Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Oh, Snap!

Among the things Hula does as a part of her job during the holidays is to build the company float for the Christmas parade. It's a lot of fun, and it's an opportunity to justify to her parents that minor in theater she earned in college. Days and days ago Hula ordered her float materials so they would be here in time for her to start working on the float YESTERDAY as the parade is this Saturday. When she first inherited this job a few years ago she learned that it's best to order that stuff early or else one could have a panic attack and almost have to resort to covering a trailer in something like bedsheets, which would be pretty lame for a float representing a business.

Hula called Minnesota this morning to find out where in the Sam Hill her float materials were since they hadn't arrived yet, only to find out that they had not been shipped yet.

And yes, Hula audibly gasped when the customer service representative at ACME Float Company (the name has been changed to keep my fanny from being sued) dropped that news on her. The order is now allegedly being overnighted to me at no extra charge and is supposed to be here tomorrow.


*Photo courtesy of some personal website that stole it from the Walt Disney Company.

Monday, November 29, 2010

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out!

The Christmas shopping season always sends me into the family photo albums for a glance back at childhood holidays. Every time I look at this photo of Hubby with his Red Ryder BB Gun, I feel compelled to shout out loud, "Nutta-finga!", "Frag-ee-lay" and "Oh, fudge!"

And aren't those some stylish pajamas he's sporting there?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The View From The Deck

Hubby and I took a two hour cruise on the Belle of Cincinnati recently while it rolled through town. It was really nice despite the rainy, cloudy weather which played havoc with my picture taking plans and probably sent Hubby's already miserable cold into a sinus infection. We enjoyed the ride, and I just kept thinking to myself, no matter how many times I ride a boat on the river I always think the view from the water is just plain cool.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Only 97 More Days!

There is sits. Staring at us every day. Mocking us even. Leaving us to look longingly out the patio doors, wishing for a different season. Whoever said good things come to those who wait never built a pool in the fall and had to wait until spring to swim in it.
The pool man says he's coming March 1st to open it for us. I imagine we'll be swimming in it even if we have icicles hanging off our noses.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Dog will not be Thankful When This all Starts to Come Back Up

I dried cornbread and bread slices overnight in order to make dressing this morning. That empty row in the front? Apparently, the dog, who has never swiped anything off the kitchen counter before, helped himself to a seven slice feast of white and wheat bread last night.

I have been forced to add a package of stale buns to the mix, and I'm not namin' any names but somebody around here could use some Gas-X.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Earning My Stripes

Holidays have a way of provoking memories of family for most of us. For some, those memories aren’t so good, but for many, like me, Thanksgiving and Christmas remind us of good times with loved ones who are present at the table only in spirit now.

I’m in the process of making dressing for the Thanksgiving meal we’ll have at mama’s tomorrow, and I can’t stop thinking about grandma. Grandma made the best dressing in the whole world. Not stuffing, dressing. Stuffing was a little frou frou for us. As a kid, I regularly perched myself on that wobbly kitchen stool and watched her mix up cornbread and bread with onion, celery, spices, broth and of all things, chicken noodle soup until she had it just the way she wanted it. Then I would wait eagerly for that savory smell to start drifting from the oven. Dressing has always been one of my favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal.

There’s a hierarchy to the assignment of dishes for the Thanksgiving meal, with the cooking of the turkey and dressing left to the senior members of the family. When you’re a newlywed or a new in-law who has to prove her culinary worth, you’re usually assigned something foolproof like corn or rolls, and you work your way up the casserole ladder each year until you reach the pinnacle of the spread, which is the turkey. Dressing, however, is right up there under the turkey. Screw it up, and your one shot at captain’s bars in the Thanksgiving army is over. You’ll be busted down to green bean private faster than you can say French’s Fried Onions.

