Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Song in my Head

By Hula Girl for Sissy

We don’t know the heart of another
Or the bruises that lay on their soul.
But our love keeps us hanging on
Long after they’re ready to let go.

It’s too late to tell you I love you.
But I think you already know.
So I’ll dance this dance without you
And learn the steps of letting go.

Go, go now in peace.
Search for the sun.
Reach for that rainbow you’re looking for.
Embrace the light.
Your long fight is done.
Open the door and go,
Go now in peace.

What were you thinking as you walked away?
Was the weight of the world just too much?
Or did you reach for something I can’t see?
The tenderness of the Father’s touch?

There’s a hole in my heart that bears your name
It may heal but it won’t go away.
It will always be there to remind me
Of the sister who just couldn’t stay.

Go, go now in peace.
Search for the sun.
Reach for that rainbow you’re looking for.
Embrace the light.
Your long fight is done.
Open the door and go,
Go now in peace.

Repeat chorus

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


The wait is over. They recovered Sissy’s body late yesterday afternoon. While I had been praying that we would find her, to my surprise, I found no great relief with the news that she had been found. Only profound sadness with the proof that her life really was over. Way too soon. We can move forward now, but it’s going to take a very long time to heal from this. We WILL move forward, but for now I am tired, very tired. And simply without words.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

On My iPod Today

Day 8

Late Night Grande Hotel
Written by Nanci Griffin

I'm working on a morning flight to anywhere but here
I'm watching this evening fire burn away my tears
All my life I've left My troubles by the door
Leaving is all I've ever known before

It's not the way you hold me
When the sun goes down
It's not the way you call my name that left me stranded on the ground
It's not the way you say you hear my heart when the music ends
I am just learning how to fly away again
It's not the way you say you hear my heart when the music ends
I am just learning how to fly away again

And maybe you were thinkin'
That you thought you knew me well
But, no one ever knows the heart of anyone else
I feel like Garbo in this late night grand hotel
Cause living alone is all I've ever done well


It's not the way you hold me
When the sun goes down
It's not the way you call my name that left me stranded on the ground
It's not the way you say you hear my heart when the music ends
I am just learning how to fly away again
It's not the way you say you hear my heart when the music ends
I am just learning how to fly away again

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Few of my Favorite Wedding Photos

Who doesn't love a chocolate fountain?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 6

Still no word. Rescue crews were thwarted by the wind Friday and could not get their boats in the water. However, crews from three counties searched all day Saturday and part of the day today. It was windy again today. Rescue squads were also trying to recover the body of a fisherman who died in a boating accident in a nearby county yesterday. Three people lost their lives in that accident. Unbelievable. What a difficult job those folks have. They are volunteers who spend time away from their families to help folks in need of closure. They are using equipment that is very old, and they are poorly supported by the state and federal governments. The main boat for one county is a 1967 model. This is where budget cuts really hit home.

We are trying to pace ourselves. Teen Angel and I visited with my family today. It was a welcome break. We had a late Easter meal, and nothing says lovin' like Baby Ruth's ham. We also got a good dose of Special Delivery, who absolutely loves looking at himself.
He was good for the soul. A reminder that life is renewing, and that all is not bad. We are somewhat rested for the start of a second week. Keep praying for us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Few Wedding Pictures

One hundred images PhotoShopped. Only 338 more to go!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fun Monday-Office Art

Our Fun Monday hostess this week, Sayre, wants to see inside our workplace. Specifically, she wants to see the artwork we surround ourselves with while we work.

Take your camera to work and take pictures of the things that inspire you as you work or that inspires your coworkers. Ask them (or yourself) what it is about that particular object or picture that makes the work day seem a little easier.If you don't work outside the home, take a picture of the thing that helps you get through the day and inspires you to have the best day you can.

It will come as no surprise to most of you that my office has a bit of a tropical theme. My coworkers just smile and shrug their shoulders at my decor because they know me well enough to understand why I surround myself with the stuff that I do. I love my work, but I like to surround myself with reminders of vacation while I work. It just makes me smile. It also helps me slug through winter. I am fortunate in that I get to decorate my office any way I like, as long as it's within reason. And my office is full of pictures and trinkets from past vacations. My favorite is this print I got in Barbados.

