Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh Baby!

Looky, looky what I got….a photo of the littlest Hula-gen. He hasn’t entered the world yet, but thanks to man’s ability to bounce sound waves off a woman’s belly and create pictures, we got a glimpse of his face today. Actually, Super Cop and Mrs. Scrubs got a look at his face. I got a picture. He is 28 weeks old, and is no longer the size of a peanut. He’s about the size of a puppy now and Mrs. Scrubs and I think he looks like Super Cop when he was a baby, which basically means he’s bald with big ears. What do you think?

Note the 70’s cover on that sofa. It was one in a long line of loud sofa covers grandma had. Sweet.
We’re all excited about the new baby. He should land here just in time for Halloween, He’s only the second grandbaby for Zeke and Baby Ruth and the first baby we’ve had around here in more than fifteen years. On that side of the family Teen Angel has had the grandkid thing wrapped up for her entire life, and when she first heard the news about the baby she was briefly bummed that she would no longer be the only. She quickly warmed up to the idea when she found out it was a boy, running around the house singing, “It’s got a wiener. I’m so exited…” Now she’s all ga ga, baby this and baby that. She’s about to put me in the poor house, buying clothes for the little guy. Although, I must admit the onesie from Spencer’s that had the iPod dial on the front and “iPoop” on the seat was pretty cute.

Personally, I’m excited because I get a baby to play with that I don’t have to push out of my womb or feed at 3am. I can hold him, sniff his neck, play with his toes and squeeze his fat knees, then hand him back, go home and sleep peacefully throughout the night. And I get to enjoy the paybacks for all those times Super Cop gave me a hard way to go about parenting when Teen Angel was little. Ooh, God is good.

This newest ultrasound photo will be seen by anyone in a sixty mile radius of Baby Ruth’s house. She carried the last one in her purse and whipped it out to unsuspecting strangers, the homeless and any relative or friend who would stand still long enough to see it. It will be one of many photos to come, and if he continues to look like Super Cop he should be pretty cute. He always took the cutest baby pictures. Like this one. By the way, the new baby is wearing this same outfit home. Then there’s this photo.
And this one.
Isn’t he cute in his overalls?
Even when he had a lot of hair, he was cute. Poor baby better not get used to hair, though. It doesn’t last long in this family. By about age 35, he may be bald again.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whassup?!

Yo, yo, yo dawg, what’s crackin’? Don’t chuck a spaz on me, peeps. I’m just practicin’ my slang, so I’ll know what the heck these teenagers are sayin’ when they whiz around me at the traffic light or knock me down at the mall. About once a week I have to Google a slang term that my child or someone younger than my shoes has thrown at me. I usually nod like I know what they’re talkin’ about and then rush to the computer for a word vomit. I try to be sneaky about it so as not to fly my freak flag but stayin' cool after 40 is soooo fornever. Even wearing my dress flops don’t help, and don’t even think about a good push. Sometimes this generation gap seems as large as those flyboy jeans you gotta’ hold up with one hand. Poor Hubby, he doesn’t even stand a chance. He’s lost the shizzle to his fizzle. He’s always asking me to clue him in. The word that stumped him this week? Poser.
So you won’t be all confusinger here’s the definition:

poser - a person who habitually pretends to be something he is not
Showoff, exhibitionist-someone who deliberately behaves in such a way as to attract attention

Okay, now that I know what it is I think I qualify, but (sigh) I'm still not hip.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Is That Banjo Music?

I spend a fair amount of time defending Kentucky’s redneck image, and while it’s unfair to paint the entire state with the same brush, the truth is that sometimes our folks do some really backwards things. I think the only state with a worse tooth loss rating is West Virginia. Around here we make ourselves feel better about our low rankings on various state scales by saying, “Well, at least we’re above Alabama,” or “At least there’s Mississippi.” I’m sure the folks in Alabama and Mississippi say the same thing about West Virginia. Every now and then I get all righteous about the redneck image and spit out some words I have to eat. Such was the case Saturday.

