Friday, March 30, 2012

Feet Don't Fail me Now

What hurts worse than the left foot with the sore ligament? The right foot with the wasp sting. What hurts worse than the right foot with the wasp sting? The right hip where I got the steroid shot yesterday for the infected wasp sting. Great Gertie! I'm fallin' to pieces this week. The wasp sting started healing up fine earlier this week and then night before last it woke me up with pain and intense itching. As in I was afraid I was going to wake up Hubby with all my scratching. For a few short minutes I was afraid I'd contracted fleas. By mid morning the sting site was feverish with this big red ring, and it really hurt. I said, "Self, that doesn't look right." So I showed it to a coworker, and she said, "That doesn't look right." Then I got a second opinion from another coworker who said, "THAT doesn't look right." And "You're not going to get any calls for foot modeling jobs anytime soon." And as my buddy Randall says, he ain't wrong about that. After having numerous medical professionals look at my lower extremities in the past two and a half weeks, I've decided I need better foot maintenance in the winter. Although, my tootsies may be a hopeless cause thanks to all of the time I spend walking around barefoot and running on hard surfaces. I looked at my feet in the doctor's office yesterday afternoon and figured I should call Mama and apologize for all those times when I was a kid and I made fun of her middle aged toes and heels.

After an hour and a half at the walk-in clinic, where I tried desperately not to touch anything because flu season is at its peak around here right now, I came away with the shot and an antibiotic. Yay, antibiotic! Let the constipation begin. So, while it's not really a big deal, this whole foot thing has officially become ANNOYING. And at this point I'm hoping I don't catch anything from milling around with sick people in that office. I was so paranoid about germs, my hands were chapped when I left from all of the soap and sanitizer I used while I was there. I was a real Howard Hughes. Minus the urine soaked loin cloth and untamed hair.

I can't imagine having serious medical issues. I just thank my lucky stars that I'm generally healthy as a horse, whatever that means. Papa T. always says you don't have anything if you don't have your health, and as my buddy Randall says, he ain't wrong about that. On the upside yesterday, their scales were three pounds lighter than mine at home, and since I'm guessing my clothes and shoes weighed a good ten pounds, I figure I'm more fit than I thought. What? Your clothes don't weigh ten pounds? AND my blood pressure was 112 over 52. I got an "A" in blood pressure yesterday, which appeals to my competitive nature. I was all WINNING. Truthfully, I spend so much time being frustrated over my slow running times that consistently good blood pressure readings are always a nice reminder of the real benefit of that exercise when my family history has more stroke and heart attack than you can count. Plus, WINNING. Can I get a plastic trophy for that? Have I mentioned I got all A's and only two B's in college? Yes, I am THAT annoying.

So, I'm hoping this whole foot thing is much better by tomorrow. I have an adult Easter egg hunt to take part in, and there are some cool prizes up for grabs. It will be the first time I've run around on the sore ligament, and I really need both feet. It's sure to be a competitive crowd, and hello! There's an "A" to be earned in egg hunting.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The White Ones

While I'm not really very good at being silent, I do think it's important to let some things speak for themselves.  Like nature.  So today, I'll let the dogwoods do the talkin'.  (Ya'll, I am a dogwood picture takin' fool.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm Sassy and I Know It

Life around here has been pretty good lately. My foot has been healing nicely, and I've walked all week without my orthopedic shoe. I'm down to just some discomfort and moving at a normal pace. You just have to ignore that slight hitch in my gait. And I'm wearing very flat shoes. Not that I wore tall ones before, but my foot seems to be more stable throughout the day if I just keep it very flat. As in very little arch support. The ER doctor thought I tore a ligament, but Dr. Hula thinks she just pulled it because it has healed very fast, and the pain tapered off early in the process. I may even try (gasp) a little running this weekend. I have to get my fanny in gear. I agreed to be a part of a relay team for the Iron Mom half marathon in early May. Go moms! Forgive me, I'm on a bit of a pro woman rant these days. I have to quit reading so much political news. This war on women by certain politicians around the country has me ALL fired up, and I'm really becoming most annoying to certain members of my household. Along with some of my dancing habits. Somebody tell me. Why is my 19-year old offspring so troubled by me singing "I'm Sexy and I Know It" while dancing like a naked M&M? I don't get it. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle.

Anyhoo. Each of the Hula-gen's is in a fairly smooth pattern of work, household chores and taking care of Papa T. Teen Angel also has school, which is boring her silly this semester because it's all gen ed classes in which she has little interest. Like economics and math. Sorry baby, you get that from me. My freshman economics class made me want to poke out my eyes with dull pencils. I made an A, but it really had more to do with the notes I charmed from a boyfriend who had that same class a few months before me. It certainly wasn't because I read my econ book with rapt interest. My rapt interest was saved for the boyfriend. Given the way that relationship ended, I should have probably just read the book.

Teen Angel's jobs soak up most of her extra time, which leaves little room for the opposite sex, and that makes her dad most happy, as he's still living under the delusion she will willingly refrain from dating until age 23 and that no male over the age of fourteen is looking at her chest. I've tried to explain to him that young girls ALWAYS find room for the opposite sex, but he likes living in the Land of Make Believe, so I've given up on that conversation.

