Adventures In Wonderland Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 


Early in the summer when I was focused on the bunnies and birds and new little creatures around me, I caught my rabbit Roger digging a hole in the flower beds below me. I also caught video, of course (which I’ll post later), and it got me thinking about this crazy summer. All I could think of was Alice in Wonderland and her strange little adventures following the rabbit. I did not PUBLISH the analogies that were scampering through my brain at the time partly because I wasn’t fully confident yet that people weren’t going to make all the same drug references that many see in the book and think I was on drugs myself after leaving my husband, house and seemingly normal happy life behind. I also thought I’d let this summer play itself out and see if my adventures or life calmed down for me. Um… not really, but I took notes so here it goes!

I’ve thought of myself as similar to Alice these last few months. I was well raised and taught to be polite. Sometimes my naivety can be seen as childlike and often times my adventures and sense of humor are immature. The bunnies I discovered early in the summer seem to be taking shelter from the heat or simply moved on when some jackhole cleared the land behind my fence. I mean, didn’t someone KNOW that Snow White herself was sitting up in this little castle writing about her adventures with the critters? I have my pictures and I have my notes however so my mind is open to the other things around me now. New characters are being introduced every day and some of them are as wacky and entertaining as the ones in Lewis Carroll’s book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or the movies that have since followed. I’ve referred to this summer as starting a new chapter, and with school back in session I feel like we are on to the next.

I’ve tried my best to really find myself this summer, and at times I’ve simply quit looking to find what WAS there and simply see what’s BECOMING. You know how they say when you quit looking for something is when you are most likely to find it? Well, it’s something I remind myself often. When I need courage or strength, I look deep down to find it but discovering new things about myself sometimes takes quiet self observation and that’s usually found on the balcony over coffee or my vanity table/writing desk. Simply sitting down and answering questions from some of those self-help workbooks that aim to get your life, career and finances in order don’t always come easy for me because they stress me out a little. Actually, they stress me out a LOT. When quiet doesn’t exactly come easily around here, that’s when I learn about others especially the kids. I’ve learned more by listening to them than I have talking AT them. I can almost guarandamntee you that I don’t really learn a lot in the midst of the chaos WHILE it’s happening, but I do my best to jot something down here or there throughout the day thinking that an interesting thought or idea may sprout from what we did or did NOT do well. I hope my little baby boos have learned from me too, but only they will be able to tell you that and perhaps not until they are adults. Maybe some of the things they get angry about now that are too difficult or inappropriate to discuss with them will make sense to them later. Maybe they won’t. Maybe all that they will learn from this summer is that not everything can be explained when the same experiences between two different people produce two vastly different perceptions. That’s a lesson itself, isn’t it?

Chapter 1. Down the Rabbit Hole

Alice fell into her hole. I jumped! I went headfirst not merely out of curiosity because that would be irresponsible as a parent to make life changing moves and pull the kids down with me through the twists and turns of some knucker hole. The only thing I knew for sure was that one day a switch in me flipped and the reality I thought I’d been living was realized to be a fantasy. One day while driving down the road, I finally saw my life clearly and knew I was not going to be able to lie to myself anymore. There’s a strong difference I guess between the fictional character Alice and the new real-life me in that I left the fantasy behind. My hole led to a new reality. There was no certainty about the future and there certainly was no money. What I did have was a little apartment leased on borrowed money and a PLAN to spend my summer enjoying the kids because the big changes would affect them, and I wanted to take care of them as I did my best to take care of myself. I also knew that I may never get the chance to stay home with them part-time or full-time again, and I wanted to cherish that time. Of COURSE I knew they’d be fine going to after-school care if a new work schedule left me unable to spend all of our time outside of school together, but you know how you never TRULY appreciate something until it’s gone or you no longer have the daily luxuries you perhaps take for granted? Well, I went into this summer with the kids knowing that it may be my last. (I mean HOME with them – not last as in DEAD – though there were times we could have killed each other I guess.)