On our way home from Louisville Saturday we breezed past a rest area just before Teen Angel alerted us to her need to pee. We pulled off at the nearest exit which consisted only of a gas station and was really in the middle of nowhere. Teen Angel started mouthing something about it being an incredibly redneck place, and I gave her the old don’t judge you don’t know these people and that’s an unfair label yadda, yadda, yadda, blah, blah, blah speech. Then I went inside to use the restroom and buy some SweeTarts and had to apologize to Teen Angel when I got back to the van. She was right. It WAS the most redneck place in the world. It wasn’t really the smell of sausage grease and stale tobacco smoke that permeated the building and stuck to your clothing. It wasn’t the hairy, orthodontia challenged crowd of men puffing away on Marlboros in the corner. It wasn’t even the ads for a variety of biker events that covered the bulletin board or the case of pimento loaf and pickled eggs near the counter. I think it was the item hanging in the bathroom that sealed the deal for me. As I finished up my bidness and turned to flush the toilet, I saw hanging from the ceiling behind the toilet a long, sticky strip of fly paper. Yes, I said fly paper. I had to blink twice to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. And since the bathroom was empty I checked the other stalls to see if the fly problem was confined to the first stall or all of them. There was a strip in each and every stall. “Good Lord, I’ve seen it all, now,” I said to myself as I walked to the van. I got in the van, said my apologies to Teen Angel and waited for Hubby to finish paying for his soda. When he sat down in the van he had a weird look on his face and said, “That was strange.”
“What was strange, dear?” I was almost afraid to ask. “Nobody asked you to squeal like a pig did they?”
“No, but the clerk tried to bite my arm.”
“Bite your arm?!”
“Yeah, she grabbed my arm and pretended to bite it. Then she pointed at my shirt.”
He had forgotten he was wearing a Joe’s Crab Shack T-shirt that said “Bite Me” on the front.
“She told me that I was gonna have to lighten’ up if I was gonna hang around here.”
Indeed.

I was still feeling a little embarrassed about the behavior of my fellow statesmen until I got an email today with this photograph of a woman at a flea market outside of the Grardendale, Alabama Wal-Mart.
All I can say is at least there’s Alabama.

*To my friends in Alabama, Mississippi and West Virginia, I’m just teasing.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fun Monday-Ruling the World



Our hostess this week is the fabulous mommywizdom. She has put us in charge with this assignment:

If you were ruler for a day/week/month/year (your choice on the time) you would...ex...make coffee free to all citizens. Or you'd abolish the penny. You may also specify if you're ruler of the world or just your country.

Hmm. This is a tough one. First of all, I don't want to rule the world. I don't think any one person should rule the world. Heck, I don't think one person should rule a country. I like the checks and balances of the United States government. It has its flaws, but overall, I think it's a pretty good system. I just wish we could quit being so partisan and get some crap done, like working on the cost of healthcare and the economy...yadda, yadda, yadda. Before I drift into politics, let's get to the task at hand.
IF I didn't have a choice, and IF I had to accept the enormous job of running the world, I would want to hold that job for only a month. I've seen Bruce Almighty. I know how quickly that kind of job can wear on you. I'm sure I'd have my fill in just a few days. What to do with those powers? Having that kind of power is an awesome responsibility, and I could sit here and wax and wane about waving my magic wand and creating world peace, abolishing world hunger and giving everybody six weeks of vacation each year, but the reality is that stuff wouldn't last for long. People are people. Some are good, some are bad. Cease fires would last only so long, because we would soon find something new to fight about and probably claim it was in the name of religion. The dishonest would eventually go back to stealing, maiming and murdering. The strong would reign, and the weak would soon be at the bottom of the heap again. You see, you can't change people's hearts overnight. To me, the best I could hope for would be to give everyone a taste of how the other half lives and hope that it began to nudge their hearts in the right direction...so they could change on their own...maybe for good.

I would mandate that everyone swap places with someone else for a month. The rich would have to live in the shoes of the poor, preferrably in a public housing complex riddled with crime. The poor would live like the rich CEO who makes high pressured decisions each day. Those who waste food would have to live under the boiling sun of a third world country and beg for rice. The gang bangers in LA would have to live like midwestern school children who have been largely untouched by violence. The Paris Hilton's and Nicole Ritchie's would have to attend public schools in the hood....and I'd make them wear a uniform while I'm at it, just for grins. Isrealis would live as Palestinians and vice versa. Racists would have to live as minorities. Everyone would have to live as a different race, and ALL Americans would have to travel outside their country so they could understand how they are perceived around the world.

I WOULD change a few laws. Like, a governing body could vote on going to war only with the stipulation that their sons and daughters, husbands and wives would be the first on the frontlines. Senators and congressmen would have to live on the same income as an elderly person subsiding on social security for a month before voting on issues that affect the elderly. The salary of government leaders would start out at the same amount as other state and federal employees, their benefits would not be fully funded, and they would earn a full retirement only when their age and length of service added up to 65.

We might have chaos for a month, but maybe, just maybe, a few folks would see the light and start to live with more love in their hearts. I would gladly give up my reign at the end of the month, but not before declaring July 18th (my birthday) a world holiday during which the schools and businesses would be closed, margaritas would be on the house and everyone would have to hula. What can I say? A girl's gotta get at least one perk if she's gonna rule the world.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Five Lines

Here’s an interesting assignment I’ve been tagged with by Oreneta. I was supposed to go to the nearest book, and write down what I found on page 123, line 5 and the next three lines.

