The Tales of Mother (and the) Goose Wednesday, Sep 21 2011 


I often think, speak, and write in analogies. It’s just the way I am, and it helps me to make sense of things around me especially when life gets a little chaotic. The other morning while sipping coffee on the balcony, a tiny little hummingbird flew up to me, hovered about five feet in front of me for about 15 seconds and then flew away. We looked at each other and for once I did not attempt to take a picture for fear of scaring off the little creature. I was Quick Draw McGraw on the symbolism according to Google however and posted my discovery on Facebook to share:

A hummingbird just flew up to me on the balcony & stared at me for about 15 seconds so I googled symbolism: timeless joy and the Nectar of Life. It’s a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible and will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances. Right On!! Today is MY day, suckas!!

I’ve never seen hummingbirds near my new little castle, and it’s not like I was wearing a big red hummingbird feeder costume to entice some new little creature into my blogging realm. As I continued my research and delved into all things hummingbird related, I also discovered that the sprite little creatures also represent perseverance. Have you ever realized that unlike other birds who can just glide and coast through the air, the hummingbird must constantly beat its little wings to stay aloft? That’s like people too, isn’t it? For some people, at certain times, things just seem to come easy to them allowing them to coast through life while others must swiftly and continuously flutter their wings to keep from falling. Somewhere in my reading, I found some theories that spoke to me that morning and talked about savoring the Nectar of Life. These tiny birds are constantly beating their wings, but they are also capable of hovering in place in order to take their time and savor their nectar. Their ability to fly backwards can show us how we may all be able to look back on our past in order to learn from it yet not hover and dwell on it forever. I’ve never seen a hummingbird ONLY fly backwards! I want to be like a hummingbird!! And if I were ever to get a tattoo, it would be a hummingbird. (But I won’t. Because I don’t like needles. Or permanent body art that could sag and morph with an aging body. And because I’d be embarrassed if 30 years from now someone looked at my sweet little misshapen bird and mistook it for a vulture once everything stretched out and spread.) That hummingbird was a MESSENGER bird and my Google app said so!!

I carried on with my day and headed into The Shop with an extra spring in my step despite the dreary weather and Monday blahs that float about and seem to hover over so many people. I call our store, “The Shop” because that’s simply what we’ve called the beauty and cosmetic business for 50 years now, but I like to think of it as The Family Dynasty and since I run a lot of the daily business that makes me The Empress. All the women on Mama’s side of the family have worked there at one time or another – my grandmother, mother, aunt, cousins, sisters – and drama is the norm as in the televsion version of Dynasty. As I was covering some of the menial duties that should really fall onto servants and perhaps some day will, Mama scurried into the store with her OWN bird tale from that morning. She was visibly shaken and her feathers were all in a ruffle as she recounted what had happened to her while walking along the seawall that morning.

It seems somewhere along her route, Mama encountered a flock of geese. Assuming they were harmless and that she herself appeared friendly and non-threatening to all of God’s creatures, she continued along the walking path and approached their ground. THAT’S when all hell broke loose. According to Mama, the birds began squawking and the flock of furious feathered fowl chased her! Mama got flustered and sped up to no avail. Apparently there was a ringleader in the bunch and as it closed the gap between the group and Mama, she quickly responded like any modern-day woman would and threatened it with the pepper spray attached to her key chain. By threaten, I mean she screamed because it was doubtful that the goose would have been worldly enough to simply catch a glimpse of her unsnapping the spray and been all like, “WHOA!!! We picked the WRONG mama to screw with! This wild-eyed crazy bitch is armed with SPRAY! And that’ll burn my eyes and throat sumpin’ FIERCE! This goose is COOKED!” No. Uh-uh. Holding out the menacing mace in a threatening manner and screaming at it to move did NOT work on the flock, and unfortunately Mama couldn’t get the little twisty nozzle to twist open. God help her because the curious fisherman watching the spectacle most certainly did NOT. She did her best to racewalk like an Olympian with full on hip swinging and arm pumping and managed to escape the menacing bunch and seek shelter in her car with the doors LOCKED I’m sure for added protection. This is the point in the story that Mama came to the conclusion that the foul ringleader was RABID. She watched it fly out onto the lake after the group retreated and feels pretty confident that its feathers were all astray like a MAD goose’s feathers would be. “Oh. Dear. God,” thought Mama when she next realized what was happening; the other geese had TURNED on the ringleader and were trying to peck it to death. There is no way Mama could be wrong about this either because she saw it happen with her own two eyes and surmised that the other geese had realized the rabid nature of their leader and turned on it. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” thought Mama and smugly watched its evil demise as she rounded the corner to retreat to her own side of the lake.

I relayed the account of the attack to my friends on Facebook and even posted a couple of pictures of Mama telling her bird tale as a follow-up post to MY morning encounter with MY bird. The whole bit was ridiculous really and had turned into a farce of sorts as people made their suggestions as to what they thought was the significance of our separate encounters. One friend pondered that perhaps my messenger bird had been sent to warn me of Mom’s impending attack. Maybe. Could be. Who knows. I didn’t throw out all the crumbs of information to my own flock of Facebook followers at the time though.

