Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pirates and Parrots

Here are a few photos from last week’s concert. St. Louis was fun, but it wasn’t quite as exciting as the other Buffett concerts we’ve been to. We’ve always gone to the shows in Cincinnati, which is Parrot Head central. It’s where the madness began many years ago, and those folks have a reputation to uphold. The tailgating begins early that morning on the empty lots across from Riverbend Amphitheater, and by the time noon rolls around you can barely find a parking place. See?

These folks come prepared. A tiki bar at your tailgating corner is a minimum and many come with things like portable generators. If you look closely in the middle of this picture you’ll see these guys brought a commercial smoothie machine.



Other folks bring the beach with them.



Large fins on top of vehicles are pretty typical as is a wild assortment of tropical themed outfits. We’ve seen bands, horseshoe games, limbo contests, kiddie pools and a slippin’ slide contest, which I watched with one eye closed because I’m old enough to recognize the danger of breaking or busting something when you mix a slippin’ slide and drunken people. You can never touch a sip of alcohol and have a great time just watching people at these things. So you can see why we were a little disappointed to find that the St. Louis crowd was…well…terribly mild. It was fun nonetheless, and here’s a little taste. The parking lot was full by 5pm.



The amphitheater started to fill up by 6pm. These are known as “the lawn people”.




Jimmy gives a shout out to them often during his shows. We were lawn people last year. It can get kind of crazy on the lawn since that’s where all the really young party folks who can’t afford $130 a ticket end up. We like being in the pavilion where it’s a little calmer. I meant to take a picture of the lawn when it was really full but forgot. Sorry. I was distracted by the man with the world’s longest tongue in front of me. I forgot to take his picture, too. Use your imagination. No, wait, don’t do that.

I met a nice pirate on the lawn.




He didn’t have a peg leg, but he walked with a limp. Me thinks he likes having his picture taken with younger women. In Cincinnati, our costumes would be average. In St. Louis, they were a little over the top. My parrot flip-flops were a hit at this venue, too. People kept stopping me and asking to take my picture. Hmmm. I wonder if they blog.

Hats are an important part of your Buffett costume. A lot of folks plop a parrot or plastic drink glasses on their hat.
Others go for the fin look.

Hubby leaves all the dressing up to me. See his one lei? Tsk, tsk, tsk.

He’s shy. Good thing he’s not embarrassed by my attire. Our cab driver was though. He let us off at the front gate and refused to drive into the amphitheater. Poor fellow. He wasn’t used to this kind of craziness. Our view from our seats wasn’t too bad. This picture doesn’t really do it justice. You’ll need to squint.

But it certainly wasn’t as good as two years ago when we were on the seventh row.


The woman two rows in front of me caught his flip flops at the end of the show. I immediately hated her.

Like I said, we had a great time, but next year I think we’ll go back to Cincinnati. It’s just more fun there…and they don’t charge $9 for a cheeseburger.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Seasons in the Sun

Sometimes…no, make that often…when I look at Teen Angel it’s like looking in a mirror. She acts so much like me it’s scary. The way she puts that hand on her hip and barges ahead with her opinions, refusing to believe she’s wrong has “me” written all over it. It gives me a really good idea of how I appear to others and how I behaved when I was her age. Almost on a daily basis I have a “conversation” with my daughter and then am inclined to run to the phone and apologize to my mother for my teenage years. Lordy, I must have been a pain in her backside. Why she didn’t duct tape my mouth and drop me off at the nearest bus station is beyond me. The woman is a saint. I can only hope to handle Teen Angel half as well. Watching my daughter navigate these difficult years reminds me of all the turbulent, emotional trials of being a teenager, but it also reminds me of the fun stuff, too.

This week she was questioning my latest iTunes purchases, Blue October’s 18th Floor Balcony and Barry White’s I Just Want to Make Love to You. “Those don’t have anything in common”, she said. “Sure they do.” “No, they DON’T”, she insisted and proceeded to explain why. I was surprised at her understanding of the wistful Blue October song and instantly reminded of how much music means to young people, especially girls. As I stepped into the shower I couldn’t help but think about how much I loved pop music and the radio back in the mid-70’s when I was just starting to mature.

My crush on the radio started near the end of fifth grade. I looked like this.


The weather was kind of like it is now; cool in the mornings, warm and sunny in the afternoons. We bravely wore shorts to the bus stop, topped off by long sleeve jackets. My jacket was yellow with black trim. Super Cop later wore it. Our days were filled with math, reading, kickball and milk breaks. The summer of 1975 was just around the corner, and my friend Kandi got a new transistor radio. She was three years older than me, and her reading on the cool meter was always higher than mine. She had a 10 speed bike. I had a one speed. She had long blonde hair. Mine was brown. She had a white radio that was a ball on a long silver chain. I had none. I loved that radio. We dragged it all over her yard, and I wanted one so badly. By the time we were paroled from Franklin Elementary for the summer, I had gotten a radio. It was plain and black, not cool and round, but a radio nonetheless. I carried it everywhere.

It sat at the head of my bed when I was reading or supposed to be asleep. It hung from the handlebars of my bicycle while I pedaled around country roads. It sat on a blanket while I lathered myself in baby oil, Coppertone and QT and unsuccessfully sunned myself in the backyard. I dragged it with me when we went places in the car, holding it up to my ear and barking at Super Cop and Handy Man to shut up while we fought over our boundaries in the backseat. I went through nine volt batteries like poop through a goose. That radio was on ALL the time.

Back then, AM was king. FM was an experiment that most folks believed would fail. The AM stations with the grooviest DJ’s ruled the airwaves. My favorite radio station blasted tunes from Cat Stevens, Elton John, Neil Sadaka, Barry Manilow and Captain and Tennille. My favorites were ELO, Olivia Newton John and Leo Sayer. Helen Reddy sang about Angie Baby, and Terry Jacks crooned about Seasons in the Sun. I sang along as if I could sing. My hairbrush was my microphone and the whole world was my stage. I remember knowing every word to every song, feeling the pain of every singer and knowing exactly where every song stood on the charts at any given time. In between commercials for car dealers and the half hour tones to roll over if you were tanning, the songs serenaded me through that summer and several summers to follow. A couple of years later I got mad at my mom because she wouldn’t take me to a nearby park to hear Dr. Hook in concert. Listening to their drug laced songs now (I have the “Best of Dr. Hook in my CD collection) I understand why she said no. I held a grudge against her for about two years over that, though.

I have a real fondness for songs of the 70’s because they are the songs of my young summers. The tunes that filled my days along with mowing the yard, watching reruns of the Partridge Family and secretly hoping to marry Keith Partridge. I know why Teen Angel knows all about 18th Floor Balcony and the 2000 other songs that fill her iPod. Music feeds the soul at that age, and her iPod is her transistor radio. It’s almost as cool as the white ball on a chain…almost.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Twinge? What Twinge?