I graduated to dressing duty a couple of years ago, which was a little earlier than I expected, but I think mama was just overwhelmed enough that year to delegate that duty. And since no one else jumped at the chance, I said, “Me, me, me!” Now, I didn’t mess up the dressing that year, but my dressing was just okay. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t set the world on fire. Its popularity level was somewhere between Bristol Palin (thank heavens the viewers of DWTS did the right thing) and a TSA pat down. Since then, I have continued to tweak it in hopes of making it really good one day. I don’t have any hope of it ever being as good as Grandma’s, but I’ll try. And as I mix that cornbread and fixin’s tonight, I’ll be seeing Grandma in her apron standing in front of that stove with that banged up baking pan wishing she was here to teach me how to graduate to captain.
*That picture is of grandma holding mama in the early 1940's.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things Hula Likes

Pink. She's sassy and gritty. She likes to provoke. She doesn't try to fit in, and she's always true to herself. Oh, and she really knows how to throw down a rockin' party anthem.

I apologize in advance for the two f-bombs in this one. They didn't have a clean version of this video. However, if you like, you can stick your fingers in your ears at 1:19 and 2:30.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter,

I know I’m a drag on your wish to be fully independent right now. And that 18th birthday that looms ahead has you thinking that the whole world will change on December 30th and that suddenly you will make your own rules and live your life solely as you want to. As the woman who squeezed you from my womb and nurtured you the last eighteen years, I have to tell you in the sweetest, most loving way I know….that’s not going to happen. Not just yet. Why? You see, my job is not to make you happy. My job is to turn you into a loving, compassionate, productive citizen, and my job isn’t done. You think it is. And we’re getting close to that point, but we’re not quite there yet. And sometimes my job requires me to make and enforce rules that you don’t like.

Oh, I know you think I’m holding on too tight. I thought my parents did too when I was your age. I know you curse me under your breath when I tell you that you can’t stay out until 2am or that a certain boy is not coming anywhere near our house. I know you sometimes count the hours until you’re living in your own dorm room or apartment and you don’t have to worry about me or your dad enforcing a curfew or asking where you’ve been all evening. And I know that you think we’re stricter than everyone else’s parents. I know because I was once there too. And while I hate that it makes you angry, I know that one day several years from now, you will understand that I was right. Seriously, you will, and you'll thank me for nixing the tattoo. It doesn’t make any sense now, but one day it will.

You’re strong. You’re smart, and you’re very independent. But there are still those times when I see glimmers of a middle schooler or a young girl who doesn’t always know how to handle herself. God gives me signs these days that for a little while longer your dad and I need to keep shaping you and molding you into the person YOU want to be. My love for you is big enough to withstand your anger over the boundaries we set for you because I know that one day when you’re about thirty; you’ll be glad that we kept you from turning into one of THOSE girls. Rest assured, the day when I put my foot against your tail feathers and shove you out of the nest is rapidly coming, and more freedoms are just around the corner. But for now, my wings are still wrapped around your stubborn little being with the knowledge that one day you will understand. And be glad.

PS-You can have the iPod back tonight.

Love, Mom

Sunday, November 21, 2010

iheartfaces Photography Challenge-"Paper"

Before a wedding with the groom and pastor. I thought the positioning of the banner in the background was appropriate for the moment.

Friday, November 19, 2010

In The Grass...Again

I can't keep my head off the lawn. I looked out of the front window the other morning and saw a lovely layer of frost glittering in the sun. I couldn't resist it. Besides, it was either that or start the laundry.

Up close, frost can be a wonderful thing. It's a little like snow in that it comes in different shapes. Did you know that? It can hang in big clumps like the salt crystals on a tub of homemade ice cream.
It also comes in quartz like crystals that stand on their ends.

What was really interesting to watch was they way it literally melted in front of my eyes in the bright sunshine. One second it was there. The next it was almost gone.

Fascinating. And on a positive note, I think the neighbors are getting used to me lying in the grass in the front yard in the early morning.