What many people don’t know is that my mother is an amputee. Just a few years after my father died suddenly, Mama was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer. In layman’s terms, a cancer of the sweat gland in the heel of her foot caused her to lose a portion of her leg below the knee. She rarely limps, never opted for any handicapped type parking permit, and people who meet her or even see her walk have no idea that she has this disability. She wears pants and long skirts and boasts a collection of cute little Mary Jane shoes that work for her and keep her in step with the fashion forward set for the most part. What she cannot do – and really has no desire to do – is run… EXCEPT when she’s been chased by a rabid goose. When she was telling us about her real life re-enactment of The Birds, she said that when her pepper spray failed to flip open, she quickly had to think of another option should she not be able to out pace the flock. Never one to just simply sit back and take things as they come, Mama devised a plan whereby if 1 or more geese were to get within brain or eye pecking distance, she would use what the good Lord had given her…. and beat hell out of the birds using her artificial leg as a club. Better not mess with THIS Mother, Goose!!!! I wonder what the by standing fisherman would have done if THAT scenario had actually played out?!

Mama left the store shortly after her tale and returned with a brand new purple can of mace. She was a little disheartened to learn from the clerk at the police supply store that the spray may not turn a goose into a quivering heap like it would for a HUMAN attacker since geese are not capable of inhaling the fumes in quite the same way that a boogeyman would. That’s OK. Mom is up to the challenge. She will aim directly at the offenders eyes taking especially careful aim if a predator is of the non-human variety. I will not be surprised if I pull around to the back of the house and find her practicing her shot in the wood pile while properly choreographing her ninja-like moves and KAY-YA noises in preparation for her next encounter. She will NOT stop walking the seawall because of geese nor will she let the mockingbird types keep her down.

I warned the kids that night to stay away from Mimi’s new purple can and that it will burn their eyes like fire if they even get anywhere near it which means that I have also relayed the two vastly different bird encounters of that day to them as well. Sometimes, kids say things that really help you to see things in a whole new light and shock you with their simplistic wisdom. As we talked about what I had Googled relating to hummingbirds and Mama’s big adventure, my daughter made a pretty insightful analogy. She recently auditioned for the lead roles in The Little Mermaid and drew a couple of parallels. She won’t be playing her dream role of Ariel, but she WILL get to play a mermaid and isn’t that like the “miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances” as I had copied to my Facebook status that morning?? And HEY!! What about how the three of us installed our very own wireless modem and wireless printer ALL BY OURSELVES without calling anyone to help us?!! That is a HUGE accomplishment and people would never have thought we’d be able to do THAT if they’d seen the two-hour long drama that preceded it.

Really, it wasn’t until late that night while sitting on the balcony and listening to the frogs that I was able to recall the events of the day and put them into perspective. Tons of analogies flew straight into my brain while I pondered what I’d observed and learned from the day. I think I’m fortunate. In fact, I think I’m incredibly fortunate, and I’m also very grateful. I think life’s circumstances can vary so much from year to year but your outlook on life is what can make or break you. Sometimes that outlook is learned from the families we were born into or the people we choose to fly with. I think we can even learn valuable lessons from people with whom we choose NOT to associate. The geese in Mama’s story were the aggressors, and I know plenty of those types, but I also remember what my dad used to tell me about geese that relates to how we are as a family. Daddy taught me that geese fly in V formation. The lead bird at the point of the formation has a tough position. His job is tiring while the geese that follow benefit from the upwash of his position allowing them to reduce air resistance and better glide. The birds take turns leading the formation to reduce fatigue, and I guess that’s also how the birds in this family flock fly as well. We stick together, keep each other in our sights, and take over the tough exhausting positions when it’s our turn. We’ll squawk and honk at you too if you hang back and try to coast on our efforts for too long though so everyone has to toe the line.

Birds of a feather flock together.

There’s always more to every story, and there’s more to mine that not everyone knows as well. Just as Mama had a very rare type of cancer, I too was diagnosed and overcame cancer. Mine was an extremely rare cancer of the eye that was diagnosed when I was 6 and resulted in me losing my left eye. Not all mother-daughter-duos battle the odds and get brand-spankin’-new body parts custom-made for them either do they? It’s another way that we are unique. Mom’s cancer and recovery occurred while she was an adult so she had to adjust to new ways of doing every-day things and living while mine is just something that I grew up adjusting to so I can’t tell you that I’ve ever known anything different. I suppose people could look at both situations and make their own determination about which situation would be worse, but again I think it’s all about perspective. I sat through a law class one time in college when the professor used an example to illustrate personal damages in a way that stunned me. He was a wonderful teacher who had NO CLUE about my personal circumstances and neither did the rest of the class. He proposed a scenario whereby we had just gotten into a class fight and someone lost an eye from a hurled piece of chalk and the class was challenged to discuss all the damages and reparations that could possibly result from being left with a life long disability. Assumptions were thrown out and even tasteless jokes only because they had NO idea that I lived with the “disability” they were describing. At nineteen, with my whole life ahead of me, I silently sat and listened to people describe what my life SHOULD have been like; freakish looking, would never be found attractive therefore limited ability to date, marry and have kids. One guy actually suggested that he would rather die and no amount of damages could be awarded to appease him. Certainly anyone without any depth perception could never compete in sports and some of these kids did and would have a limited set of skills that would hinder future jobs and earning potential. It was pretty grim and the jokes weren’t really funny, but after Dad did his best to console me that afternoon my perception changed and more depth was added to my character. I decided that I was pretty lucky to have the positive outlook and family support with which I had been blessed. Those poor little shits must not have come from a family that teaches you that when rabid geese attack, don’t lay down and die just because you can’t run!! Pull off your custom-made state-of-the-art artificial leg and BEAT THE FIRE OUT OF ‘EM!!!

I think that hummingbird WAS a messenger. It’s appearance set the tone for that Monday – a day that is sometimes easy to just coast mindlessly through while wishing for the far off weekend. I started my day actively looking for what it was that God must have meant for me to see. I have no way of knowing what I was supposed to have learned, but maybe I didn’t even HAVE to learn anything. Maybe the point was just to recognize the joy in the little things in my life right now. They are everywhere and most anything can bring on an appreciative grin or even belly busting laugh if I look at it right. I know that philosophy isn’t always easily maintained, so I’m going to do my best to be like the hummingbird and persevere while savoring the nectar. There’s ALWAYS some there and I just have to remember to look for it.