This was challenging for me in that it required me to print something out of context, and I spent seventeen years in journalism fighting the urge to do just that. This took me completely out of my comfort zone, but that’s okay. I need to do that every now and then. I grabbed three books that were handy, started turning pages and for various reasons, was pleased by what I found.

My first book was Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon. If you liked her Mitford series, you’ll like this book. It’s the first in a new series of books about Father Tim going home to Mississippi. I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m 55 pages from the end and it has taken me FOREVER to read because I’ve had about ten minutes of reading time each night in the last two weeks. I hate it when I can’t make time to read. Am I rambling? Here it is:

“Thank you for having me.” The palm of her hand was cool; she wore a suit the color of the blue parlor walls.
“I didn’t know whether you’d come.”
“I wasn’t so sure about it myself.” He’d changed pants in the stockroom of Brooker’s, put on his linen sport coat, and left Barnabas with Red.
“Please,” she said. “Let’s sit in the window.”

It’s an okay passage, but examining it allowed me to drift to the next paragraph, which I really liked. I encourage you to read it slowly.

The room was greatly changed from his visits many years ago, though the overall spirit of it was brighter. They sat in high backed velvet chairs in the bay window, at a table furnished with a silver tea service and a vase of roses. Three petals had fallen onto the white cloth; a small cake, ornamented with a curl of shaved chocolate was displayed on a crystal stand.

I’m glad I read it a second time because it forced me to appreciate her descriptive style, something I didn’t do when I raced through it the first time on my way toward the next chapter. I need to do that more often…appreciate the author’s work, not just the storyline. Am I being all philosophical?

Book #2—Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock. I haven’t read this book yet. It was one of several I picked up at the library on my last trip there. That was a good library day. You know how sometimes you go and find nothing that excites you and other days you find more books than you have time for? This was a good day. Am I rambling?

We’ve never really talked about how Daddy died—I always figured Emma didn’t think about it, her being so weensy when he was killed and all.
“I don’t know,” she says.
“His killers live in this forest and we’re hunting them down?”
“Well…”
“Well what?”
“They might live here, you never know. They never did catch ‘em did they?”


Ooh, now I’m really interested in this book, more so than when I pulled it off the shelf.

And finally, I grabbed the closest cookbook I had sitting near me. I’m never far from one. It was a hometown cookbook that contains this recipe on page 123. This is longer than five lines, but it wouldn’t be fair to give you only a partial recipe.

ITALIAN BEEF

1 beef rump roast 1 clove garlic, crushed
1 can beer 2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 package dried onion soup mix

Put roast in a crock pot. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over roast. Cook on low for ten to fifteen hours. Serve on French rolls.


This is a great recipe that I’d forgotten all about. I’m so glad I stumbled on it again. Perhaps that whole “out of context” thing isn’t quite so bad. Thanks Oreneta.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Running Nowhere

“Don’t cry, Hula. Don’t cry,” I kept telling myself as I pounded the pavement for my lunchtime run yesterday. I started off fast and kept moving, intent on finishing quickly. It had been a hectic morning, and the afternoon appeared headed in the same direction. The tears I kept pushing back were for all the frustrations that came with a difficult couple of weeks. The sound of my feet drummed in my ears, thud, thud, thud, mirroring the beat of my broken heart and the onslaut of thoughts in my head. “Damn it,” I whispered under my breath. “I feel like running away.”

I’m often surprised at how running is an apt metaphor for my life. Padding down the city streets is good thinking time, sometimes too much thinking time. It allows me to work through problems, prioritize stuff and even write blog posts. Navigating cracks and curbs, traffic and the weather, dogs and dog crap makes me analyze how I deal with the cracks and crap that creep up on me in daily life. Yesterday was no different, and my feet felt very heavy, almost as heavy as my heart. I felt like I was in a hurry to nowhere and driving on an empty tank of gas. I was so tired, not physically tired but mentally tired. My breathing was fine, and I could have kept pumping along but knew when the tears started to well, I needed to slow down. I considered stopping altogether to sit on the curb and meditate, but I was afraid I’d fall apart, and I didn’t want to fall apart. I wasn’t ready to wallow. But I wasn’t willing to race either.

The last two weeks have been difficult at best. I’m the problem solver in the family, and normally, I’m okay with that. It strokes my ego to be the one everyone looks to for a solution and I like control. I’m not proud of that, but it’s true. However, I’m out of solutions these days. Every family member, friend, fellow committee member and customer has wanted me to fix something lately. I want to be able to fix it for them, but I’ve come to learn that I just can’t fix everything. More importantly, I can’t fix people. And that’s the thing that’s hurting my heart. Blogging specifics would cause harm and pain for others, so I will refrain from saying anything other than someone close to my heart is at a very difficult crossroads with no easy road ahead. For a while, I labored under the delusion that if I just worked hard enough, I could “fix” the situation. Only recently did I realize that in the end, I don’t have any control over the situation. This person has to “fix it” himself, and he may not make the decisions I want him to. It is not my choice, and it is not my job. His decisions may cause pain, and I can do nothing about that. I can’t stop this situation from hurting people I love, and I can’t stop it from hurting me. Damn.