Photo Friday Challenge-"Vivid"

Check out the other entries here.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let's Catch Up

It seems like there are so many things I haven’t shared with you in recent days. Like the new camera I bought or the state of construction in our backyard or the general state of chaos in our lives right now. As my friend Yvonne would say, “Girl, sit yourself down and let’s talk a spell.” The three men who read this site can sit down, too. It works best if there's pie, though.

We are rapidly winding down on the construction of the garage and pool. The pool is done, and I’ll show you a picture of that in another post, but the garage is still a work in progress. It is under roof, and the stairs have been built. Every day when I come home Hubby has to show me around and give me an update. I’ve never seen a grown man be so excited about anything; except for that time he thought he saw Cameron Diaz at the Memphis Airport. The last couple of days I’ve missed taking pictures of the work because it’s been dark when I get home, but I’ve been documenting each step of the construction, and I’ll share some of those pictures with you soon. It’s very exciting. Bottom line? We should be done by the first week of December.

We had some illness in our house in recent days. Teen Angel had some kind of twelve hour stomach bug that took her out of school for one day. She swears it’s because I fed her an undercooked pork chop. She’s full of hooey. It was perfectly cooked with just the right amount of color in the very center. I’m just sharing my side of the story now because she keeps acting like she had trichinosis. Hubby had a cold which turned into the cold from hell and then into a sinus infection. I made that diagnosis a full 24 hours before he went to the doctor based on the description of that piece of lung he coughed up yesterday morning. The doctor confirmed my diagnosis this morning, gave Hubby a shot in the butt and a whole bunch of medicine. Hubby declared a new rule last night. He says from now on he’s going to call the doctor if he has an illness that lasts more than three days. It took only twenty years for him to declare me right on that issue. Why do men fight going to the doctor? So far, I’ve managed to stay well, but I keep washing my hands and picking up the remote control with my shirt sleeve. I also rinse my sinuses daily with the joy that is known as the Netti pot. I know it sounds gross, but it really does work. You just have to get past that gunk that winds up in the sink.

The anxiety that always surfaces in Hubby’s family during the holidays has already begun. I’ll refrain from elaborating on that, but let’s just say those folks keep me on my knees in prayer. Sometimes my eye twitches, too. Is there a twelve step program for surviving the holidays with people who drive you crazy?

I’ve not been a very good blogging buddy lately. I just haven’t had much time to comment. Because of my job, I head up our city’s big Christmas light display, and I’m all HOLY MOTHER OF MABEL IT’S ALMOST TIME TO TURN ON THE FREAKIN’ LIGHTS WILL WE GET EVERYTHING READY IN TIME right now, so my blog reading time is short. Rest assured, I am keeping up with the fun happenings at your blogs. Forgive me for not giving my two cents worth on your various posts. As if my opinion was needed.

I bought a new camera yesterday. An independent film maker who lives here is selling a bunch of photography gear that’s only slightly used. While there was a lot of eye candy and tempting stuff to buy, I had only a certain amount of money. I could either buy a nice camera that was similar to mine and still afford that big lens I’ve been saving for or I could buy a Mack daddy camera and start saving all over again for that lens. After two days of lens, camera, lens, camera, lens, camera, I decided I wanted the lens more. I decided to buy the smaller camera which is still a step up from my other camera and is a great camera. It’s in pristine shape with plenty of bells and whistles, and I now have a backup camera for shooting special events and don’t have to change lenses so much. Only 632 more items on my wish list to go!

I have to turn in an order tomorrow for Teen Angel’s graduation invitations. Be still my heart.
And I tried that cranberry pie over at the Pioneer Woman’s place last night. It was awesome. I recommend some sweetened whipped cream with it though. Or some ice cream. Or some crème anglese. Eating it plain, straight out of the pan with a knife works, too. In fact, I think it could work as a meal in itself.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Word of the Day- "Mesmerize"


mez-muh-rahyz, mes-]

verb (used with object), -ized, -iz•ing.