Advertisements

Dinner & The Dynasty Wednesday, Sep 14 2011 


Sometimes I’m still a little intrigued by how amusing people seem to find my family because it’s only been in recent years that I’ve recognized how funny these people can be in a neurotic kind of way. Last night we went to dinner at my grandmother’s house. We call her Bebe, the moniker she was given when I was but a wee little one and tried to call her by her first name. In my family, the women don’t mind aging however they do not like to LOOK or sound like they are aging, and Bebe sounded more appealing than Maw Maw or Granny. Last weekend, Bebe called me on my cell phone to invite me and the kids over to dinner. I was out-of-town with my sisters at the time, and got weird looks when I said she had called to formally invite me to dinner. See, this just isn’t something my grandmother does. She’s always cooking and never minds us stopping over, but an INVITATION?? DAYS in advance?? The last time she “invited” me over for food was to offer me a chocolate cake. She had not actually made the cake for me or the kids or HERSELF for that matter, but we were the lucky recipients of her most recent awkward encounter.

It’s no secret that when I get myself into a pickle, I’m likely to say something very awkward or at least get myself into a bigger bind simply by opening my mouth. This is a hereditary trait handed down by the women in my family like a secret family recipe – one for disaster. One day, my grandmother’s neighbor came over to visit. Not feeling very neighborly that day, Bebe tried to politely excuse herself by suggesting to the woman that she had a very busy day and needed to get on with her errands. The sweet neighbor did not pick up on the cues my Bebe was throwing and asked what kind of errands and activities were on her 82-year-old schedule. Quick on her feet, Bebe said the first thing that came to her mind and LIED….

“Well, I……. have to BAKE A CAKE!”

“Oh,” replied Nancy Neighbor, “I don’t have anything to do today, so I’ll just keep you company while you bake!” (SMILE)

“Well, um, I have to go to the store though because I don’t have everything here but thank you anyway.” (EVEN BIGGER SMILE)

“Great! I need to go too so we can go together!” (I WIN, YOU LOSE VICTORY SMILE)

And the two women headed off to the store. Bebe didn’t actually NEED anything there, mind you and had already been early that morning so she perused the produce and flitted through the frozen goods picking up a few interesting looking items along the way and headed to the checkout.

“My goodness!! exclaimed Nancy Neighbor. You almost forgot your cake ingredients! It’s a good thing I came with you or you wouldn’t have gotten the very things you came to buy!”

“Oh, um, well, SHOOT! You’re right! Let me find the cake aisle.”

And the two of them headed across the store, but not even Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines could get my grandmother out of this sticky mess before she battered the situation any further. Feeling flustered, she bought a chocolate cake mix with white frosting forgetting that they don’t even LIKE chocolate cake and returned to pay for this calamity. When they arrived home, Bebe offered her thanks and farewells only to be rebuffed by the suggestion that while neighborly Nancy had nothing better to do, she’d be happy to visit while Bebe BAKED. It was around 3 o’clock that I received the phone call while sitting in the carpool line asking if I wanted any cake and we headed over after school. When she tried to send me home with the ENTIRE cake, I knew something was fishy and Bebe copped to her wasted day of baking and chatting, neither of which she had intended to do. Oh, well! So she hadn’t really baked that cake for us, but the fact that she called us as first in line beneficiaries was a compliment.

Sooooooo, anyone can see how when I received the formal invite for dinner, my sisters and I thought something was amiss. Like ALL the women in my family, Bebe never does anything the easy way. She’ll swim upstream fighting the current until the fishiness is uncovered. Turns out PawPaw Jack hit the booze one night and got a hankering to visit with people and invited them over the next week for dinner. Mom got the invitation directly from the horse’s mouth, and Bebe followed up with mine as an afterthought. I’m not even offended by the fact that she invited all of us because they felt obligated after drunk dialing dinner invitations. Free meal! What did she serve?? SALMON, of course. And it was delicious, of course. And the dinner conversation got decidedly OFF course as the evening progressed.

Somewhere over dinner, mom was scolded for never saying “God Bless You” when her husband sneezes. See, he’s a little superstitious and it turns out that his feelings were a little hurt by Mom not recognizing what could be the beginning of a deadly virus or something I’m sure. Mom, always on the defense, offered up examples of how incredibly considerate she is and that choking or not BREATHING would warrant a response from her however a simple sneeze would not. How dare anyone think she is insensitive. She is after all the person who ran to the aid of an employee when she passed out in the store one day. Nevermind that Mama panicked and immediately gave mouth to mouth after checking for a pulse while my grandmother scurried to call 911. Or that she realized later that the GUM she had been chewing at the time could not be accounted for later. We are all certain that the sweet little model that had been working for her appreciated the FUSCHIA lipstick stains all over her face too. After all, she probably learned to start EATING so that she would never pass out in mom’s presence again.

We talked over dinner about computers and cell phones and how technology today just makes everything more complicated. My grandmother does indeed have a cell phone however she does not know how to use it. My cue to call her back is receiving a voice mail with her in the background saying something the likes of, “Well, crap! I don’t know how to work this stupid thing. I can’t even hear her talking. Just forget it. I’ll call her later.” I even programmed the thing for her with Mama’s number as well as my own so she only has to push one button but it turns out her fingers are too small. She has petite fingers she says that hinder her cell phone capabilities while PawPaw Jack has very large fingers forcing him to carry a pencil with an erasure when he has the cell phone. All the talk about keyboards and smart phones REALLY started to push MY buttons when they asked which kind of iPhone I would recommend so they could have one like mine. Dear God PLEASE don’t let them get an iPhone, and Steve Jobs PLEASE forgive me for saying it was a piece of junk so that they would not.

