Friday, May 30, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Recently, we’ve taken to driving the golf cart around the neighborhood. We don’t live near the country club. We’re not the country club set by any means. First of all, we don’t play golf. Papa T. used to before he lost his eyesight, but hasn’t in a few years. We’re prone to walking around in the yard in our pajamas in the early morning hours, and we’re not wealthy enough to make donations to artsy fartsy stuff, although we like artsy fartsy stuff. Well, Sissy and I do. Hubby doesn’t really care for concerts with violins unless there are banjos involved. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s against country club rules to plant thirty tomato plants in your backyard. Let me repeat, we do not live near the country club, therefore (and this is important) we are the only ones driving around our subdivision in a golf cart.
We’ve had this golf cart ever since Papa T. stopped playing golf, but we never really used it. Then Sissy moved down the street from us, and we discovered how handy it is to use for quick trips to her house and to the nearby duplex that Hubby manages. Also, Teen Angel, who starts preparing for her driver’s license soon, is all about driving stuff…any stuff that has wheels and a brake pedal. She has fallen in love with the golf cart. She drives it daily. She and Hubby have spent a lot of time talking about the golf cart lately, so I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. I came home Friday to find they had bought several parts for the golf cart and had been plotting for a while now to pimp their little ride like you wouldn’t believe. I’m embarrassed to tell you how much they’re spending on it with all the starving pygmies in New Guinea and the impending depression that Papa T. keeps warning us about. However, it is their mad money and their father/daughter bonding time, so I have just closed my eyes, strapped on my seatbelt and prayed that this little redneck roller coaster ride won’t have too many drops. I’m worried though. They have big plans that started this morning with a trip to the body shop. Here’s what it looked like on the lot.
It’s getting a shiny coat of paint and a lot of other tricks. See these wheels?
They will be replaced by some Mack daddy pimpin’ chrome wheels and tires that are already at the house…along with a new dash, side mirrors, a horn and a few other accessories. I think they’ve discussed reupholstering the seats, too. Oh, and see the rack in the back?
That’s probably going to be replaced by a fold down seat that they think will be great for carrying Mama J. and Papa T. to Sissy’s house. Frankly, I’m pretty nervous about putting crippled, blind and deaf senior citizens on the back of this thing for a bouncin’ ride that could reach speeds of 22 miles per hour when they get the new motor on it. Thank goodness they nixed the nine inch lift kit.
I had no words for them Friday when they shared their plans with me. I could only stand there and shake my head. Stay tuned for pictures of the end product. I’ll be sure to share them with you. Who knows? Maybe I’ll fall in love with it when it’s done. They have an iPod/CD kit you can get for it. It would come in handy for the Jeff Foxworthy CD’s we're gonna need.
Monday, May 26, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
My hair has always had a mind of its own, even from the beginning.
See, no body, no control. It didn’t take long for me to gravitate toward the style that would stick with me for years; long and straight with bangs.
Oh, I tried other hairdos along the way. I tried bangs with curls.
Bangs with a shag.
Bangs with a longer shag.
No bangs and a grown out shag.
Around eighth grade I got wild and crazy and whacked off my hair. BIG mistake. Because then I had to enter high school with short hair and feathered bangs. Love the 70’s.
I wore so much hairspray back then I had to stay away from open flames. When it grew out, I tried the curls again, without bangs.
But in college it wasn’t cool to wear sponge rollers to frat parties, and it was either drop the frat parties or be home by 8pm so the rollers had time to dry before my 9am class…. so I dropped the curls (and never had an 8 o'clock class).
But then the bouncin’ 80’s came along and I wanted to Dance With Somebody so guess what….more bangs…big bangs…satellite dish bangs.
Then came along…cue ominous music…the dreaded perm years. Is there anyone out there who was an adult in the 80’s who didn’t have a perm? If so, stand up, wave your hand and shout “Amen”. Anyone? Anyone? I’ll wait. No? Ha! I didn’t think so. I’m just as guilty as the rest of you. Not only did I have curls, I had tight curls…with bangs.
For the last fifteen years I’ve been too busy raising a child and earning a living to worry much about a hairdo. I accepted that no real style was the best style for me, but I know that won’t work for very much longer. For now, I’m right back where I started. Long, straight and bangs.
Gray bangs…unless I keep them covered with San Tropez #2. Tell me, am I the only one out there who STILL can't figure out what to do with her hair?