I walked several blocks yesterday, tripping once over a big crack and noting the irony of that. I didn’t fall, and I didn’t cry. I simply kept putting one foot in front of the other, telling myself over and over to just keep plowing through. To just keep a steady pace and to breathe deeply. It helped, a little. As I arrived back at work I realized that at some point this run will be over, I may not win and I will have accept that. In the meantime, all I can do is pray and hope the good Lord keeps me from sitting down on the curb and falling apart. “Don’t cry, Hula. Don’t cry.”

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It Shouldn't Matter But......

I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY HATE THE FREAKIN’ PLASTIC CUPS AT A CERTAIN FAST FOOD RESTAURANT WHICH SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS BUT HAS BEEN KNOWN TO USE ARCHES IN ITS LOGO!! THE CUPS ARE FLIMSY, THEY SWEAT, THE ICE MELTS IMMEDIATELY AND THEY’RE MESSY! FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, SOMEONE TELL ME WHY I GET THE NICE STYROFOAM CUP IF I ORDER A LARGE SWEET TEA BUT A STINKIN’ PLASTIC CUP IF I ORDER AN UNSWEETENED TEA.

Whew. That is all.

Oh! Wait! YOU, MISS CRANKY CLERK AT THE DRIVE-THRU WINDOW…YES, I’M TALKIN’ TO YOU...I DON’T NEED ANY “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE” LOOKS JUST BECAUSE I ASKED SPECIFICALLY FOR THE STYROFOAM CUP! WHAT ARE YOU, THE GREEN POLICE? I COMPOST FOR YOUR INFORMATION!

Okay. That IS all…..for now.


*Now it’s your turn. Tell me those little things that shouldn’t matter but drive you absolutely crazy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Aha!

Remember how I told you last week about my mom's habit of propping us children up in front of our birthday cakes and taking a picture of us each year? And how our photo albums are full of pictures like this?And this?I always figured it was just a little tick in her personality or a slight quirk in her behavior. After all, she has always been prone to make up songs and dances and belt out Blueberry Hill on a whim. Once she even told my best friend she wanted to ride an ostrich, which is not something you want your mother to admit when you're thirteen.

In the last 24 hours I have discovered that the cake photo thing wasn't an acquired quirk at all. It was inherited from someone else in her family. I know this because I found THIS while trolling through an old photo album.Ha! There's mama in the middle surrounded by her younger siblings. There's Aunt B. on the left, Uncle D. on the right and down in front with her birthday cake, little Aunt A. This is probably in the early 50's when Baby Ruth was about thirteen or fourteen years old, and from the looks on their faces it's obvious that someone MADE them pose for this photo. This is a habit that obviously goes way back. Wait 'til I see her again and show her this. And while I'm at it I'm going to tell her what she told me at about that age, "Aren't those shorts a little short, young lady?"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Big K

A post by Big Mama reminded me that in a few short weeks, a lot of mamas will be ripping open their hearts and turning their five year olds over to that big yellow bus that will take them to kindergarten for the first time. Oh, I remember the day Teen Angel got on that bus. There we all were; me, Hubby, Mama J. and Papa T....not to mention the neighbor lady who was putting her granddaughter on the same bus...all standing around like a fan club in the driveway. Hubby swears he wasn't there, but he was, watching from behind a tree pretending not to watch. I shed tears, Mama J. shed tears, our neighbor shed tears. It was one big boo hoo fest. I remember thinking that I would never forget that day as long as I lived. It's such a momentous occasion for kindergartners and their parents. For kindergartners because they know it's the beginning of their independence. For parents because they know it's the first snip in the apron strings, a loud, sharp snip that slices right into the heart. Every now and then I pull out Teen Angel's first day of school picture and smile a smile while shedding a tear.

It makes me feel sad and happy all at the same time. What's that line from Truvey in Steel Magnolias? Laughter through tears is one of my favorite emotions. Last year when several of my friends had youngin's they sent to the school for the first time, I penned a little poem about it. I decided to roll with the emotions of that day and let it all hang out, so grab a hanky if you're the weepy, sappy kind like me and grab a seat on the bus.

Kindergarten Smiles

Notebooks, pencils,
shiny new shoes.
A colorful backpack
bigger than you.

A great big step
to the yellow bus
signals the end of what
was once just us.

A smile, a wave,
you’re on your way.
Your journey without me
begins today.

Will you be scared?
Will you make friends?
I hope you’re smiling when
your first day ends.