I keep trying to ignore the fact that I AM getting older, but my body won’t let me forget. How annoying. I’m fine with denial. I don’t WANT to know how worn out parts of my body are getting. Ignorance is bliss I say. I’m fine with fantasizing that I’ll always look at least a decade younger than I really am. Oh, hush. A girl can dream. And I don’t need any lip out of you, Super Cop. As Barney Fife would say, nip it!

I am ignoring the fact that it took eleven consecutive hours of sleep to catch up from my road trip to St. Louis. Or that my right knee had a twinge when I was running Saturday. Or that I can barely stay awake past 9:30pm….on a Friday night. In fact, I’m ignoring a lot of things. Let’s start from the top.

-My hair: I used to have to color it about three times a year when the gray finally crept into my roots in noticeable amounts. Now I have a standing appointment every six weeks for a San Tropez cover up. Let’s not even discuss the coarse texture it’s developing.
-My skin: I used to moisturize only my forehead. Gradually, the need to moisturize has spread south to my cheeks, neck, chest, arms, legs and feet. It’s like taking a flea dip when I drag out the Oil of Olay. If my feet get any drier, I’ll have to wear shoes in the house to protect the hardwood floors. Moisturizer isn’t the only lotion I buy in bulk these days. Sunscreen has become my best friend. I remember a time about twenty years ago when I would have roasted myself in a tanning bed during the spring so I could have something resembling a tan by late May. Not anymore. I’m terrified of skin cancer. I’m even more terrified of age spots. I was sitting in a meeting the other day and noticed for the first time three new brown spots on my right hand. I almost gasped out loud. I can’t tell you a word that was said during the rest of that meeting because I was so shaken to realize I’m going to have my mother’s hands after all!
-My eyes: I don’t need reading glasses yet, but I’m overdue, so that’s likely to crop up sometime soon. In the meantime, the crow’s feet are keeping me entertained.
-My ears: In the last few weeks I’ve realized that I simply don’t hear as well as I used to. Too much loud rock n’ roll. I keep asking people to repeat things, and the drive through speaker at Arby’s isn’t the only thing garbling speech these days.
-My breasts: Dolly Parton has been quoted as saying that she got a breast lift because people kept asking to see her boobs and she got tired of lifting up her skirt to show them. I’m not there yet, but I certainly find “perky” gals annoying.
-My abdomen: I may be skinny, but the pregnancy stretch marks are still there, and the ab muscles are never going back the way they were. I could work out from now until the end of time and never get my midsection tight again. This is a source of eternal frustration for me since I’ve always wanted a six pack for just six months in my life. Shoot. Six seconds is out of the question. And frankly, I’m tired of working on this one.
-My legs: They are so banged up and scarred. My knees still bear the results of my big tumble on the pavement last summer. In fact, you can still see the footprint of every asphalt slash that bloodied my lower leg. Lovely. That’s on top of all the other scars I have collected throughout the years. Remind me sometime to show you the cinders under my skin from that ATV wreck.
-My feet. Oh, where do I start? I have tendonitis in my left heel. I pronate toward the outer part of my foot, and my toes are starting to lean inward like pine trees blowing in the Carolina winds. When I was a kid, I laughed at my mother’s feet. Now, I can look at mine and see the same thing, but it’s not so funny. The joke is on me.
-Hair growth in odd places: I won’t go into detail on this on. I’m just going to assume that you know exactly what I’m talking about and don’t say you don’t if you’re over forty. I’ll know you’re lying.

It’s not that I’m vain, and I don’t expect to compete with the young folks in the body department. I just thought I’d grow older a little more gracefully, that I wouldn’t suffer the droops and sags that my parents did. For some stupid reason, I thought I’d be different, that I would escape the more vicious parts of aging. I’m not old yet, but my body is giving me signs that it IS inevitable. Dadgumit! I’m not ready! Not yet. I want a few more years of energy, perkiness and tight skin. I don’t want to have to pick my backside up and carry it every time I get in a hurry. I don’t want hearing aids, reading glasses or orthopedic shoes. I refuse to give in..for a little longer. Hmph! I do not feel that pain in my knee, and I can stay out late if I want to. Just don’t call me early the next morning.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Who's Got a Ticket To Ride?

Some days Papa T.'s dementia hovers over us with an unexpected intensity. Other days it's not nearly as noticeable. It's a disease that likes to tease its victims with moments of clarity and suffocate them with hours of angst. The moment you walk in the room, you can tell what kind of day..or hour...he's having. Caring for him gives our days a roller coaster kind of feel. Spending a day and a half in St. Louis having a rip roaring good time seemed to make his illness that much more noticeable when we came home. It's not been a very good weekend for Papa T.. He feels the same he has for weeks, but he has been more agitated and frustrated than usual these last two days.

Yesterday, we agreed to leave at 3pm for an early dinner because a large convention was in town, and the restaurants would be full by 5pm. Papa T. doesn't like waiting on a table or food. At 3pm we practically had to drag him out of his recliner and away from his book on tape to get him dressed. He acted like he didn't want to go. I'm not sure what happened while he was dressing, but I heard him swear several times. He always uses the same two phrases, back to back whenever he cusses. He came out of the bedroom kind of confused, and by the time we got his hair combed, put his shoes on and got him out of the door, it felt as if we'd already been gone an hour. He didn't want to use his cane when we got to Cracker Barrel and was noticeably upset when Sissy made him use it. We always get a chuckle when he orders his food because he always asks what the vegetable of the day is (lima beans) and never orders it. He gets the same thing every time: macaroni and cheese, applesauce, green beans, carrots and cornbread. Although, last night he tripped us up and ordered slaw instead of carrots. He seemed annoyed when our salads arrived, and we had something to eat but he didn't. He didn't talk much during dinner, and he seemed glad to get home. This morning in church he seemed agitated and kept asking out loud what was going on during a performance by some guest musicians who were outstanding. Despite the soul soothing music he just seemed to want the whole thing to be over so he could get back to his recliner. He used to always enjoy church and loved singing the hymns. Now it seems like an obligation to him. In fact, doing anything other than sitting in his chair and listening to books on tape seems like an intrusion. I think he's depressed. In fact, I'm sure he is. I'm just not sure what to do about it.