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Since she’s a nurse I thought I’d come up with a name reflecting her career. I pondered famous nurses but didn’t come up with anything appropriate. Florence Nightingale doesn’t lend itself to catchy aliases. Margaret Sanger is a little obscure. I thought about Hot Lips Hula-han (Get it? HULA-han?), but that would give strangers stumbling onto this site the wrong impression about her. She’s a very nice lady. So I did what any good internet piddler does, I hopped on over to Google and checked out nursing terms. That didn’t yield anything promising, so I researched nursing slang. It didn’t really turn up a name, but Lordy, it gave me some laughs. You people have no idea what the medical profession is saying about us, the general public when we are sitting in the ER or laying in a hospital bed. Now, every profession has its slang terms, some of them not too kind to the drunken and ignorant. People who work in stressful jobs like medicine and law enforcement have to relieve the tension somehow. They deal with so much death and dysfunction that they’d cry on their way to work every day if they didn’t laugh at the crazy stuff that happens to them on the job. It was that way in journalism. We used to laugh at some sick stuff, but we never had the repertoire of slang terms that nurses and doctors do. Oh, I had already heard a few of them like:
· Baby Catcher - an obstetrician
· Doc in a Box - a small health-care center, usually with high staff turnover and
· Donorcycle - nursing slang for a motorcycle, so named due to the amount of head trauma associated with motorcycle accident, but less so with the body, making the perfect candidate for organ donation
· Code Brown - a fecal incontinence emergency. Often used by nurses and medical technicians requesting help cleaning up an unexpected bowel movement.
· Code Yellow - a patient who has lost control of his or her bladder
· CTD - "Circling The Drain" May also mean "Certain To Die"
· DBI - "Dirt Bag Index", multiplies the number of tattoos with the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed. (In television news these are the viewers most likely to talk on camera following a tornado or train derailment.)
· Departure lounge - geriatric ward
· Digging for Worms - varicose vein surgery
· Freud Squad - the psychiatry department
· Gas Passer - an anesthesiologist
· Handbag positive - confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on hospital bed clutching handbag
· Hasselhoff - A term for any patient who shows up in the emergency room with an injury for which there is a bizarre explanation. Original Source: Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff, who hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. The broken glass severed four tendons and an artery in his right arm.
· UBI - "Unexplained Beer Injury"
· DFO - Drunk and Fell Over
· Two beers - the number of beers every patient involved in an alcohol-related automobile accident claims to have drunk before the accident. Hubby and I have a game we play while watching Cops. Every time an officer asks a driver how much he’s had to drink, we shout “Two beers” in unison with the driver. Sorry, we’re easily amused.
· Incarceritis - becoming dubiously ill when arrested or in court
· Chrome Induced Ischaemia - patient that develops inexplicable chest pains when arrested and handcuffed.
. Bobbing for apples - unblocking a badly constipated patient with one's finger.
. Chocolate Hostage – constipated
. Coffee and a Newspaper - Patient is Constipated (i.e. long time sitting on toilet with drink and reading matter)
. Cranial rectosis – butthead
. Grapes – hemorrhoids
. Guts and Butts - general surgery
. Penal Colony - renal ward
. Stream team - urology dept
There were many others that were just not family friendly enough to include here. Oh, what the heck! Here’s one of them.
. Brothel Sprouts - Genital warts. Sorry, I couldn’t stop myself.
A few were just down right crude like:
. Pumpkin positive- refers to the idea that a person's brain is so tiny that a penlight shone into their mouth will make their empty head gleam like a Halloween pumpkin.
. Cockroach Factor - a patient's ability to survive trauma or serious treatment is inversely proportional to his contribution to society
. Loose Change - dangling limb in need of amputation.
. Q-Tip - Elderly person (white haired old person)
. Callbellectomy - minor operation, sadly not permitted, to remove over-used call bell from patient's hand/reach!