From this day on
the years will fly.
Soon you’ll be grown and then
waving goodbye.

Indulge my tears
on this big day
and the catch in my heart as
the bus pulls away.

I share your joy
about this ride,
the doors it will open,
prizes it hides.

But it seems too soon
to let you go
to share you with a world
of troubled souls.

Hurt and sorrow,
anger and crime.
Now they begin to touch
this child of mine.

I pray for strength,
wisdom and peace,
for the power to touch
when out of reach.

Know I’m with you
when we’re apart.
I am your first teacher.
You are my heart.

Laughter through tears
will carry me
through each of your milestones.
I’m fine, you’ll see.

I’ll be right here
when you get home
to share your joy about
the trip alone.

Today’s the first
of many trips
that will open new doors
and sail new ships.

Ignore my tears.
They’re really smiles
for my kindergarten child’s
first learning miles.
Hula Girl
August 2007

Monday, July 21, 2008

Footloose

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my feet to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my polish to take



Is there hope for this? I flunked girly stuff 101 when I was younger. I recently told my husband that if I die suddenly he needs to call in a professional for my feet (I'm making the trip barefoot ya' know), and I sure can't meet St. Peter like this. Do you think he'll mind the toe ring?

Fun Monday: Careers-Then and Now


Our hostess with the mostess this week is irishcoffee house, and she wants to know about our career aspirations, past and present. Here is the specific assignment.

THEN: As a child day dreaming of what your future would hold for you, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you ever pursue or achieve it?

NOW: If you could be trained and placed in any career beginning tomorrow, what would it be?
I can't remember at what point I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I just always knew I wanted to be a television reporter. Apparently, the seed was planted very early. We always watched the national news each evening in our house. Even at a young age I was aware of world issues, and Jessica Savitch was my idol. When I was about to go off to college to study journalism my grandma gave me a sheet of paper she had saved since I was a little girl. It was a piece of primary tablet paper I had left at her house years before on which I had rewritten a news story I had heard on the television that day and had used while playing "anchor" at her dining room table. It was proof that my career choice had been made early on. My decision never wavered through college and upon graduation I worked in radio news for three years before landing a job as a producer at a television station. While being an anchor and reporter was still my main goal, I really enjoyed the power a producer held over the entire newscast, and it wasn't long before my goals began to change. I liked the power. I wanted to be in charge. Within two years I was promoted to Assignment Manager. Eventually, I was named News Director and got to run the newsroom. I enjoyed the job, and for nearly five years I got my chance to be in charge. Parts of it were extremely challenging and even sometimes even heart wrenching. Management is tough. Parts of it were very rewarding, though. I loved what I did and cared very much about the people with whom I worked. A desire to have more time with my family and to eliminate some of the stress in my life fueled my decision to change careers at age forty. I am very happy with that decision.

If I could train for a new career today, I would be torn. Deep down, I am a pastry chef wanna be. I could be happy baking decadent desserts and making pulled sugar sculptures every day for the rest of my life. I would love culinary school, and upon my return home I would open a shop that reeks of sugar and adds ten pounds to your hips upon entry.

I would also love being a prima ballerina. I'm too old now for my body to be that flexible again, but I dream of flying across the stage in a tutu and pointe shoes. I'm sad Barishnikov has never held me in his arms. But if I have to be completely honest here, the career that I would give my right arm for, would crawl across the Sahara for and would walk barefoot on crushed glass for is this......
I long to be a Rockette. Since I was about eight, I've watched the Macey's Thanksgiving parade and marveled over the synchronized legs and furry Santa hats of the Rockettes. I kicked my way through high school and college on the drill team and pom pom squads, imagining the whole time that I really was in training for a career on the stage at Radio City Music Hall. New York could call me today, and I would pack my bags and Santa hat and head north. It's the only reason I would willingly wear pantyhose at this point in my life. Now head on over to irishcoffeehouse and see what everybody wants to be when they grow up.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Zoo-ology

The whole Hula gang went to the zoo last weekend; me, Hubby, Teen Angel, Zeke, Baby Ruth, Super Cop and Miss Scrubs. We had a great time. I love the zoo. I do get a sharp twinge or two when I stop and ponder their lives behind bars-the animal's lives, not the Hula-gen's, but I love seeing the animals. However, as we strolled through the park I couldn't help but notice how much the animals looked like us.


This is pretty much what my legs look like in shorts.
And this is Papa T. when he gets caught with his hand in the Pop Tart box. What? Huh?This is Hubby when he gets done mowing the yard on an August day. And this is him relaxing in the pool.And of course, there's Sissy who never goes anywhere underdressed.Miss Scrubs is our little mama since she's expecting in late October. Ignore the fact that I cut her head off in this picture. Is there a PhotoShop action for correcting that kind of mess?This could be any one of us at Thanksgiving...or Easter...or Independence Day. Heck, it could be any one of us at dinner. Note the napping prairie dog. That's Zeke...AFTER dinner.This is Hubby's family in a disaster. Scratching their heads and trying to figure out what to do. They can get in a lather and spin in circles I tell ya'.