It's visible every time I look up from my computer screen. The photo doesn't really do it justice. I have pictures of Teen Angel. One taken in St. Thomas with some feathered friends:

And another taken in Aruba when we were foolish enough to allow her to have her picture made with a tiger. A month after we came home from this vacation the Siegfried & Roy tiger mauling happened in Vegas, and we felt like the most stupid parents ever for allowing her to sit next to a tiger.

I have some fun stuff, too. Like this license plate I bought in Aruba.

And a collage of photos and memorabilia from our first Jimmy Buffett concert.

Oh, look! It's five o'clock somewhere.Not really, but this sure makes it fun to check the time throughout the day. And what office would be complete without flamingos? This is one of two metal ones Hubby bought me for Valentine's Day last year.

And these two I bought in a tacky junk store in town.

I spied them in the window, stopped and bought them immediately. Love, love, love the tacky flamingos. These have that pale pink Floridian 1950's tourist kind of vibe to them.

Oh, and there's one more item I can't forget. I've had it for years. I got it when I worked in television news, and it always seemed to fit the mood of my work day. Fortunately, I have a job now where it's rare that I feel like this:

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Yesterday, I did a wedding shoot. Oh, yes I did. Six hours of running, fluffing dresses, tilting heads and arranging bodies. I made it home last night around 10:30, parched, completely exhausted...and hooked. It was like driving to 7th street and offering an addict a gallon sized baggie of crank. I loved it. Everywhere I looked there was a picture opportunity. A beautiful bride with a beautiful smile. A head over heels groom. Perfect sunshine for perfect light. A cute flower girl who wanted to show me her shoes and her curls and kept slipping into photos of the grown ups. A two year old in a tux with wedding cake all over his hands and face. And lots of happy, happy, smiling people. The conditions were perfect (thank you, Lord!). I couldn't stop snapping.

Truth be told, I was kind of scared. I am still a beginner. I'm still trying to master that darn aperture mess. The only reason I agreed to do it was because the couple's expectations were so low. Both had been married before and didn't want to spend hundreds or a few thousand dollars on a photographer. They simply wanted to record the day with a good camera and have one really good picture of the two of them to hang on the wall. That I could do. A good time was had by all, and I came home with tons of photos, most of which I think will make them happy, especially after a little cropping and PhotoShopping. It was hard work, and I'm not done yet, but man, what a rush. I can already tell it won't be long before I'll be looking for my next fix....and some extra equipment. Oy vey!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Another Reason I Love my Husband

When we walked by the end cap at WalMart the other day, he spied this:and said, "Oooh, giant bubble wands! I have to have one of those!"

He's already used this much of it.
I so married the right man.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Me and E

Friends drift in and out of your life as you age, and it is rare that you keep a particular friend for most of your life. People grow and change. Their interests and views split or they move. Because I live near the town in which I grew up, I have been fortunate to stay in contact with many friends from my childhood. Once in a while, you meet someone you manage to stay friends with forever, and for me that person is E.

We’ve been friends for nearly forty years. She and I met when we were five years old. You do the math. On another day, I’d fudge about my age, but today I’m in an oh what the hell mood. We rode the school bus together when I moved here from a Chicago suburb halfway through my kindergarten year. We were so small we shared a seat with two other girls. She was my first friend in a new school. Most of you can relate to how important that friend can be. We hit it off from the very beginning. We wuz like peas and carrots, as Forrest says. Me and E. shared the same interests. We both liked music and art. We both played the flute, we agreed on which boys were cute and which boys weren’t and we had similar tastes in clothing, books and music. For thirteen years of school, we were elbow to elbow, literally. In classes....

In marching band.

Pep band.

Concert band.

Cheerleading. (Hey, there’s M.! Everybody say hello to M.)


High school.

And beyond. We shared just about every milestone event a body can have during his growing up years. I was there for her wedding.

