump and his box of chocolates because ya' just never know what you're gonna' get. I expect the Washington Monument, I get this.Or street shots from Washington, D.C. and I find this.
How about that baby giraffe at the zoo? Nope. Just this.
That beautiful view from the patio of our rental house in Florida?
Or a family picture from our shopping trip to Nashville?
And I'm really not sure where this came from.The mind of a fifteen year old is a vacation destination of its own.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I love it when I open up Outlook the first thing in the morning and

have to dash to the bathroom to check and see if I'm wearing "good" underwear because my calendar says this:

11:45am-appointment at gynocologist/followed by mammogram

Note to self: Throw away panties with the rip in the waisteband, soak white bra in bleach and replace that six year old slip.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Name That Tune

My soul sister Debbie, who resides in that exotic part of the world I like to call Japan, posted a meme the other day featuring her iPod, and I thought it was a hoot, so I tried it. It was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. It essentially works like this:

1. Open your music library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod, whatever)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question below, type the song that’s playing
5. New question — press the next button
6. Don’t lie and try to pretend you’re cool

Some of my songs seemed to fit perfectly, and my responses are below, but first I feel compelled to talk about the iPod. Do you mind? Of course not. That’s what I love about you dear readers, you politely listen while I ramble at length about nothing in particular, and you come back the next day for more. You do come back, don’t you? Hello? Anyone home? Whew. For a moment I thought I had lost you.

I love my iPod. Really, I do. The Pod and I have a great relationship. My iPod not a big fancy one like Teen Angel’s. Mine’s just a Nano, but I carry it around as much as Teen Angel carries hers. It goes everywhere with me, all 826 songs. (It will hold 1000.) I can have a large portion of my music collection at my fingertips at all times. I use it in the car instead of the radio. I wear it while I’m running, and I play it in the docking station on my desk at work. I have to resist the urge to turn down the docking station, though. It’s not really professional to blast D*** I Wish I Was Your Lover or Push It throughout the administration wing. I love that I can create playlists that are tailored to my runs. David Crowder’s version of I Saw The Light ALWAYS makes me go faster. I can customize the music for my aerobics class, and keep Christmas music in there so I can pull up Wynona’s version of Mary Did You Know in the middle of August. I think one of the reasons I like it best is that it puts great memories at my fingertips. If I’m feeling nostalgic I can spin the wheel, pull up a little Rod Stewart and suddenly I’m in eighth grade dishing with my best buddy E. all over again. I can play Eric Clapton’s Cocaine and be reminded of senior prom..circa 1982. Happy Together by the Turtles takes me back to cruising with friends around town, and Vangelis’ version of Hymne has me walking down the aisle to my groom again just like in 1990. That little black gizmo has the power to make me laugh, make me cry and make me smile, all in one playlist. It’s a hormonal woman’s dream.

My iPod has an eclectic mix of songs, hence some of the answers below. I love all kinds of music which is why inside my iPod Amy Grant resides next to Amy Winehouse. Iggy Pop’s Real Wild Child is next to the theme from The Color Purple, and the Reverend James Cleveland’s Get Right Church (also good to run to) sits beside Rick James’ Super Freak. Sorry, Reverend James, but my preacher says you gotta go where the sinners are to reach them. Not that I’m trying to justify some of the nasty songs on my little jukebox or anything. My playlists run the gamut from Running #1, #2 and #3 to Slow Favorites, Treadmill #1,#2,#3,#4, Favorite Oldies and Sizzling Hits. What’s on Sizzling Hits, you ask? Hmm, you’re a nosey bunch today, aren’t you? It includes Let’s Get It On, Do You Want to Touch Me and You Shook me All Night Long among others. Hey, you asked.

I wasn’t much of a shuffle song girl until recently. Since I’m a bit of a control freak I tend to rely on the playlists and specific song selections. However, lately I’ve started to walk on the wild side and choose the shuffle option more. I’ve grown to appreciate the shuffle feature, especially when I run because each song is a surprise, like when I listen to the radio, only better, because I like ALL of these songs and there are no commercials. They say you can tell a lot about a person by what he puts in his grocery cart. You can probably say the same about the songs in a person’s music collection. Woe is the person who tries to discern my personality based solely on my iPod. He’s likely to wonder what hippie drinks margaritas and praises Jesus while dancing the Time Warp to Christmas music in a grass skirt. Well, as Popeye says, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam”. Now on with the show.

Opening credits: Do You Hear What I Hear, Whitney Houston
First day at school: Boat Drinks, Jimmy Buffett
Falling in love: When the Heartache Ends-Rob Thomas.
Breaking up: Lord, I Lift Your Name on High-Sonic Flood. Who hasn’t prayed over a break up?
Prom: Margaritaville-Jimmy Buffett
Life’s Okay: Tube Snake Boogie-ZZ Top. Woops! How did that get in there?
Mental breakdown: Paint it Black-Rolling Stones. How appropriate!
Driving: Old Hippie-Bellamy Brothers
Flashback: Free Bird-Lynyrd Skynyrd
Getting back together: The Sunshine of Love-Louis Armstrong
Wedding: 3am-Matchbox Twenty
Divorce: Missing You-Rod Stewart
Current Mood: Hot Patootie Bless my Soul-Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack
Final battle: How Far We’ve Come-Matchbox Twenty
Death scene: Long Day-Matchbox Twenty
End credits: Peace of Mind-Neil Young

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Break My Fall

I sailed through Walgreen’s last Sunday looking for some Chloraseptic for Sissy, turned the corner and came to a sudden halt. “That is NOT a Halloween costume, is it,” I barked to the shopper with the bad haircut. “Uh, yes,” she said, eying me warily. “Pfft! Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous,” I mouthed. Deflated, I turned and headed toward the cold and flu aisle feeling fifty pounds heavier. I can’t believe it. It’s gonna happen again, isn’t it? Summer is going to end.