We ended the evening at the dinner table by taking a family picture with my daughter’s 3DS. If I can ever figure out how to transfer that picture to my blog (and only if everyone’s hair looks nice and faces don’t look fat) you’d see a group of four generations – quirky yet happy and grateful to have each other. You might also see my daughter standing in front with the same smile she shares with her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother (though it won’t be obvious because the older two generation’s jaws hit the floor when the youngest took the pic via voice command… priceless!) She wrote across the top of the picture, My Family Dinner, in rainbow letters so I hope this means we make her proud.

Kickin’ Up Storms & Puttin’ Out Fires Friday, Sep 2 2011 


I didn’t sleep much last night. It’s my own fault though I guess. Actually, it may be my mom’s fault! See, there’s a storm brewing out in the Gulf of Mexico. When this happens, I can always hear my mom’s voice inside my head telling me EXACTLY what I should be doing to prepare. It’s gotten to where I no longer need her present to hear the nagging. There’s anxiety coursing ALL through my veins thanks to my maternal side, and when the weather vanes outside start spinning when the wind kicks up, EVERYTHING kicks up a notch. While pondering whether or not to race out and stock up on Spaghetti O’s and boxed wine for the inclement weather and possible power outage, I realized all of the things that I am used to having back at the house but do NOT have here at the apartment. THAT’S when I remembered the fire escape ladder that my mom purchased for us when we moved into the big two-story house, and I retrieved it when I picked up the kids last night from Dinner with Dad. The shitstorm that came from that was one for the record books. Hmmmm, hurricane preparations with Mom, or Fire Safety Lesson with the kids… I guess I’ll take the latter.

Mom, why do we need a ladder?

It’s just in case there were ever an emergency where we would need to climb out of the window.

The WINDOW?!?! What kind of emergency?

(This is when I remembered that fire phobia he “outgrew.”) Um, you know, just in case the doors didn’t work and we needed to get to our car.

You mean a FIRE don’t you! The box has a picture of a family with their house on fire.

Well, technically that could happen, but it can really be used for any type of emergency and it’s best to have emergency supplies on hand like how we keep candles and flashlights ready for hurricane season.

Why do you think we are going to have a fire?

I DON’T

Then why did you buy it?

I didn’t. Mimi bought it.

Why does she think we are going to have a fire?

She doesn’t. I mean, she KNOWS that we are NOT, but she always worries about everything anyway so she felt better buying this for us back at the house.

Then why did we bring it to the apartment?

Because we live HERE now and so I thought we’d keep it here.

But Daddy’s back at the house and now he doesn’t have anything to escape with. (eyeing me suspiciously like I’m an evil arsonist)

Daddy is like a Boy Scout and he has everything he needs there. He’s totally fine, I PROMISE.

So we’re going to attach it to the window?

No. It stays in its box unless we ever have to use it. I’m going to put it in Sissy’s closet because it’s right next to her window and that window sticks out the farthest. (Smile) So you don’t even have to look at it.

WHAT?!?!?! You are keeping it in HER room?! Why does she get to be saved???!!!

STOP. Nothing’s going to happen, but if there WERE some kind of emergency then we all go to her window and climb out. Period.

Her foot is probably going to get in my way and make me fall down the ladder and get a bodycast again!!!

(Long story short version: Yes, he DID have to wear a body cast for a couple of months when he was 2, but EXACTLY how he tumbled down the stairs isn’t TOTALLY clear. Everybody knows he tripped over Sissy’s foot, but there is no proof it was intentional and doesn’t matter anyway because she was SO WAY SORRY and TOTALLY freaked out that he broke a bone. Won’t EVER happen again. EVER. We’re paranoid people now and in a way like never before. There! Full disclosure.)

You’re not going to fall and you won’t get a body cast because we have a LADDER! (Sigh) Just follow her down and we’ll walk to the parking lot or something.

WHAT!?@!!? SHE gets to go FIRST??? That’s not FAIR!

Fine. If you want to go first, then you can go first. We’ll have our plan now like when you practice fire drills at school.

So you want to climb out now?

NOOOO!!! (God the neighbors would REALLY think we’re weird then. And I’m not going to the hospital with a broken bone on any of us from a PRACTICE RUN. Real deal only.)

Well, who’s going next you or Sissy?

Well, Sissy I guess. That is if ANY of us were able to quit fighting over what’s fair and what’s not fair. That’s why it’s best to decide now otherwise I’m thinking Daddy is the lucky one here. He just has to jump. I would have to convince two screaming kids that my escape route was FAIR before anyone even slung a leg of the ledge!

Well then we’d all die if nobody went, huh.

Nobody’s going to DIE! Go take your bath. (I’m going straight to the burning gallows of Hell for even planting this seed in my child’s head. Actually… TOTALLY my mom’s fault here again. SHE bought the ladder and SHE’S the one that threw that neurotic gene down my tree but never claims it and doesn’t know how any of us can be such ANXIOUS people. She’s like the cute little kitten that gets stuck in the tree and then claims to have been able to climb down herself if mass hysteria were to break out and the fire brigade sent to rescue her… after all she’d be the only cat on the block with her own LADDER!!)

10 Minutes Later… (Scene: Bathtub)

Is it fireproof, Mom?

What?

The ladder. because I’m not going to go down it first if it’s just going to catch fire or something.