The man can't see and can't hear. His days are filled with solitude, despite our efforts to engage him in conversation and activities. His blindness and deafness make sure of that. He will walk around the block with Sissy, but he will sit right there in his chair and avoid the sunshine unless she forces him outside. This man who once ran an entire school district and was sharp as a tack is now without a kingdom to rule. His opinions are not sought anymore, and his self esteem is almost nonexistent. He once managed a multi-million dollar budget. Two weeks ago, he could barely scribble his name on his tax returns. He is obviously going downhill, and as I watched him eat last night I realized we were getting a glimpse of how quickly it is happening. Now, tomorrow he may bounce back into a better mood and have a great day. He may walk all the way around the neighborhood, whistle while he's listening to his book and ask for "refreshments" (Pop-Tarts or Cheetos) at 9pm. He may even tell us a story about his youth. You just never know. We still have plenty of good days with him. It's just that the bad days are more noticeable. We will ride the roller coaster which ever way it turns, but this weekend we seemed to take a little dip. Who knows what's around the next curve. Let's hope we're going up this week.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Margaritaville

Whew! We're home again..and finally rested. Boy, were my phins tired! You know you're getting older when it takes eleven hours of sleep to catch up from a road trip of singing and dancing into the wee hours. When I was in college, I could have made that road trip, drove home and made it up for a 9am class without batting an eye. Not anymore. No convenience store burritos at 3am for me anymore either. I'm waaaay past that.

A good time was had by all. Jimmy was in fine form and performed a few of his oldies but goodies I've never heard live before. I have pictures but can't post them today. I had to take them the old fashioned way, with a disposable camera, so I have to get them processed and scanned first. The St. Louis crowd was fun but not nearly as...hmmm...lively...as the crowd we're used to in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati group starts dragging their RV's onto Kellogg Avenue the night BEFORE the concert, tailgates all day and then rolls into the venue across the street right before the show. Their costumes are outlandish, and their party barometer is off the chart. It's where the parrot head thing started, and they have a reputation to maintain. The St. Louis folks were tame, partly because the tailgating started just a few hours before the show after a thundershower rolled through. There were no portables beaches, kiddie pools or slippin' slides at St. Louie. There were a few portable tiki bars, but in Cincinnati a tiki bar is the minimum requirement for setting up stakes in the tailgating arena. This venue was different but still very fun (aside from the ridiculously long wait in the t-shirt line).

Among the highlights: I had my picture taken with a pirate, a pirate took a picture of me, our taxi driver seemed embarrassed to pick us up at the hotel and I got a temporary LandShark Lager tattoo...or two. The Good Sport of the Night Award goes to the 60-something lady in the orchestra pit doing sign language for an hearing impaired audience member. Jimmy said he was going to challenge her, had them put her on the big screens and then launched into Why Don't We Get Drunk and Sc**w. She met his challenge and signed the song with great gusto on certain words, while the audience sang along. It was hilarious, and he came down to shake her hand when it was over. The Funniest T-shirt of the Night Award went to the man who sat near us whose shirt read "If a man speaks in the woods and a woman is not around to hear it, is he still wrong?" Hee, hee. Of course, he is, sir.

The man with the longest tongue in the world sat in front of me. I know this because he tickled the toes of his pregnant wife all night long with it. In fact, our whole row was ready to shout "get a room" by the fourth song. They were young and in luuuuuv, and he was quite inebriated. He bought her one of those silk roses they sell at concerts, which made me and the middle aged lady next to me roll with laughter at how clueless they were as to how much their lives are going to change in about three months. Talk about sobering up.

When I bought a margarita I thought about asking if I got a kiss with it 'cause I certainly got...well...you know. $11 for a small and $16 for a large. Yikes! $11 for a beer, $9 for a cheeseburger. The snacks at the old Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in St. Louis do not come cheap. Not that that stopped us from partaking of their refreshments. Oh, and she who spills strawberry margarita down her white shirt multiple times looks like a real slob in the BP while scrounging for snacks at 1am. Or so I've been told.....

Just a tip, if you have to spend the night in St. Louis near the airport, the Drury Inn was clean, very well kept and manned by a great staff. I highly recommend it. Now, I must go and catch up on laundry and all sorts of other stuff that fell by the wayside while I was in Margaritaville. My summer if off to a nice start, but I'm a little sad that I don't have a reason to drag out my grass skirt any time soon. I'm thinking the Hula-gens need to have a little tiki time together with friends on the deck....soon....very soon. After all, it's always five o'clock somewhere, and it's a whole year before the next tour....unless I snag tickets to another show. Hmmm. Pictures coming soon, I promise!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Phins Up!

I fully recognize that the Parrothead thing is a little hard for non members of the phlock to understand. In fact, it’s downright puzzling to some folks and maybe even ridiculous. I’ll attempt to explain why thousands of people will don ridiculous outfits and dance and sing silly songs for three hours in hot summer weather and pay hundreds of dollars to do it, but I realize words may not be enough to help you understand.

I’m not extreme. I will attend one concert each summer, do some tailgating, meet new friends and have a large time. Some will travel to a half dozen concerts all over the country, set up an RV or tent complete with sand, beach toys, bars and generator driven blenders. For some, usually the really young fans, it’s all about the party and the alcohol. For most though, it’s an opportunity to play and to escape from life’s daily pressures for just a little while. It’s very liberating to sit among a sea of folks in grass skirts, coconut bras and pirate hats, batting beach balls around and singing about tropical islands and parties. Attendees will range in age from 5 to 65, although I won’t take Teen Angel because there is a little too much adult fun going on (ie flashing and drinking games). We’ve always gone to the concert in Cincinnati which is where the whole Parrothead thing started many years ago. The crowd there gathers in the night before, camping out along Kellogg Avenue and tailgating all day prior to the concert. Last year, the tailgating included bands, slip and slides, portable beaches and a wild assortment of games. We’ve never been to the St. Louis show before, so I’m interested to see what that tailgating crowd is like. One thing you can count on, the Parrotheads will be friendly. They always are. They’re always willing to share their cheeseburgers and their beverages. And they are always dressed to the hilt. If you’re going to go to Buffett, you gotta go in style. Here are a few of my accessories:

Beads are a must. Lots of beads. I bought these, by the way. I did not “earn” them. I’m not that kind of gal.



The kind of beads you have is important, too. I have parrot beads of course.



And flamingo beads.



You gotta have leis. I have them for my neck, my wrists and my head. This is one place where over accessorizing is okay.



I like to top of my leis with a set of pink flamingo deely-bobbers. Lovely, don’t cha’ think.



The grass skirt is a must. I’m letting the wrinkles fall out of mine. It’s been in storage all winter. Poor thing.
Now let’s discuss the coconut bra. I don’t do the coconut bra, for several reasons, even though a lot of people do. I have one. Super Cop bought it for me last year, but I don’t wear it. First of all, despite what Teen Angel thinks, I do have some self respect. A little. Second, I’m a little too old for the coconuts. The girls aren’t perky enough, so I leave those to younger folks. Besides, they’re scratchy and they itch. The coconuts, that is. HOWEVER, this could be the year for the coconut bra because it’s going to be cool, and I could wear it over my T-shirt. We’ll see.

Now the piece de resistance for my ensemble is the parrot flip-flops. Hubby bought me these last year on a trip to Cincinnati because he knows that nothing says love like parrot flip flops when you’re married to a Parrothead. They were a hit at last year’s show. Every time I turned around someone stopped me and asked me where I bought them. I was pretty pleased. Trust me, it’s hard to get noticed in that crowd.