. Rapid Lead Infusion - obnoxious patient ought to be shot
But my very favorite, aside from Chocolate Hostage, was this one:
. DFO-SFJ - Done Fell Out - Screaming For Jesus
That just cracks me up. So, here I sit with a belly full of laughs, but still no name for the new addition to our family. If you have any ideas let me know, and in the meantime, if you’re sitting in the hospital and someone mentions bobbing for apples, run….like the wind…or try a DFO-SFJ.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
I recently read about a woman who buys groceries only three weeks out of every month. She skips the grocery store on the last week of the month, making meals out of the stuff that’s already in her cabinets. I thought this was a great idea, especially since milk is $16 a gallon and you have to show your credit score before buying produce these days. I have tried it with some degree of success. I don’t ENTIRELY skip the grocery store one week, but I do try to feed my family off of stuff we already have and supplement with fresh produce and dairy products. My day isn’t complete without Thick and Creamy vanilla yogurt, thanks. I managed to get rid of that frozen chicken and dressing dish that’s been in the freezer since our last snowfall. I used up twelve of the 2081 pounds of frozen ground beef we have from slaughtering a cow last fall. And we ate up several of the twelve dozen ears of corn sitting in the freezer. We even ate some of the tomato bisque I made and froze last summer when we had tomatoes running out of our ears. However, there are just some things I can’t seem to get rid of. For example:
Four boxes of vanilla pudding. Four, half of them sugar free. Remind me why I wouldn’t want sugar in my pudding.
I don’t even know why I bought them in the first place. We don’t eat pudding unless the thermometer reads 80 degrees and vanilla puddin’ season has rolled around. If it ain’t covered in wafers and sandwiched between bananas, the Hula-gen’s ain’t eatin’ it.
Then there are the two packages of cornbread I’ve had since the first Clinton was on the campaign trail.
What’s worse than being a canned good orphan? Being a hand-me-down canned good orphan. Mama J. bought these, didn’t use them and gave them to me. I would swear there used to be just one. We like our cornbread sweet. This stuff isn’t sweet. Therefore, it sits and multiplies just like the loaves and fishes….right next to these guys.
I make fajitas from time to time, but usually from scratch and not with a prepackaged mix. I cannot remember when this packet showed up in my cabinets, but it’s been there so long it apparently fell in love with the gravy mix, mated and produced the two packets of unused yeast that you also see in that picture. *#$% squatters! Get off my shelf! Keep in mind; I do not discriminate in my hoarding of canned goods. I embrace all types; spicy, sweet, crunchy, bland.
I bought two cans of chilpotles for a soup I concocted. I used one full can not realizing one full tablespoon would be plenty. That soup was so hot I was afraid to eat any fiber. I didn’t have the nerve to open the second can, and it’s keeping company with this pie filling that was supposed to get turned into apple crisp and these chick peas that were supposed to get turned into….hmmm….ummm…something. Now, because I’m a crappy photographer this picture doesn’t really give the full effect of this can of pork and beans…because it’s HUGE. 53 ounces of pork and beans that I think were going to become baked beans for a potluck that got canceled.
Because of the disastrous effects of pork and beans on Hubby I will not serve these to him unless he plans to hibernate in a cave for three days or has an impending colonoscopy. We may have to host a cookout just so I can get ride of these beans. And finally, I am without explanation for this. It seems that over the course of the last two or three years I have bought a new box of salt every time the salt shaker became empty, forgetting that I had more on the shelf. I’m kind of embarrassed to show you this. Is this how a pot grower feels when the cops line up all of his plants for the newspaper and TV photographers? It is my shame. My dirty little addiction. Hello. My name is Hula and I buy too much salt. Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the canned goods I cannot use, courage to buy only the food I need, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I, on the other hand, have started to shed a lot of my "stuff". Every time we've remodeled a room in our house in the last few years, I've eliminated a lot of the what-nots, nick-nacks and dust catchers sitting around and pared down the furniture. The older I get the more I am compelled to live with less stuff. I do have a few things I collect, though. I have an ankle bracelet from every Caribbean island I've been to. We have more music in this house than a stray dog has fleas. I'm addicted to clothing, and I have quite a few kitchen gadgets. By far, my biggest collection of any one item is my cookbook collection. I have so many of them, I can't even show all of them to you. I've had to box up and store most of them in the attic, rotating a few dozen of them in and out of my dining room hutch every so often. I haven't counted them in a while, but I easily have 300-500 cookbooks. Most are well worn and splatted with butter, oil and cocoa residue. Here are a few of the different kinds of books I have.