The ladder is METAL, and we will never have to use it because there will NEVER be a fire.

So concrete catches fire easily then?

HUH?!?

The stairs. They must be going to catch fire even though they’re made of concrete otherwise we wouldn’t need the ladder and have to go out Sissy’s window.

Seriously. Just forget about the ladder. if there were an emergency, that’s the only time you’d even remember it.

Wait. I’m not gonna jump so we’re all just gonna be hanging there til the firemen come or something because that’s too far and I’ll get hurt, right?

No, sweet boy. The ladder reaches all the way to the ground because it says so on the box. (We both SMILE at each other. 🙂 Case closed!)

What if, when I get off the ladder, I step in fire ants though??? Heh Heh!! Get it, Mom?? FIRE ants!!! I made a joke!! 🙂

HAHAHA!!! Funny boy! I’m so proud of you. You must get that from me!

But what about my stuffed animals??? I love them! We’ll have to carry all of them out with us.

Nah. The firemen would spray the whole place with water from their big hoses and that would keep stuff from burning.

Then they’d get wet and ruined.

Fine. We’ll see.

I KNOW!!! We’ll keep some backpacks by the ladder to carry all our stuff out! I’ll be the one who says, ‘EVERYONE GRAB AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!!’

No. That’s someone else’s job. Get out of the tub.

Will the firemen say, ‘All clear!’ and then send us back for our stuff?

Yes.

I’m going to show all my friends any time I have a sleep over so they know we can climb out the window if we need to, OK?

Um… Fine. (AWESOME! Mamas are going to think I’m nuts. And if I ever catch him using it when he’s a teenager to sneak out and get a 6 pack or something, he might as well be in a bodycast because he won’t be going anywhere for a long time. Sigh.)

I’ve got the jibbers.

Don’t have the jibbers… whatever those are. It’s fine. Everyone will be safe and everyone has a job for anything unexpected so we’re TOTALLY good. Now get out of the tub. (HOORAY!! He SMILED which means he’s good and I must be good at calming his nerves then. Yay!)

I’m going to have nightmares. Can I sleep with you?

(Sigh) Fine.

HAHAHA!!!! SISSY!!!! I get to sleep with mom and you don’t!

(Sissy runs into the bathroom and starts off with, Moooooom!!! That’s not FAIR!!!!)

Dry off. Brush your teeth. Everyone get in my bed. Go to sleep.

Hey, Mom!

Whaaa-aaaa-aaaaaaa-aaat?!?!

I’ve been eating lots of fiber, SEE! I’m growing THESE!! (Points at his nipples and smiles proudly in the mirror)

Uh… I’m glad you’re eating fiber. Good. That means this conversation is over.

(I realize that he has changed the subject and this is my chance, so I sing the prayers and then threaten to kick them out of my bed if they don’t go to sleep. It’s a freakin’ SCHOOL night and I’m not going to get ANY sleep because they’re in my bed, but I feel so bad now about letting them see the ladder and ponder burning flesh that I must now deserve to be kneed in the back all night without any covers.)

Where does this kid get this from?? ‘MY MOM!!! It’s HER fault,’ I say to myself as I remember to go take my anxiety pill. As I gulp the water and feel the pill sliding down my throat, I get one of those movie-like flashback scenes where I suddenly have Deja’ Vu and realize I just took this pill while standing in this exact spot just a couple of hours ago. Am I going to overdose? Should I try and throw it up?? I throw up my hands instead and settle down to read a book. I mean, I HAVE to be awake now, right? I probably have to stay awake to make sure I don’t start getting woozy or drowsy from the double dosage… but it’s BEDTIME?!?! How will I know if it’s the medicine or just being tired??? BING! I have a margarita in the freezer that would TOTALLY calm me down, but now I’m too scared to drink it because of what it may do to me after taking two idiot pills!!! UUGH!! I think I have a stomach ache now. Finally I decide with the help of some friends on facebook that the heightened anxiety I’m experiencing will counteract the increased medication thereby cancelling out any harmful side effects and leaving a zero net effect. TA-DA!!! I’m a genius AND I’m still a good mom. The kids are sleeping soundly, and I’ll be right next to them on my 3-inch portion of the bed if they need anything. And if I don’t have what they need or an answer to some crazy question, you know what I’ll do??? I’ll call MOM and let them wake HER up. It’s all her fault anyway, and someday I’ll tell them that so they’ll be sure and blame HER and NOT me or blog about all the weird things I do on the internet or whatever it is that their generation will be doing then. Hell, I probably won’t even know what they’re talking about anyway, and I’ll just sit there oblivious like MOM does with MY blog. 😉

Something To Talk About Tuesday, Jul 19 2011 


Seven weeks ago I left my little “perfect” life that I had created and set out to do things on my own and in my own way. I left with an extra set of clothes for myself and the kids. The only other things I brought (other than makeup and a toothbrush of course) were my ancient laptop and my cute little monogrammed bag that held all of my tabbed and organized binders for my various volunteer committees. It was on my mind that in exactly one week I had a huge volunteer leadership retreat to pull off for some very talented women, and this was the first big event of the year for all of our committee chairs and board members to come together and plan. I had spent time and effort planning this with some really great gals and did not want to disappoint them, or more importantly myself, by dropping the ball. I had a Camping theme for the big event and had coordinated other people to present their ideas and activities around it. When I planned the theme and activities months before however, I hadn’t ACTUALLY planned on camping out at other people’s houses when this all went down. HA! Maybe they would just all think I was some sort of method actor who had to get into character by camping out with my kids for inspiration. Geez! Who was going to know about my recent hike from home and start fishing for answers. I was nervous, but I kept this old movie in my mind the whole time.