And then there's Handy Man..quietly trying to blend in the background without saying much while me and the rest of the flamingos and monkeys suck up all the attention.As we wandered around the zoo, I saw several animals that made me laugh, The snakes? Not so much, but I did get through the reptile house without peeing on myself when bumping into someone. I kept seeing animals that resembled members of the family. Well, except for the monkeys who were playing with their genitals. It made me wonder what they thought when they looked at us.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Birth-Day

The kitchen is dirty and laundry is screaming my name, but the pool beckons louder and I decide the dishes and clothes can wait. The sun is slipping behind the trees as I slide into the water. Mmm. For the first time today I am cool, unchained from the stifling humidity. I had forgotten how nice an evening swim can be. I wonder why I don’t do it more often.

I float lazily across the water, bobbing like a cork in slow circles. As I drift, my mind replays the day’s events and then predictably begins to plan tomorrow’s schedule. Friday, the day I begin my 45th year of life, is only hours away. Can I really be 44 years old? How did I get here so fast? My life is likely more than halfway over. I am in awe of that reality. It makes me a little sad, but more than anything I am dumbstruck by the reality that those years have stacked up quickly. When did the train pick up speed and where is it going, I wonder.

I recall the dreams of my youth; ambitious, idealistic dreams that seemed so definite at one time. My schedule was planned; a degree by my 22nd birthday and years of stomping up the corporate ladder in a big city in my high heels and coat of steel. Financial success and world travel were wedged in between promotions and early retirement. Marriage and children were questionable. I laugh out loud at the ignorance of youth and how ridiculous those plans seem now. Here I am, a wife and mother and living thirty minutes from the Midwestern house I grew up in. Corporate America has never felt my footprint and probably never will. I laugh again. Forty-four is not a bad age, I think, mostly because I’m wiser now. I tick off the lessons I’ve learned since my youth and ponder how I feel about them.

Life is what happens while you’re busy making plans. It will never be exactly how you plan it, and sometimes it will be hard...freakin’ hard. That’s okay.

You won’t get to do all the things you want to, but you’ll get to do more things you didn’t expect. That’s okay.

Life isn’t fair. Sometimes you draw the losing card, and it stinks, royally. But sometimes you draw a winning card you didn’t deserve, so that’s okay.

People will piss you off, hurt your feelings and gossip behind your back. They will also say nice things about you that you will never hear, and that’s okay.

Touch is often more powerful than words. You don’t always know when a hug, a kiss or a touch of the hand helps someone to hang on one more day, and that’s really okay.

Listening is more important than speaking. I’ll try, okay?

Crying doesn’t mean you’re weak. It just means you’re okay.

If you can’t laugh, you are lost…and you are not okay.

Sometimes those we love the most hurt us the most. They also fight for us the hardest. Twisted, but okay.

And loving is the most important part of living. More than okay.

I open my eyes and gaze at the sun which is barely a sliver above the trees by now. I wonder how many more sunrises and sunsets I will see. Many more I hope. Too many to count if I’m lucky. I decide to make Friday my “birth day”, a day to celebrate the years to come and the lessons yet learned. I smile to myself. I am a wife, a mother and I’m living thirty minutes from where I grew up. Corporate America has never felt my footprint and probably never will….and that’s okay.

Proof We Have No Shame

This is how the Hula-gen's do BLT's.This is why no one in our house is getting his cholesterol checked in the next few months. Man, I love summer. Have I said that yet?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Word of The Day

Humble-reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission 2 a: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale

Examples:

1. Jammin’like Al Green at the stoplight to some John Mayer guitar rips…and turning around to find a co-worker sitting next to you...watching you.

2. Laughing at my sister in law the surgical nurse tell a story about a gassy patient with a boil on her butt and then finding an itchy mosquito bite the size of a York Peppermint Patty on my backside in pretty much the same location. (I apologize if you’re eating breakfast.)

3. Being all Right Said Fred in my new running top and feeling too sexy for my shirt only to realize at the end of my run on two of the city’s busiest streets that one of the girls had slipped below the built in bra and was dangling noticeably out of place.

All of this just since Monday morning. Tomorrow’s Word of the Day? Hibernation.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Modesty 101

Yo! Whatup, Dawg? Stay tuned while Teen Angel teaches modesty in four simple steps to the ten year old she's baby sitting this summer.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Fun Monday-birthdays

***Breaking news--Mama called this morning and she's bringing cake on Sunday. Sigh. God is good.


Dungareesablaze could not have picked a more timely topic for Fun Monday this week, because my birthday is this Friday. Yea for me! I love a birthday, mostly because there is cake involved. (More on that in a moment.) If anyone asks, I'm 37...at least. Hey! Knock it off, Super Cop. I heard that. Does a big sister ever stop having to whack her brother up the side of the head? Anyway, here were the specific instructions.