There's the standard Betty Crocker book that started my cooking addiction. I got this one as a wedding gift, but I cut my teeth on mama's old Betty Crocker book when I was a young girl with pony tails and skinned up knees. It was just like this one. I have a few nice coffee table cookbooks, like the Paula Deen book in this picture. SuperCop bought me that one for Christmas. Pssst! He's going to be a daddy. We're very excited. We'll dish more about that in a later post. Back to the subject at hand. I have just about all of Paula's books, including her autobiography. I just love her cake recipes. I have a ton of those little recipe books by Pillsbury and other companies that I plucked from a rack near the checkout counter at the grocery store. Two years ago, a relative of mine put together a collection of recipes from the 2708 members of my dad's family. It contains a few recipes from my grandmother and my great aunt Nellie. That's a special book.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
"I'm old. And my in-laws moved in next door to us after we'd been married for 17 months. (24 years ago) I don't ever give advice on blogs or even in real life too much. But I'm telling you, if you march right over to your mother-in-law's house, cookbook in hand and a HUGE grin on your face, and say, "looky what I found in my hutch!" You will feel GREAT, and she will too, and you two will love each other all the more. Honest. I wouldn't make this up. Because some day, you'll be at her funeral, consoling your husband on the loss of his mom. And you will smile when you think of the day you walked over to her with your open heart and her cookbook."
She's absolutely right, of course, and my guilt about this doggone book has been building in the last few days. Especially after Mama J. bought me a new dress at J.C. Penney's because they were having a 50% off sale, and it's the kind of sweet, loving thing she does on a whim. Then she cooked dinner the other night and made so much that she sent part of it over to our house, and I didn't have to cook a meal after a long, hard day at work. Then my Methodist upbringing really worked on my heart, and by yesterday I had so much guilt I couldn't stand to have that book in my house. I made up my mind last night to march it over there first thing this morning. I couldn't wait to get rid of it. It was beating in the hutch like the Telltale Heart when I tried to go to sleep last night. I had to cover my ears. But then.....
She calls at 8:15am this morning and woke me up to tell me Papa T. needed a new battery in his hearing aid. Arrrrgh! I have had an incredibly stressful week. During the week my days start at 5:30am. I often don't sit down to relax until 9pm. This week it's been 10 and 11pm. I'm not retired like the rest of my family, so I don't get a daily nap...like they do. They ALL know that if I can sleep until about 9am on Saturday, I can catch up on my rest, and I won't bite their heads off or threaten to drop them all off at the bus station with $20 bills pinned to their chests. It is NO secret I try to sleep in a little on Saturdays that I don't have early obligations. I REALLY, REALLY needed to sleep in this morning. And this was the 17,301 Saturday of the last 17, 302 Saturdays that she has called early for a non emergency. Despite my best efforts, I could not go back to sleep, I'm still dragging and that pain that has radiated up the back of my neck all week is back with a vengeance. And I still have that danged cookbook in my house! I want to take it back, but I don't want to take it back, but I should take it back, but I'm feelin' all cranky again, but I need to do the right thing. Arrrrgh! This should not be this hard. I should be a better person....but I AM STILL OFFICIALLY....A TURD.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Which was highly unusual given the fact that our little rural city has a population of 30,000. Salute! A former leader of the free world doesn't roll through town every day. It was one of several stops he made today while campaigning for Hillary in Kentucky. Our primary is Tuesday, and Bill and Hillary are all over our fair state this weekend. I had forgotten he was in town today. It was kind of fun to see him fly by, and it reminded me of when Teen Angel and I were standing in front of the White House last year, and Dick Cheney drove by. I was well behaved that day and refrained from making any sort of rude, anti war gestures, thank you very much. (Hubby was very relieved to hear that when I called him that night.) I have seen Clinton before. In fact, I've seen all of the U.S. Presidents since Ronald Reagan up close. Regardless of my political leanings, I always get a kick out of it. It's just downright cool. It was a fun way to bring a stressful week to a close.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
But I'm not. Not at all. First of all, I've got a little hair problem.
And I'm feelin' a little prickly.
And I really need to vent.
I'm tellin' ya. If I don't get a nap tomorrow......
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Let me be frank. WHAT THE SMELL WERE YOU THINKIN’ WHEN YOU PUT TOGETHER THIS YEAR’S SWIMSUIT LINES?!! After spending several hours wandering from store to store in search of a decent bathing suit I am inclined to file an EEOC complaint against your company for having an all male staff because no woman would have designed the suits you have given me to choose from this year. If I am to appear in public near a body of water this summer in something other than a hoodie and capris I am going to need a few more choices. Let me explain why.