Chapter 2. The Pool of Tears

We have a pool here, and we’ve had a lot of tears however I can definitively say that I have not gotten swept away by the current. My current is strong but will not be defined by my past and crying while treading water won’t get me any farther on to future adventures. Why swim upstream?Dry the tears and it’s easier to keep your head above water and swim. Besides, pools are for fun and the kids have definitely had their fill here with tan lines to prove it.

Chapter 3. The Caucus Race and a Long Tale

In Alice’s Adventures, this is the chapter where Alice meets many other animals and birds that have been swept away in the pool of tears and when they reach the riverbank, they decide to race around in a circle with no clear finish line as suggested by the mouse, in order to get dry. Um… no thanks! I’m out of that rat race. I TOTALLY dig all the little real life animal friends I have found here, but I’ve also met and talked with women this summer that want to commiserate. They’ve found themselves alone for one reason or another and want to drown our sorrows over drinks or grow decidedly bitter together because misery loves company. Isn’t that the same as just running in circles? I’ve TOTALLY bitched, don’t get me wrong, but it’s usually to my family because I’ve found that bitches feed off each other and just walk away fatter and madder. Good for Tweedledee & Tweedledum if they choose to do that. I’m happy to not feel so alone when we find something in common, but it’s just not my desire to sit around and bitch or convince people to stand on my side of the river bank and throw stones at the other side. Sitting on the other side is the man who was once my teammate in every way, and we still have to carry these kids together to the finish line.

Chapter 4. The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill

Alice grows, gets stones thrown at her which turn into cakes, eats them and shrinks. Hmmm… I ate cake this summer, and I PROMISE you I DID NOT SHRINK. I mean, I wish that when people hurled stones at you via insults or unwarranted criticisms they turned into little cakes because that would certainly be turning a negative into a positive, but for God’s sake don’t eat the damn cakes! Real life does not always coincide with fantasy here. Again this is an instance though where the Alice character and my own diverge. You know the bottles in the beginning that Alice drinks that say “drink me” and she shrinks? Yeah well I’ve done that too and the Skinny Girl Margaritas & Skinny Girl Sangria do NOT make you skinny. And the more you drink, the more likely you are to eat that box of goldfish that you bought for the kids and the “that’s one snack they like that I don’t so I’ll be SMART and buy those knowing I won’t eat them!” strategy fails. Eating AND drinking makes you grow bigger in REAL LIFE so don’t even try to be Alice.

Chapter 5. Advice From a Caterpillar

OK. This was always my favorite part in the movie because the caterpillar looks so cool and groovy smoking the big hookah, but just DAYS after spotting the rabbit digging its hole in the garden, I KID YOU NOT, I spied some women at the pool smoking a HOOKAH!! They frequently grilled their dinner at the pool and spent hours out there letting the kids play while they cooked, visited, and smoked. I kept thinking how exotic and very cool they seemed and how this just wasn’t something that we would have seen everyday back at the neighborhood pool. I REALLY wanted to go up and see if they had any advice to offer me, you know, because I was sort of having an identity crisis similar to Alice’s and I pictured them asking me very wisely, “Who are YOU?” like the caterpillar. I didn’t do that though because I thought I’d feel a little like one of the nerds from Dazed and Confused asking about their cool bong. As the summer progressed, I decided whatever advice they may give me may not be sound because the kids pointed out one of the moms one day driving the kids through the parking lot to the pool on TOP of the car. My kids pointed out how unsafe that was (SMART KIDS!) and so next time they ask me what those ladies are smoking in that thing I may just say, “DRUGS!! Drugs cause people to make poor decisions like riding on TOP of a car instead of IN it!” Don’t judge me for this either. It was totally cool, but when I have to think of an explanation for reckless behavior then NOTHING is off-limits. My kids are young and impressionable, and I think it’ll work like that egg in the frying pan commercial did for my generation.