For your assignment lets hear about your favorite “Birthday”, it needn’t be your actual birthday just a "birthday" celebration. You can use one you planned, one you attended, one you crashed, just a fun time for this FUN MONDAY’S assignment, and of course you can use one of your very on Birthdays.
I’ve been tapping my thinker and puzzling my puzzler trying to determine the best birthday celebration I’ve ever been a part of. The truth is I’m just not sure. No one in particular stands out. Oh, I had some special birthdays when I was growing up: A puppy at five, a bike at six, the driver’s license at sixteen and an adult beverage at 21. I’ve enjoyed my adult birthdays, too. For the last three years Hubby has taken me to see Jimmy Buffett as a birthday present. That’s been great fun. My family has celebrated big birthdays. We had a special party for Mama J.’s 80th last year. Don’t tell you I told her age. She doesn’t want anyone to know she’s past the big 8-0. And I’m trying to convince Hubby to have a big 100th birthday party next year in the spring because our ages will total..well, 100. Have I mentioned he’s older than me? Just wanted to clarify that in case you were erroneously thinking I was fifty or something. Despite all the fun and frivolity, not a single birthday party stands head and shoulders above the rest. The one thing that does stand out though, is cake.

My love affair with cake is well documented on this blog. To me there is no bad cake, just cake and better cake. One of my favorites is good ol’ white sheet cake, the kind you buy for birthdays. Growing up, no matter what we did or what kind of present we got on our birthdays, one thing was constant. We always had cake. And mother had the interesting habit of taking pictures of us propped up next to our cake. Her photo albums are full of these pictures. See? Me…and a cake.
This is my third birthday. And here’s Super Cop on his first birthday….with his cake.
See the scab on his head? He was a child who always fell forward, never backward. Check out his third birthday. More cake, and note the frosting on his baggy pants.
I cropped this one so you can’t tell, but all of his birthday pictures have Christmas cards in the background. He was born in late December. Handy Man’s birthday is in October, so his birthday cake pictures have pumpkins in them.
Since my birthday falls in the summer and peak bicycle wreck season, I usually have scabbed over knees in my pictures. I searched for one particular picture where I'm holding the cake for my twelfth birthday and both of my knees are banged up something fierce because I decided to try out a hill that was way too steep for my bike. I couldn't find it though. Sifting through old pictures you'll find numerous photos of the Hula-gen's propped up next to a birthday cake. We loved cake, and apparently, I've passed that love onto Teen Angel because she has a hissy fit if we try to have a birthday around here without cake. When she was about five she was mortified to discover late one evening that we were going to celebrate Papa T.'s birthday without a cake. He didn't really want one, but nothing would do but to get a cake, so I trudged to the local Piggly Wiggly and grabbed the only cake sitting in the deli case, a Garfield the Cat cake that looked like it was three days old. Satisfied that the proper birthday celebration resources were at hand, she plopped on her party hat and proceeded to sing Happy Birthday. All was right with the world. And we have never tried to celebrate another birthday around here without a cake. Oh, and just to show that some things never change. My mother will probably show up on my doorstep later this week with a cake...a pink cake with pink frosting...just like she's been making me since I was a kid. And you know what? You could hand me a million dollars for my birthday, but it still wouldn't be quite right without that cake. Maybe we'll skip the picture, though.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Moooovin' Into Summer

Hula likes summer. She likes everything about summer, even the pit sticking humidity. Hula especially loves summer foods. She likey a lot. In fact, her diet right now consists mainly of this.And this.
And some of these.

A few of those.
A whole LOT of this.With a side of this.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Friday 40 Words or Less Photo Challenge


Forgive me Robin I was feeling a little sassy when I wrote this. I'll try to behave next time.

Bikes on the beach look like fun
And I’m thinking of trying one
But first I must ask
Is there a cart for my a**
If not, I’ll just sleep in the sun.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Burning Down The House

This blog is my personal playground for writing down all those thoughts that run through my head each day. I can’t leave them pinging around in there. They have to come out or else I would never get anything done. It’s one of the hazards of being a right brained thinker. Or is it left brained. I can never remember. You know, the creative color outside the lines type, not the organized, rule following type of person. Those of you who stop by here regularly (God bless you-your check is in the mail) know my posts run from goofy and juvenile to moody and sad. My brother once chastised me for writing depressing posts for three days in a row. “I can’t help it,” I said. “I write what I feel.” I write with my heart. Some days my heart sings. Other days it weeps.