Everything I see is made for a seventeen year old girl with size 2 hips and no childbirth badges. As a 40-something woman I need something in between hoochie mama and senior citizen. I’m not ready for something flowery that stretches to my knees, but I certainly can’t tuck myself into those slingshots you call a maximum coverage bikini. Honestly, I could slap on two Post It notes and a piece of duct tape and cover up more than most of those suits I tried on recently. Can’t you put together something that covers my backside and pulls up the girls without making me look matronly? I need something that covers a few bumps on the rump and a stretch mark or two. I plan to do more than sit and pose with a martini in this suit, so make it big enough that I don’t want to spend a lot of time digging and tugging between my cheeks, if ya’ know what I mean. A little support would be nice, and can we once and for all get rid of the low rider look? That doesn’t work for anyone, even the teenagers. I’ve seen a lot of young girls whose junk was hanging out of the truck, and they could have used a little more lid.
Keep in mind all women are hiding flaws. We are imperfect people who cannot possibly squeeze into your idea poolside sexy. And it makes us feel insecure about our bodies when you ask us to try. So I’m begging you..for the love of all things summer…please go back to the drawing board and whip up something appropriate for a Hula Girl who hasn’t lost her swing but doesn’t want to let it all hang out when hanging out.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Marie-My mother in law, Mama J., is just like Marie, right down to the hairdo, the long painted nails, the flower print jackets and the backhanded compliments. She has control issues and often says and does improper things…all out of intense love for her children and grandchildren. For years, she made remarks about my housekeeping and laundry skills that drove me insane. She’s pretty much over that now. She is so much like Marie that a coworker of mine accidentally asked me recently how “Marie” was doing instead of using Mama J.’s real name. Funny thing…I didn’t even catch it until later in the conversation and neither did she. Mama J. even talks like Marie. Remember the episode where they’re having the family photo taken and Mama J. isn’t getting her way so she plops her pocket book on her lap and whispers, “Go ahead without me. I’m not feeling very well?” Mama J. has actually pulled that one before…more than once.
Frank-Papa T. used to be nothing like Frank…until his dementia kicked in. Since his mind has started to slip, Papa T. focuses a LOT on his meals. He eats with gusto and relishes a good dessert and loves him some snacks. He also has a couple of pairs of stretchy pants that he likes to wear around the house after big meals. Like Frank, he tends to ignore a lot of what his wife has to say and watches a lot of TV. He is also prone to making politically incorrect remarks…again courtesy of the dementia.
Raymond-Hubby is the golden boy in his mother’s eyes. She lavishes him with attention and thinks he can do no wrong. He is often caught in the middle of the control battles his mother and I have. However, he is much better at defending me in front of his mother than Raymond is with his family…even when I’m wrong. He’s protective of his little turd and I love him for that.
Deborah-Well, first of all I’m…um…assertive...yeah, that’s it. I’m brunette, and I hate to be manipulated. Like Deborah, I will take so much, blow up and then have to backtrack because I got carried away. I put my foot in my mouth…a lot, and I often feel like I’m the ringmaster of a three ring circus…that doesn’t know it’s a circus. Remember the episode where the whole family goes to a counseling session regarding one of Ray and Deborah’s sons, and Deborah starts spilling her guts and kind of scares the counselor? I had a similar incident when Teen Angel was little. Right after my nephew died we consulted a counselor to see if we were handling his death okay. Somehow during the first session we got onto the subject of Hubby’s parents, and I couldn’t shut up. Ten years of built up stuff came spilling out, and the therapist’s eyes got very wide. When we left the building, I said, “Whew! I don’t know about you people but I feel much better.” Hubby and Teen Angel looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
Robert-As if all of the above were not enough, I have a brother who is a police officer..who recently married for the second time….and his new wife’s name is Amy. Now, Super Cop doesn’t have any sort of hang ups about his siblings (that I know of), and he has way more self confidence than Robert, but the whole cop thing just gives us one more similarity to the Barones.
Now, here’s the best similarity of all…despite all of the whacky, dysfunctional, personality quirks that we have and all of the fussing and carrying on….we are always motivated by love. We care for each other deeply and can’t stand it if someone else picks on one of our own. We may be a three ring circus, but we’re comfortable with our circus..even if it is heavy on the clowns.
*Photo courtesy: CBS.com
Monday, May 12, 2008
I know we all try to be sweet and kind to people the majority of the time. But let's face it....we also know that sometimes we can be a big jerk. It could be that you experience road rage from time to time. Perhaps you empty the coffee pot at work some mornings and don't feel like taking the time to start a new pot for the next person. Or maybe you don't return phone calls on a timely basis when you know someone needs a response from you. Have you ever "accidentally" ruined a favorite shirt of your spouse just because you didn't care for it? Come on - it's confession time! List the small things you do that make you a jerk and elaborate just a bit on each one.