Definition: 1. to hypnotize.
2. to spellbind; fascinate.
3. to compel by fascination.

Origin: 1820–30; mesmer(ism) + -ize

Related forms
mes•mer•i•za•tion, noun
mes•mer•iz•er, noun
un•mes•mer•ized, adjective

Used in a sentence: "While watching the Russian Ballet perform the Nutcracker, Hula couldn't help but be mesmerized by the tightly toned fannies and thighs of the male dancers."

Talk about making the season bright!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pet Peeve #378

Calling the satellite TV company. Because life is too short to spend it on the phone with tech support plucking my eyebrows out one hair at a time and trying not to scream obscenities at the condescending man on the other end of the phone. Seriously, there is nothing other than car trouble that makes me go from zero to CRANKY any quicker than dealing with the blue screen of death on my TV. It makes me long for the days of my youth when we had only three channels, and the remote was me after my father said, “Hey, get up and change the channel.” This was usually followed by me asking, “Why?” and him saying, “Because I said so.” And since that was during the Wonder Years when you did what your parents said out of fear of wearing your butt for a hat, you got up and changed the channel from Maude to UHF wrestling without ever having to worry about things like modes or a tangle of red, yellow and white connectors. Watching television has become way too complicated for me in recent years, and I hate it when it goes awry.

I am the electronics technician at our house. My husband knows nothing about electronics. He literally visits four sites on the internet, and all of those have shortcuts on his desktop. He only discovered the joys of Craigs List two weeks ago and has managed to show me every item for sale in a twelve county area. One. At. A. Time. Lord help us if I get hit by a bus and he has to work our online bill payments, and his knowledge of the inner knowledge of anything computer or satellite related could fit in a thimble. But don’t tell him that because he kinda thinks otherwise. Oy, the issues that caused in our marriage.

His role in setting up television service at our new house was calling Dish Network and telling them he wanted something that included all of the HBO channels. As any of you with satellite television know, you have to spend a lot of time on your own trying to figure out the system before you can convince a technician to come to your house to help you. After days of frustration, we ended up calling a neighbor who used to work for Dish and paying him $100 to straighten out the four TV’s in our house and hooking up the DVD player. There is one glitch. The remote for Teen Angel’s TV still turns the channels in the exercise room too, so she and I duke it out with our remotes on the rare rainy Saturday that I’m on the treadmill and she’s home. We can deal with that though.

Because I spent thirteen years working in television news, I am apparently the most qualified person in our house to deal with technical difficulties relating to the TV. I won that job by default, only I never applied for it. And I didn’t work in the ENGINEERING part of the TV station; I worked in the NEWS department. That means the only thing I know about restoring service is turning off the receiver, counting to ten and then turning it back on. However, I can write you a two minute story on the dangers of satellite TV and what you need to know to protect your family from them. Complete with web links.

I tried the whole turning the receiver off and back on thing four times before calling Dish the other night because I knew that was the first thing tech support was going to advise me to do. I tried a couple of other tricks too, to no avail. I finally gave up, called and started praying for patience as soon as the phone started ringing. Over the past year, I’ve figured out how to maneuver past the voicemail options that require you to talk to the system as if you’re talking to a real human. Who cannot hear you clearly or understand English. After shouting loudly and slowly, “Watson, come to my office,” I got a nice lady on the line who ran through the usual paces and bumped me up to “Advanced Tech Support”, which I think translates into, “Woo, lady, I’ve done all I can do for you.”