Does anyone remember that movie, Something to Talk About? The fabulously neurotic, Grace has a marriage which is falling apart, volunteer commitments and a family business to run and hilariously struggles to keep all of the balls she is juggling in the air.

I have a cookbook to put out, and a daughter to raise, and the God damn winter Grand Prix. And I just don’t have time for the nervous breakdown I deserve, so please, don’t ask me to stop and think! -Grace

Whoa! I didn’t have the whole cookbook thing since I’m not on THAT committee this year, but I was trying to pull together my big retreat for the year, manage the family business and raise my kids while being a little bit center stage as my marriage fell apart. When I left, I didn’t even tell my best friends, much less the glorious group of women that I would be facing exactly one week after my surprise flight. What if they all stared at me and actually knew everything already through the grapevine and were actually WAITING for me to fall apart as if EVERYONE would do that like they don’t have their own lives to lead and struggles to face?!?! Awesome!!!!! Just a few minutes into indulging that fantasy I had just proved myself to be conceited too by thinking anyone would CARE. Ohmygod! What if I lost my mind and stood up in front of everyone and had a super-massive-stress-induced-temporary-loss-of-sanity like Grace does and started pointing out flaws in everyone else’s marriages?!?! That would most CERTAINLY not be graceful. Or, maybe, what if, I dunno, I vomited in front of everyone when words tried to come out?? Even worse, what if I cried. Hard to believe I guess for most people, but crying in front of everyone would have been the worst case scenario for me. It would have shown some vulnerability that I was struggling to keep at arm’s length. Isn’t that CRAZY!?! I WOULD HAVE CHOSEN TO VOMIT PUBLICLY!!! I didn’t barf, though that would’ve been funny, and I think the event was a success thanks to a lot of great people. The parallels with the movie have continued though.

Somewhere in the movie, Grace’s mother tells her to stop making a spectacle of herself and to just accept how things commonly are. Return to life as normal and don’t set her expectations too high. Don’t cause any waves, right? Don’t make anyone else feel uncomfortable or God forbid awkward around her when they see her. She should DEFINITELY not question her place in life lest someone else feel inspired to do the same.

You’re telling me that if I just eat shit politely with a knife and fork and learn to swallow the handfuls of bullshit I’m served, then everything will be A-Okay? – Grace

Guess what I think? Eating SHIT makes you fat. It’s true! I should know. It works in two ways. First, listening to everyone around you tell you what you should want and should believe and should allow starts to get a little mind numbing. After a while, you quit being numb when life just doesn’t work that way for you and you get sad. Numb is easier than sad any day, so wine and another late night lonely dinner work to numb some people. Then you just start to feel like shit yourself and take the easy route… right through the drive through when everyone is hungry because it’s easier than listening to the kids complain about your culinary capabilities. Billy’s mom must actually feed her kids nuggets and jelly beans for every meal because the way I get looked at with my SOUP can NOT be normal, and THAT lady never looks tired. Before you know it, everyone is eating crap – both from the “truths” we’re fed by other people AND the fast and fried food that takes less effort – and we’re all FAT.

Let me tell you what I won’t do anymore; eat the shit that I’m served from other people around me even if it’s sugar-coated. A glass of wine to wash down the taste isn’t going make it any tastier either, and I’m pretty sure about that now. That’s the worst kind of crap to take, isn’t it? I mean, it’s all cleverly disguised, but it still stinks to high Heaven no matter what fancy china you choose! If you invite me over to a sugar-coated turd, bringing out the china just ends up making feel awkward and inferior anyway like I’m going to mess up and use the wrong fork if I even pretend to taste your delicacy. Please don’t get me wrong though. It really isn’t my place to stop YOU from eating the unpalatable. I will mind my manners and let you eat without saying a cross word, but someone please tell me how in the world am I supposed to trust you and your ideas about what is good and healthy when you’ve just eaten a turd the size of Texas and gone back for more! Now you are LITERALLY full of it! And your breath stinks too. And when you start to get all gassy and full of hot air by telling me everything you know to be true, I’m going to see it for what it is: a shitty burp. Go away and come back another day because lucky for me, my mama taught me that the only time it’s acceptable to eat excrement is when you’ve been in an earthquake and have to lay in the rubble waiting for rescuers. She meant that literally too, so your “perfect” marriage and “perfect” world crumbling down around you don’t count.

People are always going to find something to talk about, and the Bird People never run out of things to say. Something else will come along though, and I KNOW it’s gotta be more scandalous than me. I’m just a girl in a new little castle with bunnies and birds and a couple of dwarfs to entertain me. Here’s hoping that if this fairy tale ever hits the big screen, Julia Roberts herself will play me because SOMEHOW her movies keep ending up in my blog! Someone should call her. 🙂

Mama’s Hobo Handouts Sunday, Jul 10 2011 


I’ve been thinking this morning over coffee, and I think I may have come up with an idea that’s going to make me & Mama rich. I haven’t exactly worked out all of the kinks in the plan yet, but the wheels are turning and I think I may have stumbled onto something brilliant. Allow me to think out loud here.