Well, I certainly have plenty to atone for. I should pray for forgiveness oh...about every two minutes for something I think or do that really just isn't mature. In fact, I could write columns about this, but you don't have that much time, so I'll toss out a couple of the more recent ones.
Let me give you a little context about this first one. (See I'm already trying to justify myself.) The sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond was based on our family. It had to be. We ARE the Barones. We live next door to Hubby's parents. His mother looks shockingly similar to Marie Barone when she's wearing the right outfit and is very similar to Marie in her...hmmm..shall we say... control issues. On that TV show Marie's manipulating ways are a constant source of frustration for her daughter in law Deborah, and they frequently butt heads. Deborah hates it when Marie is right about something. Mama J. and I ARE Marie and Deborah. We have the same kind of loving, head butting, control wrestling relationship, and I HATE it when she's right about something. I guess I'm just not as evolved as I should be. (More justification.)
Months and months ago, I borrowed a cookbook from Mama J.. It's one of those little community cookbooks that a local high school put together as a fundraiser. She loves that cookbook. It's one of the few she actually uses. She rarely cooks anymore, but this book has one or two recipes that she really likes. I read the cookbook and forgot about it. I have this same issue at the library. Don't ask how many fines I've paid. Anyway, a few months ago she asked to have the book back. I just knew I had returned it to her. I swore up and down that I had given it back to her. Insisted that she had it and had misplaced it. Acted indignant that she would even suggest that I hadn't returned it. I just KNEW I didn't have that book. I finally convinced her she was wrong...and stumbled upon the cookbook several weeks later....in my dining room hutch...with all of my other cookbooks. (If you watch Raymond you're probably familiar with the episode where Deborah does the same thing with Marie's beloved cookie tin. See? We're the Barones.)
I simply could not admit to her that I was wrong about the book. And I didn't have the kahones to face her with it. I thought and thought and finally decided I would slip it back onto her bookshelf when she wasn't at home. Pretty sad, huh? Wait! It gets better. Then she made me mad about something, and I decided NOT to return the book. It is still sitting in my hutch...and I-AM-OFFICIALLY-A-TURD.
Second jerky thing I've done lately: I have an acquaintance I see frequently. I have tried every way in the world to be nice to this woman. And she acts likes she's being nice to me, but it's that fake "I'm just pretending to like you" nice. I'd rather she just not make any effort than to act like that, but I smile back and try to make the best of it. Let me stop right here and explain that I NEVER brag that I am thin, and I am very sensitive to the struggles many folks have with food and weight. Recently, this woman started making comments to me about my weight. "You're just wasting away. "(I weigh the same that I have for a long time.) "Have you lost MORE weight?" (no) "You're gonna have to buy new pants if you get any thinner." And on and on an on...every time I see her. She says it in a joking way, but she's really not joking and her words have a mean undertone. I know she's struggling to lose weight, so I usually turn the other cheek. But a few weeks ago, I got fed up with it. She made one comment too many. I knew where she'd be eating lunch and knew she was in the middle of a very restrictive diet. I drove to a little restaurant that makes the best desserts in town and bought lunch to go. I went back to where she was eating lunch, plopped down right in front of her and proceeded to slowly eat the biggest piece of strawberry cake you've ever seen. I should be really ashamed to admit how good it felt....but...well...dadgum it....I was sick and tired of her crap. By the way, I haven't heard any more smart aleck comments about my saggy pants since then. However, I-AM-STILL-OFFICIALLY-A-TURD.
Now, do you see why the Hula-gens have to go to church every Sunday?
Saturday, May 10, 2008
A trip to the allergist confirmed my suspicions about exercise induced asthma and provided me with an inhaler and new allergy medication. For the last few weeks I've been working through my breathing issues, afraid that my running times wouldn't get any faster. To say that running has been an exercise in frustration recently is an understatement. I wanted so badly to do better today. Mentally, I NEEDED to do better. I put on my "No Sniveling" hat, focused on sticking to my pace and ended with a great personal time. It felt good. Really, really good. But even better than that was the feeling of watching an acquaintance of mine run his first race today.