There you go. Just a little taste of the stuff that it takes to phly with Jimmy’s phlock. If you want a look at what’s in store tomorrow night and during the upcoming summer months, drop in at the fan site or Jimmy’s site for some pictures and some comments. It should be a lively time, brothers and sisters, especially if it rains. And it may rain. Anyone every played in the sand during the rain?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Only Two More Days!

Less than 48 hours until the Jimmy Buffett concert. Woo hoo!!! Ya hoo!!! Yippy Skippy!!! Zip-i-de-doo-da!!! Okay, that's all I got for today. I got nothin' else...nada...zip...zero...zilch. Sorry. That's just the way the cookie crumbled today.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun Monday-Thing's I'm Glad I've done

Southern Doll is hosting this week's Fun Monday. She wants us to list those things we're glad we did in life, the things that will flash through our minds when the end is near. I could list dozens of things. I'm glad I got married. I'm thrilled I became a mother. I'm happy I've traveled to exciting places, and I'm glad I've taken the time to really get to know certain people in my life. Second to those things (but very important to me) is the fact that I live spontaneously. I never pass up a chance to dance, an opportunity to sing off-key or put myself in danger of humiliation. And it rarely fails to please me. Some of my most satisfying moments have been due to spur of the moment decisions. One that specifically comes to mind happened about a year ago.

Last February I chaperoned a trip to Washington, DC with my daughter and three bus loads of middle school students. We saw all kinds of amazing things like the White House, the Capitol, the National Archives, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and the Kennedy Center. Our last day in DC was a "free" day where we were allowed to visit whatever attractions we wanted to see in downtown DC as long as we spent some time at the Smithsonian museums and stayed in decent sized groups. Safety in numbers, you know. Me and the four girls for which I was responsible planned to spend the day with another group. The other group wanted to squeeze as much as possible into the day and mapped out an ambitious schedule that left no room for delays, detours or indecision. They had us scheduled down to mere minutes. We went along with that plan because we wanted to see so many things that day. Things went well until we got to the Holocaust Museum, where we were allotted thirty minutes until we were to head next door to the Treasury Department for a tour on how money is made. We zipped through the special exhibit but ran out of time for the permanent exhibit upstairs which houses the most significant artifacts in the museum's collection. Me and my girls kept lingering for more looks, and the other group kept waving for us to hurry so we could leave. I could tell my girls didn't want to go yet. I understood. I felt compelled to stay, too. I huddled them together and asked them if they wanted to stay. They did. I asked them if they realized the upstairs exhibits would be pretty graphic. They did. I knew staying would mean splitting off from our larger group and leave me shuttling four young women around a city I didn't really know...alone. It's an awesome responsibility to take care of someone else's children, and I always keep that in mind when chaperoning. The thought of someone getting hurt or lost on my watch terrifies me. A little voice inside me nudged me to break away from the other group anyway, and I did. The other adults looked at me warily and moved on reluctantly. I ignored their frowns and headed up the steps with my girls. We spent a long time upstairs, viewing each display and reading the information that went with it. We stood in a rail car that once transported thousands of Jews to death camps and still smelled of pain. We stood in front of a huge pile of shoes collected from the Jews as they arrived at the camps. We saw pictures of horrible crimes against humanity and looked into the faces of victims captured in old photos. It was incredibly moving. In fact, it was probably the most educational part of the whole trip. The girls were very quiet the whole time. As we left I was trying to figure out how to find our next stop without getting lost or mugged. I began to second guess my decision to stay when one of the girls looked at me and said, "That was much better than seeing how money is made." I smiled at her. In an instant she melted my concerns. "Yes," I said. "It really was."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Did She Say?

Ring ring.
Ring ring.

Sissy-"Hello."
Mama J.-"Did you feel that hurricane we had this morning?"
Sissy-"Hurricane? We didn't have a hurricane."
Mama J.-"Yes, we did."
Sissy-"We didn't have a hurricane."
Mama J.-"Your brother said we did."
Sissy-"We couldn't have had a hurricane. We don't live near the ocean."
Mama J.-"Hmm."

At 4:37am Thursday morning we had a 5.2 earthquake. It's epicenter was on one of two faults that are near us. People who don't live in this part of the country usually don't realize we have tremors in these parts. They don't happen that often, and they're not that big, but they happen, and they always seem to take us by surprise. My initial reaction when I awoke to the rumbling Thursday was that a herd of squirrels was running through our attic. After eliminating rampant squirrels and wild winds I finally awoke enough to realize it was a quake. When the shaking stopped I immediately rolled over and went back to sleep. Hubby and Teen angel slept right through it. That's how excited we get about tremors. We just don't get worked up about stuff like that.

The disaster preparedness folks are always telling us to get ready for a big earthquake like the one in 1812 around here that made the Ohio River flow backwards and created a large lake in northwest Tennessee. Last week's little shake had them preaching preparedness again. We keep bottled water around, and we have earthquake insurance, so I think we're okay. However, it did occur to me we need to add something else to our earthquake kit....better underwear and nightclothes. Lord help us if the big one ever comes in the wee hours, and we have to get out of the house. The neighbors are going to see some ratty drawers and pajamas on the Hula-gens if I don't add those to our preparedness list.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Who's That Girl?

Remember how I mentioned a little while back that I was on my college pom pon squad and that somewhere out there is a calendar with a photo of me in my uniform with 80’s hair and a big cheesy smile? Well, I didn’t find the calendar, but this week Teen Angel stumbled upon a bunch of pictures of me in that uniform, and they just cracked me up. At the risk of seeming narcissistic I had to share them with you because I think you’ll find them funny, too, especially if you’re about my age. That’s because those pictures from 20 plus years ago are a snapshot of my search at age twenty for who I wanted to be…or who I thought I should be….or who I thought I was expected to be. Whatever. You get the idea. I look at these pictures and ask myself, who IS this girl because this isn’t the Hula I know now. Thankfully, I skipped the usual hot roller routine the day these photos were made, so you won’t see the really big hair I usually had at the time.

Here is my sultry, I want to be sexy look. I’m surprised I’m not pouting. I wanted to be hot. I just didn’t know how.


This is my contemplative, I’m so deep pose. I guess I wanted to be smart AND sexy.


Here’s my all American look, which really meant I want to be sexy but want you to think I’m the girl next door. Geez.

This is my serious pose. I guess I was trying to be…I don’t know what I was trying to be.
Again, I ask myself, where is the real Hula in all of this posing?