And she was there for mine. We encouraged each other through college, exchanging letters when she moved out of state. And we shared the joys of childbirth when she moved back. Careers and families have kept us from spending much time together in the last twenty years, but we’ve stayed in touch, and on those occasions we are together, we iz like peas and carrots again. Like during our high school reunion when we spent the evening huddled in the corner chatting ninety miles an hour and trying to decide if P. had had a boob job. (Oh, yes she did!) And our elementary school reunion last year where we laughed the night away at old memories and fell into our usual pose for the group picture. I love that our friendship is still comfortable. That we haven’t lost touch all these years later. And that we probably never will. I am a lucky gal, indeed. That’s why when April rolls around each year, I go hunting for a silly birthday card for E.. It’s her birthday month, and those birthday cards are our way of saying, “Hey, we’re still on this bus together.” Happy birthday, E.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


My nephew, Special Delivery, is nearly six months old, and he’s at that stage where he still wants to be held a lot, but he won’t be still. Holding him is like riding a wild bull at the rodeo. When you get ready to hold him, you’d better cowboy up ‘cause it’s going to take every ounce of strength you have to keep him from flying out of your arms. As daddy says, SD is like a worm in hot ashes. And daddy should know. The following photos were taken about a month ago while we were helping Mrs. Scrubs and Super Cop move into their new house. (Pssst. Mrs. Scrubs would want me to remind you that they were moving in order to explain all of the clothes lying around in these photos.) And while he started out nice and calm in the chute, that stinker was all over the ring as soon as the gate opened. That boy makes it tough to get a picture of him that isn’t blurry. All of this wiggling would explain why he’s wearing pureed squash in his right eyebrow. AND how Mrs. Scrubs inadvertently ran her hand into something nasty when she tried to readjust his bunched up diaper a few minutes later, leading her to conclude that this little bull was rank.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sweet Surrender

An unexpected hazard of Teen Angel’s new job at the local bakery is that she always comes home from work carrying a small white box, saying something like, “Here, we had a (insert decadent dessert here) leftover today and I thought you might want it.” Cookies, cookie bars, scones, cupcakes, you name it. Always with the little white box she is. And that leads to outrageous decisions on a Sunday night like, “What do you want for supper, Honey? Some soup or a couple of these desserts?”“Would you like the chocolate chess square or the lemon square in box #1, the coconut cream tart in box #2, a piece of the banana cream pie that Mama J. made to replace the one she made last week that we dropped on the back step before we could eat it? Or a hunk of the chocolate cherry cake the neighbors gave us for watching their house while they were in Hilton Head all winter missing the eighteen days of ice storm power outage hell?”

"Hmmm. I'll take the sampler platter."

At this rate, we’ll each be big as the side of a barn by June.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fun Monday-Dreams

This week's Fun Monday hostess is Jill at LilMouse, and she wants to hear about our dreams. Specifically:

Do you have any dreams, particularly recurrent ones that you feel no one else has? I recently talked to my friend Stacy on the phone and found out that we’d had the same odd, recurrent dream. Or, just tell us about an odd dream you had as a kid (did you dream you were falling and end up on the floor?)

This one is a little tough for me because I rarely remember my dreams when I wake up. I used to, but now I don't. It bothers me a little, but I can't do anything about it. I guess I'm just a very deep sleeper. Goodness knows a tornado could blow through our house in the middle of the night, and I'd never notice. I'd just wake up the next morning in the fork of a tree in Kansas and wonder what the heck happened. I have had a couple of recurrent dreams in recent years, though.

For a while, I kept dreaming that I died a violent death, usually at the hands of a criminal and in the presence of my husband. I think it had to do with some fears I had at the time about his safety as a parole officer. We kept running into some of his "clients" on the street, and a couple of the the more hardcore ones unnerved me when Hubby told me later they had probably been carrying a weapon. Those dreams eventually went away. Thank goodness. I got tired of waking up in a cold sweat. My brother is a police officer, and a couple of times I've had dreams of him being in danger. Having law enforcement folks in the family works on your nerves sometimes.

The one dream I had consistently for quite a while was that my teeth were falling out. It always scared me, and I would wake up and rub my tongue over my teeth, convinced they were looser than when I went to bed the night before. I finally mentioned it to a friend, and to my surprise she told me she'd had the same dream, so I looked it up on the Internet (what did we ever do before Google?) and found that it's a very common dream. The most common theory about this dream is that you're feeling insecure:

"These dreams often occur at a time of transition between one phase of life and another. When we lost our milk teeth, we also gradually lost our childhood innocence. Loosing your teeth therefore show that today you have similar feelings of uncertainty and self-consciousness as you did in childhood. The dream could also highlight your worries about getting older or your sexual attractiveness."