This fellow has had his share of struggles with food and weight for most of his life. He had gastric bypass surgery a couple of years ago, and is still trying to lose weight and make lifestyle changes. Recently, he began a walking group at his church. He has been adding a little running to his walking and wanted to give the race a try. Throughout the race he was behind me and kept falling farther and farther back. In fact, I was afraid he had quit when I waited for him at the finish line and didn't see him after a considerable amount of time. I had hoped to cheer him on as he entered the chute toward the finish line. I walked back up the course a little ways and finally saw him chugging along. My heart went out to him. I know what it's like to be at the very back of the pack. To know that everyone but you and a few stragglers crossed the finish line a long time ago. To want so badly to finish when you really feel like sitting on the curb and waiting for the next stretcher to pick you up. To feel like you probably don't belong out there with all of those "real" runners. To feel embarrassed that you are so slow. I waited for him and has he got closer I started to cheer for him. He smiled and jokingly shouted, "It's about finishing right?" "Yes! It's just about finishing," I yelled back. He looked so tired, and even though I was tired, I figured I could make it another quarter of a mile. I slid in beside him and started running with him. "You're almost there, you know. Just a little longer. You're going to make it, " I told him. "I'm praying I will," he joked. "I pray all the time when I run," I laughed. "Really?" "Sure. I need all the help I can get." We laughed some more. I shared with him that I always add David Crowder's version of I Saw The Light to the end of my iPod racing playlists because it always makes me run faster. Our little bit of conversation seemed to take his mind off his weariness. We inched closer toward the finish line, and I told him, "Come on, let's finish big." I started running faster and hollered, "Let's go!" He picked up speed and off we went. "Come on! Dig in! You're almost there! Go, go, go!" I kept going, and he kept picking them up and putting them down. I could hear the spectators start to yell and clap for him too as we got closer. "Into the chute, into the chute. Come on! You're here, you're here!! And with that, we crossed the line. His smile was a mile wide, and my heart felt so full. I gave him a big hug and knew in my heart he would not forget how it felt to cross that finish line for the first time. I've been there, too. For the second time during that race, I said a little prayer. This time it was thanking the good Lord for letting me witness my friend's big finish. I finished twice and won both times. What a day. What a great day.
Friday, May 9, 2008
This fluffy little tree is actually several years old. It sits in our side yard near our neighbor's fence and sun porch. I love this little tree. It was here when we bought this house fourteen years ago. It's a fringe tree. What? You've never heard of a fringe tree? Well, me neither. Not until I moved here, and I've never seen another one. This little gal is absolutely beautiful this time of year. This picture doesn't do her justice. Take a few steps forward and get a closer look.
See all that fuzzy stuff? That's the fringe that pops out way after all the other trees have bloomed. Our little debutante likes all the attention. She waits patiently until the red buds and dogwoods have put on their show and dropped their blossoms. She sits there, day after day, holding her little buds tightly closed while we watch and wait, watch and wait, anxiously anticipating her annual debut. Just when we think she's never going to bloom, she pushes forth this long, fragrant fringe that droops like shredded coconut and sways in the spring breezes, sending her perfume across the yard and into our noses.
It's beautiful and kind of tropical. Her springtime dance lasts only a few days though, so we savor each one of them. She bloomed two days ago, and by Tuesday, she will probably be covered in just bright green leaves. We will mourn the passing of her blooms more than usual this year. Several weeks ago Hubby found a large dead spot in her midsection. We're doing everything we can to save her, but we're a little concerned she won't make it if we have our annual August drought. Keep your fingers crossed that she pulls through, and please tell me if you know anything about these little trees. Without her, I won't know when spring has arrived.
Thursday, May 8, 2008
I'm so very flattered that she enjoys my ramblings and nonsense. I don't find myself very interesting, so I'm always suprised that folks stop by my little corner of the internet to see what's going on in my life or what I have to say. Funny thing, I really don't know who most of you are. Only a small percentage of my readers comment, and while my counter tells me what countries you're in, I really don't know who most of you are. It intrigues me. I'm curious about how you spend your days, what you do for a living and how on earth you stumbled upon me. Few of my readers are people who live in my backyard. The readers I am familiar with are scattered around the country and around the world. I don't seem to attract just one particular demo. As a marketing executive, I'm dying to know my audience, so if you're a lurker, I encourage you to say hello and let me know where you're at and what you enjoy reading about. Also, if you have a particular question you'd like me answer, like what color of OPI nail polish I'm currently wearing, whether or not I eat organic chicken or if I hang my toilet paper "over" or "under" just let me know, and I'll try to answer that for you. And please know that I'm delighted you visit and love having you here. I really enjoy the interaction I have with you guys.