It started about two weeks ago. I stepped outside and caught that telltale whiff in the air, that smell of drying leaves preparing to drop from the trees. It was barely noticeable, but it was there. Sure enough, two days later the walnut tree started hurling its little leaves into the pool, beginning their annual August battle with the filter. Pretty soon other signs quietly started popping everywhere, slipping up on me like snakes in the grass. A few fall items replaced school supplies in the seasonal aisle at Wal-Mart. High school football scrimmages started last weekend. I bumped into a short stack of Halloween candy at the grocery store, and a buzz through Sam’s Wholesale Club yesterday brought me face to face with an inflatable vampire dancing to the music from Halloween. Fall is on its way, and is rushing in ahead of its time. Well, I have just one thing to say about that, “Wait, just a dadgum minute! I have 26 more days of summer, buster. 26! And I’m going to savor every last one of them. Take your cool weather, chili lovin’ self right back where you came from and stay there until September 22nd. Don’t come back a minute sooner! I mean it. Don’t make me stop this car ‘cause it won’t be pretty!”

I know most folks love it when fall rolls around. They like the relief from the summer heat. The leaves are pretty, and high school sports kick in again. They’re energized by the change in seasons. I’m not one of those folks. I mourn summer’s passing. I hate turning loose of the flip flops and shorts…and the sun, glorious sun. Fall means jackets and jeans, rain, less daylight and the promise of winter gloom. No more burning heat on my face. No more barefoot walks in the yard. No more long days that give way to lightning bugs and hummingbirds. No more watermelon or homegrown tomatoes. No more roller coaster rides or days by the pool. No more ice cream cones in the shade or Jimmy Buffett concerts. Gone. All gone. For another year. Another long year. Eight months of having to wear a coat or at least planning ahead before going outside. Eight months of unpredictable weather and gray skies. Eight stinkin’ months. Sigh. Oh, I’ll get through it. I always do, even though it gets tougher each year. I’ll manage somehow. I always do. Don’t worry about me. Go ahead you autumn lovers. Live it up, but not for 26 more days. Those days are mine, dang it, and I’m going to enjoy every last one of them. I will swim as much as possible, eat all the tomatoes I can stuff down my throat and sweat my fanny off in the heat. I will hold my head high and forge past your Halloween displays and leaf covered tablecloths in my flip flops and tank tops, right to the summer clearance bins where I can stock up on $2 beach towels and $1 sandals…for next year. Hrump! Take that, autumn!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Word of The Day: Manners


Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English manere, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *manuaria, from Latin, feminine of manuarius of the hand, from manus hand — more at manual

Date: 12th century

1. The socially correct way of acting; etiquette.
2. The prevailing customs, social conduct, and norms of a specific society, period, or group, especially as the subject of a literary work.


Squeezing open sixteen ketchup packets for your fries while allowing your husband to take the container of ketchup you spent ten minutes getting by pumping the nearly empty dispenser like a pioneer at the well.

Smiling and making conversation in line at Wendy’s with the mentally disabled man you’ve never met before after he shows you all of the change in his pocket and then steps waaay into your personal space and gives you a big hug.

Sweetly saying, “Excuse me, please. May I pass?” to the two cranky women blocking the aisle in Wal-Mart instead of hollering, “Hey, could you move your a**. You’re mucking up the works!” when they give you a dirty look and move only a couple of inches.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fun Monday-Trivia

Mamadrama is hosting Fun Monday this week, and here's what she wants to know:

What funny trivial fact do you remember that you probably should have forgotten a long time ago?

Hmm. Her example was about President Garfield. Well, here’s the thing. I’ve been thinking about this for several days now, and I’m stumped. I just can’t remember one useless bit of trivia from way back then that I probably should have forgotten by now. Not one thing. Not even some little tidbit about Ben Franklin or the preamble to The Constitution. I swear I didn’t sleep through grade school history class. I ALWAYS paid attention. Well, there WAS that time in sixth grade when Ramona and I were tossing paper wads back and forth during math class and Mrs. Korte called on me for an answer and I guessed wildly and got it right even though I didn’t have a clue what we were talking about. Good thing, too because Mrs. Korte was permanently cranky. She used to get stuck in her chair because her butt was too big for the seat, and she picked her nose and flicked boogers at us kids. Woe was the person who had to sit on the front row. I am NOT making that up. Hand to God. And truthfully, I’m not really sorry I just told that. See, Mrs. Korte? You should be nice to people so they don’t grow up and tell your secrets to the whole World Wide Web.