Ah. There she is. The goofy, never quite completely together girl who has a habit of falling and scraping her knees and putting her foot in her mouth. In a stack of about fifteen pictures, this was the only one that seemed real.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Dusting Off The Coconuts

Fruitcakes in the kitchen
Fruitcakes on the street
Struttin' naked through the cross walk
In the middle of the week

Half baked cookies in the oven
Half baked people on the bus
There's a little bit of fruitcake left in everyone of us
Fruitcakes:Jimmy Buffett


Countown to this year’s trip to Margaritaville: 1 week
This time next week I will be in St. Louis, surrounded by parrotheads of all shapes, sizes and flavors. We will usher Jimmy into the city with a colorful welcome. The parking lots around the Verizon Amphitheater will be full of fruitcakes and half baked people in the middle of the week. There might even be one or two struttin’ partially naked through a crosswalk (I saw that last year). The music will be fine, the beverages will be salty, and the people watchin’ will be superb. I can’t wait. I wonder if these folks will be there.



Wednesday, April 16, 2008

No Class

A few times a year I am called upon to visit schools and impart some knowledge upon them about electricity. I've spent the last few days in the classroom, working with 4Th and 7Th graders. And boy am I pooped. I always enjoy it. I love working with the kids, it's a change in my work routine and I get a kick out of helping them to learn something. Middle school kids can be a little stand-offish and preoccupied with the opposite sex or their cherry flavored lip gloss, but they usually warm up pretty quickly. Fourth graders are still excited to soak up new things and love experiments. My favorite are the first graders because they all want to give you big hugs just for showing up and visiting with them. As much as I enjoy my little stints in the classroom, they're always a reminder of why I'm not cut out to be a full time teacher.

Teachers have an incredibly difficult job. The expectations are high, and the stresses are many. It's tough to please parents, please administration, keep up with all the continuing education requirements and educate students who show up each day with a mixed bag of learning issues and family dysfunction. It's hard to stand on your feet all day, constantly trying to keep the attention of fifteen or so kids with limited resources and limited parental support. I have a great deal of respect for teachers, and I would not want their job. For any teachers who are reading this...GOD...BLESS...YOU. The demands and stresses are not ones I want to live with. But there are a few little things about teaching that discourage me from ever wanting to walk in those shoes. Ladies and gentlemen...I give you....the top ten reasons Hula Girl could not be a teacher (aside from all that other stuff I just mentioned.)

10. An aversion to Crispitos and corn dogs
9. An aversion to varicose veins
8. There's no cable TV in the teacher's lounge
7. Grade schoolers on a warm day after recess are stinky
6. I pee on my shoes when I try to use those short toilets
5. Telling kids "what do you mean you didn't get it the first time" is frowned upon
4. Diet Coke during the day isn't allowed
3. You have to leave out all the really good stuff about history like Presidential affairs
2. Kids like to pick their noses and scratch their butts right before they hug you
1. Whacking bad students up the side of the head while shouting "to the moon, Alice" is not allowed.

For these reasons and more, I shall keep my teaching stints short, but I relish the opportunities they give me to share with kids and grow in my appreciation for the folks who stand up in front of a classroom every day and educate our children. To those of you who do....thank you, thank you, thank you....and may the force be with you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Message From The Ad Council

This is your brain.

This is your brain on drugs.


This is your brain while raising teenagers.


Get the picture?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fun Monday-5 Photos, 5 Words

Our Fun Monday host this week is Nekked Lizard Adventures. Love that name by the way. N.L.’s instructions were to use five pictures and five words for each picture, the double nickel challenge he called it. To me, the best pictures are those that tell a story, and I love old photos because I like to guess the stories behind them. I love the clothes, antique cars and weathered faces in old pictures, especially family photos. We’re fortunate to have obtained several pictures of our ancestors and the stories that go with them. Lord have mercy, there were some colorful characters in the generations of Hula-gen’s that came before us. Some of them were downright outlaws (on Hubby’s side, I should point out). Some were just, well…unusual, like the great, great something or other on my mother’s side of the family who was named Napoleon and rode a big white horse. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the wildest folks from our past, but I have some pictures that I think speak louder than words. I’ve chosen five that I really like and because I’m way too verbose to live with five stinkin’ words for each photo, I’ve given each one a five word caption and an explanation. (Really, Nekked Lizard, how many bloggers do you know who can use just five words?) By the way, I was most disappointed that I couldn’t include my favorite picture of my grandma. She was a quiet lady who always tried to be a peacemaker, but my mother, who guards her photos like Fort Knox, has a picture of granny on the picket line at the local glove factory wearing a big straw hat and carrying a picket sign. As far as I know, it was her only act of protest in her entire life. One day, when I can wrestle that picture from mama, I’ll post it. In the meantime......

VET BATTLES SNAKE IN BOAT

This is my grandpa, Baby Ruth’s daddy. He was a decorated World War II vet who wasn’t afraid of anything. In fact, he brought home from the war a large Nazi flag he climbed a pole to tear down during fierce fighting in a small German town. He wasn’t afraid of this 4’2” cotton mouth snake that managed to get in the boat with him during a 1967 fishing trip. The snake lost and grandpa brought home another souvenir of battle.

SMALL TOWN GIRL DREAMS BIG



This is my mother (middle) and two of her siblings. They’re standing in front of the plane my grandpa used to fly. I love the Katherine Hepburn pose she has going on in this photo. She looks so worldly for a poor, small town girl. I like to think she’s dreaming of escaping to exotic and exciting places.

MOONSHINE RUNNER SMOKES THE LAW


This is Mama J. (far left), her parents and younger brother. Her daddy looks like an outlaw in this photo because…well…he was just a teensy weensy itty bit on the wrong side of the law at the time. For years, he ran moonshine to supplement his lackluster farming skills. His buddy and partner brewed the stuff, and Pap ran it up and down Kentucky roads. He always drove a new, fast car with a big trunk. He never got caught.

BATHING BEAUTY’S OUTING GOES BUST

This is my favorite picture of Mama J. She was very young at the time and is sporting a new bathing suit. In fact, the cover-up and suit fit in that little box she’s holding. She’s pouting because this poor, little farm girl had planned to go swimming, but for reasons she no longer remembers, didn’t get to go. This makes me laugh every time I look at it. Don’t tell her I posted it, or I’m in BIG trouble. Please? Pretty, please with caramel on top?

SOLDIER SNAGS BRIDE AT CHRISTMAS

I’ve seen this photo of mama and daddy a hundred times, but until recently I didn’t realize the significance of it. It fascinates me because it shows them in a way I’ve never personally witnessed….before kids, and bills and age…before they were my parents. Here they look just like any young love struck couple celebrating Christmas. When I pulled the photo from the album to scan it recently, I saw that mama had scribbled on the back of it, “December 22, 1962. The night we got engaged.” Cool. Very cool.