Words are a part of who I am. I feel compelled to read them, study them and move them around. I love a well turned phrase, especially when it’s in a novel or song lyric. For example, there’s a Trisha Yearwood song that goes, “That’s just a lot of water underneath a bridge I’ve burned.” And a friend of mine whose body was badly battered from his days as a stunt man attributed his injuries to “too many dares and challenges accepted”. Those kinds of phrases stick with me, and like a grain of sand in an oyster grind around in my head until they spur some kind of creative process. Which is what happened this week.

I picked up the new John Mayer CD the other day. I’m in love with John Mayer and his bluesy, soulful guitar. His piercing eyes and wavy brown hair aren’t bad either. I wouldn’t recommend his music for the easily depressed because they’ll have a cigarette in one hand and two drinks in the other within a few bars of songs like Gravity, but I could listen to it all day. There’s a song on there called Slow Dancing in a Burning Room. It’s a break up song, and while I like it, the best part about it to me is the title. That title has been stuck in my head for four days. It will not go away. I love how perfectly it describes demise. Think about it. Visualize it. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room. Six words rich with meaning when placed beside each other.

So, then I read a touching post by my blog buddy Oreneta about her encounter with a stranger whom she suspects was nurturing some destructive thoughts while nursing a bottle. My thoughts about that began colliding with that song title. How fitting a description I thought about self destructive behaviors and things like depression and mental illness. My mind went to work and before long I had some new lyrics. I hope John and his lyricist won’t mind that I played around with their title. It’s not like I’m going to make any money off of it, and he looks like an understanding guy, but something about these words just seem to fit when patched together. Don’t read anything into this song. It’s not about me, but finally my mind is at rest. And sorry bro, if this sounds depressing. It’s simply what was rolling around my cranium and had to come out. How about tomorrow I tell that story about Handy Man singing into a tampon when he was little? That’s a funny one.

SLOW DANCING IN A BURNING ROOM

My friends have gone home
and now we’re alone.
My partner the bottle
won’t seem to let go.

The song is the same.
The steps are too.
We’ll sway out of time
in unsteady shoes.

Chorus: Slow dancing in a burning room
Clinging to hell and building a tomb
A shuffle of pain to a numbing tune
Slow dancing in a burning room

The band keeps playing
while the room burns
but my heart grows colder
with each little turn.

The flames go higher.
I hold on tight
to this darkness I crave
on the edge of light.

Chorus: Slow dancing in a burning room
Clinging to hell and building a tomb
A shuffle of pain to a numbing tune
Slow dancing in a burning room

Bridge: I’m drawn to the heat
‘tho my soul will drown
so I’ll just keep dancing
‘til the walls burn down.

Chorus: Slow dancing in a burning room
Clinging to hell and building a tomb
A shuffle of pain to a numbing tune
Slow dancing in a burning room
Slow dancing in a burning room
Slow dancing in a burning room

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Kings of Comedy

I read the other day where Eddie Murphy is quitting movies and going back to stand-up comedy. Can I get a big amen for that? I have long missed Eddie’s sassy, naughty (okay, nasty) humor. Is it wrong to use Eddie’s name and the word “amen” in the same paragraph? When I need a good laugh I reach into the back of my CD case and pull out Delirious and cackle until I need to pee. That bit about the ice cream man ALWAYS makes me laugh. In fact, I went looking for that CD the other day and was a little perturbed that I couldn’t find it. Because of some stress going on in my life, I’ve yearned for a good laugh lately. I need a really long, breath sucking belly shaking until you cry and release all your emotions kind of laugh. While searching for something to give me that laugh, I noticed something. Eddie’s not the only comedian I miss. Most of my favorites aren’t doing stand up anymore. In fact, many of them have gone to that great big club in the sky, like George Carlin, God bless his liberal thought provoking soul. Don’t get me wrong, Chris Rock and Larry the Cable Guy are funny. I mean, who doesn’t love a good fart joke? But I just don’t love them like the comedians I grew up with. The ones I slipped to the door of my bedroom to listen to on the Tonight Show long past my bedtime on a school night. The ones who filled up the Hollywood Squares and lit up the small screen on shows hosted by Dean Martin, Carol Burnett and the Smothers Brothers. The folks who wore suits and bow ties and weren’t afraid to make fun of themselves to get a laugh. Like this guy.
And this one.
And where’s Geraldine when you need her. Or everybody’s favorite mom.
And dad. And clown. He and I share the same birthday, by the way, July 18th. And while I love Jay Leno, I really miss the old episodes of the Tonight Show, which is why I feel a little tug on my wallet every time I see the commercial for those old shows. Maybe I’ll pick up the phone and dial that number, and while I’m at it I may pick up the Dean Martin Show as well ‘cause I miss those guys. Now the old Hee Haw episodes? That’s another story.