This makes complete sense to me because I was about to hit age forty, was unhappy with the demands my job was placing on my family at the time and contemplating a career change. I've never had that dream again since I changed jobs. It's also entirely possible I was worried about getting older. The sexual attractiveness? Pffftt. I'm way past the point in life where I base my self value on whether or not people find me attractive. I'm downright close to the comfortable shoe stage of life. In fact, I may be there and don't realize it. Anyway, that's about all I have today, shotgun wounds and loose teeth, but that's enough don't cha' think? Follow me on over to LilMouse and see what everyone else is thinking about while they're sleeping.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ice Cream Man!


Not that we're excited or anything.

*So tell me boys and girls, what is your favorite treat from the ice cream man?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Word of the Day


Function: transitive verb
Date: 15th century
Definition: a: to fix the fate of b: to make certain the failure or destruction of

Example: Any vacuum cleaner purchased by the Hula-gen’s. This is Exhibit A, our sixth victim since 2002. Don’t bring your vacuum cleaner to our house. We will kill it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sky High

While we were in St. Louis this weekend, we discovered that BFF had never been up inside the Gateway Arch, so we insisted that she do that before we left town. It’s like the world’s largest ball of string. How can you pass that up, if you’re in the neighborhood? I’ve seen the Arch several times, so I take it for granted that everyone else has too, since it’s kind of in my backyard. I have to remind myself every now and then that many of you have never been to my little corner of the world and that you may be curious about what it’s like here. That thought occurred to me when we entered the Arch. I said to myself, “Self, folks like Jason and Oreneta and Karisma have likely never been to St. Louis. You should show them around, too. So I am. If you’ve been to the Arch, you can skip this post. If you haven’t come along for a little peek.

It is a really cool structure.

The light bouncing off of all of that steel alters its appearance throughout the day, and the simplicity of its shape is remarkable. You should really go here and read about the construction of the Arch. It’s very interesting. They had only 1/64th of an inch room for error when connecting the two legs at the top. Nifty, huh? There are my peeps, waiting for me to catch up because I was…you guessed it…taking pictures of redbuds.You enter the arch in a basement like area underground.
Forgive the crookedness of this photo. I took it as we were leaving, and I was in a hurry. My bunch was anxious to get to Ruby Tuesday’s for the all you can eat soup and salad bar.

You will go even further underground to get to the trams that will take you to the top. Say hello to the back of Teen Angel and BFF. Notice how they’re ignoring the camera. Around the corner, you’ll wait in line for your tram. Just a note, the guides get a little testy if you get on the wrong side of the rail to take a picture.
What’s behind door number four?Our tiny little tram. Each one holds five people.It’s kind of like crawling into your clothes dryer. It is SMALL in there, and if you are claustrophobic, you will not like it. The last time we went up in this thing, a rather scared, vocal woman put a death grip on Hubby’s knee and screamed all the way to the top. Anyway, the ride takes four minutes, which is long enough to annoy your family with the camera. This is the look I get at least sixteen times a day. Seventeen if I’m on a roll. I think we were a diversion for the nice lady from Alabama in our cart that was having a major panic attack. Watching the tram door while you rise to the top reminds me of riding to the top of the Washington Monument. When you arrive, you pick a corner, hang your butt over the ledge and peer out one of the tiny windows, where you get views like this:And this: And this: That’s where the Cardinals play and where a bunch of fans were freezing their tail feathers off in 30 degree weather on opening day. There are great views up there, and on days when it’s very windy, you can feel the Arch sway a little. If you are afraid of heights, you will not like the sway.
To leave, you have to travel down another steep stairwell to catch the tram again.And can you believe we rode down with a couple from Connecticut whose police chief is retiring and coming to be the police chief of our city? What are the odds of that happening? Have I mentioned I love talking to strangers?
There is a short walk to and from your car, but it’s a lovely place for a picnic if you’re so inclined and are there on a good weather day. My peeps were inclined to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s, which is why they left me behind again….while I was taking another picture of….redbuds. There are several cool things to do in downtown St. Louis, so take time to stop if you’re ever rolling through there. Tell ‘em Hula sent you. And let me know if you need directions to the closest restaurant.