Like It's the Best Evah

Like Teen Angel got like this new cell phone yesterday. Oh my God! It's like the best evah. Like no one else has the same phone 'cause it's so new, and like it slides and everything. She had to call her BFF's Allison and Sarah right away to share the news 'cause it's just the best thing to happen to her during spring break and all. Oh, and because she's been like so responsible she now has unlimited texting, so like if she uses more than the 998 texts she like used last month she won't get in TRBL with her parents and have to pay extra on the phone bill. And like she Bluetoothed her old ring tones so Feels Like Teen Spirit plays when a certain someone calls and Back on Black plays when her mom calls and like...well....like it's just too exciting for words. OH MY GOD!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Parenting Method #3861

Disciplining your children is tough. Each child is different, and you have to find the technique that works for each child. For instance, hanging Child A by his toes from a large tree may not work for Child B. Child B may respond better to water boarding or sleep deprivation. I have found that you have to get more creative with discipline as your children get older, and they get more creative in their ways to circumvent your rules. I found a new technique this week and thought I'd share it since we parents have to stick together if we're ever going to get out of this thing alive, right?

Teen Angel has always been a very stubborn child (gets it from her father, of course), and standard punishments didn't really work well with her. She laughed at "time outs". She had the stamina of a POW and could sit in the corner for hours without batting an eye....when she was four. Solitary confinement in her room didn't bother her at all, and spankings were only mildly effective. Over the years I had to resort to drastic measures....house work. She hates cleaning as much as I do. Making her do it yielded better behavior from her, and eliminated a backlog of chores for me. It was a Eureka! moment when I discovered this tactic, and I rode that wave for....well, I still am. When she was six she had to scrub toilets because of her smart alecky mouth. When she was ten she had to clean the kitchen floor with a toothbrush because of her smart alecky mouth. When she was twelve she had to do laundry because of her smart alecky mouth. Now she does laundry to earn her weekly allowance and Hubby does some of the cleaning because he's retired, so I'm running out of chores for her to do when she acts like a heathen. I've been searching for new techniques.


We still have several effective methods for bad behavior in public. We have been known to sing or dance in the middle of Wal-Mart to get her to stop acting surly and mouthy. Or if she's acting really ugly, I just lay a big juicy kiss on her dad. Parental PDA stops her in her tracks every time. But at home, we were still lacking a really good method for zipping her mouth when it's out of control...until last Monday. I accidentally stumbled upon some parental shock and awe, the stealth fighter of teenage discipline, the mother of all weapons of mass attitude destruction.......parental nudity.

Remember how appalling it is to see your parents naked when you're a teenager? For some time now, I've been hollering out "nekked alert" to Teen Angel if such a moment arises on my way to the shower, but Monday she walked into the dressing room ahead of me, and I started changing clothes while her back was turned. I was standing there mostly in my birthday suit when she turned back around. Feeling sassy, I raised my arms and shouted "boo"! She screamed and ran, shouting, "My retinas. My retinas. Call a doctor! I'm blind!" Oh, it was great. I ran after her, and she ran harder, hollering for me to get away. At that moment she would have agreed to any of my demands just so I would have put on some clothes. Oh, yeah. She was putty in my hands. It was sweet. And the good part about this method parents, is that you don't have to be completely nekked. Apparently, just seeing your parent's partially clad, wrinkling body is enough to send a teenager into convulsions. Now, I wouldn't do this to a son, and I wouldn't want Hubby to do it to our daughter, but giving your teenager a glance at what he or she will look like in about thirty years shuts them up. I'm sure Dr. Phil would have something to say about all of this, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so if you find yourself in a pickle and can't get your teenager under control, I say show 'em some skin. I'm tellin' you. It will leave them speechless.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

At Last

About, oh, sixteen years ago, I won a contest over at Swampy’s place. The prize was a $50 gift certificate from Kemo Sabe, which is a really cool store in Aspen, Colorado. Now, I’m the worst at spending gift certificates. I love them; beg for them at Christmas and then hold on to them FOREVER. That’s because I want to save them for something special or make just the right selection. I love having choices. I hate having choices. If you give me one or two options, I can give you a decision in seconds. Well, maybe minutes. But if I have a whole store to choose from, you’ll have to buy me a cake because I’ll have a birthday before I make up my mind on a purchase. I mosied over to the Kemo Sabe website for some ideas…and got stuck…..time and time again.

I thought about applying them toward new boots for Hubby but finally decided the thirteen pair he already has would suffice. Chaps looked like a whole lot of fun, but since I don’t have anything to rope other than a squirrel or two, I decided to take a pass on those. I flirted with the idea of a Stetson hat for a few weeks, but finally realized it would be a waste of money because I really wouldn’t fit in wearing it to something like the Mayor’s prayer breakfast or a Chamber of Commerce board meeting. The days ticked by, and I couldn’t make up my mind. The choices were just too many.

First of all, I love a store that puts pictures of its customers on its website under a tab labeled “Kick Ass Customers”, and what’s not to like about a store where you can go to their website and reserve a beer for your next store visit. Helloooo Darlin’. Also, I love that they capitalize “Cowboy” because it deserves the same respect as “President” or “Senator”. Their goal is to bring out the cowboy in all of us, and I needed a little help in finding my inner cowgirl, so I called up the store and asked Adrianne for a little help. “Nana” as they call her took some pictures and sent them to me. I was tempted by the scarves. I could wear these with a suit…if it wasn’t 210 freakin’ degrees around here in the summer.

And the scarf with the brands was as cute as a speckled pup underneath a rose bush.

I got really excited about this picture frame, but it doesn’t go with the d├ęcor of my home or office.

They have some really funny signs. This one was in the running.


But it should say “her” instead of “him”. I’m the slow riser in our house. This one was pretty cute, too.

But as I was surveying the pictures, I came to this one, and something caught my eye.

In reading the front of the caps, I stumbled across the black one on the lower right and was smitten by the wording“No Sniveling”. Ha! I love it. It’s perfect to wear when I’m running and feel like quitting, when my daughter is whining or when I just want to make a statement. Yep, I had to have the hat. I liked it so much, I bought two and another one that just says “Kemo Sabe”. Leave it to me to have the whole store at my fingertips and end up buying ball caps. They arrived today.



I love them so thanks Swampy. The contest was fun, and the gift certificate was great, even if it did take me weeks to use it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hello Country Bumpkin

After I took the 80’s music quiz it occurred to me that I would have aced the darn thing if the quiz had been about 80’s COUNTRY music. I may be an old rock ‘n roller, but I know more trivia about 80’s country music than you can shake a stick at. Yes, sir, if I’m ever on Jeopardy and that’s a category, I’ll be all over that like a hog on corn. That’s because I spent most of the 80’s working in radio…country music radio.

As a teenager I mowed yards to earn money. The week I graduated from high school I decided I wanted a real job, something that involved steady pay and a little air conditioning. I wanted to be in radio. There was an opening at our little hometown AM radio station, and I wanted it. I was so green I didn’t even know I should call to ask for an application or an interview. I just showed up unannounced one day, asked to see the owner and told him I wanted to work in radio. He stared at me, somewhat amused, for what seemed like forever and finally waved me into his office. We talked for about thirty minutes and, to make a long story short, he decided to give me a chance.