When I was away at school my last two years of high school and the four years following for college, my mom used to send me makeup and money in care packages. If she had time, she’d even put a sticky note in there saying, “Love, Mama.” Never home-baked cookies or long drawn out letters or anything because Mama was busy. She looked out for her girls though and would sometimes cut articles out of the newspaper warning us of life’s dangers with headlines like, “Why Women Should Always Carry Mace,” or “Pitt Bull Mames and Scars Well-meaning Dog Lover at Festival,” and stuck to the article would be a sticky note that said, “SEE! That’s why you never go around petting OTHER PEOPLE’S dogs!!! Love, Mama.” One time when I was “studying” in Spain for a summer, I called Mama collect and told her I needed her to send me some deodorant STAT. I was running out and decided not to purchase a foreign tube because the same-looking packages must contain different chemical compositions since too many people had offended me with their B.O. She apparently understood the gravity of the situation and high tailed it to K&B and subsequently the post office. When my package arrived a week later, I excitedly opened it in front of my friends and the gravity hung my head in shame when my friends saw the contents. Not one but TWO sticks of deodorant and…. well, no “and.” That was it. No cookies and not even a note this time, but I knew she loved me anyway despite the barren box.

My mama is one of those people who has a very hard time saying no. She also has a very big heart, so the combination doesn’t always produce desirable consequences. Take the homeless people, street corner hobos and the panhandlers from The WalMarts. We really have no way of distinguishing who is truly in need of a hand up and who is simply a con artist and when you walk away. Whether you have donated or not, you leave feeling a little disheartened. Were you duped and therefore perpetuated a practice that the businesses in the area frown upon because it drives away customers? Did you say no and may have just left a needy person hungry? Did you refuse to give money and give someone a box of pop tarts you happened to have with you only to be scolded by your lack of generosity from the guy requesting? I’ve done all three. Mama’s done all three. Mama went so far in a restaurant one time to give a guy $20 for the part he needed to fix his car in the parking lot only to have the staff approach her later and tell her not to do that again since the same guy has been run out of the restaurant many times before always leaving with a wad of cash from his con. “But he looked so nice and honest. He was all nicely dressed and well spoken!,” declared Mama. “That’s why it works for him,” declared the manager. Maybe she feels bad when she sees someone drooling because their mama didn’t catch the Seal A Meal correlation early enough.

One of my friends posted a picture a while back of her little “Hobo Bags – The Halloween Edition.” This girl is the cutest, peppiest thing to walk the planet. She has more energy that the Energizer Bunny and she never slows down. She always manages to take care of the kids, husband, house, business AND herself and she looks great doing it too! She sat down with the kids and made Hobo Bags for the homeless filled with little travel size wet wipes, toiletries, snacks and water and I thought it was a FANTASTIC idea! Win-win! She kept the kids busy and also taught them how to be charitable at the same time while providing something that’s useful and I’m sure appreciated by those who receive the little bundles from the back of her car. If she can figure out how to monogram a Ziploc bag, I wouldn’t put it past her to do it too.

Hobo Bags - The Halloween Edition

Here’s where my mind is going now though.I know a whole helluvalotta people who simply don’t have the time or don’t THINK they have the time or don’t want to SPEND the time doing this. BING! Why couldn’t Mama and I mass produce these little bags of joy and then sell them at a small mark-up to the LAZY charitable people?? I think there’s a whole market there that hasn’t been tapped yet. I mean, we’ve all learned to give back through time, effort and money aimed at charitable causes, but we’re still stuck wincing and walking around people sometimes at The WalMarts and city street corners. What if we ALL had Hobo Bags in our cars – even the Lazy Givers? Mama and I could make an assembly line at the kitchen table with Kendall Jackson and churn out a bunch of these puppies that the LGs (Not lesbians and gays although I’m sure there are plenty of lazy giving lesbians and gays too because I know some) could then PURCHASE from US to keep in their cars!! The LGs would feel good about handing out their bags, the truly needy people would be appreciative, the con artists would be PISSED, and Mama and I would make a nice little profit. Everybody wins!!! And then we could put a nice little sticky note in there that said something like, “Love, Mama ♥” People would get all warm & fuzzy, and Mama could make up for all the “practical” care packages she sent me and my sisters in college that I’m sure she feels just terrible about, bless her heart.

Y’all get ready because I think this is gonna happen. I’m going to get my people on it (as soon as I get “people”) so be looking for them on the shelves at The WalMarts. I think I’ll call them Mama’s Hobo Handouts!

Alphabet Soup Thursday, Jul 7 2011 


My Soup That Stirred The Pot

So after yesterday’s post, all kinds of comments were generated on Facebook regarding proper food safety, storage & heating methods. Clearly too many of you were not fortunate enough to have a mama like mine and have already killed incalculable brain cells with your NOT SO best practices and methods, bless your stupid hearts! I’m going to spell it out for you so that you don’t throw those mutated brain cells down to the bottom of the bowl to be scooped up and carried along by another generation, and I will consider it my public service announcement AND blog for the day. Here are a few rules from my mama that you should follow to the letter:

A – Never ever store things in plastic baggies and then reheat & eat them! That’s dangerous because those thin little plastic things leach into your food and come out of your mouth later. Haven’t you ever seen those people that sit in corners and just drool?? That drool is actually the melted plastic coming out of their mouths! We decided this only after Mom bought that Seal A Meal thing to vacuum seal all those little bags of spaghetti. It makes total sense, and we count our blessings that we discovered the correlation in time. How is this not common knowledge? I’m sure you’re all going to think about that the next time you see a drooling hobo on the corner, huh?! I bet THAT GUY grew up on Seal A Meals! You are only supposed to use those things to store dry food snacks one time only and they are never to be washed and reused.

B – Only morons cover their food in the microwave with a thin layer of plastic wrap to keep it from splattering chunks all over the microwave. That’s a fact. If the sturdier baggies leach chemicals, then can you IMAGINE what that little film can let go of? That is not steam coming off your food while you eat, Honey. It’s your brain cells evaporating. Use a paper towel next time.