To make a long story short, I spent another fifteen minutes on the phone with a guy who directed me to stand on my head, hold my tongue just right and clap my hands until the signal returned. I’m still not sure what the real problem was as there didn’t seem to be one thing that really did the trick. Except maybe the part where I clicked my heels together three times and kept repeating, “I wish this *#$@ thing would work.” The really funny part came when I asked him how I could prevent this kind of problem in the future since the receiver seems to be fine when we turn off the TV and then it simply loses its signal before we turn it on again, for no weather related reason. His explanation? Very often pets in the home step on the remote and change the settings, which makes no sense in our case since the settings he was talking about are on the side of our TV, AND Hubby very often sets the remote on the fireplace mantle when we’re gone. I said, “Seriously? The dog ate my TV?” and the technician cheerfully said, “Yes”. So I hung up, looked at the dog and said, “Dude! If you don’t quit changin' the channels while we’re gone, you’re gonna be wearin’ your butt for a hat.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Blue

Teen Angel and I went to see The Blue Man Group last Tuesday night at the local performing arts center. It was an outstanding show. I haven’t had that much fun since the hogs ate my little sister. We even got a little Blue Man huggin’ and kissin’ after the show.

That’s what happens when your 46 year old bladder has to make a pit stop at the restroom before you leave and it takes you so long to get out of the bathroom you end up hanging around long enough to catch the performers when they mosey into the lobby. And I’m not namin’ any names, but one of us may have pushed her way toward the front of the picture line.

I’m not one to rant and rave about shows. Okay, yes I am. But I have to tell you this show is fantastic. As in all caps and exclamation points FANTASTIC!! I’ve seen a lot of good theater in the past twenty years, but this was something incredible. I don’t even know how to describe it to you, but I can tell you that everyone I know who saw their show this week felt the same way. It was funny. It was joyful, and you didn’t want it to end. There is great drumming. There’s the paint splattering and paper dropping and lots and lots of laughs. It's high energy and full of surprises. My personal favorite was the rock star moves bit. You get to exercise rock star move #6 and exercise your keister, your fanny, your badonkadonk, your own personal following. And if you’re in the right spot in the audience you might get a purse full of chewed up marshmallows.

But the underlying theme of the whole show is about making connections with people, and I love how the fact that the performers are blue, a color not in the racial palette unless you’re sitting on an iceberg in Antarctica, takes away any of the hesitation some folks have about interacting with a stranger that looks waaaay different than them.

You MUST go see this show if it’s anywhere near you. It’s good fun for the whole family and worth the price of admission. I laughed so hard I snorted, and when I walked out of the theater, I felt like all my burdens had disappeared. It’s THAT good. Besides, you haven’t been hugged until you’ve been hugged by a Blue Man.

Here’s a YouTube video to give you an idea of what the performance is like, but honestly, it just doesn’t do it justice. Just go see the show. I dare you not to shake your own personal following.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Boy in The Picture

The world spins in funny directions sometimes, connecting us with people in unexpected ways. That’s exactly what happened last week after I posted the picture of the little boy saluting a veteran at our local Veteran’s Day parade.

When I took the picture, I was standing across the street from him waiting to catch some pictures of my coworkers who were walking in the parade. I always include the pictures in the company newsletter I write. I had noticed the boy and his group of school children earlier and had smiled as they chanted, “U-S-A” and anxiously awaited the start of the parade. Their signs told me they had traveled from a school about forty minutes from here. Once the parade started, my eyes were trained on the oncoming vehicles and walkers. However, at one point I glanced back over my shoulder to see what was happening in the other direction. Honestly, I think it’s a habit from running in traffic every day and needing to know what’s going on in all directions. As I looked to my rear left, I saw an elderly man in uniform stopping in the street. In front of him was the little boy in mid-salute. With a determined look on his face, the child kept his hand at his forehead until the gentleman saluted back. With one chance at a picture, I quickly raised the old Nikon, focused and snapped, praying the camera settings would handle the shade. One take. No more. It happened that quickly. I got lucky and got a great picture. I don’t even know if anyone else in the crowd realized what happened.