Chapter 6. Pig and Pepper

Chapter 6 in Alice’s story is where they introduce The Cheshire Cat – intelligent, mischievous, funny and perplexing with a large smug grin. That’s my son! He’s the living breathing version of the character. So far this summer, he has accidentally spray painted a wall, clogged up a couple of sinks and toilets, attempted to ram passersby with his remote control cars and jet, and frequently hides from us though is easily found by the glow of his Cars 2 light up tennis shoes and night vision goggles. He’s even got the grin!

Chapter 7. A Mad Tea Party

Yep! Been there done THAT this summer! I met some old high school friends in New Orleans this summer for a “Fancy Dinner Party.” I did not know some of them well in high school, but have most certainly determined them to be MAD in a lovely, hilarious, endearing way. Ladies and gents donned fabulous threads and feathered boas while sporting fancy Ivy League sounding names. I was Donatella – as in VERSACE – and cursed every poor lad that thought my name was derived from The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We sipped cocktails and even mingled with the commoners strolling down Esplanade Avenue. I proved myself to be young again by parading through the French Quarter until FOUR in the MORNING with a tiara on my head. WOOHOO!! I can still party with the best of them, and I consider that a jewel in my crown for Miss um… Erica?!?!

Chapter 8. The Queen’s Croquet Ground

We’ve tried all SORTS of games this summer! The kids have loved playing cards and bocce ball back at the house with their dad and from what I hear, chaos has erupted that would rival the scene in the Disney movie. Remember my sweet girl’s Summer Art Camp where she made The Queen Bee, Tetris pieces, board games, and playing cards? Well I can tell you that many times my little Queen Bee has called for the head of her brother, the Cheshire Cat, but he usually managed to escape with a handful of Monopoly money and a mischievous grin.

There were some characters from the story Alice in Wonderland that were eliminated from the movie versions so I won’t carry on with the chapter references anymore. I’m really more familiar with the movie versions now anyway thanks to the kids (even the creepy Tim Burton version with Johhny Depp) Here’s where I think I’ve ended up though now that the chapter, Summertime 2011, has come to a close: I’ve grown in some ways, shrunk in others (YAY!), experienced the highs and lows that come with any new journey and adventure, and I’ve managed to keep my head above water and be excited about what the future holds. I’ve been put through some trials and judged too, but as Alice says in the story everyone grows and that just can’t be helped. I guess I’m not really very quiet about it either so people can come after me like the guards that set off after Alice, but you know what? I can follow suit and call them out as mere cards that can easily be played or change hands with whatever way the wind blows. I’ll bet you that I can take the cards that I’ve been dealt and produce a winning hand at some point too. I just won’t hold up a house made out of them.

The End.

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Second To Nun & Flying Monday, Aug 22 2011 


Yep! It’s Monday. Not just ANY Monday though; today is the first full week back to school for the kids and back to work for me. I’ve really missed the routine. Summertime’s great, but as the days go by and the heat really starts to kick in all of us tend to get a little grumpy. The kids and I were no exception. I slacked on the Post A Day blogging challenge because I started to feel a little bit like one of those crazed writers you picture with their hair all a mess and hygiene falling to the way side. No matter what time I tried to sit down and write, the kids needed me for something. Usually, what was needed was attention and throwing out the, “Please give Mama a little private time to write her blog” began to morph into, “The next person that comes into my room to whine had better be able to show me blood or they’re punished and I’m not kidding!” Not so good, huh? That probably wouldn’t win me parent of the year or anything, but more importantly I wasn’t getting any points from the little ones that matter. I kept thinking to myself that I’d made a PLAN. That PLAN was to blog every day and get some writing under my belt so that once the school year started, I could perhaps venture into the professional writing world and start bringing in some peanuts to feed the circus animals because the part-time gig at the family beauty dynasty simply isn’t going to cut it. Maybe I’d even get a book deal and impress the kids with their own laptops and a car that didn’t have tape holding up the little black rubbery thingy by the door. See, I made the MISTAKE of checking out some other bloggers one day and realized that they have professional experience in the publishing world with literary backgrounds from top-notch universities and have their resumes posted on their blogs for free-lance writing jobs. My PLAN was to show that while I don’t have literary degrees under my belt, I can churn out daily posts with the best of them from my ancient little laptop at my make-up table. Disappointment and guilt kicked in as the days between blog posts stretched sometimes into a week. It’s crazy to sit back and realize that you’ve actually let yourself feel guilty about not sticking to a PLAN that you devised yourself and has no dire consequences if it fails, isn’t it? Actually, the crazy part is feeling guilty while the SANE part is recognizing it I guess. I think part of my problem is still that I want EVERYTHING I do to be great. I mean, I don’t actually think that’s the case, because one look around this little apartment will tell you that I simply can’t keep up with the artistic creative geniuses that rule the roost here with all of their “projects” and the scraps of paper and snippets of pipe cleaners lying around are evidence enough that I’m either terribly inept at instilling discipline into the little artists or sorely lacking the energy and motivation necessary to follow them around with a waste receptacle. Heh heh! I’m actually really good at NOT doing either though. There ya go!

