Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo Friday Challenge-"Modern Life"

From Broadway and 44th in New York City.
For all of the other entries, hop on over to here.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Y'all Know How I Love Sunflowers

Sometimes when I get the urge to shoot some pictures, and I don't have time to go anywhere, I just pop outside and shoot whatever is in the backyard.  This year, we planted a few sunflowers at the edge of the garden.  They weren't very big, but they certainly had bold color when they bloomed.  I caught them one night when the light was just right and was thrilled with the colors I found in the images I took.  We're definitely planting more next year.  Did you hear that, Hubby?  We're planting more.  Yes, indeed.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Excitement Abounds

Where to start?  My class reunion this past weekend or the four hours of my life I lost to jury duty this morning?  It's just one exciting event after another around here. 

The reunion was fine.  It was our 30th.  I'll let you do the math on that rather than say it aloud, and if anyone asks, I'm still 41 years old, okay?  I had a few reservations about attending because there were a few really immature folks at our last reunion that kind of turned me off from the whole thing, but at the last minute I decided to go, and I'm glad I did.  There were some people there whom I hadn't seen in thirty years, and it was good to reconnect with them.   I was really pleased that I didn't fail to recognize anyone.  That happened at the last reunion, and I was really embarrassed.  We were smart enough to have name tags this time, thank heavens.    
The odd thing about this reunion was the realization that we are old enough to have grandchildren.  Sweet mother of Mabel, how is that possible?!  Everyone's conversation about their kids revolved around college, grad school and weddings and for some, grandbabies.  As I stood there talking to one friend who has two grandchildren, my brain kept rejecting that notion.  In fact, that scene from Terms of Endearment where Aurora has trouble accepting that she's going to be a grandmother rolled through my head.  Twice.

It just doesn't seem possible that thirty years has passed since we tossed our graduation caps in the air and leaped into the wild wild world of adulthood.  The proof is there, though, in the thinning hair and thicker waists.  Despite our best efforts to tuck everything in with Spanx and straighten our posture, it's impossible to hide the fact that we're just not as young as we used to be.  We're the people we never thought we'd become.  I have mixed feelings about that.  Is that the way my parents felt just a couple of decades ago or even now?  That the person they are on the outside is older than the person on the inside?  Hmm.   

The good news is our class, as a whole, seems to be doing well.  In fact, I think we look darn good. 

Some folks have had some medical issues, and a few have had some hard knocks, but mostly, we're doing well and trying our best to shake the good stuff out of life.  I talked with a classmate who spent eight months in a coma and two years in the hospital after a motorcycle wreck.  He should be dead, but he's doing well, and I walked away feeling blessed to have had that conversation with him. 
I did NOT feel blessed after spending all morning at the courthouse today in jury selection.  It took four hours to pick a jury for a four day civil trial against two local doctors, and three of those hours were consumed by asking potential jurors about their biases, their relationship with the parties involved and their medical knowledge.  I didn't make the final cut, but I had to sit through it all until they had their panel, and I wanted to bang my head on the bench in front of me about half way through it all.  The attorneys were SO repetitive.  And the people who are obviously trying to worm or cry their way out of jury duty by pretending to be biased one way or the other or feigning some kind of hardship drove me out of my ever lovin' mind.  Jury duty isn't my favorite thing to do, but it's a necessary part of being an American citizen, so I do my civic duty.  However, it sure was boring today, and now I'm waaaaay behind at work.  I am finished with jury duty for the month, and it will be two more years before they can draw my name again. That means the next time they call me, I will have passed a big birthday.  Um, 43.  I have found that time marches slower if you just lie about your age.

PS...A big shout out to Madd Maxx who is fueling up his generator and stocking the pantry this evening.  Isaac's comin' your way, Maxx.  Hang on!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

22 and Counting

Hubby and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary this past weekend.   It's was a fairly tame celebration with a wonderful steak dinner and a little walk around the downtown area.  When I think about all the time we've been married, my first thought was, "My, how time flies!"  My second?  It is a good man indeed who puts up with all of my shenanigans.  Thank goodness, he tolerates me 'cause no one else would.  I am truly blessed.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Little Shiner

I was always pretty relieved that I had a girl and didn't have to suffer through being a football mom.  I know some moms embrace their children's football participation with full blown enthusiasm, but I would have spent every game worrying about neck injuries, paralysis and concussions.  Especially after a neurosurgeon told me he could count on most of his business to come from ATV's, trampolines and football.  Sometimes, being on a local hospital committee gives you insight into things you'd be more comfortable not knowing.  Since Teen Angel didn't play football, I pleasantly told myself I didn't have to worry about such things.  Until now.