I was a good student, but I’ve just drawn a blank when it comes to that kind of trivia. What DO I remember? Plenty of other useless things like Eddie B’s favorite song in the whole wide world in 8th grade was The Eagles’ Take it to The Limit, and that his little sister’s name was Tina. I remember the new girl in 7th grade had a denim smock top with cherries and the words Play That Funky Music embroidered on it and that Kim E. won a first place ribbon at district band contest for her clarinet solo…and I got a second place ribbon. How about the fact that Felicia L. could do a flip without her hands? She’s the one who stabbed me in the chest with a pencil in fourth grade leaving me to forever fear that that piece of lead will travel to my heart one day and kill me. Or that Mrs. Quint had these gold sandals with fake multicolored jewels on them that she wore every day during warm weather? Or that Kit O. always brought Pringles in his lunch. I remember that Mike A. loved the song Lay Down Sally when we were in 8th grade and sang it in study hall. Boy, was he an ass! How could I forget that Lisa M.’s mom frosted Lisa’s hair in fourth grade? Whew! Glad MY mom wasn’t going to beauty school and needed someone to practice on. I remember that Joy G. had a Barbie RV at her house and that my fourth grade teacher called his youngest daughter “Tater”. I remember ALL of those things, but not one single iota of academic trivia from way back then.

Oooh! Wait! I think I’ve got something. Hang on, it’s coming. Dum da dee deed um. Oh yeah, here we go. How about this little nugget? The colors of the spectrum from Mrs. Bremer’s seventh grade science class (she was the one who gave us girls the menstruation speech in fifth grade). ROY G. BIV….red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Ha! See. I told you I paid attention. Well, except for that time in fifth grade when Lisa M. and I were supposed to be looking up vocabulary words but got caught hiding behind the library cart ogling over that Spidel ID bracelet she got from her boyfriend.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday's 40 Word Challenge-Rawhide

Here's my answer to Robin's 40 Word Photo Challenge this week. You know the tune. Everybody sing along. (Get it? Raw-hide?)
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’

Keep movin', movin', movin',

Though mom’s a disapprovin',
Keep them wheels a movin' Rawhide!
Don't try to two hand stand 'em,
Just jump and turn and land 'em,
Soon you'll be flyin’ high and wide.
Your knee’s anticipatin'
‘Cause Band Aids will be waitin', be waiting at the end of your ride.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Out of The Mouths of Babes, Specifically Preschoolers

Overheard at activities for children at our church…

During an assembly:
“Tommy, your class is really sitting still and being good listeners.”
“Well, as Miss C. says if your butt’s in the pew the words are few.”

During a performance by Teen Angel dressed as Mary:
“What’s a virgin?”

During a discussion of Adam and Eve after the word “naked” was used:
“My mommy says I can’t pee outside anymore because my penis will get sunburned.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reality TV

This is the part where you roll your eyes and go, “She is NOT going to talk about the Olympics AGAIN, is she?” Oh, yes I am. Sorry, but I feel compelled to explain my preoccupation with the games. It’s not ALL about Michael Phelps’ physique. Really. No, really. After all, I’m old enough to be his mother. Did I just admit that? Oooh, strike that from the record.

Normally, I watch no organized sports on TV. Neither does Hubby. It’s one of the reasons I married him. No football on Monday nights. No basketball on the weekends. He’d rather watch a good western. I can’t stand to watch sports on TV. It bores me silly. Watching live sports is another thing entirely, especially if my child or someone else’s child is playing, then I’m the world’s best fan. Professional sports? Pffffft. Too perfect. Too money driven. The Olympics though, are different. Much different. I’m glued to every event. I’ll watch for hours. Running, diving, gymnastics, ice skating, hockey, even curling. I’ll watch it all and love every minute of it. Why are the Olympics different? As they used to say in the opening of Wide World of Sports it’s the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. It’s the drama, the soap opera behind every event, the people stories that make each and every broadcast the best reality TV ever. I’m fascinated with the stories behind the faces of these athletes that train long and hard for four years to put everything on the line for a brief moment of glory and the chance to represent their country. Ordinary people with extraordinary skills, most of whom will never make millions no matter how well they do at these games. They make me laugh. They make me cry. Most of all, they make me proud, not matter from what country they hail. I’ve followed it all, riding a roller coaster of emotions. Like when Michael’s fingertip eeked out that seventh gold medal and his poor mama about died of a heart attack in the stands.
Did you know she's a middle school principal and bought her Olympic wardrobe at Chico's? That's the kind of thing you learn when you read Access Hollywood's website.Or when Nastia won the gold after the head judge jerked a knot in the tails of those other gymnastics judges for their lopsided scores for the Chinese team.
I think it’s sweet the way her mama can’t stand to be inside the arena when Nastia’s performing because she’s so nervous. I think I’d be the same way.

How about when “Lightning” Bolt slid across the finish line in the 100 meter sprint like he was sauntering to a church social? Man! I could watch him run all day. Those Jamaicans are fabulosa! And I’m sorry Bernard, but you were just overconfident. Your head was not in the game. While we’re on the Americans, Walter Dix, can you focus a little more on your speaking skills when you get done with these games? They really need polishing. Being an athlete is no excuse for poor speech.

Oh, LoLo I cried with you under the stadium after you tripped on that hurdle and your medal dreams went flying out from under you. Bless your heart. But if it means anything, your hair is holding up great, honey. And please, please tell me what skin care products you use to keep that beautiful complexion.
Sanya, I know you lost your steam at the end and came up short, but that’s because you gave it everything you had, girl. You should be proud of that. And that engagement ring? Gooorgeous.
You know, I held back the tears, Shawn Johnson, as the national anthem started, but when the commentators told me your parents had mortgaged their house more than once to finance your training, well that just put me under. I think Hubby even got choked up on that one, even though he pretended like he didn’t. There are many more events to come, and each one will hold its own share of drama. I’ll be right there for it all, but in the meantime, will someone please explain this to me, ‘cause I’m going to have a hard time cheering for these guys while turning my head.