I think I’m just going to change up my plan. Just a tweak. Just a tad. Saying it “out loud” on the world wide web may help motivate me to see through to my goals, but the big change will be reminding myself not to get burdened by the guilt of not accomplishing something the way it was PLANNED. I’m in charge now. ME. MOI. And I’m not going to replace the negative criticism that I used to get from others with self doubts and flogging on my own. Self flogging for lack of blogging?? That’s bananas!! I guess when you get used to hearing things a certain way, your brain steps in to perpetuate a habit. I’m VOWING to break the HABIT! If I’m not going to break it, since the standards I’ve set for myself have typically been higher than what others require, then I’m at least going to wear that habit high and proud on my head and use to catch some wind and fly like that nun. Yeah, Baby! That’s going to be me now – The Flying Nun! I’m still going to pursue the writing. It’s something I enjoy. I’m also reinstating the fitness goal to get back to the gym at least three times per week and make it a habit though my motivational songs would make the ladies of the cloth blush. That’s OK. The Flying Nun is second to none and cut from a different cloth – one that takes Eminem at high volumes to keep from throwing in the towel. I just don’t think that’s going to send anyone to Hell either especially since I’m not teaching it to my kids or playing it in church. Organ music just wouldn’t get me moving, you know?

I think I could totally pull this off! Replace the crown and catch some air with this cool new headgear?

Novice Nun & Novice Writer? TOTALLY the same.

I don’t like big BUTS and I cannot lie! Thursday, Jul 28 2011 


I don’t like lines. There are all sorts of lines, and while I get that lines are necessary for maintaining law and order, it doesn’t mean I actually have to like them. I just have to accept them, right? There has to be a system for people to orderly take their turn otherwise there would be mass chaos, but have you ever heard people say I can’t WAIT to stand in that line for the roller coaster? Of course not! The worst part about an amusement park is the long lines which drag on FOREVER during the hot summer months. The best part – the actual thrill of the ride – is usually much shorter but SO worth the wait if you’re lucky. The only time people have fun standing in lines is when they are at the FRONT of the line because that’s when the excitement and anticipation are at its highest.

We went to a water park this week on vacation and God love em’, some of these people can really make your head spin. Standing in line at the water park can reveal a lot about people. I mean A LOT. LITERALLY! I think some of these people can’t wait to peel off the clothes every summer to show the tattoos that would otherwise be hidden by proper attire. CONGRATULATIONS! Anything goes at the water park Honey, and I can’t help but wonder if that dolphin on the bosom will be a bit deflated and swimming a little down stream next year. That’s OK though because one quick look around proves that ANYTHING can be re-inflated for the right price. I didn’t actually ride any of the giant slides this year. The twists and turns of my daily life lately are enough for me thankyouverymuch, so I laid around in the lazy river and wallowed in the wave pool. I did inflate the beach ball for the kiddie area though and after getting a little light-headed, I decided perhaps I’m just not full of enough hot air.