Until my tomboy daughter took up roller derby at the late great age of 18.  After years of braces, corrective shoes and us nurturing her into a healthy young women, she went and joined the rowdiest sport she could think of.  For the last year and a half, I have watched her bouts with one eye closed, praying the whole time she wouldn't fall and knock out some teeth or break a bone.  It wasn't until recently that I could actually watch with both eyes open and cheer with great spirit.  I had started to relax a little.  Not much, but a little.  And then, in an out of town bout this past weekend, she fell and took a skate to the face.  She scraped her face, bruised the area just below her eye and busted the inside of her lip. 
Saturday Night

She was darn lucky she didn't lose an eye or some teeth.  And yet, she is thrilled with her darkening eye.  It's a badge of honor in her world.  A sign of toughness. 

I guess all those times she came home from preschool with ripped tights and busted knees were a precursor to all of this roller derby business, but I sure didn't see it comin' at this age.  And after this weekend, I'm back to worryin'.  And watching with one eye closed.  Maybe two.  Aye, yi, yi.  Is this why they invented vodka?    

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Word of the Day-"Fatuous"

Pronunciation:  fa'-chü-əs
Origin:  Latin fatuus foolish

First Known Use: 1633

Definition:  complacently or inanely foolish:  silly
Used in a sentence:  "With her fanny stuck in the air and her head against the convenience store floor, Hula felt extremely fatuous fishing her wallet out from under the big ice cream freezer where it slid when she dropped it." 

Right by the checkout counter, yes indeedy.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Happy Weekend

There are so many crazy things going on in the world that the news today left me feeling a little confused about what I wanted to write about. I write what I feel, and with all of the political bantering (Come on, November!) and the sadness that was swirling around different corners of the world today, I borrowed a phrase from a good friend of mine and said, "Bump it." I thought I'd simply share something that might make me smile. If you haven't checked out Pogo's remixes on YouTube, try it sometime. He takes sounds and snippets from movies, adds some jams and turns them into something really fun. Feel free to tap your toe right into a nice weekend. Ciao, friends and neighbors. Let's make the world a better place next week, shall we?

Thursday, August 16, 2012


So, I glanced at the calendar today and said to myself, "Self, this time last year you were sittin' outside the Louvre, soaking up the Paris sunshine.  And now you're not."  And then I said, "Snap."  Or something like that.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Another Road Trip Well done

We had a large time in Louisville.  The shopping was fine, we had some tasty food and the show was excellent.  It was outdoors, and there was a chance of thunderstorms, but the rock and roll gods were looking out for us, and it rained nary a drop.  Well, just a couple of tiny drops that made me wonder if we were indeed going to need our ponchos or worse, have another incident like the Eric Clapton tornado that Sissy and I endured a few years ago in Indianapolis.  But the storms stayed away, and we were simply left with a breeze that floated along the riverfront park where 16,000 of us gathered to hear Mumford and Sons.  Thanks goodness, because we've typically had 100 degree weather all summer.  I cannot imagine how hot and stinky things would have been with that kind of heat and all those bodies packed into one place.

The boys from the UK were in fine form, and we managed to get in the gates pretty early, giving us a spot on the grass pretty darn close to the stage.  I'm not good with guessing distance, but I'm going to say we were about forty feet from the stage.

Dear Blackberry, you need a better camera on your phones.  Sincerely annoyed, Hula.