*Photos from

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Really Random

Random thoughts so far this week:

My feet are lookin’ pretty old. Yet, somehow I don’t care.

If you’re gonna get a tattoo, wait until you saved enough money to get a good one that doesn’t look like an inmate at the local jail did it with some food dye and an old ink pen. That way middle aged women like me don’t stare at your arm while waiting for you to sack their groceries at the Piggly Wiggly.


Built up stress can cause you to laugh uncontrollably at your teenaged daughter’s fart humor.

Speaking of…apparently canned ravioli gives me gas.

The Do Not Disturb button on the phone should be renamed the Mother-In-Law button. That makes way more sense when the phone rings at 10:05pm for the fourth time in thirty minutes.

I did not see Halloween costumes at Walgreens Sunday. Oh, no I didn’t.

I did NOT need a jacket on my way to work yesterday. Oh, no I didn’t.

Apparently, my creativity is directly linked to how late I stay up at night. When do these Olympics end?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Amen, Sister, Amen

"Don't put an age limit on your dreams."

Dana Torres, 41 year old Olympic silver medalist swimmer
August 16, 2008
For all of us middle aged women and men out there, thank you Dana for reminding us to keep our dreams alive. Thank you, VERY much.
*Photo from

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Fun Monday-Question

This week's Fun Monday hostess with the mostess is lisaschaos and she's given us the following assignment:
What is one thing you would like to ask your readers? Come up with a question to pose to your visitors and throw it out there on Monday. As we’re all visiting each other’s Fun Monday posts we should answer the various questions we come across.
OR Show&Tell me about a bird, I’m easily made happy.

Well, since I didn't have a camera handy when those three hummingbirds were flitting all around the walnut tree by our deck yesterday, I'll have to settle for a question for you, dear readers. And since I can't get to bed at a decent time these days because of the Olympics, and because Michael Phelps and Dana Torres and Nastia Luekin have me leaping off the sofa every night with fists a pumpin' my question for you is a nod to the Olympics and awards. Tell me briefly the one award you've won in your lifetime that means the most to you. Is it that participation medal you got during the 4th grade spelling bee, the team trophy you won while playing football your senior year or a grand prize ribbon for your grape jelly at the county fair? What recognition, big or small, made you feel like a world class champion?

Now, it wouldn't be fair to ask you that question without answering it. The prize that means the most to me is a small trophy I won last year during my first 5k race. I felt very out of place that day, like I didn't belong with all of those other runners. My goal that day was just to finish, and even though I was proud that I did, I was frustrated at how slow I was compared to everyone else, especially some folks in their sixties and seventies. I didn't stay for the awards ceremony because I had to get home and give Papa T. some medicine. I was shocked when a fellow church member (and runner) called me later to tell me that I had won third place in my age category, and she had picked up my trophy for me. There were only nine folks in my age category that day, so I knew it was all kind of relative. However, that little trophy made me feel ten feet tall, and it motivated me to keep trying and to work harder to be better the next time. Last month, I had my best race time ever (still pretty slow)and won second place in my age category on a day when the field was much heavier. I was pleased with that win, and that trophy was bigger than the one I won last year, but it still doesn't mean quite as much as that first one. Now, hop on over to Lisa's and see what everybody else wants to know today, too.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Word of The Day

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, probably from blusshen
Date: 14th century

Definition: a reddening of the face especially from shame, modesty, or confusion

Example: Sitting in the hairdresser's chair waiting for the San Tropez color to set and watching clips of Michael Phelps on TV, suddenly realizing I'm singing out loud, "Coo coo ka choo, Mrs. Robinson".

Lord help me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday

Dear Chance,
Happy Birthday! Sorry this is a few days late, but I promised myself I wouldn’t write this until I could do it without tears, and it took me a few days to work up the strength to do that. I miss you Chancer. You would have been 21 years old this year. Wow. Where did the last eight years go? It doesn’t seem like that long since you left us.

We celebrated your birthday Saturday. We dug out the old Elvis CD and played In The Ghetto a few times. Remember how you had an odd fascination with that song when you were little? Teen Angel and her best bud dressed up in goofy clothes and rode around the neighborhood in the golf cart making the neighbors laugh. It was their way of celebrating your love of fun. Teen Angel misses you terribly, you know. She thinks of you often and surrounds herself with pictures of the two of you when she used to tag along after you all the time. You had some good times together, didn’t you? I’ll bet the two of you ate a truckload of watermelon during those summers you used to stay with us. She hasn’t forgotten you, and neither have we. We think of you daily and come across reminders of you all over our house. There’s the drain spout you ran over with the lawn mower, and your name scratched in the concrete pad for the pool pump. A couple of years ago I finally picked up that toy you left behind the quilt rack in the guest bedroom. I couldn’t bear to move it all those years but finally had to when we remodeled that room. We always think about you when the fair rolls through town, and laugh about how much money you conned out of Hubby for carnival games all those years.