There is another kind of line I don’t like either, though I usually bite my tongue politely. I can’t help but cringe when I hear people throw out clichés in place of proper apologies or as an excuse to say something offensive. I’ve TOTALLY caught myself doing it, BUT I try not to. SEE!!! I just did it right there. I gave an excuse for why I sometimes do something that completely irritates me when other people do the exact same thing. I cannot STAND to hear “I’m sorry, BUT…” or “No offense, BUT…” Those are such cop-out phrases. I hear the first few words, and then I simply can’t see around your big ol’ BUT! I’d rather stand in line behind Sir Mix A Lot and his bevy of big butt babes in bikinis baking in the heat and basking in all their ghetto glory than listen to a line for an apology that ends in “but.”

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Here’s MY theory though… Some people think that the easiest way to get from Point A to Point B is to throw out a line; a straight up line! By this, I mean people use clichés, half-truths and straight up LINES as an easy way to either get what they want or make themselves feel better. When you say to me, “I’m sorry, BUT,” you just shucked some of the responsibility and genuineness from your apology because you are not truly owning your own actions. Bless your heart, but there’s a strong likelihood that somebody’s going to tune you out the next time you say, “No offense, BUT…” What are you really saying there anyway? Are you not TRYING to be offensive? Do you just not want the other person to be mad at you for having your own opinion if it’s legitimate and appropriate? Maybe you’re just repeating a line that comes out naturally for a lot of us a lot of the time, but I’m thinking we’d do better by broadening or vocabularies and lines of communication by speaking simply, honestly and truthfully from the heart. You really might as well say, “I know this may come out all wrong, but I’m going to try and say it anyway,” if you want me to listen. Shake that big ol’ BUT loose and mix it up a bit with some NEW and GENUINE words! Because if you don’t, I may listen, but I may also talk about you and pick on you too for not saying what you really mean. Because I just can’t help myself. I’m like an animal, and here’s my scandal/what I’m going to say:

Oh. My. GOD! Becky, look at her BUT!

Sir Mix-A-Lot - Baby Got Back

My Friend GEOFF Friday, Jul 22 2011 


It’s Summertime. And a few weeks ago I signed up for a Post A Day challenge that encourages writers to post every day about what inspires them. For the uninspired, the nice people at wordpress.com even provide a question, sentence, or topic designed to spark some thoughts or musings on a random daily topic. While I think that’s nice, I’ve rarely if ever done things the easy way while accepting help from others. It’s a total character flaw, I know. Believe me, I have PLENTY to say EVERY day. It’s just that sitting down at the computer with time to myself isn’t easy to come by during the summer, and IF that were to happen I’m afraid not all of my sentences would be coherent. I don’t want to write about what everyone else is writing about, but I guess that’s OK since I’ve missed a few daily posts. I keep waiting for a BIG RED X to pop up on my screen lately when I hit the publish button like I’m a contestant on a game show that’s going to get kicked off for non-compliance. Question for today:

People are too dependent on technology: agree or disagree

Answer: ABSO-FREAKIN’-LUTELY!!!!!

Today, I had the bright idea to head out to the book store and let go of a few precious dollars all in the name of Good Educational Old Fashioned Fun! G.E.O.F.F. was supposed to be my friend. GEOFF was supposed to provide for good kid-friendly face-to-face interaction that Wii are too often missing in today’s world. GEOFF dropped the ball and cost me a fortune therefore GEOFF sucks! I dropped forty bucks on a modern-day Monopoly board game that the kids agreed to play with me ONLY because Mario and Luigi were on the cover. Let me please point out that I did NOT know that the game was supposed to be worth its weight in gold until I arrived at the register and the smart-looking-Harry-Potter-Fan cashier requested $68 for two paper-back books and a family board game. I’m pretty sure when the marketing genius behind THAT endeavor presented his idea FOR the board TO the board, we were all called SUCKERS and the fat cat toy execs had a few laughs and cigars at our expense. At least I thought, I won’t walk in on another conversation like THIS again like I did this morning with the Wii:

No, Sis! PLEASE!!! MOM, Sis is trying to make me kill myself!!