I posted the picture on FaceBook Thursday night and got a wonderful response. Apparently, the salute tugged at other folks’ hearts as much as it did mine. Well, a FaceBook friend of mine who is a real estate agent and travels all over this end of the state posted the picture on his wall. And a FaceBook friend of his who edits the hometown newspaper where the little boy in the picture lives recognized the boy. She tagged his mother so mom could see it on FaceBook. And there mom was, crying on a Friday morning over her little boy’s patriotism and respect for a man he didn’t know but for some reason chose to single out of the crowd and honor with his heartfelt salute. To make a long story short, after some emails and FaceBook friend requests I sent the picture to the mom and to the newspaper editor who asked to print the picture next week. I now know that the little boy wants to join the military when he grows up and understands the sacrifice of veterans because of his uncle’s service in Iraq.

I’m thrilled the picture made so many folks feel so good, and I’m amazed at how small the world can be sometimes. Mama was right. You just never know who you’re going to touch with your own actions. But mostly, I’m just happy to see a member of the younger generation appreciate the sacrifices of our soldiers and sailors. It just makes my heart glow.

Please do not ask me how many times I’ve shed a tear over that dadgum picture in the last 24 hours.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pass the Tissues

There are a lot of things my town does right, and one of them is our Veteran’s Day parade. Every November 11th as I stand on a street corner waving at veterans and listening to the shouts of children I feel very pleased to live in small town middle America where the people take great pride in stopping work long enough to wave some flags and show their gratitude for freedom. We don’t squabble over saying a prayer at football games, or saying Merry Christmas either, but that’s another post for another day. We keep it pretty simple around here and don’t get too knotted up in political correctness. We’re fine and dandy with showing our patriotism, and that’s why our Veteran’s Day parade is so much fun. But as Truvie says in Steel Magnolias, laughter through tears is one of my favorite emotions, so I usually don’t get through the parade without a few tears.

It’s the children. They do it to me every time. With their cute little faces and enthusiasm. School buses roll into our downtown area right before the parade, unloading hundreds of children who line the parade route and wave and shout words of thanks to the veterans walking and riding by.
The sap in me usually starts getting misty eyed even before the first step. There’s just something about seeing children with flags mingling with old folks that gets my tear ducts stirred up, especially when the kids starting chanting “U-S-A”.

I actually held it together pretty well this year until….until this girl had to go and do this right in the middle of the street:

And then…and then this little boy did this:
And it just sent me over the edge.
Good grief. I should buy stock in Kleenex.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Riverfront at my Town

For some reason I'm a little short on words these days. I know. Go figure. But I have plenty of pictures to show. I've been snapping away lately and had gotten way behind on editing personal photos. I mean backed up like a three day cheese bender. I've been trying to catch up this week, and as I sift through some of these I am learning a few things about myself because my eyes are the windows to my heart and soul. I photograph the things that tug at my senses and emotions. Sometimes the lesson is simple though. Like this one.

It may be difficult having to get up at 5:30 every morning to get to work by 7am, but it does mean I get to see some beautiful sunrises that I would otherwise purposefully sleep through.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm Blue

Great Googly Moogly! The Hula-gen's are going to see these guys tonight:

It should be a large time. What's even more exciting is that we received word that we'll be seeing them in New York City this spring AND we have PONCHO seats! Did you hear me? I said PONCHO SEATS. Oh, how I love a messy musical experience.

Monday, November 8, 2010

If I Traveled Every Place My Soul Wandered, I'd Never Stay In One Place

When I stumbled upon this little creek, I had the urge to follow it as far as I could, even though I didn't know where it would lead. To get my feet wet and to bake my face in the sunshine. To become a vagabond and live off the land, letting geography take me where it led me.

As it was, I sat on a rock for a satisfying moment, snapped a picture to savor later and returned to real life.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just Another Rock in an Endless Sea

As I sift through photos from our recent trek to a local recreational area I am forced to admit two things: First of all, I cannot resist photographing a body of water.

And secondly, no matter how big the lake (or landscape) is, I'm still drawn to the smallest details. At least it justifies the money spent on the macro lens. In my mind.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Autumn Leaves-Part 2

I think the red ones are my favorites.