She is putting all of her restaurant tip money in our Mason jar of Europe savings, and that's starting to add up, so we've started reading about Italy and begun the time consuming process of figuring out an itinerary and the logistics and costs involved. By "we" I mean I've started the logistics, and she's picking the things she wants to do. And I'm not namin' any names, but somebody around here needs to be winnin' the lottery if we're going to see all she wants to see. And yes, I spent $2 on Mega Millions tickets for tonight's drawing because $2 will NOT get you a gondola ride in Venice.

All of the money I make on photography gigs this year is going into that Mason jar, so I've been booking shoots for the summer months. I have three weddings and several family shoots planned. I'm trying to keep a schedule that's profitable but not overwhelming. The weddings are a lot of work, but I really do enjoy being a part of that kind of celebration. I think it's pretty cool when someone lets me witness that time in their life so intimately, even if I'm exhausted at the end of the day. I met with one of the couples the other night to finalize arrangements, and they were so cute. It reminds of the days when Hubby and I first fell in love, and we were so wide eyed and idealistic about marriage. Hee, hee.

The extra early spring season we're having means Hubby has started his yard work a little earlier than usual. Which suits his compulsive mowing habit just fine. He and the next door neighbor have this unspoken competition about who mows first each work and who puts the straightest lines in the grass. It's Mr. McD-1, Hubby-0 as my husband has already torn up one mower and one tiller. The man has three mowers, a passel of weed eaters and all kinds of general motorized yard tools. They are all fairly new. The man does not have junk. And while most people use one mower for several years, give it a little maintenance and manage to have no problems, my husband tears up lawn implements on a regular basis. I'm not even kidding about that. I'm sure the lawn mower mechanic at the local hardware store took his family to Gulf Shores last year on the money he made off of our mower issues. Hubby cranked up a mower Monday, traveled a short ways across the yard, and the blade fell off. The tiller quit on him yesterday when he tried to till up the garden spot. He claims it's just bad luck, but since most people don't have that much bad luck I'm going with "he just tears s**t up". And the fact that it's already begun is a sure sign spring is in the air. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Birth of a Bloom

I love dogwoods.  I think I get that from Mama.   I remember when I was a kid how she used to fawn over the dogwoods each spring and talk about how they represent the cross.  I think it's lovely the way the blooms unfold and thrust their centers toward the sky.  They dance daintily on the branches, with all of those little blooms blending together to give the tree a bit of an Impressionist look from a distance.  In recent years though, I've come to appreciate the dogwood blooms in their earliest stages.  I just love them as they begin to burst open.  But then again, I love anything that does the dance of spring.

Monday, March 26, 2012

In the Green, Green Grass of Home

No matter how many times I lay in the yard with my head in the grass taking pictures, I still have moments when I see something and think to myself, "That is pretty dadgum cool."  I had one of those moments Sunday.  Actually, I had several this weekend, but this one was my favorite.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

After the Rain

One of my favorite times to shoot pictures is after a spring rain.  I just love the way the water hangs onto the foliage.  Of course, I usually end up with a wet fanny from sitting on the ground.  But I figure that's a small price to pay for the beauty I get to witness first hand. 

It rained a few times during the past three days.  Every time it stopped I'd run outside with the camera.  The funny thing is that I have a neighbor who's in the photography club I belong to.  I kept running into him doing the same thing this weekend. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Fling

Recently I wandered into the local skate park because it was abuzz with young people doing flips and turns and jumps of all kinds. I don't know if the sunshine put a spring in their whizz bang doodly doo or what, but they were all over the place, and they were flinging themselves all over the place. It was pretty cool, and I could have stayed longer, but apparently, when you show up with a camera, park security will make you sit AWAY from the concrete, lecture you on wearing a HELMET in the skate zone and stand BESIDE you until you're finished shooting. Even if the kids, all over the age of fourteen, don't mind having their picture taken.  Silly me, I figured security would be busy chasing off the perverts that hang around the ball fields trying to hook up with strangers for sex in view of playing children. I guess not.

Anyway, my overall thought when I left? Wow, Hula, don't you wish you were as flexible as you used to be around age seventeen?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hula-Gen Family Fun Fact # 29

Hubby isn't really a fan of fishing. In fact, he likes to say that the only fishin' and huntin' he does is in the bottom of a cooler. He says he doesn't like killing animals, which is true. But sometimes, I wonder if it's because he's scarred from a certain fishing experience with his Uncle Buddy.

I don't know what's scarier in this picture. Papa T.'s white buck shoes, Uncle Buddy's tennis shoes, Hubby's sandals or Sissy's hair rollers under that gosh awful rain bonnet. There is definitely some footwear tragedy going on in there. There are more fashion crimes in that picture than in Snooki's underwear drawer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Left Foot. AND the Right Foot.