Anyway, we threw our small blanket on the ground and managed to hold a decent piece of space for a while, but inevitably, the folks squeezed closer, and our little patch of real estate became just enough space to stand.  I warded off attempts by three different young folks to squeeze in front of us and push us back.  And can I pause here for just a moment to rant?  Why yes, I think I will. 
Don't get me wrong, I love young people.  I love being around them.  They keep ME young.  But one of my biggest pet peeves is really young girls who believe they can manipulate people into giving them what they want by being cute.  That mess doesn't fly with me.  We had one girl who literally squeezed through the crowd and planted herself in front of me where there wasn't really room enough for her to stand.  In fact, the girl next to me had to lean back to make room for Miss Cuteness and couldn't even stand up straight.  The interloper pretended  to be looking for someone but proceeded to stand there and make herself comfortable.  After it was obvious she wasn't going anywhere, I tapped her on the shoulder and told her to move on.  She batted those eyelashes at me, and I told her in no uncertain terms why she was going to leave NOW.  I may or may not have used my pointing finger.  (The finger of 180 degrees Teen Angel fondly calls it.)  She moved along quickly.  Call me an old fart, but I just didn't feel like taking that kind of crap from someone less than half my age.  I'm older and have more insurance.  Plus, I can afford bail.  Twanda!

Other than that little brush with ridiculousness, we sang, we danced and had a great time.  The band was in great form and rocked the riverfront for us.  I did have a moment while standing in the "pit" where everyone was jumping up and down when I wondered if I'm getting too old to do that kind of thing, but I finally decided I wasn't as long as I could keep up.  However, I will admit to wondering if I was going to get an embolism from standing in one spot for three hours. 

That wraps up our summer concert tour, and I told Hubby last night we were done driving around the countryside for concerts for a while.  And then? This morning I got an email telling me that Bruce Springsteen is going to be at the YUM Center in Louisville in November.  Sweet!  Tickets go on sale Friday.  I'm tempted boys and girls.  Sorely tempted.  And this one is arena seating.  I won't have to arm wrestle teenagers for a place to stand.  I might have to arm wrestle some middle aged farts like me though.  Twanda!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Random Hula-gen Texts

Teen Angel and I are headed to Louisville for a couple of days to shop and see Mumford and Sons in concert.  She sent me this text Thursday.  I like the way she thinks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cover Girl Scores Gold

There are two things that happened this week that made me very happy.  There were a couple of news reports that called these Olympic games the year of the woman.  And while you can debate the number of medals won and lost and whether women are really gaining more freedom when some of these athletes will return to countries where they can't vote or speak their minds, the bottom line is that the games have certainly highlighted women's athletic strengths.  There are a few idiot fans who want to focus on Gabby Douglas' hair instead of her wonderful abilities.  Some female athletes have been called too thin, others too thick, and their looks are burning up the twitter feeds by some birds who don't have anything else better to flap about.  BUT.  It is impossible to ignore the performance of strong dedicated women who are showing all those very young girls watching TV right now that beauty is more than a size zero waist and a spray on tan.  There are female athletes of all ages who are dashing across the small screen with power, intelligence and grace.  When they win and lose.  Is there anyone more gracious and honest than Lo Lo Jones when it comes to losing a medal?  And how about Gabby Douglas giving a shout out to God?  That kind of thing takes independence and courage these days.  And I love it.  Such a nice change of pace from all of the reality crap that falsely makes our young people think that success comes in the form of being famous for nothing other than a rich parent or a sex tape.

And then Cover Girl went and named Pink their new, well, cover girl. 

Giddy-up!  I love Pink.  She is smart and talented and has been challenging the popular notion of beauty for a long time.  I think she's beautiful with her spiky hair and funky clothes....and her brains.  Good for you, Cover Girl.  And good for us.
Oh, and Blogger was being turd, so I couldn't post the video I wanted to link directly here.  You'll have to get there this way.  Blogger does not get a medal today.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seasons in the Sun

It's that time of year when I suddenly start to get a little sad that summer is winding down.  It always slips up on me, perhaps because I enjoy summer so much.  What can I say?  I was born in July. 