C – ALWAYS pop out your healthy frozen dinner onto a microwave safe plate before heating it in its self-contained cancer-causing receptacle. You just turn the tray upside down and twist it out like an ice-cube tray. Sometimes it breaks up a little bit and the tray falls apart, but you just throw the little black shards away before you heat so that they don’t sink into your delicious sauce or vegetables or whatever and make you choke. I wonder if it’s a big conspiracy by Big Frozen Foods to make us sick which in turn causes us to look for Healthier Choices and Leaner Cuisines in the freezer section to boost our immune systems. Big Frozen Foods = B.F.F. which does NOT mean the same as giggly little preteen BFFs.

D – Do NOT pop styrofoam into the microwave. It WILL pop! I thought everyone knew this?!?! Apparently not. If you choose to risk it, then you’d better be sure you have on your good panties because when the fire department shows up to rescue you after too much smoke inhalation and toxic FUMES from the melted styrofoam they will bring you to the emergency room for resuscitation. Now all of those people are going to have to cut off your clothes to revive you and if you have holes in your underwear then you’ll embarrass your mama by making her look like she never taught you any better. We learned this when Mama used to watch George Clooney play a doctor on E.R. You know what? It’s really just best to cover your ass by not even attempting the styrofoam-heating-cause-you’re-too-lazy-to-get-out-a-real-plate method to begin with.

E – Metal never goes into the nuker. This is a serious matter with heavy consequences. I mean, do they even make metal plates anymore? This topic is probably moot because I think the only people that use metal serving dishes are prisoners who have those nice little divided metal trays for their bland food, but I’m going to include my heavy metal advice just in case I have some secret admirer inmates still following me since college when I was too stupid to refuse their collect calls just in case it was a friend that got busted at a bar with a fake I.D. and needed bail or something. (Mama would DIE if she knew that!) (more…)

Married… With Children & Miss um…Erica?!?! Wednesday, Jul 6 2011 


OK. Let me tell you what I did. I sat down to blog about my outing to The Walmarts this morning and how I felt like Al Bundy parading around through the store with nothing but a toilet plunger and a box of coffee. I even tweeted about it like a total twit because I’m just now trying to figure out the whole twitter thing and its codes and weird symbols since I think that ALL famous bloggers must tweet. So I planned out my little diddy and then got distracted making a big pot of soup for lunch and had to take the kids to the pool. (And I mean literally TAKE THE KIDS TO THE POOL. That’s not a Bundyism for potty humor.) So I brought my little notebook and pen to the pool and wrote out what I wanted to say and even giggled a little to myself. When I came back to the computer this afternoon to put it all together and find a picture of Ol’ Al in the internet, I flat out deflated like the brand-new-piece-of-crap-nearly-made-my-kids-pass-out-from-blowing-up-because-I-don’t-have-an-air-pump-like-a-GOOD-mom “sun lounger” I bought just YESTERDAY at the The Walmarts. Who would’ve thought there would be such a treasure trove of websites, pictures, videos, Facebook pages and OTHER BLOGS dedicated to the iconic ’90s character. Nuh-uh. No way. I cannot do some tired old thing that has been done before if I expect people to read what I have to say. So I’ll just tell you about my soup, OK? I’m still keeping my original title though because I still think it is clever and looks really nice and symmetrical with all the dots in it.

I have this super awesome really great recipe for Spicy Vegetable Soup. Like every other soup, I make it in a big pot. And it is delicious, and there is A LOT in THE POT. In typical fashion, I failed to plan ahead and prepare for what I would do with the leftovers. See, I have a new kitchen now with about half of what I had back at the old house. I took a big POT, yet a leftover container I did NOT. So when I went to save the leftovers, I swear to God, I heard my mom’s voice in my head warning me of all the dangers of putting metal into the refrigerator. Unlike my mom though, I have the internet at my fingertips and decided to Google her old wives tale. (Nobody tell her I said anything about her on the internet especially that I used the words OLD and TALE/TAIL when referring to her, OK? She’ll just get all flustered.)

Here’s what I found on answers.yahoo.com:

Does storing food in pots and pans in the refrigerator poison the food?

My mom used to always tell me to put left overs in a tupperware and place in the fridge. She said the if you put the pot or pan in the fridge to store the left overs, it would poison the food. My boyfriend does this all the time and I’ve always refused to eat the food. Well, now I’m sick and he made some chicken soup. He put the soup in the fridge, in the pot and gave me some for work today. I’m scared to eat it because of what Mom used to always say but I can’t seem to find anything on the net about it. Has anyone heard of this? Is it true that refrigerated food in pots poisons you? The soup was made Monday night and has been in the pot, in the fridge, since about 3am Tuesday morning. How do I know if the pot is aluminum?

ANSWERS:

  • No. But do not cook acid foods like apples or tomatoes in aluminum pots. The aluminum leaches out into the food and aluminum is found in the plaques in the brains of alzheimer’s patients. I don’t want to take any chances.
  • Only if it’s stored in aluminum. Stainless steel or enamel is ok
  • i do not like to store food which is cooked always make it fresh……….or make in small quantities
  • I always store my food in the pots and pans I cook it in because I always lose my Tupperware tops! haha
    Eat your soup!

So OBVIOUSLY I am not the only person that has heard this and the questioner sounds like a really smart girl who used proper spelling and punctuation and all. The answer givers just talked about bad things that happen to people’s brains and I’m all like, “There are TOMATOES in that soup!” And what about the ones who said not to worry? They don’t have any vested interest in the health and well-being of this girl! Who’s to say they are not some crazy sadists that surf the net looking for people to poison?? So I went to Facebook. Where else?!

Here’s how the thread went (I’m going to block out their names so they won’t be embarrassed to be friends with me) : (more…)