I wonder what you would have been like at 21. You would have been a junior or senior in college this fall, and I can’t imagine what you would have majored in. Robotics? Engineering of some sort, I suppose. Something that involved taking things apart and putting them back together in an imaginative way. Or maybe something to do with music. Who knows? Your potential was great. I miss that imagination of yours. I especially miss seeing you sit at our dining table stuffing your face full of roast and potatoes and talking about your day. You were a special light in our lives, and I regret that we won’t get to see you as an adult or watch you walk down the aisle for a diploma or a bride . I know you would have been a handsome man. I try really hard not to cry about that, though. I try to always remember you with smiles because I think that’s what you would have wanted. I also remember you with pride, pride that your heart was too big to let go of your drowning friend on that rainy September day and pride for the compassionate young man you had already become.

So on your 21st birthday, I want you to know that your life may have been a short thirteen years, but it had purpose. It changed me for sure. The day I came home from your funeral I knew life would never be the same for me. I realized life is sometimes too short to sit on the sidelines or never take risks. I starting riding roller coasters, riding zip lines and making career moves. I think of you whenever I step out of my comfort zone. You were on my mind when Teen Angel and I went flying down that first drop on that roller coaster last weekend. I don’t want to ever forget the lesson I learned from your death.

I have to go. Things are busy as usual around here, and I have a dozen chores to get done. Take care, and if you have any pull with the Big Guy, you might send a blessing our way. Your mom is going through a rough patch right now. She misses you terribly. Your grandma and granddaddy’s health isn’t so hot. The hole your death left in their hearts is slow to heal. I know you’re always with us, but sometimes it’s hard for them to remember that. They could use a little sign, if you know what I mean. I feel you, though. I feel you all around me, and I take great comfort in that. I like knowing I have a guardian angel, especially one with a sense of humor and a love of fun. Be good and put in a word with the Great One for me. I may need it after that slumber party this past weekend.

Love and kisses,
Aunt Hula

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Everyone In The Pool!

Have you met my new husband? Well, we haven’t ACTUALLY tied the knot yet, and there’s that matter of ACTUALLY meeting each other and him ACTUALLY overlooking our twenty year age difference, but I’m sure we’ll work through all that just as soon as he gets back to the states. Whew! I’ve never been so interested in swimming in all my life. That Michael Phelps is hot, hot, hot.

He’s my Olympic crush this year. I have one each Olympics. It started back in1980 with Big Jim. His picture stayed on my high school locker for months.

Twenty- eight years later it’s Michael. Oh, a couple of guys on the gymnastics team came close, like that Alexander What’s-His-Name and I’m sure there’s a runner or two that will catch my eye next week when track and field kicks in, but Mr. Phelps runs rings (wink, wink) around those guys. Speaking of rings have you noticed that little tattoo he has tucked just below the top of his swimsuit?
Not that I was looking there are anything, ‘cause I admire him for his athleticism.
And his strength.
And his charming boy next door manners when he’s talking to the media or standing on the podium.
And his team spirit.
Um…and his abs.
Hmmm. Do you think Hubby will mind our new pool boy?

*Photos courtesy:, and

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dear Neighbor

Dear Neighbor,
I’m curious, when you saw my father-in-law laying in the middle of the street last night where he had fallen and you walked right on by him without offering to help, WHAT THE *#$! WERE YOU THINKING?!!! I’m guessing the bloody smear on his forehead wasn’t quite large enough to merit your attention. Or perhaps, you didn’t want to interrupt your walk for a little human kindness. I wouldn’t want you to miss that new Alan Jackson song on your iPod, so I can understand why you thought it best to leave him in the middle of the busy street. He’s nearly 77-years old. Did I mention that?

That teenager you saw struggling to prop up her grandfather with a leg and an arm while dialing her cell phone with the other arm? You know, the one you made eye contact with? That was my daughter. You might be interested to know that she was scared to death at the time because her granddaddy had suddenly collapsed, hit his head on the pavement and wasn’t coherent. Don’t worry though. She managed to stay calm and summon help without your assistance. Thanks anyway. I’m sure you would have made time in your busy day for them if you had HAD time.

You might be interested to know that he’s doing okay today, even though he spent the night in the hospital, and he has a horrible black eye and some scrapes. Hopefully, you’ll see him and Teen Angel walking in the neighborhood again, soon. You might wave at them next time now that they know who you are. They DO know who you are. After all, this is a friendly subdivision. We like to be neighborly.

Hula Girl

PS. If on Halloween night you find a big pile of flaming dog poop on your front porch, it wasn’t us.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Feelin' The Love

Whew! I am feeling the bloggy love this week. (And a little tired. That's what happens when you're 44 years old and you stay up all night playing games and singing karaoke with girlfriends.) In the past week or so, I've had three, count 'em three blogger awards given to me, and I am humbled beyond belief. These folks have been so kind with their honors and their words. First of all there was my California buddy, Jason, who gave me this one. He's so funny.And then Debbie over at etc., etc., etc., gave me this one. Two shakes of the grass skirt, girlfriend. And then, lo and behold, Karisma sent this bit of blogging love my way.
I don't feel like I deserve any of them, and I am flattered that anyone stops by here and enjoys something I've penned. I just like meeting you folks and sharing with you. I will accept these gracefully and oblige by filling out the meme that came with Karisma's award. And now I'm stumped because I need to pass along these awards to someone else, and my first choices would be the folks who gave them to ME. Yikes!

A.) attached or single? Attached. Later this month we’ll celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary.