My sore left foot is healing nicely. The doctor said I tore a ligament. I think I just pulled it because it's healing quickly and isn't painful. It's uncomfortable but not painful. I think it would be much more sore if I had torn the ligament. I still have a little ways to go in my recuperation, so I'm trying not to push it. Much. I'm limping along in my little blue orthopedic shoe, and I've actually picked up some speed in my crooked gait. My family has taken to calling me "Hop-along". They're sweet that way.

However, last night I was sitting on the love seat when Hubby said, "There's a big bug on the side of your chair!". I reached down, swatted it to the floor and attempted to squash it. He was a large bug to be hangin' out in the house, so like Oscar Wilde's wallpaper, he needed to go. The only problem was I couldn't see him in the pattern of the rug, and when I put my right foot down, I apparently, put it down on him. And he bit the fire out of the bottom of my foot. I'm not one to whine with pain, but it really HURT. I couldn't believe how much it hurt, and it completely interrupted my hour of ogling Raylon on Justified. Loves me some Raylon. Anyhow, we figured out pretty soon that it wasn't just a regular yard bug, it was a wasp, and the nasty bugger had stung the bottom of my foot. Never mind that it's March, and it's way too warm for bugs to be hatching. The bottom of my foot started swelling up, so I grabbed my old friend the ice pack and slapped it on there. The ice pack and I?  We're close buddies these days.  If I work hard enough at this, I could be completely crippled by this weekend.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Just a Little Kiss

Among the things we did in Paris last summer was to visit Pere LaChaise Cemetery. It's a popular tourist spot, and I think it really is worth the time it takes to stroll through there. Even if I did get my phone stolen by a pickpocket right next to the cemetery. Dozens of famous writers, artists, musicians and politicians are buried there. Jim Morrison, Frederick Chopin, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Heloise and Abelard and on and on and on. The roster of well known residents is much too long to recite here, and it's pretty interesting how that particular cemetery became filled with the rich, famous and notorious. I encourage you to read about it if you don't already know.

I've always thought you could tell a lot about a culture of people by the way they treat their dead. The French do everything with great style and that apparently, extends to burials. Pere LaChaise is gorgeous, not just for its tree lined avenues but mostly for its beautiful tombs and monuments. They are so unique and truly pieces of art. It's just fascinating to see them, and you could literally spend hours there. One of these days when I get around to it I'll post some pictures of the stones.

One of the most visited plots in that cemetery is the grave of writer Oscar Wilde. Visitors include fans of his stories and poetry and those who see him as an icon for being true to yourself. He died penniless in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, following two years of hard labor for a homosexuality conviction. I love the quote that is attributed to him as he neared death, "My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go." Although he was not originally buried at Pere LaChaise, he was finally placed there when his writings made enough money for the move to Pere LaChaise and the sculpture of the art deco monument that flanks his grave. It stands pretty close to the shared grave of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, although Teen Angel and I hunted high and low forever and couldn't find Gertrude and Alice. I was quite annoyed over that.

In recent years, it somehow became tradition for Wilde fans to kiss his stone with bright red lipstick. And kiss they did. Lip marks covered the bottom half of the monument that was within reach of people's faces.

They covered all parts of the base and the angel, including his face.

And his um, hoodlydoo, which was broken off by vandals years ago. (There is a persistent rumor that the cemetery caretaker used it as a paperweight.)

Despite periodic scrubbings and pleas by Wilde's family and friends to stop, fans didn't. And the lipstick seeped into the rock, threatening the integrity of the monument.

His family begged folks to skip the lipstick, which is what we did when we kissed his stone last August.

I firmly believe family should have the right to dictate how their loved one's grave should be treated, and if they don't want lipstick on it, there shouldn't be lipstick on it. Besides, we wouldn't want to vandalize something so sacred. However, I completely understand why people do it. For some weird, almost inexplicable reason, it seems perfectly appropriate for Oscar's resting place. I can't help but think he would have enjoyed the attention, and frankly, there's a good chance he appreciated a good tube of lipstick. When you're standing in front of his monument it just seems a fitting tribute. However, it became too much for his family.

Last night, Teen Angel discovered that about three months after we were there, they scrubbed Oscar's stone and put a glass wall around it. It is now clean and lipstick free and out of reach from grease stained lips.
Photo Courtesy: Reuters

It appears we were some of the last folks who ever got to kiss the stone. I completely understand why his family did what they did, but I'm glad we had the chance to witness that little bit of history before it changed. It was a delicious little salute to personal freedom and a spirited life. Je vous salue, Oscar! Or as we say in Kentucky, I'm glad you got to see us.

Monday, March 19, 2012


There are so many wonderful quotes about spring.  It's just a glorious time that makes we want to run barefoot through the new soft grass, smelling the damp earth and raising my face to the warm sun.  It lifts my spirits, gives me hope and reminds me that there is always another opportunity to renew one's self if he's only willing.  I truly love spring and the courage it gives me to come alive in so many ways.  It is a gift I try never to take for granted. 
For the other great quotes, stop by here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beauty is Only Petal Deep

Some fun with the macro lens is a reminder that there is beauty in the less showy blooms.  Isn't it just like real life?  We sometimes get so distracted by the physically attractive people that we fail to appreciate the beauty that lies within all.  I'm trying to remember that this spring when I'm picking my subjects.