It happens every year, the same way it has since I was young.  I look up and notice that the days aren't quite as long as they used to be, and every now and then a whisper of cool air brushes against my skin, foretelling things to come.  I try to ignore the signs, but they're there, niggling at my brain, growing louder and louder until they can't be ignored.  By the time September rolls around, they'll be shouting at me.  And it will be too loud for my ears.
The younger kids go back to school this week.  My teacher friends went back to work yesterday.  Late bedtimes and full days of swimming are over for my little friends who have filled our swimming pool this season.  As one of those little friends dried off and gathered up his stuff to go home Saturday night, he sweetly asked me, "Miss Hula, can we do this again before school starts?"  And I didn't have the heart to tell him we were out of time.  I handed him a homemade snow cone and told him we'd do it again soon.  We'll do it again on the weekends until there is no more warm weather, and the pool has to be covered to keep out the falling leaves.  Hubby and I looked at each other after our company left Saturday night and talked about how boring our weekends were going to seem this winter.  We've had such a full summer, right in our backyard. 

Without really planning it, we've had company almost every weekend.  Aside from a planned family get together and a pool party we scheduled way back in January, everything else has been spontaneous.  We told friends that we get in the pool every Saturday and that they are welcome at any time.  We told them they didn't need an invitation, to just call ahead and make sure we were there.  And they have.  Every Friday or Saturday, I'll get a text or a call, and before you know it, Saturday has turned into a party of sorts.  We don't make a big deal out of food.  We simply keep the Man Cave stocked with paper supplies, sodas, beer and drinks for the kids.  By now, they all make themselves at home.  The kids know where their drink cooler is.  They know where the pool toys are, and they know where we keep the scissors to cut open those little frozen popsicle sticks we stock in the freezer.  The parents know where the towels and adult beverages are, and we all just float and swim and take it easy for hours at a time.  If meal time rolls around and we get hungry, we pull some hot dogs out of the freezer and grill or we order pizza.  The pizza delivery people all know to come around to the back of the house by now without us telling them when we place the order. 
It has been a very fun, pleasant summer with a lot of laughter and good times.  We will miss it when it ends.  I'll missing the swimming.  I'll miss the homegrown tomatoes and the sunshine.  And I'll miss the casual clothes, the bare feet and the smell of a neighborhood grill roasting something good to eat.  I'll miss all of the little sights and sounds of summer.  The whir of mowers, the shouts of the neighbor kids playing basketball until long after dark, the feel of the warm ground under my feet, and the laziness of long days.  Iced tea in a sweating glass, the crunch of crushed ice in between my teeth and the burst of sweetness from biting into corn on the cob. 

It's been a long hot summer here.  Temperatures have hovered around 100 degrees for weeks, and a lot of the crops have burned up.  The grass is brown, and most everyone else is looking forward to cooler weather.  And while, it will be a relief to run in cooler temperatures, I will be sad to see summer go.  As always, I am reluctant to turn it loose.  I'm not sure why I love it so much, other than I hate cold weather.  Perhaps, because it reminds me of the joy and freedom I felt during summer vacation as a kid.  Whatever the reason, summer warms my soul, and it is hard for me to turn loose of the joy it brings me.  We still have about a month and a half left of what I call summer weather, and we'll make the most of it.  We'll  squeeze as much out of the weekends as we can, and when I finally stow away my flip flops, I can say it was a blessed and beautiful season.  We will do it again, my little friend.  That we will.  And the memories of this summer will tide me over until the season of sun and laughter rolls around again.      

Friday, August 3, 2012

Photo Friday Challenge-"Luminous"

I do love a good dew fall.  For all of the other luminous, you can head over to here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I didn't manage to write a post yesterday evening because I couldn't seem to muster up the time or energy.  I really need to start getting to bed a little earlier but last night there was volleyball and swimming and diving and sister mercy, what about the gymnastics?  I laughed.  I cried.  I wanted to hug John Orozco when he had such a bad day and I just wanted to hop on a plane and pinch the cheeks of Missy Franklin 'cause she' s the cutest thing that side of the Atlantic right now.  Well, aside from Gabby Douglas.  And who knew there could be so much controversy in badmitten?  Anyway, the Olympics drama and the need to finish editing 6,293 wedding pictures kept me planted on the couch with Photoshop, a remote and a big glass of iced tea until I watched Dannel get his bronze medal.  Yea, Dannel! And THEN I dragged myself to bed.  Oh, and I didn't mean what I said Tuesday about the Japanese men's gymnastics team.  I was just uber excited for the British because what's not to like about the British?  And gosh darn it, they're way behind in the medal count.  I was a little cranky then, but now I'm all Kumbaya.