Now, it's my responsibility to pass the award along to the folks I think deserve it. First of all..right back atcha' Oreneta. I love reading your blog, seeing your photos and hearing about your life on the other side of the world. You give me glimpses of a place I hope to visit one day. Thanks for helping me to spread my horizons.
I must give janjanmom an award. She was one of my first regular readers and commented when hardly no one else did. We all know how encouraging those early comments are, so I am grateful for that and appreciate her honesty in her writing. She let's it all hang out, the good, the bad and the ugly, and I respect that. On days when I'm writing about candy cigarettes and grass skirts, she's writing about the dysfunction in her childhood. What a brave woman.
Mia has been with me a long time, too. Her honest posts about her children give me hope that I'll survive my daughter's teenage years intact. We are kindred souls in that we have spent the last year or so caring for elderly loved ones in failing health. She is one of the few "locals" that know about my blog, and I actually met her last year. While our meeting was brief, I instantly knew she was the hugging kind, and I love that in a gal.
And I would be remiss if I didn't send this award to Jason, too. I think Jason and I would be best buds if I lived in California. If we ever met, we would probably feel as if we've always known each other. He reminds me of a friend of mine from high school. Besides being funny and off the wall (posts on monkey self gratification???) he's honest in sharing the angst of growing up poor and "coming out". By sharing his story, he is chipping away at some of the homophobia out there, and I like that.
There are many other blogs out there that I like, and one of these days I'll get around to adding a blogroll to my sidebar. To those of you I failed to mention, thank you for sharing your lives with me. It puts a spark in my day and makes me feel so in touch with places outside of this little corner of Kentucky. You take me around the world every day and that my friends, is very, very cool.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Chicago is one of the food capitols of the world, and Kendall College sits smack dab in the middle of some of the best restaurants in the nation.
It’s also close to a chocolate factory, so you can smell warm chocolate no matter which direction you turn. That helps to cover up the smell of Lake Michigan. I love that smell. The chocolate, not Lake Michigan. Graduates from the college usually have well paying job offers by the time they are JUNIORS. They spend their summers doing internships in exciting places like Paris, and they end up working in major cities and ski resorts. The program is tough. It’s not for wimps. There are many labs, long hours and shifts in the college restaurant. And with so much to see and do in Chicago, they probably don’t get much sleep between the studying and the partying. If I were starting all over again, I’d skip that whole journalism thing and head to Shy-town to learn how to make fancy cakes. Apparently, I’m not alone in that feeling because many of their students are adults who have a degree of one kind or another but are drawn to work with something they truly love….food.
Our tour included a workshop where we learned how to discern fine chocolate from Hershey’s kisses, and let me just say that now that I know what I’ve been missing, my next husband will be a $6 chocolate bar. We visited their labs, where I so wanted to jump in and bake something.
These guys were experimenting with leftovers to make all kinds of appetizers, and boy, were they good!
We tried stuff with cheese, stuff with meats and this stuff with roasted vegetables.
The only bad thing I can say about it is that they made me share with the other boys and girls. And you should have smelled the stuff that was in the ovens. There was some of this.
And some of these.
And the bread! Great googly moogly, you should have seen all of the warm bread. There were racks and racks of warm yeast and flour concoctions just waiting to be slathered in butter or dragged through olive oil. Is there a twelve step program for a bread addiction? I hope not. And speaking of butter, they use a ton of it here…in the pastry kitchen.
I lust after fancy appliances and a well stocked pantry. This pantry positively made my toes tingle. Will ya’ look at all that sugar and flour?
Would I care for a wedge? Sure, just snuggle up to mama with that Havarti and we’ll have a dairy good time. If we hadn’t been with teenagers I’d have asked for a glass of wine. They had plenty of that, too. I’d show you a picture of their school cafeteria, but I was so distracted by the gourmet menu I forgot to take one. They serve what the student chefs cook, three times a day. On the day we were there, they had prime rib for lunch. That’s a far cry from that green roast beef we had three times a week at my college. At Kendall they joke about the “Freshman 50” instead of the “Freshman 15” weight gain. Students come from all over the country to earn their degree there. Celebrity chefs visit for workshops. Bobby Flay taped a turkey “Throw Down” there last year. It was a fabulous, fascinating place. They even gave Hubby a little parting gift, which he couldn’t resist sneaking into before we left the building.