I knew nothing about radio. I learned quickly though. I loved being a deejay. At that time we still used records and turntables, and the AP machine was this big black monster that clicked and clacked throughout the day, spitting out news stories. It had a bell system that alerted you to breaking news. If you heard four bells from across the room, you knew you’d better check it because something had blown up or somebody important was dead. In an operation like small town radio, you learn how to do everything because you’re often left alone. My first day on the air by myself lightning hit the transmitter and knocked us off the air. I was scared to call the owner because I thought I’d be fired for dead air. I wasn’t, but I was introduced to our engineer, Earl, a crusty old fellow who wore a big key chain on his belt and walked around telling people to “pull his chain”. He told really dirty jokes, but they were funny, and he was harmless. All through college I worked at the station. I spun records, made commercials, took requests, gave away prizes and called local police departments to scrounge up news for the local newscasts. I read news stories and gave the pig and hog reports and the obituaries. Our newspaper was a weekly, so local folks had to turn on the radio each day to find out who had died and when their funerals were. It’s a sin to miss visitation in this part of the country. In fact, visitation followed by a trip to Dairy Queen is a big social activity in my hometown. Listeners did not miss the obituaries. They often called to give ME more details on someone’s passing. On Sunday mornings, I played gospel music and opened the door for the four or five preachers who traipsed in throughout the morning to give live sermons. They preached from a little soundproof booth behind me while I monitored their audio levels and played their weekly music selections. We had a fire and brimstone guy who banged his fists on the counter, making me jump. We had another guy who always ran over his allotted time because he couldn’t shut up, starting a weekly fight with the preacher who followed him. We even had a whole church choir that showed up one morning and announced they were going to sing with Brother Ollie. I crowded them all in the tiny control room, lined them up in front of a microphone and let them have at it. My ears rumbled from the force of their Amazing Grace.

I dealt with nice listeners, loud listeners, crazy listeners and listeners who would run you over to win a 2 liter bottle of pop and a Mello Yello T-shirt. I juggled broken turntables, severe weather and my own ignorance. Once, I caught myself right before I segued from Randy Travis’ song Diggin’ Up Bones to a commercial for Miller Funeral Home. More than anything I learned about country music. Up to that point in my life, I had hated country music. I made fun of it. Howled at it when my parents played it on the car radio. Bad mouthed it regularly. Acted like it was the scourge of the earth. But working at the radio station forced me to learn about it. I had to be able to talk intelligently about it and fill dead air between songs. I had to pretend to like it for the listeners’ sake. So I read about singers, poured over the liner notes in albums and started paying attention to the Nashville scene. I figured out that it wasn’t so bad. I didn’t learn to love the music, but eventually, I did learn to respect its writers and performers. I picked up the lyrics to the songs I played each day and hummed along despite myself. By the time the 80’s drew to a close and I starting working in television, I had quite a library of country music trivia in my head.

I still have it. Sometimes for fun, I pick a country oldies station on the radio and see how many song lyrics I know or how much I remember about each act. I know there was a Dave and Sugar before there was SugarLand. I know the number of the flight in that Shelly West-David Frizzell hit (309). I know the words to the first chorus of Hello Country Bumpkin- “She said hello country bumpkin, how’s the frost out on the pumpkin, I’ve seen some sights but man you’re something, where’d you come from country bumpkin.” I can Count The Flowers on The Wall and Take This Job and Shove It right Before the Next Tear Drop Falls. You can Send Me Down To Tucson or Lay With Me in a Field of Stone but it will make me Crazy. I Will Always Love You but Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue when there’s an Angel Flyin’ Too Close to The Ground. And I know when to hold ‘em, when to fold ‘em, when to walk away and when to run. I never count my money when I’m sittin’ at the table, ‘cause there’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done. So, don’t let my score on the 80’s music quiz fool you. I know more than you think. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys and that’s Close Enough to Perfect For Me.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Definitely From The Wrong Generation




You Scored 50% Correct



You are a solid child of the 80s

You'd never confuse Tiffany from Debbie

And while you may not know Prince's first #1 hit

You know every word to Little Red Corvette



Okay, I've always said I was from the wrong generation. I may have graduated from high school in 1982 and partied like it was 1999. I may have done the safety dance and wore big hair. I may have even gone to see The Police and REO SpeedWagon in concert, but my heart really belonged to the 60's. And my results on this quiz proves that. Now it's your turn.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fun Monday-Celebrity Crushes

Jo Beaufoix is hosting this week's Fun Monday, and she wants us to tell about our first celebrity crush. Here are her instructions: I want to know about your first ‘celebrity’ crush. You know, the one you fancied from that band, or that film, or who read the news, or who won Gold at the Olympics.
Did you have their pictures on your wall or in your locker?
Did you dress like them, style or colour your hair like them, follow them, meet them, marry them? (It could happen.)
Photos of THEM would be good, photos of YOU at the time you liked them would be even better.
Also, if you have time, I’d like to know whether they had any influence over your life, the person you became, or if they were just an embarrassing blip you would kind of rather forget about.


Okay, this is a topic I can yak about for hours because I had soooo many celebrity crushes as a preteen and teen. When my brother reads this post he is going to roll with laughter at all those memories of me pasting posters from Tiger Beat and Teen Beat on my bedroom walls. It was bad, really bad. There were too many celebrity crushes to list them all, so I'll just focus on a couple. First of all, let me set the stage. Here's what I looked like back then.



How about that cheerleading pose, hmm? As Fergie says, glamorous...or so I thought. M*A*S*H was one of my favorite television shows, wide pants were in and saddle oxfords were back...for the third time. We took Pringles chips in our lunchboxes, and you weren't cool if you didn't have a Trapper Keeper. I had a crush on about half the boys in my class, but I saved my biggest crushes for the stars that graced my TV and radio. I flirted briefly with a crush on the Fonz. Happy Days was pretty new, and he seemed cool. But then my cousin from "up north" came to visit and informed me that the Fonz was old hat in her neck of the woods and anybody who was anybody liked that newcomer, John Travolta, from Welcome Back Kotter. So as not to appear a country bumpkin, I switched my alliance immediately. It didn't last long though because pretty soon I discovered the pop king that would make me swoon, cause me to watch The Hardy Boys religiously and cover my bedroom wall with dozens of posters....Shaun Cassidy.

Oh yeah. I was hot for Joe Hardy. I spent every spare dime I had on Tiger Beat magazine. I pored over his vital statistics. I could tell you his birth date, the names of his family members, his height, his weight and the name of his pets. I played his 45's over and over and sang Da Doo Ron Ron 'til my voice was done gone. It was bad. Almost as bad as my mother's cousin's crush on Elvis. Although, I never had to fight over my celebrity memorabilia in divorce court like she did. Just for fun, I zipped around the web to see what Shaun looks like today. Here's a little before and after action.