(B.) best friend? My husband. How else are we gonna make this partnership work?
(C.) cake or pie? My love of cake is well documented at this site. HOWEVER, I love a good pie and try to add it to my day whenever possible.
(D.) day of choice? Any day that is calm and yet pleasantly surprising in some way.
(E.) essential item? My set of keys. I can’t get in my car, office or work computer without the keys and security cards on them. It also holds my library card, my key to the world.
(F. ) favorite color? Red! I’m pretty fond of black, too. When I was a kid my I used the salmon pink and periwinkle Crayons to color EVERYTHING.
(G. ) gummy bears or worms? Neither, although the gummy bears covered in milk chocolate aren’t bad. I’d rather have a Twizzler.
(H.) hometown? A very small town in southern Illinois, population: 7500. Salute!
(I. ) favorite indulgence? Cake, although those new grapefruit tangerine margaritas at O’Charley’s are pretty sweet, too.
(J. ) January or July? July!!! I’m a summer baby, and I absolutely hate January. To me it’s the worst month of the year because it’s cold, wet and depressing.
(K. ) kids? Two. I married one who is now 54. Our daughter is 15.
(L.) life isn't complete without? Family, laughter, love, church, friends, doing something that fulfills the heart.
(M.) marriage date? August 18, 1990.
(N.) number of brothers & sisters? Two younger brothers. There is five years between each child. We were all born on Saturdays between 4 and 5pm. I was born on the 18th of July, my baby brother was born on the 19th of October, and my middle brother was born on the 20th of December. Spooky.
(O.) oranges or apples? Orange juice (lots of pulp) and apple pie with a custard bottom. I usually eat an apple every day as a midmorning snack. I love mandarin oranges straight out of the can.
(P. ) phobias? Snakes, snakes, snakes. And lizards. And burning down the house by forgetting to turn something off when I leave.
(Q.) quotes? I have many I like but my very favorites come from Erma Bombeck. Here are three of her’s that I pretty much live by.
If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.
My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me".
(R.) reasons to smile? The smell of a baby’s neck, the sound of a child’s belly laugh, the sound of the ocean, the touch of a loved one, the warmth of a summer day and the anticipation of reading a new book.
(S.) season of choice? Summer, although I like spring because it let’s me know summer isn’t far behind.
(T.) tag seven peeps! Okay, I'm doing three because that's manageable.
janjanmom-because she always keeps it real and inspired me to start blogging
mia-one of my most faithful readers and is such a better blogger than she thinks.
Amy-because she has a way of looking at something simple and finding a great spiritual lesson in it. She always opens my eyes.

(U.) unknown fact about me? When I was in college, I had a friend who was a mercenary for the U.S. government.
(V. ) vegetable? Hmm. I could live on vegetables. I like just about all of them except turnips and beets. I actually crave cooked cabbage on a regular basis for some unknown reason. I guess my favorite is tomatoes..homegrown and juicy.
(W.) worst habits? For years I’ve been a terrible nail biter, so I keep acrylic on them to keep from biting them. I have a horrible time admitting that I’m wrong.
(X.) x-ray or ultrasound? Huh? Neither offends me.
(Y.) your favorite food? Steamed crab legs with drawn butter, a side order of steamed broccoli with a light garlic butter sauce and soft buttery rolls. Not that I’ve ever thought about it. Oh, and I’m addicted to iced tea, popcorn and…cake.
(Z.) zodiac sign? Cancer. Crabby, sensitive and crafty.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Fun Monday-Favorite Photo

This week's Fun Monday host is aojthelurchers, and she wants to know THIS about us:

Show me your favorite photograph and tell me why it's your favorite. It can be one you've taken yourself or one someone else has taken, a snapshot or a more professional image. Is there a story behind it? Do you love it for the memories it gives or just because it's pleasing to the eye?

Criminy! Just one??!! I'm waaay too indecisive to pick just one. There are so many. I've poured over albums for several days now, trying to narrow it down, and I have to say I can't pick one single picture as my ultimate favorite. I love, love, love many of them. I finally decided to choose one that could qualify as a finalist, but let me tell ya' it hurts to restrain myself on this assignment folks. Here goes....
This is my parents on their wedding day, some 45 years ago. This photo sums up their personalities perfectly. Daddy is the agitator, alway up to mischief. Mama is always rolling her eyes at him and reeling him back in line. For years they've been each other's yin and yang, rolling with the ups and downs of life. I love that they've weathered the ups and downs, that they still love each other very much and still enjoy each other's company. They may bicker every now and then, but they wouldn't know what to do without each other. Oh, and I love that Daddy still picks at Mama, and she still rolls her eyes at him...often. Just for the record, here's what they look like today.Sorry! I couldn't stick to just one.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Adult Slumber Party With Girlfriends-Two Thumbs Up!

New sweatpants and t-shirt to sleep in-$20

Dinner at Japanese restaurant-$31.53

Carton of premade mojitos-$10

Singing backup on L.'s version of "Like A Virgin" during midnight karoake-priceless

Friday, August 8, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

Proof that my mother may need a Cricket phone:

Mama: "Did someone call me? I didn't hear it go off. Oh, I forgot I put it on "shake" so it wouldn't go off in church."

Hula: "Shake? Does it dance mother?"

Blank stare.

Hula: "Wait 'til I tell them at work I need to put my cell phone on "shake" so it doesn't go off in a meeting. Ha!"

Blank stare.

Mama: "Oh, somebody's calling again."

Hula: "Hey, maybe it's a booty call."

Blank stare.

Hula: Insert wigging of hips. "You know, a boo-TAY call."

Blank stare.