You may be asking yourself, "I wonder if there's a point where Hula will get burned out on the games and go back to eating bon bons and filing her toenails?"  And the answer would be no.  I can eat bon bons, file my toenails and watch TV all at the same time.  Although, I did bail on some of the synchronized diving last night in order to half heartedly clean the kitchen.  (I never clean with a full heart.  It's just not in my DNA to get ANY pleasure out of cleaning.)  It's not that I don't like synchronized diving.  It's just that I had to miss SOMETHING in order to get some chores done, and it sure wasn't going to be Ryan Lochte.  And I did have to spend a little time on the internet booking a hotel room for our quick trip to Louisville in a couple of weeks.  Score!  In a blind buy on Hotwire last night I got a room at the Galt House in downtown Louisville for $70, which is much less than half price and puts us close to the concert venue.  Slap my bottom and call me baby.  That's a far better deal than when the Nashville downtown Holiday Inn Express tried to plunder me booty for $383 last week.  I toyed with the idea of calling the HIE up last night and shouting, "Boo-ya!" into the phone, but I figured I'd probably just get a very bewildered operator in Fargo, North Dakota.  Sorry, Fargo.  You were the first out of the way place I could think of when typing this.  I'm sure you have a very nice city. 

Ogling the Italian swimmers prompted me to check, for the heck of it, prices for flights to Italy, and they've dropped about $700 in the past month or so.  If they stay that way, we might actually be able to go in May when Teen Angel wraps up the spring semester of school.  My fingers are crossed.  In the meantime, we keep saving.  I put some photography money and some of Teen Angel's tip money from the restaurant into the trip account yesterday.  I felt the need to apologize to the teller for all of the $1 bills.  Or at least clarify that I'm not a stripper.   I also had to apologize for the random pennies stuck in the roll of dimes because SOMEBODY in my house didn't roll change properly.  If we ever get to Italy, I'm going to dub it the George Tour after all of the $1 bills and quarters we saved to get there.

I had to report for jury duty yesterday, which was interesting.  I've done it before, and I don't mind doing it, but because of all the goings on they had at the courthouse yesterday morning, there were no parking spaces at the courthouse, which is unheard of.  Our town just isn't big enough for that kind of traffic issue.  Or I didn't think it was.  It would be like Barney Fife not having enough room in his gun for all of the bullets he carried.  And that's NOT some kind of political statement about gun control.  I'm clarifying that because you can't make a comment in the US about guns, cookies or chicken these days without someone assuming it's a political stance on a social issue.'s what's for dinner.  With rainbow Oreos for dessert.    

I managed to avoid getting picked for the grand jury, which normally I wouldn't mind having to do, but they were meeting on every one of my extra days off in the next two months.  In the summer?  When the number of swimming days are dwindling?  Um, I'd rather not.  As it is, I'm in the pool for trial duty for all of August, and they have a busy court docket this month, so it will be interesting to see what I have to do.  I've never minded jury duty.  It's a civic duty, and I'm enough of a legal nerd to enjoy being a part of that process.   Or maybe I just read too much Grisham.  The bottom line is that I'm fine with having to sit on a jury if it comes to that. 

The last time I had to do this I was chosen for a child abuse trial, which actually surprised me because by the time the voir dire was over, I'd admitted to having a brother who was a police officer, a husband who was a retired parole officer, a former career in journalism and being the chair of the board for the local child advocacy center.  I wanted to pull the defense attorney aside, and go, "Dude, are you SURE you don't want to exercise a strike against me?  I don't seem to be your type."  In the end we had to acquit the defendant, even though we felt like he was guilty.  The prosecution just didn't prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.  While we were following the law, it sure made my stomach queasy to let that guy off the hook.  As daddy would say, somebody needed to take him out back and give him a good arse whippin' for breaking that child's arm.   Our justice system is pretty good, but it's not perfect.

And neither is our society.  We're not perfect, my fellow Americans.  I think Time Magazine got it right when they said 2011 was the year of the protest.  Stand up for what you believe in, but remember, freedom of speech is for everyone, not just those who agree with you, and we're all in this together.  The Olympic games are a reminder of what we can do when we work together for the good of the team.  Can't we all just get along and share our chicken sandwiches with one another?