But I’m doing it to help all of us. Why can’t you see that??

You think you’ll get farther without me?

Of course! I keep telling you that {eye roll}

Fine. I’ll do it then. I’ll kill myself, but next time you have to be the one to do it, OK?

Fine. Whatever.

Seriously. This can’t be good. It certainly can’t be healthy. I guess the teamwork they were discussing by having one player fall on the virtual sword in order to keep the other player alive in the game WAS a plus though, right?? Perhaps a board game with ZERO technological stimuli would be really beneficial, and we could stare into each other’s game face rather than blankly at a television screen like zombies of the 21st century. Oh, yeah!! It’s ON like Donky KONG! I’ll take my roll with the dice on this one.

We played the board gamed, and the kids got bored but not before money was embezzled, names were called and screaming ensued. GEOFF let me down, and you know who I think was behind it?? MARIO. And LUIGI. My kids have learned to expect immmediate gratification and when things don’t go well, there’s always a reset button, right? Wrong! Not in this real version of the game of Life. Maybe that’s the game I’ll try next and they’ll listen to my words of wisdom. And if that doesn’t work, I’m bringing GEOFF outside with scooters and a fishing pole and he’s going to prove how fun he can be among the sweat, mosquitoes and mud I’ve been trying to avoid. It will be good and educational! It’ll be old-fashioned fun at its finest! Wish me luck.

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. 🙂

Miracles & Luck Tuesday, Jul 12 2011 


It’s been about six weeks now since we moved into our little castle – long enough for us to get acclimated and learn to stand on our own feet. We passed a couple of milestones just the last couple of days. I’m not big on numbers. As a matter of fact I HATE numbers, and I am the very last person on the planet you would ever want balancing your checkbook. I’m not a big gambler either, though I live in an area where a lot is tied to the gaming industry. From what I know, there are certain combinations of numbers that are considered lucky. 7 and 11 are usually lucky numbers while 13 has always been considered unlucky. There is a wealth of information for anyone interested in the whole superstition, but the actual term for the phobia or fear of Friday the 13th is friggatriskaidekaphobia. I don’t believe in lucky or unlucky numbers but then again I’ve never won the jackpot either. I do know this though, anyone who trusts their life to dumb luck or a crap shoot is a friggan idiot. I don’t believe in luck, but I do believe in signs. And I believe in Miracles as well, ESPECIALLY when Miracles can serve as a sign. When I left six weekes ago, I really had no idea where this journey would take me, but someone once told me that life is about the journey not the destination. If I’d have known where I was going I might not have seen the signs along the way.

Anyone who was following the blog a few weeks ago will probably remember Our Little Miracle. She doesn’t know it, but I learned a lot from watching and speaking with Miracle. She was my little cheerleader, literally. I moved out on my own uncertain of what the future would bring, but I found a little Miracle next door. More than once, she brought out a pom-pom or doll to show me and never just talked about herself. She asked a LOT of questions and freely gave her own answers and advice whether we asked for it or not. One day when she and my son were having popsicles outside, the boy complained about how hot it was and that his popsicle was dripping everywhere. The girl responded matter-of-factly, “Suck it up!” He literally sucked up the melting juice, but I think she meant for him to quit his whining or take his pity party somewhere else.

On her balcony cheering me on...