Hmmm. Not too bad, but what happened to that cute little backside? Well, I guess teen heart throbs get old too. Old videos of him singing his three hit songs are on YouTube, and by the looks of the comments, I wasn't the only one with a hankering for this Hardy Boy.

My Shaun Cassidy crush started to fade when my hormones really kicked in. I discovered a new man, one a little edgier and a little more dangerous. Ain't that just like a woman? Always falling for the bad guy. This guy rolled across my radio one day with Tonight's The Night and I fell hard. In fact, I never looked back. I dumped Shaun for Rod Stewart and his naughty music....his sexy butt (are you seeing a trend) and his spiky hair. My best friend, E., fell too. We worshiped at the Do Ya' Think I'm Sexy alter for hours, picking up the needle on the turntable and repeating the dirty parts of his songs to squeals of "Can you believe he said that?" Here's what my boy Rod looks like today.


He's holding up pretty well for sixty. I can't believe he's that old. And to be honest with you, I still have the hots for him. After all these years, and after those wrinkles set in, I'm still in love with this bad boy. I will be sad when he stops singing. I finally saw him in concert about twenty years ago. I was so into the show, I hardly spoke to my date all night. I'd like to see Rod one more time before he quits touring. I've been combing Ticket Master the last couple of years, trying to catch him close to home. He's getting close. He has an August show about five hours away from me. I may catch a little Hot Legs before the summer is over. In the meantime, I'll make do with my current celebrity crush. Have you seen his butt?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Girls, Girls, Girls

Sissy and I are going out tonight with a couple of mutual friends she hasn't seen in years. It will be a Girls Night Out. Holy cow! I haven't been on a Girls Night Out since...well, since the first Mr. Bush was in office. No kidding. I used to love GNO. When I was young and single it was GNO every night, but when you become a spouse and mother that kind of thing tends to trickle down. In my case, it completely disappeared. I never minded though. That's just how the world spins when you have bigger things to worry about than your shade of lip gloss or the latest dance move.

My family has always been a bigger priority than my gal peeps. My weekends are spent with Hubby and Teen Angel, and I'm fine with that. Hubby is my best friend. We like to do things together. I think it's important for couples to spend time together. Otherwise, it's easy to drift. Some couples take vacations without their children. Not us. We're a family of three, not two, so where the family goes, she goes. We even took her with us when we went to Las Vegas on a business trip. I just gave her the whole don't take any of the porn they hand you on the street and look at the Grand Canyon while we fly over it, so your teacher doesn't think you're missing school just to have fun speech. We had a blast and brought back rulers with a roulette wheel on them for her classmates. We're thoughtful that way.

But since Teen Angel is fifteen now and often has her own plans on the weekend and since Sissy needs social time other than meals with her parents at (say it on the count of three y'all) CRACKER BARREL!!, me and Hubby figured a little gal time wouldn't be a bad thing for me and Sissy. Problem is, it's been so long since I've done this I'm not sure what to expect. Could you help me please?

1. What should I wear?
a. Something tasteful and appropriate for a 43-year old woman
b. Something with an elastic waistband and the word Sass stamped on it
c. The latest trend from Hot Topic
d. My margarita print tropical shirt and matching margarita earrings

2. What should we discuss during dinner?
a. The Presidential race, the escalation of troops in Afghanistan and the price of gasoline
b. Various middle age ailments including unwanted hairs, swinging hormones & constipation
c. Hubby's colonoscopy
d. An old classmate's recent boob job AND tummy tuck

3. What should we do after dinner?
a. See a chick flick
b. Go straight home so we can get to bed at our usual time
c. Bar hop and dance 'til 2am
d. Check out that scrap booking workshop at "Cuttin' Up"

4. For the single dames in the gang, should we?
a. Refrain from discussing men unless they bring it up
b. Offer to hook them up with middle aged men we know
c. Stop for drinks at a local bar to let them check out the available merchandise
d. Order them that hot, hot, hot 2008 Houston fire department catalog (you know you're going to Google it, don't tell me you aren't)

Any feedback you can provide would be most appreciated. I'm really out of practice, and I don't want to embarrass myself. And at the rate I get out with the girls if I embarrass myself I won't get another chance to make up for it until...well....until another Republican lands in the White House.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Just A Hare Old

I have several little concrete statues in my flower beds. Not those big tacky things that look like a bent over grandma, but small little critters tucked among the bushes, grasses and flowers. I like to place them where you almost have to stumble upon them to know they’re there. I’m all about surprises, ya’ know. Most of them are rabbits, and I’ve had most of them several years. You know how you look at something so long; you can’t see its flaws anymore? (I.e.…spouses) I think that’s what happened to my bunnies, because I realized this week as I surveyed the yard that most of them are really starting to show their age. In fact, they’re quite a motley little crew. I probably need to sort and toss a few concrete critters. Take a look.

This is Jack. He stands guard over my fourteen rose bushes. He’s a regal fellow, but he’s lost his features. The weather has worn him smooth. That’s okay. Who needs eyes anyway? He can stay.

This little fellow curled up in my weed covered peony bed has lost his features, too. And he has a crack on his bottom. Not that kind of crack, silly. A real crack. I’m afraid to pick him up. He might fall apart. I hope he goes peacefully in his sleep, and I hope I’m not there to see it.


This bashful guy looks good at first glance, but he has a big crack, too. Stop that! A crack in his foot. Not the kind…oh, you know what I mean. Poor guy. I’d hide my face too, if I had bird poop on my head.

This guy isn’t so bad. He just has a chipped ear, but hey, none of us is perfect.



This guy is missing a little more of his ear. Ummm. Psst. Just let on like it’s hardly noticeable. I wouldn’t want to hurt his feelings.



Well, Peter is missing parts of BOTH ears. WHAT is up with the ears? Did the ear fairy steal them this winter? Well, if we keep the last bunny, we have to keep this one.


Okay, this one is a little harder to ignore. This is Honey and Bunny. At some point, Bunny lost his whole dadgum ear. That must have been some honeymoon. That’s kind of symbolic of marriage, isn’t it? He only half hears everything she says. Hee hee. Okay, we’ll keep him around for a good laugh every now and then.

And finally, we come to the biggest heartbreaker of all. My dear sweet angel that sat under the old plum tree lost his legs. A storm blew him over and snapped his legs like match sticks. Bet that hurt. After his tragic accident we moved him to a spot where he wouldn’t be noticed except by the meter reader. Poor guy. I just don’t have the heart to do away with him. We bought him after my nephew died and named him Chance after my nephew. Wait! If we build a goldfish pond we could sit him on the edge like he has his legs in the water, and no one would know he’s missing his feet. Yeah, that’s it. Okay, he definitely stays, too. Is that it? Are there anymore? No? Hmmm. Well, perhaps I was a little hasty before. Perhaps, these little buddies have plenty of life in them, despite their handicaps. Maybe I should treat them as dear senior citizens who just need a little more care. And maybe I need to get my fanny out there and weed more often so I can take better care of them.