Hula: "Never mind."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Where in The World is Ramona

I’ve been emailing back and forth this week with my old grade school chum, G., and we’ve been swapping memories about our childhood years. It’s fascinating to get each other’s perspective on that time and remind each other of different things that happened back then. Like the time the class mischief maker left his lunchbox at school all summer and it stank to high heaven when we came back in the fall. Or G. inviting all the neighborhood boys over to ogle his Farrah Fawcett swimsuit poster since he was the first boy in the region to order it from TV Guide. Growing up in a small town in the early and mid 70’s really was a great experience. We weren’t exposed to drugs, gangs or school violence. The only weapon at Franklin Elementary was Mr. E.’s paddle, and boy, could he swing it. Those really were the Wonder Years for us, but I realized today I can’t say they were perfect because it wasn’t a perfect time. The times they were a changin’, but not fast enough for some folks, like my friend Ramona. This week’s stroll down memory lane left me wondering where she is now.

Ramona was the first black person I ever got to know really well. The minority population in my little hometown in the mid 70’s was pretty small. There were few faces of color in my school photos. Since the Civil Rights Act was signed the year I was born, and the Watts riots and Alabama voting clashes occurred when I was a baby, as a grade school student I was ignorantly unaware of the race struggles that had occurred in the first decade of my youth. I was conscious of color back then because adults talked about it, but I didn’t really care or think about it, until I became buddies with Ramona. I remember her in kindergarten with her pigtails and colorful barrettes. I can see her now riding a tricycle during recess. This picture is from 7th grade when she and I played on the basketball team. Well, she played. I warmed the bench.
It’s ironic that she isn’t smiling in the only photo I have of her, because she always smiled. She had a giggle box that worked overtime and an infectious laugh. She made me laugh from the very beginning. We often sat beside each other in class, but didn’t become really good friends until 7th grade. Because we got along so well, I assumed she was just like me, and she was except for the fact that she faced issues I didn’t have to worry about. I didn’t know it then, though. We passed notes, shared jokes and talked on the phone for hours. She laughed at me because I was so na├»ve and taught me things about her culture I’d never heard of like Soul Train, Jeri Curl and hair food. She opened up a musical world outside top 40 pop radio when she introduced me to Teddy Pendergrass and Barry White. We had many good times at school and over the phone, but we didn’t visit each other’s homes. We would have needed transportation, but we didn’t ask our parents. It was like we had some kind of unspoken deal that we wouldn’t cross certain societal boundaries. We never discussed it, and I didn’t think about it much until one day when she showed up at my house. Her older sister had driven her there on their way home, and she stopped to show off her new baby nephew. It was the only time she ever came to my house. I grabbed her nephew and took him inside to show my parents. They welcomed her inside, but I could tell she felt really awkward, like she just didn’t belong. I never understood why, but I could see it in her eyes. She didn’t stay long that day, and we never spoke about it. It was my first clue that things were different for her in a way that they weren’t for me.

After 8th grade graduation she and I went to separate high schools. We drifted apart, but I never forgot her. Occasionally, I would run into her mom in town, and we would chat for a little. Over time, I lost track of her. During my high school and college years my little world expanded, and I learned much more about the racial divide in this country. Many times I have wondered what it was like to be in Ramona’s shoes back then. I can only imagine how tough it might have been to be one of those few faces of color in a very pale community. I wonder how many times she had her feelings hurt by unkind words or felt like a second class citizen because someone told her she was. I will probably never know. I am ashamed I didn’t ask her those questions back then. I feel like I let her down by not looking farther into her heart and mind. I wish I had been smart enough to look beyond my Wonder Years bubble. I sometimes wonder where she is now. I wish we could sit down and chat for a very long time over a drink and a piece of pie. I wish we could belly laugh and giggle together again. I would tell her I’m sorry I didn’t ask THOSE questions. I wonder if she ever thinks of me.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Yee Haw!

Hey grandpa! What’s for supper?

Fresh Silver Queen corn cut from the cob and cooked in its own milk, fresh cracked pepper and lots of real butter. So tasty the juice will run down your chin. Homegrown green beans straight from Pa’s garden. Cooked slowly for three hours with salt, pepper and a little dab of bacon drippings. So tender they’ll melt in your mouth.* Roasted garden vegetables: sweet onion, farmer’s market eggplant, red pepper, zucchini and squash. Drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and grilled until juicy and singed on the edges. Tastes so good it’ll make you smack your granny. And three varieties of homegrown thick sliced tomatoes; juicy, sweet and full of goodness. You’ll need a spoon to catch all the juice and a rag to wipe it off your chin. Add a side pan of sweet cornbread slathered in butter, some fresh green onions and cold sweet tea and extra chairs at the table ‘cause the neighbors will all come runnin’. Yum, yum.

Have I mentioned I love summer? Of course, I have.

*My theory is why dirty up another bowl when you can serve it out of the pan.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

School Daze

Teen Angel starts school tomorrow. Whew! Where did her summer vacation go? She worked during most of it, saving about $900 that she tucked away in her newly opened savings account. Good girl. She’ll be a sophomore this year, turning sixteen in December. I’ll soon be taking nitroglycerin for my pounding heart (and valium for my nerves). Driving, dates and boys, oh my! A trip to the mall last night wrapped up her school clothes purchases. God bless you Rue 21 for a sale and darn you Buckle for selling $70 jeans. She finished her summer reading assignment today, and grabbed up school supplies during a trip down the aisle at Wal-Mart last Friday. Geez. That was like going to war. It took body armor and a billy club to wade through that crowd. She is ready, but all that shopping and an email exchange last week with an old grade school buddy got me to thinking about back to school time.