Miracle told me that her favorite doll is Tiana from The Princess and The Frog. Of course it is! All the little girls, and even the boys around here love that movie. The film is set in New Orleans and just down the bayou where the characters talk like we do, though not all of us practice voodoo. The story is different from most fairy tales though, and that is exactly why I think it is so great. Fairy tales evolve over time and change their cultural relevance, and the Disney version of the tale is the one that holds the strongest meaning to me. Unlike the early versions where a princess kisses a frog who then turns into her prince and they live happily ever after, the Disney animated version shows a hard-working Tiana in control of her own destiny. It was when Tiana chose to try the easy route to fulfill her dreams by kissing the frog that she found herself lost in the swamp. I think I know a lot of girls around here my age who could relate to that! And guess what – I wouldn’t want to be the poor prince responsible for fulfilling someone else’s dreams either. That’s the kind of pressure that bubbles up and pops on the surface of a seemingly stagnant swamp. You’ve got problems and troubles like the rest of us? Well as Miracle would say, “Suck it up.” We make our own choices, and we live by the consequences. When we make a bad decision, life’s not over. Paddle yourself out of the swamp. You’re welcome to just sit there on your lily pad sulking and waiting for someone to come along and pull you out too, but I’m willing to bet my own lily white you-know-what that you’ll be waiting for a while. There are no guarantees that what comes along will be a prince, and if he is who’s to say he’ll want to carry you. Our little Miracle moved away this weekend, but miracles always come and go don’t they? I think I’m strong enough to navigate the swamps and bayous around here on my own now anyway.

Miracle with her Tiana doll from The Princess & The Frog

Yesterday was 7/11. Those are supposed to be lucky numbers, but 13 years ago on 7/11 my dad died. I wrote my first blog post, My Hail Mary, for Facebook in the wee hours of the morning of Friday the 13th, and it was good for me. Maybe the whole numbers/luck thing is backwards which would explain my backwards figures in the checkbook too where I am most certainly NOT lucky. Maybe even God forced my hand, and I’m finally taking charge of my own destiny. Either way you roll the dice, the only safe bet you have is to rely on yourself. How can anyone else count on you if you can’t even do it yourself. I hope my kids at least take that lesson from my fairy tale regardless of how it turns out, and I’ll take notes about my signs along the way for them to read and learn from later.

Walt Disney

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!

Back To The Future – The Triple Challenge Friday, Jul 8 2011 


I signed up for this whole blog thing just three weeks ago and I guess I jumped in with both feet. Now I’m part of a “Post A Day” challenge and receive emails for inspiration. The photo challenge headline was “Old Fashioned” and the post challenge was “Write about your earliest memory.” Since I don’t have a lot of time here, I’m going to try to be creative to combine both while also keeping my Facebook peeps in the loop with what we are up to in Our Town. It’s a triple challenge! So I’m going to take you back to 1955, 1985 and possibly into the future as well at EXACTLY 88 miles per hour because at PRECISELY 10:04pm lighting is going to strike my clock tower with the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity I need to hit the bed and be re-charged for tomorrow. That gives me one hour to compose my tale and meet all three objectives so buckle up and get into my DeLorean because we’re going to go fast…

I took Brother out for some special one-on-one time when Sister started Art Camp this summer. We hit up an old battleship and managed to get a private tour in the middle of one of the hottest days of the year through a steel oven that had no open doors or windows for circulation. It was built sometime near the end of WWII and we were actually informed that it was a destroyer quite aptly named as you should have seen my hair and makeup by the time we left. We got to check out the innards of this hot box on water and got to climb every ladder and go down every “hole with a pole” so the kid was in heaven. I left with one of the images burned into my brain. My kid actually had to ask me what this was and the conversation went something as follows:

The old typewriter from our Battleship Tour

What’s that?!?

Well, Brother, it is a typewriter.

It looks weird. What’s it for?

Communicating with other people. Like… writing letters and then putting a stamp on them and delivering them through the postman.

They didn’t have email, huh? Or computers. Or electricity. Did YOU have to do that to talk to your friends before there were telephones?

Oh, Brother. You’re in for it.

Who invented it?

Um. Well. I dunno. But I’m pretty sure it was another Brother who marketed it and put his name on it: Brother. Ha! See! I do know something kid.

(more…)

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…)

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