While standing amid the school supplies, Hubby looked around at all the kids anxiously picking out their stuff and remarked, “I don’t remember being this excited about school supplies.” “That’s because you didn’t like school,” I said. “Hmm. You’re right.” I was different. I loved going back to school. I liked the thrill of buying new clothes and opening a brand new notebook. Of hooking back up with my friends and seeing how everyone had grown over the summer. “Oh, look! R. got boobs over the summer.” Remember, I grew up in a rural area, so we didn’t see much of each other during vacation. Facial hair and boobs were big developments. Or not so big in some cases.

When I was a kid our shopping for school clothes and supplies started around July. Mother would drive us to town to Finkel’s to buy jeans and shirts. The jeans were bell bottoms, and the tops were baseball jerseys. I was really proud to score the first "I shot JR" t-shirt in my class in sixth grade, thanks to a trip that summer to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
And if you're too young to know who JR was, you're not old enough to read this blog. Off with your young self! We also bought a new pair of shoes, sometimes earning a plastic egg from the Red Goose Shoes goose. Converse All-Stars were big, but so were earth shoes. Everything was put in lay-away and not retrieved until right before school started. That way it stayed nice until the first day of school. As we grew older, my brothers had the unfortunate luck to have their jeans purchased at Sears. They were the victims of that 70’s fashion fiasco known as Tough-Skin jeans. Because mother sewed, she made a lot of my dresses and blouses, usually from Simplicity patterns. Fourth grade was the year most of us girls got our first bras, not that we needed them. But my, didn’t we feel all grown up in those little stretchy things. We washed our hair in Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific and Farrah Fawcett shampoos and coated ourselves in Blue Jeans fragrance.
And Love’s Baby Soft. Oh, and as we got a little older we begged for Tickle deodorant and Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. School supplies were just as important as the clothes. Just as it is today, back then it was important to pick out just the right stuff. While I don’t remember needing a lot of supplies back then, I know it was important to have a Trapper Keeper.
And a Frito Bandito eraser. How politically incorrect was that? Have I ever told you I missed my first recess of fourth grade because Larry O. took my pencil with the Frito Bandito eraser? We argued about it until Mr. T. made us stay in during recess and write “I will not talk in class” fifty times. It was one of many reasons why the conduct box on my report said “Talks too much” and “Out of seat too much” that year. A good metal lunchbox was important too. My friend Cathy had a Yogi Bear lunchbox, and it was okay, but all the really cool kids had something like Evil Knievel, Emergency or the Holy Grail of lunchboxes, The Land of The Lost. For the life of me, I can’t remember what my lunchbox was because I usually ate whatever the lunch ladies served. We actually had good homemade food served on rolling carts in the hallway that you could smell as lunch approached and the other students were served. We didn’t have a cafeteria. We brought our trays back to our classrooms and ate there. A great day brought homemade pizza and chocolate pudding. Good times.

I liked the feel of new clothes on the first day of school, the smell of new notebook paper and the touch of new unused pencils and erasers as I boarded the bus. It signified a new year, a new start, a new beginning for relationships and learning. Holding a notebook in the aisle of Wal-Mart last week brought all of that rushing back…and yearning just a little bit to step back in time…long enough to get my eraser back from Larry.
Photos courtesy of:,, stuckinthe70',,,, and

Monday, August 4, 2008

143 Days Until Christmas

It’s 105 degrees outside and the first week of August, but I’m working on Christmas cards. I know, I know. It’s not because I WANT to. It’s because it takes me so stinkin’ long to print them and sign them. You see, I always get this wild hair to make my own Christmas cards. It’s because I’m a Cancer. We Cancer’s like to create stuff. We’re all artsy craftsy and like homemade things. Apparently, we’re also prone to starting projects and not finishing them until months later.

The problem is that I forget that I’m Christmas card challenged. Every year. Instead of buying two boxes of cards at Walgreens with a lovely Currier and Ives scene on the front and signing them, I jump into Microsoft Publisher and try to create something clever and unique. And then that juggernaut called the holiday season kicks in, rolls right over me and leaves me struggling at the last minute to print, stamp and mail cards. It’s like childbirth. It’s really painful, but some crazy psychological thing kicks in blocking out the memory of the pain so even though every December 24th I swear I won’t do it again, by April I’m all “Hey, I’m gonna make our own Christmas cards this year. That way they’ll be special.”

It takes me forever to mail cards, even when I buy the boxed ones. One year I mailed valentines instead of Christmas cards because I never even got my Christmas cards in the mail. Everyone thought I was so sweet to remember them with a valentine. Eh, not really. I was just slow. I’ve started addressing and signing boxed cards as early as October and still didn’t mail them until a few days before Christmas. Each year I start earlier and earlier. This time I actually thought about them LAST December. I’ve been saving photos from Christmas 2007 and other special events and have narrowed it down to three. Now, I need your help. Take a look at these and vote on your favorite. Tell me which one you think will work best for the 2008 Hula-gen Holiday card with some kind of witty, clever saying over the photo. As they say in Chicago, vote early and vote often. I need to get moving. It’s already August.

Picture #1-Teen Angel. A rare photo of a 15-year old smiling.
Picture #2-Hubby waiting for all the Hula-gen's to shut up and get in the car already.

Picture #3-Our family photo at my brother's wedding. It's